Discussion thread

There’s not much interesting to write about today (I have one reading recommendation that I’ll post later): I haven’t found much intriguing science to talk about, the country is in turmoil with the pandemic and the upcoming election, and the big fracas about Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is fracturing America even further.  Plus I’m dispirited, as are many. Yesterday we passed 200,000 Covid-19 deaths in America (four times the toll of the Vietnam War), the rest of the world is about to exceed a million deaths, and a spike in the pandemic may be in the offing.

So here’s a discussion thread, and I don’t want to proffer a topic. Maybe people want to kvetch about their woes, or maybe they want to tell us what bright spots they find in their lives. Or tell us what you had for dinner.

I was lazy yesterday, so I made what I call “poor man’s Peking duck”, my own invention. I cook a chicken breast and shred it. Then I slice green peppers into shreds, and place the shredded chicken in a flour tortilla with some slivers of pepper. I slather the contents with hoisin sauce, and then roll up and eat the tortilla. Real Peking duck, of course, is crispy duck skin or meat heaped inside a mandarin pancake (flour, but thinner than a commercial flour tortilla), with scallion shreds and hoisin sauce added. In my version, the chicken mimics the duck (poorly), the peppers mimic the scallions, and the tortilla mimics the pancake. But it’s easy to make and very good.

Though normally I have beer with Chinese food, I had to finish a bottle of 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and so I washed my concoction down with red wine. Not the best combination, but the wine wasn’t going to drink itself. After dinner I had my evening treat, which has become more abstemious and less calorific over the years. I’ve discovered that five plump and juicy Medjool dates (I buy these ones from Amazon, and they’re great) make a satisfying snack, even though they’re 40 calories per date (the recommended “serving size” on the bag is ridiculous: one date).

Or maybe you’d like to describe your last meal if you could have anything you wanted.

Or talk about something besides food. The world is wide.


  1. BobTerrace
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I think the US house of representatives should impeach Attorney General Barr and also impeach Trump again which then will cause the Senate to have to deal with those instead of voting on a supreme court nominee. Maybe even throw in an impeachment of justice Kavanagh which might cause him to recuse himself until resolved.

  2. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    but the wine wasn’t going to drink itself.Oddly, since the wife introduced wine-drinking to the house, I’ve observed the “self-emptying bottle” phenomenon on more than a few occasions. It’s not me, ‘onest, ossifer!

    • bjornove
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      My daily drink: Cheap Red wine (usually Chilean) with a little bit frozen blueberry. Yeah, really! I am sure some wine snobs will be shocked, but try it. You will be suprised to discover how the taste of blueberries improve the taste of even the cehapest red wine. It will not be sweeter, just with a fuller body

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        I was trying to explain this to SWMBO … “we’ve got blueberries. Haven’t we? Hadn’t we?”

  3. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I try to avoid political posts that might offend friends, unless the posts are really funny. From CNN this morning:
    “Mike Tyson hasn’t voted. This year he will.”
    and just below:
    “Harry and Meghan weigh in on the upcoming US Presidential vote.”

    If I were still teaching I’d use it for juxtaposition.

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I haven’t listened to it, but there is a Munk Debate about whether Trump still can win the election on November 3. I have watched several Munk Debates and they are always good. This one is a podcast debate.

    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Apropos, I was disheartened to read this op-ed in today’s NYT: “Five things Biden and his allies should be worried about.”

      I wasn’t that worried about the election until I read that bit of pessimism. . .

      • Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        1. It doesn’t matter how energised Trump’s base is if there aren’t that many of them, especially in the swing states. Also the indications thing is nonsense. These indications are left unspecified but the evidence from polling is dismissed.

        2. Yes, that’s a problem if true

        3. Yes, that’s a problem if true

        4. That’s not a problem for Biden but it is an issue for taking back the Senate.

        5. Are we really concerned about Biden’s ability to debate a man who can’t string a coherent sentence together?

        I don’t know if that NYT article is true but I’d rather have articles like that than ones that assume Biden has already won this. It would be great if Trump’s followers would read it and conclude they don’t need to bother to vote because it’s in the bag.

