Sunday Morning Open Thread: It’s A Gift

Okay, it’s a box. But all boxes belong to cats, by divine right.

Betty had a wonderful thread earlier this week asking for gift ideas and highlighting the artists among us, but Sunday morning tends to be a quiet time for those of us who’re still contemplating our options.

There are a bunch of Balloon Juice jackals who have books to sell, among them Dorothy A. Winsor, who taught me something I didn’t know:

…If you read something and enjoy it, you give the author a big gift by reviewing the book on Amazon and/or Goodreads. The review can be very short (I enjoyed this book). It doesn’t have to 5 star. The issue is that Amazon uses the sheer number of reviews as part of its algorithm for which books to promote. Also some sites ( Book Bub, frex) require that a book have a certain number of reviews before you can promote on there.

So… Who’s got works to promote (yours or others?)

What other great gift ideas should we know about? (Out-of-the-ordinary good causes to support, for instance… )

155 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just another pothole in the road of life.

  2. 2
    JMG says:

    Greetings from Strasbourg! We are in an Air BnB in the historic district, which can now only be accessed by two bridges, each of which is a high intensity security checkpoint reminiscent of the Olympics. Inside the zone, the Christmas revelry continues as if there hadn’t been a mass murder here last week, except for the many patrols of cops and soldiers with automatic weapons at a can-be-fired-in-a-moment posture. Otherwise, it’s carols, vendors and wall-to-wall crowds, kind of like New Year’s Eve in Times Square but with much more pastry. Had dinner last night in a place called Academy of Beer. Lots of pork product.

  3. 3

    @OzarkHillbilly: This should Un-Blech you a bit.

    (Pics from make excellent gifts, just sayin’.)

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Nice. I need to set up my telescope at the next new moon. It’s been awhile.

  5. 5
    Elizabelle says:

    @JMG: You lucky bug! Enjoy. Best thing to do is be out there enjoying the Christmas Market. Bring on the gluhwein! Viva Strasbourg.

    I was in Nice two weeks after the truck attack. Seeing the armed patrols is both disturbing and reassuring. The soldiers are so young.

  6. 6

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks, working on my pic of the comet now.

    ETA: That pic was shot here in Glendale.

  7. 7
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: 😘
    Good morning all (evening to you JMG)!

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @JMG: Sounds lovely.

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Five stars.

    @satby: Good morning.

  9. 9

    @Baud: Hell of alot more than 5 stars there. 😎

    (Actually nebula are stellar nurseries.)

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: Pretty sure JMG is in the throes of mid day by now. ;-)

  11. 11
    raven says:

    We both got our second shingles shot yesterday, what a gift.

  12. 12
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Some, like the Cat’s Eye Nebula, are *planetary nebulae* and others, like the Crab Nebula are supernova remnants. The Eagle Nebula (with the famous “Pillars of Creation”) is a stellar nursery.

    ** via wikipedia, a planetary nebula “is arguably a misnomer,”
    “Most planetary nebulae form at the end of the star’s life, and are a relatively short-lived phenomenon, lasting perhaps a few tens of thousands of years, compared to a typical stellar lifetime spanning several billion years.[8] Once most of the red giant’s atmosphere is dissipated, ultraviolet radiation from the hot luminous core, called a planetary nebula nucleus (PNN), ionizes the ejected material.[2] Absorbed ultraviolet light then energises the shell of nebulous gas around the central star, causing it to appear as a brightly coloured planetary nebula.”

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: I couldn’t get mine before our old insurance ran out. Now waiting for insurance cards from our new insurance so I can get mine. Hoping they show up soon.

  14. 14
    satby says:

    @Baud: {{{Baud}}}

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was just guessing 😉

    @raven: I was going to just to use this insurance before it ended, but porch kitty gave me her cold, so now no immunization until that’s gone. I should get the pneumonia one too.

  15. 15
    satby says:

    As far as gifts, I’m going to suggest MazeDancer’s Post Cards for Friends again. It’s a subscription where your friend will get regular postcards from you and it’s tailor made for someone like me. I have good intentions of staying in touch but am sporadic at best in actually putting pen to paper (just ask my three year old box of holiday cards, still standing by).

  16. 16
  17. 17
  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😀😀😀

  19. 19
    Elizabelle says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning. How is the Windy City this morning?

    Uncommonly mild in Richmond, VA. Thinking I should get out and take a walk to wake up more. Last week at this time, it was the last hour before 10-11 inches of snow fell. It’s pretty much gone now, except for piles where roads/lots were cleared.

  20. 20
    MazeDancer says:


    Satby makes absolutely wondrous soaps and lotions. Seriously great stuff: Order a little something extra for yourself, too:

  21. 21

    @JMG: I’m glad you’re still enjoying your holiday, despite the security reminders. I saw pics on twitter of my publisher at a Christmas market in Madrid today (my editor lives there). I somehow thought they were a German thing only.

