Just back at my desk, TNC is MIA – Open Thread?

You know the drill!

(Anyway, Ta-Nehisi will probably show up at The Atlantic in 17 minutes or sommat).



  1. David L

     /  December 22, 2011

    Sitting on my balcony, enjoying one of those days that reminds me why I put up with the summers around here. The 22nd of December, and it’s about 70 degrees with a brilliant blue sky.

    • Hey, you’re Texas Horde! Pls to be answering the question found below….

    • intangir

       /  December 22, 2011

      Heh – it’s 40 degrees with no absolutely snow here in Michigan – and as I’m a guy who loves snow and winter (especially around the holidays), it’s totally depressing. Even worse is the lack of snow out west – hoping to drive out to Colorado next week to meet my family and go skiing but they’ve barely had 2 feet so far this year and only a small fraction of our usual ski area is open.

      • taylor16

         /  December 22, 2011

        It’s the same here in Indiana…and I’m heading back up to Michigan tomorrow. I do not enjoy a snowless Christmas. I’m barely even in the holiday spirit, and I’m a total Christmas dork.

        January 1st, it can go back to being warm and spring-y. But I need some Christmas snow. 😦

        • intangir

           /  December 22, 2011

          Even though I know very few people really like winter, I really wish more people could at least appreciate snow over the holidays – it really is drab and brown without it.

          • taylor16

             /  December 22, 2011

            Yes, exactly. I don’t enjoy winter … but I do like a couple of weeks worth of snow and prettiness around the holidays. After that, it can’t warm up quickly enough. But it makes the holidays much prettier. (And also, you enjoy the spring that much more when it’s just been cold and disgusting outside…)

          • There are cherry blossoms blooming in DC today, along with a host of other early-spring flowers.

            On the Twitters everyone’s like, “isn’t that neat?!” and I’m like, “No. It’s f*ing terrible.” Because it is. That’s not how the seasons or the plants are supposed to work and it means things are all haywire. *grouch*

            • I had the exact same response to seeing pussy willow buds yesterday in the heart of America’s Middle West. This is wrong. The trees will be sad and traumatized (whatever that means for trees) and it’s making me very nervous.


      • David L

         /  December 22, 2011

        So, is this where I mention that, despite the nice warm weather today, we have a chance of snow Saturday night and Sunday morning? (They promise it won’t stick even if it does fall, but the chance is there…)

        • intangir

           /  December 22, 2011

          Indeed – and there was that big storm down in the west Texas/New Mexico area just this week. We’ve yet to have more than a dusting.

  2. That dang Ta-Nehisi! All week, I’ve hovered around the refresh button from 11:00-11:30 CST in order to post the following, then I finally move on with my life, and then he opens a thread when I’m otherwise engaged. I’ll hope for more success (= more reading eyes) tomorrow, but in the meantime:

    Dear Chicago Horde

    Remember to mark your calendar for a Jan 21 meetup — afternoon this time around, I think (or maybe brunch? Ann Sathers? y/n?) but we’ll get into it after the holidays.

    Dear Texas Horde

    Serious question: Has Rick Perry always been this loopy and ignorant? Or is he reaching new heights with this sht? I have this working theory that he injured his back (as he recently said) and has developed a pain killer addiction. Not that I’ve thought about it. Or anything.

    • David L

       /  December 22, 2011

      It’s actually a little bit difficult for me to know how new this insanity is. He’s had the benefit of inheriting his incumbency and then not having to do a whole lot more to keep it than record a few TV ads.

    • taylor16

       /  December 22, 2011

      Wow, a painkiller addiction might actually explain it a little bit. Because I’m with you – I don’t get how he gets reelected again and again. And that one campaign speech where he appeared to be high was just bizarre. And the debate performances? I mean, dear god…

      Pure speculation, of course … but hmmm.

      • Well exactly – I haven’t even really wanted to broach it, because I’m not making light and it is purest of pure speculation! But dude. I cannot imagine how you can run a state in his… state.

        When you make GWB look like a clear-thinking hard worker, you’re in bad shape, is all I’m saying.

    • ralphdibny

       /  December 22, 2011

      I just moved to Texas three years ago, and these GOP debates are the first time I’ve ever heard Perry speak without a script. He refused to debate his last gubernatorial opponent–I don’t know if he debated in previous elections. So who knows? This could be new, or he could have always been like this. I suspect the latter.

    • efgoldman

       /  December 22, 2011

      If Rick Perry didn’t exist, The Onion would have had to invent him.

