Thursday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. de stijl says:

    I know for certain Google is mining our comments on YouTube videos for ad personalization.

    Yesterday, cold, I got a served ad under a YouTube video I was watching advertising tree burial service. No one would know this unless they’d searched my comment history hard and diligently.

    Tree burial is quite new and only available in really specific areas in the US. They wrap up your mortal remains in a semi-permeable bag with potting soil and peat and a tree seed. The selling point is that your nutrients and minerals will feed the growing tree. Your body will feed the growing tree.

    I like that fundamentally. It fits me and hits my sweet spot. I want that.

    I always knew search bar queries were fair game. This is not that. I never searched that, ever.

    About a year and a half ago I left a comment about burial practices on a video and laid out my preferences in descending order: viking burial (can’t happen under current US law), sky burial (can’t happen under current US law), chuck my remains into a ditch beside a back road (not allowed under current US law), cremate me and scoop my ashes into a dumpster (perfectly legal), but my wishes are not to be pickled and stuck in a box and buried. Definitely not the last!

    You can bury me unboxed, unembalmed in a shallow grave surreptitiously in the middle of nowhere. I won’t care – Elvis Costello has left the building. That’s basically a sky burial, anyway. But for fuck’s sakes do not embalm my corpse and stick it in a semi-impermeable box and bury it. That’s way too creepy!

    I laid out in my comment my preference path but noted the new tree burial option as the best of what is available to me now.

    I stated that once. Maybe twice. Buried deep under an avalanche of other comments. Many billion comments. And one comment got plucked out and noted, assigned to my profile.

    Yesterday I got served an ad for tree burial. That is an ad that would appeal to maybe .01% of possible viewers and would actively offend most people who have a more traditional view about corpse treatment after Iggy Pop has left the building.

    I understand my views and wishes are non-traditional and some might find challenging, offensive, grotesque. I understand, but don’t give a fuck. It was my body. My corpse, my choice!

    Arguably, why should I care? My consciousness has winked out at that point. My run is done. Ian Curtis has left the building. But I am vain and want to tell my executor how to to dispose of my corpse. I lived in that body a long damned time. My body, My choice!

  2. ptfe says:

    One reason I want to move before I die: go to a state with more corpse options. My kids didn’t like the idea of composting me (legal in Washington), so I’m probably (hopefully?) bound for a cardboard box with no preservation fluid. A near -zero-carbon burial would be ideal.

  3. MarkedMan says:


    go to a state with more corpse options.

    Now, there’s a sentence that is much more fun taken out of context!

  4. de stijl says:


    Put your preference in your will.

  5. de stijl says:

    I know the search bar is fair game.

    A favorite song I enjoy listening to is called Autoclave by the Mountain Goats. I searched “autoclave” many times looking for alternate versions and covers.

    A few days later I got served an ad from a wholesale vendor selling supplies to commercial labs with a specific offer to buy an actual physical autoclave.

    The utter lack of contextual intelligence astounded me. Amused me greatly.

    Yes, algorithm, if I listen to a sing called Autoclave about the inability to form a meaningful relationship and that my figurative heart is an autoclave, that means I want to buy an actual, physical autoclave offered at $3200USD.

    I laughed. It amused me greatly. By sheer happenstance I screwed up the ad algorithm that badly just by obsessing on a song.

  6. Mikey says:

    @ptfe: You could go to the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center, AKA “The Body Farm.” They put you out in the woods and study your decomposition processes, which helps law enforcement agencies (from the website):

    with the recovery of human remains, determine the identity of unidentified human remains, interpret trauma, and estimate time since death.

  7. Jen says:

    I am very interested in the tree thing. I think there’s also some kind of mushroom pod. While I understand the ritual of burial and how visiting a grave site can extend comfort/closure to those who have lost someone, I find the idea of abandoned graves a bit sad–I’d rather fade quickly into obscurity, replaced by a tree, rather than just another headstone nobody visits.

    Graveyards seem exceedingly wasteful too.

  8. Kingdaddy says:

    After years of being fed ads by algorithms, I’m pretty unimpressed with the results. Case in point: kilts.

    Years ago, Facebook kept displaying the same ad for a leather kilt. I didn’t want a leather kilt. Looking back through my posts, I didn’t see anything that might suggest I have either a Scottish fetish with leather overtones, or a leather fetish with Scottish overtones. (I do have some Scottish blood in my ancestry, but I hadn’t said anything about it on social media, as far as I could tell.) The same ad kept coming and coming, so I posted a screenshot of it on Facebook, to share the humor of it with friends.

