The “It’s 12:30 EST. Do you know where your Ta-Nehisi is?” open thread.

Have at it, oh mighty Horde.

If you’re a newcomer – please scroll down and poke around! You may well find something of interest, and if you do, please do comment, and come back. (If you happen to already know me as an Israel/Palestine writer, here’s all that joyful palaver).

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  1. I dunno where Ta-Nehisi is, but he better be on Little Round Top getting pictures during his return visit to Gettysburg!

    • I mean to say!

      • JHarper2

         /  August 26, 2011

        So now it’s a race. Will TNC get back before ELH runs out of clever open thread titles? If the article writing runs long, by next Wednesday do we just get the ELH equivalent of its yours: Hi, the couch is over there?

        Emily, thanks for letting us hang out here, we’ll try to remember to clean up, and btw you made an impressive bouncer with your imposing presence and ID checking machine.

        And a Russian TV star to boot.

  2. dmf

     /  August 26, 2011

    for taking time to celebrate life and fridays:

    Between going and coming…

    Between going and staying
    the day wavers,
    in love with its own transparency.
    The circular afternoon is now a bay
    where the world in stillness rocks.

    All is visible and all elusive,
    all is near and can’t be touched.

    Paper, book, pencil, glass,
    rest in the shade of their names.

    Time throbbing in my temples repeats
    the same unchanging syllable of blood.

    The light turns the indifferent wall
    into a ghostly theater of reflections.

    I find myself in the middle of an eye,
    watching myself in its blank stare.

    The moment scatters. Motionless,
    I stay and go: I am a pause.

    Octavio Paz

    • the same unchanging syllable of blood

      This whole thing makes me think of what Friday afternoons were like for me in Tel Aviv, as the city and country wound down for Shabbat. It’s one of the things I miss most about the place.

  3. I have a sinus infection, so I may just be crabbier than usual, but seriously–I should not be impressing the bleeding heart liberals I work with here with Practical Feminist Perspective 101.

    And yet, there it is.

    • Captain Button

       /  August 26, 2011

      Sinus infections suck. Since you are at work my standard bit about hot showers probably isn’t feasible, but try some hot tea, that’s what I;d do.

    • That is most unfortunate. What does Practical Feminist Perspective 101 look like in your office of bleeding heart liberals?

    • SWNC

       /  August 26, 2011

      Oh, dear. Details? (Hope you feel better soon! And stay on high ground.)

      • We’re fine as far as ground. It’s his parents beachhouse (my favorite place to vacation) that’s fucked. It’s right in the target zone. 😦
        As for practical liberalism–nearly everyone I work with has college age children who go to VA schools,a nd had their move in dates screwed up by the hurricane. One woman’s son is currently stranded in one city with no buses available to get him to the correct one where his college is located. She was on the phoner with him brain storming options when her husband calls and tell her to stop babying him, he’ll be fine, worse comes to worst, the kid can hitchhike, he’s an adult, let him figure it out.

        It was the hitchhike that tripped me as she relayed this story–without thinking I said “Did you ask if he’d say the same thing if it was his daughter?”

        You’d think I’d just told her the earth was round. It had never once occurred to her to say that. And it was SO TRUE. Sigh.

        I thought I was done but then our intern boy, who’s really quite useless, is arguing with his girlfriend down the phone. It’s an open office, so we heard most of it. When he hung up, he asked loudly and childishly, “Why are women so difficult?”

        “We’re only difficult to boy who think of us as a monolith, instead of distinct people with personalities” i told him.
        Not only did this get a huge laugh from everyone, and duly chastened him, but the woman from earlier was like “Wow! You’re on a roll Ani!”

        No, I’m not on a roll. I’m just pointing out practical feminist perspective. I thought this was a non-profit full of bleeding hearted liberals…why is this so startling?

        • You know where I work — and for everyone else, it’s a major media company that I guarantee you’ve heard of. Let’s just say that they did “badger week” at the end of last month. Only not badgers.

          All of a sudden, as out of left field, suddenly people in the company are saying, “Hey! Did you know that apparently the representation of women on television is sometimes a problem? And also apparently it affects the way girls view stuff.”

          I swear, I need a padded desk, so that *headdesk*ing doesn’t hurt. Goodness knows I do it often enough.

          • SWNC

             /  August 26, 2011

            ….better late than never?…..

          • David L

             /  August 26, 2011

            But you have that one redhead chick on the show with breaking legends or whatever it’s called. That isn’t enough for an entire TV network that’s spawned multiple related channels?

          • badger badger badger badger mushROOM mushROOM

          • YOU WORK THERE?!


            • Yes, and no. He’s been in the building like once since I started and it was a strictly business, meet-the-execs thing.

              We’ve had other folks come and do employee events, though, which is always cool.

              • That’s so cool. I ask specifically about Shrike Shrow because I am in love with him.

        • I think there are a lot of people who engage in Polite Not Telling. When clearly, some people Need To Be Told.

          I’m glad you’re freeing them up to tell it.

