Open Thread

Just a reminder, since it is the holiday season, the easiest way to support Balloon Juice is to click on the Amazon link on this page before ordering anything from Amazon. We get a tiny percentage of whatever you order. KTHXBAI!

117 replies
  1. 1
    cathyx says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I think I will be ordering from them for Christmas.

  2. 2
    Yutsano says:

    Done and done! Well, as soon as I get to buying stuff, but doing a lot of my ordering through them.

  3. 3
    Schlemizel says:

    I was just looking to order some stuff, might as well be amazon & if you get a nickle from it so much the better.

  4. 4

    I already got my Christmas Present this year and I cannot think of anything that I would rather have. As of today I am going to have to really think hard to give DH an even minimal list of things I want. Right now a greenhouse heater is about it.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    @Schlemizel: Every nickel contributed is another nickel to keep Tunch in his demanded ahi.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Yutsano says:

    @jeffreyw: ZOMG EARZ!!

  8. 8
    Raven says:

    @jeffreyw: That is one great lookin critter!

  9. 9
    jeffreyw says:

    @Yutsano: @Raven: He’s a Basset mix, 10-12 weeks old, and a sweet little boy.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    The Dangerman says:


    …another nickel to keep Tunch in his demanded ahi.

    I think we’re going to need a bigger boatload of purchases.

  12. 12
    Raven says:

    @Yutsano: I caught a 38 inch Redfish on this trip, proly weighed about 45 lbs, that would keep him for a while!

  13. 13
    Raven says:

    @jeffreyw: Wow, pretty long legs but that’s why he’s a “mix”.

  14. 14
    jeffreyw says:

    @Raven: Mrs J has no idea what the rest of him is. She says she will ask around.

  15. 15
    Raven says:

    Where’s the calendar?

  16. 16
    Raven says:

    @jeffreyw: rotsa ruck

  17. 17
    Karmus says:

    Speaking of Tunch, could this be a long-lost baby picture?

    Funny how the spot on the back of his head stayed the same size.

    Or it could be I’m all wrong about that. I guess I need my memory refreshed (hint, hint).

    Edit: Linky faily

  18. 18
    muddy says:

    If I clicked the Amazon link and then made that result a bookmark to start from, will it remember in future that I first clicked through from here?

  19. 19
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @efgoldman: That’s why the good Lord gave you elbows.

  20. 20
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    I finally remembered and clicked through here to get my terrific cat tree. Which btw, my cats adore.

  21. 21

    So, as soon as the election is over and he’s re-installed the Kenyan Muslim Atheist Soshulist, Soros stops sending the checks?

  22. 22
    suzanne says:

    @jeffreyw: Oh my God, what a gorgeous little bebe!

    We did our Thanksgiving meal today. Mr. suzanne spatchcocked the turkey. I’m vegetarian, but he assured me that it was awesome. I feel like a sphere. Going to go do a few mile run in a bit in order to feel less spherical.

  23. 23
    gogol's wife says:

    I always do this. And I buy a lot of books, all year round. Have to keep Tunch fat and happy.

  24. 24
    Raven says:

    @efgoldman: Boxing out is more about desire and position.

  25. 25
    Hg says:

    Is there any way to confirm while buying that you are getting a cut?

  26. 26
    WereBear says:

    I always look for the link, especially when someone here reccs a book.

  27. 27
    CaptMaggie says:

    Do clicking through the other links help? I try to do that when ordering but not sure if it actually matters or not.

  28. 28
    Michael says:

    Is anyone else getting the Kumon ads? I walk by one of those places on my to WholeFoods all the time, and never get less amazed by how amazingly bad their logo is. “Kumon — send your kid here to become an unhappy dimwit!”

  29. 29
    WaterGirl says:

    Cole, thank you for letting us know that you get a percentage of what is ordered. I’ve probably asked about that half a dozen times in various threads, trying to find out whether you get a set amount per order or if it’s a percentage.

    I order from Amazon all the time, and I will now make certain to always go through your link. Somehow knowing that it’s a percentage makes the extra step completely worthwhile.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    LT(promo) Hammer says:

    Oh good. I was trying to find some way to rationalize buy from Gargantuazon instead of getting everything local. Now I can tell myself I’m doing it for the Cole children. For the animal children, anyway.

  32. 32
    mai naem says:

    @Michael: Kumon is great. I cannot say enough good stuff about Kumon. My friend’s kid was behind in school to the point where he was going to be two years behind in grade school. He’s been going to Kumon for about four months and its made an amazing difference in this kid’s life. Total turnaround. My niece and nephew also attended and both were way ahead in their math because of Kumon. It’s relatively cheap. It’s a $100/month/ subject and they give you a discount for multiple kids.

