Christmas Day Open Thread

Merry Christmas everyone!

I'm spending the day at Ms. TL kids' parents, with the TL kids and my new grandaughter Karter (now 6 weeks old, she sends her best regards)[More...]

Please fill us in on your day and your thoughts. What was your favorite gift? This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Favorite gift (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by Peter G on Mon Dec 25, 2017 at 12:28:34 PM EST
    From our 27-year-old daughter: a contribution made in our name to the community bail fund. She reports that since the date her contribution was made, four county jail inmates held for lack of ability to post $100 or less were able to go home for the holidays.

    That's really cool (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Dec 25, 2017 at 12:36:44 PM EST
    and original and inspirational.

    Happy Holidays, Peter, and thank you for your always informative comments. We all appreciate you.


    Karter is very personable. And such (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 26, 2017 at 12:34:58 PM EST
    big hands.

    Spent Christmas (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by CST on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 08:58:21 AM EST
    Up in Vermont, which definitely delivered on the "White Christmas" promise. Apparently Boston did too for once, but in Vermont it actually stays white for a few days.

    I love Vermont though, in some ways it feels like stepping through a time machine where the only thing that's changed is the farms have gone to forest and the drive seems much shorter now.  But the neighbors are the same family my dad worked for as a teenager, the Lower Cabot General Store may be closed but the sign is still there, the iconic (to 5 year old me) racist wooden Indian statue is still in front of the Marshfield Store, and you still can't get cell service anywhere in a 20 mile radius.

    Of course time hasn't really stood still here, and the disappearing farms give a hint as to what has actually happened, along with the fact that you now lock your doors.  Like so many rural places with a disappearing economic base, heroin has become a serious problem.  But for a few days at Christmas, it's easy to ignore that, and just revel in the wonder that is the snow-white Green Mountains, and a place where the only new thing from the last century is the forest.

    Why do consider the (none / 0) (#50)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 06:24:30 PM EST
    Idian statue racist?

    The depiction (none / 0) (#54)
    by CST on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 07:28:33 AM EST
    Is a blatant stereotype/charicature of an Indian.  Apparently they used to be a lot more common.  Link.

    Farms going to forest (none / 0) (#55)
    by MKS on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 09:03:38 AM EST
    Interesting turn of events.

    I once heard that a certain fringe environmental group wanted to return much of Ohio to forest.

    And, "clearing the land" was what many settlers and pioneers originally did when leaving the East Coast.....Seems much of America east of the Mississippi was originally covered in forest.


    Just to give you a sense (none / 0) (#59)
    by CST on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 01:54:09 PM EST
    Of the scale of change, at the end of the 19th century, Vermont had about 15% forest coverage.   Today it's about 85%.  The rest of New England has gone through a similar transformation, but it's definitely more pronounced in northern New England states.

    Turns out it's easier to grow things in the Midwest, and trains meant that food could travel.  That, along with the fact that logging also left/got more sustainable, has led to significant changes.   Of course, the forest today is nothing like it used to be before the European settlers came, as the old growth is long gone.

    Most of this change happened before my lifetime, although my father remembers it more.   That said, there are definitely fewer farms and more forests today than there were when I was a child.


    decades ago, I walked through some thick forests (none / 0) (#75)
    by leap on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 08:28:47 PM EST
    in Connecticut, and was so surprised to come across old dry stone walls covered in lichens, coursing through the middle of the woods, not clearly defining anything. Probably 150 before they had defined pastures and various farm,yards. The woods reclaimed themselves. Farming had gone west.

    We hosted our Vermont family for Christmas (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 05:54:02 PM EST
    They've lived all over, but settled in Vermont. Bought an ancient falling down farmhouse outside Burlington and are making it liveable again. Our family member was once the commander for the Green Mountain Boys.

    Next year we all go to Vermont, and it will still be an old farmhouse so I will need my long underwear. I hope my blood thickens up, I'm still acclimating from over a decade in bama and I'm freezing in DC right now.

    We all had a great time together this year. It sounds like Vermont was white Christmasy.


    My new favorite Christmas song (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 11:01:28 AM EST
    The Pogues and Kristy MacColl, FairyTale of New York

    How did I not know about this until today? Apparently it is a classic in the UK.

    I didn't know about it either (none / 0) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 06:30:07 PM EST
    Please help me (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 11:43:54 AM EST
    Har! That was really funny. (none / 0) (#47)
    by desertswine on Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 01:20:26 PM EST
    LOL! Poor Melania! (none / 0) (#49)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 06:10:36 PM EST
    She's deservedly become a major punchline for comedy shows, from Zahra Ahmadi's Chanel handbag-chasing Russian robot on Tracey Ullman's BBC special "Tracey Breaks the News" to Laura Benanti's tragicomic poseur secretly plotting her escape on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

    I'm really going to have to find another (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by Anne on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 11:52:16 AM EST
    way to express my disbelief at the ridiculous things that come out of Trump's mouth, because slapping my head hurts, rolling my eyes makes me dizzy, and there are a million things I would rather do than throw up.