    A couple of weeks ago, Amazon started suggesting that I might want to buy a kilt. I did recently purchase a book of Scottish folk tales, but I’m not sure of the logic connecting the book and the kilt. Is reading a book containing stories about banshees and selkies the proverbial first hit leading to the harder stuff, Outlander cosplay? I doubt it.

    Which leads me to think that the algorithms are often just throwing digital spaghetti against the wall.

  9. de stijl says:


    There is a fairly decent series of mystery / crime novels set at the Body Farm run ot of University of Tennessee and involving a fictional prof who runs the joint.

    By Jefferson Bass. Not great literature, but well executed mystery novels. Pretty good, actually.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: Beat me to it. It’s one of the options I think I’d go for, not that I’ll have anything to say about it, I’ll be dead.

    @Jen: I like visiting graveyards, the older the better. Especially finding old forgotten family plots out in the middle of nowhere. I think it’s the connection with the past. Here in America few buildings survive more than a few decades, never mind a century or 2. We have a tendency to tear them down so we can build something bigger, something better. My parents bought their simple ranch house brand new in ’58. It was sold after Ma’s death in ’06, torn down within weeks and a brand new McMansion was built on the property within a year.

    Graves on the other hand, last a long long time.

  11. Jax says:

    One American says:
    Thursday, 27 July 2023 at 03:23
    Hahahahaha the Biden’s are so corrupt he’s checking out for 10 days

    Does anybody know what our resident “alternate reality” gremlin was on about last night? 😛

  12. Bill Jempty says:
  13. de stijl says:


    You might have misspelled “kilt” once in the search bar.

    Maybe not.

    The creation of customer profiles is utterly unregulated. Buying and selling of customer data is mostly unregulated. How customer data gets associated to a profile is ad-hoc and based on the best join. The best is a compound one based on time, SSN, address, telephone, bank accounts, etc, but way too often it is a sloppy join.

    People move, people get a re-issued phone number, data entry folks fat finger a SSN or a telephone number. Just joining two datasets on physical address is wicked hard. Many assumptions are made.

    At one point it was my job to make that happen.

    We happily sold our data to amalgamators. I was the point person to facilitate the integration. I was volunteered. It wasn’t my choice. In fact, I argued against it.

    It is decidedly imprecise.

  14. CSK says:


    I haven’t the vaguest idea. And it makes me crazy when someone apostrophizes a plural noun.

  15. DrDaveT says:


    After years of being fed ads by algorithms, I’m pretty unimpressed with the results.

    This is an important point that many people overlook: nearly all of the commercial successes in AI (and particularly machine learning) have been in applications where the cost of error is generally very low. Nobody goes to the hospital when Google or Bing tries to sell you a kilt. If Alexa doesn’t know the difference between Steely Dan and Steeleye Span, we all have a good laugh. If your web crawler that’s looking for pictures of cats shows you a fox by mistake, you skip it and move on. When the translator in the phone game you play renders someone’s comment as “Come join get dragon good” you know what they mean, and do that.

    When you want to use AI for commercial avionics, or medical devices, or military weapons control, or criminal justice decisions, everything changes. The fragility of the algorithms now has potential safety or equity implications that you can’t just dismiss. And we do not yet have established processes and standards for assuring the behavior of these systems. Worse yet, each application area is independently making it up as they go.

  16. Jen says:

    And it makes me crazy when someone apostrophizes a plural noun.


  17. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Speaking of which…. On Truth Social yesterday, Trump once again demonstrated his inability to understand how “scare” quotes work:


    Does he not realize that putting the word “perfect” in quotes has the effect of casting doubt on its being a perfect phone call?

    Let’s do a little quiz. Take the following two sentences:

    (A) You look wonderful in that dress.

    (B) You look “wonderful” in that dress.

    Which one of those sounds more like an insult?

  18. de stijl says:

    I am still gobsmacked I got an offer to buy an autoclave after listening to a song called “Autoclave”.

    That is many systems failing really badly in a row spectacularly!

  19. Daryl says:

    GDP increased at 2.4% in Q2 of 2023.
    In the first quarter, real GDP increased 2.0%.
    Thanks, Brandon!!!

  20. de stijl says:


    Hey, nice “comment”! And I like your gravatar “image”.

    You are correct. Putting random words in quotes undermines the intended message.

    Trump’s definition of a “perfect” phone call got him impeached. Now, it’s gonna get him indicted.

  21. Mikey says:


    Does he not realize that putting the word “perfect” in quotes has the effect of casting doubt on its being a perfect phone call?

