Wednesday’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. CSK says:

    A first for me last night: After commenting here since the summer of 2012, I dreamed about OTB.

    It seems Steven Taylor, Jen, Kathy, EddieinCa, Sleeping Dog, Michael Reynolds, Kylopod, some others I don’t recall, and I were summoned to an unknown location (it looked like a cross between a European royal palace and the Boston Public Library main branch) by King Frederick and Queen Christina of Denmark for drinks and dinner and to help them solve a big but unspecified problem.

    King Frederick, in his early 50s, had reddish hair, a mustache, and goatee, and wore corduroy slacks, a sweater vest, tie, and a tweed sportcoat, and Queen Christina, who was actually Mira Sorvino in her late 30s, wore a floor-length ivory silk dinner suit. The rest of us were in very casual clothes: jeans, shorts, t-shirts, etc. Frederick looked perpetually worried. We mingled over drinks (it was a self-serve bar) and chatted among ourselves and our royal hosts.

    The nature of the problem was never revealed. Someone said the biggest difficulty in Hollywood was making Mira Sorvino look stupid and Julia Roberts look smart, which is something someone actually once told me.

    I’m aware there are no current King Frederick and Queen Christina of Denmark.

    All in all, a pleasant evening.

  2. Kathy says:

    Yesterday I got a work email from HR asking for my COVID vaccination certificate. It was copied to all 25 or so people in my department. Alas, not everyone hit “reply all,” therefore I don’t know what everyone’s sending. I do know some are still waiting for the second dose to be available, meaning there’s no certificate until they get it.

    I hope they’re going to do a vaccine mandate at the office. That would be great.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: What kind of drugs are you on?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Police killed their sons. Their unmovable friendship uncovered a system of lies

    Around 3.10am, a loud banging, frantic and relentless, startled Narene awake: “Ryan!”

    She recognized the voice of Ryan’s friend, Laverle “Lover” Johnson. Half asleep, she unlocked the front door. “Tell me he’s here,” Lover said. “Tell me you heard from Ryan.” She hadn’t. Lover said his sister had called him from Power & Light. “Something bad’s happened to Ryan,” he cried.

    Narene and her daughter Natasha raced downtown. Narene tried not to think what she was thinking. “He’s hurt,” she told Natasha. “He’s not dead.”

    The questions came rapid fire, Narene recalled.
    “Why are you here?” the officer asked.
    “Did your son own a gun?” No.
    “Did he do drugs?” No.
    “Go home,” the officer said. He gave her his card.

    At 5am, Narene’s niece called the police station. “Watch the news,” the officer said and hung up. TV anchors reported Ryan had stolen a phone and died in a standoff with police after refusing to drop his weapon.

    Narene collapsed. All the serenity she’d built in her home, the precious bond between mother and child wafted out the windows, as insubstantial as smoke. A perdition ripped through her body as she – helpless, hopeless – watched a numb, gray dawn break.

    Outside Narene’s ranch home in South Kansas City, family and friends held vigil. The tight-knit neighborhood of diverse, mostly blue-collar workers from Ford Motors and the surrounding K-12 schools gathered on her corner lot in prayer and support. Dozens of Ryan’s friends hovered near Narene; they all called her “Momma”.

    Around 6pm, a caravan of police officers arrived with a Swat team. Armed men swarmed into defensive positions. A detective, flanked by officers in bullet-proof vests, said, “Our investigation has concluded your son pointed the gun at the officers. He refused to drop it. We were forced to shoot him five times in the chest.”

    It made no sense. Ryan was a law-abiding citizen. At the funeral home, Ryan’s father Clarence followed the director into the back room where Ryan lay. After seeing his son, he returned, weeping.

    “They never shot him in the chest,” Clarence cried. He held Narene. “Baby, they shot him in the back.”

    Narene’s knees buckled. She sank to the floor, breath burning, strangled in the shock. Her son hadn’t died. He’d been killed.

    Blame seeped in and affixed itself to her heart like a tumor. The sight of Ryan’s brokenness, the fact he couldn’t answer her desperate pleas oxygenated her belief that this was her fault. For not knowing everything. For not telling him to stay home. For not being with him in his final moments, hurt and alone. Mothers don’t heal.

    “What was he doing down there anyway?” Instagrammers wrote. “Out that late, he’s just asking for trouble.”
    “Why’d he have a gun?” Facebook posts read, even after Narene said he didn’t. “Of course his mother’s going to lie for him.”

    Narene became their receptacle, there to absorb the opinions and interpretations of the righteous around her. Ryan was a hundred different things, but to police, reporters, the public, he was only one.