    From the NYT interview:

    But Michael, I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most. And if I didn't, I couldn't have talked all these people into doing ultimately only to be rejected.

    And this:

    We're going to win another four years for a lot of reasons, most importantly because our country is starting to do well again and we're being respected again. But another reason that I'm going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I'm not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they'll be loving me because they're saying, "Please, please, don't lose Donald Trump." O.K.

    And let's not overlook this:

    I'm always moving. I'm moving in both directions. We have to get rid of chainlike immigration, we have to get rid of the chain. The chain is the last guy that killed. ... [Talking with guests.] ... The last guy that killed the eight people. ... [Inaudible.] ... So badly wounded people. ... Twenty-two people came in through chain migration. Chain migration and the lottery system. They have a lottery in these countries. They take the worst people in the country, they put `em into the lottery, then they have a handful of bad, worse ones, and they put them out. `Oh, these are the people the United States. ..." ... We're gonna get rid of the lottery, and by the way, the Democrats agree with me on that. On chain migration, they pretty much agree with me.

    And he also doesn't know the difference between climate change and weather, once again tweeting the ridiculous suggestion that maybe we could use a little global warming to help us with the cold wave that's plaguing most of the country:

    In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!

    In the meantime, Happy New Year to all - and hope you can avoid the really nasty cold that's going around, and that finally got me...nothing like spending your week off from work with a box of Kleenex and some Mucinex...on the bright side, I've been catching up on a bunch of DVR'd shows, so there's that.

    The NYTimes reporter, (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by KeysDan on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 02:55:02 PM EST
    Michael Schmidt, has been criticized for not pushing back or providing corrections.  I disagree with that assessment; Schmidt's work was an impromptu interview that cleverly teased out the diminished capacity of Trump.

      Schmidt provided, with his stenography, once again, revelatory insights into Trump's delusional world.  Cartoonish, but not funny.

     From "President Xi treated me better than anybody has ever been treated in the history of China;" to the ominously scary channeling of Alan Dershowitz, "I have an absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department."

    Just close your eyes and read the transcripts as if you were eavesdropping on Trump at a Cabinet meeting. Easy to see why Tillerson concluded he is a moron...and not just any moron, but one deserving of an adjective.

    Or, National Security Advisor McMaster's more gentlemanly term, idiot. Not to mention the plan of senior staff to tackle Trump if he grabs the red button, although the Globe may have a modicum of safety here, in that it seems unlikely that Trump could manage the codes.

    My recent thoughts have assuaged doomsday worries of Trump firing Mueller. An updated Saturday Night Massacre may be, at this point, a way to achieve the critical goal for the country: getting Trump out.  

    The firing of Mueller (best later in spring and if a few more key indictments are handed down) would result in a massive uproar. And, in an election year, would increase, if not cinch, Democratic control of House and Senate--setting Trump up for sure-fire impeachment and conviction.

     From a political perspective, rather than criminal, there has long been enough for Articles of Impeachment.  Not as satisfactory, perhaps, as locking him up (which is constitutionally debatable, apparently, for a sitting president), but, the goal of getting rid of him could be met.

      The investigations could continue with new Congressional Committes--those with their heart in it.  And, Pence, if not caught up in it all, as well as any Republican presidential candidate, would be in a weak position for 2020, especially if we can keep Russia out of it. And, an FBI investigation can pick up on Mueller for the just desserts of the other culpable national security risks and kleptocrats.

    And, with that.   Happy New Year to All.


    I would add this after thought (none / 0) (#61)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 04:34:03 PM EST
    Imagine a world where Hillary won.  To be clear I'm not saying that would have been a bad thing but stay with me.

    Hillary's administration would have been crippled by republican attacks and intransigence from day one.  While Trump and his resistance would have, by remaining an abstract idea, grown more powerful by the day.  The coming wave could look very different.  

    The Roy Moore affair has been instructive.  Trump would never had conceded.  Anyone, tell me you believe, knowing what we know now, he would have.  There would have been lawsuits and congressional hearings.  Plus seeing how the FBI behaved before and after the election we might well still not know there was any investigation of Trump.  

    And now look where we are.  Trumpism is no abstract idea.  It has been brought home to every man woman and child in the entire world.  He has been as Dan points out revealed to be the dangerous lunatic he is and not some shining potentiality denied.  His foolish hubris has given us Mueller and his ultimate end is in sight.   And we are looking at a BLUE WAVE next year the likes of which may never have been seen.

    There are plenty of reasons to as Anne says slap your forehead and roll your eyes and despair.

    There are also reasons to hope.  Trump has shown the world the rancid ugly heart of the republican party.  The dreaded "religious right" has been unmasked and emasculated.  

    Is going to be one hell of a year.

    Happy New year.


    The test - one of them - that Dems face (none / 0) (#64)
    by Anne on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 06:09:29 PM EST
    is not to allow themselves to get snookered into partnering with Trump on an infrastructure plan. To even appear to be joining forces could seriously cripple the resistance.

