Dear Front Pagers

We are doing a lot of stuff with the current categories. Don’t create any new ones. Pretty please.

84 replies
  1. 1
    Anne Laurie says:

    Dear BlogLord:

    Yes, some of us had noticed this already. And *mostly* approved!

    P.S. I will FIGHT for ‘Cosplay Socialists’, however. This is a new category which will, unfortunately, get much more use over the next 18 months.

    P.P.S. ‘Nixonland’ and ‘When Everything Changed’ are for specific book-discussion threads, and should be archived but *not* discarded. The Nixonland thread in particularly includes a lot of GREAT material, including a long ask-and-answer thread with the author!

  2. 2
    HinTN says:

    @Anne Laurie: Tell it! Put that honky in his place. “That is all.”

  3. 3
    NotMax says:

    May as well ask people to nail Jell-O to the wall.


  4. 4
    cain says:

    People we need the talk.. we can’t have ads that whisk you away from the website talking about how you won some prize. We aren’t some ghetto site. Can we please get rid of it ?

  5. 5
    redactor says:

    This happens to me sometimes with Safari but not with Firefox. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a virus.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Challenge accepted!

  7. 7
    Jackie says:

    @cain: I had the same problem – it started about three weeks ago. I downloaded an ad block, and (knock on wood!) haven’t had any problems since.

  8. 8

    I can hardly deal with the existing categories.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Proper archiving procedures are essential.

  10. 10

    Can you change Mayhew on Insurance to Anderson on Insurance

  11. 11
  12. 12
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Most likely.

  13. 13

    I’m sorry are you bossing me? That never goes well…

  14. 14
    Amir Khalid says:

    @David Anderson:
    Your earlier stuff is all bylined Mayhew. Maybe a compromise: Mayhew/Anderson on Insurance.

  15. 15

    @TaMara (HFG): send Cole an E-mail in all Capital letters…. That is always a good strategy 😉

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Amir Khalid: ALL OR NOTHING!!!!!!!!!

  17. 17
    banditqueen says:


    We aren’t some ghetto site.

    Please rethink how you use the word ‘ghetto’ here–it’s clear that you mean to imply inferiority, inappropriateness, vulgarity, etc. In the US, in these times, using ‘ghetto’ to indicate inferiority just doesn’t work–it’s origin in the US is just so racially coded. Thank you.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @David Anderson: @Amir Khalid: How about two categories: Mayhew on Insurance and Anderson on Hookers and Blow.

  19. 19

    I’m glad we’re getting categories under control; y’all have been using them for what tags are actually for. Drives this digital librarian nuts!

  20. 20
    jl says:

    I thought Cole gave up on trying to control categories and tags, and admitted that their number would expand endless, kind of like a textual space filling curve, in a continually expanding number of dimensions.
    Cole clings to hopeless illusions, he knows it but only occasionally admits it (what else could explain ‘Pretty please’ from the likes of Cole). But, we all knew that already.

    All I can say, through the tears of my helpless laughter is, ‘good luck, Mr. Cole’.

  21. 21
    jl says:

    @banditqueen: The proper term is ‘almost top 10,000 blog’. The accuracy of which has been scientifically validated. IIRC, from the one time Balloon-Juice landed on a ridiculously lame top 10 list,

  22. 22
    John Cole says:

    @Anne Laurie: we just did as you commanded while I was on the phone with her. I said “I don’t want to fight with Anne Laurie, so those stay.”

    And so it was done.

  23. 23
    Laura Tabolich says:

    I know you are all up to your ears with the new site build and I hate to ask, but if someone has time to explain to me how I can find all posts by Schlamazel and his earlier name I would be most grateful. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet but I know I need to try. Will I be able to find it on the new site? Thanks for any help. My email is laurabbey (@ )gmail,com

  24. 24
    jl says:

    Oh dear, the sorrow. I can’t figure out how to do ranking inside the US (probably not a freebie from Alexa anymore), but globally, balloon-juice is an almost top 100,000 internet site. From 103,097 90 days ago, to 112,500 now.

    But, let us happily and obliviously, proceed on the optimistic assumption that BJ blog punches above its weight in traffic.

    Edit: OK, now I see the padlocks. Have to sign up to get detailed US traffic stats on Alexa now.

  25. 25
    Barbara says:

    @banditqueen: It’s racially coded where it was originally used to refer to a specific neighborhood as well.