    Well, he’s a barely articulate imbecile, so he probably doesn’t.

    I think he believes he’s quoting someone–maybe even himself–who believes it was a perfect phone call. But again, he’s an imbecile, so who knows.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: He’s sniffing glue again.

  23. CSK says:

    @Kylopod: @de stijl: @Mikey:

    I’ve been wondering for years what in hell a “perfect” phone call is.

  24. Neil Hudelson says:


    If you do leave your body ‘to science’ do your due diligence, or else you too can be used for ammo testing.

    (The body farm you posted is very reputable!)

  25. just nutha says:

    @de stijl: Or better yet, simply contract with a funeral director for prepaid service.

  26. Kylopod says:


    I’ve been wondering for years what in hell a “perfect” phone call is.

    That’s yet another example of Trump’s odd way of using language (which I glossed over because I wanted to focus on “the” way he “uses” scare “quotes”), but it stems from his reflexive habit of reacting to all criticism by affirming the absolute, opposite extreme of whatever he’s being accused of–even when it’s semantically absurd and far beyond what’s necessary to cast himself in a positive light. So when he’s accused of racism, he doesn’t merely claim he’s “not a racist” or even the old “I haven’t got a racist bone in my body” cliche. Instead he says he’s the least racist person you’ve ever met. If he had said the call to Zelenskyy was an “innocent” call, or even “perfectly innocent,” it would still be a barefaced lie of course–but at least the statement would be logically and semantically intact. But he’s unwilling to stop at that. He has to say it was “perfect.” He has to make it sound like a contest where he’s at the absolute top of humanity. He has to make everything sound that way, even though it doesn’t make a lick of sense to describe any human being that way in these contexts.

  27. Kathy says:

    If every person who’s ever lived got a grave with a headstone, and such graves were to be maintained in place forever, how long would it take to cover the world’s land surface in graves?

    BTW, hands down the world’s most expensive grave ever

  28. CSK says:


    That’s as good an explanation as I’ve seen. Trump once said that he and his minions were “looking at [something] very strongly.” How do you look at something “very strongly”? I suppose he meant “studying the issue closely,”
    but why not say so?

    Another thing: The Trumpkins claim to nderstand him perfectly, but the rest of us are left befuddled.

  29. Kathy says:

    Given yesterday’s House hearing on UFOs, when do we get hearings for Big Foot, Nessie, the Moon landings, the Kennedy assassination, Atlantis, and all the other really important, pressing issues of the day?

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Well, “enquiring minds [do] want to know” after all. Good question!

  31. Kylopod says:


    Given yesterday’s House hearing on UFOs, when do we get hearings for Big Foot, Nessie, the Moon landings, the Kennedy assassination, Atlantis, and all the other really important, pressing issues of the day?

    You jest, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the Kennedy stuff brought up, since it has its own current variant in QAnon, and RFK Jr. has raised it (he also believes–or claims to believe–that his dad wasn’t killed by Sirhan Sirhan). While the JFK assassination theories were hardly the first prominent conspiracy theories in America, they have a kind of foundational quality to many of the conspiracy theories that came later. A lot of conspiracy theorists (especially older ones) began with Kennedy’s death and went from there.

  32. de stijl says:


    Perfect Kiss by New Order

  33. reid says:

    @Kylopod: The man can’t even spell “stolen”, which I find hilarious and tragic all at once.

  34. Jay L Gischer says:

    Interestingly enough, I do not have a quibble with “looking at something very strongly”. It’s not the conventional way of saying this, but honestly, that’s good. I know what he’s saying.

    To me, calling the call “perfect”, which happened right after the transcript of the call to Zelensky came to light, admits he was up to something. The lawyers had told him, “you can’t say X or Y, that will be a problem”. So he followed the rules they laid down for him, ergo, it was “perfect”. However, he still managed to convey a notion of quid pro quo on the call. The call was “perfect” in a legalistic, literal sense. Still a problem. This kind of thinking is probably what’s going to be his downfall in the GA case.

  35. Kingdaddy says:

    The fascism on display goes right on the front lawn, with spotlights trained on it:

    I encourage you to watch the video, even though it’s a painful experience. It’s worth it to understand just how ugly it is. Reading about it doesn’t convey a tiny fraction of its awfulness.

  36. Kingdaddy says:


    Grusch’s constant refrain of, “We’ll have to go to a SCIF to discuss any substantive aspect of what I’m claiming,” wore thin fast.

  37. de stijl says:

    @just nutha:

    A funeral director in your corner and the Coroner’s Office are invaluable when dealing with the death of a family member.

