Sunday Morning (Garden-Adjacent) Open Thread

Did anyone ever figure out what the Oval Office Squatter thought he was talking about?

… My short non-biologist summary would be this: it’s fairly wet and cold in Finland so it’s pretty different. They don’t use rakes to avoid forest fires. Their big problem is bog fires. Many of the best parts of JI’s letter are cris de coeur, insisting on the non-role of rakes in any part of Finnish forage management.

On behalf of all TPM Readers, thank you to TPM Reader JI and we’re sorry about the Trump thing…

On that, we can certainly agree.

Also informative, and infinitely more depressing, is the new report from ProPublica/NYTimes “Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe”:

The dirt road was ruler straight, but deep holes and errant boulders tossed our tiny Toyota back and forth. Trucks coughed out black smoke, their beds brimming over with seven-ton loads of palm fruit rocking back and forth on tires as tall as people. Clear-cut expanses soon gave way to a uniform crop of oil-palm groves: orderly trees, a sign that we had crossed into an industrial palm plantation. Oil-palm trees look like the coconut-palm trees you see on postcards from Florida — they grow to more than 60 feet tall and flourish on the peaty wetland soil common in lowland tropics. But they are significantly more valuable. Every two weeks or so, each tree produces a 50-pound bunch of walnut-size fruit, bursting with a red, viscous oil that is more versatile than almost any other plant-based oil of its kind. Indonesia is rich in timber and coal, but palm oil is its biggest export. Around the world, the oil from its meat and seeds has long been an indispensable ingredient in everything from soap to ice cream. But it has now become a key ingredient of something else: biodiesel, fuel for diesel engines that has been wholly or partly made from vegetable oil…

Most of the plantations around us were new, their rise a direct consequence of policy decisions made half a world away. In the mid-2000s, Western nations, led by the United States, began drafting environmental laws that encouraged the use of vegetable oil in fuels — an ambitious move to reduce carbon dioxide and curb global warming. But these laws were drawn up based on an incomplete accounting of the true environmental costs. Despite warnings that the policies could have the opposite of their intended effect, they were implemented anyway, producing what now appears to be a calamity with global consequences.

The tropical rain forests of Indonesia, and in particular the peatland regions of Borneo, have large amounts of carbon trapped within their trees and soil. Slashing and burning the existing forests to make way for oil-palm cultivation had a perverse effect: It released more carbon. A lot more carbon. NASA researchers say the accelerated destruction of Borneo’s forests contributed to the largest single-year global increase in carbon emissions in two millenniums, an explosion that transformed Indonesia into the world’s fourth-largest source of such emissions. Instead of creating a clever technocratic fix to reduce American’s carbon footprint, lawmakers had lit the fuse on a powerful carbon bomb that, as the forests were cleared and burned, produced more carbon than the entire continent of Europe. The unprecedented palm-oil boom, meanwhile, has enriched and emboldened many of the region’s largest corporations, which have begun using their newfound power and wealth to suppress critics, abuse workers and acquire more land to produce oil.

We arrived at another plantation and stopped near where a stream coursed through the bog. People still lived here: A mother bathed two children beneath a culvert, and a shirtless young boy ran through row after row of identical young palms in the distance, surrounded by dragonflies and sparrows. The uniformity of the world he was growing up in was striking, like the endless plains of drilling rigs in an East Texas oil field. It was, in a way, an astounding achievement, the ruthless culmination of mankind’s long effort to extract every last remaining bit of the earth’s seemingly boundless natural wealth. But it was also frightening. This was what an American effort to save the planet looked like. It was startlingly efficient, extremely profitable and utterly disastrous…

141 replies
  1. 1
    Damien says:

    I just…kids, could you lighten up a little?

  2. 2
    wasabi gasp says:

    Imma let you Finnish, but preznit’s one of the biggest idiots of all time.

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone😀😀😀😅

  4. 4
  5. 5
    wasabi gasp says:

    @rikyrah: Fake news!

  6. 6
    NotMax says:


    Dadburn kids and their Facetubing or whatever it is. //

  7. 7
    satby says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning! What on earth are you doing up at 4 am on a Sunday?
    I have an excuse (and a later time zone 😉) because I went to sleep about 9 last night. Too tired from market yesterday!

  8. 8
    NotMax says:


    Small Business Saturday been bery bery good to you?

  9. 9
  10. 10
    satby says:

    @NotMax: it was! Now much work to do to catch up and backfill. Not a bad problem to have!

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    satby says:

    I never used palm oil in making soap because of the environmental impact, but I have become aware of sources of sustainable palm oil from Malaysia and Ecuador so I occasionally will use it now in some recipes. It’s easier to avoid it, but I want to support the sustainable movement too, because success spreads.

  13. 13
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    satby says:

    @raven: is there a link that we can use to contribute?
    Edit, never mind, I see the quote box is the link.

  16. 16
    satby says:

    @NotMax: oh my, I made the local paper! Well, a picture of my soaps did, not anything the reporter asked me.

  17. 17
    satby says:

    Where is everyone?

