Early Morning Open Thread

Here’s a post because nobody should have to wade into the two preceding threads in search of a insomniac/early riser company. I bailed about a quarter of the way through each, and I usually enjoy sniping that’s not directed at me. Jesus Christ!

Have you noticed the past several days have been especially fraught, politically speaking, remarkable even in a time of galloping craziness? It’s like we’re standing on a rickety-ass bridge over alligator-infested waters, listening to the rebar pop and watching the stress fractures spider out beneath our feet. It’s no surprise folks are a bit tense.

Sometimes looking at fuzzy things can be calming. Here’s a pair of busy limpkin parents:

And here are two of the fuzzy chicks who are keeping them busy:

I think there are five chicks altogether, but it’s hard to get an accurate count because they move fast, darting between cypress knees and taking cover in vegetation. They are guests under my dock, and I welcome my fuzzy overlords.

52 replies
  1. 1
    Spanky says:

    Awoke to rain blowing horizontally through the open windows and a bright blue flash. Got the windows shut, floor mopped up (somewhat), and desktop machine shut down so I could shut off the damn beeping UPS. Reported the outage to the power company, so here I lie.

    Does that count as insomnia?

  2. 2
    Betty Cracker says:

    Eastern seaboard? The southern end of that front blew through North Central FL a few hours ago. Hope your power is restored soon!

  3. 3
    Kathleen says:

    Good morning to all. Looking for a writing prompt this morning if anyone would be so kind.

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    Is it waiting for the Mueller Report to drop, or as much as Barr has not Crayola-ed through?

    The center cannot hold …. maybe Fitzmas was a bust, but the Easter Bunny WILL bring us something??

  5. 5
    Mel says:

    @Kathleen: For fiction or for non-fiction?

  6. 6
    Elizabelle says:


    April is the cruellest month. Yes or no?

  7. 7
    Spanky says:

    Southrrn MD.

    I heard a truck backing down the lane a while ago, so we shall see. At least the wind and rain are gone.

  8. 8
    Spanky says:

    @Elizabelle: Yes. Yesterday was the anniversary of my mother’s death, today of my father’s. In-laws’ anniversarues coming up.

    Seems like there’s always an uptick in mortality this month.

  9. 9
    Elizabelle says:

    @Spanky: That is cruel. Rest be to your parents.

  10. 10
    Mel says:

    @Kathleen: Here is a link to some pretty good prompts, at the Writer’s Digest site.

  11. 11
    Kathleen says:

    @Mel: Non fiction. Humor piece. Thanks!

  12. 12
    Kathleen says:

    @Elizabelle: Ah! Thank you!

  13. 13
    hervevillechaizelounge says:

    Re: the venomous sniping, there has been a shit-ton of tone-policing Nancy Pelosi on here lately.

    Nancy Smash is a little busy battling fascism right now—if she doesn’t respond with your preferred vocabulary or vehemence to someone’s gaffes or insipid interview questions you better suck it up, buttercup.

    My pie filter runneth over.

  14. 14
    Kathleen says:

    @Mel: Thank you so much!

  15. 15
    Kathleen says:

    Thanks to the BJ Early Risers for your help! We morning people are special (LOL). I’m off to the Y then to work.

  16. 16
    Mel says:

    @Betty Cracker: Betty, those limpkin chicks are adorable.

  17. 17
    plato says:

    I am celebrating the great comeback of Tiger Woods and Lewis Hamilton’s 3rd consecutive podium finish in F1 this year. Fedex, Rafa, Tiger, Lewis – Looks like yung uns don’t have the answer to these oldies.

  18. 18
    Mel says:

    @Kathleen: You are welcome! This link will take you to a series of prompts from Poets & Writers magazine. There are non-fiction prompts there, as well as prompts for poetry and short fiction.

  19. 19
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    @Spanky: I believe more people die around Easter and Christmas, supposedly because of Jesus.
    I am so disgusted/disappointed by the GOP who are letting Trumpov getting away with all kinds of stuff that they would have impeached Clinton/Obama for. The media does not help at all. It seems like they’re in on the con job. It’s really quite dispiriting. I don’t understand how Trumpov’s approval rating can be over 10 percent, forget 40 percent. Seriously, WTF. How can Obama’s ratings have ever,at any point, been lower than this pig’s?

