Saturday Open Thread

It's a quiet Saturday afternoon here. What's going on in your world? Here's an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Just started David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Rupe on Sat May 14, 2011 at 03:46:13 PM EST
    and good lord, why hadn't anybody told me about this book?!  Perhaps because I don't know anyone who has struggled to get through it, but its so funny and jaw-droppingly beautiful and sad and ridiculous all at once.  It's the kind of book that would make a inspiring author change his mind and say, "nope, I can't do that".

    Slow going though, only 42% through (thank you Kindle, for your exactitude) but loving every percent.  Next on the list is his posthumous novel The Pale King, which a friend of mine is reading and keeps sending me messages along the lines of "omfg DFW!", so I imagine its pretty stunning as well.

    Well, I don't read much (none / 0) (#8)
    by brodie on Sat May 14, 2011 at 05:25:16 PM EST
    contemporary fiction.  Mostly non-fiction, history, and what some would consider "alternative" areas not strictly fictional.  That's why I didn't tell you about I-Jest.

    But if you read Salon.com regularly, you should have seen the name David Foster Wallace quite often in the past few years, the book reviews, interviews, et al.

    Good luck with the reading.  


    Recommended Weekend Reading, (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 14, 2011 at 06:10:18 PM EST
    Non-fiction, for sure:  "Report into the Matter of Senator John Ensign" by Carol Elder Bruce, Special Prosecutor, submitted to the US Senate Select Committee. May 10, 20ll.  All the ingredients of a bad soap opera and a good criminal referral.

    Drama, comedy and farce with  senatorial lust crossing the line of sexual harassment early in the plot and building up to the inevitable discovery and cover-up.  Not your average adultery flick. The storyline is jacked up by the fact that the mistress is the senator's employee and long-time family friend and the husband of the mistress is the senator's administrative assistant and best friend. Moreover, the senator's wife and the married mistress were high school classmates and bridesmaids at each others wedding.  

    Now, with this background, the story takes off, with a marriage proposal to the mistress at the National Prayer Breakfast, senatorial and cuckold chases around the Las Vegas airport parking lot, a dual family Christmas dinner from hell, C-Street spiritual counseling to the senator while found in a hotel tryst, to pull up his trousers and go home (in that order, thank goodness).  And, then there is all that possible law breaking as the cover-up expands.  An interesting, and not insignificant role is played by Senator Tom Coburn (R. OK and C Streeter) as "the Negotiator", apparently bringing down the cuckhold's demands from $8  to a more reasonable $2.8 million for his transition to a new job and life. The  senator's parents kicking in hush money, and...come to think of it, you may want to wait to see this on Lifetime, or Lockup.


    Ensign's a Gooper, (none / 0) (#14)
    by brodie on Sat May 14, 2011 at 06:25:44 PM EST
    so very unlikely for Lockup. In fact, he's another example of a cynical, manipulative power- and status-obsessed Republican who hangs on to his public position to the absolute bitter end, and leaves only when the cavalry or miracle from Above fails to arrive at the last moment.

    I just wish the Senate ethics committee hadn't taken its sweet time -- nearly two years -- investigating something that, while long on colorful details, is not actually that complicated as a matter of law breaking, and presumably one of the principals here -- the cuckholded husband/senate aide -- was ready to testify against Ensign on Day One.  

    Meanwhile, I expect a fairly soft landing for the Lifetime-destined Ensign with Obama's pathetically soft DOJ, which initially declined to investigate.  A no-nonsense Attorney General Bobby Kennedy would have immediately rolled up his sleeves and nailed that guy.  But Eric Holder seems to have only kids' squirt guns in his legal holster, a fine example of Obama's bipartisan nice guy admin.