  26. 26
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @David Anderson: screw brand equity!

  27. 27
    jl says:

    @David Anderson: “Can you change Mayhew on Insurance to Anderson on Insurance”

    Gonna have to dig the corrupt filthy rich oligarch Mayhew out of all the booze and blow, and sober him up enough to give permission. Good luck with that.

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Laura Tabolich: I just sent you an email.

  29. 29
    HinTN says:

    @cain: I’ve had that on my android device for the last few days. Only on this site. It happened here several months ago and stopped when I complained.

  30. 30

    @jl: last time I looked (summer(?) 2016) was right around the ten thousandth most popular domain name. It’s up there! Obviously traffic peaks at a politics blog are going to be cyclical though, and that would’ve been a high point.

  31. 31

    @John Cole: So were you able to convince rikyrah to be a frontpager? The blog’s FP is less diverse than the R senate caucus.

  32. 32

    @Major Major Major Major: How does it stack among the political blogs in the United States?

  33. 33
    Laura Too says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thank you!

  34. 34
    Anne Laurie says:

    @John Cole: Well, you knew I was a nasty woman when you first gave me the dashboard keys…

    Which was — I contemplated a post on this, but modesty forbade — just about 11 years ago, this week. If you believe FYWP, there have been 58,487 posts on this here blog, and 10,428 of them were mine. I’m not the senior surviving second-in-command here (props, DougJ), but I’ll argue such a tenure entitles me to a few special requests!

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Good grief, John. Do you think you can display that red cape a bit more prominently?

  36. 36

    @Anne Laurie: damn, so prolific! Thanks for all you’ve written!

    @schrodingers_cat: that sort of granular information is much harder to come by; I don’t know.

  37. 37
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Lol! What are you calling the frontpagers?

  38. 38

    @schrodingers_cat: I think Balloon Juice has a greater percentage of front page posters that are women then the GOP Senate Caucus. We tend to fail on racial, ethnic and geographical diversity.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: number of front pavers who are lawyers: -0-

    Let’s get some diversity!

  41. 41

    @schrodingers_cat: would you be interested in writing?

  42. 42
    jl says:

    We need the new category, tag, and a special blog theme, ‘Helium Crisis!”.

    Why is there a helium crisis? I have to wonder if mindless retreat of big gummint eviltry has had something to do with it. For example, from article I just read:

    ” The biggest source of helium in the United States, the Federal Helium Reserve, in Amarillo, Texas, is winding down its operations after Congress passed laws in 1996 to take the U.S. government out of the helium business. It’s given the reserve until Sept. 30, 2021, to sell the reserve’s remaining helium stores in a series of auctions. Many researchers worry about where their helium will come from after the reserve, believed to account for as much as 40 percent of the U.S.’s helium supply, closes. ”

    Anyone know why this was done? A fucking ‘series of auctions’? Why? I don’t know of any auction design that can solve efficient intertemporal allocation problems of an exhaustible resource.

    Of course, Trump the crook and fool, is the only person who can save us:

    ” Scientists said they were heartened when the Trump administration included helium in its declaration of critical minerals issued in the spring of 2018. The executive order directed federal agencies to collaborate to safeguard America’s access to helium.

    The administration indicated at the time that a plan of action for helium would be issued as soon as last summer, but nearly a year later, the scientific community is still waiting.”

    Of course they are still waiting. It’s like the Trumpsters’ new immigration proposal: they are too incompetent to get anything even written down on paper. Kushner sat around and for a while and thought deep thoughts, one day he decided to call his stream of half-baked pipe dreams a proposal, and then wandered around BSing about it, and told the GOP flunkies to call the BS sessions a proposal. Probably more went into that mirage and fraud than into solving the helium shortage.

    Links from U.S. NEWS: Not just Party City: Why helium shortages worry scientists and researchers

  43. 43

    @Steve in the ATL: We used to have a few lawyers, they all left.

    ETA: I’m unsure if they did any paving while writing here.

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    number of front pavers who are lawyers: -0-

    I think Kay still has keys.

  45. 45
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I feel terrible about that. I didn’t mean to intimidate them with my legal prowess and overall awesomeness. My bad.

  46. 46

    @jl: Scientists, shmientists…what’s important is that Party City has helium. Think of the children.

