Tentative weekend open thread.

Update – Confidential to newcomers from Boing Boing: Hi! This is an odd place, covering everything from Star Trek to Middle East violence. Please take a look around! First comments go into moderation, so if you’re stuck there over Shabbat (when I don’t work), don’t worry. I’ll fish you out as soon as I can.

In the world of The Horde, aka the commenters at Ta-Nehisi Coate’s excellent blog at The Atlantic, we enjoy a weekday noontime (EST) gathering, when our host opens an Open Thread. He’s been largely unavailable for such fun and games over the past couple of weeks, though, so I’ve been filling in as best I can.

But I have this feeling that with the weather insanity about to hit the East Coast, some of our number might feel the need for a place to gather over the weekend, so I thought I’d offer this up — and please note that even if you’re not a regular at TNC’s place, you’re more than welcome to jump in! We’re literally known across the blogosphere as a warm and welcoming crowd. (On the other hand, if this winds up being of no interest, I will quietly delete it and no one will ever be the wiser!).

If you live anywhere in the path of Hurricane Irene? Please, please: Be smart and be safe. Take pictures of whatever property might be damaged in the course of events, to make it easier to file claims later (this advice courtesy of commenter and internet pal taylor16!), check in with your neighbors (especially the older and/or more disadvantaged ones), and don’t sleep in bedrooms under dead trees (or, in other words, get yourself to the safest place you have!).

A final note: I don’t work on Shabbat, so any comments that get caught in moderation might not show up until tomorrow evening — I’ll clear you out as soon as I can! If you’re new to the party, you can take a gander at the About Commenting page, but the rules, such as they are, boil down to: Be a person.




    The Hokie/Texas A&M game in…2003(?) Let’s go with that. It happened on the edge of Hurricane Isabel. I think that’s the last time that one of these fuckers got this far inland.

    • THANK YOU.

      Even if I don’t really understand what you’re talking about.

      • I’m not sure which part of that threw you, but alright.

        • “The Hokie/Texas A&M game in…2003(?)”

          I’m pretty sure this is a reference to college football, but I couldn’t tell you where the Hokies (? are they “the Hokies”?) hail from if you paid me. Like that. I really am vigorously uninterested in all the pork-related sports. I miss a lot of references this way.

    • David L

       /  August 26, 2011

      Wasn’t it also rescheduled? I seem to recall it was Thursday or Friday evening.

      If we’re going there Texas State-Texas A&M in 2006 was rescheduled and relocated from San Marcos to College Station due to Rita’s seemingly imminent arrival in Houston.

  2. Okee dokee, I’mma start…. Because I just found out that I got a h/t at BOING BOING!!!11!one!


    Which, next to Ta-Nehisi recommending me that one time & naming me bouncer the other day? Is the coolest thing to ever happen to me in the blogosphere, EVAR. (And I remind you that I was linked to by Nicolas Kristof! And talked on the Russian teevee a couple times!)


    • wearyvoter

       /  August 26, 2011

      Squeeeee! indeed. Congratulations!

    • caoil

       /  August 27, 2011

      I may be running around in circles, clapping. Or at least I am in my head. How did it reach Cory’s eyes?

      • Pretty straight forward – I submitted it! : ) It just had that “Boing Boing will love this” look, if you see what I mean.

        BUT: It was sent to me in a Twitter exchange w/ sometime Horde visitor (& wife of Josh) @rosefox, who works at Publishers Weekly & was just at WorldCon. When I told her that I’d submitted it she said “Did you say hi to Cory for me?” to which I replied “Oh, sure, I said hi to Cory, LIKE I KNOW CORY DOCTOROW.” Well, of course, she does know Cory Doctorow (she is SOOOO much cooler than me, in so many ways), had just seen him at WorldCon, and she Twitter-introduced us almost before I knew what was happening. And now (wait for it…) Cory Doctorow is following me on Twitter.

        I may be running around in circle, clapping, myself.

    • JHarper2

       /  August 27, 2011

      I just watched the State Funeral for Mr Layton. I have never seen a funeral with the eulogies interrupted over and again with standing ovations. It was an amazing ceremony. The music and the eulogies were so uplifting. There were 600 places reserved for members of the public who lined up starting yesterday. The reserved Governor General and the sometimes stiff Prime Minister dancing at their places.

      • caoil

         /  August 27, 2011

        It really was lovely (Stephen Lewis! <3!) and I cried for nearly the whole thing. I still feel like a little light has been extinguished from the world, though.

    • In the grand scheme of things, put these in order:

      * H/T by Boing Boing
      * Mentioned by TNC
      * Assigned as virtual hall monitor by TNC
      * Linked by Nicholas D. Kristof
      * On Russian TV
      * Host of the wildly popular weekend edition of OTAN/Lost Battalion/Black Republicans/Commie Thread

      Inquiring minds want to know

      • Uhhhh…. This is much harder than you might think.


        1. Recommended (NOT MENTIONED, I BEG TO DIFFER) by TNC.
        2. Everything else.


        (Seriously, how could I choose between “on Russian TV,” “h/t by Boing Boing,” and you guys? How, I ask you?)

