A Personal Note

Just learned this morning that a buddy of mine from the Army drank himself to death. This is a horrible way to die, and a worse way to live. If you think you have a problem, you probably do, and there is help out there. It’s easier for some than others, but there is help. Please get it. I’m coming up on five years sober this summer, and I simply can not imagine ever drinking again.

If you think you have a problem, please check here for help. I know there are a lot of Juicers (that sounds ironic) who have also had drinking problems who I am sure have lots of resources to offer in the comments. And if you just need someone to talk to, email me and I can give you my phone number.

Cincinnati Meet Up Open Thread: Steve in the ATL Edition

From commenter OhioMom:

Steve in the ATL is coming to the CVG on Monday, January 14 and Tuesday, January 15. How about welcoming him with a Cincinnati meet-up?

Steve will be in Blue Ash and Ohio Mom suggests we meet at Slatts Pub on Cooper near Kenwood because it’s relatively quiet for a bar restaurant. But any and all other suggestions welcomed. Leave your preferred day, time and location in the comments.

You all know what to do.

Open thread!

Breaking News! President George H. W. Bush Has Died

President Bush was, among many other things, a naval aviator in World War II.

The two different aviators’ verses:

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
Through the great spaces in the sky.
Be with them always in the air,
In darkening storms or sunlight fair;
Oh, hear us when we lift our prayer,
For those in peril in the air!
Mary C. D. Hamilton (1915)

Oh, Watchful Father who dost keep
Eternal vigil while we sleep
Guide those who navigate on high
Who through grave unknown perils fly,
Receive our oft-repeated prayer
For those in peril in the air.
Emma Mayhew Whiting (1943)

Rest in Peace.

Open thread!

Stan Lee Has Died at the Age of 95

Here’s Marvel Entertainment’s statement:


Today, Marvel Comics and The Walt Disney Company pause and reflect with great sadness on the passing of Marvel Chairman Emeritus, Stan Lee. With a heavy heart, we share our deepest condolences with his daughter and brother, and we honor and remember the creator, voice and champion of Marvel.

“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created. A super hero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain, and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.

Stanley Martin Lieber, a.k.a. Stan Lee, loved the written word from an early age, and wanted to craft stories like those in his favorite books and films, which he consumed voraciously. From a simple upbringing in the teeming landscape of Manhattan, young Stanley worked his way through a succession of jobs until the day he found himself an assistant at a comic book publishing company — Timely Comics.

In between refilling artists’ inkwells, erasing pencil lines from comic pages and fetching an untold number of lunches, Stanley expressed his desire to write and create tales of his own; in the May 1941 issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #3, he got his wish. Readers would find a prose story in that issue, “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge,” sporting the byline of “Stan Lee.” A star was born.

As Stan’s roles and tenure with Timely Comics grew and evolved, so did the company itself. With Stan at its helm, Timely Comics morphed first into Atlas Comics and then into the name that would catapult it into legend and forever be synonymous with Stan Lee: Marvel Comics.

As Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, Stan “The Man” Lee made his voice the voice of the stories themselves. Writing virtually every Marvel title and working with such luminaries as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Gene Colan and John Romita, Stan began building a universe of interlocking continuity, one where fans felt as if they could turn a street corner and run into a Super Hero. A rich collection of characters grew out of his nonstop plotting sessions with his artists, including the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, and more. Today, it would be almost impossible to find a corner of the Marvel Universe that Stan didn’t have a hand in.

Marvel fans found a friend in Stan Lee. He introduced the famous “Stan’s Soapbox” to speak directly to his readers, reaching a personal level rarely seen in comics of the day. Always pushing for new ways of creating comics, Stan also inaugurated the “Marvel method” of plotting and art, creating some of the most iconic stories in the industry to this day.

When something mattered to Stan, you felt it in his words, whether in an editorial or in the stories themselves. With passion for the medium, he helped refine and reform the Comics Code Authority and addressed hot-button issues like discrimination, drugs, and intolerance.