  18. 18
    Amir Khalid says:

    Be aware: some of the acreage under palm oil cultivation in Indonesia is owned by Malaysian Big Ag. I don’t know if Malaysian practices are more environmentally friendly than Indonesian.

  19. 19
    NotMax says:


    (thumbs up)


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    satby says:

    @Amir Khalid: It’s been hard for me to move to using some palm oil at all, not that my tiny boycott made a difference, but since a friend in Ecuador told me about a sustainable development her team was working on I learned about the RSPO – Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. I only use it occasionally to sub out oils that people are allergic to, but when I do it carries the RSPO designation. Still makes me a bit nervous though.

  22. 22
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    satby says:

    @NotMax: thanks! I guess nothing I said was quote-worthy 😆

  24. 24
    raven says:

    @satby: Watching the replay of LSU-Tx Am that is in the 5th OT!

  25. 25
    raven says:

    Great, I’ve been watching this for an hour and they just gave the final score on the scroll! 7 overtimes!

  26. 26
    satby says:

    @satby: and almost every single soap pictured isn’t on the website 😲

    So I just added some of them.

  27. 27
    satby says:

    @raven: sounds like it was nuts!

  28. 28
    Raven says:

    @satby: They dumped Gatorade on the LSU coach when they thought they had won and then lost in 7 overtime’s!

  29. 29

    So I showed the kid the OTR posts for her pictures, she was pleased with the posts and you folks kind comments. But, she wondered how I was able to write the posts, I wasn’t there. I told her, Google Maps is your friend. I looked at the map and found the trail and just followed it.

  30. 30
    Cermet says:

    No surprise the orange fart cloud was, is and always will be stupid – even in his lies. Palm oil, like all such savior’s (including religious) always carries terrible consequences. Of course, it got its main start replacing hydrogenated foods (which were of course, told by our better’s – the corporate overloads – that all was safe – till the massive human guinea pig experiment that went on for decades went terribly south – big time.) Still, the rain has stopped, the weather warmer and it is another day here in the land of foreign slaughter, which is the so-called ‘land of the free”.

    Well, typical ‘bad news’ morning but none-the-else, not a bad morning for most of us Jackals! Pay’s to live in the hyper super power. Climate, like our wars for oil, is of little consequence in our daily lives – until it isn’t.

  31. 31

    @satby: Are your soaps in the picture? Point us where.

  32. 32
    bystander says:

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that twitler has a Mar-a-Lago buddy with a forest raking service? I’m waiting to hear about his friend who has an alternate precision launching system for aircraft carriers, much better than hydraulic or electromagnetetic.

  33. 33
    Dan B says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: If you look at the main photo there is an arrow superimposed on it in the lower right to scroll through. They look great!

  34. 34
    Dmbeaster says:

    Palm oil, quinoa, Nile perch. There is a long list of food items that became useful to the first world which then skewed the local economies in the third world.

  35. 35
    Dan B says:

    @bystander: There’s his really special friends who have the health care removal service. Painless, guaranteed!

    (May include pre frontal cortex disposal fee.)

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  37. 37
    Lapassionara says:

    @Raven: Ugh! So irony is not dead after all.

  38. 38

    My theory on Trump’s idea* about raking: He has no experience with forests, only managed properties like Mar-a-Lago and golf courses. They need a lot of maintenance, including raking. So of course if we managed the forests the way he manages his properties, they must be raked. He’s never had a forest fire at any of his golf courses. He added in Finland because they have forests.

    [I asterisked idea* for the same reason Mr. Charles P. Pierce asterisks president*.]

    The palm oil thing is the kind of mistake we’re going to make again and again unless we start thinking in terms of systems problems. Reporters are particularly bad at wanting One Simple Solution, and they frame the way we talk and think about a lot of problems. I wrote a Twitter thread last night about another example.

    I should probably write a post about this.

  39. 39
    satby says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: second picture, look for the arrows in the top right of the picture on the article.

  40. 40
    satby says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: you should!

    @Dan B: Thank you!

  41. 41
    satby says:

    @DanF: she also references the RSPO, which is the body working to encourage sustainable palm oil production.
    But “what abouting” because meat production also encourages deforestation is a little disingenuous. In my (anecdotal) experience, anyone familiar with deforestation via palm oil plantations is usually vegan or a locavore.

  42. 42
    Schlemazel says:

    Hope you had a big day!

    EDit: asked and answered – goof got you

  43. 43
    satby says:

    While we’re on the topic of deforestation, there’s several brands of toilet paper available that don’t use trees. This one uses bamboo and sugar cane and isn’t bad at all. I ordered the starter kit and got lots of freebies too, though a few I’ll give away, since the last thing I need around here is more soap.

  44. 44
    satby says:

    @Schlemazel: thanks, I did well.

  45. 45
    Percysowner says:

    The Republican health care dream DeVos transplant clinic urges heart patient to start $10,000 online ‘fundraising effort’ to pay for treatment

    Providing the latest example of this horrifying trend, a Michigan woman seeking a heart transplant publicized a letter she received from the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic—named after the late father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—informing her that she is “not a candidate” for the procedure “at this time” because she needs a “more secure financial plan” to afford the required post-operation immunosuppressive medication.