    When my mother died I was the executor. You have to shut down or temprorily redirect to a new account all the services.

    Electricity, gas, water, cable, internet, lawn service, pool service, HOA dues, etc. Shit you would never think of.

    The Coroner’s Office was a godsend. Everybody wants a certified copy of the death certificate and proof I am the executor. Holy crap was that process annoying. I spent a month and a half in Phoenix proper, suburbs, and exurbs just shutting shit down.

    Trust me, go to the bank first!

    If I were more entrepreneurial there is a service gap in the whole “Hey, my mother died and I need to close this account” market. People die everyday. Almost all of them have a complicated skein of accounts, and utilities, and service providers with automated payments.

    This situation has to happen every day to a large utility / service provider; multiple times. Why is there not a dedicated structure to deal with this predictable, everyday occurence?

    And that does not include the house itself, her furniture, and prepping her house for sale.

  38. CSK says:

    According to NBC, Trump’s lawyers met with Jack Smith this morning and been told that Trump will be indicted on the Jan. 6 matter.

    Also, Trump’s chosen dinner music each evening is the Jan. 6 prisoners and him singing “Justice For All.”

  39. de stijl says:


    Not “Rudie Can’t Fail”? Not “I Fought The Law, And The Law Won”? Other Clash songs?

    Missed opportunity. Sometimes you have to lean into the irony.

  40. Daryl says:

    So, I cannot wait for the bigots to get their brains around this…
    Gay incestuous sex…and in Ron DeSantis’ Florida!!! MAGA heads are going to be exploding.
    If god is against homosexuality, or it’s somehow un-natural, then why do all kinds of animals exhibit this behavior?
    Yes – the list is long.
    My favorite, the grey whale “slip-and-slide” orgies!!! Although the Ugandan Kob’s do appeal to my fondness for lesbian porn.

  41. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: How about the Dead Kennedys’ “I Fought the Law and I Won” (which, for those unfamiliar with it, is about the Harvey Milk assassination).

  42. Kathy says:


    What I really worry about is they may have hearings on vaccines. We really don’t need lower rates of childhood vaccinations, not ever. Thing swere trending that way even before the pandemic@Kingdaddy:

    I’ve done my best to ignore it. All things UFO are nothing but colossal wastes of time, and there’s better ways to waste one’s time.

    There’s some value in cataloguing and identifying, as far as possible, all odd objects seen in the sky (there are far more than people seem to imagine). But that’s not what the UFO nuts do.

  43. wr says:

    @de stijl: So, you never told us — did you order the autoclave?

  44. @Kingdaddy: Wow. I was generally aware but had not seen it.

    Meanwhile, I saw Dreher believing the BS that it was an innocent mistake on Twitter yesterday. Dreher sure finds himself apologizing for fascists a lot these days.

  45. gVOR10 says:


    When you want to use AI for commercial avionics, or medical devices, or military weapons control, or criminal justice decisions, everything changes. The fragility of the algorithms now has potential safety or equity implications that you can’t just dismiss.

    Doesn’t seem to bother Musk and Tesla. Musk seems to think “move fast and break things” is still a good philosophy on public streets.

  46. de stijl says:


    My heart is an autoclave

  47. grumpy realist says:

    @de stijl: ….and if there are outstanding medical bills to be paid by insurance the system can grind on for-EVAH.

    I was remarkably lucky in dealing with my friend’s estate because a) I had access to a lawyer who specialises in settling estates, knew all the possible pitfalls, and who could handle all the court paperwork, and b) I had access through my work to a bonds company. (SO died intestate with a crapload of money, which turns out I had to post bonds since the State of Illinois seems to have this terror of estate administrators trousering the lot and heading off to the Bahamas.)

    I’m still pissed that my friend never made a will.

    (Oh, and if anyone is interested, there are a bunch of megathreads over at Reddit commenting on the train wreck that is now Rod Dreher. Google “Rod Dreher divorce” and you’ll pull at least some of them up.)

  48. gVOR10 says:

    @CSK: @Kylopod:

    The Trumpkins claim to nderstand him perfectly, but the rest of us are left befuddled.

    The nonsense syntax, the absurdly over the top claims, the odd word usage, etc. are a practiced technique, albeit one that seems to come naturally to him. He wants ambiguity. The faithful will hear what they want to hear and the rest of us are stuck trying to argue the falsity of gibberish.

  49. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Dreher is basically Der Sturmer at this point.

    At one time I bandied about in his comment section, back when he and TAC still had those. For close to year. Eventually I got banned. For pretty innocuous comments. You know what, being banned by Dreher makes me happy.