    Agreed. And the Federal Election (none / 0) (#15)
    by KeysDan on Sat May 14, 2011 at 06:50:34 PM EST
    Commission as well as the DOJ.   The FEC believed Michael and Sharon Ensign (Mother and step-Father) that the $96,000 was a gift, and just one of many.   The Special Prosecutor did what the DOJ did not do (one of many) and asked a question or two, and the result suggested perjury.   DO is saying, according to the NYT article of yesterday, that they are sort of gun shy because of the Senator Stevens mess, but the guy that messed that up is still at DOJ.    Holder is starting to make guys like Meese and Gonzales look good, a real fete.

    Got a link? (none / 0) (#23)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 14, 2011 at 08:54:42 PM EST
    I've read several places about how fascinating this report is, but none of them have provided a link to it and I don't know where to find it.

    So, who will George Clooney play (none / 0) (#33)
    by NYShooter on Sun May 15, 2011 at 01:08:05 AM EST
    in the inevitable movie? Ensign, or the best-friend husband?

    Sorry for the delay, just back. (none / 0) (#34)
    by KeysDan on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:13:17 AM EST
    I had some trouble, too, finding the actual report, but did so, through a story (which is still up) on Wonkette (click on "details of this thing...", which links to a TPM story, that has a link to the Report.  

    Good to hear you say so (none / 0) (#22)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 14, 2011 at 08:53:09 PM EST
    I'd read some of his other stuff and loved it, heard how difficult "Infinite Jest" was but figured I could handle it and bought it-- but couldn't slog my way through the first 50 pages and gave up.

    I still have the book, so you've given me impetus to give it a try again.



    Just happened to read an article (none / 0) (#53)
    by ruffian on Sun May 15, 2011 at 05:13:33 PM EST
    about Wallace,  Infinite Jest and The Pale King yesterday and was thinking about getting Jest since I have never read it either. Seems like something I should at least try. Thanks for the word of mouth.

    Sad day for bball fans... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by desertswine on Sat May 14, 2011 at 08:04:37 PM EST
    More on Harmon (none / 0) (#31)
    by DFLer on Sat May 14, 2011 at 11:22:05 PM EST
    from the Star Tribune
    Nice photo slide show too.

    Re: Ethanol Plant (none / 0) (#1)
    by Harry Saxon on Sat May 14, 2011 at 02:38:52 PM EST
    Visalia(the first i is long) is the county seat:

    Construction will begin next week in Visalia on a new biorefinery designed to convert agricultural waste and grass into ethanol.

    A groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday at EdeniQ at 2505 N. Shirk Road.

    EdeniQ, based in Visalia, and Logos Technologies Inc. of Virginia won a $20.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in late 2009 to help build the plant, which will demonstrate new technology for using materials other than feed grains to produce ethanol.

    Fresno Bee Link

    Unfortunately (none / 0) (#10)
    by Harry Saxon on Sat May 14, 2011 at 05:48:33 PM EST
    you are correct about the 'hamlets' as you call them.

    My grandfather hitchhiked his way to Grass Valley, CA, during the Depression, and found work in the gold mines there.

    Things have changed, it used to be that calling someone an "Okie" in a bar would start a fight, especially if the accusation was true.

    On the plus side, there are also a lot of projects adapting solar power to agricultural use around here as well, and a local church has offered organic gardening plots for local residents to rent and grow on, which I wouldn't have believed possible 10 years ago.

    I should also mention that Visalia is the "Gateway to the Sequoias",(Sequoiadendron giganteum) the biggest living organisms outside of fungal colonies, on the planet EVAH.


    Met HD of Wagner's (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sat May 14, 2011 at 03:31:15 PM EST
    "Die Walkuere," the second in the Ring cycle. Started 1/2 late. Ready for Wotan to punish his favorite daughter, Brunnhilde. Excellent production.

    It's not. (none / 0) (#21)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 14, 2011 at 08:50:44 PM EST
    She sings and sings and sings and sings...

    Actually, I love the opera, but a bad production can be brutal.  I happened to see the first post-WWII production in Hungary, of all places, uncut, sung IN HUNGARIAN, with a gigantic, monstrous red-headed soprano who planted her feet center stage and never moved once.  It was the longest 24 hours of my life. Oh, wait...