        • “1. Recommended (NOT MENTIONED, I BEG TO DIFFER) by TNC.”

          OK, now that little correction just made me laugh out loud.

  3. wearyvoter

     /  August 26, 2011

    Whovians who still have access to their kitchens: BBC America is appealing to your need to snack: http://doctorwho.bbcamerica.com/extras-recipes/
    (The Dalek mini-cakes look interesting.)

  4. “Get the hell off the beach in Asbury Park and get out. You’re done. You’ve maximized your tan. Get off the beach! Do not waste anymore time working on your tan. Get off the beach, get out of your beach houses and get to safer lands.”

    -New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.


    • Srsly? He said that? That is too many kinds of awesome. Every time I try to hate him, he pulls me back with not-being-an-Islamophobe and/or hilarity.

  5. wearyvoter

     /  August 26, 2011

    My husband’s car was taken in for some repair work last week. Apparently, my car has decided it wishes to be a jealous sibling. It is making some noises that tell me that I should leave it parked until Monday, when I can call our friendly mechanic (he who is good at nursing elderly cars along). It is drivable, but it’s not going farther than the .75 miles from our house to the mechanic’s place.

  6. At some point today I realized that what little family I have is all on the East Coast. (We’re terrible about keeping in touch but love each other a ton). So I’ve just been looking up their addresses on Google Maps satellite and comparing it to Irene’s projected path http://laughingsquid.com/hurricane-irene/ and every.single.one.of.them is smack on the path.

    Now I’m making phone calls.

  7. scone

     /  August 26, 2011

    Before I lose power due to heavy rain, I wanted to share this with the Horde: http://geeks.thedailywh.at/2011/08/26/handmade-silmarillion-of-the-day/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TdwGeeks+%28TDW+Geeks%29&utm_content=Bloglines

    I know there are other Tolkien nerds around who will likely drool, as I did.

  8. Also

  9. Captain Button

     /  August 26, 2011

    This weekend in whining about restaurant: Those paper napkin dispensers never work right for me. It’s a conspiracy!

    • dave in texas

       /  August 27, 2011

      Probably because some bozo loaded it wrong. This is the pet peeve for which I was known for being an absolute asshole about when I managed a restaurant. When loading the dispensers, whether they’re the upright kind or the vertical kind, the napkins have to put in so that there’s a flap facing the front and not just jammed in there any old way. Yet invariably, people put the napkins in backwards, so that folks using the dispenser are forced to pull them out by the handful, wasting paper and creating a mess. WAITERS!! I know you want to do your sidework and get the hell out at the end of your shift, but,srsly, it doesn’t add even a second to your sidework to put the damn napkins in with the flap facing forward.

      /end rant

      • Captain Button

         /  August 27, 2011

        Besides that, they often seem to be overstuffed, so that even if you can get ahold of a flap it just comes off in you hand because they are too tightly stuck in there.

        Separately, I wonder if perhaps the napkins are not the right version for that dispenser. I suspect somewhere napkin engineers are ranting.

  10. MightBeLying

     /  August 26, 2011

    I am so ready for this hurricane. I went to Trader Joe’s for snacks, not because I needed anything but because it was entertaining. Lines went all the way to the back of the store. I bought pudding. I have a bottle of wine in the fridge. It’s on.

    (I am also a Girl Scout and well versed in hurricanes from visiting family in SoFla often, so I also have the requisite water/batteries/flashlights/etc. … but with the pudding and wine I feel like I will be riding this one out in style)

    • I bought wine on Thursday night. Can’t be rained in without boozes!

      Also too: the Trader Joe’s in my neighborhood is really happening, and is well and truly under construction. We were walking by the site the other day and saw the ABC permit for selling wine & beer up in the window next to the building permits.

      There will be a Trader Joe’s within walking distance of my home. 1623 steps, according to my pedometer. This makes me very happy. And probably also very poor. But at least I’ll be poor while eating good food and drinking good wine.

      • MightBeLying

         /  August 26, 2011

        As a Pennsylvanian, I cannot get wine at Trader Joe’s. It is SO UNFAIR.

        • David L

           /  August 26, 2011

          I’ve only ever spent a weekend in PA, but I couldn’t help but think that their liquor laws made Texas’ liquor laws look sane. (And “Texas’ liquor laws” and “sane” are not normally two things I associate with each other.)

      • helensprogeny

         /  August 27, 2011

        Trader Joe’s is a positive affliction in my life. I’m in there almost every day. I drive by 2 of them on my way to work, one of which is only 5 minutes from my house by car or 15 minutes by foot. Plus, 2 people who work at Trader Joe’s live in my (fairly small) apartment complex. I’m surrounded by Trader Joe’s goodness all day long. I literally spend more money at TJs than anywhere else in any given month. It is a deep, deep love affair. A friend of mine (whose wife is similarly afflicted) believes it’s a special kind of insanity. Just a friendly warning. TJs madness might be contagious. But oh, so good!