          • Yeah, if I were not sinus infection headachy cranky, I might not have spoken up, I would have ignored the conversations like I usually do.

            The better part of today was after I left, I got to go pick up my new trendy glasses from lenscrafters. I have officially joined the second decade of the 21st century eyewear wise.

  4. Captain Button

     /  August 26, 2011

    General grouse: Waitstaff who don’t give me tip-usuable change. I.E. if my bill is $9.20 and I give them a $20, giving me a $10 bill and 80 cents is irritating, since then I often have a choice between giving them an 80 cent tip and a $10 one. Giving me 5 $1 bills, a $5 bill, and 80 cents is a much better idea.

    Many waitstaff are seem to realize this, but many do not. Or is not having enough $1s that chronic a problem?

    Or is this another one of those secret rules things they explained in school that week I was out sick?

    • Often, they have to hand the check to a cashier who then makes the change for them (I had to do this when I was a waitress). They could probably (often) break any big bills on the way over, but that might be awkward on the path from cashier to table, or they’re running like chickens w/o heads, etc.

      And having said that: It bugs me, too! I’m like “Do you want money, or not? Talk to your cashier!”

    • This seems almost intuitive and logical. I really hate when the waitstaff does this. “Listen, I think it’s reasonable to tip you. It’s also reasonable to expect you to know this. And, it’s reasonable to expect you to help me do so. Bringing back a $10 bill, 3 quarters, and a nickel means I’m likely to tip you with whatever change I can find in my wallet or pockets.”

    • dave in texas

       /  August 26, 2011

      The problem isn’t a shortage of ones, far from it; waiters generally have abundance of those. It’s a shortage of fives. Depending on whether or not the restaurant has a cashier, a waiter should try to arrive at work with a bunch of fives, so that when s/he makes a customer’s change, s/he can give change as you describe. Come to think of it, whether there’s a cashier or not, a waiter should always bring fives, because the cashier will also likely be facing a shortage of fives.

      I always preferred to make my own change, even if there was a cashier, because experience showed me that if a customer went to the cashier and had to return to the table to leave a tip, the coins were likely to go into purse or pocket on the way back to the table. whereas they tended to stay on the table if I took it there myself. That can add up over the course of a busy shift. I usually put all my change into a bucket when I got home. That bucket held about $350 in coins, and I usually cashed it out several times a year.

    • JHarper2

       /  August 26, 2011

      Question, how wide spread is paying with cash for a meal in the US. I know that in Canada, almost everything is done by debit (or more rarely credit) card. Even coffee and a snack at Tim’s. I had read about three years ago that there were about the same number of debit transactions in Canada and the US (rule of thumb: Canada population 10% of US) due to greater debit penetration here.
      Most places the server will just bring the debit machine to the table for the transaction, ditto with delivery.

      Note: greater penetration as this started with trials in the late seventies, early eighties. There is an integrated payments clearing system run by the banks/credit unions, and they just made every ATM card also a debit card/ same PIN. Worked like a charm.

      • Ian

         /  August 26, 2011

        Paying cash is still very common in the US. I only use a card if I happen not to have the cash on me. For whatever reason, Japan is still very cash-based. They have fantastically convenient methods of bill payment set up (for example, you can pay your utilities at a convenience store), but I think a huge majority of transactions are cash.

        Does this mean that when I drive through Canada and pay cash for everything, I’m being weird?

        • corkingiron

           /  August 26, 2011

          Americans spending money here is never weird. It is entirely appropriate and makes us happy.

  5. Today, my hair looks like Hermione’s.

    And no, I do not mean Emma Watson. I mean Hermione.

  6. David L

     /  August 26, 2011

    I just did the sexism test that was posted in TNC’s thread yesterday and got to wondering — did it seem to anyone else like there were a bunch of questions that were not so much questions about the relationship men have with women as much as they were about one’s views of masculinity wrapped in heteronormative assumptions about a man’s love/sex/family life?

    For example, there was a question worded like “A man should sacrifice his well-being to provide for the women in his life,” and I just had a very hard time answering, not just because the gender of the people one provides for irrelevant to me, but because man-as-provider is a Big Thing for me personally, but not something that I apply to all men. (I wouldn’t care if my boyfriend/husband and I could live more than comfortably off of his income alone and my entire paycheck went to luxuries, I just couldn’t deal with not bringing in something quantifiable, but I have no problem if the househusband thing is the best choice for other men.)

    Was this question really meant to be some kind of test of sexism towards the traditional male role and I’ve missed it in among the assumption that men have relationships with women?

    • SWNC

       /  August 26, 2011

      Yeah, I didn’t love the questions either. The one that particularly struck me was “every man should have a woman in his life that he adores.” I clicked strongly agree, because I have so many people–men and women–in my life that I adore. I think it would be terribly sad not to have at least one woman in your life (whether you’re male and female) that you didn’t think was the absolute bee’s knees. But not necessarily in a romantic sense, which I think is what they were getting at.