    (This was in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis, which is a story in itself, but being in Hungary, we had no idea it was happening until we got back to Austria and it was all over.)


    Quite a few years ago I heard an Eastern (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Sat May 14, 2011 at 11:04:27 PM EST
    European soprano sing Madame Butterfly in Santa Fe.  Similar planting of feet.  Poor Lt. Pinkerton was flummoxed.  Also heard a well-known soprano sing "Abduction" there.  The others in the cast were slim and lithe but she couldn't move.  Kind of messed up the stage director's plans. Then there was Jane Eaglan as Isolde.  She couldn't kneel down to comfort and/or mourn Tristan so she just stood and sang--beautifully. Same problem with many Turandots.  Fortunately that's rare now.

    Yes, it is going away (none / 0) (#36)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:53:57 AM EST
    Thank goodness.  There are still an awful lot of singers, though, who are convinced that having all that lard over their diaphragms makes their singing better.  I'd love to see a Turandot some day with a reasonably slim and lovely Turandot. Would put a whole different spin on the story.

    This particular Bruenhildde had (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Sat May 14, 2011 at 11:00:44 PM EST
    weight reduction surgery because she couldn't fit in the little black dress at Covent Garden.  Different opera.  Deborah Voigt.  She looks really good.  

    Since this is a liberal-legal (none / 0) (#7)
    by brodie on Sat May 14, 2011 at 05:16:57 PM EST
    blog, with a small contingent of baseball fans, I was wondering -- hearing self-described liberal baseball analyst Bill James on NPR this morning talking about his new book, whether anyone has read it (Popular Crime:  Reflections on the Celebration of Violence) and your thoughts about it.  James, also a Boston Red Sox adviser, is considered a major innovator in the way baseball records are compiled and generally how we should evaluate player achievement.

    Apparently, from a few reviews at Amazon, where it's getting hammered, the "bad" liberal author has a lot of negative things to say about the Warren Court which granted, in the author's view, too many rights to criminal defendants.  

    James also has a sort of ridiculous, contradictory take on JFK-Dallas; Dr Sam Sheppard (charged and initially convicted for the murder of his pregnant wife, the basis for The Fugitive tv series and movie) was likely guilty as charged; Jon-Benet's parents were innocent; other views both conventional and controversial.

    Haven't read the book. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Tony on Sat May 14, 2011 at 05:40:18 PM EST
    So I can't help you there.  But can I say I am actually shocked to see Bill James considers himself a liberal at all.

    I'm a big fan of his baseball work but his writing -- especially in the last ten years or so -- has always been littered with what has seemed to me to be right-wing commentary.  In his New Historical Baseball Abstract, he wrongly and bizarrely argued that Jackie Robinson admired and worked for Barry Goldwater.

    He's a contrarian who got famous challenging established "truths," so it doesn't surprise me he has a unique take on stuff like JFK.


    "Unique take" on the JFK (none / 0) (#13)
    by brodie on Sat May 14, 2011 at 06:11:00 PM EST
    case is one understated way of putting it, according to one Amazon reviewer.  Apparently, the author basically endorses the pro-Warren Comm'n lone-nuttery/LHO acting alone theory of author Gerald Posner (an ex-DailyBeast contributor, with recent charges of plagiarism) while at the same time he also endorses another author whose outlier, bizarre book proposes JFK was killed by an accidental shot from a SS agent (!)  

    If true, James may well be carving out a "unique take" on that case -- a take that's at once safely conventional in the establishment sense and also contrarian in the crazy lunatic sense.



    Well, considering the subtitle... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Sat May 14, 2011 at 05:57:11 PM EST
    ...and the fact that fans LOVE a good bench-clearing brawl, I'd hope he'd have made a connection between SPORT and the celebration of violence.  

    But, once again, he sounds like a guy who has spent his life in one particular area, baseball and numbers, and thus has a very limited intellectual ability when it comes to matters human.  That's what happens when you put little to no time into the human.


