2:00PM Water Cooler 12/6/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I have to punt on Water Cooler today; I underestimated how long it would take me to post on the Italian referendum.

So, as I’ve done before — please pretend this is a lazy Friday, and not a Tuesday — I’ll pose some questions, and you can answer them, and/or talk amongst yourselves:

1) Cold enough for ya?

2) Sure, Christmas music in the stores is terrible, but what would you replace it with?

3) If you give gifts over the holidays, what are some of your decisions and dilemmas?

4) Have you been to a concert, an art exhibition, a lecture, a reading, or some other improving and non-digital public event? Did you enjoy it? Why?

Back tomorrow with the full Cleveland!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:


Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Ranger Rick

    Holiday music is easily replaced with the holiday classics instead. One of my fondest childhood memories is of a live performance of several Tchaikovsky works. I was expecting some great symphony music, but then towards the end they wheeled some cannons on stage…

    1. diptherio

      I’d like it if we got the standard Bing Crosby saccharine Christmas carols, alternated with the greatest hits of TOOL, Metallica, Twisted Sister, and GWAR…maybe every 10 songs or so could be a 20 minute Tchaikovsky piece. That’d be fun.

      1. HopeLB

        And throw in some of the ancient solstice music along with old church hymns. I bought this Christmas CD called Polystyrene Christmas which is hilarious musically, that would be good after a Metallica song to segue into a segment of Bach Christmas Oratorio, then a Squirrel Nut Zippers, then a classic and of couse, all Brass tunes, like our River City Brass band does are great anytime.

      1. hunkerdown

        Apparently, the new rule is that all life requires a soundtrack. Perhaps too much noise in the childhood home makes people insensitive to it, not that anyone but an American Exceptionalist would consider dulled senses a good thing.

        And if you simply must have music, retailers, kindly play it through something other than a bleeding transistor radio or a cell phone.

        It’s time to put the 1940s to bed and admit they’re never coming back. Bleeding reenactors.

      2. Big River Bandido

        As a professional musician myself, I hate canned music in public spaces…the ubiquitousness of “soundtracks” is a large part of the reason why contemporary music is so bad. Something so common, so effortless, and so mindless (in that those who “choose” the soundtrack rarely make the choice based on aesthetics at all) serves only to trivialize and cheapen music as an art form. This causes people to *talk over it*, thereby only worsening the devaluation.

        I can think of no place more offensive than an airport. Teevees with CNN blaring every 15 feet, and canned music speakers in between. Add to that the canned music being played in shops just a few feet away…John Cage would have loved it, but what about the rest of us?

        I, for one, find silence to be golden, and I wish there was more of it. People would value music more (and insist on better quality) if it wasn’t shoved down their throats everywhere as a crude, crass, cheap, blunt marketing tool.

        1. Al Sera

          I agree, music as sonic wallpaper is not good, unless it is designed by experts (possibly, Brian Eno’s Ambient Music, which was designed specifically for the purpose of defusing tension and being ignorable). Anyone who thinks ambient music connected to Christmas themes is a good idea is by definition not an expert. This kind of thing increases tension, and contributes to general depression.

        2. Carl

          Airports are the worst, not only for being aurally assaulted, but the ubiquitous consumerism that’s constantly in your face.

        3. clinical wasteman

          Complete agreement that airports are offensive in countless ways, plus frankly terrifying if you’ve learned from experience that officials see ‘behavioral’ warning signs wherever you go. But I’d take the complex cacophony any day over one jingle at a time (& yes, Christmas ones are the worst) that can’t be escaped. Important to remember too that what’s merely annoying for the passing consumer is a 10- or 12-hour burst of combined insult and injury for the store clerk.
          Eno’s airport music would certainly be better than what they play there now, although his ‘Baby’s on Fire’ would be better still, and best of all would be Chino Amobi’s ‘Airport Music for Black Folks’ series (Soundcloud link embedded at: http://www.okayafrica.com/audio/non-chino-amobi-interview/).
          As for recent concerts, yes! Islam Chipsy/E.E.K. (from Cairo: two astonishing drummers and a virtuoso Chaabi keyboardist playing a synth modified for the quarter-tones of Arabic Maqam; incidentally all three musicians were denied entry into the UK by ignorant border officials last time they tried to tour here) plus the magnificent Guttersnipe from Leeds (http://guttersnipe.bandcamp.com/releases), at Cafe Oto, Dalston, London just last Thursday.