  5. Jen says:

    @CSK: Happy to have been along for the ride! 😀

  6. Scott says:

    Paris, TX is deep red East Texas. This is how stupid it is getting but yet this made me laugh.

    Texas school district finds unique loophole in Gov. Abbott’s ban on mask mandates

    The Paris school district found a loophole in Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order preventing mask mandates across the state.

    Paris ISD’s board of trustees voted to alter the district’s dress code to include masks, according to its website.

    The school district, which is located about 100 miles northeast of Dallas, has nearly 4,000 students across eight campuses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

  7. Teve says:


    DeSantis pushing REGEN-COV rather than vaccine, but:

    – All three infusion sites in Florida working 24/7, could treat 4% of COVID patients in the state.

    – Treating all cases would cost >$400M *per day*.

    – It would still save fewer lives than if they had been vaccinated.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    After 24 hours of panic, our withdrawal from Afghanistan is suddenly running smoothly
    – Kevin Drum

    After 24 hours of panic, our withdrawal from Afghanistan is suddenly running smoothly

    Here’s what’s happened in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours:

    Order has been restored at Kabul airport.
    Evacuation flights are operating.
    The Taliban has announced a “general amnesty” for government officials.
    The US embassy in Kabul is still operating, coordinating the evacuation of US citizens and “vulnerable Afghans.”
    Kabul remains calm, and the Taliban is not targeting American citizens or diplomatic personnel.
    President Biden authorized an additional $500 million in aid to Afghan refugees.
    He also announced that in addition to the Afghan refugees authorized earlier this month, he planned to expand refugee access to Afghans who worked for US NGOs and news agencies.

    Some of this could change by tomorrow, of course, and in the long term it’s almost certain that Taliban rule will be brutal and medieval, especially for women. Still, this is an example of how dangerous it is to panic over a single day’s images. Yesterday the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan was a world-historical disaster and a sign of America’s imminent collapse on the international stage. Today, 24 hours later, everything is running fairly smoothly.

    And tomorrow? Nobody knows. But instead of guessing, why not wait until tomorrow dawns and find out?

    As somebody else pondered, what are the chances Biden gets any credit for it?

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Well done, Paris!

  10. CSK says:

    Just a boring statin, sadly. 😀
    My pleasure!

    I think Teve was in attendance as well.

  11. Teve says:

    OK but in person I’m way sexier than Jonathan Swan.

    (Narrator: that is a lie.)

  12. Kingdaddy says:

    @CSK: As a classic movie fan, I’m just disappointed that Greta Garbo wasn’t playing Queen Christina.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Which one? I wanna switch!

    When I was quitting smoking I used Chantix. I had heard that the dreams were particularly vivid. H.O.L.Y.S.H.I.T. Better than acid. At the end of my 3 months scrip I wanted another 3 months just for the dreams. I’d kicked my habit a month earlier.

  14. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: heartbreaking

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Monala: Horrific. I came desperately close to losing one or the other of my sons several times, including thinking one was dead for a half hour, so I can imagine the pain, even if I have no idea what it’s like to live with it.

  16. CSK says:

    I think I’ve seen a photo of you. You’re quite sexy.
    As I recall now, the problem that we were asked to solve had something to do with Christina (Mira Sorvino) being an American.
    Rosuvastatin (Crestor).

    I think the 15 or so who post here every day were in attendance at this bash.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Calling my doctor right now… 🙂

  18. Teve says:


    Thanks for the compliment, but I’ve heard more than once, “what’s She doing with Him?”

    Looks ain’t everything. Sometimes we have other charming qualities. 😀

  19. CSK says:

    Women perceive a man’s inner beauty.

  20. Mu Yixiao says:


    Women perceive a man’s inner beauty.

    I believe that’s called a colonoscopy.

  21. CSK says:
  22. Kylopod says:

    While I’ve rarely thought about it consciously, I have always, as far back as I can remember, had complex visualizations in my head of common abstract systems, such as the months of the year or the alphabet. So, for example, when I think of the turn of the 21st century, I think of a row of numbers for each year where there’s a literal turn of the corner as the new century begins.

    Anyway, one day I noticed that in my common visualization of the political spectrum, the left always appears in my head at the right of my vision, while the right appears at my left. This happens uniformly: I always envision the Democratic Party appearing at my right and the Republican Party at my left.

    If I had to make a wild guess as to a reason why I have this conceptualization, it’s that I was raised left-of-center and therefore was habituated to thinking of that part of the spectrum as “mine” or where I resided, while the political right was more distant from me. And since I’m right-handed, I naturally visualized it in my dominant, preferred direction in my head.