    Also, as I saw my name in Anne’s post, I realized I sometimes miss being Iowa Old Lady. I guess I’d have had to switch to Illinois Old Lady anyway, and that doesn’t have the same ring.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    p.a. says:

    @raven: @OzarkHillbilly:
    My ins covered it when given at a Dr’s office, but (the original) shingles shot was so perishable (had to be refrigerated) only pharmacies kept it. Paid $200+ dollars in 2012- after a shingles attack.

    That’s some catch, that Catch-22.

    FYI jackals the insurance coverage age for shingles shots has dropped (YMMV) into the 50’s. In 2012 my ins covered 62yo or 65 yo and above, IIRC.

  24. 24
    satby says:

    I did not pay her to say that 😄 @MazeDancer: (Thank you!)
    @rikyrah: Good morning, and thank you too! Glad you got good feedback on the basket!

  25. 25
    Elizabelle says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Be “Io Lady” and new folks will assume you named yourself after a moon.

    Why be more specific than “this universe?”

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:

    @Baud: Very glad you are back. I think you need to stay. It is not as nice without you.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: You’ll always be Iowa Old Lady to me.

  29. 29
    MazeDancer says:

    “PostCards for Friends” is a gift subscription of surprises.

    Every other month for 6 months, your giftee receives a surprise package of original PostCards celebrating a theme. The PostCards are printed on thick art paper. And can be displayed out on a desk, tucked in a mirror frame, perfect on a refrigerator.

    Your giftee thinks of you. And can get uplifted, amused, inspired by the theme. The first theme is “Right Action”. (And because it’s a surprise, you can also be your own excellent friend and gift yourself.)

    More here:

    Also at that link – scroll down – are free “Make any gift a last-minute gift” printable gift scrolls. If you don’t find the right gift until the last minute, you print up the gift announcement, describe the gift, wrap, give.

    (And any BJ makers, feel free to use to promote the “last-minute” giftability of your wares)

    Plus “Give to a Worthy Cause” free gift announcements.

    Choose an excellent worthy cause for your friends and family. Wrap up the lovely gift announcement, or turn it into a gift scroll using the pretty outside page on the printable PDF.

    And, yes, this is part of an attempt to offset some of the expense of Political PostCard-ing. And we also have Holiday Cards. Heavy emphasis on New Years, for procrastinators, but including one for Solstice, the OG Reason for the Season:

  30. 30
  31. 31
    rikyrah says:

    Beautiful pictures 🤗🤗

  32. 32
    WereBear says:

    A stupid flareup is dragging me down. But I have a holiday break coming up which should help.

    Seconding Skinluvvers!

  33. 33
    rikyrah says:

    Should be a pleasant day today. Won’t need my Eskimo hat or scarf.🤗

  34. 34
    JPL says:

    @JMG: I can’t wait until you send in the pictures. Enjoy your stay.

  35. 35
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Papadopoulos, the gift that keeps on giving:

    George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide who recently served time in prison, confirmed Friday that he does plan to run for Congress.

    “It is true. I will be running for Congress in 2020, and I will win,” Papadopoulos tweeted Friday. “Stay tuned.”

    Expect a campaign full of ads about how the Deep State tried to get him but he was tough enough to survive that eternity of time in Supermax and now he’s back to fight for you, the downtrodden millionaires of Orange County

  36. 36
    Immanentize says:

    Strong shocks on that car

  37. 37
    satby says:

    @Immanentize: Good morning! I was gone from yesterday’s thread so I wanted to be able to congratulate young Imp and his proud poppa on his acceptance to Rice. Well done!

  38. 38
    Immanentize says:

    It is a dreary Sunday which is about all I can say short of BLECH. The Immp and I are still wallowing in our sudden freedom from further application tortures. We enjoyed a nice fire in the fireplace last night. But today I really have to get out and buy some provisions, if not gifts.

    I have a Dr. appointment this coming Tuesday to review the once again messed up elbow. But all of you reminded me to put the new shingles shot on the list! Happy Merry!

  39. 39
    Immanentize says:

    @satby: Thankee, Satby. It is one huge happy relief.

    But I realized yesterday that the first deposit is due …. All to a fabulous cause.

  40. 40
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Immanentize: Those guys are good, very good.

    Those Mexican cane trucks always looked scary as fuck, a 1967 Ford 2 ton single axle flatbed, piled 20-25′ high listing a good 6 or 7 degrees with very questionable brakes and a power steering pump that went out months ago. The last thing one wants to come face to face when climbing a narrow mountain road. But in all my travels down there I never saw one rolled over off the side of a road.

  41. 41
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    But I realized yesterday that the first deposit is due


  42. 42
    Barbara says:

    @Immanentize: Congratulations to young Imp. Mine refused to do any kind of esrly decision so it felt like the process would never end.

  43. 43
    Immanentize says:



    Eloquently stated, my friend.

  44. 44
    Platonailedit says:

    170 political science experts were asked to rank all 45 US Presidents from best to worst.

    Trump Ranked #45 of 45

    Obama ranked #8 of 45

    Enough Said!

