Saturday Morning Open Thread: Don’t Just Protest, Do It Fabulously!

From the Washington Post, “A spice company spent more money on impeachment ads on Facebook than anyone not named Trump”:

On Wednesday, Axios published a list of the entities spending the most money on Facebook ads on both sides of the impeachment debate. They included the usual suspects of the political war roll call, including Trump himself (he was top of the list, of course, at $718,000), Democratic presidential candidates Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren, and both the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

But one name jumped off the screen for its sheer one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other factor: Penzeys Spices, the nation’s largest spice retailer, had dropped $92,000 from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 on ads championing impeachment. That was more than self-funding millionaire Steyer, more than hard-charging Warren — more than anyone else other than Trump…

For many Penzeys fans, it comes as no surprise. The company has a history of unabashed liberal activism. Its founder, Bill Penzey, greeted Trump’s election with an email calling the president an “openly racist candidate.” As Helen Rosner noted in a New Yorker story last year, that set him far apart from the rest of the business-leader pack. He was “quite possibly the first to publicly call Trump’s election an ‘embrace of racism,’” she wrote. “And he was definitely the first to do so while hawking a free bottle of Quebec Seasonings with any five-dollar purchase.”…

The company’s impeachment ad, which ran last week, wasn’t the blunt-force entreaty of most political ads. Instead, it was a 1,592-word message from Penzey celebrating what he called a good week for democracy. “You may not have been paying much attention this week, but the short version is the end is very near for this terrible turn the Republican Party has taken,” he wrote. In typical form, Penzey leavened his narrative with gentle humor: “If liberals have to fix this on their own, they can and will, but it would be awesome to have conservatives pitching in alongside,” he wrote. “You guys are hard workers, plus you always bring those cakes we like.”

In a telephone interview, Penzey said he was a little surprised to learn of the distinction he had earned by being the second-biggest spender on impeachment ads. That’s partly because he says he doesn’t see what he’s putting out there to be purely politically motivated. “I’m running ads to run a business,” he says. “And so much of that is using your business to radiate your values.”

The ad mentioning impeachment, he says, has performed twice as well as any other ad he’s run…

I will also mention, as a satisfied Penzey’s customer, that one of the great things about their many mix varieties is that they’re an excellent culinary aid for those of us who don’t really cook, too. A good sprinkle of Tsardust Memories on supermarket potato salad, or a spoonful of Garden Salad added to pasta with butter, can upgrade a mere hunger-pangs-stauncher into a delicious meal. My fellow Penzeys fans probably have your own hacks, if you wanna share in the comments…






120 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: 😘
    And good on EW for bringing it right to Zuckerberg in a way that opens him up to a lawsuit (that he’d lose) if he removed her false ads but leaves up Trump’s and others.

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  3. 3
    WereBear says:

    [George Peppard voice] I love it when a plan comes together.

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  4. 4
    satby says:

    Penzy’s is the only place I buy spices now. Bill Penzy is a hero, the hate mail he gets is ferocious. And still he persists.

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    monoglot says:

    I started buying from Penzey’s a dozen years ago because of the quality of their spices. I still love their products, however, I may love Bill Penzey’s emails even more. He is a good human.

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  7. 7
    satby says:

    I moved booths yesterday so I’m starting at my new one today. It’s two feet less of counter space but lots more storage, in a slightly better trafficked area. My neighbor will be a nightmare, if I hadn’t shown up yesterday I would have come in with her store awning over my booth next week. Loud, annoying and constantly encroaching on my space.
    I’m already looking forward to selling it and retiring next year. Blech.

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  8. 8
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Who is Marie Yovanovitch?

    In picking on Yovanovitch, the detractors have chosen a tough target. She has had a stellar career, serving as ambassador under three presidents to three countries (a rare distinction), Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Ukraine, as well as senior adviser to the under secretary of state for political affairs.

    She is one of the state department’s foremost experts on Russia, Ukraine and the surrounding region. She was born in Canada to Soviet emigrants and grew up speaking Russian, and is known to friends and colleagues as Masha. Her parents moved to the US when she was young and she became a naturalised US citizen in her teens, studying history and Russian studies at Princeton, and doing her postgraduate studies at the Pushkin Institute and the National War College.

    Former colleagues all describe her as meticulous, calm under pressure, supremely qualified and steeped in the nonpartisan culture of professional diplomacy, all which set her apart from the campaign donors who are given an increasing share of ambassadorial posts.