    The letter goes on to explicitly recommend “a fundraising effort of $10,000” to help pay for the drugs.

  46. 46
    MazeDancer says:

    Don’t leave Georgia elections in the slash and burn grip of Brian Kemp.

    Write a few PostCards for John Barrow to help him win his runoff for Georgia Secretary of State. Strike some revenge for Stacey Abrams.

    Gotta be mailed by Tuesday.

    Get addresss:

  47. 47
    Schlemazel says:

    Unsaid in all of this is that the planet cannot support 7 billion people living the way we currently do. Banning palm oil would be an improvement for the environment but it does not touch 1/10th of what banning meat would do. There is no way that ban will ever happen. The alternative would be to revert to more expensive production of all these products with the end result being billions who could not afford to eat.

    Anyone here ever read “The Mote In Gods Eye”? It is a first contact SF story. We meet these aliens who have a problem. The problem has led them to develop an attitude they label as “crazy eddie” which boils down to “every problem has a solution but the solution creates a worse problem”. That philosophy may become our religion

  48. 48
    Schlemazel says:

    SORRY – that was supposed to read ‘GOOD FOR YOU’

    I need coffee

  49. 49
    Schlemazel says:

    I was going to write a snarky reply about ‘how will they learn if we keep giving them handouts?’ but that shit isn’t funny anymore even when the target is the teabillies. Instead I will donate, I can’t imagine $9k is going to be enough to get them back up and running but its a start.

    Not very active – this needs more publicity

  50. 50
    satby says:

    @raven: huh, my donation isn’t posting. I hope it means they’re getting lots! I have to check back later.

  51. 51
    WereBear says:

    We use as much sustainable stuff as we can afford: local produce and humanely raised meat, cleaning products like baking soda and vinegar, supporting local crafters and small businesses.

    But even as an animal rights activist I can’t go vegan, or even vegetarian. I get sick swiftly. Plus, I live with four rescue cats who are obligate carnivores. Vegans also use tons of modern products that have animal sources, whether they realize it or not.

    Sustainable farming uses both plants and animals. It’s the cycle of life on this planet, and we aren’t going to tinker our way out of it.

  52. 52
    debbie says:


    That’s a great crowd! I love Small Business Saturday. They should do them more often.

  53. 53
    debbie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I think he overheard someone cracking wise: “If only they had used their rakes” and ran with it.

  54. 54
    debbie says:

    Since this time of the week is generally nature-driven, vegetative or avian, I thought I’d share yesterday’s poem of the day. Short but lovely:

    The Dew and the Bird
    Alexander Posey

    There is more glory in a drop of dew,
    That shineth only for an hour,
    Than there is in the pomp of earth’s great Kings
    Within the noonday of their power.

    There is more sweetness in a single strain
    That falleth from a wild bird’s throat,
    At random in the lonely forest’s depths,
    Than there’s in all the songs that bards e’er wrote.

    Yet men, for aye, rememb’ring Caesar’s name,
    Forget the glory in the dew,
    And, praising Homer’s epic, let the lark’s
    Song fall unheeded from the blue.

    Alexander Posey was born on August 3, 1873, near present-day Eufaula, Oklahoma, Creek Nation. The Poems of Alexander Posey (Crane, 1910) was collected, arranged, and posthumously published by Posey’s wife. He died on May 27, 1908.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    debbie says:


    Isn’t it?! I hope Betty sees it.

  57. 57
    satby says:

    @WereBear: so the little kitty with the collar hasn’t left my house for a couple of days. She hides in leaves under the bushes in front of the porch when she isn’t on the porch begging to come inside. I wish people understood what a frightening world it is for cats outside. The raccoons come looking for food so I take the bowls in at night, but she didn’t leave, just hid.
    SIGH, I’m going to have to share my bedroom again. And walk the hood with her picture looking for her stupid owners.

  58. 58
    Reboot says:

    @satby: Interesting blog post, I thought. I didn’t take what she wrote as ‘what-about-ism’ as much as she was trying to express that it’s an interlinked system, and that it all has an effect. E.g, she says ‘Taking the lead in the Deforestation Olympics is by far the animal agriculture industry. In Latin America alone, 2.71 million hectares of tropical forest is cleared each year to make way ranching land for cattle. This is 5 times more than any other commodity in the region’ and (to start paraphrasing rather than quoting) that a secondary effect is clear-cutting for soybeans to feed cattle, and so forth. By the time you get through all that, palm oil seems far down on the scale, comparatively.

  59. 59
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @Schlemazel: I’ve read that. Several times. Going “crazy Eddie” is the aliens’ translation into English of a particular kind of insanity their species gets. Basically if they really learn to think like a human, then they will eventually go crazy Eddie. It didn’t evolve from hunan contact, but humans are nuts in a way that triggers it.