    • Ian

       /  August 26, 2011

      We lost power for 8 days after Hurricane Gloria. Get more wine.

      • MightBeLying

         /  August 26, 2011

        Sir, I like the way you think.
        I was thinking I should get some red since I won’t be able to keep the white chilled if we lose power. This is what disaster preparedness looks like, people.

        • Lise

           /  August 26, 2011

          I read this as “I won’t be able to keep the white people chilled if we lose power.” Which gave me a moment’s pause.

          • No, the current NYC white vintages have a tendency to freak out if they have to go without power too long and their internet portals run low on battery power. The best way to chill them out then is nice wine by candlelight and reminding them how cool it is to be “rustic.”

          • I… can see how it might!

            :: waves at sister ::

        • scone

           /  August 27, 2011

          I bought some red wine last night for just that reason!

  11. corkingiron

     /  August 26, 2011

    Is there any truth to the rumor that Em will be starring in a Russian TV remake of the great classic – called “My Mother the Kugel”?

  12. going to a retirement party at midday on a Friday really means the rest of your day is ruined, because you can’t go out and drink after that, and you can’t get anything productive done, either!

    Time to watch ahemed downloads of British dramas.

  13. David L

     /  August 26, 2011

    I’m spending the evening watching Dress To Kill and working on creating a WordPress template from scratch for my blog.

    Tell me about your unexciting Friday evenings.

    • Hunger, with the eminently sex-able Michael Fassbender. Scotch.

    • wearyvoter

       /  August 26, 2011

      Spending the first of 8 Friday evenings as a football widow. (My husband tapes football games for a local high school football team. Game film-style.) So far tonight: cleaned out car; visited YouTube and found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=oiMZa8flyYY; am also catching up on podcasts from Nerdist.com. Must get off of the intertubes and do some laundry.

    • Ian

       /  August 26, 2011

      Once I leave work, it’ll be ice and alcohol for my fucked-up neck (two days ago I crashed my bike in a way that was hilarious until the pain started). Also reading Karin Fossum, writer of Scandinavia’s saddest crime novels.

      • “writer of Scandinavia’s saddest crime novels.”

        That’s quite an effort, given how sad most of them are. All ice and snow and dark gray days of rain and snow. Give me Chandler and Mosley – crime in sunny Southern California. Blinding sunlight and film noir.

        (And…an aside: Mosley chose at one point to have his novel published by Black Classic Press, owned by Paul Coates. I had no idea until I looked it up just now. The world, she is small.)

    • SWNC

       /  August 27, 2011

      Watched a few episodes of “Posh Nosh,” a deeply hilarious BBC send up of a cooking show, then went to bed with the latest novel in the Dresden Files.

  14. dmf

     /  August 26, 2011

  15. Nora Carrington

     /  August 26, 2011

    ::raises hand shyly::

    hi Hordians

    I’m not 100% sure I’ve commented here before, so this may not show up until after Shabbat, but I think it’s so cool that Emily does this when TNC’s on the lam.

    I realized this afternoon that I’ve been fretting about Hordians in the hurricane and wanted somewhere to check in to see if folks are ok. So having been recently reminded of this place I thought I’d venture over to see if anyone had checked in. My mom’s still safely away on the West Coast, so back East I only have ya’ll to worry about.

    2nd thumbs up for Karin Fossum. When I sold all my mysteries end of July I kept only the Scandinavians, a recent obsession, and Le Carre. I’m also partial to Helene Tursten. If you’re a fan of the genre, apparently a “must read” is the ten book series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö; I’ve read four so far and liked them quite a bit.

    • Hi Nora!

      We’re fine, though Mitzi the Outdoor Kitty refuses to come inside. I have a feeling once it starts raining she’ll change her tune.

      The good news is we have harvested plenty of tomatoes, peppers, herbs and catnip to ride out the storm.

      • wearyvoter

         /  August 27, 2011

        Has Mitzi come in yet?

        • Yes. She has taken up residence in her “indoor napping spot.” The other cats are by turns bewildered at her appearance in the household during daylight hours that are not feeding times, and giving her preferred napping spot a wide berth.

          Purrrbot 5000 is next to me, purrhuffing away. Drake is crashed out, having spend anxious hours staring at the weather. Ani and Luci are in windows watching the outdoors and wondering where the birds and squirrels have gone.

          • wearyvoter

             /  August 27, 2011

            Love the name Purrrbot 5000. My owners are Daphne–tortie cat with herding dog tendencies; and Belle, brown tabby who likes to drape herself over my shoulders during cold weather. Belle is the one with motorboat purr.

            We’re safely here in downstate Illinois, well away from the hurricanes.

            Speaking of herding tendencies–I’m being nipped and head-butted in the general direction of the water dish.

            • BF christened Kira “Purrrbot 5000” after we moved in together because she purrs at the slightest provocation. Also when she’s sharing the pillow with you when your sleeping. She’s our people needer and has known to exhibit burr-like behaviors after staff return from bouts of unscheduled leave. She’s a tortie-calico mix. Mitzi the outdoor one is her bonded sister. She’s mostly one big white spot. We could be gone for days and she wouldn’t care.