    2. nippersdad

      Vivaldis’ L’estro Armonico or L’stravaganza! Anything by Albinoni……Seems like few things are better for Christmas than some good old baroque. Tchaikovsky’s cannons are pretty neat as well, though.

  2. Robert Hahl

    We want the funk…. Give us the funk….
    We need the funk…. Gotta have that funk!

    Maceo Parker – Chicken

    Average White Band – Pick Up The Pieces

    Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers – We Need Some Money

    Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Dance Or Die

    James Brown – Get Up Offa That Thing

    Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Blast It!

    1. ambrit

      Steve Hillage of Gong, System 7 and other avant garde groups said that he listened exclusively to ‘Funk’ during a tour of America.

  3. diptherio

    Here’s an effort that definitely deserves more attention and support:


    Women in the Kurdish autonomous zone of Northern Syria are asking for support to help them start a worker cooperative bakery. The word fascism gets used pretty loosely nowadays, but I think we can all agree that ISIS fits the bill. So these women are not only building a just economic system (the whole area of Rojava is organized on cooperativist lines), they are also literally fighting literal fascists. Send them a few Euros (or quid or bucks or whatever).

      1. diptherio

        Yeah, Blackstar. Multi-stakeholder. Community members and workers own it, and the workers manage themselves, in my understanding.

  4. barefoot charley

    I enjoy the ever-broadening scope of public ‘Christmas’ music. “Santa Baby:” wasn’t a shopping-center classic when I was elfin. BB King “all lit up like a Christmas tree!” didn’t enlighten my shopping. And ridiculous covers of already ridiculous songs have come to feel a lot like, well, Christmas also does. So Happy Holidays until we can celebrate Christmas again!

  5. curlydan

    1) Cold enough for ya?

    Although cold today, Kansas City has been remarkably warm so far, so at this point, no.

    2) Better Xmas music?

    Virtually anything. How about Handel’s Messiah, Duke Ellington’s version of the Nutcracker, or the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s “Charlie Brown Christmas”. But if you really want to get the shoppers moving, how about LCD Soundsytem’s eponymous release? No Xmas value, but great dance music.

    3) gift dilemmas?

    Should I give an xBox to my kids? The answer, regrettably, will be yes. Should I give one or more kids Fitbits, Hoverboards, or a iPhone? Sorry, but mean Santa says no. Is Under Armour now the biggest rip off in the universe? Yes. That little logo adds $20+ to every piece of clothing a boy wants.

    4) non-digital public event?

    I finally stopped by the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in the heart of the deep red, conservative suburbs of Kansas City. Wow, it was great with lots of pieces from locally born artists. And like most art museums in Kansas City (setting the city apart from nearly everywhere else), free!

  6. Lee

    2) Sure, Christmas music in the stores is terrible, but what would you replace it with?

    Gregorian chants, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Susan Tedeschi, Annie Lennox and Bach.

    1. Knot Galt

      I have to second Susan Tedeschi ! She played at the Portland Music Festival in Oregon over the Fourth and she has an incredibly soulful, rich voice, to say the least. Now my music library is full of all her work and it has certainly helped out this season!!!

      1. Lee

        She will rock you right! And her rendition of John Prine’s Angel From Motgomery is indeed heavenly.

    2. Pavel

      Let’s hope the incredible, peerless Tom Waits NEVER has a “Christmas album” out.

      Happily, I expect he never will.

      Bah, humbug! folks… :) To fellow non-believers, atheists, and assorted curmudgeons.

  7. Chauncey Gardiner

    Attended a community Holiday Season concert this past weekend. Orchestra is comprised of 60 musicians from the town and surrounding area. Musicians range from 10 years to over 80 years of age. Free for everyone, but supports the local food bank through cookbook sales and donations by attendees. Wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. The orchestra has grown from 14 musicians to its present size in just four years. It was especially moving and fun to watch and listen to three young string players play a beautiful solo piece.