    RETWEET to @realDonaldTrump

    — Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) December 16, 2018

  45. 45
    Platonailedit says:

    According to a new report released by the DOJ, the Mueller Investigation has netted $23 Million.

    That's right. The Mueller investigation has made money.

    Maybe Robert Mueller should be appointed our new Treasury Secretary… after he indicts Trump.

    — Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) December 16, 2018

  46. 46
    Immanentize says:

    The Immp did one early decision and three early action in October. Then the U. Of California schools in November. Then December was reserved for his final exams and his back stop schools and foreign Universities. It was never going to end! And the home sweet home was a rather tense abode. But now all is sunshine and lollipops.

  47. 47
    HinTN says:

    @raven: Second? We got ours five years ago at 60 and thought that wrapped it up. Now I’m nervous…

  48. 48
    Immanentize says:

    @HinTN: I probably won’t be the only one chiming in, but there is a new shingles vaccine — two doses over a couple of weeks — that is supposed to be far superior to the old “one and done.” Dr.s are recommending everyone get the new shots even if you had the old one.

  49. 49
    eclare says:

    @Immanentize: Saw the news about Immp on a dead thread, great news! Congratulations!

  50. 50
    Immanentize says:

    @eclare: Thanks! How are you doing? I haven’t been in a thread with you or donnah in a while.

  51. 51
    Currants says:

    I give in honor of friends (who want such things) to Medical Students for Choice. They’re a terrific organization. And… likely to be more and more needed as time goes on.

  52. 52
    HinTN says:

    @Immanentize: Thanks and congrats on the young Imp’s acceptance.

  53. 53
    eclare says:

    @Immanentize: OK, got a new job in July that I really like, so I’ve been busy. It’s interesting, not my background at all, so I’m flying blind a bit.

  54. 54
    debbie says:


    Are you feeling better than you did after the first one?

  55. 55
    Steeplejack (phone) says:


    Best comment on that thread: @timdthomas, “I can’t believe Trump is that high on the list.”

  56. 56
    debbie says:


    That age drop is why they keep running out.

  57. 57
    LibraryGuy says:

    Hi everyone!

    Just a year ago a lot of you Balloon Juicers helped us save our store and find a new home by shopping with us at Woodstock Reveries. While we never found a new standalone storefront we did recreate our store on our new front porch and can still ship gifts before Christmas!

    You can click on my name to take you to the store website. Orders that went out yesterday are to be delivered between Monday and Wednesday of this week.

    We carry artists who make jewelry from semi-precious stones, designer handbags and totes, and a wide variety of crystals. All of our gifts are cruelty-free and a portion of the proceeds of each sale go to animal rescues and charities.

    And I want to thank you all again, from Rhea and Tom and our pup Benny, for helping us when we needed it most! You saved our family and our store, and we’ll never forget it.

  58. 58
    Joey Maloney says:

    I support the Lanai Cat Sanctuary on the island of Lanai, Hawaii. They house about 600 strays and ferals in a really nice large outdoor enclosure. They have separate housing for seniors, for convalescents, for the antisocial animals as well. Their mission is not only to give the cats a great life, but also to prevent predation on various threatened bird species that are unique to the island.

    And it’s a great place to visit if you’re ever out that way.

  59. 59
    Immanentize says:


    I’m flying blind a bit.

    It may be counterintuitive, but my favorite jobs were those I jumped into without much experience or specific knowledge. I love it when I like my job. Good luck!

  60. 60
    Amir Khalid says:

    Peugeot 504s date back to the late 1960s, when cars weren’t built to be junked every few years. You can still see a few well-tended ones running here even today.

  61. 61
    TriassicSands says:


    Donald gives himself an A+ and since Donald is the world’s greatest authority on everything (just ask him) I’m sure the opinions of a bunch of low IQ political science experts won’t mean a thing to the Stable Genius. Only Trump is great enough to judge Trump.

  62. 62
    rikyrah says:

    Sunshine and lollipop 🍭

  63. 63
    raven says:

    @debbie: It was a restless night with bouts of shivering and sweating! We’re both a bit punky but we’ve decided to do our regular stuff today.

  64. 64
    TriassicSands says:


    Dr.s are recommending everyone get the new shots even if you had the old one.

    Tiny caveat: everyone over 50.

    And, yes, it is supposed to be much, much better than the old Zostavax vaccine. I’ve had both Shingrix shots and had no significant side effects — just a very slightly sore shoulder the next day.

  65. 65
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Amir Khalid: It’s amazing how people can keep things working when they need to.

  66. 66
    Ken says:


    fight for you, the downtrodden millionaires of Orange County

    Unless step one is restoring the property tax deduction, he won’t even get that demographic.

  67. 67
    raven says:

    @Immanentize: Roger that. I got my job in online course development because there was a great deal of resistance to that approach. The guy that hired me had kids who had played AAU ball and he said “if you can run kids sports you can do anything. You can learn the technology but you can’t really learn to deal with contentious situations (I guess yo can but that’s what he said).” After a decade of that I moved into faculty development and I didn’t know diddly about it either. It’s been a good run and I can see the finish line but I know I’ve been lucky.