              Drake and Ani are some sort of Bombay-dominant mix. The only sign something is mixed in is the little white spots on their necks, just below where their bells hang. Otherwise they look and behave just like full on Bombays, from eating us out of house and home to acting like dog-cats to looking like mini-panthers.

              Luci is a 15 year old tabby. She hates everyone and only ever wants to be around my BF. As far as she’s concerned I’m the interloper who stole her side of the bed and brought all these other cats into her universe. I am allowed to feed her chicken though.

              • JHarper2

                 /  August 27, 2011

                It is confusing for those of us who came in late that anibundel has a cat named ani.

                • Ani (the Cat) is short for Andromeda.

                  ani(bundel the person) is my internet handle that has no connection to my real name.

                  How is this not clear? 🙂

  16. For all you folks in the city/burbs at risk of losing power and being unable to cook, I ‘splained how to make an improvised stove, courtesy of my survival training as a kid in F-H:

    It really works. But don’t use a pot that’s been in water, they can ‘splode, and then you got some splainin’ to do.

    • That link don’t work. At least, for me.

      We set ourselves up pretty well for The End of the Age (1999->2000), so we’ve got the woodstove and water and lots of canned & dry goods. While we get high winds and floods, generally we come through OK (except for the random tree falling down here and there).

      Hope the windstorm passes you by in Maine. From what I read, Irene should be no more than a powerful rainstorm by the time it gets up there.

      And to the others in the direct path – good luck, stay safe, and check in with us.

  17. wearyvoter

     /  August 26, 2011

    The Atlantic’s site seems to be either overwhelmed or down as of about 5 minutes ago.

  18. dmf

     /  August 27, 2011

  19. wearyvoter

     /  August 27, 2011

    Leaving for Sweetcorn Festival in 30 minutes. (Eat your heart out, fictional Pawnee, Indiana!)

  20. I’m gonna comment through Facebook this time…

    To everyone in the path of the hurricane, best of luck to you, stay out of harm’s way, and hugs to you and your loved ones and your pets. I’ve ridden out a few storms before, so I know it’s a bit harrowing but as long as you got a safe place on high ground, with supplies, you should be good.

    Also, new Doctor Who on tonight. Let’s go kill us some Hitler!

    • ….and then hope we have power long enough to recap it afterwards! #priorities

      • I love that you, too, use hashtag humor in non-Twitter locales. #hashtaghumorforthewin

        • This leaves us twitter virgins feeling twitterpated.

          Or like my mother-in-law trying to learn to use email a decade ago, perhaps. Which makes me think the aging process will have sped beyond measuring some day to come.

          • Think of it as acclamating yourself to twitter norms, so when you finally break down and join you won’t have to ask “what is up with the pound-sign stuff?”

  21. How’s about a Hurricane Irene playlist? There’s no such thing as too obvious:

    “Hurricane” by Bob Dylan – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV9yB5PyI1w
    “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by the Scorpions, with orchestral accompaniment! – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV9yB5PyI1w
    “Goodnight Irene” originally by Leadbelly, covered by Willie Nelson – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGd4jkaoHRg

    • I went with David Wilcox on my blog, since I couldn’t find a good quality video of Kris Delmhorst.

  22. So, this seems like as good a spot as any to report back on this, since it ties together Emily’s Jack Layton post with the complaining-about-Ontario-bureaucracy conversation in the last TNC open post:

    I just got back from the funeral procession, and then the funeral, for Jack Layton. The public was invited to join the procession, after the dignitaries and the mounted police and Jack’s family. My partner and I had just gotten out of the ER last night (I have had a series of ER visits lately for a complicated thing that’s painful but temporary and not life-threatening) but we weren’t going to miss this, and anyway as soon as we got into the crowd of smiling, crying, dancing, hugging, gossiping, singing people I felt ten times healthier. A bunch of politically-minded bicyclists and musicians made up the end of the procession, which was appropriate for Jack since, as long-serving City Councillor, he helped make Toronto bicycle-friendly in many ways. The musicians included a samba drumming section and a sort of pick-up improvised-music horn group called Rambunctious, who were playing New Orleans style marches (but totally improvised) on this occasion. (The bicyclists rang their bells, too.) My partner – he’s played with Rambunctious before – brought his clarinet and I brought a hand-bell and we marched along with them. The crowd somehow generated a couple of call-and-response songs; one went “Love! And Hope! And Optimism!” and the other “The best prime minister! We never had!” We played and danced in the middle of University Avenue as we waited for the procession to begin. And then it did: we all fell silent as bagpipers came by, and then Jack’s casket, and then the police waved us into line, and we marched, and we played, and we sang. All the musicians shook hands when we got to the end of the route, except for the guy who organized it, who was kept busy by a small swarm of reporters.

