Night Owls Open Thread

Okay, it’s not an owl, it’s an oriole. It was sketched by extremely talented lurker Triplet, who used one of the oriole photos I posted this weekend to draw it. Beautiful job, Triplet!

I was on a rare weeknight out with a friend this evening, eating Thai food and drinking sake. So I missed the news. Looks like Conor Lamb won narrowly, which is fantastic!

On a more somber note, physicist Stephen Hawking has died, and on Pi Day, no less. What a remarkable man he was, and what an amazing life he led. Rest in peace.

As I’ve mentioned in comments, we cut the cable cord a while back. I got Sling TV, so I have CNN but no MSNBC.

That sucks on a night like this, where I’d like to watch election coverage without being subjected to obnoxious wingnuts. I know MSNBC gives a platform to some idiots, but it really is worse on CNN.

Anyhoo, open thread!

83 replies
  1. 1
    westyny says:

    An altogether uglier large orange bird will be tweeting later this morning . . . .

  2. 2
    Ruckus says:

    Betty, I thought that you had reposed your picture.
    That is a very nice drawing, very nice indeed. Very nice Triplet. What medium?

  3. 3
    Ruckus says:

    More commonly known as a large orange asswipe. Fortunately not seen often, but still way too often, as a vision of that LOA causes many massively undesired side effects.

  4. 4
    Amir Khalid says:

    As so many jackals noted in the thread downstairs, Stephen Hawking was not only a scientist but also a nerd-culture icon.

    On a not-so-sad note, there are no doubt jackals now exulting, In dein Gesicht, Scheißgibbon!

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    Night owls? Not even 9 in the evening.

  6. 6
    NotMax says:

    Betty, consider creating a butter lamb and a butter Lamb this Easter.


  7. 7
    jacy says:

    I have DirecTV now, which works the same as sling, but has msnbc. I’ve also tried PlayStation Vue. I tried all three for a week each before choosing, and I liked sling the least. I chose DirecTV now, because it provides HBO at only $5 a month instead of $15.

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    You can get MSNBC (also BBC World News and others) with the News Package add-on with the Sling Blue package.

    Believe TCM (plus others) becomes available through either Sling Orange or Blue with the Hollywood add-on.

  9. 9
    Doug R says:

    Says “Who”

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    What a lovely sketch! And, Betty, quite a surprise to see you posting in the middle of night! I went to bed very early last night (on account of not getting to sleep until 5:00 am the night before), and had missed all the PA-18 election returns. Sounds like good news! Can’t wait to read the Orange Fartcloud’s morning tweets and hear the spin SHS puts on the results later today.

    RIP, Dr. Hawking. Humanity’s collective IQ just dropped by several points. I rather hope our own Tom Levenson writes a proper tribute post later today.

    Oh, and Kathleen Parker is an idiot. Like anyone needed me to point that out.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:



  12. 12
    Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.) says:

    I’m sitting awake, stewing and seething about the fact that I might not be able to break the trust my mother left me as my inheritance. I’ve had ADD all my life, but only found out about it seven years ago, so now I know why I seemed like such a screw up all my life, but my father had died by then, and my mother’s mind was already beginning to go, so neither one of them ever knew why I struggled so.

    So this has kept me from ever earning a living, and my wife is the earner, but the trust is set up so that I can draw as much as I earn in a year–but only up to $25,000 a year. So it’s useless, and we spoke to a lawyer today, and he told us how hard it’s going to be to break it and how much it can cost, and I’ve just been brooding about it all day and into the night.

    $680,000 is just sitting there, doing nothing for me, or for my wife, or for our children. There’s no provision for if some catastrophe should befall us. We’d have to run the risk of bankruptcy, while all that money sits worthless, earning a trustee a nice fee every year for overseeing it.

    I’m feeling mighty I’ll disposed toward my late mother right about now.

  13. 13
    TS says:

    I watch MSNBC online here

    I am still wondering why counting 1200 votes takes 4 hours in one county – while all the other counties seem to have counted their absentee votes very quickly
    Steve Kornacki is trying to generate words while waiting for the count

  14. 14
    Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.) says:


    Steve Kornacki lives for nights like this.

  15. 15
    Arclite says:

    RIP Stephen Hawking. :(

  16. 16
    TS says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.):

    Steve Kornacki lives for nights like this.