    Six Flags on a Saturday (none / 0) (#16)
    by Dadler on Sat May 14, 2011 at 07:32:56 PM EST
    Don't do it.  Even birthday boy couldn't handle the crowd, and we left pretty early (though I told him we'd play hooky during the week next time and ride alone on a slow day -- which is my usual route).  Everything about the crowd today rubbed me wrong.  People cutting in, practically walking right over you without so much as an "excuse me," their kids a little too rude and obnoxious for my pretty tolerant taste.  Bottom line: The minimum weight musta been three-fifty, and the average IQ was hovering around room temperature.  I remember thinking, if you wanna know why right wing bullsh*t takes such hold in so many people's minds, look no further than the churro and Icee line between these two rollercoasters (the Turbo Upchucker and the Brainstem Basher).

    I ain't feelin' too PC about my fellow general publicans right now.

    But I'm as full of sh*t as anyone, so I probably deserve my lumps.

    Some days, it's just so easy to (none / 0) (#19)
    by Anne on Sat May 14, 2011 at 08:14:03 PM EST
    hate people, isn't it?

    One of these days, I'm going to get my face punched in, as I've developed a tendency to mutter things like, "oh sure, it's your world, lady - just run right over me, that's fine," and "sure, I'll just stand here unable to move because you've got to take up the entire aisle with your cart and your kids while you have that very important phone call..." and at the library, I just love the people who sidle right between me and the books, totally unaware, apparently, that I am looking at the books, but trying not to do so in an ignorant way.

    Manners - no one seems to have them anymore.  And I am convinced that the way people move their carts through the store is the way they drive on the roads.

    Had someone the other day park so close to me - even though I left a decent amount of room within the lines - that I had to get into my car from the passenger side and climb over the console.  That person got a nasty note on his or her Mercedes.  A couple of days later, one of my co-workers had someone scratch "a$$hole" on the hood of her car because she parked so close to the car next to her that she probably could not have spit between them, and was too impatient to (1) look for another space or (2) re-position her car to make sure she left room on both sides  - I secretly grinned about it all day, even as she huffed and puffed about how ignorant the person was who keyed her car.  Am sure she still doesn't get why that happened to her.

    Sorry you had such a trying day - it's just so hard to have fun when one is surrounded by people who must have been raised by wolves.


    A female in a higher end newer car (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by oculus on Sat May 14, 2011 at 11:10:14 PM EST
    passed the traffic going her way and travelled at very high speed in the oncoming traffic lane.  For about two blocks.  Then she cut across and turned right onto, presumably, her residential street.  I was really hoping on of the local law enforcement officers would be parked waiting for a cell phone using driver.  But no . . . .

    Depends on the culture of (none / 0) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 14, 2011 at 09:01:10 PM EST
    where you live.

    I moved out of the Boston suburbs to the VT countryside to get away from just the behavior you describe-- figuring it would still be here, but I'd have to deal with it less often.  And discovered it doesn't exist here at all.  I've had a hell of a time reworking my Boston-area driving instincts to comport with the reflexively considerate VT habits.

    Anne, even the car dealers here are a pleasure to deal with!

    The only fly in the ointment is that I live just across the lake from NY state, and the cars with the NY license plates, even though they're rural folks like here, behave just like the monsters around Boston.

    I'd love to know how these cultures can develop so very differently in very similar areas.


    For some reason that (none / 0) (#26)
    by sj on Sat May 14, 2011 at 09:51:28 PM EST
    reminded me of my trip to Poland.  We had a few long drives (I was passenger only) and I was just amazed.  

    It was mostly fairly wide, fairly straight two lane highways.  If you wanted to pass the car ahead, you turned on the signal light and the car ahead would pull to right (they do drive on the right) to make room.  What boggled my mind was that on-coming traffic would do the same so that a temporary center lane was created for the passing car.  So civilized and courteous.  