      • Historian
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        In his op-ed, as usual, Tom Edsall presents the views of many scholars of the topic area. They present areas of concern for Biden. Nothing should be taken for granted. However, he concludes: “Despite these warning signs, Biden is better positioned than Trump with six weeks to go. Not only has the former vice president had the lead consistently, but many voters appear to be hardened in their commitments and unlikely to shift.” Several scholars note that Trump’s campaign of racial division does not seem to be working. Political scientist Ryan Enos is quoted: “the recent protests were not violent, most suburbanites don’t have low-income people moving into their neighborhoods, most people probably have no real sense of what is the particular curriculum of schools and don’t care that much anyway.” Also, FiveThirtyEight gives Biden a 77% chance of winning, a number that has barely budged over the last few weeks.

        So, I remain cautiously optimistic, realizing many things can go wrong. We also remember that the election will not end on Election Day. Mail-in ballots will have to be counted and Trump will probably issue a record number of tweets claiming fraud. His base will continue to grieve and democratic institutions will continue to erode. It will be unknown for perhaps years whether a democratic America can recover from Trumpism.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 23, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          It just occurred to me that if the vote count is very close (can they have a tie?), and votes are being contested, the Supremes may be called in just as in Bush v Gore. With an ultra-conservative court, there is a good chance the tie will go to tRump. I hate to think how people will take this. There could be violence.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        You gotta realize that, although the mainstream media in general, and the NYT in particular, favor Democrats, there’s one matter of even greater vital interest: the bottom line, which is why they love to churn out anything that makes the election look like a “horserace”; it moves newsprint and generates clicks.

        Mr. Edsall can fret all he wants. Joe Biden bids fair to be our next president.

        • jezgrove
          Posted September 23, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          I really hope I don’t have to remind you that you said that, Ken!

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 23, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            Like Lindsey Graham, given the whim, I’m now liberated to revisit all prior pledges.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

              You’re an elegant little so and so Ken.

              • merilee
                Posted September 24, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

                I had missed Gail’s references to Mitt’s dog on roof of car en route to Canada🤣

      • phoffman56
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        Is anyone here confident enough in their knowledge of the US constitution to answer something that Rachel Maddow seems to have raised tonight, and seems shocking:

        Which is true?
        1/ Every state is subject to below.
        2/ There is at least one state as below, but not all.
        3/ No state is.

        Before describing “below”, it’s trivial that exactly one of the three holds.

        Let me do “below “ now by example, easily unambiguously generalizable:

        The state has 1 million voters, 900,000 vote for D, only 100,000 for R.
        The state has 81 legislators, 41 from party R and 40 from party D.
        That legislature then chooses a delegation to the Electoral College by a vote of 41 to 40, simply ignoring the election, with their entire delegation committed to vote for R. That delegation must be legal, as the Supreme Court decides correctly, following your constitution.

        Maddow seems to be saying either that 1/ or that 2/ holds, and, to keep him in power, the campaign of Mass Murderer donald is actively planning to bring that into effect if necessary, e.g. in Pennsylvania. They will simply get away with it by claiming voter fraud.

        Not an answer is Frank Zappa’s “It can’t happen here.”

        • Posted September 24, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          I’m not sure of Rachel Maddow’s claim but Trump’s strategy seems pretty clear:

          1. Republican voters will tend to vote in person while Dems will tend to vote by mail. This means that returns on Election Eve will make it look like Trump is leading but the tally will change in Biden’s favor as mail-in ballots are counted in the days following. This is the so-called Blue Shift.

          2. Trump will claim victory on Election Eve because he’ll be ahead. Most networks will remind their viewers that the tally isn’t complete and that it’s way too early to declare a victor. Perhaps Fox News will declare Trump a winner but who knows?

          3. GOP lawyers in each state will start finding voting “irregularities” having to do with mail-in ballots and seek to have them discarded.

          4. Court cases involving the legitimacy of mail-in ballots will go through the court process with the GOP sure to appeal those that don’t immediately go their way, eventually making it to the Supreme Court.