    I also love (this might be in the sequel) an alien phrase that humans adopt: “On the one hand… on the other hand… but on the gripping hand…”

  60. 60
    Schlemazel says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:
    I have not read it in 30 years but I have been thinking of it often recently because of the aliens ‘problem’. Maybe I need to pick it up again

  61. 61
    Immanentize says:

    @satby: Hi Satby. Congrats on the good day and the good pic.

    If it’s a kitten with a collar these days won’t it be chipped?

  62. 62

    @Dan B: Oh I see. I have to click on the main picture first. They do look gorgeous.

  63. 63
    WereBear says:

    @satby: You are a caring person. I remember taking in such cats thinking they had “gotten lost” only to discover the owners would be nearby and just stopped feeding them so they would go away.

    Unvaccinated, unneutered, and often some level of pregnant…

  64. 64
    Raven says:

    @Schlemazel: Yea, my friends posted it and they know the folks personally so I thought I’d pass it along. There has been some action this morning and every little bit helps.

  65. 65
    Schlemazel says:

    11 days and only $450 is just sad. They need some help. I have advertised it to my limited ability. Will drop a couple of coins once I get dressed & hope helps.

    We had a house fire 10-12 years ago, even with insurance it was a difficult 6 months and the support we got from our friends and coworkers was uplifting.

  66. 66
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @raven: Gave my pittance and posted on the book of faces to spread the word. Glad they all made it out alive.

  67. 67
    satby says:

    @Reboot: yes, I read the whole thing. All her points are valid enough, but you have to get deep into the article to surmise that she’s suggesting using sustainable palm… By which time she’s already made it seem like an empty gesture because meat.
    And most people never read past headlines, so damage done there too. It’s a shame that an intelligent article can end up undercutting its own conclusions with a bad headline and long-winded argument.

  68. 68
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    satby says:

    @Immanentize: not too many people chip cats, but I can try to find out. The poor little girl is frantic to come inside, and avoids the heated shelter because the raccoons go in it at night looking for food.

  71. 71
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @satby: Yay you! Glad you had a successful day and added publicity!

  72. 72
    WereBear says:

    @satby: FYI, I periodically share your Etsy Shop with my followers, and now I wIll push for the holiday season, with the reminder that their purchases help shelter animals.

  73. 73
    Schlemazel says:

    nope, just a guy

  74. 74
    Immanentize says:

    @satby: I wish I lived closer, I may be ready for cat#2

  75. 75
    David Evans says:

    @Schlemazel: I loved The Mote. But I thought at the time, and it’s more obvious now with our genetic engineering abilities, that a species with starships should have been able to offer a technological solution.

  76. 76
    MomSense says:

    Oh boy. Elderly relative moved to a nursing home and since I’m the only member of my generation remotely near by, I find myself emptying the house she lived in for more than 50 years. Once I recover from this I’m going to do a serious purge of my things. Damn.

  77. 77
    Immanentize says:

    I sent them some bones. It’s damp and chilly out. But here I sit in my cozy warm intact house, on the very good internet, refrigerator full, etc. etc.

  78. 78
    WereBear says:

    @MomSense: My condolences. Once someone goes, so many of those things have no meaning or value anymore.

    My own drive towards minimalization is the conviction that someone else can use this thing I’m not using. But that doesn’t always apply.

  79. 79

    @MomSense: My MIL was a hoarder and when she moved into a nursing home, her kids each took what they wanted and then hired a company to come in with dumpsters.

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    Reboot says:

    @satby: Yeah, it’s interesting how different reading styles take away different impressions. Or maybe just coming from a different perspective. BTW, your soaps look great.

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    meander says:

    Regarding “raking”, I think the Pres* was talking about “forest thinning” as a tool for managing wildfire risk. The basic idea is to remove small trees and brush in fire-prone forests. A competent and not stupid president would have been able to get that idea from the briefings and explain it better than “the President of Finland talked about raking.”

    Some problems with forest thinning include
    1) it isn’t financially worthwhile for forest companies because little trees aren’t worth much, so they either want subsidies to do the work or the ability to harvest a lot of large trees, which environmentalists will oppose vigorously,
    2) what do you do with the thinned material? It’s probably too small for lumber mills, and you can’t just leave it there. So do you subsidize trucking it out of the forest, perhaps to a biomass power plant? It’s probably too expensive to turn it into mulch and try to sell to suburban and city gardeners.

    The Pres* and his allies probably want to clear cut these forests, so that will be something to watch for in the future.

    Maybe the Pres* talked about setting up a cross-agency task force to work on forest fire issues in National Forests, but his bone-headed raking idea got all of the press. I can imagine President Obama coming to the fire site and talking for 20 minutes about his proposals for task forces and policy approaches.

  82. 82
    raven says:

    @MomSense: I had to do that when my sister’s FIL died. They was no will so I went out and went through every pocket, drawer, nook and cranny trying to find one. The only saving grace was that I didn’t really know him. I look at my shit and think “who is going to want this 6 ft yellowfin tuna that I have on the wall”??

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    khead says:

    My theory on this whole rake thing is pretty simple. The Finnsh Prez said “We take care of our forests”. Trump heard “We rake our forests” and then ran with it.

