Monday Morning Open Thread: Expect the Unexpected

Because it’s a holiday for most of us, here’s something genuinely nice and uplifting to start the day. From the Washington Post‘s book section, “He quit the NFL for a career in math”:

John Urschel has heard it a lot: “You’re that football player who’s really smart.” It’s an accurate description — Urschel, a former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, is a doctoral candidate in mathematics at MIT — but that description makes him wince.

Instead, he offers this: “I’m looking forward to being considered that mathematician who used play football.”

In July of 2017, Urschel retired from the NFL after three seasons. He hasn’t played football since. Not even a casual game in the park? Nope. “This isn’t something my friends and I do for fun,” he says.

Besides, Urschel has been busy with something else — his memoir, “Mind and Matter.” Written with his wife, journalist Louisa Thomas, the book chronicles his life in both sports and academics and explains how and why, in the end, he chose math over football. Yes, it had something to do with concussions, but that’s not all of it…

When asked what he likes to do for fun, his immediate answer is, “math!” He carries a notepad with him just in case he’s struck by an idea. He wanted his first book to be a pure math book, and at signings he’s been known to inscribe the memoir he ended up writing with “fun integrals” and “important constants” that he’s excited to explain to anyone who wants to geek out with him.

Urschel grew up in Buffalo. His parents, who separated when Urschel was 3, encouraged his two-track learning from an early age. His mother, a nurse-turned-lawyer, urged him to pursue his interests in math with games and puzzles, and later advanced course work. “If I am a true outlier,” he writes in his book, “it is because of her — an African-American single mother who loved math but was discouraged from it, who wanted me never to feel that any door was closed to me.” His father, a thoracic surgeon and former linebacker at the University of Alberta, pushed him academically, too. But he was also concerned about his son’s conditioning, and his time with young Urschel involved visits to the gym as well as to the library…






162 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

    Maybe I’m the only one awake.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    Sort of reminded of Louis Wolheim, who not only played football but also received an engineering degree from Cornell, was fluent in five languages and taught math before successfully becoming an actor. Often cast and most recognizable to the public as a prototypical (and slightly dim) mug’s mug because of his looks and stocky build.

  3. 3

    @OzarkHillbilly: Blech.

    Plenty of folk are awake downstairs.

  4. 4
    NotMax says:

    English closed caption follies. Encountered the other day –

    Real dialogue: “I told them your breasts are miracles.”

    CC: “I told them your breads are miracles.”

  5. 5
    Mart says:

    Very impressive young man.

  6. 6
    Ruckus says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Nope, still up.
    Watched a Netflix original show Christina P: Mother Inferior. A stand up that’s a bit different. Liked it, laughed a lot. She sounds a lot like she’d fit right in here.

  7. 7
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Among voters paying a lot of attention to the campaign, Warren got 15 percent of the vote, and Sanders got just 8 percent. Among voters who are paying little or no attention, however, Warren got just 5 percent of the vote against Sanders’s 28 percent.

    Nate Silver (link)

    It’s hilarious – they always try to portray themselves as “intellectuals”

  8. 8
    Cermet says:

    I am glad he stopped playing a game that tends to destroy the minds of those that participate in this “sport”. He has great potential to become a brilliant mathematician. Nice the Ravens selected him (considering the likelihood of leaving a football career early) and let him play at that level. But as more and more players suffer and die early from the concussions they must endure to be competitive, he will be proven correct that he left and followed an academic career, instead.

  9. 9
    Ruckus says:

    Went to the store, well last night now, and the cashier asked me if I’d served. Yes. Not sure she understood the look I gave her when she thanked me for my service. Wasn’t in the mood to tell her the difference between Memorial day and Veterans day. Didn’t think she was in the mood to hear my normal answer. I’ve gotten this once from someone working at the VA. She understood the look. I may be in the minority but I think it sounds really condescending. And phony.

  10. 10
    Raven says:

    @Ruckus: Hey, this is a thread to bitch about football, where are your priorities?

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    @Ruckus: It is condescending and phony.

  12. 12
    Ruckus says:

    @Cermet:
    It’s not just the concussions, although those may be the worst injury. But I’ve known a couple of guys who played in the NFL, one who wears a Superbowl ring. Both of them are really fucked up from it. The superbowl guy has epileptic seizures, and a host of other issues. The other fella, at 45 yrs old had a hip and two knee replacements. And those will wear out and have to be redone, possibly a couple of times. I’m not sure of his mental issues, I knew him rather casually, friend of a friend. Both of them told me that their health issues are not unusual at all, that pretty much everyone they know has something major from playing. I’ve asked the superbowl guy if he thought it was worth it. He didn’t answer me but I got the impression that the answer was no but he wasn’t willing to say it out loud.

  13. 13
    Ruckus says:

    @Raven:
    See my post about football at #12

  14. 14
    Ruckus says:

    @JPL:
    The people who’ve asked me, I don’t think they saw it that way. But man does it sound like it coming out of their mouths.

  15. 15
    Ruckus says:

    And now it’s 3am and I’m going to try and get some sleep. A couple of hours ought to do……..

  16. 16
    raven says:

    @Ruckus: I know a guy who joined the Marine Corps in 1968. I’d ask him if it was worth it but he’s been dead for 50 years.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @Raven:

    To all the football players out there, thank you for your service.

  19. 19
    Bruce K says:

    I’m not sure yet what to make of the Euro parliament elections. In Greece, what I do know is that the New Democracy party won out over the Radical Left Coalition (Syriza), and pundits from Britain are talking about lessons that “Brexit can learn from Grexit”, talking about how the Radical Left nearly crashed Greece right out of the EU, which may have a certain amount of truth in it but ignores that prior to Syriza taking power, ND metaphorically pointed the car at the edge of a cliff, cut the brake lines, dropped a brick on the accelerator, and told Syriza “here, take the wheel”.

    I’m getting more and more infuriated by pundits’ selective amnesia in my old age.

  20. 20
    Cermet says:

    @Ruckus: Yes, it does tear people’s bodies apart, too. Tragic but hey, bread and circus for the masses … I guess. Boxing is worse (for the brain, that is) in harm but only a tiny, tiny fraction of people do that so it is ignored – I really hope far more people say no to middle school (!) and high school football as more details are brought to light. Still, poor people have few options now that college is getting out of reach for middle class students. The wealthy are starting to live the real Roman dream – hope they get some “Goth’s” do over (but again, the poor and middle class will suffer far worse.) So, hope that doesn’t occur but for the worlds poor, AGW within 50 years will make the fall of Rome a cake walk in comparison.