    I’m beginning to see that. The county lady said these results would be available 2.30-3.30 – have to wonder if she’s paid to wait till trump gets up and tweets.

  17. 17
    Spikester says:

    I don’t get the whole Pi Day thing. 22/7 is a much better approximation of pi than 14/3.

  18. 18
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    What’s the shrub? An acacia? A bottlebrush?

  19. 19
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

    -Stephen Hawking

  20. 20
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    We get MSNBC on Sling. We’re in California (if that’s a factor).

  21. 21
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That’s a fine quote. Thank you, OH.

  22. 22
    Boussinesque says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.): are you in a situation where your wife could conceivably register an LLC and pay you a salary of $25,000? Sure, you’d have to claim it as income and pay taxes on it, but wouldn’t that potentially allow you to access the matching $25k/year?

  23. 23
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I was reminded of it by a short piece of quotes by Hawking at the Guardian. There are more, some I was unaware of. “Look at the stars, not at your feet…” has long been a favorite of mine.

  24. 24
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Juan P.E.

    Connor Lamb has never been accused of raping women or molesting girls. Stop saying he ran as a Republican. #PA18

    17 replies 209 retweets 929 likes


  25. 25
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.):

    Can I assume that your children are the beneficiaries of the remainder?

  26. 26
    Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.) says:


    I don’t know if that would work, but we’ve thought about it.

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes:

    Yeah, they get what’s left after I’m gone.

  27. 27
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Man, you east coast people get up early. No wonder Tupac and Biggie didn’t get along.

  28. 28
    cosima says:

    Second Putin enemy found dead in London:

    I posted that yesterday, but it definitely was overshadowed by other, bigger, news. And I am on a very different time schedule to most of you… I woke this morning to see that Conor L won (yay!), Stephen Hawking died (no!), and that Putin has ‘called May’s bluff’ (?). While there is a lot of Russian money floating around London, I don’t think that London is dependent upon it, at least I hope not. Perhaps this will be what pushes the UK away from Brexit, that it is so clearly what Putin wants and has worked hard to engineer, so the UK will have a crisis with UK that requires EU solidarity, ergo no Brexit (with the caveat ‘for now’ or something like that).

  29. 29
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    On United Flight 1284 from Houston to New York on Monday, a woman who was flying with children and a small dog was pressured by a flight attendant to put her dog in overhead storage during the three-and-a-half-hour flight.

    According to fellow passenger Maggie Gremminger, the woman wanted to keep the dog, which was in a small carrying bag, under her seat, but the flight attendant insisted that she put the animal overhead.

    “At the end of the flight, the woman found her dog, deceased. She sat in the airplane aisle on the floor crying, and all of surrounding passengers were utterly stunned,” Gremminger wrote in a series of tweets alongside a picture of the woman and her children.

    Words fail me.

    In 2017, United had the highest number of animal deaths of any US carrier, according to a Department of Transportation (DOT) report, with 18 animals killed and 13 injured in transport.

    Six animal deaths in total were reported from the other 16 carriers included in the DOT report.

    They don’t now: Fuck United.

  30. 30
    Jay says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.):

    If your wife registers as an LLC, or better yet, Incorporates, she can pay you, better yet, in many areas, she can “pass through” income to you, shelter it from her overall taxes.

    Find an accountant familiar with tax laws, incorporation and trusts.

    The Wealthy and some Professionals do it all the time to shield income, holdings and profits from taxes. No reason I can think of that you couldn’t use it to evade a clause in a trust.

    I assume the Trust simply needs a tax statement, which would show say 401K Enterprises as the Employer, not your wife, and your gross income. The Corp, if you incorporated in Virginia, would for example, never need to have your wifes name on it, and the Corp, would get “paid” by her employer, simply through a joint bank account registered to both the Corp, and your Wife as CEO.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    What a horrible, tragic story. Small consolation for the loss of her dog, but I hope she sues United for every penny they have. “Friendly skies” my wrinkled white ass.

  32. 32
    NotMax says:

    Washington county absentee count numbers in. Lamb picks up a few more, ahead by 641. Race moved from too close to call to naming Lamb “apparent winner.”