    I have no idea if this is an accurate explanation, and I’ll probably never know, but it’s the best I can come up with.

  23. Teve says:


  24. CSK says:

    Interesting. I’m the same in terms of visualizing the abstract. Could it have something to do with right brain-left brain?

  25. CSK says:

    Sure. What do you want to have? Inner beauty? I’m certain you possess it in abundance.

  26. Teve says:


  27. Kylopod says:


    I’m the same in terms of visualizing the abstract.

    Do you also visualize the political right on your left and the political left on your right?

  28. KM says:

    They’re not all anti-vaxxers

    *sigh* Yes they are if they are refusing to get the vaccine – that’s what the ANTI in anti-vaxx means, it means you’re against or opposed to it in some fashion.

    Again, here we have people more concerned with the label and social stigma than the behavior that prompted the label in the first place and their enablers telling us how disrespectful it is to call them a hurtful name while they keep doing the hurtful thing. “Misinformed about the facts” means believing in the myriad disinformation out there and since it’s 99.9% conspiracy theories, that means you are in fact a conspiracy theorist. The label applies because you fit the criteria, not because you don’t think the social connotation is appropriate. If you refuse to take the vaccine, you are anti-vaxx and while you may think you have a good reason, chances are you really don’t. Your doctor would have told you it was contraindicated for “blood clots” or “allergies” the person in the article worried about so yes, they are “against science” since they’re believing in unscientific falsehoods in a time when doing so can kill you aka “crazy” behavior. “You hurt my feelings / offended me so I’ll do the risky thing you’re warning about” has never been a rational line of thought so yes, you are acting irrationally and emotionally.

    They don’t like the labels because it strikes too close to home. They don’t want the negativity or judgement because they know they’re not supported by facts, only feelings or opinions. I’m so damn tired of people trotting out various subgroups trying to explain why their anti-vaxx stance is different and should be respected while we try to persuaded them over and over again with little to no result. Meanwhile the stick is getting results – places with vaccine mandates /requirements are seeing vaccinated numbers go up because once you stop pretending the label matters more than the action, you tell them their choice is do it or be left out in the cold. The longer we pander to the unvaccinated with navel gazing like “They’re not all anti-vaxxers” the longer we all suffer pointlessly.

  29. Mikey says:

    Boosters are coming, likely around September 20.

    I got my second Pfizer in early February, so I will be getting the booster as soon as I can.

  30. CSK says:

    I don’t think I’ve tried to visualize that particular concept before now, but when I just did, it was left-left and right-right.

  31. KM says:

    So it looks like the Disney vacation is happening. After much discussion, everyone’s still onboard so we’re heading to the Happiest Most Infected Place on Earth in 20 days. We’re all vaxxed but I’m convinced we’re all getting Delta considering our luck and the pre-existing conditions of half the group. Add in the anti-vaxxer relatives we’ll have to avoid for a few weeks after and Sept’s gonna interesting.

    Food and Wine better be worth it…..

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Wa! I have that type of dream–not in a topic specific way, but similarly vivid and complex of “storyline”–almost every night. Never had any OtB characters in mine though. And only since I returned from Korea and changed my CPAP machine and it’s settings.

  33. Kylopod says:

    @KM: I can see where you’re coming from, but I think it’s also important to recognize that the vaccine-hesitant exist on a spectrum and there are many who are quite persuadable. My objection to applying the term “anti-vax” to all of them is that it predisposes us to think they’re all hardcore, firm believers when there are a lot of people who are on the fence and simply nervous about getting the vaccines–due to misinformation, let’s be clear–but who aren’t necessarily committed to that point of view.

    There’s a time when it’s appropriate to stigmatize closet extremists–people who say they’re “just asking questions” about the fall of the towers, for instance. But when our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, this approach can be counterproductive.

  34. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Dreams are interesting. There’s always a narrative in mine–I once wrote fiction for a living–no matter how silly. I used to remember them better than I do now.

    I kind of like the idea of a jolly bunch of OTB regulars sallying forth around the world to be feted by presidents, kings, queens, and other potentates so we can solve their problems.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: @OzarkHillbilly: I take Rosuvastatin too, but the dreams predate the medicine change (used to be on Atorvastatin) in my case. Still, can’t hurt to try (and for whatever reason small doses of statin drugs for people over 65 seem to be becoming more common–apparently whatever bad reputation statins had gotten has dispelled).

  36. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I was on Atorvastatin before my doc switched me to Rosuvastatin.

