Open Thread: Possible DC-Area Meet Up?

Note from beloved (by me, anyways) commentor EFGoldman:

I’ve been in touch w/Shakezula about a possible Lawyers Guns & Money/Balloon Juice combo meetup in DC in the next couple of weeks. Here are the details:

We’re arriving in DC Friday, May 6, staying thru Tuesday May 17 (leaving the 18th). However, for the whole first week (thru Saturday the 14th) we won’t be available in the evening, because the reason for the trip is to take care of our toddler granddaughter while mom & dad are in London and Paris. We could do brunch or lunch, because she goes to preschool.

From Sunday thru Tuesday the 17th, we can do any time.

For the week of babysitting, we’ll be at Lyon Village on Lee Highway, just off I-66. Sunday thru Tuesday, at the Best Western on South Glebe Road just off 395. Either way, we’ll have a car.

I can attest from the couple of meet-ups we’ve had here in Boston that EFG and (especially) his lovely wife are wonderful people with whom to talk. (Yes, Boston-area peeps, we need to do another meetup — maybe at the Helmand?)

Meanwhile, leave a comment if you are interested / have suggestions for a DC venue, or email me (click on my name in the right-hand column or use annelaurie at verizon dot net) and I’ll forward your message.



Sunday Morning Open Thread

Nobody sent gardening pictures. My allergies are griefing me so much I’m feeling anti-tree at the moment anyways.

And it’s too early to start bitching about politics.

So… what’s on the agenda for the day?



Open Thread: By Request

Because of the above, I’m honoring a request from beloved commentor SiubhanDuinne:

I know you may not (probably do not) (almost certainly do not) share my lifelong fascination with Queen Elizabeth II (I’ve been following her since I was 5 years old and she, as Princess Elizabeth, married her handsome young Prince Philip in 1947), but April 21, is her 90th birthday. Whatever one’s views of the British monarchy, this is a matter for some celebration, yes?

There are several new “Queen at 90” photos making the rounds, but one of the sweetest may be this one. It shows the Queen surrounded by her two youngest grandchildren, and all five great-grandchildren. Check out the adorable little girl solemnly holding her great-granny’s handbag :-)

queen liz at ninety

Best wishes for all the tough old broads, from one who aspires to earn that honorable title.



ICYMI Open Thread: Readership Capture

Lazy Saturday afternoon filler. In case you want some brief inspiration/aggravation to send your friends & families.

Jim Nelson, at GQ“Why Obama Will Go Down as One of the Greatest Presidents of All Time”:

Something is dawning on us—it’s almost too soon for us to admit, but it’s there, a half-considered thought only now blooming in our brains. Maybe we dismiss it with one of those quick cognitive fly swats. Nah, too early to say or I hate that guy. But the truth is coming, and it sounds like this: Barack Obama will be inducted into the league of Great Presidents…

… In so many ways, Obama was better than we imagined, better than the body politic deserved, and far, far better than his enemies will ever concede, but the great thing about being great is that the verdict of enemies doesn’t matter.

In fact, and I say this as a Bill Clinton fan, I now feel certain that, in the coming decades, Obama’s star will rise higher than Clinton’s, and he’ll replace Bill in the public mind as the Greatest Democrat since FDR…

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in the Washington Post — “In this crucial election, I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton”:

… Before I get into the reasons I support Clinton, let me first explain why this election really is so important. On Aug. 8, 1945 — two days after the bombing of Hiroshima — Albert Camus wrote an essay warning future generations about the choices before them: “This is no longer a prayer but a demand to be made by all peoples to their governments — a demand to choose definitively between hell and reason.” That is what the stakes of this election are: We are choosing between hell and reason…

I’m frustrated and angry at hearing about frustration and anger toward Washington gridlock as an excuse for embracing candidates who will only add to the problem. But that’s what is happening with Trump and Cruz supporters. These voters share a distrust of experts, preferring “the wisdom of ordinary people.” Really? I prefer the wisdom of a trained physician when I have pain in my chest. One of the problems in Washington is that some legislators ignore the experts, such as the international community of scientists who have studied and confirmed global warming, so as to bury their heads and do nothing. When did we start devaluing intelligence and knowledge?