  21. 21
    Cermet says:

    @raven: And in that light, let us not forget who secretly communicated with the North Vietnamese to keep the war going so he could get elected further slaughtering countless Vietnamese as well as many thousands of american boys. Thugs once more mass murdering humans for their own political gain. Yet the rural white poor still want to vote stupid. Makes sense why facts don’t matter (nor reality, for that matter.) Bread and circus it will be (with a few minor mass murdering wars to add sauce for the Gander (that is being well cooked thanks to AGW).)

  22. 22
    Argiope says:

    Serious question to vets willing to educate the rest of us: is it inappropriate, annoying or condescending to recognize current service (reserves) with an announcement explaining someone’s absence from their usual job that culminates in “we appreciate your service?” I don’t want to inadvertently piss off my valued colleague. Or is the issue not being bothered to learn the difference between the two holidays, combined with the thanks? Or something else? I was a toddler when some of you all came home from Vietnam to what I hear was a terrible reception, so I don’t know if that’s also part of it.

  23. 23
    satby says:

    @Ruckus: my foster son, with 5 combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, positively hates being thanked for his service. Because it’s the most facile acknowledgement possible of the costs of that service. Especially since the ones who do it are often the ones voting against veteran benefits by voting for Republicans.

  24. 24
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Ruckus:

    Wasn’t in the mood to tell her the difference between Memorial day and Veterans day.

    Drove by the local American Legion post yesterday, and their sign said something like “Thank a Veteran.”

    If the fucking American Legion is confused about this, I think you’ve got to give everybody else a pass.

  25. 25
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: for once, I was asleep 😴 at 5 am.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    At least they weren’t advertising Memorial Day sales.

  27. 27
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: Braggart.

  28. 28
    satby says:

    @low-tech cyclist: the fucking American Legion makes coin off of veneration of veterans.

  29. 29
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Cermet:

    I am glad he stopped playing a game that tends to destroy the minds of those that participate in this “sport”. He has great potential to become a brilliant mathematician.

    That’s my thought too. I keep thinking about that time the article mentions when the concussion cost him his ability to do high-level math, and how scary that must’ve been. It was temporary, but there’s no way he could have been sure of that when it happened.

    I’m glad he’s left that behind him because, brilliant mathematician or not, your brain is the essence of you. If you screw with your brain’s wiring, which is what all those football impacts do, you’re not going to be the same person, and you’re probably not going to ever again be a well person. I’m glad he got out with his mind intact, and I hope he goes on to prove some really good results.

  30. 30
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I paid for it by being awake at 2.
    Oops, forgot 😘

  31. 31
    SFAW says:

    @NotMax:

    CC: “I told them your breads are miracles.”

    “Yippee-ki-ay, Mister Falcon.”

  32. 32
    Raven says:

    @Argiope: I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Also, don’t buy that “ we were spit on bullshit”.

  33. 33
    JR says:

    As someone who is finding himself rapidly alienated from academia, I can’t say that pursuing a PhD is the greatest idea. But the man has made his money, so follow your passion, I suppose.

  34. 34
    Argiope says:

    @Raven: Thanks. Good to know.

  35. 35
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @NotMax: Also reminds me of baseball player Moe Berg, contemporary of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who spoke multiple languages. I only know about him because there’s a new documentary about his WW2 spying career for the OSS, and I was reading the blurb.

  36. 36
    Argiope says:

    @satby: is there any kind of interpersonal acknowledgement he’d prefer? Or would he like everyone to just shut up already and provide a fully funded VA, plus maybe better designated public parking spaces? I can imagine having to respond to the “Thank you” phrase gets annoying, so maybe there’s a better way to do interpersonal recognition. Even if it’s “I know you’re probably tired of hearing this when we can’t seem to put our tax dollars where our mouths are, but thank you…”

  37. 37
    Raven says:

    @Argiope: I think your situation is different in that this is someone you know and it is a workplace situation.

  38. 38
    Brachiator says:

    @Bruce K:

    I’m getting more and more infuriated by pundits’ selective amnesia in my old age

    The pundits’ amnesia is exceeded only by their laziness and general ignorance.

  39. 39
    satby says:

    @Argiope: he’d prefer not to even think about it. He was mustered out on a general discharge after suffering PTSD and was denied vet benefits like using the VA. He only qualified to be a Marine because they fudged the standards to fill the ranks for Shrub’s war, and they cheated a lot of those kids out of the bonuses and benefits they were promised as soon as the drawdown started.
    Obviously, I believe if we’ve sent someone into combat we pretty much owe them care afterwards unless they were convicted of war crimes.

    I haven’t been told all the details, so my synopsis probably lacks key elements. I know he had trouble sticking to base rules like driving restrictions.

  40. 40
    Raven says:

    @Cermet: you figure I will forget?

  41. 41
    Argiope says:

    @Raven: ok, so part of it is the weirdness of complete strangers doing it in a way that makes a response sort of obligatory, yet renders the whole exercise shallow. I think I’m starting to get it. Thanks.

  42. 42
    Catherine D. says:

    Only acGame interviewed Urshel May 17. Worth a listen!

  43. 43
    Argiope says:

    @satby: Thanks, satby. I find his treatment appalling. How does that even happen? I mean, are we using our volunteer service structure against the very people who volunteer? Sure sounds like it.

  44. 44
    satby says:

    In between rainstorms yesterday my lawn finally got mowed and the evergreen bushes cut down. If course it’s supposed to rain today too, but I should have a couple of hours to get the front bed ready to plant the rest of the flowers going in instead. Plus rake the grass clippings up before they smother the lawn underneath. I need to get a stump killer for the evergreen stumps too.

  45. 45
    satby says:

    @Argiope: that’s it exactly, as far as vets I know have spoken about it.

  46. 46
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby:

    I know he had trouble sticking to basic rules like driving restrictions.

    I have the same problem.

  47. 47
    satby says:

    @Argiope: it’s a rules based organization, and repeated infractions of even minor rules have a cost. But IMO, things like combat service and PTSD effects should be factored in, as well as other life circumstances. Which in his case included a child born at 25 weeks gestation (she’s 7 now) and a four month stay in a NNIC unit off base in LA, requiring some driving. But everyone has excuses.
    Yeah, I am still livid about the treatment he got. Probably more than he is.