  37. Jen says:

    @KM: I’m not sure “lazy-vaxxers” or “low-info-vaxxers” are an improvement over “anti-vaxxers” as far as labeling is concerned.

    These sorts of opinion pieces are not terribly helpful and don’t do anything to pry out what little is left of my empathy.

  38. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: In my opinion, one of the most informative and insightful researchers on the science behind dreaming is J. Allan Hobson (who I just discovered from a quick search died a few weeks ago at age 88). He contrasted the vivid, narrative-oriented dreams commonly experienced during REM sleep with hypnagogic hallucinations–the range of imagery and sensations experienced at sleep onset. The latter typically does not have much of a narrative quality, it’s just a burst of images and sometimes sounds, almost like a brain dump.

    Hobson noted that the two senses most engaged during dreams are visual and motor (this is why people so often have dreams of falling, or flying, or having difficulty running away from something), and that this correlates with the data on what the brain is doing during REM sleep. The theory he proposes is basically that the sensory elements of dreams are more or less random and incoherent, but our mind then organizes the sensations into a narrative. Hobson thus rejects the common Freudian view of dreaming (which is very prevalent in a lot of popular “dream interpretation” manuals which I strongly recommend people take with a grain of salt) where dreams are some kind of code in need of deciphering; he argues that dreams can be highly meaningful, but that the meaning is usually fairly transparent. As he puts it:

    The activated brain-mind does its best to attribute meaning to the internally generated signals. It is this synthetic effort that gives our dreams their impressive thematic coherence: dream plots remain remarkably intact despite their orientational disorganization. And it may be that their symbolic, prophetic character arises from the integrative strain of this synthetic effort. The brain-mind may need to call upon its deepest myths to find a narrative frame that can contain the data. Hence, one can continue to interpret dreams metaphorically, and even in terms of the dynamically repressed unconscious, if one so chooses. But such a practice is no longer either necessary or sufficient as an explanation of either the origin or the nature of dreaming.

  39. Mu Yixiao says:

    I wish I had a machine to record my dreams. I’ve had some amazing long-form stories –sometimes across multiple nights.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that I have an established dreamscape. There are locations and settings that are reused like an old movie studio backlot.

  40. KM says:

    Perhaps but it’s very similar to the argument about racism or sexism- it’s a spectrum so is it fair to call the guy consistently acting in the offensive manner for more “understandable” reasons the same title as the unapologetic out-n’-proud? Is calling the elderly lady who calls minorities “so articulate and well-spoken!” or “not like the rest of you” a low-key racist gonna make her stop? No, but not pointing out it’s racist isn’t going to make her stop either. Reaching her isn’t working since she’s still doing it; the fact that she’s reachable in theory is meaningless when she’s not responding in reality. Worrying grandma’s gonna be mad you called her a racist completely misses the point the term doesn’t matter if grandma’s gonna keep being low-key racist whatever you call her.

    We’ve got a year-plus’ worth of live data telling us that it doesn’t matter what we call them, they’re gonna do what they do until they’re made to comply….. and then we see the true divide between the “persuadable” and the “extremists”. I’ve yet to see data where not calling them anti-vaxxer moved the needle so it’s frankly completely speculative it’s a factor and when the self-reporting comes from people who believe it makes you infertile based on internet rumors based on conspiracy theories, it’s wise to take with a grain of salt. We keep trying to find the right carrot for the right breed of rabbit when the stick seems to work best across all types.

    They’re anti-vaxxers whether they like the term or not. They believe in conspiracy-based “facts” they accept from sketchy sources because yes, your brother’s friend’s FB meme isn’t a good place to get info at any point in life. If they don’t like the company that puts them in or the stigma associated with it, perhaps they should look around and wonder why that is instead of telling us we need to create new terms for different sub-types. You are known by the company you keep – it’s like the RINOs looking around and wondering why they keep getting associated with the QAnon nuts they’re always in pictures and attend rallies with. Until someone can show hard proof it’s actively discouraging vaccinations, it’s not counterproductive but stating unpleasant truths. If they’re persuadable but this is somehow the ONE THING keeping them from being vaxxed, they’re not really persuadable are they?

  41. CSK says:

    Thanks. That makes perfect sense.

  42. Michael Cain says:


    Boosters are coming, likely around September 20.

    Which gives us a probable date by which the FDA is going to issue the full license for one of the mRNA vaccines. As I understand it, off-label use (a third dose) of a licensed drug is one thing; off-label use of a drug under EUA is quite another, and the care provider risks losing their license.

  43. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.” (Poor Richard’s Almanac)

  44. CSK says:

    Indeed. Ultimately it doesn’t matter why people aren’t getting vaxxed.