      • David L

         /  August 26, 2011

        I also wasn’t enamored by the qualifers they kept using, either. “Most women” this or that; if I actually had a feeling that some women did whatever they were referring to, I’d have to stop to think about whether it was enough to “most” or not.

        On the other hand, they used absolutes in places where I wouldn’t have used absolutes, either–the question about helping women first in an emergency. If I’m trapped in a burning building with Bob Barker and Hope Solo, I’m helping him first because she’s clearly physically strong enough to get herself out without help. On the other hand, if I’m in a burning building with a middle-aged man and a middle-aged woman, neither of whom are obviously particularly physically fit, I’m probably going to help her first because I assume she’s a little bit less physically strong than he is.

        • Ian

           /  August 26, 2011

          I thought the questions were very poorly written. I stopped taking the test when it became obvious that I was on my way to being crowned the worlds least sexist man. I’m not bad, but I’m not that good.

          • adamnvillani

             /  August 26, 2011

            Yeah. Also not a fan of the question about whether feminists are asking too much of men. Umm, which feminists? Dworkin? Definitely, but she asked too much of women, too. Who are we defining as “feminists,” what are we presuming that they’re asking, and which men, and what about other women?

            Basically I felt like there was a lot of room for interpretation on the questions, which throws its validity into serious doubt.

  7. OMG. As if this week weren’t “this week” enough, this morning I got up nice and early and made it onto the Metro by 7:15 so that I could be at work by 8:15.

    Where I promptly realized I’d taken my PC home last night, and left it there this morning.

    I can’t even.

    I’m home now, again, after a 9-12 meeting, and PC enabled. If not so much brain enabled.

    • My occasionally too-clever-by-half friend Shaun would suggest that, given the week that you’ve had, leaving the work PC at home might not have been entirely accidental….

      But he’s a pain in the ass with this shit, so forget him! I’m sorry sweetie! I hope Kitty With Pirate Name is being very helpful with all his teeth and claws on all your equipment!

      • Definitely accidental, because I was going to get to go home at 12:30 *anyway*, I just would have been able to work from 8:15 – 9:00 instead of looking like an ass.

        Ah, well. Home now, with a cat having pre-hurricane anxiety, and a peppermint mocha frappuccino (I wanted coconut but they’re out for the summer) in hand. *sip*

        • JHarper2

           /  August 26, 2011

          All the best wishes for the weekend for you, husband, and mighty pirate cat. As per discussions yesterday, lay in a case of wine, lots of milk (and ice to keep in cold), bread, 3 kgs of sugar, and at least 48 rolls of toilet paper.
          A generator might not come amiss either.

          • AT LEAST 3 kgs of sugar and 48 rolls of tp. AT LEAST.

          • We have plenty of cat food and treats, I dunno what *he’s* so worried about.

            (They say animals can sense stuff… apparently Mighty Pirate Cat has a built-in barometer and seismograph.)

            • JHarper2

               /  August 26, 2011

              There’s a storm coming and his silly people (staff?) keep going out into danger. He’s worried about you.
              Also someone needs to be around to work the controls on the food dispenser.

              • Whenever BF or I sneeze, Drake makes this whimpering fretty noise as if to say “Food Dispensers! Stop Exploding!”

            • David L

               /  August 26, 2011

              For certain situations, I have come to trust where the cat sleeps more than the weather forecast created by humans. If they’re predicting a storm and he’s stretched out in front of the window, they’re wrong. If they’re saying the storms won’t make it to town and he’s curled up under the dining table, pressed against the back wall of the apartment, I know that they are going to make it.

              The one time that, during a tornado warning, he suddenly fluffed out and made a beeline for the walk-in closet, I followed close behind, since it’s the best room I have in a tornado. There were some pretty big trees downed about a half mile from my apartment in that storm, but they never did document whether it was a tornado or not.

            • Drake and Ani still aren’t themselves. I thing they feel the pressure building in the atmosphere. Yesterday they were extremely considered by the thunder. Today they are pacing and looking out windows and acting on edge.

        • That Shaun. He’s such an asshole!

    • I have done this, and similar things.

      I live 45 minutes away by car (and 2 hours by bus if I catch every connection). If I drive and get in before 9 am, I can park right next to my office and pay a nominal fee (reimbursed by the company); if I take the bus, I get a free pass from the company. (A perk given by most downtown companies.)

      So far this year I’ve shown up to work twice without my laptop, and twice without my wallet. Requiring me to get back in the car, drive home, pick up my laptop or wallet, and take the busses back in (because after 8:30 or so there are no open parking spaces left anywhere near where I work).

      I feel your pain.

      • Yup. We’re 45 minutes by car and 60-90 minutes by Metro (including about 1.5 total miles’ worth of walking in each direction).

        If it had been a regular workday I’d have gone to get the laptop and brought it back to work, and just taken the hit and blames myself, but we had a 9-noon strategy meeting so at least that wasn’t a total disaster.

        Just… oy. This WEEK!

        (I keep an emergency $5, a handful of $1s, and a bunch of quarters deep in my desk, under the binder clips and rubber bands, in case I forget my wallet. Not going home for that!)