  8. FreeMarketApologist

    Non-digital public event:

    Went last night (5 Dec) to the production of Salome at the Metropolitan Opera — Strauss’ take on the Oscar Wilde story. Beautifully sung and conducted (though at times Patricia Racette wasn’t easy to hear over the orchestra), but it’s a pretty smarmy story of family dysfunction, incest, obsession, and necrophilia. I can see why it was withdrawn for a long time after the first production at the Met (1904), and I liked every moment of it. Almost seems tame now.

    Per the program note, it used to be on a double bill with Gianni Schicchi. Go figure.

  9. cocomaan

    4) Recently saw an exhibition of Chihuly pieces. The nice part of it was that you could get up close, closer than I’d ever been to any of his pieces when I’d seen them before. Truly astonishing. What a talent. I understand that he also has a studio team that helps with his projects and that he’s created a whole movement. The ability to shape something as fragile and fickle as glass is really incredible. He’s a national treasure.

    I also found myself wondering how often he’d burnt off his eyebrows.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Chihuly was an early champion of the glass art movement but Harvey Littleton is usually credited with starting the movement.

      I bet Chihuly burnt more hair off his forearms than he singed from his eyebrows.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Sorry — Didn’t mean to attempt educating anyone. I had to make a report on Littleton for a class I took and was surprised and impressed at the strange origins of the art glass movement.

          1. cocomaan

            Not a problem, I want to learn more, especially since family members are getting into glass crafting.

            That same family member talked to me about the recent restrictions in the craft because of some scares over air quality with regard to fused glass production: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2016/03/epa_orders_nationwide_review_o.html


            The regulatory burden on the six manufacturers of art glass has resulted in many having to shut down. That means some real restrictions on the colors you can get these days. Interesting how regulation influences art.

    2. Peter VE

      Chihuly was in a car accident about 1980, where he lost an eye. Since then, all the actual glass blowing is done by his studio assistants. They work from his sketches. He’s more like the composer and conductor, and he doesn’t get singed often, although he’s usually in the hot shop with the crew.

      1. allan

        Ms. Zeleny, a lawyer who lives outside Salt Lake City and opened a Wells Fargo account when she started a new law practice, said it would be impossible for her to agree to arbitrate her dispute over an account that she had never signed up for in the first place.

        The bank’s counterargument: The arbitration clauses included in the legitimate contracts customers signed to open bank accounts also cover disputes related to the false ones set up in their names.

        Franz Kafka’s literary estate should demand royalties.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      If Obama had wanted to win the election for Clinton, he would have brought criminal charges against the Wells Fargo CEO; I’m sure Bill Black would have provided a theory of the case.

      Obama didn’t; so he didn’t.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Thanks, that was a pretty good read. Unfortunately, I wandered off to another article on the Atlantic….big mistake….http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/12/hillary-clinton-working-class/509477/

      Whoopsie….there were whoppers like this…

      “She detailed plans to help coal miners and steel workers. She had decades of ideas to help parents, particularly working moms, and their children. She had plans to help young men who were getting out of prison and old men who were getting into new careers. She talked about the dignity of manufacturing jobs, the promise of clean-energy jobs, and the Obama administration’s record of creating private-sector jobs for a record-breaking number of consecutive months. She said the word “job” more in the Democratic National Convention speech than Trump did in the RNC acceptance speech; she mentioned the word “jobs” more during the first presidential debate than Trump did. She offered the most comprehensively progressive economic platform of any presidential candidate in history—one specifically tailored to an economy powered by an educated workforce.”

      Does the writer actually believe ANY of this was A) genuinely a good and adequate plan to address the problem? and B) that Clinton actually cared enough to implement ANY of it?

      We all know how this plays out. As soon as Clinton faced up to that Republican Congress, she’d throw up her hands and say, “we can’t get any of this done, sorry!”

      And right after that, it’s off to the issues she really cared about like picking fights with Russia over Syria.