  33. 33
    gelfling545 says:

    @jeffreyw: OOOO! What a sweetie!

  34. 34
    Michael says:

    @mai naem: I’m sure its great. But their logo is awful! I mean, c’mon. Its literally a frowny face.

  35. 35
    gelfling545 says:

    OK, so I have a bunch of stuff sitting in the wait til later file at amazon until my sumptious (snort) public employee’s pension check comes in. Can I click here & get the stuff out of the list or should I toss it all & reload it?

  36. 36
    Yutsano says:

    @gelfling545: I think what matters is the click you go through when you actually place the order. I could be wrong though. I’d check the affiliate link Raven provided, maybe it gives more info.

  37. 37
    mandarama says:

    @Yutsano: Hey, Yutsano, I posted something to you on the earlier football thread but as always I’m late to the party and it was thread-end. So here it is again!

    I am totally not into sports, except through living in a house with 3 males who are. What’s everyone’s hatred of ND about? My husband went there, so I hope they win because it will make him happy…but this whole season I’ve noticed how much people dislike the school. Is it like people disliking the Yankees?

    I have to say, my husband gets a beating for liking both ND and NY—but he attended the first, and the second…his elderly dad is from Irish Harlem and grew up going to see Mickey Mantle play at Yankee Stadium. I can’t imagine how he wouldn’t be fans of those teams as a result. But I always see here how much both are disliked. Just curious; no one flame me, please!

    Full disclosure: I teach at an SEC school and I am really proud of how hard the athletes in my classes work, so I’m usually happy to see any team with strong academic performance win. But like I said, sports are pretty meaningless to me personally.

  38. 38
    mai naem says:

    @James E. Powell: Yeah, but between elections, Soros pays you if you are a really really good liberal troll. He checks you out thoroughly before he hires you. This isn’t some right wing Orca kind of trolling fail.

    @jeffreyw: I think that doggie has some springer in him.

  39. 39
    Steeplejack says:


    You can click through to Amazon from here, see all your regular account information, order from your wish list, etc., and it will still “count” for Balloon Juice.

    A while back I figured out a “generic” Balloon Juice URL for Amazon where all you had to do was plug in the Amazon ASIN product code for a specific product. Useful for when you got to something via some other route but still want to give Balloon Juice credit for the sale. Can’t find it now, but if anyone expresses interest I will try (harder) to find it.

  40. 40
    Yutsano says:

    @mandarama: Arrogance, mostly. Notre Dame has been convinced they are the only football team that matters for quite awhile now. Plus while normally I have great distaste for the University of Spoiled Children, they are part of the Pac-12 and I begrudingly cheer for them on that basis.

    Not to delve into too much of your personal life, but if you teach at Ole Miss I might just squee. A dear friend played football there years ago.

  41. 41
    MikeJ says:


    Not to delve into too much of your personal life, but if you teach at Ole Miss I might just squee. A dear friend played football there years ago.

    I knew many people who went there. When I was in HS I had an English teacher who was a renowned Faulkner expert and she would take the juniors down to Yoknapatawpha County[1] every year.

    [1] Lafayette County, MS, site of Oxford, home of Ole Miss.

  42. 42
    Raven says:

    Go Dawgs!

  43. 43
    Punchy says:

    Is Ted Nugent dead yet? If not, how can we speed this up?

  44. 44
    Maude says:

    The John D. MacDonald are up for pre order at B&N. They are single books.

  45. 45
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ: Since you’re about: meet-up. Saturday night around 7ish. Pick a place. I’m just making executive decisions here. :)

  46. 46
    mainmati says:

    Had never noticed this before. John, you need to be more mercantile, if only for Tunch’s gourmet specialities.

  47. 47
    MikeJ says:

    @Yutsano: Vessel. A cocktail bar. Olive & 7th.

  48. 48
    Maude says:

    John has been tweeting. Makes me feel proud, no snark, that I comment here.
    He can write a sentence like nobody’s business.
    He stand up for something and doesn’t back down.

  49. 49
    Raven says:

    fuck the irish and sc

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    @Maude: Hahahaha. Cole’s drunken rage tweeting is definitely a sight to behold.
    Poor bastard.

  51. 51
    mainmati says:

    O/T Notre Dame’s defense just stopped 5, yes, 5 runs on the 2 yard line by the USC Trojans. What an exciting game. One of the best I’ve seen this season.