  45. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: Best of luck. Wouldn’t do it myself for all the Disney Bucks is in the world.

  46. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: Calling someone a racist is about the same as calling them stupid. Almost always better to discuss what they do rather than who they are. “That was a stupid thing you did” comes across as very different once it is established that you are not passing judgement on their value as a human being. I’m not saying it will be well received, but calling someone stupid or racist eliminates any possibility.

  47. Monala says:

    @Michael Cain: good question:


    In any event, I will get a booster. But, the bigger question for me is WHEN WILL MY KIDS BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE SHOT???

  48. Michael Reynolds says:

    It won’t mean anything to most Americans, but British comedian Sean Lock has died at age 58 of cancer, which sucks.

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Sometimes we have other charming qualities.

    Speak for yourself.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: It’s the first thing I thought of.

  51. Kylopod says:


    Calling someone a racist is about the same as calling them stupid. Almost always better to discuss what they do rather than who they are.

    I have noticed that people who get themselves into race-related controversies often fall back on the “I’m not a racist” refrain. And I often find that it serves as a distraction from what they’re actually being accused of, such as an insensitive remark or discriminatory behavior. Of course, some people would argue that I’m making a distinction without a difference, but I don’t agree.

    Take, for instance, the incident last year in Central Park with the lady who got into a tiff with a black bird-watcher, and then told him “I’m going to call the police and tell them an African American man is threatening my life.” In her recent lawsuit against the company that fired her following the incident, she claimed they falsely accused her of being a racist. In fact, the company made no such accusation. She may not be a racist in the sense of holding a private belief that black people are violent and scary, but she was clearly and intentionally using the fact of police racism to harm a black person. You can argue this is a semantic distinction and that only a person with internal racist beliefs would behave the way she did. But it’s also irrelevant, because the consequences that followed were a response to what she did, not what she was. By falling back on the “I’m not a racist” framing, she was distracting from the issue at hand. And it’s something a lot of people do when getting into such controversies, because it’s a way of moving from the external, observable world of facts that can be proved or disproved to a person’s internal mindset where they can always claim you can’t know what they truly believe and therefore have no right to call them racist.

  52. flat earth luddite says:

    @KM: Even though I personally have not had good experiences with this particular recreational pharmaceutical, I understand the Most Infected Place on Earth is improved by a couple of hits of blotter acid.

    OTOH, I can’t even get a visa to travel out of the country, so the likelihood of my climbing into an aluminum cylinder to go to DeMented Land is unlikely. But stay safe and have fun!

  53. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: If you were to tell me that I am stupid and that’s why I did some particular stupid thing, then I will never get to the “thing” and instead will challenge you on your designation of me as a stupid person. It will never get beyond that. If you tell me you think what I did was stupid and make it clear you are not accusing me of being irredeemably stupid, then we can have a discussion about the “thing”.

  54. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Even in the best of times, Disneyland has always sounded dreadful beyond belief to me.

  55. Mu Yixiao says:
  56. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: I have some problems with analogizing racism to stupidity because it risks downplaying a person’s moral responsibility to not be racist, but putting that aside for the moment, the main problem is that it’s a steep uphill battle trying to change the discourse on racism in the way you’re suggesting. Most people understand the distinction between doing something stupid and being a stupid person. In contrast, very few people treat being a racist and doing something racist as truly distinct concepts. It doesn’t help that there are at least a dozen different definitions of racism, sometimes coming from the same people. Even we liberals contribute to the confusion, like when we talk about the “Everybody’s a little racist” idea, then in the next breath accuse Donald Trump of being a racist, a statement that would seem to imply that makes him different from a lot of people. We don’t have a consistent set of terms giving people a clear road map on what to do about different behaviors we label as racist.

  57. CSK says:

    A giant (25 feet tall) rubber ducky has mysteriously appeared in the Belfast, Maine harbor. No one has copped to putting it there. Everyone seems delighted with its presence.

  58. flat earth luddite says:

    Bert! Ernie! CSK found your duckie!!!!!!!!!

  59. KM says:


    If you tell me you think what I did was stupid and make it clear you are not accusing me of being irredeemably stupid, then we can have a discussion about the “thing”.

    And there’s the sticking point. You can make it clear as crystal you’re not personally accusing them but if they choose to take it personally, maliciously or not, the convo is over. For a great many people, you did the stupid thing is synonymous with you’re being stupid or more specifically you are stupid . As @Kylopod notes, it’s a great way to derail the convo and shift the accusation. I’ve had many an argument where pointing out someone did something dumb immediately got me the response of “and you just think you’re perfect, don’t you”? because of course if I’m pointing out they’re wrong, I must always believe I’m right – how else could I know their mind and heart enough to make that kind of judgement? It’s BS since they’ll be offended if they want to be offended and making any accusation in any form is offense enough.