  68. 68
    Immanentize says:


    if you can run kids sports you can do anything.

    That should be on T-shirts everywhere.

    I agree and I think you landed in what is probably the best and most hopeful place in the academy. But I suspect it was only 50% luck at best.

  69. 69
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):
    I don’t understand Ronald Reagan ranking above Bill Clinton, or Carter’s mid-table ranking.

  70. 70
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Immanentize: My experience is that people who end up successful due to luck will often attribute that success to intelligence (see, e.g. Trump, Donald J) while people who end up successful due to skill and hard work will often attribute that success to luck.

  71. 71
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Amir Khalid: Ronald Reagan put a smile on everybody’s face, Bill Clinton made people feel yucky with his smoking habits, and Carter’s presidency was a “disaster” from which RR rescued us. In other words, the ranking of recent presidents is rather subjective.

  72. 72
    Immanentize says:

    @Gin & Tonic: This is a good insight. I’m stealing it because of my great skill and intellect.😃

  73. 73
    debbie says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Or opportunity.

  74. 74
    Platonailedit says:

    Charles Pierce.

    ow that the full scope of this administration*’s political vandalism and base criminality is largely being copped to in broad daylight in various federal courthouses, a good chunk of the elite political press is moving into the Hoocoodanode? stage of political journalism. This is best exemplified by Thursday’s New York Times podcast, the headline of which—”The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism, and How We Missed It”—got dragged like Hector’s corpse all over the electric Twitter machine until someone at the Times sharpened up and changed the last half of it to “…and How Law Enforcement Ignored It,” which is a little better, but not much.

    It’s not “our” fault that the NYT hired Bret Stephens and Ross Douthat, and not Dave Neiwert or JJ McNab, to write for their Opinions section. It’s not “our” fault that the NYT and other elite political media outlets hand-waved the fact that allegedly respectable Republican politicians, national ones as well as the local variety, attached themselves to various “respectable” extremist outfits.

    It’s not “our” fault that the prion disease spread so wildly on AM radio and on television and, ultimately, on social media as well. It’s not “our” fault that white supremacy and outright fascism has become fashionable in pockets of our military, and in our militarized local police forces. And it’s certainly no surprise to “us” that the election of an African American president sent the well-nurtured crazies into dangerous hysterics.

  75. 75
    debbie says:

    With very slight alterations, the critters up top could be Badger ornaments.

  76. 76
    RAVEN says:

    @debbie: How about the opportunity to have worked from home for 15 years! THAT was blind ass luck.

  77. 77
    debbie says:


    I listened to that podcast, very vocally in fact. “Really???” after practically every sentence.

  78. 78
    debbie says:


    I know, right! I fell into that luck too!. The trick I didn’t see I didn’t know was knowing when to come back in out of the cold, so to speak. I’d have saved myself a year and a half of zero income.

  79. 79
    satby says:

    I’m very tempted to purchase an online Master Class taught by Paul Krugman for my sons as a gift. Understanding the basics of the economy is pretty important for their future. Hopefully make them better informed voters too. I just wonder if they’d ever find the time to log in and take it.

  80. 80
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @RAVEN: Robert Caro, the biographer, who could, of course, work wherever he wants, gets up every day, puts on a jacket and tie and goes to his office. It’s not real far from his home, but he feels that he needs to dress and act as if he is going to work in order to get work done.

  81. 81

    @Platonailedit: I read that yesterday. I particularly admired “dragged like Hector’s corpse.”

  82. 82
    HinTN says:

    @Platonailedit: Driftglass was all over this on Thursday:

    ETA: Brother Pierce can turn a mean phrase

  83. 83
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Well, he’s taking his sweet time!

  84. 84
    Albatrossity says:

    A calendar of bird photographs might make a lovely gift for you or someone you know!

    Here’s one –

    Happy Holidays, everyone!

  85. 85
    raven says:

    @Gin & Tonic:Yep, I know people like that, it would be like setting your clock back (or whatever people do to try to fool themselves). For me it sweats and my doggies at my feet.

  86. 86

    I can’t believe I actually hit this thread on the same day it’s posted. Some of my books are on sale for the holidays:

    OVERLOAD FLUX, the first book of my space opera series, will be on sale for 99¢ at all major ebook sellers (Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Google Play) from 18 December to 2 January. If you like that one, there are three more novels in the big damn story arc and three novellas in the same universe.

    SHIFTER MATE MAGIC is the first book of my Ice Age Shifters paranormal romance series. It’s on sale for 99¢ now through the end of the year at Amazon. There are three more books in that series, too. And it’s free to read if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

    And by the way, my space opera series is also available as audiobooks, for those who like to read with their ears.