    This procedure was also followed if the vehicle ahead was horse-drawn buggy.  :)


    UK is like that, too (none / 0) (#38)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun May 15, 2011 at 09:02:47 AM EST
    Once I got the hang of it, I found driving in the U.K.-- at least in the country and smaller towns-- an absolute pleasure.  They drive at breakneck speed and without hesitation, but they know and follow all the rules and seem to know precisely the capabilities of their vehicles, so their behavior is entirely predictable.

    And the trucks!  Wow!  Large and small, they behaved impeccably.  When my nerves occasionally got frayed from the speed and unfamiliarity, I'd hide in front of a truck for safety.

    I'm told, though haven't researched it myself, that the accident rate in the U.K. is very low, but the percentage of accidents that result in fatalities very high.  When somebody makes a mistake, it results in a huge crash.  But they don't make fender-bender mistakes.  In the Boston area, it's the exact opposite.  Very high accident rate, but very low fatality rate.


    I live in the country, and have no problem (none / 0) (#27)
    by Anne on Sat May 14, 2011 at 10:05:29 PM EST
    with rudeness or thoughtlessness when I move within the community - people smile, they are friendly, people talk to each other even if they don't know each other; I work, however, in the city, and it's truly a different world.  

    Sometimes I think that my problem is that I don't want to become like all the other city creatures, even when I'm in the city, so I think the jerks bother me that much more in contrast.


    Really? (none / 0) (#32)
    by sj on Sat May 14, 2011 at 11:31:37 PM EST
    Do you mean Baltimore City or DC?  I've found Baltimore to be very sociable.  It may be the neighborhoods I've picked.  My old neighborhood was purely residential -- nothing but a small food mart in walking distance.  I found that my neighbors of color were by far the most welcoming and friendly.  I got to know so many by sight and name just by walking my dog.  I know that they looked out for me in a neighborly way, as I did them.

    My new neighborhood has a lot more going on, which I like.  It's a lot whiter, frankly, but still feels friendly but in a more... rushed .. sort of way.

    The drivers, on the other hand, are just plain crazy.  I wonder if I'm getting to be like them in my search for a parking space...


    Moderately but not wildly affluent (5.00 / 0) (#37)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:57:39 AM EST
    white suburban communities seem to be where the culture of entitlement is strongest and most obnoxious, IMO.

    Yep (none / 0) (#49)
    by sj on Sun May 15, 2011 at 01:54:24 PM EST
    I agree

    I'm dealing mostly not with people who (5.00 / 0) (#41)
    by Anne on Sun May 15, 2011 at 10:55:20 AM EST
    live in the city, but those who work there - the stockbrokers who think they can shortcut and drive the wrong way in the garage because they don't want to take the extra minute to go up one more ramp and then come down to where they want to be, the people who are in such a hurry to get on the elevator that they don't wait for anyone to get off.  Rush, rush, rush - I don't think people realize how hurried their lives are, and how it tends to turn them into not-such-nice people.

    I don't usually go out for lunch - I'm right across from the Aquarium, right in the heart of the Inner Harbor, and can't stand fighting the crowds or spending the tourist-level prices for food!

    I don't mean to make it sound like it's one big festival of rudeness - it's not.  Nor do I want to give anyone the impression that I go through life grumbling and muttering - my usual approach is to smile and make eye contact, and just be a considerate person, even if others aren't.

    I try to take people as they come, think about the fact that I don't know what's going on in other people's lives - did they have a bad morning?  Are they caring for an elderly parent?  Are they out of work and worried about hanging on?  Some days, that's enough to bring me back to a better place...that and realizing that living as we do, on 5 acres of land, means I've grown used to not having people on top of me and all around me, and that I have to adjust my tolerance level as I go from peace and quiet to hustle and bustle.