    • Seas

       /  August 26, 2011

      About half the time I take the bus to work, and I drive myself most other days. Driving lets me get an extra half an hour of sleep, so the days I drive tend to be the days I am most out of it. And 5 PM always seems to be a time of day when I can no longer properly brain.

      I am just *waiting* for the day when I get halfway up the mountain on the bus before realizing I drove to work.

      • I have done that – taken the bus home instead of getting in my car. Or, since I can park in one of three widely separated park ‘n rides, have taken the bus to the wrong park ‘n ride. So – back to Seattle, then new bus, and back to my car.

        I have only once gotten on the entirely wrong bus, to be jostled by the driver at the end of the line with “Hey, you need to get off. Did you miss your stop?” And in that case the driver was AWESOME when I explained what happened, and he drove me all the way back to a transfer point. Shh! Don’t tell – they’re not supposed to do that.

    • I did that once at my old job. I got all the way to work, looked at my desk and wondered where my PC was.

      Then I remembered.

      Man, were Kira and Mitzi disappointed when I came home only to leave again. At least you got to stay home.

  8. helensprogeny

     /  August 26, 2011

    Just so you know: I missed yesterday’s TNC OTAN, so I’ve presently got two windows open – one here and one at TNC’s place. Reading the various OTs simultaneously. Also, I have no work today (so far) and am hoping that this situation maintains throughout the day because I’m tired and just want to sit on my couch and read OTANs.

    • I think I would go crazy trying to keep up with both.

      And yet I still try.

      Call me crazy.

    • I was going to say “That’s a recipe for not getting any work done!” And lo. May your good luck continue! : )

      • helensprogeny

         /  August 26, 2011

        Thank you. It’s a testament to my state of mind that I’m plowing through all the ST comments on yesterday’s TNC OTAN. While I watched the original series back in the day, I’ve never seen any of the sequels nor do I presently have any interest in them. I just need to hear the Horde talking. About anything. You people are simply aces and a balm to a tired mind.

        • Sorry! That’s my fault! I’ll try and bring up something more interesting in the next one….

          • helensprogeny

             /  August 26, 2011

            Heh. The Horde is always entertaining and interesting. I just sometimes skip threads that are sci-fi oriented because I’m not really much into SF. Actually the thread is perfect, because today I just need to float and listen to people talking engagingly and hilariously about any little thing.

  9. Oh my God.

    Applying for jobs is worse than working.

    • TheRyMan

       /  August 26, 2011

      It totally is. I have a cracked up iBook that can attest to that.

      • I haven’t done any damage yet, but when the site on which I was just applying wiped all my work history because I hit “back” when apparently You Mustn’t Hit “Back” — not, of course, that such a warning appears anywhere — I came fairly close.

        • TheRyMan

           /  August 26, 2011

          Ouch. That’s rough. My computer crapped out on me while I was on the last page of a rather lengthy application. This is one of two moments in my life that left me blind, choking and sputtering with range. The other was the David Tyree helmet catch in Superbowl XLII.

    • SWNC

       /  August 26, 2011

      It stinks. I hate marketing myself. I wish it was acceptable to say, “Look, I frickin’ rock. Just hire me and you won’t be sorry.” instead of answering interview questions like, “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?” or “What would you say is your biggest weakness?” (It’s very, very hard to not give “On a tropical beach surrounded by adoring cabana boys” and “Meth” as answers. Stress brings out my inner smart aleck.)

      • Yeah. Don’t go with the “meth” answer. Sets off all sorts of alarm bells.

        Once had an interview ask me “why do you want this job?” and I answered “because it was this or going into brain surgery.”

        I did not get that job.

        • TheRyMan

           /  August 26, 2011

          I once had a job interview with a guy that asked rhetorical questions…but expected answers.

        • Ian

           /  August 26, 2011

          True story. Interview for a position as director of a research institute. Question: “Why do you want this job?” Answer: “Well, it’s open.” Thus ended the chances of the leading internal candidate.

        • corkingiron

           /  August 26, 2011

          I once had an interview for a teaching position – there were two interviewers. One was a man who had drummed me out of Boy Scouts when I was twelve (deservedly so, btw). The other was a former Grade Eight Teacher who once threatened to have me arrested.

          I did not get that job.

          • wearyvoter

             /  August 26, 2011

            My favorite question: “What is in the trunk of your car?” Seriously, someone asked me this in 1998 when I was applying for a job. I gave them the highlights list of the detritus in the trunk. (Tri-fold foam core board from my kid’s science fair display, spare bottle of coolant.)
            Several smart aleck answers came to mind…after I left. Let’s just say that one of them involved an extra-thick 40 pound garbage bag, and a gross of pine-scented car air fresheners.

            • corkingiron

               /  August 26, 2011

              Hah! I would not have been able to resist the temptation to say “Jimmy Hoffa”.