    I agree that the only way to discredit and expose the ugliness of the Trump agenda was for Trump to win.  I don't think the GOP stooges going along with and protecting, defending and enabling a Trump fully understand how badly they are damaging their party, but I don't think we need to give them cover by engaging in "bipartisan" efforts that won't result in Dems getting anything they want.


    Agreed (none / 0) (#66)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 06:42:18 PM EST
    It seems unlikely but they have done dumber things

    It All Depends on How it is Financed (none / 0) (#67)
    by RickyJim on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 06:46:11 PM EST
    The Democrats would want the government to contract out and pay for the construction work and own it when it is done.  The Republicans would be in favor of giving tax breaks or future ownership or the tolls to companies that would undertake the projects, at least partly with their own capital.  

    You really think the resistance (none / 0) (#68)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 06:49:11 PM EST
    Would suffer if Dems got one thing done that was good for the country?

    What do we do if we take the House and the Senate and we can't get him impeached? This guy is no Nixon, he isn't going to leave or resign.


    I think it would never be framed as (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Anne on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 08:15:43 PM EST
    something the Democrats did, though, and I think it would be one of those public/private "partnership" deals that would reek of rolling over.

    I also think we need to make sure we get a Speaker who isn't afraid to put impeachment on the table; I'm not sure how confident we could be about Pelosi, if she's still in the saddle.

    Maybe we'll get "lucky" and Mueller will make impeachment/resignation a no-brainer.


    Maybe not (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 08:24:42 PM EST
    I don't think if Dems take the House (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 09:15:02 PM EST
    They accomplish this by 2020. First there must be Democratic headed investigations and Lord effing knows all that that entails.

    I will take that bet (none / 0) (#80)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 09:28:49 PM EST
    What are we wagering this bet? (none / 0) (#87)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 09:34:07 AM EST
    Yer call (none / 0) (#89)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 10:13:03 AM EST
    Hmmmm...this is a substantial wager (none / 0) (#93)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 11:14:44 AM EST
    Gotta be good

    A bottle of something wonderful?

    Since I lose often and DC doesn't have liquor taxation mastered yet.

    Some fine weed here too, but it's difficult to get it to Arkansas.

    If it's liquor, I can usually find cross country soldier transport. The soldier would not be part of your winnings though...but could accidentally be :)


    Weed definitely (none / 0) (#94)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 11:26:02 AM EST
    Ha...okay (none / 0) (#95)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 11:30:19 AM EST
    It's on

    I understand the framing fear (none / 0) (#76)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 09:10:12 PM EST
    By God Armando is after "framing" journalists too on Twitter. It's a legit fear in the next 23 months. But fight the hipocracy, not the things people need. And that is going to take hours out of days maybe sifting through bullshit if we get lucky.

    With the homework some folks are already putting into this though (like Armando, and many he's interacting with on Twitter) they deserve our attention, discussion and activism. To just be obstructionist, I can't, I'm resisting specifics. Granted the list is getting so overwhelmingly long. My resistance is specific though because both sides aren't the same, politics at the end of a tired hungry and sick day isn't a sport.

    This is going to be horrible years for so many people. I just can't not focus on the suffering awaiting.


    We somehow have to find a way to (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Anne on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 10:35:26 PM EST
    mitigate the damage, especially in the red states where people aren't going to be rescued from god awful legislation by their GOP leadership. You may have seen that Maryland's Contraceptive Equity Act goes into effect on Monday: now you know people in Alabama or Mississippi or Idaho are ~never~ getting that kind of protection.

    We need to find away to do better, for everyone.


    It would not suffer (none / 0) (#71)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 07:45:24 PM EST
    If it was a actually good for the country.  Based on what we have seen from this congress how likely do you think that is?

    That said any deal that could be made with Mitch and Paul in 2018 could be topped easily with democrat majorities which denying them any victory would help produce.

    And if dems take the house Trump will be impeached.  If they take the Senate he will be removed.  And Mueller could very well make it a moot point.


    I don't see Dems being offered much (none / 0) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 08:12:31 PM EST
    That is agreeable until possibly 2018 when they have taken back either the House or Senate or both. Then they must negotiate with him.

    Trump certainly has it all arse backwards as he seems certain Democrats will be blamed for this horror of a tax redistribution. He doesn't seem to understand that the President has a duty to not sign into law policy he/she believes is possibly destructive to the people.

    It is soooo difficult to impeach a President I have no hope that it will be/can be done before the 2020 election. Especially when Dems control neither House or Senate.


    But This is No Different (none / 0) (#62)
    by RickyJim on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 05:02:55 PM EST
    than what we have been hearing since Trump began campaigning for the presidency, or even before with birtherism. The only reason to have added concerns is if Trump suddenly started to talk sense.

    Why do you believe the rest of us (none / 0) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 09:16:29 PM EST
    Would condone what his base did?

    It isn't a question (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Repack Rider on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 11:53:52 AM EST
    Kansas police investigate whether fatal shooting was result of prank called 'swatting'

    One gamer pranks another by calling a SWAT team to his house.  Police arrive and shoot dead an unarmed, innocent man when he answers the door.