          5. The tallying and court processes will take so long that we will risk running up against the deadline for state’s to certify their vote. If the date is missed, in some states GOP-run legislatures will decide what their electors should vote in the Electoral College.

          It’s going to be really ugly.

  5. Posted September 23, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I am very disgusted by the behavior and hypocrisy of the GOP-controlled US Senate, WRT the SCOTUS seat left empty by RBGs death.


    I am reading the first JK Rowling Cormoran Strike novel The Cuckoo’s Calling, which I am enjoying. Not great literature; but she certainly knows how to tell a good tale.

    Food: I just made some curried cabbage. Shredded cabbage, small amount of ground beef, lots of garlic, Sri Racha sauce, Blue Mountain (Caribbean) curry powder, Madras curry powder, sesame oil, soy, rice vinegar, all sauteed together. Yum. (I don’t really measure anything; turns out slightly differently every time.)

    • notsecurelyanchored
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      if you are a cabbage fan, I recommend the COSTCO organic fresh sauerkraut.

      • Janet
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Oooooh, sounds good, thanks, I will look for it!!

      • Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        We like kraut. (It’s great under chili!) I’ll have to ping someone with a COSTCO membership. (I’ve done it twice, once in Seattle, 20 years ago, and probably 10 years ago in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I’m not a COSTCO person. 🙂 )

        • boudiccadylis
          Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          I do like and will attempt your cabbage curry.it seems everything in the recipe blogs insist upon covering with cheese and if green is required then it’s name is kale. It not that I don’t like cheese or kale Just occasionally I like to taste something else

    • jezgrove
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      The JK Rowling book is at the top of the UK book chart, selling nearly 65,000 copies in just 5 days (more than twice as many as her previous book in the series): https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/23/jk-rowling-thriller-no-1-transphobia-row-troubled-blood-robert-galbraith

      • Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        The Streisand effect in action. JK R knows how to sell a book: I wonder if it was deliberate.

      • Mike
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        “I wonder if it was deliberate.” Wow I never thought of that. A sort of reverse Ann Coulter. I want to believe it because it’s so deliciously devious, but I sort of don’t want to believe it because it would suggest Rowling is only in it for the money. She seems sincere, and she’s already wealthy, so I think I’ll stay on the fence. But it’s a great idea.

        • boudiccadylis
          Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          I’m with you Mike.

        • Posted September 23, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think this was planned. That would imply that Rowling would be counting on the Offense Brigade glomming onto the killer with the wig and women’s coat and then damning her on social media about it. I don’t think she’d do that.

          • jezgrove
            Posted September 23, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            Agreed. And I don’t think it would be a strategy that she could count on to work given that various stars from the Harry Potter films have spoken out against her.

    • Janet
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I have been making similar kinds of cabbage stir fries. Lately I’ve been adding fresh ginger (lots of it!) – awesome.

      • Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Sometimes we add ginger as well. I mince up the ginger root and freeze it. Then you can grab as much as you want from the frozen mince.

        • boudiccadylis
          Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          I freeze the whole that. Then when I want a grating frozen ginger grates easily. I do wash before freezing but I don’t peel and I don’t peel before grating.

          • boudiccadylis
            Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink


      • darrelle
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Fresh ginger is amazing stuff.

        A relatively new thing I tried, it’s great with sparkling water. Just like adding a wedge of lemon to your drink, add a wedge of ginger.

        • merilee
          Posted September 23, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          If you keep fresh ginger in the freezer it makes it much easier to grate. I make a concoction by chopping up a whole bunch of unpeeled fresh ginger and putting it in an 8-cup Pyrex measuring cup, add a bit of fresh lemon or lime juice and some brown sugar, fill up with water and nuke for about half an hour. Then strain and store in fridge. Great hot or cold.

          • darrelle
            Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

            Sounds interesting. I’ll have to give this a try.

            • merilee
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

              Let me know how you like it.

          • Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

            I’m writin’ this shit down ….

            • merilee
              Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

              Let me know how you like it!

    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      The LA Times reviewed the book in today’s paper and led with her supposed transphobia:

      “Review: Yep, J.K. Rowling’s new thriller has transphobic elements. It’s also a crashing bore”


    • darrelle
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      That sounds really good. Gonna have to try this.