  20. 20
    Mary G says:

    Fuzzy chicks are great.

  21. 21
    ola azul says:

    So I’m in the wheelhouse, boat tied snugly at the dock, lunch hour, plinking away on the guitar after downing a BLT with bleu cheese dressing and garlic clove sammy, washing alla that tasty goodness down with refreshing lime-water, when outta nowhere the boat convulses and near topples my balance. Not good, thinks I, 40 tons ain’t so easy to push around. Drop the box and leap outside, and it appears my neighbor has failed to stick the landing into his berth, dry-humping the starboard stern-quarter of my boat with the port-bow of his 50+-ton boat. Snag a sizable buoy ball and interpose it betwixt his boat and mine to mitigate the damage. They recover, get settled, he apologizes a coupla million times.

    Know the guy purty well, confident he’ll make it right. (Think damage is mostly cosmetic; caprail gotta split at point a impact, which wouldn’t be problematic ‘cept it’s at a point where a padeye used for sheeting the mizzen sail is located. Glass looks good. Glancing blow, just a flesh wound, to unironically adopt the black knight’s parlance.)

    Will say: Makes me glad to a gotta thick f/g plastical tub. Can take a punch. My old wood boat woulda stove in like Belushi crushing a beer can against his melon.

  22. 22
    Dan B says:

    @hervevillechaizelounge: I agree the tone policing and the angry comments seem intense lately. Feels as though some folks are getting sucked in by trolls. When I look at the candidates and the newly electeds in the House it looks amazing. Each candidate brings a different set of strengths and has some drawbacks but they clearly have more strengths than weaknesses, with a couple exceptions. There’s still time for the top women to get in the spotlight. I’m hoping yhe debates will put them back on top. The media is looking for narratives not the data we love here. They need reminding that great women running for president is still a story, especially when you ask them why they’re running against Trump, and Pence, and the party that hates demo.cracy

  23. 23
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Elizabelle: In no particular order: Barr’s cover-up, Trump’s renewed threats to use the DOJ to persecute perceived enemies, the admin’s ongoing “fuck you” to Congressional oversight, the DHS purge, Trump’s multiple attempts to inspire assassination of a congresswoman, Trump’s threats to use desperate human beings as pawns to punish political enemies, and Trump dangling pardons to encourage border officials to break the law. I’m sure I’m leaving some things out, too!

  24. 24
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathleen: Oh yeah, special. That’s us.

  25. 25
    plato says:

    Dozens of journalists and major news outlets in Australia have begun defending accusations that they breached a reporting ban on the sexual abuse trial of Cardinal George Pell.

    Pell, the ex-Vatican treasurer, was convicted in December of abusing two boys in 1996. The media was barred from reporting the verdict until February.

    Prosecutors say 23 journalists and 13 publishers committed contempt of court.

    The case could have a “chilling effect” on “open justice”, defence lawyers say.

    If found guilty, the defendants face up to five years in jail and fines of about A$96,000 (£52,000; $69,000).

    They include journalists from many of Australia’s largest news organisations, including the editors of newspapers The Age and the Herald Sun, as well as prominent TV and radio presenters.

    Defence barrister Matthew Collins told a court on Monday that the case was unprecedented in Australian legal history.

    A judge banned the media from reporting on Pell’s trial, in order to prevent any influence on a planned second trial.

    In December, the cardinal was convicted by a jury of sexually abusing two choir boys in Melbourne in 1996.

    The verdict prompted many Australian media outlets to publish articles that referred to the case in some way – although none named Pell. Several non-Australian publications did identify him.

    The reporting ban, known as a suppression order, was lifted earlier this year after prosecutors dropped the planned second trial.

    Pell has launched an appeal against his conviction.

    Why is that judge hellbent on coverup?

  26. 26
    Elizabelle says:

    NY Times picked up on an article that appeared in Stars and Stripes (military newspaper). Retailer on Military Bases Says TV News is Too ‘Divisive.’ Its Suggestion? Tune to sports.

    In this era of political division, which cable news network you watch can reveal a lot about your political preferences.

    For Republicans, it’s Fox News. For Democrats, it’s CNN or MSNBC.

    But for a major retailer that serves the military, it’s simple: Don’t get involved.