    The "prank caller" is being blamed.  This is just to take pressure off the police for cold-blooded murder.

    Kids will pull fire alarms and make false police reports.  We can assume that kids will do irresponsible things.  The POLICE are supposed to be professionals.

    Another victim (none / 0) (#100)
    by Chuck0 on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 01:58:53 PM EST
    of cowards with guns and badges.

    The lengthy Christmas story (none / 0) (#3)
    by Repack Rider on Mon Dec 25, 2017 at 03:16:47 PM EST
    ...comes from a couple of lines in the Bible.

    The manger b/c no room at the inn is one sentence in Luke. No elaboration. The millions of words generated about it came later.

    The "magi" only visit in Matthew, not Luke, so they don't have to go to the manger. By this time the Joseph family is staying in a house in Bethlehem.  No explanation of whose house it was, or when they moved from the stable to the residence.

    No animals are discussed, other than the sheep which do not leave the hills when the shepherds visit.  Not many mothers would care to have the livestock that close to the new baby.

    I have seen many accounts and artistic renderings of how pregnant Mary arrived on a donkey, but the Bible doesn't say how she got there, only that they traveled.

    Plot hole: If Joseph has to go to Bethlehem because it is the city of his ancestry, why doesn't he have any relatives living there who might offer shelter?

    That's Just the Tip of the Iceberg (none / 0) (#4)
    by RickyJim on Mon Dec 25, 2017 at 06:28:48 PM EST
    Luke has Joseph putting the 9 months pregnant Mary on a donkey for multiweek journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem because the Romans ordered everybody to go to the city where their ancestors lived during the time of King David for a census.  Everybody knew where to go? There is no other mention of such a census by anybody else but Luke.  A minor prophet, Micah c720BC, had written that the "Messiah" would be born in Bethlehem and lead the Hebrews against the hated Assyrians so Matthew and Luke had a bee in their bonnets that Jesus must be the one about whom Micah had written.

    Matthew gives us the story that elderly, ill, Herod, died 4BC, ordered the slaughter of all children, up to 2 years old, born in Bethlehem and vicinity  because some "Eastern" visitors told him that a baby was born there who would become "King of the Jews".  Nobody else, not even Herod hater Josephus, mentions such a ridiculous command from Herod.

    Mark and John didn't say anything about Jesus' birth but John recycled the heavenly visitation story about Samson's conception to the previously barren wife of Manoah from the Book of Judges.


    As I recall, Herod ordered all male (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 26, 2017 at 12:33:29 PM EST
    babes be slaughtered.

    Funny, you don't look nearly old enough (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Peter G on Tue Dec 26, 2017 at 01:16:54 PM EST
    to remember what Herod said, one way or the other.

    Did I mention my dad was a minister? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 26, 2017 at 01:23:19 PM EST
    We even went to Sunday School on vacation.

    Herod.. (none / 0) (#13)
    by jondee on Tue Dec 26, 2017 at 01:29:01 PM EST
    and the Lord giving killing orders to Abraham, and of course God himself "sacrificing" his own son, puts me in mind of these nature programs where they talk about male grizzly bears killing the cubs so that the females will go back into estrus again.

    A lot of son killing in the western tradition..from the first war to the latest one.


    I never understood (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Repack Rider on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 12:53:57 AM EST
    ...that, "God gave His only begotten son..." business.

    First, why can't He have more?  Isn't He God?

    Second, He didn't "give" his only begotten son in the sense anyone else does. Jesus is having coffee with Him a couple of days after being mildly inconvenienced on the cross. If I "gave" my child in any sense, that means no returns.

    Then there is the complicated theology that is necessary to explain why an omniscient being needs to have some guys beat up his kid in order to forgive me.  Why not just issue a blanket pardon?

    Third, when did the Holy Ghost show up?  What are his features, powers, authority and duties? WTF does the Holy ghost DO?

    Do the Trinity vote on stuff, or does God just throw His weight around? My way or perdition, you guys can vote if you want to, but it won't change eternity.


    The Most Bizarre Claim (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by RickyJim on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 08:55:55 AM EST
    is that God sacrificed his only begotten son so that humankind would have a method of overcoming the sin of Adam and Eve and get into heaven - all you have to do is believe God did that.  No matter how many times it is explained to me, I still can't make sense out of it.

    I've always said that any god that had (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 10:29:12 AM EST
    to come up with such a ridiculous scheme for salvation isn't really worth contemplation.  The same one who created all the intricacies of nature to give us this beautiful world came up with THAT? I don't think so.

    Anyone with any knowledge of (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 04:32:44 PM EST
    The history of mythology knows that whole thing is the creation of a bunch of old men who wanted to grab power from the pagan female centered religions.  
    Churchs were built on pagan sites and pagan holidays were over written.

    Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25.  During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration.  The festival began when Roman authorities chose "an enemy of the Roman people" to represent the "Lord of Misrule."  Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week.  At the festival's conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.