  6. merilee
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink


  7. Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Lucky you, PCC. There is a fabulous exhibit of Monet paintings, more than seventy works, going on now at the Art Institute. That would cheer me up. I’m even considering a quick flight to Chicago, despite my fear of flying and covid.

    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Wait a minute. Is the Art Institute open???

      • Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I do believe so

        • Simon Hayward
          Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          Yes, it’s open. I just have not gathered the courage to go yet!

          • Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

            We were fortunate to view the exhibit pre COVID. I can understand your hesitation.

          • Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            They appear to be following stringent spacing rules.

    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      We saw the Monet exhibit in Denver – spectacular. Go see if if you can.

  8. Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    The wife breaded and fried pork cutlets that had been run through a tenderizer by the butcher. We had raw green beans on the side. They could have used a little salt but were amazing as always.

    • jezgrove
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Elvis Presley had a very expensive and high-quality tenderizer. But then he did “love meat tender”! (Stole that one from a BBC Radio 4 show, so blame them…)

  9. Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Well, at least the Nuggets are not going to get swept by the Lakers 🙂

    • Dragon
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink


  10. jezgrove
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    There are some interesting lockdown photos taken by drone on the BBC website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-54181848

  11. Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Maybe it is me, but I can drink red wine with anything, past 5:00PM.

  12. docbill1351
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I have been watching Mexican cooking videos (Claudia Regalato) upping my game considerably. Sauces and salsas (red and green) corn and flour tortillas, tamales, refried beans – the entire menu. I ordered dried chilis and masa through Amazon, but am able to get fresh vegetables (tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos, poblanos, etc) via curbside delivery. Yes, I’m using lard like the old days.

    The restaurant food I miss the most is Mexican and now I have Mamá Bill’s Cantina.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Sounds great. I really miss truly good tamales. For example, from the Tamale Factory in Colorado Springs circa 1986 or so. Tiny place, no seating. 4 menu items.

      1/2 dozen tamales
      1/2 dozen hot tamales
      1 dozen tamales
      1 dozen hot tamales

      A couple of elderly Mexican (or possibly Indian?) women behind the counter continuously making and selling tamales (no English but who needs it with 4 items?). Never found better.

      • docbill1351
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        My tamale making is a work in progress! I watched a bunch of videos and tried to get my masa in the middle of being too dry and too wet.

        Pork was a snap in the Instant Pot: 35 minutes.

        Smearing the masa on the soaked corn husks took a while to “perfect” but they seemed to roll fine.

        Steaming, not so well. I used the Instant Pot set for 40 minutes, but I think I packed too many. They were still way too soft. I pulled some out and gave it 20 more minutes. Better, but needs work.

        I may have to bite the bullet and get a giant pot, let them steam for 2 hours, but I’ll give the Instant Pot a few more experiments.

        Taste was superb!

        • darrelle
          Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

          You are a brave person. Making tamales is not for the faint of heart!

          I’ve never tried making them but I’ve seen a friend do it and for them it was always an all day affair with 2 or 3 people, and only for special occasions. Of course, they would make a lot of tamales.

  13. Paul Dymnicki
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I’ve been watching a science fiction comedy-drama television series called ‘Upload’.
    It seemed pretty weak at first but if you stick with it its got some interesting ideas.
    Basically humans are able to “upload” themselves into a virtual afterlife of their choosing after they die, in other words your character, or ‘you’ can be saved into a virtual world, heaven if you like.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      I watched Upload a while ago. It was interesting and entertaining. It gives an alternate take on existence.

  14. John Yarzagaray
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I don’t have time to despair since I’m totally occupied with the new puppy we took home a few days ago. Her name is Dottie. She’s a ~3 month old shepherd mix (as far as anyone can tell). Hooo boy. What a handful! But she’s adorable and crazy and just what we needed.

    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      The demand for dogs and puppies is way up during the pandemic. Don’t know about kittens and cats. The local animal shelter is practically empty. Good news.