      One tell was how she muzzled the DNC and told them to only attack Trump as UNIQUELY bad, but that most Republicans were just fine. If she wanted to get ‘liberal’ things done, she’d have needed a ‘liberal’ bunch of allies in Congress. She didn’t want them.

      She ran straight over to the Neo-cons, reached out to Bush donors for money, and basked in the endorsements of Republican bigwigs. She spent most of her campaign doing closed-door fundraisers and banged on about rejecting ‘hate’ and various -isms when she wasn’t foaming at the mouth baying for Putin’s blood.

      Do these writers even know who this candidate was? Did they watch her actions? If she cared about the details buried on her website, she’d have, you know, campaigned on that. That’s what Bernie did. Clinton did not do that. She mostly ignored it and yelled about how Trump was lunatic who would fly off the handle and nuke someone.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I cannot find the link (I think it’s in The Atlantic) about the woman whose home business is sewing KKK uniforms and flags. Her young daughter has some terrible disease like cerebral palsy, and that’s how she pays for her treatments. So, deplorable. And, in another compartment, admirable.

  10. Jeremy Grimm

    I think the Christmas music in the stores should be replaced with Christmas music and embedded subliminal messages to encourage people to buy more and more expensive items than they planned to buy originally. This will help our economy and help make America great(r?) again.

    1. jgordon

      I get angry listening to this crappy music every December, recognizing it as the subtle psychological cue to buy a bunch of garbage no one needs because tradition that it is. I can happily say that the only time my holiday spending increases is the week after Christmas, when retailers are almost giving their inventory away.

      Next, it’s been warm and humid so far in Florida. Been spending every day relaxing at the beach so far.

      1. DJG

        Too Much Light is in the middle of the artistic cat fight of the century. The shows will go on. The company is going to change its name, now that the ostensible founder has decided to show the world his turdliness.

        Go to see it again soon.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      From the article:

      Stein’s critics say there’s no reason for a recount because there’s no evidence of hacking. But in science, the investigation is the way you get evidence.

      But in law, that’s called a fishing expedition.

      And in marketing, it’s called a bait-and-switch.

      1. aab

        Now that it looks like it’s winding down, I think it’s safe to say that how Stein did this if anything hurt the cause of electoral process reform, and I don’t understand why Palast and the others either talked her into it or backed her, however it all went down.

        Now we have all these reports in the press that nothing serious was discovered. This, of course, is not entirely accurate. But because she ONLY went after states Clinton had lost, only got any counting done at all in Republican-controlled states, her claimed rationale was dishonest and her claimed intended investigations weren’t ever going to happen in this process as instigated, what she has mostly achieved is to cement in people’s minds the idea that recounts are partisan and that our current voting process works fine. She’s tainted the Green Party as being a tool of the Clintonians. This seems lose/lose to me. Whatever data they get out of Wisconsin can’t possibly be worth all this.

        It looks like some Democratic Party machine rigging in Milwaukee may get uncovered, but will it matter? It won’t change the election, or what the Green Party gets, and the establishment media will just use Trump’s latest nonsense to distract from it.

        I don’t think there’s any issue more important than electoral reform. There has got to be a better way to pursue it than this.

  11. RUKidding

    1) Cold enough for ya?
    Almost. In Northern CA, I appreciate the cold bc: 1) despite incessant whining by locals, it’s not really all that cold here, and 2) it usually comes with snow, which we need so desparately. Rain and snow predicted for the next week, yay.

    2) Sure, Christmas music in the stores is terrible, but what would you replace it with?
    Eh? This is sort of a meh, whatever, for me. I don’t shop that much (except for groceries), and I mostly listen to the classic music station when I’m driving. Ergo, I don’t hear that much Xmas music. I don’t mind what I hear due to blessed underexposure. I enjoy hearing from Bing Crosby every year.

    3) If you give gifts over the holidays, what are some of your decisions and dilemmas?
    Chocolates for staff; they appear to like them. My hairdresser & her daughter love small make up type bags. Get them either here or overseas. Always seems to be a hit.