    That man is on a bad path.

  50. Kylopod says:


    We really don’t need lower rates of childhood vaccinations, not ever. Thing swere trending that way even before the pandemic

    That may be the case, but I think the anti-Covid-vaccine backlash is absolutely the main reason for the explosion in anti-vax views in the populace. It was a gateway to the earlier anti-MMR movement. If the Covid pandemic had never happened, the anti-vaxxers would still be a marginal movement today.

  51. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Mikey: I don’t know if this is the original variant of this, but it was the first that popped up when I searched for it. But this also could be an option:

    The mental image of this is exactly at my sense of humor. It’s something I don’t mention to my therapist.

  52. dazedandconfused says:


    No doubt prompted by the fighter pilots concern and their extraordinary footage being made public. “The best of the best of the best SIR!” –MIB.

  53. Mike in Arlington says:

    @de stijl: On a distantly related note, this week’s Behind the Bastards podcast is about the founder of Der Sturmer, Julius Streicher. I had never known anything about him, so it was really enlightening to me. The parallels to what’s happening now is pretty chilling.

  54. @de stijl:

    That man is on a bad path.

    Indeed. And he is fairly deeply down it at this point.

  55. CSK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    My point was mostly that Trump sounds like an idiot when he speaks or writes, which is not a good look for a POTUS.

  56. Mikey says:

    @Mike in Arlington: I’ve seen that one before. The belly laugh it elicited is something I probably wouldn’t tell my therapist about either…lol

    When my dad passed away, he was cremated. I took a picture of the bag with his ashes in it. Subsequently when telling people he had died, I would ask “do you want to see the last picture I got of my dad?” and when they gave a sympathetic “yes” I’d show them the picture of his ashes.

    The reactions were split about evenly between laughter and facial expressions that could best be described as “you sick fuck.”

    Joke’s on the latter group, Dad would have loved it.

  57. Mikey says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    The parallels to what’s happening now is pretty chilling.

    My wife is from Nuremberg, so I get to visit that lovely city from time to time (never often enough).

    They have several great museums. One of the most interesting is the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände, the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Its exhibitions show the extent and depth of the propaganda apparatus of Hitler’s NSDAP that enabled his ascent to power.

    We visited this museum shortly after Trump took office and were absolutely horrified at how strong the parallels really are.

  58. de stijl says:


    I am, right now, seeing an ad with this text:

    Find the right autoclave today! Call us today for our best offer.

    I could have not planned this.

    Do you realize how many things went wrong in order to have that company pay to have that exact ad served to me? They auctioned my search data and someone bought it.

    I am flabbergasted at the start to end stupidity. I can’t even think of a good comparison it is so dumb.

    And (I have beat this particular drum many times) Google Ad Services cannot figure out I live in Des Moines. Not with a mobile phone, not with a land line number, not with an internet provider, not with a cable provider, not with a property address, not with tax records, not with utilities, etc, etc etc. There at least 50 data points that all indicate one thing and half are free public records. I’m not hiding or spoofing. I’m clearly on the grid.

    Everything in easily accessible public records and purchased data screams that I live in Des Moines, Iowa.

    I get localized ads for Minneapolis, Baltimore, Kansas City, Orlando, Burbank, Omaha. I used to live in Minneapolis 20 years ago. I’ve very briefly visited all the rest besides Burbank. I might have driven through once, maybe?

    And that city roster shuffles randomly – yesterday was Baltimore, today it is Minneapolis. Why?

    They have never, not even once shown me localized ads for the city I actually live in ever. Why?

    It is so godamned simple!

    At this point I think they’re just fucking with me on purpose.

  59. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Try this: stand in front of a mirror and say “autoclave” three times.

  60. CSK says:


    I just did.

  61. Kathy says:


    Yes, absolutely.

    I’ve been worried about it since the first murmurs of anti COVID vaccine murmurs. It’s harder to oppose one vaccine than to oppose all, and all vaccine mandates as well.

    Worse still, many childhood diseases are far more dangerous to adults. People who couldn’t take vaccines such as MMR for medical reasons decades ago, will be vulnerable to these diseases now if herd immunity falls much. I’d even advice them to consult a doctor to see if they can get the vaccine now.