      • Dragon
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        We added a 4-5 month old kitten to our household in June. The new one is getting along fantastic with our 2 year old cat.
        There were still plenty of felines awaiting adoption at the time. I hope more were given good homes.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        I’m worried these animals will end up dumped back into the system all at once once the pandemic wanes.

        • Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Yeah, me too. But their potential fate staying at the animal shelter was not good either.

        • Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          People do get attached, so hopefully most will stick. I was once annoyed when my wife started feeding a stray cat. I felt we didn’t need the burden of another pet at the time. In the end, I loved that cat like no other.

    • merilee
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      You can’t be sad with a poopy puppy around🥰🐾🐾

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      My second daughter has recently been engaged as the staff of a miniature Dachshund who is also called…Dottie! Spooky or what? Or not!

  15. Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Last night I sautéed large sea scallops with asparagus over yam noodles in white wine sauce. Terrific. Took less than 15 minutes to prepare.

  16. Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Anyone have a ‘quarantini’? I made up one, although it is probably a real mixed drink somewhere.
    It consists of real iced tea (my wife makes the best iced tea), rum, and a spritz of lemon juice. On the rocks. I call it “It’s ok”. Is it good? The answer is in the name. 🙂

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I can imagine all you said in a commercial for the drink.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Shaken, not stirred. Comes with a license to swill — but only for Queen and Country.

    • C.
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Just beware of those mazel tov cocktails…

  17. ladyatheist
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Considering the host’s scientific specialty, I wonder what the commentariat has to say about Trump’s comment on the “good genes” of Minnestans: https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/22/politics/donald-trump-genes-

    — interrupted URL for the sake of da Roolz —


    • Rik G
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      That ain’t just a dog whistle; he’s throwing them Milk-Bones!

  18. Rik G
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Trying to make the best out of underemployment and more down time than I’ve had in years, so I’ve been using the month of September to reset some work habits and see if I can’t teach an old dog some new tricks. I just turned 63 and am teaching myself to play a tune on the harmonica while doing a few rope tricks spinning a lasso, among other things. If nothing else, it helps me sleep well at night!

    I find it helps to limit news consumption to a few discreet times a day (except for selected podcasts) or else I get paralyzed with a gnawing sense of dread.

    Coming here helps, because I can read sane thoughts, and respectful debate in the commentary.

    • docbill1351
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Playing the harmonica while doing a rope trick could become a career in show biz.

      You’ll need a Chihuahua.

  19. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Or tell us what you had for dinner.

    A meatball sub — I worked through dinner last night, got busy doing some writing, and when I looked up, it was pushing 11 pm. So I moseyed over to the Philly sub shop on the corner and got me a meatball sandwich.

    Not my usual, balanced, healthy-food-pyramid-style repast, but you know what?

  20. Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Besides food, science stories always cheer me up. Here is one about the fork-tailed flycatcher (Tyrannus savana, interesting latin name) which communicates with sounds made by rustling its feathers. I wonder if other birds do that.


    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      I guess they do. The article says so.

    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Male hummingbirds in some species court the female by flying way up above her as she’s perched, and then dive towards her, pulling up at the last minute. As they approach the female, they make a special rattling sound with their tail feathers that is essential in successful courtship.

      • Posted September 23, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Interesting. I have often watched “my” hummingbirds do a steep diving maneuver and wondered why they do it. Perhaps this is the answer.

  21. darrelle
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Most of us in our house have been “dieting” so we haven’t been cooking anything exciting, with one exception. For my wife’s birthday a couple of weeks ago the kids and I got together and prepared a special Birthday Dinner for her (and us.)

    I prepared beef tenderloins with a cognac & cream glaze. I purchased some nice tenderloins, about 6 oz each, from a good butcher, pan seared them in my giant 14″ carbon steel pan (doubles as home protection), transferred them to the oven, deglazed the pan with cognac then added heavy cream and generous roughly cracked black pepper and started reducing it. At the right time the tenderloins went back into the pan to finish in the sauce / glaze, constantly spooning the sauce over them until it was thick enough to coat nicely.

