Open thread for the time being.

I’m working on something about the Israeli protests (which is going very slowly because sometimes life just gets in the way, man!), but I see Ta-Nehisi hasn’t posted his OTAN yet — which may mean it might not happen today, since he’s walking Gettysburg this week — so here’s a space in the meantime, in case the people need it! xoxo

AND WHILE YOU’RE HERE, MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT THE TNC BLOGROLL TO THE RIGHT, & PAY A VISIT TO YOUR FELLOW COMMIES! They’re all doing cool stuff!

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79 Comments

  1. Grilled flatbread pizza is divine.

    Discuss.

    • Yes.

      End of discussion.

    • Oh, hey, PS: Are you sorting through your supplier issues? I’m fascinated and baffled by the destroyed box of supplies. Like, how could that have even happened in the first place?

      • The Office Supply Company overnighted all destroyed items, free of charge, after a couple of digital pictures were emailed to the proper people, proving destruction. It helped that we already had a new order building with them, so the business they stood to lose was concretely in front of them. Also, that it wasn’t really their fault or our fault–we could all blame UPS, who are the people they are going to be going after to pay the insurance on items shipped.
        It happens because UPS is a psychotic place to work. These are people who do studies on how their driver, by trotting from truck to door rather than walking, can improve productivity by x amount of deliveries in a day. Or if they check off the packages dropped as they walk out the door instead of standing still. And then they instill these things as corporate policy. So we have people who have productivity schedules that are unrealistic in 100degree weather, who end up doing deliveries until far after the business in question close. The boxes get unloaded and reloaded several times over the weekend, since business are not open saturday or sundays either. Eventually one box ends up on the wrong truck, and the driver who has that drop off on his route has no choice by to drop off half, and then not wait to explain that the other is on another truck, sicne he has to be walking out the door as he checks off his boxes.

        yeah.

        • helensprogeny

           /  August 10, 2011

          OMG. I hate UPS. I will never, ever use their service again unless it is absolutely the only way to get a package somewhere. My tale of woe? I used them last March to send my nephew’s Easter basket to NYC from Tucson and it has yet to arrive. No one knows what happened to it. It is mysteriously untraceable. The $100 worth of insurance which the sales person assured me was automatically included in the price of the mailing turns out to have been a total mirage. The loss of the package and the lack of insurance could be forgiven in time because, well, shit does get lost and employee training sometimes falls through the cracks. After all, the total worth of the package, postage included, was less than $50, so in the grand scheme of things it’s not that big a deal. It was massively inconvenient that my nephew didn’t get his Easter basket on time, but I did get stuff to him a week later and he’s only 3, and what does he know from Easter anyway? What can’t be forgiven is the attitude of all 3 managers I spoke to at UPS while trying to get the situation resolved. To a person, their attitude was: 1) There’s nothing I can do. 2) It’s not my problem. 3) Why are you bothering me with this? 4) There’s nothing I can do. Not a single apology. Not a single atom of a sense of responsibility. Not a single solitary fuck did they give. I mean, how hard is it to say: Oh, dear, we fucked up, I’m so sorry, I know we can’t get this package back for you but here are $50 worth of coupons to spend on your next however many packages you send with us. Actually, I didn’t even need the coupons; I really was just looking for an acknowledgment of responsibility and an apology. Clearly, they didn’t want my custom. I am more than delighted to oblige by taking it elsewhere.

          • that’s terrible – for you and your nephew, and terrible understanding of LOOK WHO’S PAYING YOUR SALARY.

            Sorry that it got snafu’ed like that.

            • helensprogeny

               /  August 10, 2011

              Yeah, I was really surprised at how cavalierly they treated an actual, live customer standing in front of them. Talk about not getting it…..

          • On the upside, though, it did lead you to write this sentence: Not a single solitary fuck did they give. And that’s a thing of beauty, right there.

            (I’m so sorry for your troubles…!)