    • MightBeLying

       /  December 22, 2011

      I AM SO EXCITED THAT I WILL BE THERE FOR THE CHICAGO HORDE MEET-UP. I am bringing a friend. We very much like brunch. Anywhere public-transportation accessible is perfect.

      • I was thinking Ann Sathers, which, in addition to having Swedish pancakes with lingonberries and fabulous coffee, is like 17 1/2 feet from the El.

        • MightBeLying

           /  December 22, 2011

          Are there multiple locations? Yelp seems to have a few different locations listed with reviews of varying qualities. I love delicious pancakes but felt betrayed by a Chicago brunch on my last visit. People raved about red velvet pancakes at some place with “monkey” in the name … they were like eating cement. So godawful.

          But I will defer to your judgment and if you tel me there is delicious coffee and pancakes I will be there with bells on! And an empty stomach!

  3. Waited too long for lunch; ate an entire burrito bowl from Chipotle in like two seconds when I got it. Chips too. Now about ready to pass out from food coma and regret. *zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz*

    • Make sure you get a pillow to the floor first.

    • Your first problem was that you chose Chipotle.

      • taylor16

         /  December 22, 2011

        Yeah, I’ve yet to find anything there that I like. Which is odd, since I love Mexican food.

        What am I missing?

        • I’ve wondered this very wondering myself.

        • I wouldn’t call it Mexican food really any more than I’d call going to McD’s a real hamburger, but it’s across the street from my office and I have a thing for the lime in both the chips and the rice. And the pork’s pretty good.

        • That it’s owned by MickyDs?

          • taylor16

             /  December 22, 2011

            Yeah, one opened in our town (in a spot formerly occupied by McDonalds), and the whole city was patting itself on the back for kicking out the fast food and getting something reasonably more healthy into downtown. I had heard they were owned by the same company so I wasn’t that impressed, but at the same time they do appear to sell actual identifable food products there, so I thought I might be able to find something I liked. No luck yet, though.

            • MightBeLying

               /  December 22, 2011

              Qdoba really emphasizes the fact that they make everything fresh in the restaurant (my impression is that Qdoba and Chipotle are basically the same place with different decor so this probably applies to them too). Like, there are tomatoes being chopped in the kitchen, not big bags of pre-diced tomatoes being mixed into pico de gallo. A baby step above McD’s, but an important baby step.

              Also cilantro-lime rice is delicious.

    • Indian food – chicken tandoori and jasmine rice and green beans

      I’m sleeeeeeeeeeeeeepy

    • David L

       /  December 22, 2011

      I went to a local taco bar (Torchy’s, for the locals/visitors) after a doctor’s appointment. Chips and queso, two tacos (one that featured mostly beef, one fried avocado), and my ride and I split an order of fried chocolate chip cookie dough.

  4. dmf

     /  December 22, 2011

    • You know what, there was a lot of work done by Natalie Merchant that I could never stand — and a good handful of songs that are among my very favorite pop tunes ever. And this is one of the latter.

      Thanks, man.

  5. Sat down, crochet hook in hand to conquer as many bunny ears as I can beofre XFactor and blogging duties call….only to have Purrbot5000 hop up, lay next to my ear and start purrrrrrrrrrrrrring away with joy that it was only 3:30 and I was here.

    • helensprogeny

       /  December 22, 2011

      Kitties are the best, even when they’re being irritating in their affection.

    • caoil

       /  December 22, 2011

      I’d love to be able to crochet again, but two of the foster monsters think that string (or yarn, or anything akin to it) is awesome and must be played with. I have to wait until they go for a nap.

      I need to find someone local to me who can show me how to crochet in the round, too, so I can branch out & make hats.

  6. Entirely sunny and cold here – 1C.

    Pleasant afternoon ahead, I think.

  7. FYI & so on: How I Drew Firefly’s Mal Reynolds


    eta: CRAP – that reminds me that I meant to put “a return of Firefly” in last night’s “These are things I want” post! Well, this warrants an update, I think!

  8. Also, Sherlock Holmes is coming back, and I am really excited. I think of it as an appitite whetter for Martin Freeman as Bilbo.

    • helensprogeny

       /  December 22, 2011

      Also, Benedict Cumberbatch. I just last week watched The Last Enemy for the third time. Thanks for the Sherlock update.

