Four Years of Sobriety Down

True to form, I missed my soberversary again. Maybe it’s easier to keep track and remember this stuff when you go to AA and get coins and all the flair. Whatever.

Feels like it has been longer than four years, though, although I’m not sure how much of that is because everything since President Dollhands entered the national conversation seems longer. Still don’t miss drinking at all and wouldn’t go back to drinking if you paid me, but I’d say once or twice a year- usually on the first really nice day of the spring- I’ll be driving home and think “I’m gonna sit on he back porch and get hammered.” Well, not really think it, I mean I think it, but it’s more like one of those random ideas that pop into your head stream of conscious style when you’re driving along and not really thinking and sort of just driving and listening to music. And then I snap back to reality and say “Oh yeah, I don’t drink anymore.” And then that’s that.

I’ve learned a few things, too. When people offer me a drink, I no longer blurt out “No thank you, I am an alcoholic,” because that sort of blunt reveal unsettles people and then they spend time feeling bad and apologizing, and that’s not fair to them. Not to mention, it means they will keep talking to me to apologize, and that’s just self-inflicted punishment. I just say no thank you and move on. I guess I really haven’t learned that much after all.

Honestly, I don’t know how I afforded to drink as much as I did. I guess I switched from a drinking problem to a house and backyard problem with a little canine cancer to spice things up.

But here’s to a few more years of sobriety, at least until I finally stroke out because the person driving in front of me stops when they have the right of way to wave someone into traffic or I finally see one too many people leaving shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot and shift off this mortal coil. Because I know that is how I am going to die. A spontaneous explosion of suppressed rage.

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Excelsior!

… which is the state motto of New York, usually translated as ‘Ever Upward.’ It’s also a word for wood shavings used as packing material, and according to the nuns in my NYC parochial school, the motto was chosen because in the 1770s they couldn’t put BULLSHIT! on official documents.

Note the timestamps here. Steve Vockrodt, “Investigative reporter for the Kansas City Star:

Ohio update:

In other good news…
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Boston Labor Day Weekend Meet Up and Primary Election Eve Open Thread

We can probably use a new election eve open thread, and since I’ve been waiting till we got within three weeks or so to post this Boston Meet Up request, consider this an open thread to comment about either or neither or, as usual, anything else that strikes your fancy.

So primary returns are coming in. Balderson is currently barely ahead in OH12 with 100% of the precincts reporting by 1,766 votes. There are 3,435 provisional ballots outstanding that still have to be verified and counted. And the rules in Ohio is that provisional cannot be counted until 10 days after the election. Right now the margin is at .9 for Balderson. Ohio law requires an automatic recount if the margin is .5 or less. So the provisionals have the potential to push this to a recount. This one won’t be finalized and certified for a while. And once it is, because this is a special election, Balderson and O’Connor will be running against themselves for this seat in the regular midterm in November. Regardless, this was a huge swing in this district from Republican to Democrat, which is, itself, a positive indicator of the mood of the electorate.

In Kansas, Krish Kobach is currently trailing the incumbent Kansas governor with 57% of precincts reporting. I know a lot of folks want him to win so that the Democratic candidate can run against him as an extremist. Personally, I just want him out of office. And since, because of his legal issues and the fiasco that was the President’s special committee to investigate non-existent voter fraud, which will make it almost impossible for him to get a Federal appointment. So if Kobach loses this primary, he’s out of government, back in private practice, and a senior fellow at some anti-immigrant institute. He’ll still be able to cause trouble and be a nuisance, but he won’t be able to directly negatively impact people’s lives.

As to the Boston Meet Up. Here’s the details from mostly lurker Big R:

I’ll be in Boston for the American Political Science Association over the Labor Day weekend. 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.

So those of you in the greater Boston area, if you’re interested, please chime in in the comments about availability for a meet up over the Labor Day weekend. I’ll run this again on Sunday and next week to make sure we get some good feedback.

Open thread!

Readership Capture Open Thread: Chicago Edition

On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,



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For A Good Time On The Intertubes — Soon!

Hey all,

Just so you know:  I’ll be talking with some very interesting folks at 1 p.m. today on a Facebook Live panel as part of PBS’s Great Read series.

On the panel with me is the Boston Globe‘s Love Letters columnist Meredith Goldstein, novelist and essayist Kaitlyn Greenidge, and essayist and blogger on science and fiction Joelle Renstrom (who also teaches across the river from me at BU).  We’ll be talking about how science fiction, and more broadly, how the representation of science and scientists in fiction across genres affects (or doesn’t) how we grasp and value science in daily life.

I’m very much looking forward to the chance to talk such fun stuff with such fascinating conversants.

In the meantime, my prep for the discussion led me to this 2016 essay by Greenidge, “Who Gets To Write What.”  It bears on what we talk about I think, but even more it offers a rich inquiry into the duty of imagination — of doing the work of empathy and inquiry that goes into creating a fiction that cuts to the bone.  Which is to say, that says something about the world from which fictions derive, and to which their readers return.  Highly recommended.

Anyway, check it out the gabfest if you have a chance.

Image: Vincent van Gogh, The Novel Reader1988

On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

Still working on things, so today’s a bit light.

Regardless, have a wonderful day and enjoy the pictures!

Oh – before I forget – today is the First of August, Swiss National Day. Cheese, sausage, wine, good bread, and good mustard are called for, as well as brotherhood(and sisterhood!), good music and good cheer. I’ve got a few treats lined up for the day, but no festivities this year. Next year I’ll be changing that.


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