    The crowd gathered in front of the venue, after the procession, was large – maybe a couple of thousand people where I was, aside from the 800 official guests in Roy Thompson hall and 600 more next door in St Andrew’s church – and full of good feeling. We heard the music and the orations through a pretty good sound system, and more or less faced toward screens on which they could be seen (but which were hidden by tree branches from our vantage point.) Lots of people wearing orange, the color of New Democratic Party. A couple of men in formal black suits, on stilts. At least one woman wearing a fake Jack-style mustache; at least one man in an orange turban. A whole contingent of people who looked like Tamils gathered around a sign that read “Thank you Jack, from the Tamil Community.” Many kids in strollers. Some tears, a few fists raised in the air, a lot of cameras in the air too, much applause and laughter. Only one drunk person. Whoever sang “Hallelujah” during the service left in all the least appropriate verses, but oh well. It turned out that Jack and his family are long-time members of the Metropolitan Community Church; and somehow it was the upbeat, even joyful sermon by the MCC minister that made me sniffly, in the end.

    Living here in this orderly and sometimes red-tape-ridden city, I often wish for more of what Mexico City has – that sense of desmadre, the feeling that everything is going to tilt over into chaos at any second (but not always in a bad way.) It was so good to be reminded that Toronto can rise to the occasion once in a while, that we too can improvise celebrations of death and life, and make meaning out of disaster.

    • Thank you so much for this. I’m going to see what I can find online tonight – I’d like to watch some of it.

      • Glad you didn’t mind me busting in here. Please post links if you find good ones.

        • Good gravy, bust on in! JHarper2 clearly also meant to reply to you, just below. We are a very busting-in-welcoming crowd! And if I find links, I’ll post, absolutely.

          • Wait, I’m not seeing JH2 down there … unless he’s Stephen Matlock? Arrggghh, I feel like such a newbie!

            • Nah. He is much smarter and wittier than I am.

              Of course, I am making a 50%-chance-of-being-right guess that he is a he.

            • I’m sorry, I was confusing my Canadians and their placement in the thread! I meant corkingiron, to whom you had apparently just replied, as I was replying to you…. Dearie me. Tell no one.

              Anyhoo. As you can see: The door’s open, c’mon in! : )

    • caoil

       /  August 27, 2011

      Thank you for this. I don’t often wish to be in Toronto, but I would have liked to be there today.

  23. corkingiron

     /  August 27, 2011

    Lola – so glad you could be there. It looked marvellous – joyfully respectful. I particularly liked the part where the Minister casually said “Jack always asked me – how’s John? John is my husband”. It was casual and friendly and a pointed reminder to me of how far we have come from Jack’s early days in the battle against homophobia. There will be no tsk-tsking columnist or TV host taking him to task for it. It’s normal now. It’s ordinary.

    And to watch old white guys (including two former and one current Prime Minister) standing alongside Asians and Sikhs and African-Canadians and the whole glorious human tapestry- all rocking out to the Segato’s feminist anthem “Rise Up Rise Up”! (Kick-ass band too!). That was our Jack. That was the best of him. That is the best of us. We are broken-hearted, but we do not despair.

    • And I love that Jack’s spiritual life and his political principles were so intertwined. He had been a member of the Metropolitan Community Church for a *long* time – he must have been one of the first straight people in the congregation. That’s lovely. He didn’t keep politics separate from his day-to-day, and he didn’t keep the realities of his day-to-day separate from his politics.

      We are broken-hearted, but we do not despair.

      Yes. This.

  24. watson42

     /  August 27, 2011

    I’d like to think I’m ready for Irene, but I have my doubts about the house staying intact tomorrow. Even in normal storms, the house shakes and sways. But I have all the requisite survival necessities…plus wine and single malt scotch. And I have a survial bag packed (meds, cash, documents, first aid kit, radio, etc, even a spare 1TB drive with all my files), though I haven’t packed a bag with clothes and food (and single malt) yet. It will depend on how things look tomorrow. No matter what, it’s going to be an interesting day tomorrow!

  25. You captured the feel of the event for us – helped to make us be there along with you.


  26. Here’s hoping everyone’s well down south. Thoughts with you.

    We’re ready; we moved the futon off the screen porch. (Good place to sleep on hot, muggie nights.)

    Some random stuff:

    And today, I took a natural dye class; so much fun. Some of those weeds and mushrooms and barks out there make might pretty colors when you cook them down, and put wool yarn in the resulting juices.

    And if those in the path of the storm have achy joints, there’s good reason. My sweetie used to work on Mount Washington in NH; he’d be on the summit for a week at a time. When they went up with food, from the base at about 700 feet to the summit at over 6,000, bags of stuff like chips would swell, and sometimes explode, due to the changing air pressure. Well, as the storm moves closer, the same thing thing’s going on in the sacs of fluid in your joints. Kind of like Bullwinkle’s bunyon, only real, not cartoonish.

    If you’ve had to harvest all your cherry tomatoes — awesome and simple salad: Take some good bread, break it into bits and let it dry or toast it as for croutons. Half the tomatoes. I also cut up a juicy purple heirloom I had, one that was all weird shaped with breaks in it, mix with the tomatoes, and dress with a good olive oil/balsamic dressing. A bit of cheese would be nice, and some fresh basil, too. Bit of salt. The dried bread soaks up the tomato juice and dressing, but remains chewy. Big hit at the dye class today.