    The retailer, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, which operates general and convenience stores and food courts on military bases in 34 countries, emailed locations this week recommending that they move away from playing news on public televisions and instead show a less partisan alternative: sports.

    Do you notice the moved goalpost there? That CNN is now libtard Democrat? I don’t think so.

    FWIW, I agree with the policy of showing sports. I don’t EVER want to see Fox News. Hannity’s mug: NEVER. CNN has become radioactive to the complainers because it’s too hard not to report that Trump and his crew are flaming idiots, and many are actual criminals.

    But it is sad that it has come to this, and that service people (and other Americans) cannot have a respected source of news. Longterm, I think we will have a break back to sanity. How long that will take, I cannot guess.

    (FWIW, the news channels on this base (in the breakfast rooms) are always turned to MSNBC. That was true of another military base too. No complaints from me.)

    From the original Stars and Stripes reporting: Military exchanges tune out TV news due to ‘divisive political nature,’ AAFES says

    …. Soldiers had mixed reactions to the decision.

    “One hundred percent agree,” Pfc. Tyler White, 22, who is assigned to the 2nd Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, said while eating lunch at the Army’s Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, South Korea.

    The El Paso, Texas, native said he doesn’t like having to watch CNN due to what he sees as its bias against President Donald Trump, and he imagines people on the other side of the political spectrum probably feel the same way when Fox News comes on.

    “I don’t really want to see people bash our president,” he said. “For one, I don’t want to watch what I don’t agree with, let alone play it on a military base. I just think politics should stay out of the work environment.”

    Staff Sgt. Manuel Cardona, who is based on Camp Humphreys with the 123rd Brigade Support Battalion, didn’t like the decision. He said the news broadcasts are often his only chance to catch headlines during his busy work day.

    I suspect this is because having such a horrid “president” has brought this to a head. They would not have done this with Obama because he lived in the fact-based world. Trump does not, and he is just out to incite. Obama was not embarrassing the USA daily. Ever.

    I don’t think the military has Trump’s back, either, with some exceptions (like PFC White). For one, Trump cannot meet their code of honor and ethics. Although they are not allowed to express their opinions, in public.

  27. 27
    Elizabelle says:

    @hervevillechaizelounge: I agree. I love me Nancy Smash.

    I thought her quip about the “five people” was classic.

  28. 28
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Floriduh man has some competition: Man sues parents for throwing out porn collection

    An Indiana man is suing his parents for getting rid of his vast pornography collection, which he estimates was worth $29,000. The 40-year-old man last week filed a lawsuit in federal court in Michigan, where he moved in with his parents in 2016 following a divorce.

    He says that when he moved out 10 months later, they delivered his things to his new home in Muncie, Indiana, but that his 12 boxes of pornographic films and magazines were missing. His parents admit they dumped the porn, which included titles such as Frisky Business and Big Bad Grannys [sic].

    The man filed a complaint with police but the Ottawa county prosecutor declined to press charges. The lawsuit includes an email excerpt from the man’s father, who told his son, “I did you a big favour by getting rid of all this stuff.”

    The man is seeking triple financial damages of roughly $87,000.

  29. 29
    Elizabelle says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And this prince is divorced. And was without sufficient resources upon the separation. What a surprise.

  30. 30
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Elizabelle: What was the 5 people quip?

  31. 31
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Elizabelle: It happens to a lot of people. It happened to me.

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    @Elizabelle: If the president finds out, he will order all bases to only stream Fox.

  33. 33
    Betty Cracker says:

    @ola azul: Hope the guy comes through on the repairs. I’ve been on the receiving end of poorly executed docking maneuvers a time or two, but never in or at the business end of such a massive vessel!

  34. 34
    Baud says:


    During an interview that aired Sunday on “60 Minutes,” CBS’s Lesley Stahl began a question to Pelosi, saying, “You have these wings — AOC, and her group on one side–”
    “That’s, like, five people,” Pelosi replied.
    Stahl said that “the progressive group is more than five,” to which Pelosi responded, “Well, the progressive — I’m a progressive. Yeah.”
    Stahl pointed to some progressives’ support for replacing the Affordable Care Act with Medicare-for-all, a policy backed by some 2020 Democrats that, in some proposals, would eliminate private insurance.
    “Well, Affordable Care Act is better than Medicare, there’s no question about that,” Pelosi said. “The Affordable Care Act benefits are better. Medicare doesn’t have a catastrophic plan. So if you want Medicare for all, you’re gonna have to change Medicare and let’s take a look at that.”