            • helensprogeny

               /  August 10, 2011

              You are so awesomely kind, Em. I wish I could take full credit for the sentence, but sadly the most interesting part of it (the “solitary fuck”) is lifted from the movie Sexy Beast. Ian McShane (who’s later creative swearing in Deadwood completely stole my heart) plays the bad guy and says at one point: “If I gave a solitary fuck.” My partner and I love that movie and that line has become part of our private vocabulary. It is a great line and truly, I wish it was mine!

              • Nope. I hate to disagree, and I will grant you that “solitary fuck” is aces, the best part is the syntax: “Not a fuck did they give” or “Not a single fuck did the give” would be nearly as good, where as “They didn’t give a solitary fuck” would not.

                So, you’re wrong. Terribly sorry about that.

                • helensprogeny

                   /  August 10, 2011

                  Madam, I bow to your persuasion and accept your gracious compliment. As I loudly reiterate my assertion of your kindness.

                  (Also I’m blushing a little.)

                  • JHarper2

                     /  August 10, 2011

                    Actually, it is the awesomeness of the whole phrase that makes it what it is, I especially liked the alliteration of single, solitary leading into the harshness of fuck, followed by the awesome did they give.

        • wearyvoter

           /  August 10, 2011

          My husband uses UPS only as a very last resort. About 5 years ago, he ordered a piece of film editing equipment–a splicing block–from a supplier in California. They shipped it UPS 2nd day, and he tracked it online as it traveled from California, to Utah, to Colorado, to Chicago, and back to Utah to Chicago to Utah over about 8 days. It was caught in what was starting to look like an infinite loop.

          He called the supplier and they shipped a replacement via FedEx.

          When the supplier finally got the original shipped back to them, they had their mailroom person check. It was correctly barcoded, but apparently something in UPS’ scanners was allergic to it. Suffice it to say, no apologies from the “what can brown do for you” people. (I still think that’s an awful slogan. My counter to that is “you know what else is brown?”

          I won’t mention the many times that we’d specifically requested that stuff order at the home address be shipped to us with signature required, and all the times the package got dropped in the bushes or some such (even when we were home). It’s the quota thing. (And they charge extra for residential deliveries.)

    • taylor16

       /  August 10, 2011

      Yes. My enjoyment of pizza drastically increased when I discovered that I could use flatbread rather than Boboli crap.

  2. Fine, make me talk about things that are real then. Like the BBC News talking head vs the man on the street demanding respect:

    Or the fact that the WIrecall was the last straw, and I finally had to block the screaming progressives from my twitter feed. When you can’t see you’re the flip side of the problem, I’m going to start shutting you out.

  3. I spoke with my beloved friend Shaun in London yesterday, and he sent me these two links re: the riots, and the hopelessness and anger that they reflect:

    http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2011/08/panic-on-streets-of-london.html?spref=fb

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/camila-batmanghelidjh-caring-costs-ndash-but-so-do-riots-2333991.html

    They’ve helped me cut through the noise in a way that I haven’t been able to, sitting here in America.

    I particularly liked this from the first one:

    People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night. And now people have lost their homes, and the country is tearing itself apart.

    And this from the second:

    It costs money to care. But it also costs money to clear up riots, savagery and antisocial behaviour. I leave it to you to do the financial and moral sums.

    • helensprogeny

       /  August 10, 2011

      These were great posts. Hope your friend is okay. I saw that Andrew Sullivan highlighted some of the more mainstream responses this morning and was pretty appalled at what seems to be a total lack of both understanding of and /or empathy for the rioters. It feels like a fairly serious disconnect between a lot of those who have power (economic and otherwise) and those who don’t.

      • He’s fine, and not even worried (as far as I could tell) for himself — but he did have a few choice words for the country’s politicians!