    “She is whip smart; and by nature, cautious, meticulous, very much someone who follows the rule book. And with great integrity, so she follows instructions and stays within policy guidelines, but she’s also not going to do anything that she believes is wrong,” said John Herbst, a former ambassador to Ukraine. Yovanovitch served as Herbst’s deputy from 2003 to 2004.

    ……………………………

    After Trump’s election, according to former officials, Yovanovitch lost a good deal of her clout because the Ukrainians to whom she was talking began to suspect she was not speaking for the White House, which had its own agenda. Lutsenko and others looked instead for other channels, like Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. That split widened when Yovanovitch would not help Giuliani look for compromising material about Hunter Biden, the son of the Democratic frontrunner for next year’s presidential election.

    “She refused to allow her embassy to be dragged into some sort of effort to concoct dirt for political purposes,” a former official said, adding that she was also not prepared to bend the rules by using personal devices for off-the-books conversations, a mistake made by the former special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker. Volker’s messages, reflecting enthusiastic cooperation with Giuliani, made him look complicit. He has resigned from that part-time envoy job and also lost his academic post.

    Yovanovitch has yet to provide her version of what happened in those critical months leading to her ouster, either in person, or through friends and colleagues.

    Daniel Fried, a former assistant secretary of state for Europe who has known Yovanovitch for 25 years, said: “The fact that she has been dead quiet after her shabby treatment, that she didn’t leak, didn’t complain directly or indirectly, demonstrates more about her character than any words I could say.”

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  9. 9
    Lapassionara says:

    @RAVEN: Do you mean the one that says “I skipped the rapture for this?” Or the one that is blank?

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  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Hoarse Whisperer
    ‏ @HoarseWisperer

    ROOOOOOODY, your bus is here.

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    RAVEN says:

    @Lapassionara: GOD HATES YOUR OUTFIT!

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    RAVEN says:

    Damn, first retirement check came!

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    satby says:

    @RAVEN: Good news!

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    Van Buren says:

    Grilled chicken with their Greek Seasoning, & a coupla squirts of lemon juice goes over real big at my house. One kid also adds yogurt sauce. I started with Penzey”s about 15 years ago with cinnamon chunks for coffee. I’m going to estimate that I have 60 Penzey’s jars or bags of spices in my kitchen right now. It’s a company that I am only too happy to do business with, because of quality, value, and politics.

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @RAVEN: WooooHooooo!

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    satby says:

    @Van Buren:

    It’s a company that I am only too happy to do business with, because of quality, value, and politics.

    Truth!
    I put the Vietnamese cinnamon and a sprinkle of turmeric in my coffee sometimes for an antioxidant boost and because it tastes great. And Penzy makes great gift packs for Christmas, my kids look forward to getting them all year 😆

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    Raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The odd thing is that I had one raise in 5 years and the retirement system gives them every year!

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    satby says:

    Ok, gotta go. Tell rikyrah I said good morning when she gets here, and everybody have a great day!

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Raven: Funny how they can do that.

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    Lapassionara says:

    @RAVEN: LOL. I missed that one. Thx

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    We are getting our first frost of the season this morn, and the house has taken on a definite chill. Knowing my Mediterranean born lizard wife like I do, I dutifully spent an hour yesterday loading up the wood box on the porch, the wood box in the house, filled the kindling basket, and built a fire in the woodstove so that all she’d have to do is light it when she got too cold.

    Much to my surprise when I got up, the woodstove was dead and she was wearing 2 layers. I’m so proud of her. Of course it won’t last. She hasn’t fired it up yet but she did just say she’s thinking about it.

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  22. 22
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And it’s lit. Hope I have enough wood put up. ;-)

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    Betty Cracker says:

    In case anyone missed it:

    “Hello, 9-1-1? I’m calling to report a murder…”

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    JPL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Smart Lady.

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    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄😄😄

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    rikyrah says:

    @RAVEN:
    Yeah 👏👏👏

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: “STAT! We need the burn unit NOW!!!”

    @JPL: “My boobies have had enough.”

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    mali muso says:

    Love Penzeys spices and have been buying extra from them (for myself, as gifts for holidays, etc) since the election to support their strong political stance.

    My toddler decided that she wanted to get up early (for a weekend) so here we are watching Moana for the umpteenth time. At least the tunes are good!

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    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Betty Cracker: That burn caused Dump Jr.’s hair to catch on fire.

    Kids, don’t dip your noggings into oil drums.

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    Ramalama says:

    @monoglot: What, eat pray love, are Quebec Seasonings? Asking as a new Quebec resident. I never heard of Penzeys while living as a ‘Merican in America.

    But some things just escape me.