    Meanwhile my daughter prepared and roasted large portabella mushrooms (think steak-like), red, orange and purple carrots and graffiti eggplant. Separately she sautéd a variety of squash with onions, garlic and fresh herbs from our herb garden.

    Meanwhile my son had previously prepared Tiramisu so that it would be ready for serving as dessert after the dinner. Espresso, cognac, mascarpone, heavy cream, cocoa powder, a truly great dessert.

    Everything was wonderful and we had a great dinner together.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Can I come live with your family. I can be like the Alice of the Brady Bunch but I won’t wear that hideous uniform or do any cleaning. My gift to your family will be my witty jokes and social observations.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Diana, you are welcome to come hang out any time!

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      WOW – I’m drooling here.

      No special foodie activity going on with me but then I’m on my own. I imagine sharing the cooking and meal would make a big difference.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 23, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        It is so much easier, and more fun, sharing the cooking.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Congratulations to all of you. I hope you were capable of movement after such a Lucullan repast!

      • darrelle
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

        Thank you. The end result was a sort of warm and fuzzy torpor. Of course the wine may have contributed to that too.

    • Posted September 25, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Sounds wonderful!

  22. Blue
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Angering: over and over and over the local
    ( and likely elsewhere in many areas,
    as well ) media keeps this week referring
    to the dead Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    as liberal ” .because.because.CUZ. ” she
    ( fortunately ) within her 27 years
    upon USA’s Supreme Court and BEFORE THAT
    was able BY LAWS and BY HER DISSENTS
    to RIGHT the WRONGS done to women and to girls
    ( of all colors and in very many locales ).

    What the fuck, Media, is ” liberal ” about
    RIGHTNESS ? about HOW ” things ” SHOULD
    HAVE BEEN for years and for decades and
    for centuries and for millennia … … ago ?

    TRY using, Media in re R B G, the word
    … … ” N O R M A L. ”


  23. pablo
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    With a Trump court, I’m already preparing for my marriage to be nullified. My husband is retired military and I’m on his insurance, that will probably stop. Im wondering if like abortion, it will be turned back to the states, so I’ll be married in some states but not others? We own properties in 3 states but they’re all red states. Anyone have any lawerly advice?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure that Chief Justice Roberts would like nothing more than to dodge this issue, to let sleeping married gay couples lie, so to speak. After all, among the main considerations behind the principle of stare decisis are the extent to which members of the public have come to rely on an existing decision in ordering their personal affairs and the extent to which it would resultantly engender disorder and chaos for that precedent to be overruled.

      Under that standard, I think there is an exceptionally strong case for SCOTUS to continue to uphold its same-sex marriage decision. Unfortunately, however, if Trump succeeds in appointing to replace RBG one of the far-right judges he is expected to nominate, and if the question were to be presented squarely and unavoidably to the Court with six sitting conservative justices, I fear Obergefell v. Hodges would be in trouble — not in as much immediate peril as Roe v. Wade, but certainly less than secure.

      Good luck.

    • Posted September 24, 2020 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      Don’t fret too much. The states can’t nullify the Obergerfeld (sp?) decision permitting same sex marriage **and** there’s a “full faith and credit” clause in the Constitution whereby the documents of one state MUST be honored by all.
      Your position is pretty safe I’d say.

      Plus, precedent wise, it’d be hard even for a fanatically right wing court to turn on that decision given the reliance people have placed on it in the last 9 years.

      Discrimination law against LGBTQ and abortion however…. that’s a little more endangered.

      Who knows how S.C. Justice Kushner will vote?

      D.A., J.D., NYC

  24. rickflick
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    “the wine wasn’t going to drink itself”
    I’ll use that next time I’m thinking about drinking another bottle.

  25. Rachel
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I had peking duck only once: my first night in Beijing, five years ago. It was so delicious I still think about it wistfully sometimes. 🙂

    I’ve been feeling a little under the weather this week, so for lunch I made myself some matzoh ball soup. It’s never out of season.