  48. 48
    BRyan says:

    My own (admittedly limited) experience has been that Vietnam-era vets are more generally pleased by the thank-you-for-your-service thing than later vets. (And, no, I have no idea why, to a man — and they are all men — they are staunch republicans.) Jim Wright at Stonekettle has a long essay on a recent experience he had withbeing thanked for his service. from the accompanying comments, it seemed to not sit well with the thank-you crowd; perhaps he was insufficiently grateful.

    My own half-dozen family members who have served conflate Memorial Day with Veterans Day; what’s that about?

    There’s a post I’ve seen over the past few days, something along the lines (paraphrasing from memory) “If you want to thank a soldier, try being the kind of American worth fighting for.” I wanted to side with all the “wonderful,” “spectacular!”, “so true!” responses it elicited, but … but what. Knowing the Fox-news-viewing, Trump-worshiping views of a couple people who posted it, it struck me that we’d have a major difference of opinion on just what makes one “the kind of American worth fighting for,” so instead the hair on the back of my neck is standing straight up. Seems like the kind of comment on which the reader projects their own assumptions about what it means, so really, what does it mean? Wondering how that strikes others. Anybody? (Apologies if this has been covered in previous comments and I missed.)

  49. 49
    Baud says:

    @BRyan:

    Yeah, it’s a pretty open ended phrase.

  50. 50
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @BRyan: It’s the same empty Rah-Rah, I’m a True American Patriot ™ Wave the Flag posing so many engage in for the sole purpose of demonstrating they are on the right team.

  51. 51
    debbie says:

    NPR’s Only a Game featured Urschel a couple of weeks ago.

  52. 52
    debbie says:

    @satby:

    They make a point of hiring vets where I work. When I’m asked to help train a vet, after they shake my hand (which seems to be a requirement for them), I tell them I’m glad they made it back. Haven’t gotten a strange look yet.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus:

    Wasn’t in the mood to tell her the difference between Memorial day and Veterans day. Didn’t think she was in the mood to hear my normal answer. I’ve gotten this once from someone working at the VA. She understood the look. I may be in the minority but I think it sounds really condescending. And phony.

    As another poster noted, this lady may have been motivated by reports of how returning Vietnam vets were supposedly treated.

    Also, Veteran’s Day was originally Armistice Day. The meanings of holiday’s morph over time. I can kinda understand how some people may want to acknowledge a veteran standing in front of them.

    I’m not big on some holidays, and especially resist any urgings by government or authorities that I must behave a certain way or mouth state sanctioned pieties. I used to ride a bus that also took vets to a VA facility in Westwood, and would happily talk to a vet that wanted to talk about his experiences (and it was almost exclusively male vets here), but I never mechanically thanked anyone for their service.

    And I have had family members who have served, and some who lost their lives. I’ve watched some people grieve, and felt almost embarrassed and helpless to be in the presence of the pain they were feeling.

    And so, I guess, I acknowledge those who observe this day and remember. And I especially note that we have to take care of vets. No question about that at all.

    But I also resist the attempt of right wing government officials to try to inculcate a facile obeisance to militarism, and who try to use respect for veterans to deflect any deeper understanding of the sometimes questionable or reprehensible misuse of our armed forces.

  54. 54
    satby says:

    @debbie: that’s a statement that acknowledged the risk they took.

  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄😄😄

  56. 56
    satby says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning 🙋

  57. 57
    Baud says:

    @rikyrah:

    Good morning.

  58. 58
    Immanentize says:

    @rikyrah:
    Good morning!

  59. 59
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    Frank Ryan, played football for Rice in the 50s, got PhD in math and went on to teach at several universities whil playing pro ball.

  60. 60
    PJ says:

    In my recollection, the obligatory “thank you for your service” didn’t really become obligatory until Bush II, as part of the general fetishization of the military.

  61. 61
  62. 62

    We’re back from our trip to Madison WI to go to WisCon, the feminist SFF con. We had a good time and The Wind Reader was on sale in the dealer room, which I got excited enough about that I think I scared the guy working behind the table. I was on fun panel about fanfic and went to an interesting one about why mothers are absent as characters in most SFF. Mr DAW went to panels too, bless his engineer-y heart. He particularly liked one about AI.

  63. 63
    zhena gogolia says:

    I had a vet in my class this semester (not combat vet). He was one of the most delightful students I’ve ever had. Schooled by BJ, I studiously refrained from thanking him for his service.

  64. 64
    zhena gogolia says:

    @jeffreyw:

    So beautiful. But I’ve had my heart broken by birdwatching this spring. I don’t know how you can stand it.

  65. 65
    Wapiti says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: and went to an interesting one about why mothers are absent as characters in most SFF.

    That sounds interesting, I mentally sorted through the SFF stories I’ve read and mothers being absent seems almost always true. (Tripoint, by C.J. Cherryh, has the protagonist pulled between antagonistic parents).

  66. 66
    Kay says:

    One thing I’ve noticed about interviewing vets in my work is they know how to talk in an informational sense- how to answer questions. I assume this is something that is taught, but wow does it stand out from the rest of us with our long windy narratives along side streets… You get actual answers- “yes”, “no”, “no, she’s my stepmother not my mother- my father’s second wife”, “I was driving a 2006 Ford and I don’t own it, my girlfriend does”.

    Judges absolutely love them for this, IMO. It’s easier :)

  67. 67

    @Wapiti: At that session, people suggested more positive examples than we realized. Dr. Crusher on TNG. Cordelia Vorkorsigan. Bujold’s books in general have a lot of mothers in them. She also is consistently interested in the technology of reproduction.

    One thing the panel concluded was that our culture tends to devalue child tending and also to make it very isolating. Many women in that room talked about how alone they felt with small children in the suburbs. We need community if mothers are to have adventures that make them the central character in a book.

  68. 68

    @Kay:Speaking of clueless elites. Nobel Prize winner in econ, Amartya Sen on Modi’s victory.

    Modi won power not battle of ideas

    Actually he did win the battle of ideas, that’s how he held on to power. Denying the obvious just makes one look clueless. You can’t solve a problem if you refuse to acknowledge it.

  69. 69
    rikyrah says:

    When large parts of Nebraska became a lake, I asked this question..
    WHY am I finding this out on Twitter.
    Is it faulty memory on my part?
    Weren’t similar situations on cable news 24/7, with repeated requests for 44 to respond during his Administration?