  35. 35
    Elizabelle says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yes, and I apologize for being so flip. Albeit, that’s $29,000 in other goods or savings this gentleman could have.

    Quip was a response to a 60 Minutes interview with Pelosi by Leslie Stahl.

    Partial transcript provided via CBS News: (NOTE: I got this from a left-leaning website; have not verified the transcript myself or watched the interview):

    Lesley Stahl: Some of them told us that they’re afraid of you.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Oh, no, they’re not.

    Lesley Stahl: And if they vote against you, if they don’t toe the line, that they run out the back–

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Oh, they do that, yeah.

    Lesley Stahl: –and they hide in phone booths, and they run–

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: But the men do that, too. That’s not just the women.

    But she does get pushback, for instance, from 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, AOC, who has proposed some out-of-the-mainstream measures.

    Lesley Stahl: So you are contending with a group in Congress: Over here on the left flank are these self-described socialists, on the right, these moderates. And you yourself said that you’re the only one who can unify everybody. And the question is can you?

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: By and large, whatever orientation they came to Congress with, they know that we have to hold the center. That we have to be m– go down the mainstream.

    Lesley Stahl: They know that–

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: They do.

    Lesley Stahl: But it doesn’t look like that. It looks as if it– you’re– it’s fractured.

    She likes to minimizes the conflicts within her caucus. Between the moderates and the progressives. [WHO SAID THIS? STAHL?]

    Lesley Stahl: You have these wings– AOC, and her group on one side–

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: That’s like five people.

    Lesley Stahl: No, it’s– the progressive group is more than five.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Well, the progressive– I’m a progressive. Yeah.

    Lesley Stahl: Well, as I understand it the progressives want radical change. They wanna get rid of Obamacare and replace it with Medicare for all. I was under the impression that you had said that you do not favor Medicare for all, that– ACA, Obamacare is better.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Well, Affordable Care Act is better than Medicare, there’s no question about that. The Affordable Care Act benefits are better. Medicare doesn’t have a catastrophic plan. So if you want Medicare for all you’re gonna have to change Medicare and let’s take a look at that.

    Lesley Stahl: Well, Medicare for all– it’s not only being pushed by some members of your caucus, but also some of the presidential candidates. And it is allowing the president to say you’re all socialists.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Do you know that when we did Med– when Medicare was done by the Congress at the time, under Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan said, Medicare will lead us to a socialist dictatorship. This is– this is an ongoing theme of the Republicans. However– I do reject socialism as an economic system. If people have that view, that’s their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.

    Will look a bit for a full transcript, but have to go out soon.

  36. 36
    ola azul says:


    It happens to a lot of people. It happened to me.

    Pronoun clarification might be in order lest this go inna Penthouse Forum direction.

  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    @JPL: Let’s not tell the jackass.

    A local realtor [ETA: in Germany] was just wailing on Trump. Even more jackal than jackal. Sad thing is, this person thinks there is no opposition to Trump; that no one is doing anything. Told the realtor that the Democrats were providing oversight and opposing his bad actions, and that millions of people had been marching.

    I think a lot of the world is wondering why Americans stand for Trump. It’s a good question.

  38. 38
    raven says:

    @ola azul: Funny, I was just watching a show on Rybovich boats and the 120 footer they were building looked pretty amazing. We’re headed down to the gulf in a couple of weeks. I know Amberjack isn’t a preferred species to many but I like horsin the reef donkeys and maybe the redfish will be hittin in the surf.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    Mmmm. (stretches – carefully) Luscious nap. Upon waking, braved the powerful winds and sheets of rain to take the landlady’s trash can down to the street, Now to rustle up some sort of dinner type grub.

  40. 40
    raven says:

    @Elizabelle: Shit, all we go was AFKN!

  41. 41
    Elizabelle says:

    @raven: AFN? I’ve not tuned in to that.

    Do get a free copy of Stars and Stripes daily, and it is a very good paper.

  42. 42
    raven says:

    @Elizabelle: AF KN and then AF VN. Ever hear of “Radio First Termer” the underground radio station in Vietnam?