  33. 33
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.):

    Ugh. As your lawyer told you, shattering a spendthrift trust can be really tough. Perhaps you’d be better off disclaiming your interest and going ahead with getting the kids lol Ned up for it – youd likely get nearly as much off of it as their trustee, plus you’d be able to spend it on them in significant amounts when it counts. It is just evaporating in dribbles – not enough to do you good, and your institutional trustee is swallowing it bit by bit.

  34. 34
    raven says:

    Well looks lke Lamb won.

  35. 35
    rikyrah says:

    @NotMax: every vote counts

  36. 36
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: sadly, pets are not valuable in the weird world of litigation. Typically one recovers only the cost of the animal, and nothing for the loss of companionship.

  37. 37
    raven says:

    @Steve in the ATL: I just wrote about flying Raven to LA when he was about a year old. My brother was doing quite a bit of airline litigation at the time and he told my wife a bunch of stories abut dogs dying on planes and just exactly what you said. I deleted it but thought I’d chime in.

  38. 38
    NotMax says:


    Numbers of outstanding provisional ballots are fuzzy but if estimates are anywhere near correct, if Saccone gets 100% of those plus 100% of outstanding Greene county absentees plus 100% of military/overseas votes it still would not be sufficient to close the gap enough to reverse the outcome.

    And there is no way whatsoever he will get 100% of any of those three categories, let alone all of them.

  39. 39
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    That sucks, although rationally I can understand why the law would want to stay away from determining emotional/companionship value. It’s still just awful for the woman and her kids.

    I expect United will do some PR bullshit — offer her an insulting monetary “compensation” and maybe put the flight attendant on unpaid leave for a week or two — until the public’s attention has moved on.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Baud says:

    Oh, Stephen Hawking has died. Sad day for the world.

  42. 42
    Aleta says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Maybe they’ll throw in a few of those vouchers that make you pay more money to United if you use them.

  43. 43
    Schlemazel says:

    Oh, Stephen Hawking has died. Sad day for the worlduniverse.

  44. 44
    Aleta says:

    @Baud: They’re pointing out that he died on Einstein’s birthday and on pi day. I think he might have hoped or tried for that. His kind of humor, to function like a blackboard pointer at math and physics.

  45. 45
    Sherparick says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: A great scientist & perhaps a greater human being who lived a long wonderful life filled with joy. Thank you Professor Hawking for all you have us.

  46. 46
    pluky says:

    @Spikester: Digital approximation to two place precision: 3.14!

  47. 47

    I was thinking of going to downtown last night to take pics of Chinatown’s neon in the rain, but decided to watch the end of the UCLA roundball season instead. Good thing since I learned on the 11pm news that Shitmidas is staying downtown at the Wilshire Grand. OTOH, maybe if I’d known I’d drop by and shouted obscenities at the Orange Fart Cloud.

  48. 48
    raven says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Bob Lanier’s revenge!

  49. 49
    Anne Laurie says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Dog was a 10-month-old (e.g., adolescent) French Bulldog — dogs with such pushed-in noses tend to have breathing problems, and when they struggle / scream (which from twitter reports, the dog did, before dying) for a long period of time, they are all too prone to overheat & pass out… or die.

    Poor woman was travelling with two toddlers and the dog. I suspect she was pretty overwhelmed, and the flight attendant snapped at her about the dog because they weren’t allowed to tell her to shut the *kids* up in the overhead bin…

    Yes, United should get dinged hard for it, but I can see how it’s also a cascade of seemingly small individual bad choices that led to the poor dog’s death.

  50. 50
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    It also points up how profoundly we humans are wired to see patterns and infer significance from random happenstance.

  51. 51
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Anne Laurie: It was just plain sad for the woman and her children, and yes anecdota is not data, but reading this

    In 2017, United had the highest number of animal deaths of any US carrier, according to a Department of Transportation (DOT) report, with 18 animals killed and 13 injured in transport.

    compared to

    Six animal deaths in total were reported from the other 16 carriers included in the DOT report.

    That is 6 animal deaths for 16 carriers vs 18 for United alone. United has a problem, a serious problem.

  52. 52
    Baud says:


    Given the idiocy of the world right now, I hope his passing will be an occasion for people to reflect on a saner alternative.

  53. 53
    Baud says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I wonder how he would look in infrared.