              • wearyvoter

                 /  August 26, 2011

                I was operating in deeply earnest mode for most of the interview, so I squelched a lot of things. The interviewers got their questions from one of those creative interviewing books, and there were several questions in that vein. Enough that my inner smart aleck was getting restless by the end of the interview.

                • In February 2008 I had a job interview where I couldn’t contain my inner smart-ass, and she became my outer smart-ass. I had two other interviews the same week, one of which, I thought, went splendidly.

                  In March 2008 I got two “no thanks” e-mails and one job offer. I’ve been a smart-ass for the same boss for 3 1/2 years now…

      • corkingiron

         /  August 26, 2011

        “It has always been a personal goal of mine to humanize the wholesale plumbing industry…..”

      • I’m actually a great interview — it comes, I think, from years of reporting (asking people nosy questions), writing (forcing a bunch of information into a single sentence) and public speaking (smile and answer that hostile lady in the back politely!) — and I sorta-kinda turned down a job this week. It hadn’t been officially offered yet, but I was the only one interviewed and both of the interviewers and the nonprofit placement firm I’ve been working with all made it clear that they liked me for the position and wanted to hear how I thought the interview had gone. But there were ways in which it genuinely wasn’t right for me, despite a few reasons that it was, so I explained all that to the woman at the placement agency, and thank God, she understood. She’s finding out if they want to use me on a temporary basis until they find someone else, which I’d be more than happy to do, but, yeah.

        I do wonder if the day will come when I look back on this week and slap myself silly over letting the opportunity go.

    • You ain’t never lied.

    • caoil

       /  August 26, 2011

      I am sending you vibes of sympathy through the internets. And also cake.

      I know I’m going to need to change jobs soon (can’t deal with this much longer) but the thought of going out on a circuit of interviews is depressing.

    • JHarper2

       /  August 26, 2011

      Did you iron your underwear before the job interview?
      I was just over on the Guardian blogs. A columnist there took Thames Water (private water company that provides water to the Thames Valley including London) to task for having two men in a press release take women to task for wasting water by shaving their legs in the shower.
      Thames water loses 669.9 litres of water a day due to leaks in their pipes, 32% of the amount they supply daily.
      A commenter pointed out that heating the water was a greater environmental concern and that ironing was a waste of electricity. He said that it was a waste to iron underwear, bedlinens and shirts. He said he only ironed for job interviews.
      Another commenter asked him if he got the job after he ironed his shorts.

      So – what kind of job interviews do they have in Britain where they check if you have ironed your underwear?

      • Why, I don’t know! Perhaps you should hire me as an investigative reporter so that we can unearth the truth….

    • Let this comment be a Bigger Like Button than the last one. Amen sister. A-fucking-men.

    • Yep. Sorry babe.

    • I’ve been complaining about the application process for some time.

      Each company or job search engine have their own ways of inputting info. What’s aggravating is that a lot of them require you to upload a resume document… AND THEN HAVE YOU FILL OUT A JOB HISTORY / EDUCATION HISTORY APPLICATION that basically covers the same ground as the resume. Talk about redundancies. The other redundancy is how you, the applicant, have to repeat this process EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU HAVE TO APPLY, not to that one company but to hundreds of other companies with career job listings. Maybe back in 2005 when the job market wasn’t so overloaded/swamped, it made sense, but in today’s market when you have a job applicant applying to 100 different companies over and over and over and… /headdesk

      The thing I like what they did with USAJOBs website is that they’ve simplified the process: you can have some resumes and other documents uploaded, and then all you have to do is apply to a job opening for any variety of departments, and then select preliminary questions about your qualification rather than type your whole damn resume all over again. It speeds up the process: what once took 30-45 minutes to do a few years ago can now be done inside of 10 minutes. (back in the old days, each government department – Library of Congress, Smithsonian, Army, Navy, Agriculture, et al – had different HR websites you had to re-upload each and every time: now, it’s all like one-stop shopping).

      If we could get every HR department in the nation to get together and codify/streamline the application process to where they all follow the same format, allow for saved entries to carry over to other openings, establish one and only one resume format so that we can stop changing from functional to chronological to whatever format each HR department has their mind set grrrrrrrrr, excuse me got a little off-track there. Anyway, if we can get a one-size-fits-all application process (and yes, it is possible between the different careers out there to still have a one-size-fits-all-type application process), we might just get better job hunting results nationwide.

      Also, if we can fire every Republican that’s obstructing every possible job growth program our government can develop… grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr snarl.

      • Isn’t it interesting how we have had this Internet thingy around for 20 years and search engines around for more than 10 years, and we still require the equivalent of plucking keys on a typewriter. Wish it wasn’t the soul-sucking thing that it is – I mean, the applying for a job.

        On the plus side, the last two companies I’ve worked for really didn’t really even use a resume. They just took the electronic form and put it into a database, then used keyword searches to tag the content. All the impressive writing and careful formatting didn’t matter. It was just “does this resume contain the words X, Y, and Z.”

        There should be the ability to create the equivalent of an iCal or vCard for your personal info that you can just plonk into the form.