    I have noticed a difference (none / 0) (#44)
    by Zorba on Sun May 15, 2011 at 12:47:35 PM EST
    between the drivers in Frederick, in Central MD, and Hagerstown, in Western MD.  Drivers seem much more polite in Hagerstown, less impatient, more willing to yield the right of way, and to let other drivers merge or change lanes, or to let them into a backed-up lane when they're coming out of a driveway.  Frederick used to be much more that way 25 years ago, but we have noticed a difference in recent years.  We blame it on the increasing number of people who work in the DC area and have moved up to Frederick for less expensive housing.  I don't know if that's correct or not, but the drivers in Frederick have gotten much more like the drivers in Montgomery County and DC.  That is to say, rude and impatient.

    I work near there as well (none / 0) (#48)
    by sj on Sun May 15, 2011 at 01:49:45 PM EST
    We should have lunch sometime.

    That would be great - I'd love to (none / 0) (#57)
    by Anne on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:06:37 PM EST
    do that sometime; I'll let Jeralyn know that she can give you my e-mail and we'll take it from there.

    Okay (none / 0) (#58)
    by sj on Sun May 15, 2011 at 11:43:36 PM EST
    That would be great.

    I have to object! (none / 0) (#56)
    by NYShooter on Sun May 15, 2011 at 07:47:31 PM EST
    Nobody, but nobody, drives like they do in Boston. I have never seen drivers so lacking in even a semblance of courtesy, let alone a cursory knowledge of the rules of the road. Those idiots would absolutely prefer dying in a fiery inferno than, after seeing you've signaled  your intention to change lanes, allow you to egress. I don't care if they're 20 lengths behind you they'll jam that accelerator through the floorboards in hopes of preventing your exit off the highway.

    And having a carload of children in their car only heightens their suicidal insanity.

    You don't even have to take my word for it. When I lived in New England a few years ago, the Chief of the Massachusetts state police, admitting to the phenomenon I've described,  commissioned a study to determine why Mass. drivers have earned the well deserved, nationally recognized title:....."MassHo!es!"


    hahahahaha (none / 0) (#60)
    by CST on Mon May 16, 2011 at 09:16:36 AM EST
    In some attempt of a defense here - if you spent 20+ years driving with the big dig, maybe you'd understand.

    There's at least a 30% chance that the reason they jammed the accelerator is because they completely forgot where the exit was and are in a rush to make it there themselves, despite having lived in the same place for ever.  You do that enough times because you have to and eventually it just becomes a habit.

    Of course there's also a 70% chance they're just being a M@sshole :)

    I never believed the Boston driving rumors till I left for college and came back - but... I do now


    Everyone is a NASCAR driver in the South (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 15, 2011 at 11:35:43 AM EST
    Out West nobody worries too much about what the guy next to you is doing if it isn't life threatening.  We all have a life of our own out West.  In Alabama though, if someone is driving a certain speed under the limit and you are going to pass them they almost all universally speed up to prevent you from passing them.  I have never seen anything like it.  It's like a mass suffered hysteria of some kind.  In Texas everyone very kindly pulls to the side to allow others to pass, if you are from Alabama it is so peculiar that you stop watching what your speed is because you are in shock and that's a different kind of dangerous :)

    Second music opport. (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Sat May 14, 2011 at 07:40:52 PM EST
    for today:  live and lively mariachias at a wedding reception. Wonderful trumpets. So happy someboday decided to her these fabulous musicians for their wedding bash and I get to kibutz and listen.

    Wonderful musicians (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat May 14, 2011 at 09:02:21 PM EST
    can quickly make you love any kind of music, don't you think?

    I doubt that even Bix Biedebecker (none / 0) (#35)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun May 15, 2011 at 08:28:41 AM EST
    or Dizzy Gillespie could lead one to love the vuvuzela.

    Heh (none / 0) (#39)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun May 15, 2011 at 09:04:36 AM EST
    Well, I did say "music."  Perhaps the vuvuwhatsis has a musical side, but we sure didn't hear it from the stands.  You'd have the same effect if you gave all the fans at a football game a trumpet, yet the trumpet certainly does make music.