    Wasn’t the question always what 44 would do about it and when was he going to see these Americans?
    Did I imagine that?😒😒

    https://twitter.com/tier_hughes/status/1132330430001221632

  70. 70

    New Pew poll shows Americans rating Obama the best president in their lifetime

    Hey ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩,Did you catch this? Americans rank Barack Obama as best president of their lifetimes!🏆🏆🏆 https://t.co/Vm2eBLM6DC— Karol Cummins (@karolcummins) May 27, 2019

  71. 71
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    One of the things we Ravens fans loved about Urschel was that he’d pull into the parking lot at One Winning Drive (Crows’ HQ), among all the Hummers & Beamers & SUVs, in a used Nissan Versa. When the flacks said WTF??!? he explained that it (1) was big enough in the front seat to comfortably accommodate his offensive-guard bulk, (2) was cheap, (3) got great gas mileage, and (4) rarely had a problem finding a parking space big enough to fit in.

    I must admit I was surprised when he retired – I fully expected him to sign with some other team for substantially more $$$ & play a couple more seasons before retiring – but I guess he took into account not just the wear&tear but also the fact that mathematicians do their best work before their mid-30s, & decided that however good the $$$ & however much he enjoyed legally hitting people (I saw at least one interview where he said as much), it was in the end just a temporary gig on the way to his life’s work. More powers of 10 to him.

  72. 72
    germy says:

    Duncan Hunter said he's guilty of the same behavior that led to Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher being charged with war crimes—posing with a dead combatant.

    "Eddie did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too—taking a picture of the body & saying something stupid." https://t.co/OvNL9Kx8VD

    — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 27, 2019

  73. 73
    germy says:

    John McCain repeatedly compared Trump to a dictator during Trump's inaugural address, according to Amy Klobuchar.

    "John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators … because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation."https://t.co/UgJmpgVVvR

    — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 26, 2019

    How does whispering "this is bad" while watching a house burn down help put out the fire?— Wile E. Coyote (@schroedingereqn) May 26, 2019

  74. 74
    Kay says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    The whole “battle of ideas” thing has to be retired. That’s, um, not what we’re having!

  75. 75
    NotMax says:

    @Raven

    This one’s for you, raven, for a lazy rainy afternoon. The Lost World of Mr. Hardy. On Prime.

    @ Ceci n est pas mon nym

    The thing about Moe Berg, as I heard it, is that while he didn’t go shouting about it from the rooftops he also made no secret about things he did during the war. It was that no one believed him about it until facts were revealed much, much later on.

  76. 76
    germy says:

    Memorial Day began in 1865 when 10,000 formerly freed slaves & a few white missionaries honored fallen Union soldiers

    This day was literally founded in memory of those who gave their life to end white supremacy terror, slavery, & human trafficking#Heroeshttps://t.co/7t1NLPqOvo pic.twitter.com/yA6RR1Afc4

    — Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) May 27, 2019

  77. 77
    Kay says:

    The New York Times
    ‏Verified account
    @nytimes
    Follow Follow @nytimes
    More
    Joe Biden is “sleepy,” Bernie Sanders is “crazy” and Elizabeth Warren is “angry.” Since January, Trump has attacked several of the Democrats competing for his job. Here are the candidates the president has insulted so far.

    There’s a graphic with the candidates likenesses just to really cement these nicknames into the public mind. I didn’t know 3/4’s of them because I don’t listen to the big lying windbag – he never shuts up. To me he’s like a car alarm. BLAT, BLAT, BLAT,

    Worst political reporting in the country. You can like their news reporting and still admit that their political reporting is terrible.

  78. 78
    rikyrah says:

    Powerful picture. To know that, for the “greater good” you sent these young men to their deaths 😪😪😪

    https://twitter.com/BeschlossDC/status/1133013590087282688

  79. 79
    Sab says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: As a NE Ohioan I like to hate the Ravens (Baltimore stole our team!) so it is distressing to find yet another former Raven is quite admirable.//

    I personally have always hated football due to the carnage, so I happily allow Spouse to spend hours with his pals at the bar on Sundays so it isn’t blaring on TV at home.

  80. 80
    MomSense says:

    @Kay:

    The New York Times is garbage.

  81. 81
    NotMax says:

    @wapiti

    Pretty darn prominent in Dune.

    Now, when it comes to mothers in Disney films….

    ;)

  82. 82

    @NotMax: Dune was another good example that was cited. I forgot about it because I am probably the only person I know who has never seen Dune.

  83. 83
    rikyrah says:

    I love this guy’s YouTube channel. He is hilarious 😂😂

    https://youtu.be/Syr4JU8Pb4Y

  84. 84

    @rikyrah: I’d like to see Trump at the Vietnam wall but the gods of irony might blow something up at the sacrilege.

  85. 85
    NotMax says:

    @rikyrah

    Did you see the mention of the documentary about the Pea Island Lifesavers the other day? Well served slice of black history.

  86. 86
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @Kay: I’ve worked with a lot of vets, having spent most of my professional life in the defense industry. One thing I noticed about vets is that they always get the job done. Whether they’re qualified or not, if they’re assigned a project they find a way to make it happen.

  87. 87
    NotMax says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor

    Better read than viewed. Can you image growing up with a mother who is an adept of The Voice?

    CLEAN YOUR ROOM! EAT YOUR SPINACH! OUT OF THAT BATHROOM THIS MINUTE, YOUNG MAN!

    :)

  88. 88
    Brachiator says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    I was on fun panel about fanfic and went to an interesting one about why mothers are absent as characters in most SFF.

    One of the characters on the tv SF series, The Orville, is a mother. A couple of episodes have been centered on her.

    Mr DAW went to panels too, bless his engineer-y heart. He particularly liked one about AI.

    This is all the rage now, but I love stuff like this. Glad to hear he had a good time.

    Some interesting spillage in the real world in recent articles about how we should deal with voice assistants, robots and other tech.

  89. 89

    @NotMax: SFF keeps older books on the shelves longer than any other genre. I can almost certainly walk into B&N and buy Dune.

  90. 90

    @Brachiator: I gather that’s what a lot of this panel was about.

  91. 91
    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    Where are the tweets detailing our nicknames for Trump?

  92. 92
    frosty says:

    @Sab:

    Baltimore stole our team!