    Also, I missed the earlier Thanksgiving threads so I hope all you jackals had a great holiday.

  85. 85
    Schlemazel says:

    @David Evans:
    I think they hinted in the book that what they tried had only made worse problems. But, if the story is good and the logic consistent I am willing to overlook questions like that.

    Perhaps they were stymied by their cycling maybe they had blind spots like we have. But for the book to work you have to buy that they didn’t find a solution.

  86. 86
    Yarrow says:

    Good morning, everyone.

    @satby: Congratulations on making the paper. That’s a nice photo of your soaps!

    @raven: Keep posting it. It has been a slow weekend here and a lot of people haven’t been around to see it. Edit: Perhaps it could be frontpaged and that way it would also show up on Cole’s Twitter feed and more people would see it.

  87. 87
    japa21 says:

    Getting ready for the 6-10 inches of snow expected later today. Just a few years ago we didn’t have our first snow until January. This will put us over a foot so far and we haven’t hit December. Today is decorate the house for the holidays day. And dealing with a horrible cold. I admit that I am one of those men that is a real wimp wen I get a cold. Fortunately Mrs. Japa is very nurturing (which is why I married a nurse).

  88. 88
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    hired a company to come in with dumpsters.

    We had to do that when my mom died. She had become a hoarder and her place was unmanageable. It’s interesting (in an unpleasant way) how disturbing a hoarder’s place can be, maybe because it’s such an overwhelming physical manifestation of mental disorder. We cleaned what we could and then handed it over to the professionals. I hope not to inflict such a burden on my children.

  89. 89
    oldgold says:

    The bottom panels of the New York Post’s satiric front page story concerning a former editor of the National Enquirer writing a
    tell-all book on David Pecker’s relationship with Trump is high low-humor.

    New York Post

  90. 90
    Just Chuck says:


    I think the Pres* was talking about “forest thinning” as a tool for managing wildfire risk.

    I think he was and is thinking “Donnie make a poo-poo!” every moment he ever opens his mouth, and it’s about as useful to apply logic and reason to his arguments as it would be for any other toddler. Refutations are for the bystanders who might still possess a germ of thought.

    And BTW, thinning has to happen, and it’s not even controversial. It’s the best simulation we have of forest fires without doing an actual burn, and fire is a vital part of a healthy forest ecosystem, at least when you get away from the rain forest. It doesn’t provide huge timbers, but there’s plenty of usable lumber that comes out of it (usually used in parks). The smaller stuff they leave on the forest floor as habitat and erosion control.

  91. 91
    Another Scott says:

    @khead: Donnie is the perfect manifestation of Mencken’s famous quote:

    Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.

    He believes and tells us, far too often, that he has the best brain and knows everything without bothering to study.


    Congratulations satby!

    Good luck to your friends’ neighbors, raven. Donated.

    Have a good Sunday, everyone!


  92. 92
    Ruviana says:

    Enough people here seem to have experienced cleaning out for a loved one that I thought I’d post this book. The Swedes incorporate cleaning out into their culture.
    And linking no longer works so here’s a naked link:

  93. 93
    debbie says:


    My mother didn’t qualify as a hoarder because while her closets were packed, the rooms were always very tidy. But damn, she knew how to pack a closet.

    Good luck! I hope it’s not too difficult for you to go through your relative’s things.

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    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Ruviana: Would love to see it – pls provide title or link? :)

    ETA: See you followed up w/link -thanx!

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    ThresherK says:

    @MomSense: We did (some of) that moving from a house (way too large for two folks) to a rental. There is more to do.

    The amazing thing is, back up to when my MiL passed, how little crap there was to clear up from the in-laws’ home. Most everything there seemed to have a purpose or a need.

  96. 96
    Schlemazel says:

    We are going to hit the road soon for the drive to Rochester. Tests at Mayo tomorrow and I hope this will be the start of repair work that will make life worth living again. I’m as near giddy as an eeyore can be

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    WereBear says:

    @Schlemazel: Bon voyage in all ways.

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    O. Felix Culpa says:


    I hope this will be the start of repair work that will make life worth living again.

    I hope that for you too! All available digits crossed for a healing journey and positive, life-giving outcome.

  100. 100
    MomSense says:

    She didn’t have children so she was totally devoted to my dad, aunt, and uncle. I found amazing photos of them as kids. Also found my photos from my grandparents’ wedding. There were pages of family genealogy.

    The thing that is killing me is not being able to keep all of the needlepoint. I have so much already.

    I’m repeating my grandmother’s mantra. Life is for the living. She enjoyed her things and now she has moved on. I can’t save everything.

  101. 101
    Immanentize says:

    @MomSense: @debbie:
    I may have already told this story, but when my wife, Julie, was dying in the hospital, she caled my son and me over to her bedside and looked at me, pointed her finger at me and said, “Don’t hoard!” Then looked at the Immp, same finger, “And don’t let him hoard!” OK, so maybe I collect things I needn’t.