  9. JHarper2

     /  December 22, 2011

    Some thoughts on my first day away from dialysis (except Sundays) for almost a month. A day off that is like a gift.
    When I was picking up a prescription the other day, I saw a lot of very young kids with their daddies (I assumed). It was very noticeable: all those little kids with those men. They all seemed very happy to be out and then it hit me as to why. They were going shopping for a presents to give to others and to give a gift is one of the great and simple joys of life. If those with the children were like my dad, when the time to pay came at the checkout, the child would be given the money to give to the cashier, that being a growing-up moment.
    To give and to take joy in giving is a natural human joy; but it seems to me that at this time of receiving, we have to remember to receive with grace and kindness.

    Things I have learned to accept (more or less) gracefully:

    Help (Because no one is smart enough or strong enough to carry all the burdens all the time, and to let someone share the burden and your sorrows is to let them into your heart)

    Compliments (Because to deflect a compliment is to denigrate the achievement and question the judgement of the person who compliments you and that is not very nice.)

    Presents (Because to receive gracefully is to give a gift to the giver)

    Illness and physical decline ( I try to accept this with grace, but there is no gratitude).

    This Grace was a favourite of my late father.

    For food in a world where many walk in hunger;
    For faith in a world where many walk in fear;
    For friends in a world where many walk alone;
    We give you thanks, O Lord.

    I am happy for this place and that on those days when the OTAN seminar does not occur, the SLAT (Student Lounge At Two) is opened at 2:00 EST (Emily Standard Time) over at Emily’s Place, https://emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com/

    I hold all the Horde in the Palm of my Regard and wish you all the best in the Coming Year.

    I have to run some errands, so
    These words he did say as he drove out of sight,
    Merry Holidays to all, and to all a good night.

    • And so as you so often do, you bring me to tears….

      xox JF2. Big, big xxx and ooo.

    • beautiful

    • taylor16

       /  December 22, 2011

      Happy holidays, JHarper2. We love you! 🙂

    • MightBeLying

       /  December 22, 2011

      What a lovely grace. Happy holidays to you and yours, as well!

    • caoil

       /  December 22, 2011

      This is lovely, JHarper2, thank you for sharing this.

      And I am sending you many good wishes of the season as well. And a healthy(ier, at least) new year, if I don’t ‘see’ you before then!

    • SWNC

       /  December 22, 2011

      Yay, JHarper2! I was thinking of you just this morning. And, yes, yay indeed for daddies out with their children. (My husband was one of those dads today.) A peaceful, loving solstice to you and yours.

    • socioprof

       /  December 22, 2011

      This is so wonderful. It is great to hear from you. All the best to you and yours!

    • CitizenE

       /  December 22, 2011


    • wearyvoter

       /  December 22, 2011

      Word Press needs a like button. That was beautiful.

  10. Harrison Ford signed to play Graf in Ender’s Game.

    I think I’m going to faint. My favorite action hero in one of my favorite books.


      Damn it world!

      I’m can already tell that I’m going to die in a horrible book-pile-crashing incident.

      • (It’s ok. It’s been so long since I read it,I have to reread it because I can’t remember a thing about it.)

      • It is awful. Awful. Consider yourself warned.



          Now, having said that: Is there a book that people in these parts love that you do not find awful? For you, my beloved Craig, I will add it onto the teetering pile.

          • I love lots of things, Emily. Lots. I love the Silmarillion, even though I recognize it as a big, teetering pile of unedited horseshit. This is terrible.

            • But I want a name! Dude, seriously: What fantasy title (other than the Silmarillion) other than the obvious should I read?

              • Here is one (1) title – Red Mars. I liked it. It was good. I don’t think I’ve seen a bunch of squeeing over it in open threads like there is about Stephenson or GRR Martin. It’s just a workmanlike piece of science fiction. First of a trilogy, too, if’n you like it.

                • I haven’t read any SciFi in the longest damn time. This is a good thing. Thank you!

                  (And not to start a brawl or anything, but GRR Martin and I will never become acquainted. I already know too many horrible things that happen. If I’d come upon them unsuspecting that would be one thing, but I have a very hard time walking head first into that kind of literary misery. Ditto: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. *shudder*)

        • caoil

           /  December 22, 2011

          Can you elaborate, Craig? I mean, I know OSC’s real-life dreadfulness, but what about the book is making you respond so?

          • There’s a really long, spoiler-filled essay around the problems created in the book(s) by the “intent is magic” argument. Makes the rounds every so often, lengthy but interesting read. (I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but it did peg some of what had made me uncomfortable with the book.) http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm

          • I’ve never met anyone who loved it who didn’t first read it when they were relatively young. I first read it a few years ago (as, essentially, a favor to a friend, who gave it to me to read when I was going to be in the hospital) – all of its flaws were readily apparent, and most of its charms were lost on me.