    Don’t forget, Indianapolis stole OUR team!!!

  93. 93
    debbie says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    Classics like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wolfe have been on the shelves for far, far longer.

  94. 94
    JanieM says:

    @NotMax:

    Better read than viewed.

    The film sucked. I can remember being especially annoyed by the dumbass way they depicted Voice: a gizmo, and iirc a sort of whiny electronic sound.

    ETA correcting typos. Not on home device. Grrr.

  95. 95

    @debbie: You’re absolutely right, of course. I was thinking about genre fic, which tends to come and go.

  96. 96
    NotMax says:

    @JanieM

    Some vistas may be too grand for even the biggest screen. The production fell into the trap of letting the spectacle overwhelm the story.

  97. 97
    Brachiator says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:
    Ran across this fairly recently. Had to hunt it down again.

    The Sad But Inevitable Trend Toward Forgotten SF

    Love your beloved classics now—because even now, few people read them, for the most part, and fewer still love them. In a century, they’ll probably be forgotten by all but a few eccentrics.

    If it makes you feel any better, all fiction, even the books people love and rush to buy in droves, is subject to entropy. Consider, for example, the bestselling fiction novels of the week I was born, which was not so long ago. I’ve bolded the ones my local library currently has in stock.

    The rest is a very interesting read.

    https://www.tor.com/2019/05/24/the-sad-but-inevitable-trend-toward-forgotten-sf/

  98. 98

    @Brachiator: That was interesting. I admit I find a lot of the SFF classics boring.

  99. 99
    germy says:

    Lately I’ve been on a big Shirley Jackson kick. Reading all her novels and short stories.

    She turned back to the letter in the typewriter. An encouraging letter to a new client; it fell into a simple formula in her mind and she wrote it without hesitating, typing clumsily and amateurishly, but quickly. “Dear Mr. Burton,” she wrote. “We have read your story with a good deal of interest. Your plot is well thought out, and we believe that the character of –” She stopped for a minute and turned back to the manuscript, opening it at random — “Lady Montague, in particular, is of more than usual merit. Naturally, in order to appeal to the better-paying markets, the story needs touching up by a skilled professional editor, a decisive selling service we are able to offer our clients. Our rates –“

    (“Elizabeth” a 1940s short story)

  100. 100

    @germy: Hee. That particular scam is still around.

  101. 101
    germy says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    SFF keeps older books on the shelves longer than any other genre. I can almost certainly walk into B&N and buy Dune.

    I wonder if that’s because it’s been adapted for film?

    I don’t know this for sure, but is it possible if there’s a bias in bookstores towards novels that have appeared in other media? Or maybe it’s the publishers who tend to reprint novels that have been films, because they hope the movie fans will buy books they normally wouldn’t read?

  102. 102

    @germy: That’s got to be true. When a book-based movie comes out, the book reappears on end-caps and front of the store shelves. You can’t get better marketing.

  103. 103
    Cameron says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Unfortunately, I can see him there, talking about “very fine people on both sides” or some other Trumpean nonsense.

  104. 104
    germy says:

    My particular genre is humor. I notice my local bookstore still carries some Mark Twain, but I never see Thurber or E.B. White or Benchley anymore.

    In the 1970s, most bookstores still had Thurber and White, at least. (Lots of Benchley went out of print, although since that time I think some new collections have appeared)

    The Barnes & Noble “humor” section features lots of gimmicky “dead cat” things, very little of what we used to call “Literary Humor”

  105. 105
    James E Powell says:

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    Frank Ryan, played football for Rice in the 50s, got PhD in math and went on to teach at several universities while playing pro ball.

    Won the NFL Championship in 1964 with the Original Cleveland Browns.

  106. 106
    Ruckus says:

    OK, I’m back.
    To all of you thanks for the replies.
    The thanks thing does sound phony. I was never treated any different after I came back. No spitting, never called a baby killer. Of course I grew my beard and long hair, starting the moment I walked off the ship. The thanking me sounds every time like massive overcompensation for bullshit. I got paid – yes it was crap, I get to use the VA for my healthcare – which I was promised when I signed up, it was a war – some paid a far higher price than I did – the world is unfair – and a lot more unfair than it should be. Has anyone thanked a billionaire for their service to the country – of raping it of it’s vitality and opportunity – a hundred billion sitting in an offshore account doesn’t pay for college educations, better jobs, the ability to own your own home, raise kids, have reasonable healthcare…….. it can however purchase politicians who will rig the system even more.
    Yes I’m ranting, it gets my blood pressure up to operating range for the day.

  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    @germy:

    My particular genre is humor. I notice my local bookstore still carries some Mark Twain, but I never see Thurber or E.B. White or Benchley anymore

    In my yoot, I would dip into literary humor. Thurber, but also Max Shulman (Dobie Gillis) and Shephard Mead (How to Succeed in Business). Also, Stephen Potter (One-upsmanship).

  108. 108
    chopper says:

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    hey, frank ryan bought me whiskey in a brothel in madrid! crazy.

  109. 109

    As Kay says, low quality hires:

    The Trump family wedding planner who lied on her CV and had zero relevant qualifications but is nonetheless now in charge of federal housing for New York and New Jersey is publicly proclaiming that she doesn’t care if she breaks the law. So there’s that. https://t.co/yMxGXozlYK— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) May 27, 2019

  110. 110
    germy says:

    @Brachiator: do you see any of those books nowadays in your local bookstores?

  111. 111
    Kay says:

    So my oldest and his wife are moving to Denmark. He got a job and a Visa. I’m sad about it because I thought there would be more time but their apartment sold immediately. I will miss them but they’re very excited. His wife speaks Danish and has people there. They go every year for visits so decided to just make it official and move there.

    I’m buying their car (they live in Chicago so share a car) which in our family means there is a cascade of title transfers- I get their newer fancier car, mine then goes to middle son, middle son’s goes to youngest son. Youngest son’s truck goes back to me, because it’s mine. It was just a loaner – it’s my “spare” :)

    On the upside we get to go to Denmark for Christmas and I have never been.

  112. 112
    Brachiator says:

    @germy:

    do you see any of those books nowadays in your local bookstores?

    Nowadays there are barely any local bookstores left.

    But the last time I checked, no. I just file the memories away in my personal nostalgia file.

    One of the digital broadcast tv stations ran an entire season of the Dobie Gillis tv show. A couple of episodes featured Warren Beatty as a rich teen, Milton Armitage.