    Be well, and keep your powder dry.

    • There is nothing in this comment that I wouldn’t hit a like button for, if only I could. From using mushrooms to dye your yarns, to the science behind weather-induced exploding joints (not to mention the vision of exploding chips), and finally the recipe.

      I like you zic, I really like you!

      • gaw, now I feel like Sally Fields. I’m going to put on my funny hat (I made it myself) and fly away. And Lise, don’t tell Emily I said this, but she’s sweet beyond belief. Charmingist person I’ve me on the internets. I hope you’ll dish some dirt on her for us; tell us about how she put gum in your hair, spilled grape juice on your favorite sweater, or told your boyfriend you had cooties or something. Unless that charm runs in families. . .

    • What I learned about growing tomatoes here in the Northwest: unless we have an unusual summer, you will not harvest your tomatoes. They will rot and get blight.

      Instead, about the last week of August, pull the plant up entirely. The tomatoes will be green.

      Take the tomato plants and hang them up, upside down, from the ceiling of your garage so the tomatoes are at eye level.

      Throughout the next 6-8 weeks the tomatoes will ripen on the vine. The vines will dry out, but in the garage the plants will remain relatively dry w/o getting completely crispy. You’ll have very good-tasting tomatoes up through October.

      We have this endemic blight fungus in the air, and the combination of increasing humidity starting in September means that one morning you will go out to check your tomatoes and they will be grey and black, rotting, and there is nothing you can do about it. Even if you think you can pick all the green tomatoes, they are all infected, and if you pick them all and put them in your house, they will not ripen; instead, they will all turn grey and rot. I’ve tried that several years, and never got more than one or two tomatoes before the blight hit.

      Pulling them up and putting them in the garage is the way to go.

      • Blight took everything two years ago, rainy spring/summer. I didn’t even try tomatoes last year because of it. Now, I’ve got beautiful tomatoes, out facing Irene — but we’re in Maine, so it might be fine. I picked everything that had begun to turn pale, a precursor to gaining ripe color, they’re on windowsills.

        Have you hung big tomatoes? I always feared they’d just fall off the plant.

        And blight is totally the right word for it. Not only blight’s the tomatoes, but the gardener’s heart!

        • I’ve used those tomato cages with great success – the cone-shaped ones. You just need to weave the tomato vines into it every so often. Never had a problem with tomatoes touching the ground.

          One year I put in a 16×16 section of corn, and then threw in some pumpkin seeds among the corn. (Note that if you plant corn all at the same time, it ripens all at the same time.) The corn was wonderful, and then I forgot about the garden (It’s way in the back part of the property).

          Around September I’m out getting the tomatoes out and I notice these absolutely huge green and gold balls. They’re the pumpkins, and they are HUGE. Not the enormous squashed spheroids, but the globes and oblongs and round jack-o-lantern types. Had 30 or 40 of them. I’m talking HUGE. If I was still a kid, I would have been in heaven. I had so much fun that year with my kids carving up the dozen or so we kept, and we gave away all the rest.

          While I do not particularly like pumpkin itself (maybe once a year as pumpkin bread), that was one year we had more than an abundance of seeds for roasting.

          And this morning I just got done making fresh pico de gallo for the potluck this afternoon. I think this photo will work:

          I tried it with the eggs from my neighbor’s chickens. Delicious breakfast.

        • Yes, blight’s the word. I didn’t grow any this year – we had such a rainy, cold spring and summer that most of my spring flowers didn’t even start to sprout until June. My fuchsias which I overwinter didn’t show anything until after Fathers Day. One geranium just sprouted in July. So this was definitely not a tomato summer. (And the winter was so cold that one of the roses died right down to the bottom inch of stalk. I have a Mr. Lincoln rose that put out a normal size flower about even with ground level. The plant is only about 3 inches high now. I’m thinking this next winter will do it in completely.)

          (Comment lost so I’ll repost it)

          A few years back (10, I think), I planted corn, peppers, and pumpkins. The peppers didn’t make it at all – stunted, blighted things, in the sunniest part of the yard. The corn was great – note that if you plant 25 or so corn seeds, then the corn ripens all about the same 2 days. I forgot about the pumpkins, until I went out in September to pull the tomatoes, and saw these huge globes in the dead corn stalks. Gold and green and not a one smaller than a basketball, and most of them far larger. I hadn’t planted the type that gets ginormous – it’s just that I have very rich soil, well drained (about a foot or so of humus on top of sand). I had the kind of pumpkins kids dream about for Hallowe’en – 40-50 pounds each, some easily the size of a backpack or cooler.

          Had lots to give away that year – more than 4 dozen – and lots of pumpkin seeds for roasting.

          And speaking of tomatoes, made fresh pico de gallo this morning for the afternoon potluck. Here’s a picture of the pico:

          Was delicious already with the eggs from my neighbor’s chickens.