    It’s the difference between du jure and de facto – if you sound like a racist, act like a racist or do something that is inherently racist you are being a racist at that moment. What you are inside, how you feel or think matters little when the outcome is exactly the same as a dyed-in-the-wool racist. If you are functionally indistinguishable, what is the point of making the distinction especially if it has little chance of changing the behavior?

    It’s been pointed out that immune systems don’t give a damn about your beliefs. there are only two states for it – vaxxed and unvaxxed. The virus doesn’t care about your mask stance or how offended you are about being called an antivaxxer; it only matters if it can get a foothold or not. Reality isn’t gonna stop to fact-check your assumptions nor will it care you listened to FB and Twitter over the CDC. If pissing you off makes you do the stupid thing, then guess who’s stupid? Lying about it doesn’t change a damn thing in the equation.

  60. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    I think the Belfast harbormaster wants to keep it there. It’s not a navigational hazard.

  61. KM says:

    Meh, Disneyworld has its moments. Drinking around EPCOT is fun – I’ve never made it completely around the lake because sake shots in 95 heat is….. problematic for my system (especially if you started with Corona in Mexico). It’s gotten less fun the older the group gets, not because nobody’s really a kid anymore but because the elders keep getting older. It used to be we could by with one wheelchair, now we’re up to 4 scooters and damn, that’s a transportation nightmare. I actually like the scheduling part of it but others don’t seem to share my need to have an itinerary and do what they please….. only to come crying because the lines are hours long and they screwed up the FastPass order. You have to have a Plan with several backups and god help you if you wanna eat without reservations in a group larger than 2.

    I’m sure we’ll have a decent time and if not, I got a refill of the good stuff for my anxiety.

  62. CSK says:

    I have to admit I don’t understand the appeal of shelling out colossal sums of money for the privilege of standing in the blazing hot sun for hours just to go on a carnival ride. Particularly if you’re an adult.

    As for drinking and eating: I’m happy to do that, but almost anywhere has to be better than an amusement park.

  63. Mister Bluster says:


    I guess it depends on your expectations. When I was in grade school in the ’50s in Rochester NY the family of my classmates, mom, dad, twin brothers (Jack and Dick Vickerman if I remember correctly) and their sister drove the pre Interstate 5200 mile round trip to Anaheim and back to visit the new “Amusement Park”. They brought back 8 mm color home movies that we all got to see one day in Social Studies class. I had seen the Magic Kingdom on Black and White TV on the Sunday Disneyland show but to watch someone that I knew on the rides in color hooked me. I had to get there.
    Twenty Six years later in 1983 on a trip to my brothers place in Southern California I finally made it. It was an overcast weekday with a light rain two days before Christmas. No one was there! We walked right past all the signs that stated “From this point there is an hour wait.”
    It was all I had hoped for. Even my girlfriend who was bound and determined to not have fun “this is for little kids” not only cracked a smile but got the rush of her life on Space Mountain.
    Twelve years later I drove my wife (not the aforementioned gf) to Orlando to Walt Disney World to meet my wife’s adopted adult daughter Nicole and her family. When we met at Orlando the family was her husband three girls and an infant son. Two girl cousins were also along for the trip. The 6 kids were in age from about 13 and younger. They had flown from Guam to LA to Texas to Florida. Nicole was born in a whorehouse in Saigon in 1970 and was evacuated to Guam in 1975 when Saigon fell. My wife was living on Guam at the time and working as a probation officer. That’s how they met. Nicole was her client.
    To say that I have been thinking about Nicole recently is an understatement.
    We all had a great time at Disney World. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything

  64. Beth says:


    I have to admit I don’t understand the appeal of shelling out colossal sums of money for the privilege of standing in the blazing hot sun for hours just to go on a carnival ride. Particularly if you’re an adult.

    I’m supposed to go to Florida twice this fall. Once to go to Disney with the family in October and again in November to go to Electric Daisy Carnival Orlando by myself. I’m dying (lol) for those trips. I seriously don’t know how my mental health will handle it if DeSantis screws it up.

    The thought of standing in the hot sun surrounded by hundreds of zonked out ravers sounds like heaven to me.