  113. 113
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    I use that hospital in Westwood all the time and ride that bus. Yes it’s mostly men but there are a lot of women using the VA as well. I don’t know the percentage but do remember that a lot more men served than woman but that now woman are in combat roles, and will have to pay the price in the future that often accompanies combat service. For about the millionth time, I didn’t serve in combat, I wasn’t sent there, I was sent somewhere else to do what I was trained for. I shot a rifle in boot camp, qualified expert. I carried a loaded .45 pistol on in port watch, in whatever port we were in. I served in the shore patrol for a few weeks while waiting for a ship, just before I was discharged. I carried a nightstick on patrol, no gun. I joined for 4 yrs active rather than being sent to combat and serving for 2. There are a lot of different jobs in the military, most of them have to get done to make it work, most of the people in the military in my day didn’t go to combat. Those who did paid a lot higher price than I did, many a far, far higher price. That’s why it feels condescending, how many of those who died get thanked decades later? Or even noticed. Most who served and lived, combat or not know that they were lucky and being congratulated for luckily not dying is bullshit. It is condescending, even if it’s not intended that way.

  114. 114
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Sab:

    Baltimore stole our team!

    Get your facts straight: The only reason Art Modell moved from The Mistake By The Lake Cleveland was the local Powers That Were. Who knew that (unlike most NFL owners) he had very little wealth other than the Browns & hoped to force him to sell the team to someone with the $$$ to buy them a Super Bowl. Those unstable geenyusses didn’t reckon with a move to Baltimore – where Modell gained the fiscal wherewithall to win a Lombardi in his 5th season by the Chesapeake. Blame those “movers & shakers” for building a new baseball stadium & a Rock&Roll Hall of Fame while hanging your city’s beloved football team out to dry.

    And just FTR, having waited twelve years for an NFL franchise while the league screwed us over & tried to force us into the Redskins’ [ptui!] fan-catchment for the benefit of Paul Tagliabue’s BFF Jack Kent Crook [sic!], Baltimore fans were happy to leave you your name & colors & history for the franchise they resurrected for you only 3 years later (& which hasn’t sniffed a Super Bowl in its 20 years’ existence). It’s a lot more than we were left with when the Baltimore Colts decamped to Indy. (Cf. Barry Levinson’s contribution to ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series, “The Band That Wouldn’t Die”.)

    And BTW we would appreciate Cleveland Browns fans’ support for a small display in Canton recognizing the Colts’ 30 years in our fair city, during which they were instrumental in elevating the sport out from under the college game to one that now “owns a day of the week”.

    OK? Still friends? /rant

  115. 115
    StringOnAStick says:

    It’s sad to me that Terry Pratchette’s books are barely there in our public library system. I discovered him late in life (3 years ago) and while I try to borrow instead of buy, the library has less than 1/3 of his Disc World books.

    And in the Expect the Unexpected department, last night we went to the opening dinner for the event center the local Farm To Table co-op manager/Bison farmer built, way out on the CO plains east of Castle Rock. They took their barn and reinvented it with all reclaimed materials, down to the rough sawn oak floor and it looks great. The entertainment was a Sioux dance troop with a discussion of the history of the Bison, and then a Teddy Roosevelt cosplay fellow (and local high school history teacher) outlining TR’s role in saving the American Bison, all in very well done character. Plus we got to feed the owner’s bison herd through the fence – they have pointy black tongues. One 2 week old Bison baby in the mix but not allowed to approach the humans by it’s attentive mother. The whole experience was very fun and well done.

    A really exciting thing for me was the gypsy jazz duo that played with dinner and after. My husband and I are big fans of that style and we play some of it together (it is tough, tough to play), so while I was in the restroom my super shy husband went to talk to the musicians and thank them; when I came out and heard what was playing I knew it was my husband. The rhythm guy had handed his guitar to my husband and they were playing standards of the genre. It thrills me to see my hubby do this, he is so talented and so often too shy to demonstrate his gifted playing for more than just a few friends. I’m an extrovert who has become a bit less so, and he’s an introvert who is also becoming less so; I figure we are meeting in the middle.

  116. 116
    TomatoQueen says:

    @Wapiti: Except when they are spectacularly present, as in Dune. And Cherryh is good that way too.

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @Kay:
    Denmark is one of my favorite countries. I’ve been while in the navy several times. I wanted to move there after I got out. It never worked out but I’d like to go back and visit again if I can.

  118. 118
    Brachiator says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    As Kay says, low quality hires:

    The Trump family wedding planner who lied on her CV and had zero relevant qualifications but is nonetheless now in charge of federal housing for New York and New Jersey

    We shouldn’t call them low quality hires. They are crooks. Criminally incompetent. They are the goons the mob hires to break up a business, only they are doing it to America.

  119. 119
    germy says:

    @StringOnAStick: Have you seen the animated film “The Triplets of Belleville” ?

    Great Django Reinhardt tribute in a wild cartoon story.

  120. 120
    germy says:

    In the Expecting The Expected department:

    My wife just returned from the supermarket and she stopped in front of our house to pick some aphids from our front rose bushes. While she stood in front of our house a truck drove by. HONK!

    It happens every time she’s outside. Whether she’s gardening, or whatever, at some point some redneck will HONK at her as he speeds by. Is it a thing for rednecks to honk their horns at black women?

    She doesn’t give a shit, but it bothers me.

  121. 121
    trollhattan says:

    @Kay:
    You can practically feel the hygge from here. :-)

    Sounds like a grand adventure, and having somebody to visit practically guarantees you’ll go, so win-win.

  122. 122
    trollhattan says:

    @germy:
    LOVE that movie. Pretty darn on-the-nose about pro cycling, too.

  123. 123
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Ruckus: I feel you brother, and agree with your take on the “Thanks for your service” bit. Makes me extremely uncomfortable to hear it.

  124. 124
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:
    Wow, Kay, so they did it. It’s a new chapter for them, but, I know that you will miss him😪😪

  125. 125
    satby says:

    @Kay: Denmark at Christmas should be wonderful!
    I want to go back there, I went 48 years ago. 25 years ago my family hosted an exchange student from Denmark and we’re still in contact, so I really would love to see her again.

  126. 126
    TomatoQueen says:

    @germy: This may be from the subset of Inexplicable Obnoxious Male Behavior Toward Unaccompanied Women called day ending in y, redneck to black woman. There are so many varieties.