        Hang in there.

  10. David L

     /  August 26, 2011

    Am I the only “Top Chef” watcher in this bunch? I hadn’t realized that “Just Desserts” was coming back until I saw it on my DVR yesterday, but I won’t complain at any chance to see Gail Simmons do more than try to get a word in edgewise between Collichio and Bourdain or just state at Johnny Iuzzini for an hour. (However, after the last season of Masters, he and Curtis Stone will have to have a cook-off to the death for the job of most attractive Top Chef host/judge.)

    • dave in texas

       /  August 26, 2011

      My Food Channel addiction is Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Guy, and usually the folks at whatever diner he’s featuring, seem to be having so much fun, it’s hard not to get caught up.

    • I’m a Top Chef watcher, but not to into the Just desserts iteration. My favorite is Top Chef Masters, though the changing up of the format last season threw me for a loop. I missed my Big Hat Lady.

      • David L

         /  August 26, 2011

        The second season of Masters felt more like “Top Chef: Too Successful to Be a Regular Contestant But Not Really Famous Edition”, as opposed to the first season having several people who may not quite be household names but those of us who pay a little bit of attention to the culinary world (but aren’t immersed in it) have heard of before. (Marcus Samuelsson and Wylie Dufresne come to mind.)

        • I thought of the first season of Top Chef: All Stars as “Top Chef: All The Iron Chef America Challengers” edition.

          I may watch more Food Network than is healthy.

  11. We have a large — very large — basswood tree over our house, our bedroom to be precise. This summer, the center trunk, high above the house, has died. We haven’t had the necessary $3,000 to have it removed. (This requires a crane.)

    So last night, I get a call from the son in CA. “Mom, sleep somewhere else, because Irene’s coming, and you’ve got a dead tree over your bedroom.”

    I’m so touched he cares. All I could do is laugh, because there’s no way to get this taken down before Sunday.

    In other news, there’s firewood in the barn, bottles of spring water (free, from a local spring, not the store) in the pantry, and I’ve picked all the tomatoes with any hint of color to them.

    Happy weekend, horde. Looks like it’s gonna be an interesting one here in the East. Stay safe. Stay sane. And no trees on our houses, please.

    • Ian

       /  August 26, 2011

      He’s right, though, you should sleep in another room. After Hurricane Gloria, I remember looking at an old, two-story house that had been cut in two by a large tree. Right down the middle, all the way to the ground.

      • You know, that’s like telling a pregnant woman nightmare birth stories, right?

        Yes, we’ll sleep on the other side of the house, in his old room. Also under a large tree, btw. Lovely old trees around our yard. Some of the largest white pines in our town, renowned for it’s large white pines.

        • wearyvoter

           /  August 26, 2011

          Stay safe. We lost our willow tree during an ice storm several years ago. It missed the house. We found out later that this was a bad thing, because had it hit the house, we could have gotten the insurance to pay for the removal. (Also, a replacement roof, at least at that end of the house.

          • Ian

             /  August 26, 2011

            A weeping willow? Those don’t do well at all. They’re like parachutes. Ours took out our shed.

        • Ian

           /  August 26, 2011

          I just wanted to make sure you weren’t sleeping under that tree! We got hit by Gloria at full strength. It was a really weird hurricane–stayed offshore and then shot up the Connecticut Valley. No power for something like eight days. Hopefully up there you’ll get a weakened storm. Either way, I’d think the pines would stand a good chance of making it.


      This was the advice given by taylor16 in yesterday’s official OTAN, and it is damn good advice. And short of “don’t sleep under a dead tree in a hurricane” (which I’m now adding to my list of good advice!), it’s the only helpful thing I have to offer.

    • Good luck, zic. Be safe.

      I had large Big Leaf maples in my backyard, shading my house and somewhere around 40′ tall. I noticed one day that there was a funny spiral “bump” going all the way up and around the largest one.

      Called in a tree doctor who said the maple was rotting from the inside, and due to the winds and the way the tree had grown, it was actually twisting apart like a DNA helix. And eventually would shatter and mostly fall on the house.

      So – had to have 3 maples cut down. Still am burning the firewood. Some stumpy parts that were just too big to split even with the hydraulic splitter I rented two years ago. Those suckers are still lying around the back yard.

      And we had a tree fall on our house about 5 years ago – a hemlock with a large knot about 15 feet up. That weakened through the years and wind, and then one storm it snapped off and dropped on the house. The wind carried it a bit, too — didn’t just fall neatly. I was still up, but my wife was in the bedroom when it fell. She woke up, tried to look outside the window – and nothing.

      It had fallen in such a way that it took off the side of the house but didn’t damage the room or fall onto the bed.

      It’s my goal now to take down every tree in my yard that might hit the house. I have a lot of trees.

      • If that stump grows white/cream mushrooms, they might be oysters, and really good eating, also good for cholesterol and prostate. I’ll post a link if you’d like.