  87. 87
    The Dangerman says:


    .We both got our second shingles shot…

    After the first shot was a walk up, the second shot has a waiting list in my area that’s weeks, if not months, long. Almost feels like a racket. I checked at 2 months, the opening of the time window, and lucky I did, as my MD says 4 months is optimal (I was kinda hoping he would have the shot and I could go back and laugh uproariously at the pharmacist – think of that laugh when you wake up in the morning and Trump is no longer the President, almost that kind of laugh)

  88. 88
    Eric S. says:

    @JMG: I was there for a day in July 2017. Lovely place. Unfortunately, the Academy of Beer was closed when I was there. Enjoy.

  89. 89
    Raven says:

    @The Dangerman: Shingrix has a locator in their site. Almost everyone here is out but 3 places had it so we went ahead.

  90. 90
    tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat) says:

    Don’t know if this thread is still alive, but I learned that my first book Killer Secrets will be free from Monday through Friday, this week. If anyone wants a romantic suspense to read over the holidays, here’s your chance. If you could leave a review after, that would be awesome. Here’s the link on Amazon.

    Wishing everyone a happy holiday season! I lurk a lot but visit many times a day. This place has the best commenters.

  91. 91
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Steeplejack (phone): Yes, he is. He’s racing the actuaries now.

    Did you find that peanut butter cookie recipe you mentioned the other day? I made these yesterday and they’re very good.

  92. 92
    Platonailedit says:

    62% say Trump isn’t telling the truth in Russia probe.

    Half of the country says the investigation has given them doubts about Trump’s presidency, according to a new NBC/WSJ poll.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 16, 2018

    Nearly 40% don’t live in reality even after so many guilty pleas and convictions. Amazing.

  93. 93
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    people who end up successful due to skill and hard work will often attribute that success to luck.

    Hmm. Hard work and skills create luck, in my experience.

  94. 94
    Platonailedit says:

    The Mueller investigation has cost $25 million so far, but it has lead to monetary estimated gains of up to $48 million for the government through the tax evasion the investigation has revealed.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 16, 2018

  95. 95
    Immanentize says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I think more like Caro. I really can’t work at home. Too many distractions, things to do, cat to pet, etc.

    Caro got cut off from his LBJ sources after his first book which the family didn’t like because — truth!

  96. 96
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I looked up the one my brother used in that Sunday’s paper and posted it toward the bottom of that thread. This one looks like the same recipe, although the date seems a little off (a Wednesday?). Definitely a keeper.

  97. 97
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Meanwhile, Mr. Creosote’s golfing tab is estimated at $75 million.

  98. 98
    Schlemazel says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    That is because people who had to work for their success can also see how things could have gone wrong. They understand that despite all their hard work & smarts they could have failed.

    Those who luck into it often don’t recognize it, when they do they prefer the narrative that they are special, much better than you

  99. 99
    Luthe says:

    Putting in another plug for my Redbubble shop, now featuring works from both myself and my father. You know you want those pretty travel pics on all your stuff!

  100. 100
    Immanentize says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    Today is Czech cookie baking day.
    Zazvorniky and Kolacky (nut and poppie). Then Cukrovi later this week. Maybe Moravian Ginger snaps too.

  101. 101
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: Would you share your recipe for the Kolacky? I grew up in a czech neighborhood (we called it bohemian) but the recipe I got from the daughter of the woman who used to make the best ones seems to be missing something. :-(

    We had a bakery right around the corner from my house, and theirs were awesome, too. You could get them in any bakery in my area back then. Poppy seed and apricot are my favorites.

  102. 102
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Subtitle from Huffpost:

    Everything the president touches seems to turn to evidence.

  103. 103
    MattF says:

    Just to note that David Brooks is very pissed off about the Weekly Standard getting killed off by an unsympathetic billionaire. Doesn’t see his own responsibility or complicity in the deed, but that’s hardly unique.

    ETA: There’s a DB NYT column on it, which I haven’t read and don’t plan to. Also, there’s a Trump tweet.

  104. 104
    Immanentize says:

    @WaterGirl: absolutely. I use my grandmother’s recipe, but there are a million of them. In my neighborhood it was, Do you make frozen dough, butter or sorry cream Kolacky? Behanik’s recipe or Simadle’s? Etc. Mine are Simandle sour cream version — straight from wherever my GM came from in the Austrio-Hungarian Empire. I go fetch it….

  105. 105
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Immanentize: The one that I think stings is Bill Moyers. For reasons known only to Moyers, he has apparently never consented to an interview. Particularly with what Caro must be trying to finish now, that’s a big gap.

  106. 106
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: OMG I wish I’d known you made them available for sale. Would have been perfect for my niece. Stick a couple of reminders in the comments around next November! This year she’ll have to make do with her disappearing TARDIS mug and a packet of Jammie Dodgers.

  107. 107
    Amir Khalid says:

    Liverpool are out for blood against visitors Manchester United today.

  108. 108
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Elizabelle: In the fruitcake thread you asked if I would share my recipe. As soon as I write it out to be comprehensible to people who are not me I’ll do so.