  54. 54
    Schlemazel says:

    oh, wait. You were being serious weren’t you. Sorry

    I’m still fighting but I have given up hope

  55. 55
    Anne Laurie says:


    United has a problem, a serious problem.

    Yup. Part of the problem — too tired to find a proper link — is said to be that they’ve spent the past few years promoting themselves as “pet friendly”. So they’ve had more animals on board, including a lot of improperly socialized ’emotional support animals’, which may’ve skewed the numbers. Also, I suspect, the flight attendants are sick & tired of dealing with said ESAs and their well-meaning / dishonest human companions. So, quite possibly, this particular attendant took their aggravation out on the wrong person… who was too distracted by dealing with her kids to negotiate for the dog? (And, frankly, should’ve known better to get a French Bulldog puppy while she had two toddlers underfoot, but I’m a cranky non-parent for reasons.)

  56. 56
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Medium rare?

  57. 57
    Baud says:

    The Atlantic, this time in the form of Reihan Salam, continues its anti-Hillary jihad.

    Nevertheless, Clinton’s paean to Trickle-Down America is a sign of the times. Just as the rising industrialists of the 1900s produced the Social Darwinist intellectuals, we now have a new class of thinkers keen to explain why the rich and the good are one and the same, though they’re now more likely—shrewdly—to categorize themselves as a species of progressive. History doesn’t exactly repeat itself, but it rhymes.

    It’s as fake as you’d expect from a Donald Trump wannabe on the left.

  58. 58
    Kobekid says:

    @Anne Laurie: “Yes, United should get dinged hard for it, but I can see how it’s also a cascade of seemingly small individual bad choices that led to the poor dog’s death.”


  59. 59
    Aleta says:

    @Anne Laurie: In the account I read, she insisted several times that the dog be under her seat and then was was told she would have to get off the plane if she didn’t comply. That’s a nearly impossible choice to make with a small child and a baby, and I can see how that threat would have subdued her. Even putting up a fight for too long would have been hard on her kids, and of course she had to worry about keeping the baby quiet too.

  60. 60
    Cermet says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.):I’m certainly no lawyer but I have been in the court system with very complex cases more than once (and got all judgments in my favor – despite the law and system against me.) As such, I would think it could be broken – use the medical profession to aid you. You are not a screw up and can prove it (a med expert carries unbelievable weight for a judge in the right circumstances (I know; used them extensively to win my cases – their expert opinion carries tremendous weight.) If you have a clean record (i.e. no violence and no illegal drugs or are drug free now through treatment), I would think a court can certainly address this issue; at the very least, consider your wife’s income since it is legally joint – worth a try. Find a lawyer who really understands both your financial limits, these areas of law and make your situation clear. I hope you succeed but do not let this eat you up!

  61. 61

    I say this as a message of hope and reassurance, not mockery: Please note election tampering did not swing this, or even seem to happen. A lot of folks here are freaked out that the GOP and Russia have, are, or will reverse our votes by changing ballot results. If they could, they would have in these special elections. They have poured incredible resources, desperate to save these seats. We’ve won anyway, with giant voting swings. If we get out and vote, we will win this in November. Changing the vote tallies afterwards is one piece of fuckery that is either not happening, or very limited. We still have a Democracy, at worst a challenged one.

  62. 62
    Cermet says:

    @Spikester: LOL; I guess one way to look at it except 3:14 … does exactly match Pi if one converts the colon and instead, converts to a decimal point.

  63. 63
    Cermet says:

    @Boussinesque: See, a rather brilliant legal idea! Jackals here are really good!.

  64. 64

    @Baud: It wouldn’t work because there isn’t enough infrared wave lengths in enough intensity. Infrared photography really only works in bright sunlight.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    rikyrah says:

    No morning Thread?
    Good Morning Everyone 😄😄😄

  67. 67
    Chyron HR says:


    “History doesn’t exactly repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

    Right, like when the alleged left voluntarily surrendered the country to Republicans in 2000 and Nazis in 2016.

  68. 68
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning.

    @Chyron HR:

    I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  69. 69
    Aleta says:

    @Anne Laurie: ‘quite possibly, this particular attendant took their aggravation out on the wrong person’

    That sounds very likely. Having paid for the puppy to fly, and provided the right carrier, the mother must have boarded with the expectation that she’d complied with all the rules, so no problem. Which United admitted. She wouldn’t have been prepared at all.