    Anyway, as we were going through the house, getting Julie’s things together to give to the Women’s Shelter, we kept finding boxes of her shoes, from her adult life, in mostly pristine condition, still in boxes with the paper in the toes! In her closet of course, but also in the guest room closet and in the attic closet…. It came to about 80 pairs of very nice shoes from over 30 years of shoe shopping — add in the sports footwear (sneakers, hiking sandles, boots) and we probably hit 100…. Anyway, I assembled them all in the guest room, stacked and organized for donation. I brought in the Immp and said, “This, my son, is the definition of NOT hoarding.”

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    Immanentize says:

    @Schlemazel: Mayo is great — saved my uncle’s life and added two decades to it. Good luck!

  103. 103
    NotMax says:

    Ugh. In anticipation of something due to arrive mid-week, had to move around/relocate some electronics and a bunch of knickknacks in the living room. Realize it’s only the mind playing games with me but regardless the room now looks ‘wrong.’

    /first world problem

  104. 104
    MomSense says:


    Shoes are very important. People have to walk! I have a problem with books. A serious problem.

  105. 105
    MomSense says:


    Hoping for the best. Mayo is the place to go!!

  106. 106
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: I am in the same pending position right now. I am living in my Mother’s house (it is actually a life estate property so when she dies we will have to move out). The house is so filled with stuff it is hard to move. She won’t throw anything out, and I mean anything. There are half a dozen old analog tvs stored in the bedroom upstairs that she refuses to get rid of. “Well they might come in useful one day” is her rationale. She has books everywhere. She has said time and time again “I hate to get rid of books” and yet she will never read them again. I have been going through them and keeping aside the first editions and ones that I think could be valuable but for the most part they will be donated as will the majority of knick knacks in her house. It is going to be a nightmare when the time comes.

  107. 107
    Emma says:

    @MomSense: I am in charge of dealing with my mother’s things. She grew up as the middle child of a farming family and never had many new things to call her own, so when she finally could, she collected. It has triggered me to downsize EVERYTHING I own.

  108. 108
    frosty says:


    Once I recover from this I’m going to do a serious purge of my things.

    We were in the same situation a few years ago. My wife came home from her father’s apartment and said “We’re getting rid of stuff!” We made it about 3 months.* Time to get back to it again.

    * I was the roadblock: “Hey, that’s worth something, I can sell it on eBay!”

  109. 109
    JPL says:

    @Schlemazel: Let the healing begin.

  110. 110
    WaterGirl says:

    @Schlemazel: Mayo worked a miracle for a friend of mine 15 ore more years ago. Hoping they can turn your life around. Who knows? Maybe you will be so good that you will go back to your old nym! :-)

  111. 111
    The Dangerman says:

    I think folks are overthinking this raking thing; it was a simple decision tree for him.

    Decision 1 was “Is it Trump’s fault?” or “Someone else’s fault?”. Well, that’s an easy one. On to Decision 2.

    Decision 2 was could he think of an example where “White People” would do it differently (because California are a bunch of illegal voters, doncha know?); presto, Finland.

    After that, it was just an exercise in making shit up, his specialty.

  112. 112
    hedgehog mobile says:

    @raven: Done.

  113. 113
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    The palm oil thing is the kind of mistake we’re going to make again and again unless we start thinking in terms of systems problems. Reporters are particularly bad at wanting One Simple Solution, and they frame the way we talk and think about a lot of problems.

    Reading that NYTimes article, it is pretty clear that the scientists were steamrolled by well-funded lawyer/lobbyists. The literature on the effects of destruction/disturbance of tropical peatlands has been clear for a while.[0]. (Sure, there are disputes.)
    So it’s not so much a direct collective mistake as allowing the lawyer/lobbyists to prevail in what should be objective scientific arguments.
    Kudos to the NYTimes and Abrahm Lustgarten. Good readable work.
    [0] A sample (search for “tropical peatlands” for a lot more:
    and more recently,
    Denial of long‐term issues with agriculture on tropical peatlands will have devastating consequences
    (html Letter to the Editor Open Access – 27 September 2016)

  114. 114
    Barbara says:

    @Immanentize: The attraction of shoes and purses is that they are beautiful and do not force any confrontation with your less than perfect body proportions when you try them on. They are pure enjoyment in the store.

  115. 115
    Fair Economist says:


    By the time you get through all that, palm oil seems far down on the scale, comparatively.

    What the article skips over is that the four different deforestation drivers mostly affect different forests. Soybeans are mostly a temperate zone crop, and cattle ranching is done in drier areas. The rainforests being cut down for palm oil production aren’t going to be cut down for either soybeans or cattle ranches. For global warming purposes the forests are somewhat interchangeable but for the orangutans, they aren’t.

    That said, a boycott is a poor tool because the problem is the rainforest being converted to *any* human use – including in this case forestry, subsistence agriculture, and other cash crops. The only long term solution is for the Indonesian and Malaysian governments to have both the will and the capacity to keep at least very large areas as preserves.

  116. 116
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Mayo is great — saved my uncle’s life and added two decades to it. Good luck!