    For instance, I’m reading Ellroy’s book “Perfidia” which is fiction. But I just learned, thanks to the book, and as an adult who’s seen my fair share of WWII films, that Santa Barbara was attacked by a Japanese sub not long after attacking Pearl Harbor. It was my understanding that only Hawaii had been attacked by a foreign entity…until 9/11.

    So too with this spice company. Where have I been? Busy!

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    EmbraceYourInnerCrone says:

    @Ramalama – True fact, several of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska were actually occupied by the Japanese military during WW II

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ramalama: I always thought Quebec seasonings was maple syrup.

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    zhena gogolia says:

    About to have my morning oatmeal with delicious Penzey’s cinnamon on it.

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    mali muso says:

    @Ramalama: we are waiting for a final decision on our application for PR status in Canada (applied via the federal skilled workers fast track). Still not 100% sure we will make the jump and relocate, but wanted to have it as an option given how things are trending here. How has your adjustment been? We are primarily looking at southern Ontario but haven’t ruled out Quebec either (DH and I both speak French)

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    germy says:

    They arrested Jane Fonda during a climate change protest.

    And I just saw this; Elizabeth Warren trolls facebook by running campaign ads that lie about Zuckerberg:
    https://boingboing.net/2019/10/11/warren-trolls-facebook-by-runn.html

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    Rick says:

    “For many Penzeys fans”… That’s from here, Wauwatosa, WI. Good on them, and their spices (which are great!)

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    germy says:

    Jesus. I just read this article on how Facebook is helping Trump spread lies. It quotes Facebook official Katie Harbath who defends the company's policy. So I go check out her Twitter. This is literally her latest tweet. pic.twitter.com/xCvRmOktSF— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) October 9, 2019

    Harbath is Facebook’s head of global elections policy. She literally worked for Rudy Giuliani. I can't make this up. pic.twitter.com/wQ1mf9CCY8— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) October 9, 2019

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    debbie says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Oh, Rudi’s just a Manafort wannabe!

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    debbie says:

    @RAVEN:

    SSI? I’m curious; how long did it take from applying to getting the check?

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    kindness says:

    I pretty much don’t like most the ads on FB. Their layout is dull. They repeat stuff constantly. I click to stop seeing the offensive ones. And when you hear the ethics they have about what they’ll run for some lucre, well…..I use the platform. I don’t like that I’m helping them. But I’m not at the hermit stage of life yet. Thankfully I’m not on it much.

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    germy says:

    Again?

    The incompetence is mind-numbing. | White House accidentally sends Ukraine talking points to Democrats again https://t.co/5jtORwDcGP— 🕸Imani Gandy Corn🕸 (@AngryBlackLady) October 11, 2019

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  42. 42
    cain says:

    @germy:
    Why are all our social networks run by right wing assholes instead of folks like Bill Penzeys?

    I’m going to a tech conference and if Facebook is there i plan on giving them a piece of my mind.

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    Mousebumples says:

    Penzey’s favorites-
    Now Curry seasoning on chicken and veggies
    Fox Point on pasta (or the Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle, but that’s almost a little too much if I’m trying to eat healthy)

    My husband and I also gave out small spice bottles to guests at our wedding. Mitchell Street Steak seasoning is our favorite for rib eye. (Season and let the meat rest at room temperature for an hour or so, adding salt if you’d like. Then sear on the stove for a few minutes on each side before grilling or however you want to prepare your steak)

    I live in Wisconsin, so I’ve been using Penzey’s for years prior to learning about what good people are behind the company.

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    Leto says:

    So we’re Blackwater/Xi now. Kewl.

    NEW: On deployment of thousands of additional U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, Pres. Trump says, "Are you ready: Saudi Arabia, at my request, has agreed to pay us for everything we're doing. That's a first!" https://t.co/8kdbxWyuln pic.twitter.com/IKNVrgFblt— ABC News (@ABC) October 11, 2019

    Also I’m sure “us” isn’t the American public. I’ve been up for almost three hours and still no coffee. 😑

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    germy says:

    @cain: Let us know how it goes, how they respond.

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    artem1s says:

    Penzy is a great example of the kind of soft money we want on our side. I understand there are some leaders in the tech industry who are reacting quite well to Warren’s call to split up the big monopolies. They understand the environment that bred Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon doesn’t exist anymore. It’s probably harder to start up a competitor to those giants than it is to start up a new car company. Not everyone in big business wants to have a monopoly or hoard all the money like the Waltons. Some, like Costco, are pretty interested in making sure their employees are making a living wage. Some actually remember history and which party spent their political capitol on building and which spent theirs on division and war. And they are ready to address the income disparity. I think there are a lot more than we know who are just waiting for the right cause to get them out of their closets – who could have predicted that Dick’s would decide to stop selling guns and ammo for instance?

