Monday Evening Open Thread: President Obama Subtweets 2018

subtweetˈsəbˌtwēt/ noun informal noun: subtweet; plural noun: subtweets; noun: sub-tweet; plural noun: sub-tweets
(on Twitter) a post that refers to a particular user without directly mentioning them, typically as a form of furtive mockery or criticism.
“while he didn’t include Smith’s Twitter handle, that didn’t stop Smith from seeing the post, taking umbrage, and firing off a subtweet of his own”
Origin – early 21st century: blend of subliminal and tweet.

All of those books, as far as I can tell, have been very well reviewed!

The Power is a novel about what might happen if women were suddenly able to physically overpower / abuse men via intimate contact.

Grant is the biography of a president whose well-meaning efforts towards emancipation would be heinously undermined by his successors’ craven and corrupt administration.

Janesville describes what happened in Paul Ryan’s home base when The Glorious Free Market of late-stage evangelical capitalism is unleashed…

Apart from reading lists, what’s on the agenda as we gird for the official end of the holiday season?

Estonia’s James Bond


It’s twenty years ago this month that I was given an assignment that, in six weeks, landed me in a place I had barely heard of. I can only recall the sleety dark streets of Tallinn with joy and love.

What I didn’t know was that part of the time I was walking past the apartment of Jaan Kross, a very important Estonian author. I didn’t know about him then either, but learned as I kept traveling to that country, often in better weather.

Politico had a profile this week of Jaan Kross’s son, Eerik-Niiles Kross, who presents a swashbuckling image.

No one — least of all Kross — denies that his work has required him to move in shadows and operate on the edge. “His background is quite controversial,” says Urmas Paet, an Estonian member of the European Parliament and minister of foreign affairs from 2009-2014 who, like Kross, is in the liberal Reform Party. “He is often close to, or crossing the limits.”

Kross’s nemesis, of course, is Vladimir Putin. But NATO troops now in the Baltics help him feel a little safer.

He speaks in perfect English but with one of those European accents that is impossible to place — educated, vaguely but then definitely not British, most assuredly not American.

I’m guessing this is from his perfect Estonian vowels. I love that language.

The whole profile is very worth reading. I particularly appreciated learning he is Jaan Kross’s son. I very much enjoy Kross’s novels that have been translated into English. I have three:

The Tsar’s Madman

Professor Martens’ Departure

The Rock From The Sky

I haven’t read the third, particularly enjoy the first.  I also have Wikmani Poisid, in Estonian, but I’m not up to reading a whole novel yet.


And I’m gonna ask that we give some of the topics of the past week a rest.

Mean Girlz Open Thread: A Dish Served Cold

… ‘Almost as cold as the face on that beeyotch in the WH publicity photos’. [Yes, I am a petty, petty person.] Per TPM, Ivana Trump has a book to sell, and presumably a team of ace legal specialists to vet it, because it sounds like Game of Thrones – NYC:

A new book from Donald Trump’s first wife pulls back the curtain on a tumultuous period of the president’s life, including the messy divorce that was splashed across New York’s tabloids for weeks…

“Raising Trump” is set to be released next week. The Associated Press purchased an early copy.

In the book, Ivana writes glowingly about her marriage to Trump and her prominent role at the Trump Organization. But then she unburdens herself about the heartache that Trump’s affair with Maples caused her and the couple’s three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric. Donald Jr. didn’t speak to his father for a year after the split…

‘Don’t blame me if the kid’s totally effed up. I did my best, but given Mr. My-Superior-Genes… ‘

…But she and the president have returned to far warmer terms. She writes that they speak about once a week and that she encourages him to keep using Twitter…

I’ll bet she does. What ex-Trump-partner would not?

She said in a CBS News interview this week that she was offered the post of ambassador to the Czech Republic, her native country, but turned it down because she already has “a perfect life.”…

‘And you, Melanja Knause? Those news photos, your expression is not that of a woman whose life is perfect.’

Much of the book is spent recounting Ivana Trump’s childhood in Europe, her burgeoning modeling career in New York and Trump’s courtship. She writes that, at their first meeting, Trump secured her and friends a table at a hot Manhattan restaurant, paid the check and chauffeured her back to her hotel in a giant Cadillac…

‘So much more romantic than having an aging roue hand me a business card at a ‘party’ so we could dicker over terms the next day. But then, I was a legitimate model. And I had friends.’

“Maybe in fifteen years, she could run for president?” she writes about her daughter, Ivanka, before musing about her own possible title. “First Lady? Holds no appeal for me personally…”

‘Your anchor baby Joffrey, or whatever his ridiculous name, will never be President. He’ll be lucky to reach voting age before the old man either strokes out or goes to jail. At least my kids are old enough to fend for themselves when the whole house of cards collapses…’

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: What Happened

I know some of you are already reading your copies of What Happened, because you’re Amazon Prime customers or Kindle readers or just motivated enough to have gotten to a book store already. (My copy, according to Amazon, won’t ship until Monday.)

Question: Is it worth doing a Book Club around this new memoir? The reviews so far — even the most grudging — have been favorable. But I’m half-dreading starting to read it myself, because I’ll get pissed off all over again at all the malign idiots and criminals who gave their collective tiny souls to install Anybody But Her in the White House…

Apart from trudging onward & upwards (if Hillary could weather that shitestorm, then by goddess so can we), what’s on the agenda for the day?

Open Thread: Palin Wept


All of them, Katie!

Yeah, I think Sam Bee is right — the President-Asterisk can’t read, at least not with any fluency. And he’s too spoilt to put in the effort to overcome his deficits.

(I always suspected Dubya was an unacknowledged dyslexic / ADD sufferer, but at least his parents had taught him to fake an interest. Sometimes. “All right, you’ve covered your ass… “)

Sunday Morning Garden-Gift Chat


However one chooses to celebrate the winter solstice, ’tis the season… for buying gifts. For many of us Garden Chat regulars, it’s the season for resting / planning / stocking up for next year’s gardening.

Back in the summer (at the height of garden-photo season), Hillary sent me a Guardian link on the “Top 10 books about gardens“. The choices by Vivian Swift, the author of the article and of Gardens of Awe and Folly: A Traveler’s Journal on the Meaning of Life and Gardening, are a little bit precious for my taste, but then books about gardening do tend to be either overly technical (usually about a very limited subject) or slightly too lyrical. But books are always a ‘safe’ gift, and if you know your gardener presumably you can judge their tolerance for instruction and/or poesy…

What do you give as gifts, to the gardeners in your life?


Rachel Barnhart is a Rochester-area celebrity who ran a primary challenge against another Democrat for a New York State Assembly seat earlier this year.  Barnhart lost, and wrote a book about the experience, Broad-Casted.  Her book contains lessons for anyone thinking about running for office, or even those of us who are looking for Democrats to challenge incumbents in the next elections, because Barnhart was probably a better candidate than the average first-time Democratic candidate, even Democrats running for federal office.

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