  109. 109
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: Hmm. Not frozen dough, not sour cream. Are there some made with cream cheese? I didn’t transfer my recipe to my computer because it seemed “off” somehow, but I can dig out a paper copy later and get back to you with a better answer!

  110. 110
    Immanentize says:


    4C flour
    1C Butter (softened)

    4 egg yolks
    2 yeast cakes or packets
    1/2 t salt
    3T sugar
    1C sour cream (room temp)

    Add flour mixture to egg mixture.
    Lightly make individual balls (do not overwork the dough). Put on cookie sheet and cover with wax paper and towel. Store in a cool place overnight. (This was the back porch at my GM’s)
    Next day-. Roll out each ball on floured board until about 1/8 inch thick. Fill with favorite filling and roll.
    Bake @ 350 for 6 mins
    Brush tops with egg white and cream wash.
    Bake 20 minutes more until golden.

  111. 111
    Immanentize says:

    @WaterGirl: I found in my old Dobre Chutnani cook book a cream cheese recipe. Undoubtedly inferior to the sour cream one above…. You want?

    ETA. I also have recipes for fillings….

  112. 112
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Immanentize: My granddaughter got the bill for the deposit at her school before she got the formal acceptance letter! Fortunately her guidance counseler had given her the news.

  113. 113
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Just saw a clip of Rudi defending the trump payoffs by saying it wasn’t campaign money, and if it were campaign money, it would be a crime, but it wasn’t so it isn’t. That sent me looking for this tweet, that never got the attention it should have, though I imagine Mueller and/or the NY prosecutors have looked at it

    Susan Simpson @ TheViewFromLL2
    On Oct. 17, Stormy’s attorney told Trump’s attorney to pay the settlement right away, or the deal was off. That day the Trump campaign began a series of payments to Trump Org totaling $129,999.72.

    The odds that this result is just a coincidence? About .1%

  114. 114
    Immanentize says:

    @Gelfling 545: HA! And who says higher education is not big business?

  115. 115

    Trump has posted 6 tweets today so far. Mostly it’s the usual crazy, but this one made me laugh. I wonder if SNL knows he thinks they might be illegal.

    A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2018

  116. 116
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: I thought that It’s A Wonderful Life sketch was pretty good, would’ve been happy if it were longer. Looks like The Beast thought it hit close to home, too.

  117. 117
    J. says:

    I don’t consider myself a jackal, though I am a longtime Balloon-Juice lurker and occasional commenter, and I have three books to hawk. :-) For those of you who enjoy a good, cozy mystery and/or one of those folks who loves, loves, loves Sanibel Island, Florida (and there are a surprising number of you), or know someone who fits either category (or both) check out my Sanibel Island Mystery series: A SHELL OF A PROBEM, SOMETHING FISHY, and IN THE MARKET FOR MURDER. (Click the hyperlink to go to my Amazon page.) They are perfect weekend/escapist reads and make excellent Christmas presents or stocking stuffers.

  118. 118

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I haven’t seen last night’s episode yet because I can’t stay up that late. We have it recorded though.

  119. 119
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Amir Khalid: They should have brought a goalkeeper.

  120. 120
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Platonailedit: It hasn’t given me any doubt. I knew it was a shit show from the start.

  121. 121
    scav says:

    @Immanentize: Mmm! Never had the sour cream ones that I know of! The traditional ones in my family are the cream cheese ones, and, it turns out, exactly the recipe on the back of the Solo cans. Maybe I’ll have to double up this year (there’s no way the holiday would work without the family ones). Then there’s the houska to make too.

  122. 122
    Spanky says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Here’s a comet shot (w/ Pleiades!) that was posted on Cloudynights.

    I never could get into astrophotography. It’s an acquired taste.

  123. 123
    Steeplejack says:


    I stumbled across Brooks’s column from a Twitter link with no trigger warning.

    I was on staff when The Standard was founded, by Bill Kristol, Podhoretz and Fred Barnes. They gathered the most concentrated collection of talent I have ever been around. The first masthead featured Charles Krauthammer, P.J. O’Rourke, Robert Kagan, David Frum, Chris Caldwell, Matt Labash, Tucker Carlson and the greatest political writer of my generation, Andrew Ferguson.

    Early issues featured the writings of Tom Wolfe, Gertrude Himmelfarb, James Q. Wilson and Harvey Mansfield. The person at the bottom of the editorial masthead, a young Neomi Rao, has just been nominated to replace Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

    It was and remains a warm, fun and convivial group. The magazine’s tone was part high intellectualism, part street-level political reporting and part Hunter Thompson-style gonzo journalism.

    Quite a rogues’ gallery. Wonder how Tom Wolfe ended up in there. And somehow I never associated The Weekly Standard with “Hunter Thompson-style gonzo journalism.”

  124. 124
    Steeplejack says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Liverpool had the better of it in the first half. Too bad United scored on that fluky goal.