    I have no wish to pee on anyone's parade but it takes very little knowledge of the history of religion to know this is how it works.  


    I always liked these two (none / 0) (#32)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 04:36:48 PM EST
    A.     The Origin of Christmas Tree
    Just as early Christians recruited Roman pagans by associating Christmas with the Saturnalia, so too worshippers of the Asheira cult and its offshoots were recruited by the Church sanctioning "Christmas Trees".[7]  Pagans had long worshipped trees in the forest, or brought them into their homes and decorated them, and this observance was adopted and painted with a Christian veneer by the Church.

    B.     The Origin of Mistletoe
    Norse mythology recounts how the god Balder was killed using a mistletoe arrow by his rival god Hoder while fighting for the female Nanna.  Druid rituals use mistletoe to poison their human sacrificial victim.[8]  The Christian custom of "kissing under the mistletoe" is a later synthesis of the sexual license of Saturnalia with the Druidic sacrificial cult.[9]



    Repack Rider: "I never understood that, "God gave His only begotten son..." business. First, why can't He have more? Isn't He God?"

    That said, I've since concluded that the Lord was likely setting a good example for the future Chinese government policymakers, who subsequently limited married couples to begetting only one child apiece.

    There is, however, evidence per Matthew 27:46 which suggests one other rather distasteful possibility, which is that our Heavenly Father is perhaps a Deadbeat Dad who abandoned his only begotten Son. I mean, setting the Old Testament prophecies aside for the moment, how else to explain why Jesus would cry out to the skies while nailed to the cross, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"

    But you didn't hear that from me. ;-D


    Yeah (none / 0) (#53)
    by Repack Rider on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 03:05:15 AM EST
    Why didn't Jesus say, "Dad, I'll be Home in a couple of days?"

    Also, the concept of heaven eludes me.  The thing that makes life meaningful for me is that is finite.  WTF do immortal beings do all the livelong...eternity?

    After a while, wouldn't you just want to kill yourself, but how do you do that?


    Has Any Religion Taken a Stand (none / 0) (#56)
    by RickyJim on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 09:47:58 AM EST
    on, if we die while senile and demented, will we be restored to  youthful mental vigor to spend eternity?

    Eternity is really long... (none / 0) (#57)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 11:03:22 AM EST
    ....especially near the end.

    - Woody Allen


    Western tradition, Eastern tradition (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Dec 26, 2017 at 05:17:59 PM EST
    Middle Eastern tradition, Middle Western tradition, and all the folklore...

    There's lots of son killing in all the histories, texts, and dogmas...right after daughter/wife/woman/slut with an apple/whore killings


    Toons (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Dec 25, 2017 at 09:04:21 PM EST
    "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert's cartoon version of President Donald Trump is back, and this time he's got his own television series.

    "Our Cartoon President" will debut on Showtime in February, according to the first teaser released late Monday.

    The satirical show will examine "the quintessentially Trumpian details of the presidency and his most important relationships," according to Showtime.



    Eight of the nation's top cartoonists show us how they lampoon the president.

    Laugh.  It's what he hates most.

    I hope Colbert's own (none / 0) (#23)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 10:37:57 AM EST
    Trump impression is not part of the show. It makes me cringe and makes me not even able to watch him anymore. Just sad that he thinks it is good enough to put on the air.

    The trailer looks interesting (none / 0) (#30)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 04:21:48 PM EST
    I just wonder if the country, or at least the part that would watch it, are past that kind of humor about Trump.  As it gets more serious and less funny by the day.  By the hour.

    Never watch late night talk.  Never have.  Not sure why.


    2016 was bad year (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 26, 2017 at 07:54:08 AM EST
    In more ways than one.  I don't usually do obits here but I have been recording the Hitchcock mini marathon on TCM and they just did one of those end of the year losses thing.  Most I knew about.  But the list was long.  Some I missed or forgot about

    Glenn's Headly
    Miguel Ferrer
    Jonathan Demme
    John Hurt
    Richard Anderson
    William Peter Blatty
    John Heard
    Tobe Hooper
    Powers Booth
    Michael Parks
    Robert Hardy
    Barbara Hale
    Clifton James
    Jeanne Moreau
    Bill Paxton

    The list is much longer but many like George Romero have been noted here.  Some of these may have been.

    RIP you will be missed.  It's the least we can do.

    I really do know (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 26, 2017 at 08:02:08 AM EST
    What year it is

    TV alert (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Dec 26, 2017 at 09:57:08 AM EST
    SHO is running a DEXTER marathon.  Today is season 5.  The best of the series in which he meets Lumen who is a thousand times more interesting than Rita.

    Seriously, even John Lithgow could not save yesterday from being my least favorite year.

    My relief at Ritas departure is renewed at every viewing.

    One of my best Christmases (none / 0) (#22)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 10:35:34 AM EST
    was doing a Dexter marathon with my brother and my niece a few years ago. I was fine with Rita being off the show, but that scene was truly shocking. I think it was one of the few TV deaths that seriously affected me the next day. Really did not think they were going there.