    I still have my Be Kind pin from Penzy’s that they gave out for the Women’s March. everyone who got one of those things is going to remember it for the rest of the their lives and compare it to the multiple ways FB has screwed up their privacy settings or some other company has screwed them over for a couple more pennies of profit. I’d like to see the Dems be less gun shy about being associated with progressive companies. And I’d like to see the whole Kennedy romance with Hollywood and fascination with getting celebrities’ endorsements take a back seat for a while.

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    debbie says:

    @Leto:

    Good god, that first cup is practically my first task in the morning!

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    germy says:

    @Leto:

    Erik Prince is on Fox, explaining that the best solution for Syria is for the U.S. to pull out all its troops, and then for the Kurds to hire private security contractors to come in and protect them.— Susan Simpson (@TheViewFromLL2) October 11, 2019

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    Chief Oshkosh says:

    I wonder how much an ad on Facebook costs. It would be fun and useful to create some images and movies of Zuckerberg and Harbath doing odd things to goats* and with each other. With enough permutations repeated enough times, Z&H might start to understand that being Masters of the Universe can have its downside.

    *No actual goats will be harmed in this production.

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    donnah says:

    Another cheer for Penzey! I am on their email list and so I love reading what Bill has to say. He’s honest and he’s unafraid to go after this disaster of an Administration. I support him all the way, and recommend his products without reservation.

    I can’t say enough about his double-strength vanilla, which is expensive but worth every cent. I use it in anything sweet that I bake. And for savory food, the granulated garlic gives a wonderful boost of flavor. It’s nice to have a company I can wholeheartedly support while turning my back on Hobby Lobby and Chick fil A.

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  51. 51
    Kay says:

    KerriKupecDOJ
    @KerriKupecDOJ
    · 13h
    “On the one hand, we have seen the steady erosion of our traditional Judeo-Christian moral system & a comprehensive effort to drive it from the public square. One the other hand, we see the growing ascendency of secularism & the doctrine of moral relativism.”–AG Barr at @NDLaw

    Trump employee sternly scolds others on ethics. Rules are for the little people.

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    Spanky says:

    @debbie: Not sure Raven is referring to SSI and not to a pension, but in related news I see via AARP that the SS COLA for 2020 is 1.6%.

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    Chief Oshkosh says:

    @artem1s: Is there a list of progressive/liberal companies?

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    Leto says:

    @cain: Because I’m fairly certain Bill Penzeys’ morale code isn’t: move fast, break shit, collect all the cash, fuck everyone over, be an unrepentant POS.

    I always wonder if people felt like this when newspapers first appeared. Is there a correlation here to a previous event that can maybe help guide us along? Just something I think about.

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    debbie says:

    @Spanky:

    Pension? Ah, yes, disappearing right before my eyes. //

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    oatler. says:

    I already feel fabulous because I’ve got leftover pizza for breakfast.

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    debbie says:

    @Kay:

    Ironic that those supporters of the “Judeo-Christian moral system” are intent on destroying the Founders’ democratic system. //

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    RedDirtGirl says:

    @satby: Didn’t you have an unpleasant neighbor at your last spot, too?

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    Mandalay says:

    @Betty Cracker: There was an even crueler tweet in the responses after Trump asked WHERE’S HUNTER last night:

    https://twitter.com/shewrick/status/1182858869174870016

    Ouch.

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    Kay says:

    @debbie:

    Barr’s not fit to lecture anyone on ethics. The part that kills me is everyone knows it. He violates ethical norms and rules every day, and he does it in public, yet he’s still invited to speak as some sort of leader with standing to scold others.

    It’s a joke. It’s really the height of cynicism. If we all pretend these people aren’t horribly corrupt nothing has to change and none of these “institutions” have to look at any of their failings.

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    Elizabelle says:

    @RedDirtGirl: It’s HoosierTown, Jake.

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    Ohio Mom says:

    @debbie: I don’t know the acronym for retirement benefits from Social Security but “SSI” refers to Supplemental Social Insurance and this program is mainly for people disabled before adulthood (Downs, autism, cerebral palsy, severe mental illness, etc.).

    It can be hard to prove you are qualified and there are lots of requirements, including assets under $2,000 (this limit includes a paid-for burial plot by the way). (There are ways to shelter the assets such as a trust).

    SSI is not to be confused with SSDI, which is mainly for workers who have paid Social Security taxes for at least 40 quarters and have become too disabled to continue working (for instance, a roofer who fell off the building he was working on, or someone with terminal cancer).