    The problem with the vuvuzela is it only (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Sun May 15, 2011 at 10:25:39 AM EST
    sounds one pitch or its octave.  Trumpet capable of uttering more pitches.

    I take your word for it (none / 0) (#46)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun May 15, 2011 at 01:45:41 PM EST
    All I know about it is the complaints from the broadcasters and viewers.

    I assume it has some sort of purpose other than making noise at sporting events, though, doesn't it?


    It was originally used (none / 0) (#52)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun May 15, 2011 at 05:08:22 PM EST
    in South Africa to call villagers far away to meetings, and was made from the horn of a kuzu.

    It is a common misconception that the vuvuzela can only produce a single note. With special play techniques (like with didgeridoo or jug blowing) many different tones and even melodies can be played on it.

    Wiki on Vuvuzela


    And yet somehow, (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by Zorba on Sun May 15, 2011 at 05:47:00 PM EST
    I think I'll have to pass if there is ever a vuvuzela concert offered around here.   ;-)

    Huckabee is out . . . . (none / 0) (#20)
    by nycstray on Sat May 14, 2011 at 08:30:46 PM EST
    Everyone is doing more exciting things (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 15, 2011 at 11:26:48 AM EST
    We have had to cut down some trees in our yard because we have too much shade and it kills our lawn and moss starts growing instead of lawn.  Four trees cut down yesterday and cut up.  Today we will clean them up and move it to the street for pick up.  The heaviest pieces will be moved by tractor on Monday.  That's my excitement.

    From up here in the frozen north (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun May 15, 2011 at 01:48:16 PM EST
    all I can think of is what a waste of good firewood!

    Don't-- or I guess didn't-- those trees help shade the house and keep it a bit cooler?  Moss on the "lawn" is OK by me in trade, but I'm not much for lawns.


    They burn cabinets down here in the (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Sun May 15, 2011 at 04:00:25 PM EST
    fireplaces, that was my first thought when we moved here.  Having too many trees (which does happen down here) can be toxic to your yard and we had arrived at that mark.  We are having problems with fungi too.  It is too wet, and also not good for the foundation.  We also took out the rotting landscaping bed walls built out of landscape timbers and put in stone walls and there is about 8 inches of medium white rock in them now too for drainage around the front of the house.  Then we got a big rain Friday night and you should have seen the water gushing out of the bed drains.  But no water standing in the front of our house like we used to have.  It is a big improvement.

    We pick up and cut up the fallen branches in our yard and our wood pile is huge.  We still have about 60 trees total in our front and back yard that easily clear 40 feet high, most are around 60.  So what we took out doesn't even make a dent on our property, just allows us to have a good healthy patch of grass in the front.  And when we first got here my husband took a huge gum to the sawmill and also a very large magnolia. And he has two cured wood piles of them in his shop and no more room to cure wood that wouldn't invite a termite IMO so he is forbidden racking up any more wood piles for his woodshop. It is very common here though to see huge piles of logs in front of people's houses for the city to pick up.  The stuff grows like weeds down here.  The city picks it up for the cost of your gabage pick up too and they have this truck that extends those weighted feet out for stability and a scoops the stuff up that weighs tons.

    One bright note if you are truly worried about us being eco friendly, we planted three Royal Empress in our yard two years ago and because it is too shady they haven't grown as well as they should be.  All three will be getting much more light now and are supposed to be a very fast growing tree when conditions are ideal, supposed to grow 10 feet a year.  Royal Empress wood is a wood of the future we believe.  It is very durable, yet weighs only half of what average wood weighs so makes moving furniture much easier, it is naturally water proof, livestock love the leaves and will eat them, and if you cut an established one down the roots just make another one.  We planted them to get to know them better and to encourage their use in landscaping.  We have talked about actually growing them and harvesting them when my husand retires....if he ever does.


    Have you looked into (none / 0) (#59)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 16, 2011 at 08:36:05 AM EST
    putting a French drain around the house?  The previous owners of my house had one put in many years ago, and it just sucks all the water from around the house and sends it away.  My tiny unfinished cellar with a dirt floor is dry as can be.  (No gutters on the roof, so the water just pours off and straight down into the drain.)