Stan stepped up from his position as Editor-in-Chief in 1972 to tackle the role of Publisher at Marvel Comics, and while a strong succession of writers followed in his wake, his spirit and voice remained throughout the adventures that followed. His outspoken love for comics even extended to a series of college campus talks; given any chance to educate and illuminate on the industry, he took it. An entire generation of young readers expanded and strengthened their vocabulary and knowledge through Stan’s stories.

Marvel and the entire The Walt Disney Company salute the life and career of Stan Lee and offer their undying gratitude for his unmatchable accomplishments within their halls. Every time you open a Marvel comic, Stan will be there.

Please join us today in remembering Stan “The Man” Lee.

From one of my two favorite comic book artists:

Lee, like many of the men, especially the Jewish men of his generation, served in the US military during World War II. Specifically, he started in the Signal Corps and was ultimately transferred into the Training Films Division.


Open thread!

Something Different

If you like doo-wop, bff Tams and her dad are doing a show tonight:

Live 7-9 here.

For Our Readers Who are Hurting or Who are Trying to Help Others Who Are: Contact RAINN

I know from reading comments in relation to both the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh and how the GOP majority in the Senate, the President, and their surrogates in the media are responding to them are negatively effecting a number of our readers and commenters. Or friends and/or family members of our readers and commenters. If you or someone you know is having trouble right now, especially if it is after hours or you can’t get to a professional mental health care practitioner for a face to face appointment, please call RAINN! They have personnel available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at:

1-800-656-HOPE (4673)


RAINN’s Online Chat

For those who want to check things out online, here’s RAINN’s terms of service:

The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline

Chat online with a trained staff member who can provide you confidential crisis support.

Your privacy and safety are crucial. Please make sure you are in a safe place and that you are using a secure device and Internet connection. Please note that while we have taken numerous measures to keep your communications safe while using our site, no Internet transmission is 100%  secure.


During your session, we will not ask for information that would identify you (such as your name or address) and we will not record the chat. However, if you disclose your name and location and are under 18 or if we fear that you are in danger of committing suicide (or otherwise as required by law), we may have to provide information you have given us to the appropriate authorities.

At that link is a button for online chat if that is preferable/easier than speaking to someone on the phone.

RAINN’s front page is at this link.

Here’s the link to finding local, in person help if you need it.

And here’s the link for tips for survivors regarding consuming news and entertainment media.

Here’s the link to RAINN’s information on flashbacks.

And finally, here’s the link for self care for friends and family.

You’re not alone! You don’t have to be alone! There is help out there! And you deserve that help if you need it!

Here’s some more on RAINN for those not familiar with the organization.

I know I speak for all of the other front pagers, but if you need something, please reach out to one of us using the contact a front pager tool at the top right of the page.

Open thread!


Boston Labor Day Weekend Meet Up Part II: The Meet Upening!

Mostly lurker, occasional commenter, Big R will be in Boston over Labor Day weekend for the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting – doing business as the largest cattle call of polisci geeks in the known universe (trust me, it’s a cattle call!!!) – and would like to meet up with the Balloon Juice greater Boston area cadre. Here’s the details he sent along:

My schedule is fairly light; I have a teaching mini-conference on 8/29, I present on 9/2, and I have a few interviews lined up here and there. If BJ readers wanted to get together for a meal and/or a drink, I would be delighted to join them. If nobody wants to meet my lurker tuchos, then my feelings won’t be hurt.

Anyone from the greater Boston area cadre interested, please sound off in the comments. And I’m sure Big R would be greatly appreciative of recommendations about where to hold the meet up. I personally stopped going to APSA years ago for personal reasons, but the last time they held it in Boston and I was in attendance (early 00s), they held the meeting at the convention center and all the conference hotels were in close proximity. So unless Big R says otherwise in the comments, that’s where he’ll be most of the time.

Open thread!