    I once asked a lawyer I know socially, who specializes in tax and estate law, a very general question about SSI. I emphasized I was not looking for personal advice (Ohio Son gets SSI), I was just trying to get a handle on the program. He laughed and said, “No one understands SSI.”

    Okay, enough pendantry for a weekend morning!

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    Kay says:

    I’m off to work the JV football concession stand with my surly teen helpers! We’re raising money for new marching band uniforms, which, btw, are shockingly pricey. This industry might be a racket :)

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    Amir Khalid says:

    Grumble: the price of Bianca’s UK-made senior-cat food has just gone up. Brexit will be the ruination of us all, I tell you. Grumble.

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    RedDirtGirl says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning. From me and Satby!

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay: Fuck his fake Judeo-Christian values.

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    japa21 says:

    The Post can’t get a simple thing like this right. According to the email I received from Bill Penzey this morning (he writes to me all the time) the post being discussed had 1,607 words, not 1,592. No wonder Trump complains about the Post and Fake News all the time.

    One of our very favorite Penzey’s is the Bicentennial Rub on turkey. Of course, right now I would rather do something else to Turkey.

    When we had our kitchen remodeled 11 years ago, one of the things my wife insisted on was a special cabinet just to hold her Penzey spices.

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    debbie says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Huh. Where I work, they refer to Social Security income as SSI. Not even acronyms are clear cut anymore!

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kay:

    This industry might be a racket :)

    Ya think?

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    japa21 says:

    @japa21: Just did a quick count. 90.

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    PAM Dirac says:

    @Mousebumples:

    Mitchell Street Steak seasoning is our favorite for rib eye.

    I use a generous amount of Mitchell Street, a decent amount of Lemon Pepper, and then just a bit of Sate. My wife won’t let anyone else cook rib eyes now. It is amazing what a bit Penzey spice mix can do to enhance a fairly ordinary dish, not to mention how it enhances the reputation of the cook with almost no extra effort.

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    tokyokie says:

    @Kay:

    We’re raising money for new marching band uniforms, which, btw, are shockingly pricey. This industry might be a racket

    You don’t happen to live in River City, perchance?

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    hueyplong says:

    Barr is enemy #1 right now for a bunch of reasons. McConnell is #2.

    I’d be willing to bet more than I can afford to lose that Trump will not be alive two years from now (natural causes).

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    @Leto: He says US troops deployed to Saudi as if it’s a good thing and we should congratulate him or thank him.

    I’ll be at the Schaumburg library fair today from 11-1. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello.

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    japa21 says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Was wondering if you would be there again. Unfortunately, the likelihood of Mrs. Japa and I stopping by is slim, but will if we can.

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    StringOnAStick says:

    A gorgeous sunny week is on tap here, after breaking the record low Thursday by getting into the low teens. So much for most fall colors and the raging fall flowers that were at their peak before this storm rolled through. Life on the edge of the Rockies… Once it warms up I’ll pull the potted tomato out of the garage for one more week before it snows again.

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    Amir Khalid says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:
    A POTUS who knows fuck-all about the history of al-Qa’idah — or, come to that, of anything — would think that, wouldn’t he?

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @hueyplong: Huh, first time I ever heard of death by polonium poisoning described as “natural causes.. ;-)

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    Bobby Thomson says:

    @germy: Facebook is now a propaganda arm of the RNC. It’s a real problem.

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    @japa21: It would be lovely to see you, but I understand if you’re busy. You have to take advantage of these last few beautiful fall days while you can.

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    Ohio Mom says:

    @debbie: Social Security has a very user-friendly web site that outlines their various programs, including handy charts explaining retirement ages by year of birth, the amount by which your benefits will change if you take early or late retirement, and so on.

    Just don’t ever call them unless you have lots of time to dedicate to being on hold.

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    UncleEbeneezer says:

    After nearly 2 years of fits and starts, my jazz trio is FINALLY playing a real gig tonight in Pasadena (at Club 1881 on Washington for any locals who might wanna swing by). Very excited to play but also annoyed as hell since the venue double-booked another band, pushing our start time to 10pm (ugh…I’m not in my 20’s anymore…)

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    Miss Bianca says:

    @Kay: Almost as big a racket as bridesmaids’ dresses!

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    mad citizen says:

    We’ve been using Penzey’s spices for several years, way before we know of any political slant. All the better, though. It helps that the store is a few miles from my house. So I learn of the giveaways here on BJ, and try to remember to check that email account that receives his emails. We probably still have a few printed catalogs lying around, being a bit of a packrat. I’m guessing we’re around 60 spices.