  65. KM says:

    Nostalgia’s a hell of a drug. Possibly the best one out there

    Honestly, we’ve tried other vacations and nothing’s really clicked with the family like Disney. Destination vacations, museum trips, camping, national parks….. nope. They want the Mouse and once I get down there, the nostalgia gets me too and I’m happy to wander around. Also, only idiots pay a ton – got it down to a science where it’s only about $600 per adult for 5 days including basic food (you’re on your own for merch, airfare or optional fancy dining experiences). I am the queen of discounts and cheapo solutions 🙂

  66. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I’m glad you had a great time. And yes, I certainly see why you’re thinking of Nicole given recent events.
    Hey, to each her own. 😀 I hope you have a marvelous time on both occasions.

  67. CSK says:

    Museum trips…you’re singing my song. 🙂
    Camping? Nope.

  68. Beth says:

    @CSK: Lol, I’ve bought more glitter than any 40 year old should be allowed to own.

  69. CSK says:

    A good start.

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’ve had what I perceived to be that kind of dream. I wonder if I really dreamed thematically over several nights or if each dream creates its own back story of several previous episodes. I don’t keep a dream journal (or any other type–never been a diarist), so I’ll never know for sure.

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I’ve been both to Disneyland (twice) and Disney World/Epcot, but then again, I liked going to the amusement park rides at the Woodland Park Zoo when I was a child and used to ride the carousel at Jantzen Beach until it was sold even as an adult. My biggest objection to theme parks in general is that it’s inconvenient to leave the park for lunch, so you end up paying too much money for relentlessly ordinary food disguised as “cuisine.”

  72. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    There was some restaurant critic in Boston ages ago–I think his name was Gene Burns–who said that the very expensive hotel he stayed in and the restaurants he dined at in Disney Florida were fabulous, to which my response was: It’s possible to do those things in any number of places in the U.S., let alone the world, without going to Disney.

    I think paying haute cuisine prices for what you call “relentlessly ordinary food” (excellent turn of phrase there) would irritate me as much as having someone dressed as Goofy molesting me.

  73. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: Drinking around Epcot is new to me. I don’t recall alcohol being available anywhere when I was there back in…’76 (???), but I’m not a drinking games guy anyway, so there’s that. Making a dining reservation is a pain–particularly for only one person (yes, I mostly travel alone or I don’t get to travel at all). Making a dining reservation to eat overpriced pedestrian food makes it a deal breaker. But I had fun riding the rides when I went. (Even It’s a Small World–which was closed for repairs the first time I went.)

  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: I had to look up the Electric Daisy Carnival, but, yeah, I can see the appeal. In Daejeon there was a bar called Watermelon Sugar that played technopop dance music. I don’t dance but watching kids (I was 60 when I moved to Daejeon) dancing and enjoying the music made a nice time. We didn’t go very often, but I prefer music and dancing (even though I don’t) to just alcohol and bar food. Enjoy your trip. (And I hope De Santis doesn’t screw things up too, but bring extra masks and do what you can to distance anyway.)

  75. @CSK: Cheers!

  76. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    May I say that you acquitted yourself well in the presence of Their Majesties.

    That’s OTB: A total group class act.

  77. Jen says:

    Once again, CSK and I are in sync.

    I do not care for lines, crowds, or heat so visiting the House of Mouse is not ideal.

    On the other hand, museums? Sign me up! My ideal vacation is off-season, to an area with some historical significance, and usually outside of the city proper. (The Scottish Highlands, as many here know, are just about my favorite place.)

    Regarding cities, I do make an exception for DC, the museums there are amazing and as far as cities go, it’s wide open and well-laid-out. (A big part of my issue with cities are the crowds and for whatever reason, DC’s sidewalks are wide enough that I never feel that closed-in-on feeling I get in other cities. Also, the buildings aren’t that tall, which makes it feel less closed in, you can see the sky.)

  78. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: You make very good points. One clarification: When I talk about how accusing someone of being racist is equivalent to accusing them of being stupid, I’m comparing their reaction to the two accusations, not whether racism and stupidity are equivalent themselves. And, for most people, accusing them of being a racist is going to end any chance for dialog. Whereas talking about how a particular action could be racist allows for at least that possibility.

  79. MarkedMan says:


    If you are functionally indistinguishable, what is the point of making the distinction especially if it has little chance of changing the behavior?

    I think it is a very important distinction. I’ll use my kids as an example. When they were little it was very important that I talked about bad behavior and not that they were bad kids. Clocking you sibling in the head with the teletubbie doll might have been the action, but “bad kid” is irredeemable. “Bad behavior” is not.

  80. CSK says:

    I’m with you on the D.C. museums. Just jaw-dropping.