  125. 125
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: Yes, please on the cream cheese recipe! :-)

  126. 126
    laura koerber says:

    A novel based on the premise that the nature spirits of the Ojibwa are real and still with us, though driven to the margins as the natural world is diminished and degraded.

  127. 127
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: I never thought about the fillings! I just get the stuff in the can, which is not ideal.

    Yes (!) on fillings for apricot, poppy seed and cherry, if you have them.

  128. 128
    J R in WV says:

    @Amir Khalid:


    I don’t know how a passel of Poly Sci professionals could work Obama all the way down to 8th, either. Reagan should be down with Hoover and the thieves, and Obama up around 4th or 5th.

    I guess the Poly Sci pros started by listing all the founding fathers + Lincoln, and maybe FDR, who literally saved the modern liberal world, so I guess placing Obama after Washington, Madison, Jefferson, Adams the first, Lincoln and FDR isn’t that bad. I dunno who I left out of that list, but I’m not a Ploy Sci pro.

  129. 129
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @MattF: I haven’t really followed the whole Standard thing, but it’s somewhat bewildering to see all these people throwing roses at the leading pro-Iraq War propaganda outfit. I don’t know enough about Anschutz to know if this was an explicitly pro-trump move or if it was just too expensive to maintain as a vanity asset

  130. 130
    J R in WV says:


    A calendar of bird photographs might make a lovely gift for you or someone you know!

    Neighbor is a biologist / ornithologist, and I have one on order for her. Hoping the print job matches the photography!

  131. 131
    Immanentize says:


    Cream Cheese Koláčky (Seems it’s a Surmik family recipe)
    2C flour
    2T sugar
    ½t salt
    2t baking pwdr
    1C butter, softened
    9 oz. cream cheese, room temp
    2 medium eggs, well beaten

    Mix flour, sugar, baking pwdr and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until blended. Stir in flour mixture. Add eggs making a stiff ball. Chill until firm (overnight). Roll out ¼ of the dough at a time on slightly floured board with stocking-covered rolling pin (that is what the recipe demands!) to ¼ inch thick. Keep the rest cold.

    Cut into rounds with 1 ¾ inch cutter. Reroll scraps. With floured index finger, make an indentation into the middle of each. Fill with a scant ¼ t of filling. (Do not overfill or the filling will come out in cooking and spoil the appearance.) Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in pre-heated 375 oven for about 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on racks. Makes 78 (I love these details in these recipe!)

  132. 132


    even after so many guilty pleas and convictions.

    They’re not operating on evidence. They’re operating on ‘Fuck you, libtards.’ If anything, the more evidence there is that we’re right and they’re wrong, the more determined they will be to deny us any victory whatsoever.

    @J R in WV:
    There’s no shortage of ideological blindness in historians, not to mention pure cussed contrarianism. Together, that can move people of strong partisan interest into odd placings. That is all the more reason that it’s stunning that they agreed that Trump is the worst. Even the people who think Reagan is great for beginning an era of Small Government think Trump is a dumpster fire.

  133. 133
    debbie says:


    Podhoretz was very bitter when I heard him interviewed last night. Surprising, considering he had left the place a while ago.

  134. 134
    Immanentize says:

    Fillings: (Sorry, I don’t have a cherry filling recipe, I never made it….)
    Apricot Filling:
    2 lb apricots
    Water (to cover)
    1C sugar
    1t vanilla
    ¼ t cinnamon

    Cook apricots in pot or in oven until tender. Drain and pit. Mash well, add sugar vanilla and cinnamon and mix.

    Poppy Seed Filling:
    ½ lb poppy seeds
    1/4C butter
    1/2C sugar
    1t vanilla
    Butter milk (just enough to hold it all together)

    Cream poppy seeds with butter. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

    Walnut or Pecan Filling
    1lb ground nuts
    1 ½ C sugar
    2 egg whites
    ½ C melted butter
    1t vanilla
    1t lemon zest

    Combine all and mix well

  135. 135
    debbie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I thought that was a great bit, but I don’t think it needed to be longer. Unless they battled him to keep him from wishing his way back to his life.

    ETA: I wish they hadn’t changed their schedule. The news isn’t until almost 12:30 now!

  136. 136


    It was and remains a warm, fun and convivial group.

    Why are the top ranks of so much of our society a clusterfuck? Because they’re a social group, not a meritocracy. Pundits who are always wrong get promoted because all the other pundits think they’re swell guys they love to listen to, and hey, if they have a relative or protege who needs a leg up…

  137. 137
    debbie says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    Hmm. Would that call into question the legality of his 8 years’ spewing bile on Twitter about Obama?

  138. 138
    debbie says:


    The pastry for hammentachen is cream cheese-based. Yum!

  139. 139

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:
    This tweet is so funny, because it’s a pure look into the narcissist thought process. Don’t try to interpret or calculate. Those are literally Trump’s thoughts, pooped out into a tweet exactly as they happened.