    The previous owners had put a french drain in (none / 0) (#62)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 11:55:16 AM EST
    six years ago and because of the very heavy rains and how everything grows crazy down here it had failed.  It was all clogged with grass and shrubbery and eroded in soil.  So we extended the shrubbery beds out further from the house, built the stone walls for the new beds, scooped out any excess soil, laid heavy plastic, and put in the 8+ inches of gravel.  The climate conditions are just to extreme here for a french drain to be successful enough.

    Well, it helps that (none / 0) (#63)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon May 16, 2011 at 12:36:24 PM EST
    my house is halfway up a low ridge, and we certainly don't get the volume of rain you do down there.  But we often get a period of torrential rains in the spring, and the heavy clay soil means it doesn't get absorbed quickly.

    i would imagine (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by CST on Mon May 16, 2011 at 12:39:17 PM EST
    the humidity doesn't help much down south either.

    One of the things I've always loved about Vermont is how dry it is during the summer.  Esp. compared to the city's opressive humidity.


    You bet! (none / 0) (#67)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue May 17, 2011 at 12:03:03 AM EST
    During the winter, too.  The low humidity compared to the Boston area is one of the great joys of living here.

    We get standard Boston summer days here -- high 80s and high humidity -- for maybe three days a summer, and it cracks me up the way the oh-so-tough Vermont country people are nearly prostrate with discomfort.

    I shouldn't laugh, but they're so proud of their ability to be so stoic and go about their normal business in the face of tough winter weather and can't cope at all with an ordinary summer day.


    You get (none / 0) (#69)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue May 17, 2011 at 01:23:18 PM EST
    the exact opposite here. People talk about how they can withstand the heat but a half an inch of snow and they act just like the world is coming to an end.

    I have the problem (none / 0) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Mon May 16, 2011 at 01:13:58 PM EST
    of sitting on a downhill grade as the water makes its way to the lake and the front of the house can catch it and pool it out front sometimes.  Because the new beds and walls are always very visable we hope to better be able to control the drainage and make repairs easier when the system isn't working well.  I'm sure that this is going to be something that requires upkeep.

    It's likely the FD failed (none / 0) (#68)
    by Rojas on Tue May 17, 2011 at 07:34:40 AM EST
    because it was used/installed improperly. One shouldn't be pushing storm water runoff through gravel beds or french drains. The intention is move sub surface water through these and the gravel bed should be protected with a geotextile fabric/filter.

    Surface runoff should be piped through a separate system.


    What they cannot do in Europe (none / 0) (#45)
    by Politalkix on Sun May 15, 2011 at 01:03:34 PM EST
    they do in America.link. America is sending jobs to China while Europe is sending jobs to America.

    I shocked but (none / 0) (#50)
    by sj on Sun May 15, 2011 at 01:56:13 PM EST
    not surprised.  Let's see how much this is publicized.

    Saw 'Bridesmaids' today (none / 0) (#54)
    by ruffian on Sun May 15, 2011 at 05:25:41 PM EST
    Loved it! So well written, and Kristen Wiig and a couple of the costars are laugh till you cry funny. Even Rose Byrne, who I only know from 'Damages' is a very funny in an excellent role.

    The gross out potty humor scene in the ads is just a small part of the movie, and not nearly the funniest, so don't skip it because of that.

    Thumbs up. I'll probably see it again with my sister when I visit her next weekend.

    I saw it over the weekend too (none / 0) (#61)
    by lilburro on Mon May 16, 2011 at 09:31:23 AM EST
    It's great.  I definitely laughed til I cried a few times.  Lots of hilarious bits.

    That scene toward the end (none / 0) (#66)
    by ruffian on Mon May 16, 2011 at 02:31:39 PM EST
    with Megan telling her story and giving the pep talk had me in tears.

    Even if that were the only laugh it would have been worth it.