  43. 43
    Elizabelle says:

    @raven: No. Never heard of any of that. Just Adrian Cronauer, who turned out to be in Roanoke VA late in life.

  44. 44
    ola azul says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Worked on charterboats summers on Lake Michigan from age 13 to ’bout 19. Member one time in Leland, just as we were fixing to depart, lines cast off, this Izod skipper’s cap wearin’ sorta yuppie-fudgie guy happens upon the boat and wants to gam. Flops a size 12 boatshoe onto gunwale and throws his considerable belly into the business and starts to jawing.

    Cap of boat sez we’re leaving, but he’s all like “what’s the rush?” (He’s got questions! Jokes he wantsta tell! Points he wantsta make!)

    Meanwhile, boat imperceptibly (to him, we’re all snickering) drifts away from the dock as he leans into his point till (and I’ll never forget the look on this guys’ face — sorta like Wile E. Coyote as he hangs impossibly in the air overtop a plunging precipice), suddenly he realizes his precarious position.

    To his credit, as he’s arrived at the point of no-return wishbone splits, he sez inna moment a quiet reflection: “I guess this is what you call operator error?” and then surrenders to his fate and goes sploooosh into the drink.

    We wuz all thankful he could swim, cuz no one relished the idea of beaching that whale.

  45. 45

    @Mai Naem mobile:

    How can Obama’s ratings have ever,at any point, been lower than this pig’s?

    The economy was in free fall and
    Obama didn’t fix it right away.

  46. 46
    tobie says:

    What adorable limkin chicks! There’s something about fledglings that brings out the best in people. A fuzzy owl was sitting on a branch outside a big window at work, and everyone stopped by to ooh and ah at it. It felt like we were witness to something so much larger than us.

  47. 47
    Denali says:

    Thanks for the bird pictures- they do provide calm in unsettling times.

  48. 48

    Betty, I skipped over a word in your post and misread “listening to rebar pop” and thought “Damn, now I need to Google yet another musical genre I’d never heard of.”. Happy Monday!

  49. 49
    dww44 says:

    @Elizabelle: Was this quote from the 60 Minutes interview? In what context was it given? I saw the interview but don’t recall that one. I also happen to disagree with Trump that it was a “puff” piece. Leslie Stahl made several attempts to front the “Democrats are divided” meme and highlight that the newer members of Congress were real socialists, forcing Pelosi to say out loud that she supported capitalism. Which, of course, is nowhere near as extreme as the incredibly dim Stephen Miller saying that Capitalism was more important than Democracy. Yet the GOP in the Senate will still confirm him.

    The thing that most bothers me about the MSM is that their attempts to be neutral observers is expressly not that because they start from a position way to the right of center created by conservatives and their media. Like calling newer and younger Dems in congress “socialists” without explaining what their positions actually are.

  50. 50
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    Once again, great nature photography! Birds usually launch right before I can snap the picture. I am most impressed. A cooper’s hawk sat on a wire long enough for me to take its picture, but bird on electrical wire is not a nature photo.

  51. 51
    J R in WV says:

    I slept well last night, spent long enough to eat an apple awake around 4:30, back to bed, to sleep. Woke up around 9, said, hey this is why I’m retired, rolled over til 11. sweeet,

    The first photo, got the big cypress tree, wading birds in the shallow water, then there’s the giveaway red clay pot with the plant — that’s your yard, isn’t it?!!! Wow, you are in the swamp!!!

    And the fuzzy chicks are so cute, also. Under the deck, amazing.

    Here, yesterday, very windy, occasional showers, mostly sunny and mid-80s — so really hot for this time of year. This morning, MUCH colder — won’t get out of the 40s. April!!

  52. 52
    currants says:

    Betty C, thank you for this. I love your photos (I have different great birds out my windows…and an iPhone plus binoculars, so…nope). I also appreciate your non-politics thread here. Reading about the damage to a reasonable judiciary on Hullabaloo the other day has me almost feeling like it’s not worth getting up. But your bird photos–those are so gorgeous and interesting! Friends I visit sometimes in FL have limpkins that I can hear, but I’ve never seen one. (Saw a Virginia rail on Merritt Island once, but no limpkins.) Thank you!

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