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  85. 85
    debbie says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Just don’t ever call them unless you have lots of time to dedicate to being on hold.

    Actually, I called them with a specific question about collecting early. I called three times, waited more than an hour each time, and got different answers each time!

    I’ve been all over their site and, yes, it’s much more friendly than their call centers!

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  86. 86
    JanieM says:

    @Ohio Mom: @Ohio Mom: I’ve done most of my social security and medicare research online and/or in my local office. When I’ve called on the phone, they’ve given me the estimated hold time, and if it’s long, they’ve offered me a call-back at a specific time later in the day. (IIRC they specified the time, I didn’t.) It’s similar at the local office — you can walk in, take a number, and wait, and I’ve done that without long waits, but also walked out a couple of times when the wait was going to be too long. But you can also call the appointment line (and maybe you can do this online, too, I’m not sure…..?) and make an appointment to have an in-person meeting at the local office.

    Every appointment I’ve made locally has been on time, and the people have been friendly and extremely well informed and organized.

    I plan to start taking social security in February. This past summer, the clerk in town told me to call in November for an appointment in December to get that set up. But I just got a form letter from the soc sec administration suggesting that I do it now. Which I haven’t done yet. I don’t know if you can speed it up, but that suggests somewhere in the 2-4 months range.

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  87. 87
    Calouste says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I doubt polonium poisoning will be used again. The Russians used it to murder Litvinenko because they thought it would be undetectable, and they were almost right, as only by a coincidence was it actually detected. But once it is detected it is easily traceable, and you might as well leave a note with “Love, Vlad” at the murder scene.

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  88. 88
    mad citizen says:

    @PAM Dirac: I haven’t used the Mitchell Street–will have to check it out. I’ve always been partial to their Chicago Steak Seasoning.

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    JanieM says:

    @debbie: Cross-posted, but that’s too bad. That’s the opposite of my experience.

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  91. 91
    joel hanes says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    No way Trump himself wrote that one.
    The word “disingenuous” is not in his vocabulary

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  92. 92
    Leto says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Awww, not in IL but if I were anywhere near the area I totally would! Hope you have a good time today!

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  93. 93
    Mousebumples says:

    @PAM Dirac: We will have to try adding lemon pepper. Thanks for the suggestion!

    @mad citizen: I’m a scientist at heart so we worked up a science experiment. 4 steaks (Costco deal), with a different spice on each. We liked the Mitchell Street best, but if you want to conduct your own experiment feel free. It’s not like there are bad options!

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  94. 94
    Wapiti says:

    @japa21: We often use the Bicentennial Rub on salmon. Put a thin layer of oil or mustard on the fish, sprinkle on the rub.

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    Raven says:

    @debbie: I was talking about my teachers retirement check. I got my first social security check a month after I applied. I was 69 years and 8 months and I don’t know if that mattered. Everyone at the local office was great, they treated me like I earned it!

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  96. 96
    Raven says:

    @debbie: The call center is in New Mexico and it’s hard to use. The local office is three blocks away so it was easy peasy for me.

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  97. 97
    debbie says:

    @JanieM:

    FWIW, I had intended to hold out and wait to apply after I was done working, but I read a couple of months ago that it’s better to apply and pocket the payments than to hold out for the annual bumps once you reach retirement age. I was tired of reading and researching, so I applied online that same day. Nine days later, a SS payment was deposited in to my checking account. I swear!

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  98. 98
    debbie says:

    @Raven:

    Because you did deserve it!

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  99. 99
    RAVEN says:

    My buddy bailed and my bride is busy with the parade, anyone want to go to the game?

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    Steve in the ATL says:

    @RAVEN: I would get in the car, I’m dog sitting a bulldog!

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    Captain C says:

    @germy: At some point, you have to figure they’re not here for the hunting.

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    Kattails says:

    @japa21: I saw what you did there. gobble gobble.

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    Immanentize says:

    @Raven:
    When I applied for survivor benefits for the Immp, after a couple week wait for the appointment, SS went super smooth — he had his first check w/in three weeks with all back pay included. Frankly, I was surprised how well that went.