    Mayo worked a miracle for a friend of mine 15 ore more years ago. Hoping they can turn your life around.

    I began reading thread comments from the bottom up, and when I saw these I was positive I had mistakenly wandered into one of those contentious and interminable mayonnaise-vs.-Miracle Whip, Hellmann’s-vs.-Duke’s-vs.-Kraft spats.

    @Schlemazel: Now that I’ve linked back to your comment, let me add my own good wishes and hopes for you. Do please keep us all posted.

  117. 117
    Fair Economist says:


    My wife came home from her father’s apartment and said “We’re getting rid of stuff!” We made it about 3 months.*

    The Marie Kan book on organizing and cleaning inspired me to clean house for a while, although not by her drastic methods (which is basically pile EVERYTHING up to throw it away, and keep only the most meaningful or essential). But there was so much that the progress I made boiled down to reducing my books from double to single shelves and reducing the layers of junk in my closet to one. I am at least a lot better about not buying more to add to the piles but sadly my husband hasn’t gotten that particular message yet. Now if I could just get myself to throw out my CDs…

  118. 118
    Immanentize says:

    @Barbara: I have no problem with shoes — her tastes were extraordinary. In fact, I kept a couple of pairs just for ‘membrance sake — A beautiful bright green pair of Mizrahi shoes and a pair of Star Wars Vans

  119. 119
    Immanentize says:

    @Fair Economist: As we speak, I am burning all my CDs to an external server. Then I plan on giving them all to the local library. Huge space savings! Then, the albums? (FWIW, I am burning Loop right now)

  120. 120
    Fair Economist says:


    I’m repeating my grandmother’s mantra. Life is for the living. She enjoyed her things and now she has moved on. I can’t save everything.

    I saved a moderate amount of mementos from my father when he passed and eventually threw them out because I did not have time and space to appreciate them. It’s going to be very hard when my mother passes because she has a fairly large house filled to the brim with stuff, most of which carries memories for me. It’s going to kill me to dispose of the antique baby grand but there is just no way I could keep it and for all my fond memories of it I have no use for it now.

  121. 121
    opiejeanne says:

    @meander: We own a cabin in Southern California, near Lake Arrowhead. We are required to rake the property around it every year and get rid of the pine needles.
    I think he got his dumb idea from hearing Jerry Brown mention this, since Dummy in Chief switched where he heard it to some governor and he really doesn’t pay attention to what other people are saying.

  122. 122
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: You have my sympathy. My mom bought quadruplicates, nay, quintuplicates of so many things…and never used them. Fake oriental rugs, Tiffany lamp knockoffs, allegedly time-saving gadgets…all that might be useful “someday.” Among her baffling purchases included an electric 12-egg poacher. She lived alone. She never cooked. I don’t think it was ever taken out of the box. Multiply that by thousands. Stuff was piled near to the ceiling everywhere. There were just packing-peanut strewn narrow pathways in the house to navigate between mountains of stuff from room to room. And don’t open the closets!

  123. 123
    Fair Economist says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: Kitchen gadgetry and china is a terrible source of junk. I have so many things I use very rarely – maybe once every couple years in some cases. But it’s really hard to throw them out because I *do* use them occasionally. So, even though I have a pretty large kitchen, there’s no place to put anything.

    I’m coming to think that a necessary accompaniment to getting rid of stuff is simplifying my life – just choosing not to *ever* do that old recipe from my mom. But I’m not there yet.

  124. 124
    burnspbesq says:


    If one doesn’t know that Iceland is a UK supermarket chain, that article could be a little confusing.

    Still, the point is well taken. Palm oil, per se, is not the problem. Deforestation is the problem—and, especially in Brazil, beef production is the bigger cause of deforestation. Alas, Trumpao their new preznit seems to not give a shit.

  125. 125
    debbie says:


    I can relate to a weakness for shoes. But having moved from apartment to apartment to apartment my entire adult life, I’m always shedding both possessions and stuff. Over the past couple of months, I’ve begun to think I should now get rid of the stuff I don’t want anyone to find ever.

  126. 126
    burnspbesq says:


    Ripping vinyl to digital is a considerably more involved process. It requires specialized hardware (no matter what computer you own, its internal analog-to-digital converter is a cheap crappy afterthought) and software. Even worse, it’s a slow process, especially if you fall into the trap of obsessing over click and pop removal.

    If you really want to go there, Schiit Audio makes a good ADC that sells for $199.

  127. 127
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Fair Economist: I love kitchen gadgets and hang on to more stuff than I should too. Just to reassure you, there’s a HUGE difference between keeping some extra things and being a full-on hoarder. Can you walk on your floors without crunching on packing peanuts underfoot and without fear of avalanche from ceiling-high stuff-piles? Is your furniture clear enough of things that you can actually sit on, say, your sofa? If you can answer “yes” to these questions, then you are far from pathological hoarderdom. :)

  128. 128
    J R in WV says:


    I knew about deforestation, and am not (shudder) a vegan. A little bit locavore, living in the place I do we have mushrooms gathered on the farms we own, I visit the Farmer’s Market when I go shopping during the harvest season, like home-grown tomatoes, really! and Fresh Picked Corn on the Cob!! Who doesn’t love corn in the summertime? and tomatoes for bacon and tomato sammiches?!!!