    I also wonder about the other FAs and the head of the crew. At least one or two are supposed to stay aware of any passenger disturbance near them, and could have spoken to the crew chief about the FA who was breaking strict flight rules. Overwork and job stress have effects on our awareness and decisions though. Someone posted United’s rules, and they’re very specific: this wasn’t allowed, ever. Hard to explain the behavior of the FA and flight crew.

  70. 70
    Anne Laurie says:


    No morning Thread?

    I figured this *was* the Morning Thread!

    We’ve got 18″ of snow to remove from the steps / walkway / sidewalk… it came down light & fluffy but the temps have changed just enough that it’s sticking to the (teflon-coated, ha!) shovels. So it’s dig, lift, BANG, dig, repeat ad infinitum. Too cranky to hunt around for cheerful upbeat news; gonna finish one last bad-tempered post and then take my arse off to bed, leaving the rest of the job for my poor Spousal Unit and his little electric snowblower…

  71. 71
    Aleta says:

    @Chyron HR: Surrendered to a pretender and an offender. Hoping to end her.

  72. 72

    Open thread? I might as well throw this in!

    I just finished reading the Kalevala, Finland’s national oral tradition mythology epic. It was… different. Other epics are bloodbaths of gore and tragedy and genealogy. In Finland you get instruction manuals of basic civilization skills, a whole lot of sleeping around, wizards desperate to marry, and all the terrible conflicts are solved by lessons in friendship. It is a season of My Little Pony, not the Prose Edda or Song of Roland.

    I live tweeted it, so I’ll throw in a link for those who want longer silly commentary. I give you the Twilight Sparkle of the Gods!

  73. 73
    Aleta says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Just right for today!

  74. 74
    Aleta says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I like this:

    In conclusion, the Kalevala is 1/3rd Junior Woodchucks Guidebook, 1/3rd Lemmenkainen bragging about all the chicks he totally did sex with, and 1/3rd apocalypse tale where there’s barely any violence or tragedy and instead everyone learns a Lesson In Friendship.

  75. 75
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Sm*t Cl*de: Bottle-brush tree.

  76. 76

    Thank you! I think I’ll repost this later in the day. It got bigfooted hard.

  77. 77
    Kay says:

    Follow Follow @Redistrict
    Projection: Barring a major tabulation error, Conor Lamb (D) has defeated Rick Saccone (R) in #PA18.

    My son watched part of the returns with me last night and this morning he asked who won. He said “so Democrats have Congress?” Adorable :)

  78. 78
    Retr2327 says:

    @NotMax: you can also stream the audio off the internet

  79. 79
    john r says:

    check out roku and/or for free msnbc:

  80. 80
    Shell says:

    Lovely drawing. At first I thought it was embroidery.

  81. 81
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Ruckus: Do Tucks come in Shitgibbon Orange these days? Now there’s a marketing opportunity: neverTrump hemorrhoidal sufferers’ consolation…

  82. 82
    J R in WV says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et Al.):

    I’m sure that your mother thought she was encouraging you to become a good worker bee and join the productive class… but thought is a long way from reality, and money rarely encourages one to be a worker bee.

    Some of my most talented and creative friends actively live on nearly nothing in order to be free from modern work-oriented society. I gave up and went back to college at 30, and against my nature spent a huge amount of energy on learning a marketable skill, when in reality I much preferred being a hippy.

    Which is what I am now that I’m successfully retired. One friend did a 20 year hitch in the USAF to become a hippy for the rest of his life, now he plays upright bass in bands and enjoys hanging out with all the other hippys in our neighborhood.

    Sorry you have to think of creative ways around that absurd and cruel trust set up. I like the idea of the LLC paying you to be a stay at home spouse and do the things you no doubt do to keep your home life going well. A very wise and lawyerly idea. A real shame your mother never understood you!

  83. 83
    J R in WV says:


    We gave up on United and American years ago. Pointlessly cruel racist nonsense from United, cheap will do evil for a nickel on American.

    Delta seems to try hard to take care of its passengers, so we fly everywhere on them. Unless we can take Air France, which is a whole different level of caring.

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