Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: Rep. Pete King Shames His Clan

As a fellow member of the Irish-American community, I apologize for this… person.

You can be sure young Peter was taught to despise the cruel Brits and effete WASPS who hand-waved Irish suffering because “Those people don’t really care about their children — that’s why they have so many, so carelessly.”

We were not supposed to think “I can hardly wait to oppress other people the same way”… but then, in those days decent Irish-Americans didn’t become Republicans, either.

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Dependable Solace

(Jim Morin via

Well, that’s deplorable solace. Books, on the other hand…

The research is all but irrefutable: Parents of very young children who talk to, read and engage with them as often as possible help them build literacy skills at an early age – an educational foundation that can give kids a jump-start on future academic success.

Also certain: Parents of very young children usually have to do a lot of laundry. And low-income families tend to bring their kids with them to public laundromats.

Those truths converge once a week at select neighborhood laundromats in Chicago. That’s when librarians from one of the nation’s largest library systems lay down colorful mats, oversized board books and musical shakers beside the industrial washing machines and wire laundry baskets.

Inside one of about 14 laundromats in the city’s low-income neighborhoods, the librarians gather all available children for Laundromat Story Time, a Chicago Public Library program that combines early education principles with public outreach and a dash of parental modeling.

Amid the muffled churn of the washers and the humming of dryers, anywhere between a handful to more than a dozen children hear stories, sing songs and play games designed to help their brains develop. The event also aims to tacitly instruct parents on how to repeat the experience for their kids, working to reverse poor literacy rates in underserved communities…
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Joyful Noises!

I love this meme — it’s been around for a while, but was only recently shared with me by my music-professor sister:

OK…so it’s a little harsh.

Anyway, on this Christmas afternoon, I thought I’d share a lovely scene from a movie I’ve never actually watched the whole of, just because boy sopranos, when they’re good, are surreal:

And just because we can’t have it all be sickly sweet, how about a little rougher edge…

Well, not that rough.

Gonna leave this one with what remains one of my favorite bittersweet-to-bitter Christmas songs:

This came on the radio the other day while I was driving somewhere with my son, and he couldn’t believe that Shane MacGowan was anyone’s idea of a singer. More fool he.

Top of the day to  y’all. My sprout and I have finished our ritual (and delicious) Chinese lunch, and will be heading down (w. the spouse) to more family south of the Athens of America.  Roast beast and red wine, and a day w. four generations.  I wish your preferred company (self and others) to all my fellow jackals.

Over to y’all.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Merry Xmas, Earthlings

From the Washington Post:

The astronauts had spun around the moon a few times already, their gaze pointed down on the gray, pockmarked lunar surface. But now as they completed another orbit of the moon on Christmas Eve 1968, Frank Borman, the commander of the Apollo 8 mission, rolled the spacecraft, and, soon, there it was.

Earth, this bright, beautiful sphere, alone in the inky vastness of space, a soloist at the edge of the stage suspended in the spotlight.

“Oh, my God,” exclaimed Bill Anders, the lunar module pilot. “Look at that picture over there! There’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty!”

Anders knew black and white film wouldn’t do it justice. But he also knew he didn’t have a lot of time if he was going to get the shot.

“Hand me a roll of color quick, will you,” he said.

“Oh, man, that’s great,” said Jim Lovell, the command module pilot and navigator.

“Hurry,” Anders pleaded. “Quick!”

Anders loaded the color film into his Hasselblad camera and started firing away while his anxious crewmates remained transfixed by the blue and white vision outside their windows…

Two days later, the film was processed, and NASA released photo number 68-H-1401 to the public with a news release that said: “This view of the rising earth greeted the Apollo 8 astronauts as they came from behind the moon after the lunar orbit insertion burn.”…

“As I looked down at the Earth, which is about the size of your fist at arm’s length, I’m thinking this is not a very big place. Why can’t we get along?” Anders said during a video played during a ceremony at Washington National Cathedral recently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the mission. “To me it was strange that we had worked and had come all the way to the moon to study the moon, and what we really discovered was the Earth.”

A Beary Merry Christmas Eve

My family does presents and the big dinner on Christmas Eve, so today we did the traditional Czech goose/dumplings/kraut meal my grandma always used to cook. All went well. Present-wise, I got socks and a new set of Switch controllers. And throughout it all, we were accompanied by my mom’s very good boy, Bear.

As a result of the Christmas Eve preëminence, I often travel on Christmas, and indeed, I’m heading back home to NY tomorrow (I almost typed SF just then!). But perhaps some of you are staying up late waiting for/being Santa, so I figured we could use an overnight open thread. Hope your Christmas Eve was as Bear-y as mine!