Open Thread: Ashitcan Farewell


Of course CNN broke out the banjo music. But, to be fair, this batch of Trump voters sounds less defiant than resigned — as though they’ve moved on to Kubler-Ross Stage #3 or #4.

Writers Chatting: Chapter 11

Welcome to the final chapter for 2017.

Let’s start with some additional information from Andrew Durkin, see his original guest post here.  This part of his guest post answers many questions from the last chat. From Andrew:

The most surprising thing I’ve learned since becoming a professional editor is that not all authors believe in the benefit of professional editing. On the surface, that’s understandable, especially in self-publishing—why pay for something when you can get a friend to do it for free? Economic resistance is often compounded by a very human fear of criticism, as well as horror stories about bad editors who have corrupted an author’s artistic or intellectual vision.

But I’m going to start from the premise that professional editing is the sine qua non for anyone serious about being an author—regardless of genre, and regardless of the type of publishing (traditional or self). The real question is how do you get the most out of the process? In my experience, there are three rules of thumb, and they follow below. (Some of these will seem like common sense . . . but you’d be surprised!)

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Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

This was one of my favorite photos from Paris. It was drizzling and they were just far enough ahead the best I could do was a grainy shot, but still I love it. Just after this, they inexplicably lost the balloons. Then there was this one on the Seine:

Believe  it or not…it wasn’t until we got home and looked at the photos on the computer we realized that T-Rex was actually on a boat!

There are more photos here if you’re interested.

What’s everyone up to this afternoon? I’m on my way to the annual cookie bake.  Did anyone hear from Betty Cracker, did she survive the Drunken Aunties Cookie Night?

Open thread.

Sunday Morning Garden (Household Repair / Photo Tips) Chat: “Winter Is Coming”


For a lot of us, winter is already here, but who could resist photos like this from the gifted and ever-dependable Ozark Hillbilly?


Who’s got garden reports? Questions about household repair / maintenance? Tips for better photograhs — or questions on how to get the best shots?

Frost flowers:

Late Night Russiagate Open Thread: He’s Doing This for Future About-to-Be Indicted Presidents!

Raise your hand if you’re old enough to remember still-nominally-President Nixon, at the height of the Watergate investigation, insisting that he was only stonewalling release of various CREEPster conspiratorial documents and RNC receipts to professional bagmen because he “feared” setting a precedent that would “unduly restrict” the actions of future Oval Office residents. The rest of you can easily infer that the tactic didn’t work — but also, it was widely mocked at the time, even by otherwise sympathetic centrist-right critics.

If the squatting Oval Office Occupant’s legal team is trying the same tactic, I’m convinced that (a) They’re desperate enough to be reading up on Watergate, and (b) They’re not smart enough — or have so few other choices available — that “trying the case in the media” has become their last resort.

Part of a most informative twitter thread from Renato Mariotti, who is a lawyer, and from all reports a damned good prosecutor:

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Saturday Night Open Thread

Ice cream and quality time with my girl:

I feel better now.

A Late Evening Snack: Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Earlier this week I broke out the emergency tiara, frilly apron, and matching oven mitts to make a salted caramel cheesecake. This was a favor for the Mom who was giving it as a gift. So I did the salted caramel parts while she did the cheesecake parts.

Here’s the recipe.


3 eight ounce bars of cream cheese

3 eggs

8 ounces of sour cream

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup of graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons of butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter and mix with the graham cracker crumbs to make the crust. Place the butter moistened crumbs into the bottom of a 10 inch diameter springform pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or buttered. Pat down the crumbs to form the base and then place in the freezer while preparing the cheesecake batter.

Whip the cream cheese and the eggs together until smooth. Alternating between one bar of cream cheese and one egg. Add the sour cream and whip until incorporated. Then add the sugar and the vanilla.

Salted Caramel Ganache

8 ounces of heavy whipping cream

8 ounces of caramels

Place the caramels in a bowl that can be used as the top part of a double boiler. Scald the heavy whipping cream. Pour the scalded cream over the caramels and let sit for five minutes. If the caramels are not completely melted and soft and won’t incorporate with the cream, place the bowl over the top of a pot of boiling water/bottom half of a double boiler, and whisk until the caramels melt and incorporate with the cream into a ganache. Then add kosher salt to taste.

Add the salted caramel ganache to the cheesecake batter and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Remove the springform pan from the freezer and pour the cheesecake batter into it. Place in the oven and back for one hour. Then turn off the oven and let it cool with the door open for one hour. Then remove from the oven and let cool on the counter for one hour. Then refrigerate. Once the cheesecake is cold (at least several hours in the refrigerator), make a 1/2 batch of the salted caramel ganache and pour onto the top of the cold cheesecake. It will begin to set up immediately. Sprinkle with kosher salt or finishing salt and place back in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Open thread!

Pet Rescue Bleg: Columbus, OH Area

Pogonip put up a comment yesterday about a cat hoarding tragedy in the Columbus, OH area. Apparently someone in Gahanna, OH had collected, for lack of a better term, 166 cats.