  62. gVOR10 says:

    @Kathy: Maybe someone here can help me out. Saw something last week I should have filed away, and now I can’t find it. Someone mentioned a Yiddish word for “make it so”. The thing GOPs do all the time.
    You have a religious objection to getting COVID vax because it was tested with stem cells. All vaccines are. Do you refuse all vaccines? Huh, umm, er. Yes I’ve always hated vaccines. I’ll never take another one.
    – I’ve always believed the FBI was left wing.
    – I’ve always opposed CRD…CRV… whatever it is. Yeah I’ve always hated that shit.
    – Someone in our congregation had a funeral for a miscarriage because we’ve always done that.
    – We’re restricting mail-in voting because it helps Ds. FL did it years ago to help GOPs. And we’re by gawd gonna stick it to the libs by restricting it.

  63. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Mikey: Agreed. We visited it in 2019.

  64. CSK says:

    According to The Guardian, no indictments are expected today.


  65. de stijl says:


    I did. Didn’t work. I had to say the full lyric: “my heart is an autoclave” thrice. The disembodied spirit of John Darnielle (the writer and singer of Autoclave) gave me a reverse bear hug and whispered in my ear,

    Remember at your peril
    Forget the ones you can


    Big news from the Mountain Goats last week.

    New song released called Clean Slate.

    First released song from a (and I’m quoting):

    “This is a rock opera about a woman named Jenny who buys a Kawasaki to ride as far as she can away from a town she has been carrying on her shoulders for too long. “Clean Slate” sets the scene: this is the house Jenny rents; these are the people who crash there when they need a place to stay. This is where she’s at in the process of becoming someone other than the keyholder she’s been.”

    That’s a pretty bold declarative set-up. Not new to him. Tallahassee was an album of songs about a politically connected alpha couple going through the world’s shittiest break-up. Remember when No Children was a weird TikTok phenomenon about a year back? – that was off Tallahassee.

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: When my mom died and I was the estate representative (the language in my state), the Coroner’s office had nothing left to do and the lawyer for the estate and the funeral home took care of most of what you discuss in your note. But I am sorry that your mom’s death was more of a hassle for you. The part of the job left to me was stressful enough.

    ETA: And Mom and Dad had been living in an “active seniors” storage facility, so all I had there was calling a company (suggested by the facility) to empty their apartment and dispose of the contents. That company was very helpful in suggesting what things I would regret giving away. Now, they can all be given away at the time of MY passing.

  67. Sleeping Dog says:


    If I get my way, I’ll be cremated and have the ashes divided into several baggies to be tied to the collars of several dogs. A hole would be punched in each baggie and the pooches let loose to romp.

    Screw the solemn ceremony.

  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    comment removed when cracker learned to read

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl:

    Do you realize how many things went wrong in order to have that company pay to have that exact ad served to me? They auctioned my search data and someone bought it.

    You do get that online advertising–targeted or otherwise–is orders of magnitude less than the CEO of the autoclave company paid for…
    his coffee break donut today, right?

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: What happened when you did?

  71. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:


  72. Sleeping Dog says:

    More Tesla lies uncovered.

    Why anyone would want to do business with a Musk owned company is beyond my comprehension.

  73. Gustopher says:


    Someone mentioned a Yiddish word for “make it so”.

    Ok, I am convinced. The next Star Trek series should be a very, very Jewish reboot of TNG.

    Also, maybe replace Crusher with a Crustacean. Zoidberg was a redhead, was he not?

  74. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: You haven’t experienced Seinfeld till you’ve seen it in the original Klingon.

  75. DrDaveT says:


    Doesn’t seem to bother Musk and Tesla.

    I’m reasonably certain Tesla is doomed. The company will not survive the second major liability lawsuit (or possibly even the first) when disclosure reveals how much they were hiding about the unreliability of their autopilot. It’s a pity; I gather it’s a pretty good car when driven by humans.

  76. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    They paid a fraction of a cent. GAS made a fraction of a fraction of a cent.

    It’s the systemic stupidity that galls.

    Who programmed the search scrape? It’s so godamn stupid!

    Okay, the bidder/buyer is not to blame, here. They were acting in good faith. Are paying n dollars a month to GAS for potential leads that might pop up in an automated auction. Pay for access.

    GAS sold them utter, flat-out junk. They found a decontextualized keyword. Bots offered, bid, and sold in a fraction of a second for a fraction of a penny. The buyer got a bum deal and GAS is skating close to fraud (ianal). I was searching for a song title, ffs.

    A failure at every step of the process, but most definitely on Google Ad Services.

  77. Beth says:

    So, I must confess a deep and abiding shame to everyone. Ohhhhh, it pains me.

    Last night we finished watching “Secret Invasion” and I turned to my partner and said “what the hell was that crap other than a waste of time.” She didn’t know, she thought it was awful start to finish.