    4) Have you been to a concert, an art exhibition, a lecture, a reading, or some other improving and non-digital public event? Did you enjoy it? Why?
    Oh my goodness. I could go on. Yes, yes, yes. All the time. Our local philharmonic does a decent job, and I attend whenever I can. And I’m a member of no less than three museums in three different cities. Try to get to each several times per year. Movies are great, but I spread my time among many options, including long hikes at least twice per month!

    Happy War on Xmas, ya pagans!

  12. Londinium

    When I was in Los Angeles last Christmas it was depressing to hear no Christmas music let alone carolers. The locals told me that Christmas music was suppressed as it was not politically correct. There were few decorations in evidence. It is a relief to be in London where there is still some sense of tradition in evidence.

    1. Anonymous

      Too each his own, I suppose. I find Christmas insufferable, maddening, and depressing. The relative lack of forced X-Mas joy is, to me, one of the many great things about Southern California. I’ve got to visit family in Utah this year and the combination of darkness, cold, and Christmas will make me wish I was dead within an hour or two.

    2. aab

      Los Angeles is a large area. I doubt you traversed the entire city and found no Christmas music. We have areas that are nationally known for their Christmas displays — it gets on TV and everything. Other areas do more public displays for other religions, like Judaism in parts of the San Fernando Valley. That’s not suppression or political correctness; it reflects the desires and beliefs of longstanding communities that live there. All those other religions and cultures are also traditional. You mean something different than you’re willing to state when you use “sense of tradition” that way, and link it to London.

      I come from a long line of priests and ministers, and funnily enough, I can find Christmas music in Los Angeles pretty easily. Why, I can hear it for free on the radio, while driving through Candy Cane Lane, or the lights display in Griffith Park.

    1. RUKidding

      Great. I was waiting for that shoe to drop. I knew that Trump was just drooling to get his greedy grubby mitts on Native American lands. Maybe he’ll have Jeff Bezos send in some drones that drop smallpox infested blankets on the native americans first.

      Make ‘Murka Great Again… for the fabulous wealthy and their enablers and courtiers.

      Just wait’ll Trump starts auctioning off all of our public lands, including Nat’l Parks to his cronies. He’s already threatened to do just that. Those Bundy gang losers are delusional if they believe that their great white supremacist savior is gonna give low-lifes like them public lands to sh*t (literally) over. Not a chance. Trump plans to sell them to the highest bidder… making sure, of course, that Trump family industries get a big honking huge cut.

      Can’t wait.

    2. craazyman

      That link sounds pretty bad. But the actual story says this:

      “We should take tribal land away from public treatment,” said Markwayne Mullin, a Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma and a Cherokee tribe member who is co-chairing Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition. “As long as we can do it without unintended consequences, I think we will have broad support around Indian country.”

      If I’m living on top of massive oil reserves and my family, my sons and my daughters are all living in poverty I might think about monetizing the oil reserves if I could. It’s just human nature.

      I bet the “Water Protectors” could protect a pipeline if they were trained to be civil engineers, inspectors, repair technicians, maintenance workers and got a cut of the profits. That’s probably a form of protection they’d feel pretty good about.

      Money talks and bullshlt walks. It’s human nature across all of humanity.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Don’t know that this view of the “Water Protectors” would hold water. Money does not hold the same power over many Native Americans that it has in U.S. society generally, and in NYC and DC in particular. There is more of a communal orientation and appreciation for the natural environment, as has been publicly displayed in recent weeks at Standing Rock.

        Not to say your view of the value of education and training is without value or wrong. A close friend contributed money for decades to Oglala College. There are many other Native American colleges and universities, and many of them lack resources, as well as competent math instructors . ;)


      2. HopeLB

        Man is that cynical! The American Indians are smart/wise/nature loving and I bet they have already read the IMF’s report declaring water this next century’s gold. And think of the trees! People will take vacations to see extant forests soon.

      1. craazyman

        oh man that reminds me of Paul Revere and the Raiders! I still remember hearing this on the AM radio as a kid. I think it made well into the Top 40.

        whoa. Cherokee people da na na da na Cherokee tribe da na na da da. I can hear it in my mind!