    I don't have SHO anymore, but I may have to do a 6 Feet Under, GoT or Deadwood binge as part of my decompressing-from- company routine this weekend.

    I see that the actress that played Claire on 6 Feet Under is playing Eliza Doolittle at Lincoln Center soon. I always loved her in 6ft. Would be interesting to see her in that role.

    What else is out there to watch this week?  I caught up on The Crown a couple of weeks ago. 2nd season mostly good I thought.


    Got caught in the GOT marathon (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 03:51:12 PM EST

    The other day ALIEN 3 was on.  The one directed by David Fincher that no one liked but me.  Watching it I realized Rilpeys male romantic lead was Charles Dance aka Tywin Lannister.

    It was so odd to see him in that kind of role I had to check IMDB to make sure.  He was less gaunt and actually sort of hot.


    I enjoyed that film for the most part (none / 0) (#27)
    by McBain on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 04:04:19 PM EST
    I heard they are/ or were going to make a new Alien film that was going to be a sequel to Aliens (Cameron's film) where the events of Alien 3 never took place.  Basically, Hicks and the little girl live.  I think that project is in limbo.    

    Internet fantasy (none / 0) (#29)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 04:17:34 PM EST
    If that was true they would not have made 4

    No, this idea is much more recent (none / 0) (#33)
    by McBain on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 05:45:40 PM EST
    but still fantasy
    We likely won't see Ripley, Newt, and Corporal Hicks again on the big screen. If Newt and Hicks ever do return from the dead, it's probably not going to happen in Neill Bomkamp`s Alien film. The District 9 and Chappie director was going to bring the characters back for his Alien sequel, a direct sequel to Aliens that was meant to give Ripley a proper ending. According to Blomkamp, the film probably isn't going to get made.

    I would love that (none / 0) (#34)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 06:02:55 PM EST
    But it hard to believe it was ever even seriously considered.  I had heard about that but I did not know Bomkamp was involved.  He is a genius.

    site violator (none / 0) (#18)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 08:56:24 AM EST

    SITE VIOLATOR (none / 0) (#19)
    by Peter G on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 08:57:59 AM EST
    Almost certainly, not that I clicked the link.

    McLaughlin Group to Return Jan. 07 (none / 0) (#25)
    by RickyJim on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 03:13:01 PM EST

    I will be interested in hearing what Eleanor, Clarence and Pat have to say about Trump now. Pat's recent columns seem to be about 50-50.   He hasn't said anything good about Trump's foreign policy.  Is the Tom Rogan, who will be hosting the program, the "Thomas Rogan" who sometimes posts here?

    Are they going to prop up ... (none / 0) (#52)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 06:40:25 PM EST
    ... John McLaughlin in his chair, like the late title character in "Weekend at Bernie's"?

    They can prop him up.. (none / 0) (#69)
    by desertswine on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 06:51:05 PM EST
    next to the empty shell of Pat Buchanan.

    More studies showing supplements (none / 0) (#28)
    by McBain on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 04:08:29 PM EST
    are overrated according to this article.  
    It turns out there's little evidence supplements protect against hip fractures and other broken bones in older folks, according to data gathered from dozens of clinical trials.

    "The routine use of these supplements is unnecessary in community-dwelling older people," said lead researcher Dr. Jia-Guo Zhao, an orthopedic surgeon with Tianjin Hospital in China. "I think that it is time to stop taking calcium and vitamin D supplements."


    My daily vitamin D (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Towanda on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 06:50:37 PM EST
    is such a little thing to do, and with osteoporosis as well as arthritis (and lumbar stenosisi, owing to polio, so the trifecta of lower back problems), I will keep taking it.  But yeah, re calcium, it  brought back my first kideny stones in forty years. It turns out that some of us do not process calcium well. . . . And with only one kidney, I am not taking that risk again.

    My go-to supplement this year is turmeric capsules. I had a foot swollen from plantar fasciitis -- I had gotten rid of the fasciitis pain with appropriate footwear, but the swelling at the top,of the foot continued, complicating the search for better footwear and limiting mobility from the back problems even more -- and none of the docs could come up with a solution.

    So, I did my research and found recommendations for turmeric to reduce inflammation. It worked so fast! It also gives me a good reason to get more turmeric in my system by enjoying even more Indian food. That is a favorite for Spouse Towanda, too, so he is, for once, not mocking my medical research.  But a lifetime of docs not cognizant of effects of polio, of one kidney, etc., has taught me to not accept that nothing can be done.


    Plantar fasciitis--ouch (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 07:36:07 PM EST
    Turmeric works for that?  I will try that.

    The things you learn here.


    I suppose Omega 3 is (none / 0) (#37)
    by MKS on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 07:34:09 PM EST
    still favored.   Everyone says it is a really good supplement.

    I take prescription D (none / 0) (#39)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 07:59:35 PM EST
    One pill a week but it's a massive dose.  It's also my most expensive script because my insurance won't pay it.

