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!

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119 replies
  1. 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.

  2. Litlebritdifrnt says:

    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.

  3. 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?

  4. efgoldman says:

    …the easiest way to support Balloon Juice is to click on the Amazon link on this page before ordering anything from Amazon.

    Yeah, but will we get trampled by other bloggers as we try to get online?

  5. efgoldman says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    That’s why the good Lord gave you elbows.

    Hmm. Virtual elbows. What a concept.
    Of course, on the web I could be built like a linebacker, and twice as good looking…..

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!”

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Corner Stone says:

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

  22. 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.

  23. 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! :)]

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.”

  29. 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?

  30. 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?

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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?

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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…

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