    I chuckled a little bit and when she looked confused I said “this is what Daddy Reynolds feels like when he watches tv or movies, I don’t like it.” She was more confused for a second then said “oh! Yeah, the author guy you harass on the internet.”

    What the hell was that? How did all those amazing actors and what I assume are talented writers make that and not see what a steaming pile of pablum it was. Hell, steaming pablum would be more interesting cause then you might wonder why it was steaming and how did it get to where you are.

    It not like I have great taste or anything. I sobbed, SOBBED, through Kenobi. I actively like all the Star Wars bullshit. So when I say it’s a crapfull waste of time, I’m serious.

    What the hell happened there.

  78. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    A failure at every step of the process, but most definitely on Google Ad Services.

    I’m not sure why you think this. GAS doesn’t need to be right every time; they don’t even need to be right most of the time. They just need to be more right more often than the competition on an ongoing basis to make money hand over fist.

  79. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: I’m really glad that my worst professional work isn’t on public display.

    Anyway, now I’m morbidly curious.

    (I didn’t sob watching Kenobi, but it was mostly fine. A few dodgy bits. And the food safety on Tatooine. Also, look, you can’t actually chase a small child through an obstacle course you have to be safe and make the best of it)

  80. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: other random Kenobi thoughts:

    – I liked that it wasn’t set at the same time as the other shows, didn’t have to service the other shows, and could be it’s own thing. Good thing, bad thing, whatever, it’s entirely it’s own thing.*

    – When they saw how much backlash the one actor was getting for being a black woman, I wish they would have reshot the ending, even if it required terrible green screening. Just have Kenobi go home, kiss Reva on the back of the neck. That’s right, bigots, they’re a couple now!

    *: that said, my favorite episode of the last season of the Mandolorian (half-man, half-Delorean) was the random Corusant episode about the rehabilitation program for former imperials.

    Related, the MCU is too tightly connected of late, so no characters get to shine. It feels like if every episode of Doctor Who was a multi-Doctor story — fans enjoy a multi-Doctor story, but they’re a cheesy fun romp for long-term fans, celebrating milestones and contrasting different characters (well, different incarnations of the same character). But, you have to establish the characters first, and they don’t require everything to build up to the event.

  81. Mister Bluster says:

    Feds add new charges against Trump in classified documents case
    Special counsel Jack Smith has brought three new felony charges against former President Donald Trump, including explosive claims that he asked an employee of his Mar-a-Lago club to delete security camera footage sought by investigators probing his handling of classified documents.
    In a 60-page superseding indictment, prosecutors also added a third defendant, Carlos de Oliveira, who they say joined Trump and aide Walt Nauta to seek the destruction of security footage.

  82. Mikey says:
  83. charontwo says:

    MAJOR BREAKING: A new 60-page superseding indictment has been filed by Jack Smith, not only adding Carlos De Oliveira as a defendant, but also adding multiple NEW CHARGES against Donald Trump, including the alteration, destruction, or concealment of evidence.

  84. Kathy says:


    When the cast was announced, I noticed Emilia Clarke. I understand she was on some kind of successful fantasy show I never saw, but I do know she’s been on two big franchise movies which turned out to be the least regarded. Namely Terminator Genisys, and Solo a Star Wars Story. I assumed she’s cursed as far as franchises go, and therefore Invasion would be terrible.

    No, seriously, I thought just that.

    Nothing against Clarke. I think she’s really good. Solid actor. But the movies and limited series cited here were pretty mediocre at best.

    On the plus side, I loved Olivia Colman’s character, Sonya. I think she should get a show of her own. The mix of easy nonchalance, glee, and sarcasm were amazing. I do want to replay some of those scenes later.

    On the show per se, I was surprised it ended at 6 eps. I thought the story was about to get started.

  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: You’re not looking at the bigger picture: Corporations have to do something with the money. The choices are 1)pay employees more, 2)pay shareholders more, 3)create more “costs of doing business” that provide the benefit of being items that can be subtracted from the profit they report to the taxing authority and may provide competitive advantage to the company. In this case, don’t hate the game, hate the playahz.

  86. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: Didn”t watch it (Disney + has a negative ROI for me 🙁 ), but read about it on Wikipedia (I need to donate more/more often, the ROI is pretty decent) and saw that the last episode had Fury and (I forget who) going back to SABER for some reason or another.

    What the hell happened? Easy peasy–the set up the circumstances in which the next season will take place. (Sadly, that’s all there is. They’re comic books. Story arc is everything now.)

