Something good today

Let’s celebrate something good this week. It could be small. It could be big. Just make sure it is something good.

For me, I’ve become an uncle again. I have two absolutely amazing new nephews. Their big brother is adjusting to the trauma of not being an only child. If everything works out well, I’ll see them all this spring after the grandparents and other, far more, helpful relatives get out of my brother and sister-in law’s way.

So tell me something good about your week!

“Who’s a good debate moderator? You are!” (Open Thread)

Like me, you’re probably expecting the upcoming primary debates to be a shit-show thanks to crappy moderators angling for click-baity soundbites. Someone in my Twitter timeline (can’t remember who, and Twitter doesn’t make backtracking easy) asked folks to suggest unconventional debate formats.

I think a Puppy Bowl-style forum would be revealing since dogs are generally good judges of character; here’s Elizabeth Warren cavorting with the Obama Bros’ dogs during a podcast appearance:

I’m only half-kidding. Trump claims he doesn’t have a dog because he doesn’t have time for one, but we know that’s a lie because a) Ivana’s dog hated his guts, and b) he has time to tweet nonsense like this every day:

Of course, the rest of us know Sanders entered the race yesterday, but Trump just found out this morning during the Fox & Friends Presidential Daily Briefing. Anyhoo, fuck that motherfucker — back to debate formats.

A while back, someone here suggested allowing the League of Women Voters to run them, which is a fine idea, IMO. But the networks aren’t going to let that cash cow out of the barn.

If I were running the DNC, I’d start working the refs now to demand a substantive debate. Or, failing that, maybe a Puppy Bowl. It would be more entertaining and revelatory than watching Jake Tapper — or, God help us, Hugh Hewitt — ask inane, loaded questions. And with all the women running this time, you know the sexist knobs at the networks will be unable to restrain themselves from attempting to provoke a “cat fight.” Yeah, dogs would be better.

Open thread!

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: A New (Bladeplay) Hope

“Database connection error” strikes again… sorry this is late!

Per the Washington Post, “Lightsaber dueling officially becomes recognized by French fencing federation”:

… “With young people today, it’s a real public health issue,” Serge Aubailly, the federation’s secretary general, told the Associated Press. “It’s becoming difficult to [persuade them to] do a sport that has no connection with getting out of the sofa and playing with one’s thumbs. That is why we are trying to create a bond between our discipline and modern technologies, so participating in a sport feels natural.”

Instead of containing plasma, the lightsabers being used for duels here on Earth are made from rigid polycarbonate — not to be confused with carbonite, eh, Han Solo? — with LED lighting and, in some cases, proper sound effects built in.

To ensure action that resembles what fans have thrilled to in the movies, as well as to distinguish the dueling from its more traditional cousins, rules require participants to point the tips of their lightsabers behind them before attempting to land blows. While doing so, they are temporarily immune from attack, leading to clashes marked by sweeping movements.

The duels use a scoring system in which strikes to the head are worth five points; to the arms or legs, three points; or to the hands, one point. Winners are determined by the first to notch 15 points, or whoever is ahead after a three-minute round. Alternatively, if both competitors reach 10 points, the duel goes to sudden death, with the first to land a blow to the head or body becoming the winner.

Fighters wear masks and body armor, with the lighting appropriately low, all the better to make the glowing lightsabers pop.

“We wanted it to be safe, we wanted it to be umpired and, most of all, we wanted it to produce something visual that looks like the movies, because that is what people expect,” a French tournament organizer told the AP…

I’m sure there are a lot of Star Wars fanbois currently torn between booking the next flight to France and screaming MAH CHILDHOOD IT HAZ BEEN STOLEN!!! (because, and I say this as a first-gen Trekkie, this is how we roll). Kinda looking forward to fencer Charlie Pierce’s take…

On the Road and In Your Backyard

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at


Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

Some great stuff today, as on all Wednesdays, but an especially nice pick-me-up today- thanks 🐾BillinGlendaleCA!

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Late Night Politicking Open Thread: Bernie Sanders Has His Defenders

… And they’re not Democrats, either.

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