    And I share your love for Scotland, having lived there for four years. You may not like cities, but how could you not love Edinburgh? It has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

  81. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: If you ever get a chance to visit Paris, take a gander at the Jacquemart-Andre museum. It’s in a beautiful building, is easy to get to, has few but very select pieces, and can be gone through completely in about two hours including time for a cup of tea and a snack.

  82. Kurtz says:


    Food and Wine better be worth it…..

    I can’t assess whether it’s worth it to you, because it’s an easier trip for me. But the food has been pretty good the times I have gone.

  83. Stormy Dragon says:


    If you want a less known but very cool DC museum, check out the Udvar-Hazy Center at the Dulles Airport sometime. It’s a series of two hangars with a combined internal space of 7 acres where the Air and Space Museum keeps all of the stuff that’s too big to fit in the main museum on the National Mall.

  84. flat earth luddite says:

    “Well, it’s been real, and it’s been fun…”

    ‘Meet the Teacher’ Event Gets Ugly Over Masks
    Simmering tensions over mask rules in a Texas school district culminated Tuesday in a parent ripping off a teacher’s face covering, an echo of a similar incident in California . “A parent physically assaulted…

    I’m going back to looking at pictures of the 25′ rubber duckie. And my G&T. AND my cigar…

  85. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Thanks; I just looked at their website. Certainly worth a trip.

  86. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    I’m glad the giant ducky is giving you so much pleasure. Why do I keep thinking of Peeps, the most revolting confection ever created, other than candy corn.

  87. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I can’t imagine. Peeps are little baby chicks. Completely different from duckies–besides which no one makes marshmallow quacks for any season. And all marshmallows and most caramels are only blobs of sugar scarcely different from cotton candy–the actual most revolting confection.

    (Seriously, I’ve had candy corn where the candy was boiled completely to the caramel phase. Totes different from standard grocery store candy corn.)

  88. Jax says:

    When I dream about you guys, you’re always basic blobby figures with square heads that have your handles written on them in black and white. Nothing ever so cool as schmoozing with royalty, though. 😛

    I do have a dreamscape, though. It’s huge. Most of my dreams take place there. I’ve tried to sketch it multiple times but I think I need to draw it on the inside of a round silo or something, because flat paper can’t get the perspective right.

  89. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist: I’ve been to Paris, but didn’t get to that particular museum (we saw the Musee de Orsay and the Louvre). I’ll add that to the list for next time!

    @Stormy Dragon: That sounds really, really cool. I do love the museum scene in DC. The Spy Museum is fun, and I’m glad I got to the Newseum before it closed, it was very interesting/sobering to see all of the reporters who have died while on assignment.

  90. Jax says:

    Where the heck is de Stijl when I want him?! Paging my favorite punk rocker!

    I’ve been on a musical odyssey. Spotify finds me challenging. I’ve always been the gal who downloaded my shit illegally in the age of Napster. I’ve always enjoyed the bands who don’t make the big bucks.

    Hillbilly insanity is my favorite music genre….poor Spotify.

  91. DrDaveT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    If you want a less known but very cool DC museum, check out the Udvar-Hazy Center at the Dulles Airport sometime.


    Until you’ve been there, it’s hard to envision a museum that contains both a (real) Space Shuttle and an SR-71 Blackbird, and you could miss them both while wandering around…

  92. DrDaveT says:


    I’ve been to Paris, but didn’t get to that particular museum

    I also highly recommend the Musee Rodin, on the south bank across the street from the Hotel des Invalides. I’m a Rodin fanboy, and the museum (and garden) were better than I was expecting, even when it was 95 Fahrenheit out.

  93. DrDaveT says:


    Someone said the biggest difficulty in Hollywood was making Mira Sorvino look stupid and Julia Roberts look smart, which is something someone actually once told me.

    Jim Parsons was featured on an episode of “Finding Your Roots” with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. I was totally unprepared for how relentlessly uneducated and dumb he is. I have no idea how the casting decisions on “The Big Bang Theory” were made, but someone apparently saw something they could work with.

  94. flat earth luddite says:

    From a completely different school district, a completely different result…

    Paris (TX) Texas School Gets Around Ban On Mask Mandates By Updating Dress Code

    As Cracker pointed out to me, this had to come from a student’s mind… no way an administrator would come up with this idea without a prompt!

  95. flat earth luddite says:

    Just read All The Devils Are Here by Louise Penny. The garden/museum play a strong supporting role.

  96. Kathy says:


    I’d say if someone dumb and uneducated managed to convincingly play an eccentric genius, he displayed brilliant acting. So IMO the casting director did very well.