    I asked my doctor about it he said I should keep taking it.  He is a very good doctor.


    Not much evidence for that either (none / 0) (#44)
    by McBain on Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 10:28:00 AM EST
    at least not in supplement form. There used to be some thought it prevented heart attacks. Recent studies haven't backed that up. I still give some to my dog for his joint issues.



    I'm talking about Omega 3 supplements in (none / 0) (#45)
    by McBain on Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 10:29:17 AM EST
    post #44

    It is (none / 0) (#35)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 06:44:55 PM EST
    So freakin cold here.

    Right now it's 10 and feels like 6.  Sub zero by morning.

    It's a balmy (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by CST on Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 02:25:32 PM EST
    9 degrees here today.  Two sharks were found on the Cape this week dead of cold shock - which basically means they froze to death in the ocean and washed up on shore.  I didn't know that was a thing that happened.

    It's been riduculously.... (none / 0) (#70)
    by desertswine on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 07:02:41 PM EST
    in the 60's here in Nuevo Mexico.  But the humidity is in single digits and there hasn't been any precip in over 3 months.  That last big cold front missed us to the east.

    It moderated for a couple of days (none / 0) (#78)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 09:15:42 PM EST
    High 20s.  Tomorrow maybe low 30s.  But Monday....

    Sunday and Monday it's supposed to be sub zero.  Possibly as a high.

    That is very unusual for this area.  Animals will die.  Maybe even people.  Old houses here were not built for that kind if cold.

    Just saw the weather and he said there could be 90+ hours in the single digits.

    Fortunately I have heat in multiple redundancy


    I forget... (none / 0) (#81)
    by leap on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 10:14:16 PM EST
    you are in Arkansas? Somewhere in the Confederacy as I recall.

    It always amuses me when commenters on blogs say things such as, "It rained 12 inches here!" "The weather turned nasty here." "Record low temps here." "Roads slicker'n snot where I am."

    As if everyone knows where "here" is! Or where "where" is. So funny.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#83)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Dec 29, 2017 at 11:10:40 PM EST

    I forget not everywhere next knows where here is.

    I live on the AR/MO line.


    Too bad (none / 0) (#84)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 03:46:38 AM EST
    we can't have permanent tag lines on TL that tell a little bit about us and where we live. Of course, my name kind of tells you where I am.

    75 degrees here in the (none / 0) (#85)
    by fishcamp on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 08:49:14 AM EST
    florida keys, or it will be soon today.  Woke up to a cold 66 degrees today.  Kinda nice for a change.

    It was 12 degrees last night when I (none / 0) (#86)
    by Anne on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 09:19:21 AM EST
    had the dog out before bed, and we got a dusting of snow overnight (25 miles north of Baltimore).  Looks like maybe an inch, but with roads cold from the deep freeze, even an inch can create problems.

    Been cooped up dealing with a nasty cold, but will need to venture out to run errands: looks like I will need to bundle up!

    Really don't have the motivation, but maybe once I get going...I can always crash later, right?


    It's 70 out here in the islands (none / 0) (#41)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 09:11:57 PM EST
    The downside is that we've been in the midst of a major monsoon, with at least 7 inches of rain thus far today and apparently much more on the way. So, it was a good day to go to the movies.

    We just saw "All the Money in the World," and I can't recommend it highly enough. 18-year-old Charlie Plummer did a very good job as hapless kidnap victim J.P. Getty III, Michelle Williams was outstanding as young Getty's increasingly desperate mother Gail Harris, and Mark Wahlberg was great as always at playing yet another variation of Mark Walberg's movie persona, this time former CIA operative Fletcher Chase.

    But Christopher Plummer -- no relation to Charlie -- literally channeled the cold-hearted ghost of J. Paul Getty, and his phenomenal performance made me seriously wonder what in the world anyone ever saw in Kevin Spacey as the late oil baron in the first place.

    As most everyone knows by now, Scott made the snap decision to recast the role in the immediate wake of Spacey's sex abuse scandal. The cast and crew quickly reconvened over Thanksgiving week, which is when all of the old tycoon's scenes were reshot with the elder Plummer. And this was clearly no bit part but rather, an integral and key component to the film's plot, which makes this last-minute recasting all the more impressive when you see the final results onscreen.

    Seriously, if Christopher Plummer doesn't garner at least an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor for his work here (he's already snagged a Golden Globe nomination), there is no justice.



    I was told this was a must see (none / 0) (#42)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 09:50:46 PM EST
    Not just because it was a good movie but because of the artful replacement.  I have a friend who worked on it.  There was, as you might expect, a lot of compositing tricks.

    Considerig that the film was ... (none / 0) (#43)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Dec 28, 2017 at 02:27:12 AM EST
    ... already completed and in post-production when the Kevin Spacey scandal broke, I'm obviously very impressed with the finished product.