  47. 47

    @Steve in the ATL:

    I didn’t mean to intimidate them with my legal prowess and overall awesomeness.

    You know we can read what you write.

  48. 48
    Ohio Mom says:

    @cain: I get that ad too. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one.

  49. 49
    jl says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: And exactly what are you doing to help make Balloon-Juice an almost top 100,000 global helium crisis blog? I ask you. Pretty please.

  50. 50

    @jl: I gave up helium years ago.

  51. 51
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Works for me.

  52. 52
    dmsilev says:

    @jl: The helium reserve sell-off predates Trump. You can thank the “privatization of everything” GOP Congress for that one. As to why the US Government has a helium reserve, well it dates back to the Zeppelin era…

    (Helium supplies, and particularly interruptions/shortages thereof, are a matter of great professional concern for me. There was one crisis a few years back where our plan D for acquiring what we needed was ‘go mug some clowns and steal their balloons’. Thankfully, Plans B and C were sufficient)

  53. 53
    Aleta says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Most lawyers pave the way but only for other lawyers. It’s our good fortune that Kay and Imm are so generous and Sit(x) rocks.

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dmsilev: Have you considered just having Ben Shapiro talk and capturing it in a bag. And yes, I realize this requires having Ben Shapiro talk.

  55. 55
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Laura Tabolich: Nice to see you again. How are you and the rest of the Schlemazel family holding up?

  56. 56
    jl says:

    @dmsilev: Thanks for info. I understood Trump was not president in 1996, so was wondering what lead Congress (and the administration) to approve such nonsense.

    Glad you didn’t have to go mug clowns for your helium;

    Anyway, BillinGlendaleCA just admitted it’s all his fault. Apparently he was the one who bought it all at the auctions to suck it up when he had his habit. So, mystery solved. Thanks, BillinGlendaleCA!

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Glad you didn’t have to go mug clowns for your helium;

    This statement puzzles me.

  58. 58
    dmsilev says:

    @jl: Also, there’s a lot in that article which is just plain wrong. For instance,

    The short supply has caused helium prices to soar in recent years, from $5 per liter a decade ago to $100 a liter today.

    is off by a factor of ten. Liquid helium runs a bit over $10 per liter now (depends on where in the country you are, but that’s a good ballpark number). Gas is less expensive, a 200 cubic foot cylinder of gas is around $100, and 200 cubic feet is rather more than a liter… Standard helium prices have gone up a lot in the last ten years, but ‘a lot’ should be read as ‘doubled’ maybe, not ‘factor of twenty’.


    An additional source of helium might also exist in space.

    “There’s potentially helium on the moon,” Elsesser said. “But if you think that helium is expensive now, what do you think that it will cost if you bring it back from the moon?

    The only helium which anyone is even speculating about sourcing from the moon is isotopic helium 3, which currently is made as a byproduct of nuclear weapons production (it’s the decay product of tritium) and is thought to exist in small quantities in the lunar regolith due to buildup of solar wind particles. However, helium-3 isn’t used for any of the applications mentioned in that article. It’s used in neutron detectors, and the need for radiation detectors for port security after 9/11 caused a huge spike in the demand and price of 3He. It’s used in ultra-low temperature cryogenics (below 1 degree absolute), and a couple of abstruse applications. Currently runs about $2k per liter of gas, which is roughly 10x higher than before 9/11.

  59. 59
    Ohio Mom says:

    @dmsilev: What would happen if we ran out of helium? It sounds like that could happen. We really are a wasteful, irresponsible species.

  60. 60

    @jl: Nah, spent all my money on camera gear.

  61. 61

    @Major Major Major Major: Intriguing proposition. Yes, I think I probably would. But let me sleep on it. I would love rikyrah to be an FPer. She ar awesome.

  62. 62
    dmsilev says:

    @Ohio Mom: First off, we’re not in danger of running out. Helium is constantly being produced inside the earth (radioisotopes such as uranium decay, and helium nuclei are one of the byproducts) and it collects in the same sorts of domes which hold oil and natural gas. The thing is, most oil and gas wells simply vent the helium into the atmosphere; at the current prices it’s not worth their while in most cases to trap, purify, and sell. As prices go up, that will change for more production sites (balanced, one hopes, by reductions in the number of gas wells that we’re using. Yay climate change…).