  52. 52
    Corner Stone says:

    Oh, and Lane Kiffin may be the worst freakin college coach, ever.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    Oh, and USC? I despise all of you for allowing ND to backdoor their way into the National Championship game.

  54. 54
    Steeplejack says:


    Thanks, I saw that when we were discussing this last week. I made a mental note to grab at least a couple when they come out.

    Just went to check, and I see that all of Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer books seem to be available. I’d like to reread some of those, too.

  55. 55
    Corner Stone says:

    test for mod

    ETA, ok, so FYWP doesn’t enjoy denigrating a proud irish school. Apparently.

  56. 56
    Yutsano says:

    @MikeJ: Sounds like a plan. I’ll drop an e-mail to SoonerGrunt and get it front paged here tomorrow.

  57. 57
    handy says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Looks like he’s got a fun little stalker on his hands.

  58. 58
    Mouse Tolliver says:

    In case everyone forgot, Red Dawn opened this week and looks to be a flop. Not as big a flop as Atlas Shrugged Pt. II, but a flop nonetheless. 11% fresh according to Rotten Tomatoes. This jingoistic crapfest won’t make a dime overseas.

    [EDIT: AS2 played on twice as many screens but still made $1.3 million less than AS1. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA! :)]

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    Great, thanks Trojans. So now, after Bama destroys the hapless Georgia team, we will have another 12 to 9 score in the final game.

  60. 60
    Maude says:

    I like the Lew Archer ones as well. I’ll wait until they are releases.
    One of MacDonald books is about a case that a friend handled for an insurance company. He was a fraud investigator and used to tell about how people would kill for money. When I see the book, I’ll know which one it is.

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    @handy: I’d flip that if I were you.

  62. 62
    handy says:

    @Corner Stone:

    lol I just hit refresh on the feed. I stand corrected.

  63. 63
    Steeplejack says:


    Damnn it, now I’ve just spent some time at the Nook site lusting over all the books I want: Janwillem van de Wetering, Michael Dibdin (Inspector Zen, late of PBS Mystery!), etc. There’s almost no Nicolas Freeling available, though. I think his Inspector van der Valk novels are great.

    The great promise of e-books (I hope) is that forgotten and “uncommercial” books will reappear and remain in print because there’s very little cost associated with it. Like Project Gutenberg with (hopefully) small fees attached.

  64. 64
    Maude says:

    I read those writers and I wrote them down. I forget when I look for books.
    I am going to get the first Charles Todd Ian Rutledge, Test of Wills. It wasn’t at the library.
    I love looking at books there. I’ll have a long wish list.

  65. 65
    mandarama says:

    @Yutsano: @MikeJ:

    Sorry, I’m at Vanderbilt! I’m from MS, though (therapy has been very helpful), and my sister went to Ole Miss.

    I can attest that virtually all of the athletes in my classes work like dogs–they might come in from the road at 3 am, but they are present in my 9 am and they’ve done the reading. Every essay comes in on time. They aren’t ghost-written, either–I would be able to tell in conference if they were. Tim Corbin and Kevin Stallings are both especially tough in their academic expectations, but Coach Franklin seems to be pretty no-nonsense on the subject too.

    I guess I wouldn’t have any way of knowing about ND’s being arrogant…my husband was in grad school there when Lou Holtz was coach and really enjoyed his time in SB, but he’s had a lot of ups and downs as a fan in the past years as they either did well or not. I do see that both that program and the NY baseball team are widely televised and monied, and my husband as a transplant down here to the SE frequently has to defend his own history with both, haha! From my POV, I’m mostly pleased at ND’s’ graduation rate and majors…same as I see Stanford, Northwestern, etc. where I have colleagues who report well about their student athletes. But maybe I’m too much of a mom or something, because I feel like college kids should get educations no matter what–they might get hurt or not be drafted, and then what happens to them?

    I know, I know…I don’t get sports enough. My own son told me, “Mom, ESPN is not going to hire you for commentary anytime soon.”

  66. 66
    Jewish Steel says:

    Pete Townshend explains why I never could figure out how to play one of my favorite songs.

  67. 67
    handy says:

    BTW Cole, I am looking forward to reading your next blog post where you declare how you always thought Jay-Z and Usher were “the bomb.” Any chance we get that tonight between your drunk twit fits?

  68. 68
    MikeJ says:

    @Jewish Steel: Just hold my hand while I come
    to a decision on this.

  69. 69
    Steeplejack says:


    The Lew Archer novels are available now.