    Personally, I don't think director Ridley Scott had any choice but to throw the Hail Mary and reshoot, because Kevin Spacey had quickly become radioactive. "All the Money" would've surely and quickly tanked at the box office, had Sony Pictures released the completed Spacey version. Scott, the rest of his cast and crew, and the Sony executives were staring at a disaster -- and they knew it.

    So, kudos to everyone for giving up their Thanksgiving holiday, and returning to England to pull off that amazing logistical turnaround in such a remarkably short period of time. It's quite the cinematic accomplishment, given that they were reshooting only four weeks ago.

    Film editor Claire Simpson was literally culling Spacey from the master print each night and replacing his scenes with the new footage shot by Scott earlier that day. And Christopher Plummer is definitely the man of the hour, having quickly stepped into the role on very short notice to make it all happen.



    It's below zero (none / 0) (#88)
    by Towanda on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 10:00:00 AM EST
    here, southeastern Wisconsin.

    It has been horrible for a week now, and will continue to be horrible for days ahead. I just want to hibernate but have to go to a family gathering, about 25 miles west, where the temps are even farther below zero.  And some of the familiy members can be so crazy that I often go outdoors for a walk in the woods. Not today.


    My sympathies, Towanda. (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by caseyOR on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 12:05:49 PM EST
    Here in central Illinois the dangerously low temps continue. We are expecting lows of minus 15 before the wind chill is factored in.

    We had approximately 3 inches of snow yesterday. and that snow will be around for quite awhile. The forecast says it will be at least a week before temps rise to the double digits. 15 above zero sounds mighty good right now.

    Granted, 3 inches is a minor snowfall for this area, but I saw more snowplows on the roads yesterday then I did in all of last winter.


    So now it starts to make sense (none / 0) (#40)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 27, 2017 at 08:15:26 PM EST
    Mueller is investigating the republicans and the RNC

    In just the last few weeks, his prosecutors have begun questioning Republican National Committee staffers about the party digital operation that worked with the Trump campaign to target voters in key swing states. They are seeking to determine if the joint effort was related to the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate, according to two of the sources.

    Mueller probe outgrows its `witch hunt' phase

    More than a resolution (none / 0) (#90)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 10:18:43 AM EST
    I have a NEW YEARS WISH--

    A moratorium on catheter commercials.

    Seriously, do we need this?

    Every time I see one with those creepy CGI simulations it sets my teeth on edge for an hour.

    And I would add to that: (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Anne on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 10:57:08 AM EST
       *   prescription drug commercials hawking drugs where "some cancers and TB have happened" - when they start saying, "this drug could give you cancer," I might at least give them points for some level of honesty.

       *   all commercials for ED drugs

       *   ads for incontinence - especially the ones that make it look like fun.

       *   Basically, the commercials that run during the nightly news, that appear to be aimed at the nursing home set: adult diapers, denture cream, ED, diabetes, neuropathy, fibromyalgia.

       *   any commercial that involves use of the word "leakage."


    Really? Catheter ads on teevee?? (none / 0) (#92)
    by leap on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 11:00:13 AM EST
    Why on earth? As if one could give oneself a catheter? Who are these ads targeting? One more question: What th'?

    People do self-catheterize. (none / 0) (#97)
    by caseyOR on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 11:54:40 AM EST
    There are people with medical conditions that require the daily use of catheters. And insurance rarely, if ever, pays for a home health nurse to come by the house everyday to remove and insert catheters.

    It sounds horrible. I hope to god i never have to do that. to myself.


    Yikes! (none / 0) (#98)
    by leap on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 12:05:06 PM EST
    I don't have a teevee, so I am very ignorant of such things. (Things one learns from teevee...) Gads, I cannot imagine self-catherizing, and am with you on hoping never to have to do that.

    I only learned it from the (none / 0) (#103)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 07:17:05 PM EST
    Cringe worthy commercials.

    One of our most stable ME allies (none / 0) (#101)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 03:22:12 PM EST
    Joins the maelstrom. The king of Jordan has arrested his brothers and cousins.

    Game of Thrones news (none / 0) (#102)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 07:16:07 PM EST
    Game of Thrones star who played Ygritte engaged to Jon Snow actor Kit Harington

    There are spinoffs in the works.  4 apparently .  All prequels.

    Presumably all won't get made.  They have contracted some great writers.  

    You might expect the back story of Jon Snows parents.  Or way back to the children of the forest an the first men.

    Personally I would like to know the Red Womans story.  And maybe Varys.

    Oops (none / 0) (#104)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Dec 30, 2017 at 07:39:16 PM EST

    We had four scripts in development when I arrived in LA last week, but by the time I left we had five. We have added a fifth writer to the original four. No, I will not reveal the name here. HBO announced the names of the first four, and will no doubt announce the fifth as well, once his deal has closed. He's a really terrific addition, however, a great guy and a fine writer, and aside from me and maybe Elio and Linda, I don't know anyone who knows and loves Westeros as well as he does.



    Fan of the books (none / 0) (#105)
    by jmacWA on Sun Dec 31, 2017 at 05:53:53 AM EST
    I would like to see Winds of Winter sometime in my lifetime.