      • Nora Carrington

         /  August 28, 2011

        I’m housesitting in West Seattle for a month and when I got here August 4 there was a wee squash plant and the tomatoes had fruited but the fruit was also wee and very green. The squash now has more than a dozen blossoms that will become veg if it doesn’t get cold right after labor day and the tomatoes are big but still very green. Only the romas are beginning to pale in preparation for reddening. None of them have any sign of blight, however, which is good. I’ll leave your suggestion re: hanging for the homeowner/gardener.

  27. I’m back! And y’all have been busy! And my sister’s here!

    HI LISE!!!

    Horde, meet my sister. Lise, meet the Horde!

    • MightBeLying

       /  August 27, 2011

      *WAVES FRANTICALLY* Hello horde-sister! Nice to meet you!

    • wearyvoter

       /  August 27, 2011

      Greetings, Lise!

    • Lise

       /  August 28, 2011

      Hi, uh, guys! (In the midwest, “guys” means “y’all”. My husband’s from the South. Though he says they also use “guys”. Like as in “y’all guys”. Anyway). I’m Emily’s sister, not the Horde’s sister. Except spiritually, of course. In the sense that we are all billion year old carbon. First time I’ve ventured in here. And I had no idea my sister would be so happy to see me. Here, that is. 🙂

      • David L

         /  August 28, 2011

        I was about to say that “y’all guys” is never correct, then I realized the absurdity of correcting someone over their usage of the word “y’all.” Particularly since I come from a part of the world where we have second person singular (“you”), second person plural (“y’all”), and second person very plural (“all y’all” or “alla y’all”).

        • second person very plural – heh!

          • dave in texas

             /  August 29, 2011

            plural possessive: all’s y’all’s

        • Lise

           /  August 28, 2011

          My husband once made the mistake of saying “y’all women…” to me. In which case, I think that “y’all guys…” could be correct. Unless it should be “y’all MEN”. But what do I know? I’m a Yankee.

      • caoil

         /  August 28, 2011

        I am liking this comment x 100, largely for the carbon reference.

  28. May I just say that of the seven households about which I have any concern in this storm, fully five lie very very much in the storm’s path. I didn’t manage to talk to anyone yesterday, but I left messages for all, and will hope mightily that they have done all they can do to keep themselves safe.

    May I also say that at a certain point, I discovered that I’d had CNN on for fully five straight hours (it’s amazing how much sorting and cleaning and arranging and putting away and lunch making and so on one can do with the television always within viewing distance!), and yet for all of those five hours, I hadn’t heard so much as a single scrap of news about anything but the storm. Not a word. And honestly, as much as I think it makes complete and justified sense that this country is laser-focused right now, it would not have killed anyone to have, say, a five minute headline-round-up every 10 minutes after the hour, or something. I can only presume that the rest of the world continued to carry on with its bad self. Right?

    Anyhoo. I think I’ll go see what The Guardian, HaAretz and Al-Jaz have to say.

    • Were you looking at CNN, or just listening to it? They probably had (inadequate and misleading) headlines about other stuff in the ticker.

      • I was looking at the NYT interactive map/Google maps. Tropical strength winds/flooding all around….

      • Oh wait, now I see what you were saying!

        When I had the TV on, I was actively watching it, and they literally had NOTHING but storm coverage. Not even a crawl about Charlie Sheen or a kitten in a tree, certainly not (say) Libya or (say) the killing of al-Qaeda’s #2 guy (or, as Al-Jaz put it: “Al-Qaeda’s number two ‘killed’ in Pakistan” – I love how they used “we’ve heard this before y’all are probably yanking our chains” quotes) or, I don’t know, anything else happening anywhere else in America. You wouldn’t even know that the storm is expected to hit Canada too! It was/remains rather impressive. Five minutes an hour of Headlines About Stuff That Isn’t Irene, or even just a damn crawl, would not have been a bad thing, CNN – I swear it.

    • Lise

       /  August 28, 2011

      We ran away to SW Michigan, and heard nothing, NOTHING of Irene. It was sweet. This afternoon your brother-in-law looked at the news on his phone as we dined in historic St. Jo’s. I assume all our East coast family made it through.

      • wearyvoter

         /  August 28, 2011

        I’m from SW Michigan originally–Battle Creek, specifically. (Moved away in 1980, immediately after graduating from college.) What part of SW Michigan are you in? Michigan’s a pretty state, even though the economy isn’t/hasn’t been all that great since the early 80s.

        • Lise

           /  August 28, 2011

          I’m back in NE Chicago again. We spent about 24 hr supporting the Michigan economy, getting away from home, avoiding hurricane watching, and showing off some of the beautiful scenery around here to my husband, who’s from Alabama. On Friday, several factors converged, and I went searching for B&Bs with an available room. Found one up by Saugatuck, so that’s where we headed. Came back home via the Blue Star highway until Michigan City. We stopped at Van Buren State Park and hiked into the dunes overlooking the lake. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful all day long. It was a great get-away. And seriously, I felt good about spending some money in Michigan.