  4. dave in texas

     /  August 10, 2011

    Today’s my first day back at work after knee surgery. It was a simple arthroscopic procedure to repair a torn meniscus. No, I’m not a professional athlete, the usual candidate for this kind of thing, just old and decrepit. I’ve always been a pretty quick healer, and this was no different; surgery was on Thursday, and by Monday night, the swelling was mostly gone. I tossed the crutches on Saturday, which has allowed me to use my shillelagh as a walking stick. Even better–the work load is really light here today and my boss has said I might as well leave around lunchtime. Sweet.

    • But… but… how will you write with a sub-functional knee?! You’re only human!

      : ) I’m glad it went well, and that you’re feeling better, and that you can leave at lunchtime (which, if memory serves, is now!).

      • dave in texas

         /  August 10, 2011

        There are those who insist that even with a fully-functional knee, my writing is less than optimal. Those people are called editors.😉 I usually don’t go to lunch until 1:00-1:30 (I like a short afternoon), so I’m gonna hang here a little longer.

    • Nice. Hope you feel completely better soon.

    • JHarper2

       /  August 10, 2011

      Glad that you are recovering your mobility and that your recovery from surgery was rapid. Bonus points for use of the word (and item) shillelagh.
      I would give you a like but that is not a tool the wordpress elves give us.

      • WordPress!

        :: raises shillelagh, shakes ::

      • dave in texas

         /  August 10, 2011

        Thanks to ye for the shamlike. As to the shillelagh, my parents brought it back for me from a trip they took to Ireland 30 or so years ago. ‘Tis a fearsome-looking weapon, studded with sharp little root nubbins.

  5. taylor16

     /  August 10, 2011

    Okay folks … tell me that Mad Men either gets better, or that there are others who don’t think it was the most wonderful show EVER.

    Because I’ve watched the first few episodes of Season 1 on Netflix Instant and found it unwatchable. I don’t get it. Don Draper and his colleagues are, truly, the most unlikeable human beings I’ve ever seen on TV. And the sexism and sexual harassment? Oh my god … I don’t care if it’s realistic to the time period. It’s infuriating. I don’t want to watch Betty fall apart because she can’t admit she’s miserable. Nor do I want to watch sweet little Peggy get used and thrown out by one of those douchebags, all while being condescended to at work. Nor do I want to find myself thinking Joan is somehow some paragon of feminist empowerment while she encourages the other female employees to sex it up for the men to “get ahead.”

    I love character dramas. But it usually helps for me to actually *like* some of the characters. Tell me there are some redemptions arcs coming up or something.

    • All seasons of Mad Men start in this slow-to-the-point-of-leaden-pacing, which can border on unwatchable.

      Get yourself to the end of the season. If you can make it, the pay off is (at least in my view) worth it.

      • taylor16

         /  August 10, 2011

        Oh, I hope so. I basically decided that no matter what, I’m going to watch the first season. But good lord, unless the series ends with something bad happening to at least a few of these jackasses, I’m going to have a hard time with it…

        And yeah, the pacing is sloooooow. That’s actually the least of my reasons for disliking it, but good lord…

        • I actually stuck with it that first season because I was completely addicted to the costume and prop porn.
          Also I watched it in a marathon over the course of a weekend, so that fact that it was slow and leaden wasn’t as hard to take.

    • intangir

       /  August 10, 2011

      That’s how I’ve felt the couple of times I’ve tried watching that show – as you said, the social conventions of the time just make it unbearable – the sexism, the despicable characters, it’s just not something I want to watch. I feel similarly about Jane Austen novels – I just can’t get past the social norms of the time, they drive me crazy.

    • SWNC

       /  August 10, 2011

      I like watching “Mad Men” to see how the women in the show get and use power. (And because I love the clothes.) Joan is not a nice person, nor one I want to emulate in most ways, but she has gotten power through one of the few means available to her—her sexuality. Betty starts off the series as a fairly powerless person, but she uses the power she has over her children and her employee (Carla) in disturbing ways. Peggy is trying to chart a course that is neither Joan’s nor Betty’s, and it’s a fascinating journey. It’s not easy viewing, but I find it very compelling.