        • SWNC

           /  August 26, 2011

          My two-year-old’s favorite book is a field guide to mushrooms (she’s an odd little duck). We spent a long time this morning looking at pictures of oyster mushrooms and chanterelles.

          • We did a class and walk on mushrooming Sunday, found a bunch of little red/brown gems that produce purple and red dyes, and I’ll be using them this weekend at a natural dye workshop, weather permitting.

            Class was taught by Greg Marley, who has two books out, one on medicinal and one on gourmet mushrooms. Total information overload! But yesterday, we found and picked black trumpets. I thought they tasted too strong; but I’m going to dehydrate the remainder for use in stir fry and soup this winter.

            I don’t think it’s odd, I think it’s great! And really good not to learn just the fear of mushrooms. Marley said there are over 200 varieties of edibles, and only 8 easliy identifiable ones that kill. Most just give gastrointestinal distress or are too peppery to eat. And he says it’s not an extreme sport, building up to collecting for eating is good to do slowly. Very slowly.

            But I’d eat chanterelles, oysters, chicken of the woods, morels, porcini, matsutaki, or puffballs if I found them. And I look for them every chance I get. I drink chaga tea, made from a mushroom that grows on birch trees, as an alternative to ibuprofen, which makes me sick.

            • SWNC

               /  August 26, 2011

              That’s so cool. I have only found black trumpets once, but have been on the lookout ever since.

              My husband went to college out in Washington State where he got big into mushroom-collecting. He’s a natural forager. We can’t be out in the woods for 15 minutes before he finds something to taste or smell. We’re trying to pass that along to the sprout, while at the same time making sure she doesn’t just start chomping on random leaves. Last night, she was very proud of herself for finding sorrel in the yard and ate a bit of it along with the rest of her dinner.

              • That’s wonderful! I spent the time I was learning to talk with my grandmother, an Arcadian, and dirt poor farmer. We foraged all through the spring and into the fall, and it’s somehow wired into how I function.

                Teaching those skills to a sprout is very good, and teaching them with a respect to the non-edibles even better.

              • Awww. This makes me so happy! As does the image of her pouring over a mushroom book with you.

                At some point in my life, caring for toddlers/preschoolers/sprouts aged 2-5 will become a regular part of my life. It really must, because I love them so!

                • SWNC

                   /  August 26, 2011

                  I know! If it paid at all decently, I would totally go into early childhood education. But, dang, it’s hard to earn a living wage doing that.

        • Ah. Wish I would have known that last year. The stumps were covered with them, and the chip pile too. But I pulled everything apart this year, and I’m trying to get the stumps dry enough to burn in a end-of-summer bonfire.

    • SWNC

       /  August 26, 2011

      Sweet boy. (Sweet man, I should say.) Good luck—stay safe, stay dry, stay tree-free.

      • From your keyboard to the wind’s ears. And sweet he is. Sometimes.

        You, too. Southern winds look to be a bit stronger then the northern. Are you in harm’s way? I hope not!

        • SWNC

           /  August 26, 2011

          My most reliable local weather guy says not–my mom’s bones say yes. If we’re lucky, we’ll get some badly needed rain, but not much else. My cousin at UNC Wilmington has evacuated, and my relations in eastern NC are battening down the hatches.

          (But it’s a good reminder that I need to have our trees trimmed before winter storms come.)

          • Mother-in-law is in Wilmington. Also as of two hours ago, the dead center of the storm was poised to go riiiiight over the beach condos that we usually go to in July. Methinks the Cox clan may be going back to mountain weeks instead of beach weeks next summer.

            (Mother-in-law and Husband are still not speaking, after epic, threats-of-cops, shouting-on-lawn fight from July. If hurricane had been cat 4 and aimed right at Wilmington, he probably would have called her by now but so far radio silence prevails. As it is, her Facebook statuses are still all inspirational quotes / prayers “From [cat name],” complete with a photo of said cat at her laptop.)

            (I really don’t like my MIL. I wouldn’t wish a hurricane on her, but ugh.)

            • Man, talk about burying the lede. Threats of cops? Shouting on lawn?

              • Oh, I alluded to it back at TNC’s place the week it happened, in July. It’s not my whole story to tell but basically she said something ludicrous and offensive and then drove it home, rather than backing off, so husband decided to end the visit a couple of hours early. The argument had started at a restaurant that we drove to so we drove her home, and when we tried to leave again shit got insane, and they haven’t spoken since that day.

                There’s usually an annual blow-out and it’s always been her fault (I’ve known him since 1997 and up until 2009 thought all of his stories about his mother MUST be exaggerated and she couldn’t nearly be what he said — turns out, he was understating) but this one was extra-special. *sigh*

                • SWNC

                   /  August 26, 2011

                  Yikes. Hope your husband’s family–even the Wicked Witch–all come through okay.

              • That’s where I went.

  12. Emily, if you had a like button, I’d push it about 100 times right now.

  13. JHarper2

     /  August 26, 2011

    Guys, won’t be around on Monday, either at TNCs or ELHs comfy couch due to some medical stuff, just want all East Coast people to stay safe and dry and warm.
    Hopefully I’ll be able to check the threads sometime Monday night and read the stories of how you all successfully rode out the storm.