  29. Welcome back.

    The chatter here was significant. Well, in quantity, anyway.

  30. On the other hand, you are 100% more visible than he is.

    • Augh, this was supposed to be in reply to a comment up there by S. Matlock. I was going for witty, but instead arrived at incomprehensible. Maybe I should just go to bed …

  31. Nora Carrington

     /  August 28, 2011

    Guess what!?! Andy Hall got a shout out from one of Sullivan’s weekend posters, Maisie Allison.


    Have we heard from the Eastern Horde this morning? Saw zic, anybody else?

    • MightBeLying

       /  August 28, 2011

      Not too bad in downtown Philadelphia, I never lost power, which is a bit surprising considering that there were 2 massive downed trees and a manhole explosion, all within 2 blocks of me. The rivers are flooding, but it seems to be limited to the places it is wont to do so – no surprises.
      Suburbs got hit pretty hard. My mom lost power and is expecting it will be out for a few days. Lots of downed trees, a few tornadoes in the area. Also there is a crazed murderer on the run, which is now more concerning than the hurricane.

    • Aw, dang, I wish he’d linked to Andy’s blog! I hope he sees it. I may have to use my behind-the-curtain fu and send him an email.

      • Nora Carrington

         /  August 28, 2011

        I left a comment at Dead Confederates 🙂 He was glad to hear you were hosting here so folks could keep in touch through the storm.

  32. Shaking. Our tree came down; took off the corner of a porch that wraps around the front and side of our house, damaged the corner of the roof.

    The tree had two trunks. This was the trunk near the house.

    Shortly after, the second trunk fell, away from the house.

    The trunks, on the ground, are nearly up to my neck.

    We’re very lucky to be unharmed.

    • helensprogeny

       /  August 28, 2011

      So glad you guys are okay! Is the storm still blowing up your way? Stay safe!

    • Wow.

      I’m glad you’re safe. Sounds like it wasn’t too much structural damage. Hope you can get it repaired with no hassle.

    • Oh my, I can only just barely imagine. I’m so glad you’re safe, even though if it were me, my heart would likely not yet be convinced that me and mine were safe. And so sorry for the losses and trouble. A tree going down (even if it needed to come down) is a sad thing in the best of circumstances, and these are hardly the best circumstances.

      • Still shaking.

        Our beautiful porch is ruined; the tree literally missed the house by inches. Door to the porch won’t open, blocked by tree.

        Wind’s picking up, now, too.

        We have a nightmare of insurance and repairs in front of us. Thousands of dollars of repairs.

        • Nora Carrington

           /  August 28, 2011

          So glad you’re ok, zic. I’m sorry about the damage to your house, esp. the porch, which it sounds like you love. Stay safe, and warm, and dry, if you can.

        • Oh honey. I wish I could send you a hug and a cup of tea and a nice fix-it guy/gal with a chain saw, and maybe a Valium. And some extra cash. I’m so sorry.

          • caoil

             /  August 28, 2011

            And a nice force field to keep additional things away from the house! Goodness. Definitely hope it passes by you soon!

    • wearyvoter

       /  August 28, 2011

      Whew! Glad you’re safe. (On the bright side, maybe your homeowners’ insurance will cover getting rid of the tree’s remnants.)

  33. I’m sorry to hear about the damage. If there is any way to be safe and keep the water out of the house, see what you can do – but always be safe. That’s the worst part of a storm – the water damage. But nothing is worth risking your safety.

    A few years ago I had a tree branch break (from the maples that are now gone) and plunge through the roof like a javelin. It let the rain in and damaged the ceiling. I got up there the next day and got a temporary patch on, but the rain water did far more damage than just the branch coming through.

  34. wearyvoter

     /  August 28, 2011

    Today in random thoughts: I’m wondering if maybe I should have pursued a career as a Foley editor. It looks like the most fun you can have in below-the-line production. (Of course, I’d have to move where the cost of living is more onerous than it is here. 😦 )

  35. Here’s what Irene did to my house:

    Weeping a lot this morning. I hope everyone’s okay. And I’m worried about Persia; all other’s who live on VT.

    • Oh holy Moses. Oh honey. That’s just terrible. And so frightening — all the “what if it had been five more inches in that direction” questions that I would be asking give me the shivers, and it’s not even my house.

      I hadn’t thought about Persia, but you’re right. And isn’t BJ in Virginia? I’m off to see if I can find people and make sure they’re ok.

      Big kisses, sweetie. Hugs and kisses.

    • But I also want to say: What a lovely home you have. I’m so sorry it was hurt in this way, and so hopeful that you’ll be able to put it to rights without too much struggle.

    • Ah Zic, I am so sorry. As Emily says, you have a beautiful home.

      I’m glad that everyone is safe. And I hope things settle down after you assess the damage and get repairs underway.

      My thoughts are with you and your family.

  36. dmf

     /  August 30, 2011

    • The husband brought the to my attention a couple of weeks ago, and will, every now and then, apropos of nothing, bust out with “Boogity boogity boogity – Amen!”…!

      It is a clip to be highly recommended!