  140. 140
    debbie says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    Speaking of peanut butter, Fanny Farmer’s recipe for peanut butter bread is awesome. I used to make it for Christmas in individual loafs to go along with a co-worker’s homemade jam. The bread gets even better after a couple of days.

  141. 141
    scav says:

    @Immanentize: Thanks for all especially the nut filling (that’s a new one for me). There were some lemon ones in Iowa that were good too.

  142. 142
    Elizabelle says:

    @Gelfling 545: Thank you! Look forward to and appreciate it!

  143. 143
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @debbie: I saw some fox-bot was whining about people picking on Melania I wonder if that skit is what set him off, cause you know he doesn’t actually care if people make fun of what’s-her-name, the kid’s mother
    ETA: Just remembered the Fox-bot in question was Howie Kurtz, late of CNN and IIRC the Washington Post

  144. 144
    J R in WV says:


    I was on staff when The Standard was founded, by Bill Kristol, Podhoretz and Fred Barnes. They gathered the most concentrated collection of talent I have ever been around. The first masthead featured Charles Krauthammer, P.J. O’Rourke, Robert Kagan, David Frum, Chris Caldwell, Matt Labash, Tucker Carlson and the greatest political writer of my generation, Andrew Ferguson.

    The “I” to start this paragraph of shame is of course the despicable David Brooks, he who abandoned his wife recently to take up with his 40-year-younger employee… IIRC David converted religions to be able to hook up with the young home-breaker. Bil Kristol, known as he “who is never correct about anything” as a founder, with the famed right-wing nut job Podhoretz. I’m not personally familiar with Fred.

    I am a little bit familiar with the thankfully late Charles Krauthammer, famous for shouting down his Rabbi at High Holy Day services at his Temple. Is it possible to be more hateful than that? I doubt it. P J O’Roark is another RWNJ, more demented than most. And Fucker Carlson is probably the most famous deuschbag of the whole list from his unbelievable success as a professional liar on Faux News.

    No wonder it went broke when their moneypot RWNJ billionaire got bored spending good money after bad!

    Thank FSM for small miracles of the Holiday Solstice Season!

    Next door neighbors had their traditional Solstice Party yesterday. It was wonderful, I made a non-traditional Pecan pie, by using black walnuts instead of pecans, and Maple Syrup instead of corn syrup, and it was a big hit. Nearly all of us at the party have walnut trees around our farms, they grow well here.

    I was introduced to a wonderful cocktail called a French 75, which is an oz of gin, lemon and 3 oz of champagne, shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker. Wonderful! Highly recommended. I believe it is named for a popular piece of rapid-firing French field artillery, as it is stronger than it tastes and can sneak up on you if you don’t respect its strength.

    Happy Winter Solstice to all !!

  145. 145
    debbie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I bet what ticked him off was Melania’s becoming a much more successful real estate tycoon in his absence. That had to hurt.

  146. 146
    J R in WV says:


    Satby, learned last night that neighbors have an exchange student for the year! She’s from Denmark, named Maxx, and has bright purple hair to attend our very rural high school for a year. Next week they’re taking her to FL over the holiday break.

    Also, they hosted a S Korean student some years ago who came back “home” some years later to spend his honeymoon with his WV home folks. So more wonderful exchange student stories for you! They are wonderful folks, they train puppies to be service dogs, which they then lose to the clients of the org they work with. Musicians both. Hippy farmers all of us, at least once upon a time.

  147. 147
    Steeplejack (phone) says:


    Thanks, I’ll save that one.

  148. 148
    satby says:

    @J R in WV: That’s wonderful J R! Sounds like great neighbors to have. Hope you get a chance to tell Maxx many of your great stories 😊

  149. 149
    PJ says:

    @Gin & Tonic: @Gin & Tonic: Rene Magritte did the same thing, putting on a suit and tie, before walking down the street from his house to his studio, where he would presumably put on a smock before painting. When asked why he bothered with this ritual of then-normality, he replied, “Because my life is so strange.”

  150. 150
    sukabi says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: now to be fair, you find more ‘hard hitting news’ on the comedy / satire shows than you do on ‘network or cable news shows’.

  151. 151
    Ruckus says:

    Wanna bet no shocks? Or bushings, or…….
    That’s an ox cart with a motor. Said by the guy who drives down the freeway with thousands of my neighbors in jacked up 4x4s and 50 grand pickups that never see any thing but paved roads.

  152. 152
    Ruckus says:

    That may look like a 12th hand disaster to us but to them it’s their means of living. They take care of that like I do with my precision tools, some of which I’ve owned for over 50 yrs.

  153. 153
    Ruckus says:

    About that smile from Ronnie’s tenure. I can’t recall having one.

  154. 154
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:


    Had dinner last night in a place called Academy of Beer.

    Hey, I’ve been there! M. Colette and I went to Strasbourg for the Christmas market nigh on 20 years ago, and loved their tarte forestière. Amazing beer and drinks selection. Hope you’re having fun and not as effing freezing as we were.

  155. 155
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: WAY late to the thread, but thank you so much!!!

Comments are closed.