  6. This week. I just… I mean…

    Well, it’s the week in which I discovered that my spiced rum, that I bought at the distillery in Barbados, goes really excellently well in organic lemonade.

    On the plus side, I may have something totally life-changing awesome cool going on in 2012 but I won’t actually have any of that project pinned down until fall or winter, so I got some YAY flailing out of it yesterday but now just have to sit and wait for a few months.

    (And no, it’s NOT a pregnancy. I need to put that disclaimer on every damn thing I do these days.)

    • That is a very important disclaimer.

      (and: boo for the week! & potential yaaayyy for 2012!)

    • You’re getting the vice presidency nomination from Obama for 2012?!

    • JHarper2

       /  August 10, 2011

      Congrats on your good news and project; I hope in comes to fruition in all the ways you hope and dream.
      Just a little confused. You mention the news of how well the spiced rum and organic lemonade mix, and then pivot to “on the plus side”. This seems to imply the excellent mixing properties of the spiced rum and organic lemonade is not on the plus side; which I find confusing.
      And congrats too, on your news from recent weeks on how your blogging is being picked up and repeated by those you respect.
      And where is your babies at?

      • Okay, yes: that I was able to make a strong and tasty alcoholic drink in two steps with ingredients on-hand was indeed good news. That I had such a week that I went home and thought, “No, really, I need a drink” is bad news.

        (There is one bottle of hard liquor in the house and it’s that rum. I’ve had it since December 2008 and it’s still 85% full. That tells you how inclined I am to go home and make cocktails.)

        As for the babies, er… *points* Look! It’s K_Bee! Ask her! *scurries away*

        • JHarper2

           /  August 10, 2011

          Ah, now I understand, the rum is what in 1911 or 1875, would be the “swoon bottle”, used only in situations of extreme stress and for medicinal purposes.

        • This is an incorrect answer.
          You baby is right here:http://wp.me/p10bqa-rp

          • Touché!

            Hello, fuzzbutt! *ear scritches*

            • You have Legos on your Ikea book shelves.

              /swoons.

              • The big tub? My mom gave me that for Christmas… the year I was 24.

                I regret nothing!

                (The other box full of them is my collection from when I was a kid. That same Christmas, she dug them out of the basement, ran them through the dishwasher, and re-presented them to me along with the new ones. P.S. my mom is awesome.)

                • Regret? Why would you regret a thing?

                  My only regret is that I never trained my brain to see as a Lego builder sees, and thus the height of my Lego creativity is the garage I once built for the girl. The girl and the boy, though? Lego fiends. (Well — Lego friends. They’re not as obsessed as some kids I know). I can only hope that they will want new Legos when they’re your age — and now I know what I’m going to do with millions of Lego currently residing in my basement. When they’ve cast them aside for angst and pimples, I’ll squirrel them away, to bring them out for their 24th Hanukkah gift (after a good dishwashering).

                • taylor16

                   /  August 10, 2011

                  Husband and I have a big box of Legos that we bought while on our honeymoon. In Orlando.

                  Parallel lives fist-bump!🙂

            • taylor16

               /  August 10, 2011

              Your cat sits like my dog. Who needs actual people-babies when you have animal-babies who think they’re people???😉

              http://bit.ly/qRupuQ

              • I’m not normally much of a dog person but that pup is just begging for me to make an ass of myself saying, “oh hello then how are you oh yes you’re a doggie, yes you are!” while scratching her behind the ears.

                (And seriously, the cat DOES think he’s people. Or sometimes that he’s a sheepdog and we need herding. Either/or.)

                • taylor16

                   /  August 10, 2011

                  And she would be all “OMG I love you” while sitting on your feet and staring backward up at you. That’s her thing.

                  (And not jumping up on you. She is very well-trained. And I am very proud of that.🙂 )

    • SWNC

       /  August 10, 2011

      A couple of years ago, my hsuband’s sister had us over to dinner, where she announced that she was pregnant. My husband’s brother then announced his engagement. My husband said he was so, so tempted to tell them, “We’ve found Jesus! And we’re moving to his compound in Montana!”