… Clinton possesses that rare but crucial combination of idealism and pragmatism. She can both envision a better world and take the necessary steps to make that vision a reality. She embodies the principles of the Age of Reason and isn’t afraid to fight against the confederacy of dunces who would undermine the principles of inclusion and diversity that America stands for…

And finally, Paul Krugman, in the NYTimes“Why I Haven’t Felt The Bern”:

… What you see [in the Sanders campaign]… is the casual adoption, with no visible effort to check the premises, of a story line that sounds good. It’s all about the big banks; single-payer is there for the taking if only we want it; government spending will yield huge payoffs — not the more modest payoffs conventional Keynesian analysis suggests; Republican support will vanish if we take on corporate media…

… It’s about an attitude, the sense that righteousness excuses you from the need for hard thinking and that any questioning of the righteous is treason to the cause. When you see Sanders supporters going over the top about “corporate whores” and such, you’re not seeing a mysterious intrusion of bad behavior into an idealistic movement; you’re seeing the intolerance that was always just under the surface of the movement, right from the start…



Excellent Read: Ta-Nehisi Coates on His Marvel Black Panther

I was planning to save this for Sunday afternoon, but now Adam’s got you all on tenterhooks, so… From Jonathan Gray’s TNR article:

Fifty years ago, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby changed the face of comics when they introduced the first superhero of African descent, the Black Panther, in Fantastic Four #52. As the hereditary ruler and protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, the Black Panther is as accomplished a scientist as he is a strategist.Within the cloistered world of comics he’s long been a fan favorite—featuring, for example, in the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, alongside Daredevil, and as a central member of Marvel’s Illuminati—even if he’s had a lower profile than some of Marvel’s other heroes. This promises to change in 2016, thanks to the efforts of two Howard University alumni: Chadwick Boseman who plays the Black Panther this summer in Marvel’s latest blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War; meanwhile, Ta-Nehisi Coates—2015 National Book Award winner and MacArthur fellow—scripts a new comic with a dramatic character arc for the character that debuts on April 6. Pre-orders for the first issue of Coates’s Black Panther have already exceeded 300,000 copies at various retailers, a remarkable feat given that 50,000 preorders for a new comic represents a smashing success. (Top selling comics like Ms. Marvel and The Walking Dead move around 100,000 physical copies monthly.) One of the most celebrated writers and cultural critics of his generation, Coates’s work on Black Panther promises to energize the field while attracting fans old and new to the character; it’s the most anticipated comic debut since Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s X-Men #1 in 1991. I called across the pond to Paris to speak with Coates, my old classmate at Howard, and chat about all things Black Panther…

JWG: In your first memoir, The Beautiful Struggle, you talk about “an entire shadow canon, a tradition of writers who grabbed the pen, not out of leisure but to break the chain.” How does your work on Black Panther fit into this tradition?

TNC: This is why I included the Henry Dumas poem [in issue #3]. I wanted to incorporate the poets from the Black Arts Movement into the canon of comics. Those are the people who taught how to write. Those were the writers who made space in their poetry to explore questions of democracy and self-determination. But I also was inspired by Avengers #57, “Behold the Vision,” which ends with Shelly’s “Ozymandias.” I just figured if they could fold British literature into a comic I could include African American literature in mine. That’s also the inspiration behind Changamine (a bookish political philosopher who is the intellectual leader of those Wakandans opposed to hereditary rule). This tradition informs us, and I wanted to represent that…

Also, as someone whose history as a comix phan occurred during the all-too-brief feminist flowering of the early 1970s, I really liked Coates’ notes in the Atlantic on “The Feminists of Wakanda”:

… [T]here’s been an ongoing conversation about how women appear in comic books (and women who create comic books) for some time. With the advent of social media it’s gotten harder to ignore that debate. You don’t really have to be a admitted feminist to know what it means to be “fridged.” And whether you agree with it or not, a comic book fan has to be willfully blind to not be aware of the critique of how women’s bodies have been presented in the form.
Read more



Open Thread: Memphis Mini-Meetup

memphis meetup feb 16

From universally beloved commentor SiubhanDuinne:

Attached, L-R, photo of Balloon Juice regulars Dee Lorelei and SiubhanDuinne at the Memphis meet-up. We enjoyed a number of adult beverages at the Peabody and the Kooky Canuck, and some truly delicious tourtiere. Kooky’s waitstaff, manager, and owner all made us feel more than welcome.

We missed Eclare and hope she feels better and that she (and other Memphians) can join in a bigger BJ meetup in May.

Anybody wants a meetup in your area, leave a comment here / send me an email with a tentative date & venue (i.e., ‘Springfield commentor, how about second weekend in March, the Funky Chicken is a great place for a bite or a brew’). If there’s interest, I’ll put up a catch-all post tomorrow, to front-page suggestions…

memphis meetup tortiere feb 16



Social Notes: Memphis Meet-Up This Weekend

From universally beloved commentor Siubhan Duinne:

I’m going to be in Memphis this weekend and have made tentative plans to meet up with local residents ECLARE and DEE LORELEI Saturday evening. Would love to meet any other Memphians.

Time and place to be determined — as I will be in Memphis on behalf of Canada, I’d kind of like to throw some business in the direction of “The Kooky Canuck,” owned by a Canadian. It’s on 2nd Street, across from the Peabody Hotel. But I’m certainly open to other suggestions from people who actually live there…

Anyone interested can email me at SiubhanDuinne (at) gmail (dot) com, and include phone number or best way of reaching them.