GAHANNA, OH (WCMH) –Wednesday, more than 160 cats were taken out of a Gahanna home.

“We did remove 111 alive cats, 55 deceased unfortunately,” said Kerry Shaw with Columbus Humane, formerly called the Capital Area Humane Society.

Columbus Humane said it’s one of the worst cases of animal hoarding it has ever seen.

“The cats were in deplorable conditions and some have serious health risks right now, serious health conditions,” said Shaw.

Unfortunately, this has overwhelmed the Columbus Humane Society’s capabilities right now.

Columbus Humane, which operates a shelter at 3015 Scioto Darby Executive Court on the Far West Side, was so overwhelmed with the cats from Gahanna that they had to shut down operations to the public Wednesday, Shaw said.

Veterinarians were examining the 111 live cats to evaluate their health, gather evidence and determine their future, Shaw said.

Pogonip was hoping that any of you all in the area might be able to help out. Specifically:

Hello, I remember from reading this site before that readers would organize to help pets all across the country.

I lived in Columbus, Ohio for years and still keep up with their news. Earlier this week, in suburban Gahanna, one hundred eleven cats were rescued from a collector. The local shelter is so overwhelmed they’ve had to stop accepting turn-ins. They can use all the help they can get. Details and updates can be found at and

So if you live in the area and were considering adopting,  from the Columbus Humane Society, now might be a good time to consider doing so from the Columbus Human Society to ease their sudden overcrowding problem.

Open thread!

Anger Bear

I’ve just been in a seething rage the past 48 hours. This tax bill may have pushed me over the edge. Oh, and shitheads like Mike Murphy, who looks like a conehead with pubic hair for a combover:

His response was to block me. Lying ass prick.

Penguins look like shit. At least SNL is new with Kevin Hart and the Foo Fighters.

Get a little action in

I was born in 69 so I’m not quite old enough to remember the Saturday Night Massacre. All you olds out there, what was it like in terms of the mood of the country? Was there real outrage?

We’re headed towards something like that again, I believe, and I’m curious what it’s going to feel like.

Flying Saucers Are Back!

It turns out that the government had a secret program on Unidentified Flying Objects, and the New York Times just found out about it. It seems to have ended in 2012, but you never know about that black money!

There are a couple of videos in the article. This one is embeddable, the other one apparently not.

I’m not impressed by either; it seems odd they couldn’t bring the objects into focus, and the motion of the first suggests to me some sort of reflection, although I’d need to see more of the environment to call it that more positively.

But they’re probably not Venus, and it’s worth trying to figure out what they are if only to identify the circumstances that can convince pilots there’s something out there when there isn’t.

And much of the funding ($22 million over five years is not a lot) went to a friend of Harry Reid’s.

The truth is out there.

Exile on K Street

The politics of the tax scam bill are most likely terrible for Republicans, e.g. no major legislation that polled this poorly has ever passed. So why are they passing it? I think Krugman has the right idea:

[F]or some significant number of Republicans we may be seeing what I’d call the “K Street end game.” Suppose you’re a GOP Congresscritter representing an only moderately R district, say in NY or California – and you see growing evidence of a huge Democratic wave next year, with election results so far suggesting something like a 15 point swing. What do you do?

Well, you could say, “Gee, I’d better buck the party line and show my independence to win over swing voters.” But how likely is that to work? How many people even know how their representative votes?

Or you could say, “Well, I guess I’ll be looking for a lobbying job/ think tank position/commentator role on Fox News in 2019” – in which case your mission in what remains of your Congressional career is to keep donors and the party machine happy, never mind the voters.

There aren’t enough Fox News gigs to go around for the 50+ Republican Congressmen who get shit-canned by voters next fall, but there’s definitely enough lobbying and think tank sinecures to go around.

His & Hers (Open Thread)

I’m back home for the time being, and it’s a gorgeous day, so the mister and I cruised around the countryside this morning:

My gran is hanging in there so far, the tough old bird! I tried to feed her breakfast the other day, and she brushed my offer of assistance aside, grabbed the plate and wolfed down a pile of eggs and grits.

Tonight is Drunken Aunties Cookie Night. It may or may not be live blogged. What are y’all up to today?

Open thread!

Saturday Morning Open Thread


What’s on the agenda, as we count down towards the end of the calendar year?



Ignorance Is Strength

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were told today not to use seven words in official documents they prepare for next year’s budget. The words are








Instead of “science-based” or ­“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” but in other cases, no substitute was suggested.

No names were given of people responsible for this dictum.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget

but, from the wording, it looks like it was a Party operative another official who gave the order. Or somebody told the senior CDC officials that that would be required.

“Transgender” and “fetus” are particularly problematic. The preference to replace “fetus” is probably “unborn baby.” I don’t want to imagine what they would prefer for “transgender.” Or, I guess, programs involving those nonexistent categories can just be struck. I’m sure the CDC budget will be decreased in any case.

Update: cthulu informs us that Kevin Drum has supplied substitutes. Here they are