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    TomatoQueen says:

    A summertime treat is caprese with Penzey’s Mignonette Pepper (pepper ground finely with coriander in some mysterious proportion):
    sliced tomatoes of any type
    a chiffonnade of basil leaves
    sliced fresh mozz’
    coarse salt (Diamond Crystal or that fancy pants stuff)
    Mignonette pepper
    your nicest EVOO
    For a group, assemble the ingredients in a spiral or other pleasing shape on a platter, then season with a little salt, the Mignonette, and lightly drizzle with the olive oil. For individual servings, do the same but with a smaller platter. A variation is to add some Vidalia or WallaWalla onion but I think sometimes that’s a little much.
    Agree with Penzey’s vanilla, it’s pricey as hell but it beats everything else and you don’t need much of it so one bottle will last an Xmas baking season.

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    NotMax says:

    File under Sentences I Never Thought I’d Encounter:

    However, we refrain from licking meteorites. Source

    @Ozark Hillbilly

    Cue Ruth Wallis.   :)

    @Leto

    I’ve been up for almost three hours and still no coffee.

    The horror, the horror…

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    Ohio Mom says:

    @debbie: Many years ago, when I was visiting the old homestead in New York, my Uncle Leo was catching me up on family doings. He announced that one of his daughters had just landed a job with the IRS. With pride he said, “You know when you call and they give you the wrong information? That’s what Eleanor is going to be doing!”

    I get the feeling Social Security really does not want you to call them, they want to do everything on-line or in the mail.

    All my dealings with my local Social Security office on Ohio Son’s behalf have been handled kindly and professionally.

    The office near me is obviously understaffed yet they maintain good spirits anyway. Maybe it comes from knowing they are helping their fellow citizens.

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  107. 107
    Amir Khalid says:

    @NotMax:

    However, we refrain from licking meteorites. Source

    For a moment there, I thought this was a reference to The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill.

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    Aleta says:

    I learned about Penzey’s here (thanks); and iirc about Mountain Rose Herbs from JgC mentioning them one time. First order of Penzey’s helped me a lot during a very bad time; if I just boiled some pasta or rice, put it in a bowl with a couple of their blends (sometimes w/ some olive oil or butter), I had made actual hot food that was really good. (For me the blends with shallots together w/ a powder that included cheese were good for that easy lift.) Now I give Penzey’s to friends who used to like to cook but have health probs that take away their energy. Sometimes I try some odd use that I expect might not work, and am amazed.

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    Ohio Mom says:

    @Immanentize: Proving survivorship should be pretty simple — the applicants that get put through a gauntlet are the ones applying for SSI or SSDI for disability.

    IIRC, over half of this initial claims are rejected (there is a multi-step appeals process).

    They want to see a lot of bullet-proof documentation about the disability. As they probably should to prevent fraud.

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  110. 110
    TomatoQueen says:

    @Ohio Mom: Yes. I work for SSA on the disability side of the house. Please, we beg you, create your mySSA account interface at ssa.gov, and you’ll find over time, if you check it regularly, that all your data have been updated. Because of budget cuts since 2006, when I started there, SSA has incurred increasing difficulty in handling the ever-burgeoning caseload, fueled by Boomer retirements and disability claims, and we are perpetually understaffed and under-officed. The answer to this, going electronic as much as possible, has been a gradual process since 2007: we needed to fund an all new IT center in Baltimore (2009 thru 2011) first, then get our software up and running (we stopped using IE6 only when M$oft told us no more support), and then make the public facing interfaces idiot-and-hack-proof, which takes an unconscionable amount of time, considering the demands of crazies out in the landscape and all the security stuff that can go wrong. The electronic service is much better than it was, and more and more program elements will go live, once we’re sure they’re secure. In certain parts of the country, the in-person service levels leave something to be desired, NYC is one, Miami is another, and just about any area where offices were closed in the Bush era still has not recovered. All of that is a simplification, but I can tell you that I am so glad to see that people are getting results, i.e., you got your payment, and so did you, and so did you–that’s our job and that’s what we do, so at least for now our firewall is holding.

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    Erin in Flagstaff says:

    Penzey’s Northwoods mix is my go-to coating on chicken. I love their cinnamon choices too.

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    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @debbie:

    I read a couple of months ago that it’s better to apply and pocket the payments than to hold out for the annual bumps once you reach retirement age.

    IIRC the increases in benefits from waiting are set based on expected survival rates of SocSec recipients by age, & the breakeven point for decisions comes somewhere between late 70s and early 80s – that is, if you live longer than the breakeven point, you will collect less over your lifetime by starting to collect at the earlier age.

    There are two major flies in the ointment. One is need. Many folks have inadequate-to-no other sources of income, including pensions or savings; job opportunities for seniors are limited and generally poorly paid. One of my neighbors had to take his benefit the instant he qualified, & screw the actuarial tables.