    If the MacDonald book your friend “inspired” is a Travis McGee one, could it be The Empty Copper Sea? Some guy apparently drowns in a boating accident, but his $2 million insurance policy makes some people think he faked it. Does that sound like the one?

  70. 70
    gwangung says:

    @mainmati: suckers did that against Stanford. TOUGH defense.

  71. 71
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @mai naem: are the kids who go there “Kumondos”?

  72. 72
    Jewish Steel says:

    @MikeJ: Looks like I wasn’t the only one who had some difficulty:

    ETA: Super freaky for me to watch a lefty play guitar.

  73. 73

    Though not really a fan of the Fighting Irish, I was glad to see them win because I enjoy hearing the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Confederate States.

  74. 74
    Maude says:

    That’s it. It’s a good book.
    I remember from MacDonald, The most difficult decision is usually the right one.
    I’ll pick up a Lew Archer or two when I order.

  75. 75
    Corner Stone says:

    @James E. Powell: Why? It’s still going to be Alabama and ND in the final game. Only Oregon ever had a chance but it was always Bama and someone else.

  76. 76
    MikeJ says:

    @Jewish Steel: Every good guitar player I’ve met has a story about a song that always eluded them until they later learned it was actually three guitars in slack b tuning or some shit. Always made me feel better since I suck so bad.

  77. 77
    Steeplejack says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    There should be mandatory disclosure of weird tunings!

    All those songs that I tried–and failed–to play in standard tuning: it wasn’t me, it was them! Damn it.

  78. 78
    Jewish Steel says:



    When I tell a student some song is in a wacky tuning they never had any hope of figuring out (i.e. She Talks To Angels or Kashmir), the look of merry relief on their faces is joy to behold. It makes all those horrible renditions of Greensleeves and stumbled over pentatonic scales I’ve heard over the years almost seem worth it.

  79. 79
    Yutsano says:

    @Jewish Steel: It was the 70s. Standard tuning was beyond passé not to mention there was no Autotune so hiding you half tone deaf singer involved some real creativity.

  80. 80
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Steeplejack: @MikeJ: @Yutsano:

    If you guys come to my show on the 15th you’ll hear some wicked DADGAD guitar. Also some EADEAE. Hornpipe tuning!

  81. 81
    MikeJ says:

    @Jewish Steel: Are you playing Seattle?

  82. 82
    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    GO IRISH! : )

  83. 83
    Jewish Steel says:

    @MikeJ: Not yet. Just Bloomington IL. I got hook ups in Seattle though. If I can keep this little ensemble together long enough for us to get good, I’d love to take it on tour.

  84. 84
    Steeplejack says:

    @MikeJ, @Jewish Steel:

    This is bringing back so many (awful) epiphanies.

    [. . .] they later learned it was actually three guitars in slack b tuning or some shit.

    Yeah, that. For me another one was learning why the pros, with a good guitar and a professional-grade amp, could make two- or three-note chords sound fuller (and louder!) than my pitifully correct Mel Bay five- and six-string bar chords. Gah!

    The ultimate soul-crusher was sort of the reverse: for years I lusted after a Gibson L5-CES so I could get that Wes Montgomery sound. The day the music died was when I found out it wasn’t the guitar, it was him playing in octaves–with his thumb!

    Thanks for opening these old wounds. I thought they had healed, but apparently not.

  85. 85
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Steeplejack: That’s one gorgeous guitar.

    I go through these torments every time I record. I get a sound in my head, lay down the notes and then realize that I can’t eq my way into what ever was in my head. I gotta play that way. Go ahead, fingers! I’ll just listen while you work you magic. Yeah, right.

  86. 86
    Brachiator says:

    Thanks for the reminder. Just in time for the holiday season.

  87. 87
    mandarama says:

    @James E. Powell: This made me laugh, even with my cluelessness outlined above, because my FB feed from down South just lit UP. And my ND alum husband is out at a sports bar right now, probably lit up in a different way. My perspective? Sigh, more angst ahead on both sides.

  88. 88
    Cassidy says:

    @James E. Powell: which is funny because every SEC fan I know is looking forward to another NC.

  89. 89
    karen marie says:

    @jeffreyw: My guess is lab.

  90. 90
    Corner Stone says:

    @handy: I hope for your sake you went to bed without refreshing again.

  91. 91
    Steeplejack says:

    @Corner Stone:

    C.S., you know I’m old and a little out of it, so correct me if I’m wrong, but what I’m getting is that Twitter is basically junior high with nuclear weapons. Is that about right?

  92. 92
    Steeplejack says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    Do you use one of those small digital recorders, like a Zoom, or do you have a big setup?