            It is, at heart, a pretty deeply fascist book. I don’t think this is just the hindsight of knowing OSC’s politics. We are told, over and over, that Ender deplores violence, that it’s a last resort, that he will only use it under the most dire of self-defensive circumstances. However, what we are shown is that his power, such as it is, derives from that violence. That Ender’s solution to the cartoonish bullying he receives is, ultimately, the right one.

            And the siblings, oh the siblings. If I was 12 I would have loved them. They are so smart! The idiot grownups can’t stop them from taking over the world! But Jesus, that plot (which really is the dominant B-plot) suggests a grown-ass man in Card who doesn’t remotely understand how this whole “human interaction” thing works. It is a staggeringly stupid plot, one that doesn’t hold up to a hint of even the mildest scrutiny. I hated everything about those pretentious little brats, and hated that my intelligence was insulted by turning them into philosopher-kings because of what is, effectively, a bunch of boring-ass crank writings on the internet.

            Those are the two big things that come to mind. Some of the characters in the book I liked, and most were cartoonish dickbags.

            • caoil

               /  December 22, 2011

              Thanks, both of you. I suspect I’ll still read it at some point, but the foreknowledge is good.

        • Captain Button

           /  December 23, 2011

          I think I am legally required as an old fart geek to say you should read the original short version that was published in Analog instead of the novel version. The first version is just about Ender at school, nothing about his siblings.

          I can’t say too much more because I think I’ve got this book muddled up with the completely unrelated War Games by Karl Hansen, which has some vaguely similar plot elements and is ghastly without even a pretense of redeeming social commentary.

  11. The house republicans have caved. Is this a victory for Obama? Finally? Or will the press be sure to tell us how he’s failed with this one too?

    • And will the fucking House Republican caucus give the American people their money back for the days spent on this horseshit?

      Not that I’m, you know, furious.

      • helensprogeny

         /  December 22, 2011

        Seriously. I’m all for docking their pay. In fact, I think we should cut their salaries and make them buy their own fucking health insurance – give them some sympathy for regular folk.

        • socioprof

           /  December 22, 2011

          Unfortunately, they’re (with few exceptions) all so rich, docking their pay and making them pay health insurance won’t matter to their pockets.

          • helensprogeny

             /  December 22, 2011

            Which, of course, is all the more reason why they *should* (if they had any moral conviction or courage at all) vote to cut their own pay and pay for their own insurance, instead of having people like me, whose income was cut in half during the recession and who hasn’t had health insurance in nearly 20 years, contributing to their incredibly generous insurance plan and their income. Imagine how the bad feelings about Congress would shift if they seriously undertook to begin lowering the deficit by taking pay cuts and paying for their own insurance. Realistically, it’s not going to do anything for the long term deficit situation, but the optics are pretty good. It’s about making some sacrifices along with everyone else.

  12. taylor16

     /  December 22, 2011

    It’s my last work day before I will be out of the office for ten days … and I finished my pre-vacation to-do list, with 20 whole minutes to spare!!

    Am now going to meet my friend for dinner. I think I deserve a celebratory drink.

    If there’s no OTAN when I get back this evening, I wish you all a happy holiday weekend (whatever holiday you might be celebrating), and I look forward to chatting with everyone next week. Safe traveling and happy holidays!!

  13. I just got Stephen King’s 11/22/63 novel. I have a stack of novels to read, plus my own to finish (yay fifth draft!).

    Maybe I should get things done instead of reading. BUT I LIKE READING.

    (Next on list: ZEITOUN and WHAT IS THE WHAT)

  14. 1000 Year Old Maya Ruins Discovered In Georgia

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! O_O!


  15. Edge of the American West has a two parter discussing who was the greatest American general. (http://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/the-greatest-general-in-american-history-part-ii/)

    • I read that earlier today and loved it. It finally made Winfield Scott come alive for me. I just didn’t put the pieces together before.

  16. CitizenE

     /  December 22, 2011

    Read the Riddle Master series by Patricia McKillip, or The Forgotten Beasts of Eld or Stepping Out of the Shadows by the same author, and Winter Rose, yeah, that’s the one for you. Don’t read anything else by her, however. Read Deerskin by Robin McKinley. Those are your Euro style medieval fantasies to check out. Then, if you want to go Sci-Fantasy, absolutely do not pass go, do not collect $200, but head directly for Octavia Butler, one bad, bad woman. And of course there’s that old chestnut by Tanith Lee, Silver Metal Lover.