    • SWNC

       /  August 26, 2011

      Good luck with the medical stuff. Hope it goes smoothly.

    • Good luck will any and all medical stuff! Remember to let us entertain you when you’re resting up, after.

  14. wearyvoter

     /  August 26, 2011

    I’m burning off three hours of vacation time this afternoon. Got home in time to retrieve my jury duty check from the mail. Reimbursement rate here in downstate is $10.00/day, plus mileage. Turns out the county reimburses mileage at 20 cents/mile. Total mileage reimbursement= $7.20.

    • JHarper2

       /  August 26, 2011

      Whoot! Do your civic duty and get rich too!

      • wearyvoter

         /  August 27, 2011

        Yup. Rolling in the dough. The county PTB talked about upping the stipend back when the economy was good, and never got around to it.

        Meanwhile, they put the entire amount in one check. My employer generously pays us for jury duty time, so in return we sign over the county check so that the company is partially reimbursed for my time. (Roughly two hours in this case.) If I understand correctly, I’ll get the mileage amount back.

        (Jury duty lasted only 3 days. The PTB decided to not hold jury trials on Thursday or Friday. I have a feeling it was because those were the move-in days for our local university, and the county courthouse is just on the other side of campus.)

  15. So all the steel kids are back on the mall today, frantically striking the MLK rig ahead of the storm. They must be on deadline to be clear of the mall per FEMA, the scheduler for their company called everyone. Even me. And she HATES me.

  16. Captain Button

     /  August 26, 2011

    I think it was in a recent OTAN where people were talking about the MLK Memorial looking like he was frozen in carbonite.

    So in the spirit of “The Wizard of Oz is about Free Silver” will 22nd century people be analysing the Star Wars movies as metaphors for the civil rights struggle?

    • That was me–the steel peeps on the mall were all making jokes about it. Of course, now they’re saying it’s cancelled because they freed him.

      • I must finally ask. What the hell are you talking about, “the steel kids” this and “the steel peeps” that? This is a mystery to me.

        • Captain Button

           /  August 26, 2011

          I can’t really answer you, but the steelypips were a fictional race in a collection of science fiction fables by Stanislaus Lem, published in English as “The Cyberiad”.

          There was a regular participant in the USENET group rec.arts.sf.written who used steelypips as a nickname or website domain name. And I know of at least one other person from rec.arts.sf.written in the Horde besides myself, and I strongly suspect there are a lot of us about.

          How or if this connects with the MLK Memorial I don’t know.

          • Captain Button

             /  August 26, 2011

            Digressing from myself, I seem to keep running into a lot of the same people on all sorts of different websites. I wonder if this is because we are all just following the same links from site to site, or if we just keep running into each other because of our common interests, or because there are really only 200 people in the world and the rest are just special effects, or what.

            With the millions of people on the Internet, I’d think meeting the same person in two unrelated places would be wildly improbable. But it keeps happening.

            I worry sometimes that this means I am just encrusting myself in an isolated shell of people who agree with me, and getting completely disconnected from the larger world.

        • The crew who build the steel structures that make up the scaffolding for the stage. As opposed to the the lighting peeps, sound peeps, etc.

          • Captain Button

             /  August 26, 2011

            Shows how much I know.

          • Ah! Well now, it all makes sense. I kept trying to make it make sense on my own and I finally had to give in.

            I’m so glad to know he’s freed. When’s he going to start schooling fools?

  17. So what is your take on the new MLK installation on the National Mall?

    Like it/hate it?

    What do you see in it?

    Thoughts about the meaning of the literal piece itself?

    • He looks kinda pissed to me. And not all that much like Martin Luther King, Jr.

      But I haven’t seen it in person, so perhaps it’s lost on me.

  18. I think I’m going to take a leap and open a weekend open thread. I have a feeling that with all the weather madness, people might want a place to chat, and at nearly 140 comments, this place is already a tidge unwieldy. If it gets no love, I’ll quietly close it!

    • helensprogeny

       /  August 26, 2011

      A weekend open thread is a splendid idea. You are completely awesome for (among other things) being willing to host the Horde through the weekend! Thank you!


      • HA! Too late!

        I really doubt it’ll get much traction/take up a lot of your time. The crowd that gathers here is much, much smaller than that gathers over at the mother ship, and folks just don’t think about their regular blog habits on off hours (I know I don’t!).

        But we’ll see, won’t we? Remember sir:

        Good writing = 3% talent + 97% ignoring the internet.

        • “Good writing = 3% talent + 97% ignoring the internet.”

          Stealing this AND I’M NOT GOING TO CREDIT YOU because you opened a weekend thread that will keep me compulsively returning.

    • scone

       /  August 26, 2011

      Yay! Too busy today, but will be happy to participate over the weekend… assuming I don’t lose power.

      Oh, shit. Guess I won’t be participating too much over the weekend, either. Sigh.