  26. C.
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    For those who are avoiding movie theaters, a new documentary is available to rent online, Oliver Sacks; His Own Life, to be found at oliversacksdoc.com

    I haven’t watched it yet and I don’t know how much it costs to rent but I look forward to it. However, I spend 6+ hrs a day online for work at the moment, which is more than I’d ever choose to sit in front of a screen for but that’s how we live now.

  27. cbranch
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    One thing I keep struggling to understand is why so many prominent Republicans, including White House staff as well as elected officials, are so reluctant to repudiate Trump. (I’m assuming here that they really do recognize that he’s an incompetent jerk; they just aren’t willing to say it publicly).

    The obvious answer, and the one I usually hear, is that they care about their jobs, and he can fire them or effectively prevent their re-election. But hold on. These are people who _worked for the White House_, or else they’re Senators or whatever. With that on their resume, they’re concerned about being able to get another job? That seems unlikely.

    Then I hear “they crave power”. And maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how that’s an end in itself. Power as a way to get money, or relationships, or whatever, okay – but again, they aren’t dependent on this particular job for that.

    Surely people like Cruz, or Graham, or any of the many others who’ve been publicly insulted by Trump in the past, would be better off being honest about him. They could continue being proud conservatives if they want, just anti-Trump ones. They might lose their current position (or maybe not) but they could easily get an equivalent one after having demonstrated the integrity to stand up to an obvious bully.

    So what am I missing?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      An old friend keeps wondering the same thing. The only thing he’s come up with is mortal threats in the middle of the night.

    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      I know one White House staffer; son of a well-to-do Republican family in Georgia; likely ego, power, influence, personal enrichment, and conservative Christian perspective.

  28. Roo
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    A completely random, somewhat evolution related point of concern I’ve happened upon recently – I feel there is growing evidence that humans are meant, at least to some extent, to be infected with helminths, given their apparent role in regulating our immune response (The theory is that they damp it down, and in their absence allergies, fatal allergies, and debilitating autoimmune disorders are on the rise. While I can’t claim to have read the research with any rigor, the summaries I have skimmed seem to show good effects in treating autoimmune disorders with worms.)

    I tend to like waxing poetic about the ‘paleo lifestyle’ until its gross. Worms are gross. Dang. Although I’ve also read that there may be a peptide that can be isolated from these worms that will have the immune regulating effects without the actual worminess. Here’s hoping.

    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Worms in the dirt—beautiful. Worms in my body—gross, no matter what.

  29. Posted September 23, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I write poetry. I write of the experience of veterans in the 21st Century. This is one of my latest. It tells the future story of one of my mates reflecting on an Anzac Day in the future about his service in East Timor. It is titled “What Did You Do in the War”. It’s that day of the year
    Thank some made up deity its over again
    If someone else thanks me for my service
    I’ll piss in their beer, I just want to be alone
    And a piss would be good right now

    A sprig of rosemary on his chest
    Medals on his right.
    Metal and ribbon miniatures of mine
    “Your medals are just like my Pop’s
    Did you know my Pop? I didn’t.”

    “What’s your Pop’s name?”
    Can’t turn away a kid
    “Pop!” He says, as if I should have known
    “Yes, I know your Pop, he was a good man”
    Gap toothed he grins at my lie

    “What did you do in the war?”
    “I did shit” my truthful reply
    “Mum says that’s a naughty word”
    I bet my new mate Pop said shit
    Sometimes even the Padre did

    When they blew the sewers
    Shit went everywhere
    10000 soldiers have to go
    So I got the job
    To manage number twos

    300 portaloos, blue, green and white
    Gunfighters trudged with their rifles
    Cavalry pranced in gun cars
    I deployed a legion
    Of toilets to clean up their shit

    That was my first war
    The other wars were worsens `
    “Thank you for your service”
    Can’t piss in that kids beer
    War is shit

  30. Steve Pollard
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    One bit of intriguing science that emerged today: https://www.space.com/m87-black-hole-wobble-event-horizon-telescope

    We had roasted vegetable chilli tonight. Butternut squash, sweet potato, celeriac, in 1cm cubes, quick-roasted, added to a chilli sauce with black beans, and served over rice. Fills a void.