    I am going to throw out some magic realist Great American Novels for you too: first, by a San Francisco (murder) trial lawyer, Alberto Vea, Jr., La Maravilla–and a marvel it is too. Then there is the late Arturo Islas’ heartbreakingly beautiful The Rain God–maybe the greatest combo immigrant, Texas, 60s novel ever written with a cast as large as a 19th C Russian novel, but so, so tight and hallucinogenic. And Leslie Marmon’s Silko’s Gardens in the Dunes, though that stays pretty much on the ground, even if it turns the Victorian white man in dark realms fantasy adventure genre upside down–in the best possible way, but here’s another great bit of American magic realism by an American Indian author to savor– Fools Crow by James Welch. There, those ought to keep you busy for a few months.

    It rained last night in Texas, and it has been rainier here in December than is typical, warm enough to keep the bedside window open a crack and listen. This morning dreamy and clear. Really TX weather is strange, but that said, last night, today, just wonderful.

    IMHO best Mex food in US is in CA, where among other things the baja influence is strong and the fish fresh and every town has from one to many Mexican markets with a butcher and sometimes in house taquerias, not to mention the food vans at every work site, although most interesting cuisine is NM–the chiles they grow there; Southwest Colorado also has something to say for it. TX–ok, but nothing special to really distinguish it. This is bar-b-que country. Brisket of beef, I kid you not Emily, but not your husband’s mom’s brisket. The haunch of cabrito, I guess that kind of grilling comes from south of the border. I admit San Antonio is about as far south as I have gone, however, and I’ll bet closer to the Rio Grande, the food improves.

    Good stuff.

  17. Spent most of the day elsewhere, so I missed TNC’s follow-up on “Old News” he posted… how did everyone behave for that?

    • No idea. I didn’t have a spare minute to look at it. I think that’s likely good…?

    • I think I behaved very, very well. Much better than I have in the past. And lucky for me by the time I blew a gasket he’d already closed down comments, so no one got to read my raving lunacy.

      That’s why I come here. To rave lunaticly.

  18. Ian

     /  December 22, 2011

    Thanks to our quirky payroll rules, I’ll be working on Christmas Day–Sunday–and not making overtime. Don’t think I’ll be volunteering for holiday duty in the future.

  19. Ian

     /  December 22, 2011

    I shouldn’t complain. I get Monday and Tuesday off. But you know, working on Christmas. That’s gotta be worth something, right? And I worked on Thanksgiving. This is the problem with being the guy who draws up the duty schedule. I only have the heart to screw myself.

    Other reason I can’t complain. This could be wrong, but it looks like Christchurch just got a 5.8, a 5.3, and then another 5.8 in an 80-minute span. Nervous-making, at the very least.

    • 1) Dude, if you’re being a good dude, it’s going to be really hard for me to tell you to cut that out.

      2) And yet, having said that: Dude. I’m famously Jewish, and I would be irritated if I had to work Christmas and didn’t get a little overtime. It might not be my holiday, but no one’s supposed to have to work! (Except important life-saving and/or monitoring people such as yourself, and they should get paid extra when no one else is working!).

      3) Oh no. Off I go to look at the news sites….

  20. Ian

     /  December 22, 2011

    Yeah. Thanks for indulging my whining. I can’t pretend I’m being exploited, though. If Christmas had fallen on Saturday, I would have gotten overtime. If I worked next Monday, I’d get double time plus the paid holiday leave. On actual Christmas, though, just straight time, cause Sundays are never overtime (first day of the week) and Sundays are never paid holidays (it’s the weekend). Alas.

  21. Ian

     /  December 22, 2011

    Ah. I see what I’m doing wrong. This box says “Leave a Reply,” so like a fool I type in it thinking I’m leaving a reply to that last comment. But I’m not. I’m just leaving a comment. I get it now.

  22. wearyvoter

     /  December 22, 2011

    “Twas the night before the night before the night before Christmas and all through the house, our travel plans are up in the air because of business that must be finished up by my self-employed spouse. While I am here packing, he’s still at work, because his computers’ critical need circuits are going berserk….” (Okay, so the rhythm doesn’t quite scan.)

    In short, we’re probably leaving for Michigan on Christmas Eve instead of tomorrow, because clients need to pick up stuff, and some of them can’t get in before 2 PM. And there’s a video that he’s trying to finish (mucho color correction that the client will never notice, but if you don’t do it, the client will…) that should have been done today, but (see note re: critical need circuits)won’t be done until about 3:00 this morning. Methinks we should leave early Saturday so that we can get him to bed early tomorrow night and let the poor man sleep. *sigh*