  127. 127
    Sab says:

    @germy: A lot of them honk at almost all women. Seems to be more a misogyny than a race thing.

  128. 128
    germy says:

    @Sab: I have a fantasy that their engine dies the exact moment they honk. They have to climb out of their vehicle, open the hood, and scratch their heads trying to figure out what’s wrong.

    Awkward!

  129. 129
    germy says:

    @Sab:

    Seems to be more a misogyny than a race thing.

    I don’t know.

    There’s a white woman across the street who spends lots of time in front of her house. They don’t seem interested n honking at her.

    Anecdotal, I know, but I want them all to drive into ditches, or into trees. World might be a better place.

  130. 130
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus:

    Most who served and lived, combat or not know that they were lucky and being congratulated for luckily not dying is bullshit. It is condescending, even if it’s not intended that way.

    I think it may be thoughtless, but not condescending. Most of these people are trying to be kind. Or maybe express patriotism.

    I don’t like the sentiment for various reasons noted, but I would try to cut people a break if I didn’t think their gesture was mean spirited.

  131. 131
  132. 132
    trollhattan says:

    Speaking of books and reading, anybody have a teen who reads them, other than the ones assigned in class?

    Ours used to read in elementary school, enjoyed the library, etc. Now, zilch, in fact she’s currently watching somebody with an Elon Muskish accent giving running commentary as he plays a video game. The horror–it’s cutting into her YouTube viewing.

  133. 133
    NotMax says:

    @germy

    Yup. Can’t recall the last time saw a Stephen Potter volume on a (non-second hand) bookstore shelf.

  134. 134
    Sab says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: Still friends. That’s the general local position, not necessarily my own.

    Owners without the wherewithal to support a team is a fine old Cleveland tradition (Dolans with the Indians.)

    Of course having enough money and a star player isn’t enough if you are arrogant jerk (D. Gilbert with Cavs).

  135. 135
    trollhattan says:

    @Brachiator:
    Vets are rather rare creatures today, at least compared to when I was a kid and most of the adult men had either been in WWII or Korea. Progress, I suppose. Plus there’s the dynamic of the all-volunteer military, the last draft was 1972.

  136. 136
    NotMax says:

    @trollhattan

    Might be for the best to consider the reading habit dormant but not extinct.

  137. 137
    snoey says:

    @trollhattan: and on NYE they get all the anti-hygge out of their system with a giant audience participation fireworks show.

  138. 138
    Mnemosyne says:

    @germy:

    For some reason, I didn’t catch the first time around that your wife is black. Yes, it’s probably low-level racial harassment, but it could well be just plain ol’ sexual harassment, too.

    I suggest a BB gun or dart gun aimed at their tire. Especially if you can cause a slow leak that will strand them hours later.

  139. 139
    trollhattan says:

    @Sab:
    Suspect one of the hardest hills for a pro sports owner to climb is to hire professional management and then get the hell out of the way. It wasn’t once required to be a billionaire to become a pro team owner but today it’s mandatory, and how many of those lack a sociopathic-level ego and sense of self-worth? e.g., Paul Allen was an extreme outlier among NFL owners.

  140. 140
    germy says:

    @trollhattan: Possibly video games are the new literature. Interactive literature.

  141. 141
    trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I suggest a BB gun or dart gun aimed at their tire. Especially if you can cause a slow leak that will strand them hours later.

    That’s not even remotely funny.

  142. 142
    trollhattan says:

    @germy:
    Here’s hoping not, especially not watching somebody else play.

    Will confess I’ve spent lots of time watching Tony Bourdain eat exotic food, but that’s different, damnit!

  143. 143
    Brachiator says:

    @Kay:

    On the upside we get to go to Denmark for Christmas and I have never been.

    Comedian April Winchell once did a radio piece about the fabulous, sugary dessert overload, Christmas she spent in Denmark.

  144. 144
    Ruckus says:

    @rikyrah:
    There are times when the job is to send young men to die. Those times shouldn’t exist but they do. The problem is when young men – and women, get sent for bullshit. War is not just, ever. But sometimes it is necessary. That is of course far less often than when young people do get sent to die. There is no glory, there is no better purpose, there is only death. But on rare occasions it is necessary. Those real rare occasions are far rarer than the many times young people are sent to die. We are not the world’s police nor mom. And I’d bet that the world doesn’t want us to try.

  145. 145
    trollhattan says:

    @NotMax:
    Dad has settled on poking fun but no nagging. Books are like music, I tell her, “Artist X [which she just complained about] will still be there when you’re ready.” ‘Cause I can guarantee she’ll be embarrassed some day with a lot of what she’s now listening to.

  146. 146
    germy says:

    @trollhattan:

    Will confess I’ve spent lots of time watching Tony Bourdain eat exotic food, but that’s different, damnit!

    My cat’s favorite TV show is PBS Nature. She watches intently while lions chase down gazelles and eat them.

    Then she goes downstairs and eats her canned fancy feast chicken paté.

  147. 147
    NotMax says:

    @germy

    While perusing Amazon Prime, saw something titled Movies for Cats – Forest Birds. Presumably one of a series; other than noting the name didn’t look too closely.

  148. 148
    MomSense says:

    @germy:

    I tried to watch it when I was home recovering from surgery – bad timing. I may try it again in 10 years or so.

  149. 149
    Brachiator says:

    @trollhattan:

    It wasn’t once required to be a billionaire to become a pro team owner but today it’s mandatory, and how many of those lack a sociopathic-level ego and sense of self-worth?

    Sports team owners have often been thieving assholes, even when you adjust for inflation.

  150. 150
    germy says:

    @NotMax: Yes, youtube is full of stuff like that. Hour-long videos of birds and squirrels. The youtuber sprinkles a bunch of birdseed on the ground, sets a camera nearby. Lots of birdsong on the soundtrack.

    My cat loves watching, but I limit her screen time.

  151. 151
    Sab says:

    @Kay: That’s kind of cool.

    My baby sister for some reason studied Danish in college and spent a semester there in the 1980s. She found it quite useful 15 years later when her company sent her to their Swiss home office for a few months. Apparently Danish is almost as close to Swiss German as German German is.

  152. 152
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @germy:

    My cat loves watching, but I limit her screen time.