    ETA: h/t to Gustopher a couple of posts down, who may have stumbled upon a plausible goal for the MCU–They may be trying to become Doctor Who. I’m amazed that I didn’t see that.

  87. Beth says:


    I think you’re right on the too connected part. Everything feels squashed together to such an extent that nothing makes sense. I think it needs a slow down and a bit of a soft re-boot.


    I thought Clarke was great in Solo. I even liked that movie. It all basically made sense and you understood who everyone was and basically why they were doing it.

    With Secret Invasion it felt like there were a couple different points where it was like “oh, now it’s going” and then it would change direction with no sense or payoff.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Lol, what the hell is SABER and why should I care?

  88. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Lol, what the hell is SABER and why should I care?

    I don’t know either, but you should care because it is where significant portions of Secret Invasion: The sequel/Season 2 (or 1.5?) will take place.

  89. Kathy says:


    I do like Clarke. In Solo, she, Paul Bettany, and Donald Glover absolutely nailed their characters.

    It all basically made sense and you understood who everyone was and basically why they were doing it.

    Well, yes. But the same can be said of many bad movies.

    With Secret Invasion it felt like there were a couple different points where it was like “oh, now it’s going” and then it would change direction with no sense or payoff.

    Yes, that’s why I thought ep six would be when the story finally got going.

    Prior to this I was eagerly awaiting season 2 of Loki. Now I’m not so hopeful.

    SPOILER ALERT: Also, gifting the bad guy with an assortment of superpowers was plain stupid, no matter the rather obvious twist it went along with.

    SPOILER ALERT 2:BTW, when Gravik checks out “the harvest” on his machine, he gets a list of names, presumably associated with the DNA Nick gave him. How do you identify unknown DNA if you don’t already have that DNA to compare it with?

  90. MarkedMan says:


    when do we get hearings for… the Kennedy assassination,


  91. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl:

    That man is on a bad path.

    He is but a few steps away from handing out anti-Semitic flyers in the Walmart parking lot

  92. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Bill Jempty:
    I challenged my wife, given her animal story brand, to write a kid’s book about this story. She declined.

  93. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump is probably betting – wrongly – that if he’s elected he can pardon himself. What he needs to do is flee the country. He’s going to prison.

  94. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    That man also desperately needs an editor.

    Dreher routinely writes 1000, 2000+ word pieces where 25 would suffice.

  95. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    “her furniture” – now that is a story.

    Mostly when people buy a house, they want a bare empty house.

    What do you do with the unwanted furniture? Well, you have an estate sale. The woman who was running the crew that cleaned up the house of hundreds of randomly discarded insulin needles hooked me up with a guy.

    I think we sold three things for a grand total of like $86.

    He kept an old hutch to sell on to a flea market dealer. The rest got hauled away and dumped in the landfill. Most utilitarian furniture like chairs and sofas have $0 value. And my mother had pretty pedestrian taste in furniture.

    I basically paid him and his crew to haul worthless shit to the landfill. I liked him a lot from the get-go. An extremely straight-forward, no nonsense guy. He walked around the house and put a sticky note on every piece. Mostly it was “t” for trash.

    Nobody wants a ten year old sofa from Slumberland with dead lady cooties.

    One day, 98% of the shit you own will be dumped into a landfill. No one will care. No one will notice.

    I bought a basic camping cot from Scheel’s and a summer-weight sleeping bag. Should have snagged two pillows as mom’s shit was being hauled out the front door. Pillows are important. I lived like a squatter. I have experience in that!

  96. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    who may have stumbled upon a plausible goal for the MCU–They may be trying to become Doctor Who. I’m amazed that I didn’t see that.

    Well of course they’re trying to become Doctor Who. After all they can’t become WWE, Vince McMahon is never going to give that one up.

  97. Gustopher says:


    I thought Clarke was great in Solo. I even liked that movie. It all basically made sense and you understood who everyone was and basically why they were doing it.

    I thought it had a few cringeworthy bits (him getting his last name), but overall a fun movie, and everyone nailed their character. I do think it tried to do too much lore-service (Young Han in the Army, Han meets Chewie, Han gets the Falcon, Kessel Run, oh god the fucking dice, Maul, etc…), but it was fun. There was a nice heist movie in there. The cast made it work better than it should have.

    There was no reason to ever show Han getting the Falcon from Lando. Two unreliable characters each claiming the different things, bickering about it… that was the way to go.

    Anyway, I was disappointed that it did poorly, and we never got “Solo II: Duo” or whatever (which, having had all the lore boxes checked off, could have just been a movie)