  93. 93
    handy says:


    Drunk tweeting is just like drunk dialing except that anybody on the internet can see the trainwreck both in real time and then rewind back and watch it again in slow motion. Painful.

  94. 94
    Jewish Steel says:


    Twitter is basically junior high with nuclear weapons

    Now what on earth would give you that impression?

    @Steeplejack: I have a friend who’s been in the biz for 30+ years and records me on the cheap. Pro gear. I’m lucky I met him!

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack: It’s mainly junior high, as far as I can tell. But no actual digs against anyone unless you really, actually attend the same school. Because then people have to see those people every day, and that could really suck.
    But adults talking really big boy shit on twitter seems more sad and pathetic than anything serious.

  96. 96
    handy says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    Love me some (English) Beat. They flat out recorded fun tunes: Twist & Crawl, Mirror in the Bathroom, Best Friend, Ackee 1-2-3. That said, I’m really digging that Peter Townshend cover.

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s sad what a little skirt will do to some people.

  98. 98
    Jewish Steel says:

    @handy: It’s beautifully executed and I feel like he passionately loves that song. Me too.

  99. 99
    Steeplejack says:

    @handy, @Jewish Steel, @Corner Stone:

    I tried to follow the thing a couple of weeks ago, and I tried again tonight, and it makes my head hurt: the reverse reading up from the bottom, the fact that some tweets are part of “conversations” but a lot aren’t, etc. I’m not on Twitter, so maybe the interface is better if you’re bona fide.

    And the content is murky in a way that makes “inside baseball” seem like a walk in the park. I get that Shoq is bad, some guy named Jay is bad, and bad people have been vilifying ABL’s friend Heather. But for the life of me I cannot get what was actually done to or by anyone.

    Maybe I’ll just go back to the nerds’ table and get back to hoping that cute Pam Townsley will accidentally look my way.

  100. 100
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Corner Stone: Is this about my chunky thighs? IM WORKING ON IT!

  101. 101
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Late night jams for anyone who may still be awake. Me, I’m about to crash on the sack. See y’all later.

  102. 102
    Steeplejack says:


    Sorry, no likey that mix. But it did lead me to this nice extended version of Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life.” So thanks for that.

  103. 103
    handy says:


    Love that song. Funny that the band who first recorded and made it famous despise it. Still one of their best. Along with this one.

  104. 104
    handy says:


    Awesome. Thanks.

  105. 105
    Felonius Monk says:


    Is Ted Nugent dead yet? If not, how can we speed this up?

    Could we hire a voodoo doll or something?

  106. 106
    Corner Stone says:

    @Steeplejack: Yeah, there seems to be some animus that’s not easily explained. But from what I can tell, and drunken rage cole correct me if I’m wrong, but Imani and Heather seemed to have fallen sway to a con man. They needed funds, sold pretty much whatever they had to get funds from some bullshit character, and then fell into a massive CYA smokescreen when it all fell through.
    Some people seem to feel the need to go all in about this. Not a lot of other explanations make a lot of sense when you take a step back and look at it all.
    It’s just all junior high clique action bullshit, ISTM.

  107. 107
    Steeplejack says:


    Haven’t heard that one in a while.

    Okay, I’ve got to nip this and go to bed before I spend the next five hours trawling through big ’80s on YouTube.

    I know this because I had a sudden urge to look for an extended version of “My Ever Changing Moods.”

  108. 108
    Steeplejack says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Ah. That makes a little more sense. I guess. Jeez, my life is simple. Practically one-dimensional.

  109. 109
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Corner Stone: And they are all craving cereal. That’s important, I think.

  110. 110
    normal liberal says:

    @Jewish Steel: Good Lord, I had no idea A. Renee had enough space for such a thing – it must be longer than I thought since I was last in there.

  111. 111
    handy says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Grifters gonna grift.

  112. 112
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Nobody won the Powerball last night. Jackpot goes up to $425 million next Wednesday. Yeesh.

  113. 113
    Anne Laurie says:


    Twitter is basically junior high with nuclear weapons.

    And booze. Legal booze. I do not twit, for more or less the reasons you described, but one gets the impression there would be a lot less Twitter Drama without chemicals…

  114. 114
    Steeplejack says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    And it’s all done in such tiny, tiny type. Ugh. I would need the booze to be a regular tweeter (or whatever you call it).

  115. 115
    Yutsano says:


    I would need the booze to be a regular tweeter (or whatever you call it).

    A twit. And I won’t touch Twitter. Book of Faces is bad enough.

  116. 116
    ranger3 says:


  117. 117

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