    Secondly, we’re getting better at reusing the helium that we have. That article focused largely on cryogenic applications, using helium as a refrigerant to cool MRI magnets and other things. In years past, this was done open-loop. Take liquid helium, use it to cool your stuff, let the boiling helium gas escape. Today, more and more systems are closed-loop. They either use liquid helium and a separate compressor/condenser to reliquify the boiled gas or they use a high-pressure-gas compression-expansion system (basically like a kitchen refrigerator, only with helium and with a 10 kW water-cooled compressor instead of a small motor). The technology to do this at a reasonably compact size and reasonable price is fairly new, maybe ten or fifteen years.

    There still are uses, mostly industrial applications such as inert-gas welding and rocketry, where it’s impractical or impossible to recapture the gas that’s used, so we still need production, and those will be impacted by rising prices. As will the clowns, but so be it.

  63. 63
    Jay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    “In hand to hand combat, Clowns are known for squirting flowers, nose beeps, shoe flops, ass kicking and biting. Clowns are known for carrying the It Virus, for which there is no known cure”

    U.S.M.C. Combat Manual, Sec.11, Paragraph 23, copyright 2018.

  64. 64
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    What would happen if we ran out of helium?

    The clown industry would crash.

  65. 65
    dmsilev says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Sacrifices must be made.

  66. 66
    Ohio Mom says:

    @dmsilev: Thank you for that very clear explanation.

    I think it would be fine if helium balloons cost more — they are hardly a necessity (well, except for the green ones for meetups).

  67. 67
    dmsilev says:

    @Ohio Mom: We’ll be fine. As I’m sure you know, people here are copious sources of hot air…

  68. 68
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @dmsilev: yeah, but then the unemployed clowns would have to go back to practicing law

  69. 69
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dmsilev: And we’re back to the Ben Shapiro solution…

  70. 70
    dmsilev says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Are you allowed to wear large floppy shoes to court appearances?

  71. 71
    Aleta says:

    @Jay: paragraph 23 huh

  72. 72
    dmsilev says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Does he talk in a high squeaky voice? If not, I can’t use him.

  73. 73
    Jackie says:

    Reading subject to latest post… And this is why I can’t quit this blog!♥️

  74. 74
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I seem to recall that Ed over at Gin & Tacos wrote a lengthy post a few weeks ago on the helium crisis. Hold on, let me just see if I can find it …

    AH YES, here it is. Very interesting, too.

  75. 75
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dmsilev: He does. I try not to make fun of people’s appearance, but it’s like his body stopped growing and developing when he was about 11. He’s short, very slender, and has a high squeaky voice.

  76. 76
    dmsilev says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Interesting. I’ll have to look into hooking him up to the aforementioned 10 kW compressor and see what happens.

  77. 77
    NotMax says:

    @Steve in the ATL

    The clown industry would crash.

    And we’d find ourselves marking time, waiting for Pierrot.


  78. 78

    Honest to dog, if we had to explain the eclectic topics covered in this simple post to a non-member…well, I’m not sure we could. But it is what makes it an awesome place. Mugging clowns for their helium FTW

  79. 79
    Ken says:

    @NotMax: @Adam L Silverman: @TaMara (HFG): My first assumption was that they’re transferring the existing tags to the new platform, and anything you create between now and the Great Switcheroo might not make it over.

    Alternately, the new platform only supports 26 tags, one starting with each English letter, and they’re desperately triaging and hoping no one notices the reduction.

  80. 80
    Laura Too says:

    @Ohio Mom: Getting by…trying to find the new normal. I miss his wit, his laugh and his sarcasm most. I try to read at least the front page every day and some comments, It gives me such comfort to see all your names-at least I still have that connection. I appreciate your thoughts!

  81. 81
    Jackie says:

    Oh, YAY! New thread! We’re ungrounded!!!

  82. 82
    Jay says:


    “L.A.P.D. Traffic Stop Advisory #491.

    Be aware that vintage Austin Mini Coopers are often used as Clown Cars. Be advised that when pulling over a vintage Austin Mini Cooper, there may be as many as 23 other suspects in the vehicle aside from the driver.”

    23/7/322 section 19.

  83. 83
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Laura Too: we may be short on wit and humor, but we are long on sarcasm!

  84. 84
    Laura Too says:

    @Steve in the ATL: LOL, I love this place.

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