  129. 129
    opiejeanne says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: My in-laws’ house was starting to resemble that when we had to put them into a board and care. The spare bedrooms had stacks of newspapers 4 feet tall and before we wrestled the van away from my FIL he had driven back to his house and tossed stuff out of closets and dressers onto the floor, looking for God knows what. They both had dementia which we didn’t realize until they were separated for a couple of months while MIL was in the hospital. We didn’t realize because they covered for each other so perfectly and we lived 400 miles away. It took us a year to clear that house, going through every box and pile of stuff carefully because when we started we realized that there were family photos stored under the sink and at the bottom of big boxes with nothing else other than shipping peanuts. I think they might have “lost” pictures of my husband as a child because I have maybe two or three and I know they had a bunch of them that they never wanted to show me for fear I’d steal them, and that was when they were in their 40s.
    At the end of that miserable year of commuting three hours each way to work on the place I got my husband and his brother to hire a painter and have new carpet installed in order to sell the place, and it sold in a snap for more money than it was worth six months later, so my in-laws had enough to pay for their care for the rest of their lives.

  130. 130
    Yarrow says:

    @O. Felix Culpa:

    Can you walk on your floors without crunching on packing peanuts underfoot and without fear of avalanche from ceiling-high stuff-piles?

    The grandmother of someone I know was killed when her piles of stuff fell on her as she was making her way along her one pathway through her house.

  131. 131
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @debbie: Thanks for posting.

  132. 132
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @WereBear: My problems are mostly massive amounts of paper–source for study/research. I keep being told that it’s only of use to me, but I find it hard to believe that material gathered over yrs with lots of time and money is essentaially worthless.

  133. 133
    Fair Economist says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: Oh, I’m not a hoarder; I’m not worried about that. My husband is, a little, but it’s manageable. I just have come to the realization that half my housing budget is paying to store things I very rarely or never use and it’s a poor use of my financial resources, as well as a chore to clean and organize. I’m also thinking about moving to a 2-bedroom apartment (currently in a 3 bedroom 1750 sq. ft. house) after my son leaves and am trying to downsize so that would be possible.

  134. 134
    J R in WV says:


    Me too, wife collects history books, in WV there’s a history book, or two or three, for every county. And she wants them all! At least one can donate such a collection to a local library, I hope! I on the other hand, collect Sci Fi books, and have for around 60 years…

    I built a garage with a shop/attic upstairs which has rocks (I collected them for years, have stopped lately as my collecting buddy went into a home for an odd form of dementia) as well as boxes and shelves full of books. There is a library room in the house, full, and I built a bookcase downstairs with a couple of hundred feet of shelf space, not full yet, but if I emptied the boxes…

    And books are so heavy!

    But the chairs are mostly free from stack of crap, some have books, tho, in the library.

  135. 135
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @Fair Economist: I once lived in a compact apartment in Hong Kong, which I loved for its amazing views and small size, which forced me to limit acquisitions. We had everything needful nonetheless, and were very comfortable.

  136. 136
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    @opiejeanne: Wow. What an undertaking! My mom lived too far away, so our only option was to cull photos and keepsakes as quickly as possible and have the rest hauled out and dumped. We’ll never know what we missed…so we don’t miss it. :)

  137. 137
    satby says:

    @WereBear: @Reboot: @Another Scott: thanks!

    Porch cat update: she’s now inside and ensconced in my bedroom. Tomorrow we’ll go see if she has a chip and contact animal control to see if anyone lost her. If there’s no owner located she’ll join our crew of rescues, get immunizations and be put up for adoption. She’s a lover and quite chatty.

  138. 138
    satby says:

    @O. Felix Culpa: does it count if you keep stuff on your sofa just so the dogs don’t climb onto it? 😉

    @Schlemazel: the very best of luck!

  139. 139
    J R in WV says:


    So glad you have an appointment at a place known for tricky diagnostic work!

    Best of luck, fellow jackal!!

  140. 140
    Sab says:

    @MomSense: Everyone else has been replying to this, but I sure feel for you. We put my 94 year old father in a nursing home in January, and I spent all summer cleaning out the house they had lived in since 1965. It was a big house with lots of cupboards and closets, and my mother was amazing at packing stuff away.

    My great grandfather was from a prosperous family and then he got rich, so lots of stuff, and they had big house to put the stuff in.

    My mom’s family wasn’t rich, so nice stuff was rare and treasured.

    When my dad’s family members died, somebody rented movers who packed stuff upmand moved it to the next generation’s house, which was always smaller.

    My mom kept every single item. Two hand embroidered linen napkins that matched nothing. That sort of thing. I hate to send them to the landfill, but finding a home is time consuming. Took six months. Then my siblings come in bitching about where are the liien tablecloths they have had 40 years to express a faint interest in.


  141. 141
    Interstadial says:

    Help! Comment stuck in spam.

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