      My mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law have taken to offering me a glass of wine whenever I’m visiting. They look so crestfallen when I accept and knock it back. Not subtle, guys.

      • My best friend had FINALLY gotten engaged to her boyfriend of 4 years. She was beyond excited finally to be able to tell everyone, “Yes, we’re doing it!”

        So she called her younger sister. Said sister blurted out, upon answering, “J! I’m pregnant!”

        Younger sister got married first and the baby was 13 weeks old (and a total sweetie) at J’s wedding. It’s all worked out, haha. Except for that part where in her head, J briefly killed her sister six or eight times.

      • Sotries like that make me feel so grateful that BF’s sister spawned efficiently, and then drafted her mother into nannydom. She never even pushes about us getting engaged anymore.

  7. Sorn

     /  August 10, 2011

    So, the job I really, really want and think I’d be perfect for, as a researcher/writer for these guys: http://www.followthemoney.org/ hasn’t gotten in touch yet for an interview. Till then I picked up part time work at a convience store 3 days a week. I’m really hoping that they take a chance and offer me an interview, but seeing as the job closed on the 29th and I haven’t heard back yet I don’t know. Till an actual job opens up I took a temporary position minding a till at a convience store to help pay my bills. I ain’t never been too proud to work.

    Anyway, how is life treating the other recent graduates?

    • Sorn

       /  August 10, 2011

      I should add the current job started yesterday is evenings and weekends 3 days a week so it still allows me to search for something.

    • There’s absolutely nothing wrong with working to pay your bills, and a convenience store is good honest work.

      The fact that it allows time for a search is a real bonus, though, as that’s the real, untold truth about a job search: It’s nearly a full-time job unto itself.

      Good luck to you, too…!

      • Sorn

         /  August 10, 2011

        Thanks em. The things people seldom tell us, or the ones they couch in a joke, are usually the ones that prove most true. Things like “Looking for work is a full time job.” Or, like my grandma used to say “It’s not what you want it’s what you get.” I do wish though sometimes that I didn’t have to work so bloody hard at everything. Anyway I apreciate the encouragement.

    • JHarper2

       /  August 10, 2011

      Sorn, best of luck with your job search. Two things I found about job searches, or rather one thing from two different perspectives. When I was looking for a job, I found it easier to find work when I was already working at something, anything. When I was hiring, I was more impressed by candidates who were “not afraid to work” and were working at something.
      Just for what it is worth.

    • taylor16

       /  August 10, 2011

      Good luck with the job search. If only there was a handy site where those of us who are looking could post our interests/education/etc and post interesting jobs we run across. Like a group job board.

      Chalk that up in the “internet sites someone should invent, but not me because I don’t get technology” category.🙂

      And I agree that a temporary job is good until you find something more permanent. I’m sitting at mine right now!

      • I tried…. Kind of nothing much happened with it — other than those of us who were desperate for work saying that we were looking for work — so I let it quietly slip away.

        I think that one has to already have a certain bandwidth for such a thing to genuinely create any kind of momentum. I don’t have the band width, to my enduring sorrow!

        • Sorn

           /  August 10, 2011

          That’s the interesting thing about the Horde. They’re a great bunch of people, but as far as momentum goes a person has to have a certain amount of pull to get things started.

        • taylor16

           /  August 10, 2011

          Yeah, I do remember the job board over here. I think it’s just one of those things where it’d be far easier if it was a normal place many of us went to look for jobs, share info, etc.

          Kind of like LinkedIn, but I’m dumb at LinkedIn as well, so…………..I’m no use.😦

          • : ) I think LinkedIn definitely qualifies as having “a certain bandwidth” more than me…!