    The other is death. I think qualifying survivors (current/former spouses & dependents, etc.) can claim SocSec benefits even if the participants never claimed the benefits for themselves (& even if they never made it to an age where they could have claimed them). But absent a qualifying survivor, SocSec payments end with the participant’s demise. What they send you during your lifetime is it. I found myself in that position & took my benefits earlier than I would have otherwise, so I could leave the equivalent amount in my savings to be willed to heirs and charities in case I took the dirt nap earlier than expected. (So far, so good.)

    (The last factor is taxes – the Feds tax a maximum of 85% of your SocSec benefits, & some states don’t tax them at all – which affects your net benefit. But that’s too complicated to address in general.)

    /$0.02

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    H.E.Wolf says:

    @TomatoQueen:
    A heartfelt “thank you!” for all of your valiant service, including the plural use of data. :)

    It’s interesting to learn details about the operational (and/or backstage) aspects of people’s jobs. Thanks for the info!

    ETA: fiddled with small details in 2nd paragraph. No caffeine here either.

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    Torrey says:

    Got up this morning, fed and exercised the dogs (priorities!), prepped some summer squash and root vegetables for roasting with Penzey’s Fox Point (took a bit of time to decide between that and Sunny Paris, Parisian, Garden Salad and Mural of Flavor), settled in to read BJ, and discovered that serendipity had struck. I too learned about Penzey’s at this site. I’m one of those who isn’t much of a cook, but the blends are are a huge help. We have a Penzey’s store not too far away. They have samples available so you can smell before you buy, and so a visit is a great lightener of spirits. Also of wallet.

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    debbie says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    Thanks for this information.

    I always figured it was a six of one, half-dozen of another kind of thing. My state doesn’t tax Social Security income; I can’t imagine living into my 80s; Wall Street pretty much took all my savings; I’ve still managed to pay off all my credit cards; my relatives are far better off than me. IOW, I saw no reason to wait to get benefits.

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  116. 116
    Zelma says:

    Deciding on when to take Social Security benefits is a gamble. I retired at 64 and was going to wait at least until 65 and perhaps longer. Then I was diagnosed with cancer. Guess who took the benefits PDQ? Also a very nice SS representative called me and told me that I would have to live until 83 to make up the difference between taking SS then or later. So it will be six years before the I will be “losing” money. Folks really ought to talk to an expert and review their situation carefully when deciding what to doc

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  117. 117
    BK Striker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: How do you reconcile your statement with Zuckerberg stating Warren would be bad for his business, when, in a July audio recording, he told employees that the company would “go to the mat” to defeat Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren?
    (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-zuckerberg/facebooks-zuckerberg-says-warren-as-u-s-president-would-be-bad-for-tech-idUSKBN1WG42H)

    Are you implying his implication is any other Democrat is okay with him?

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  118. 118
    Ohio Mom says:

    @TomatoQueen: Interesting to hear an inside view of Social Security. Thanks for all your good work on behalf of the disability community.

    Not surprised to hear Bush/a Republican is responsible for cutbacks that still hobble the agency. Grrr…

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  120. 120
    Ramalama says:

    @mali muso: I admit it; I am slow to adjust. But I loved Montreal from the start. And when we moved to a little mountain town, I loved that as well, though it’s frustrating with the limitations of a small town. There’s an election going on. How do I know? 4 campaign posters in town. 2 debates on tv, no commercials, one all in French, the other all in English. A couple of phone calls. My partner/wife has an option of several days to go cast her vote. She opted in for yesterday. A Saturday. No one else was there!

    Newscasters on tv still ask pressing questions of everyone. Still discuss issues seriously. Like how Americans usedta do that maybe 20 years earlier? One woman who’s an expert in something is from Montreal. I’ve seen her on panels on talk shows. Her hair is usually disheveled. She often expresses disdain or doubts of what other speakers say by rolling her eyes or huffing. Yet what she says is intelligent and regarded as serious because she is an expert in the field.

    Then it’s mostly for me all about medical. I saw first hand my dying parents dealing with medical – doctors, medicines, insurance. They hired my brother to handle that and things still got fexxed up even though he was thorough and excellent. That’s in the US. From what I can tell, and what my in-laws tell me, I can experience a medical event and I can now walk into any hospital and get treated immediately. I can then decide that the doctor is not up to par and then decide on my own to go see another specialist. I can just do that. My cost for medical as a Quebec resident is $500 for the year. I don’t have copays or anything like that. I’ve had a bunch of tests done, some bloodwork. Nothing yet out of pocket. The medication isn’t free. But it’s much cheaper than in the US.

    I can go on about this. Hit me up if you want more.

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