    LOL

  153. 153
    Brachiator says:

    @trollhattan:

    Vets are rather rare creatures today, at least compared to when I was a kid and most of the adult men had either been in WWII or Korea. Progress, I suppose

    In a way, I would hope that we would have fewer vets, but this administration seems intent on starting a conflict somewhere.

    @trollhattan:

    Speaking of books and reading, anybody have a teen who reads them, other than the ones assigned in class?

    Not sure. My friends’ kids are generally older.

    The boyfriend of a coworker, a guy in his 20s, once bragged that he had never read a novel in his life. He was really proud about it.

  154. 154
    Ruckus says:

    @Argiope:
    Thing is, even though I didn’t serve in combat, I was a member of the armed forces and I do use the VA and know a lot of vets who did see combat. I see, yes mostly men – there are I believe 8 women on the wall in DC, who were massively affected both physically and mentally by their time in the service and combat. I’ve seen the cost up close and that becomes personal, like it or not. Lives lost and lives twisted beyond repair. And it’s not just Vietnam. Two yrs ago, I sat with a young man about 30 who had lost his way, may be lost forever. Physically he’s OK, mentally he’s not even close. And there are a lot of those. I also sat with a man my age, who is the scariest man I’ve ever talked to. Because his mind was destroyed by war. He didn’t lose his life but he has managed to ruin it, because he can never forget what he saw, what he felt, what he knows. It’s in every thing for him, it never goes away. He’s not dead but he wishes he was. He’s still extremely angry, 50 yrs later. A seemingly barely controlled time bomb, just ticking away. It was an exercise, to sit inches away and look at each other, for 2 minutes. He didn’t blink, in that time not once. And he hated, with more passion than I’ve ever seen for the entire time. Not much scares me, but this did. All consuming rage is not as rare as one might imagine, but time normally has a way of at least chipping at the edges. Not him, his edges were razor sharpe, even after all that time. That’s what makes me feel that “Thank You for your service” is condescending. Yes it’s the dead. But it’s also the living that have been forgotten, horribly burdened with their experience. I’m whole, the navy pissed me off but left me relatively unscathed. Far too many did not come away any where close to unscathed. And far too many did not come away at all. Thanking me for being lucky? No thanks.

  155. 155
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    Well, I’ve never told anyone who said it me to FUCK OFF, so there’s that. I do find it refreshing that most vets seem to feel the same way as I do. And it is a relatively recent thing so maybe that’s why we feel the way we do. I could say, “You’re welcome” but I’m not that patronizing.

  156. 156
    TerryC says:

    @Argiope: That whole veterans were disrespected meme is flat out wrong. A tiny number, like a handful, of such events maybe. My experience was receiving Hallmark-type cards congratulating me for completing my enlistment and being given every single possible extra bit of help from universities and colleges, where my status as a veteran was high.

    Not once did a single person ever express anything negative about me due to my service. Not once. Nor did I ever see or hear of bad things happening except in after the fact stories I suspect were made up.

    I believe that meme is one that lets veterans express victimhood but without having to blame the people who were responsible for lying them into war. So they make up stories about hippies being bad to them.

  157. 157
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus:

    Well, I’ve never told anyone who said it me to FUCK OFF, so there’s that. I do find it refreshing that most vets seem to feel the same way as I do. And it is a relatively recent thing so maybe that’s why we feel the way we do.

    But it’s not either/or.

    You have complex, eloquently expressed reasons for the way you feel. But you don’t know the feeling or motives of a person who says “thank you.”

    Maybe we need to find more ways to let veterans communicate the larger range of their experiences, should they so desire.

    And even if they want to tell the public to just STFU, that’s fine, too.

    But if you don’t take the time to learn what the other person is actually thinking, you can really judge or condemn them.

  158. 158
    J R in WV says:

    @Brachiator:

    I still visit the local bookstores, we have a locally owned and operated book shop with a coffee wine bar, snacks, art gallery, Fridays and Saturdays they have local musicians performing.

    I see quite a few classic SiFi/Fantasy authors, including Issac Asimov, Phillip K Dick, Frank Herbert and Robert Heinlein. Ursula K. le Guin also, all are reprinted recently. Also at Books a Million, which sells frozen yogurt…

  159. 159
    J R in WV says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    Love, love Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli — Their quintet was cutting edge jazz, and unique to their time and place.

  160. 160
    Mike S (Now with a Democratic Congressperson!) says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: I’m late to the thread, but I would mention David Weber’s Honor Harrington series, She is a mother in the later books andher mother is also a strong personality in several of the books too.

  161. 161
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    Thing is I don’t judge or condemn them. I just wish they would mind their own business. Or at least not mind mine. But I don’t tell them to FUCK OFF. I don’t tell them the question and homely is not appreciated. If they can read faces they probably understand. But I’m relatively stoic with my expressions so even there it’s not clear cut. And no I generally don’t answer/acknowledge their thanks. Because I don’t feel like it. They have a right to say what they feel, even if I feel it’s not a realistic comment. That’s one of the small reasons I joined. I thought the war was unjust. I thought that the draft didn’t give me a realistic way to actually protest, as the physical that I took was 10000% obviously bogus bullshit. They wanted bodies, they needed bodies, they took bodies. I didn’t want to run, this is my country too. I didn’t feel that I was a conscientious objector, some fighting is sometimes necessary – there are bad people in the world. I was between a rock and a very hard spot, as were a lot of other young men. I don’t feel I’m to be commended for my decision, I got out of it what I put into it, no one died because of me, and my appreciation for this country is intact. For many of it’s politicians that last statement is null and void. It’s not a perfect place and it’s being destroyed from within at a rapid pace by criminals, dipshits and thieves, but it is where I was born and have been a productive citizen.

  162. 162
    Inspectrix says:

    Professionally I’m in a position to witness a lot of episodes of “Thank you for your service.” It usually functions as a non-veteran’s attempt at changing the subject when they feel uncomfortable yet want to seem appreciative:
    Veteran: I’ve reminisced for too long about being in France in WWII and you are impatient.
    Non-veteran: Thank you for your service.

    Veteran: I’ve just shared something horrific that happened during my deployment and you are gobsmacked.
    Non-veteran: Thank you for your service.

    Veteran: I’ve just shared an aspect of my military service that I’m really proud of but I used some military jargon that you don’t understand.
    Non-veteran: Thank you for your service.

    I try to lean into those moments of discomfort as a non-veteran listener, but sometimes I fail and something trite comes out. I will keep working on it.

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