            • taylor16

               /  August 10, 2011

              Yeah, and that probably explains why I can’t seem to master it. I’m apparently living somewhere in 1995 in internet-years. Now, off I go to hang out in an AOL chat room with my dial-up modem………

  8. I’ve got my Skype-interview-presentation in 30 minutes!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK

    Okay, my hair’s combed… dress shirt and tie… dress pants… should I wear socks and shoes? They won’t see my feet, right?

    OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod, I’m sorely tempted to crack jokes! I’m on film, I can’t help it…!

    • Sorn

       /  August 10, 2011

      Knock em dead. I sure hope you get the job Paul.

    • Go get ’em man! Team PaulW, all the way!

      In all seriousness: Wear socks and shoes — you’ll feel more professional, and thus come across as more professional, even though (yes) they won’t be able to see.

      OMG fingers duct-taped into the crossed position…!

    • taylor16

       /  August 10, 2011

      Good luck! They’re going to expect you to be a little nervous, so don’t overthink it. Just remember that you know your sh*t and that they want you to do well so they can hire you! Good luck!!!

    • cofax

       /  August 10, 2011

      Good luck!

    • So? HOW DID IT GO?

      • I did it barefoot.

        I had problems with showing off webpages I worked on because it turns out UF dropped html pathfinders for libguides, nooooooooo. I had to show off my old html personal page instead.

        I need a pizza.

  9. The site where Eva works, WorldHum, is accepting submissions again. http://www.worldhum.com/info/submissions/

    God save me, I may submit something.

    • JHarper2

       /  August 10, 2011

      Go for it, as Taylor said to Paul above, you know your sh*t, and they would be lucky to have you.
      You have many examples of your writing and a demonstrated career of doing the work and meeting deadlines.
      Your recent cross-posting stints are also in your favour.
      Go Team Horde.

  10. Every so often I worry – “where will I find the characters I need for the next thing I write?”

    And then I step outside and watch people.

    Today I heard an awesome neologism (which might not be all that new but I’m going to ignore looking for it because Google is so hard to use): “step-wife” as in “My ex-husband is having trouble with the kids. The step-wife says she wants more time away and he’s giving me grief about needing me to switch weekends.”

    People, you amaze me.

    I should tell you sometime about the simply wonderful sweet old lady I met at the convention who went from slightly charming and a bit dotty to completely out-of-this-world full crazy on me in just about 3 sentence. All the time keeping that sweet old lady voice and demeanor. And yet…

    • within the first five google hits you get a mention of the term “step wife” from back in 1999. it’s the sort of term that is tremendously useful, when you get down to it.

  11. Er, speaking of Horde blogs, Em — you can probably save some character space in your margins by switching the K_Commenter for K. Cox.😉

    Also anibundel and I are now both supposed to go hang out with Alyssa Rosenberg at her next reader happy hour and I dunno about anibundel over there but all that stuff kinda made my day.

    • You are correct, madam! Correction to be made toot-sweet!

      Also, too: Color me jealous. “Hang out with Alyssa Rosenberg…” — sure, why not?

      :: kicks dirt ::

      Well, at least I’ve gotten a hug from Ta-Nehisi.

      • When I say, “kinda made my day,” I more mean, “took every ounce of professionalism not to jump up and down at my desk.”

        That said I’m still trying to convince my husband that we need to go to Chicago. 🙂

      • helensprogeny

         /  August 10, 2011

        Huh. I’ve never even met an actual live Horder in the flesh, much less had an Alyssa Rosenberg or a TNC moment. I am a loser, a LOSER, I tell you! 🙂 Mostly I just lurk on my couch, watching the other children play…..Plus, we Tucson Horders are not a large crowd and we don’t have parties. And we’re apparently shy, to boot. It nearly killed me to reveal my real identity on the TNC Facebook page. I had a modified (as in, without-the-sex-scandal) Anthony Weiner moment: Oh, shit, you people are REAL! So an Alyssa Rosenberg or TNC moment would probably do me in. Lurking suits me just fine. I’ll leave the celebrity happy hours and the Generalissimo hugging to the more convivial amongst us. Enjoy!