  31. Jim Danielson
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    The United States economic and military power largely controlled by a party that has become close to completely unhinged, science denying and divorced from reality is perhaps the greatest danger to Democracy and civilization. A party and President that have no ethics or principles beyond maintaining power at all costs that is contemptuous of norms, facts and dismisses it’s political opponents legitimacy. Republicans appear to have given up on the democratic process providing little more than a shallow appearance of Democracy which is wearing so thin as to be transparent.

    Republican/Trump supporters are in an information loop that is getting ever more extreme. There appears to be no way to change most of their views, all other sources are ‘fake news’. Many right wing media sources openly call liberals, the left and Democrats the enemy, evil, America haters. New generations of Republicans are entering politics with with ever more extreme and/or bizarre views, increasing a trend over the last half century. The religious right call Trump “appointed by God”, some call Trump a Jesus figure.

    None of this is new, when Obama was President there were the black helicopter new world order FEMA concentration camp pizza gate Obama is taking over Texas nuts and Obama was the Anti-Christ. But the number who believe absurd conspiracy theories are increasing. Tribalism is increasing and hatred for the ‘other’, especially on the Republican side is increasing to dangerous levels which appears to be driving the far left more extreme.
    For an often terrifying view of the right follow Right Wing Watch.

    Deep state conspiracy theories, Democrats and Hollywood being part of a child sex slave rings are becoming more mainstream in Republican/Trump supporters, a fairly significant change in less than a year.
    Google “Qanon Pew Research”
    Extremism on the right appears to be increasing. Terrorism in the USA has largely become a right wing phenomenon.

    The most powerful country in the world appears to be descending into a spiral of dysfunction. Reagan would be drummed out of the current party as a cuck RINO. Fanatical right wing Religion has largely captured the party. The party has now captured SCOTUS and is busy stacking lower courts.

    Many on the right being fed a constant diet of how evil, terrible, dangerous, Godless the left are. We’ve seen this before in many other countries. It never ends well.

  32. tomh
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    “Trump will probably issue a record number of tweets claiming fraud.”

    Tweets won’t matter, it’s the lawsuits, which are probably already written up, that will matter. Trump isn’t actually running against Biden, he’s running against the election itself. Lawsuits that seek to prevent counting mail-in ballots after election day, for instance.

    Trump is counting on it, witness his claim Wednesday in front of Republican attorneys general: “I think this will end up in the Supreme Court and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices, and I think the system’s going to go very quickly,” Trump said Wednesday at the White House, after criticizing the legitimacy of mail-in voting.

    • Posted September 23, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and the legal battles are really in each state, only reaching the Supreme Court if they can’t be resolved. While the Trump-led GOP will appeal every dispute as far as possible, a lot depends on whether they smell a Trump win nationally on Election Day and the first few days after. It won’t do state-level Republicans much good to pursue victory for Trump in their state unless it is seen as likely resulting in an Electoral College win.

      • phoffman56
        Posted September 24, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        Being apparently confident about your knowledge of the US constitution, it would be great to hear your answer to my constitution question under #4.

        If the answer is actually 1/ or 2/, then the following is more trivial than I thought:
        namely, Godel’s famous (derailed by Einstein and Morgenstern, his companions) intention to explain to the judge for his citizenship hearing how he had deduced within the US constitution a way that democracy could be legally replaced by a dictatorship.

        • Posted September 24, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          I couldn’t find your question #4 but I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on the Constitution. I just follow the political stories in the media fairly closely.

  33. tomh
    Posted September 23, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Oops, sorry, #32 was meant to be a reply to Historian, way back under comment #4.

  34. Posted September 23, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Duck?!!! 😭
    Hang your head in shame!

    • jezgrove
      Posted September 23, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      It was actually a chicken (not much better from the bird’s point of view, but still…).

  35. rickflick
    Posted September 24, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    This just in:
    Democrats in congress are preparing legislation to restrain presidential power. They plan to codify some of the norms that used to apply. It’s to apply later to avoid a next tRump. By thinking ahead, they are signaling to voters that Democrats want to save the country from this state of insanity. Good move.


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