        They took the whole Cherokee Nation
        Put us on this reservation
        Took away our ways of life
        The tomahawk and the bow and knife

        Took away our native tongue
        And taught their English to our young
        And all the beads we made by hand
        Are nowadays made in Japan

        Cherokee people
        Cherokee tribe
        So proud to live
        So proud to die

        They took the whole Indian Nation
        Locked us on this reservation
        Though I wear a shirt and tie
        I’m still a red man deep inside

        Cherokee people
        Cherokee tribe
        So proud to live
        So proud to die

        But maybe someday when they’ve learned
        Cherokee Nation will return
        Will return, will return
        Will return, will return

        at any rate. I doubt it will return. it’s interesting to think of cultures that have tried to preserve a way of life. Actually, the Amish have done so. It’s quite interesting how they think about it. It would be amazing if humanity eventually abandons all technology and lives in a pure stream of consciiousness, living off the abundance of natural land. That would be quite incredible, but i frankly think it could happen. of course consciousness would not be as it is now, it would be enlarged and i suspect aware of many things we are not aware of, including other life forms and various abilities to project one’s mind across the universe in feats of telepathy and consciousness projection. that sounds weird, I reaalize, but i think it’s very possible.

  13. timotheus

    Attended “Party People”, at the Public Theatre, based on interviews with former Black Panthers. Quite overwhelming, especially when they relate the details of the assassination of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark with the video rolling through all the names of black men slain by cops in recent months. Did not know that the informant the FBI had tricked into giving them the floor plan to facilitate the murder later killed himself.

    For relief, reading the always marvelous Saramago, “The Cave.”

  14. nippersdad

    Re: Cold enough for ya? Global weirding is kicking my butt! After three months of hot weather with NO rain I was looking forward to the Fall planting season. I now have about two hundred bushes and trees ready to go into the ground. In the last week or so we have finally gotten the cool temps (50’s and 60’s for highs and lows in the forties; October weather) and around four inches of rain. Hooray!

    So, the day after tomorrow we are expecting overnight temps in the low twenties; January or February weather. I am having visions of exploding Italian terra cotta pots. Anyone who wants to help move some water soaked, four hundred pound pots of unplanted trees into the temporary Green house we are building today and tomorrow is welcome to drop by. :)

    What a strange year this has been!

  15. WorldAbounding

    Friday evening in Seattle, in the beautiful Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center, a collection of art songs—soprano and piano—by Wayne Horvitz, who introduced the works and chatted with the audience of fifteen. Saturday evening at Benaroya Hall for the Seattle Symphony & Chorus’ performance of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, a huge piece of music with 150 voices, four soloists, pipe organ, two harps, three percussionists… Monday evening at Jazz Alley for an acoustic set by Petra Haden and Jesse Harris, one highlight of which was a characteristically-Petra rendition of “You Only Live Twice”. The wider world goes away and there is only the performers and the music and the audience, in concert.

    1. Hierophant

      Fellow Seattleite,

      Played a Classical Guitar concert last week, saw an amazing one man circus show on Sunday, just saw the Charlie Hunter Quartet at jazz alley (awesome), and playing a rock gig at the Royal Room on Friday!

      But I still love me some YouTube.

  16. diogenes

    1. Our first serious cold arrives this weekend, so not yet.

    2. My first choice would be the sound of silence, but if we must have music, Christmas hymns and classics. Here’s a two-in-one:


    3. My crowd is older, so we spoil the two kids and do gift cards for each other.

    4. Got tickets to the NC Symphony Christmas show, in which I will take additional satisfaction in Pat McCrory being ousted from having any input into.

  17. polecat

    I prefer to honor the Winter Solstice … just sayin

    Xmas music ….

    maybe some Love Sculpture .. or perhaps a little Herbie Hancock, with some Joe Cocker to top things off !

    cold enough ?? We gots some snow here in western Wash. State …. with, it seems, more on the way throughout this week into next …. the chickens aren’t too happy about it .. they’re weird about snow !

    Practical Gifts .. under 100 bucks = lowwww stress

    haven’t been to any concerts, art shows etc. .. but I’m reupholstering the dining set chairs, and will look good as new … does that count ?

    one last thing …. the ONLY Xmas related visual I will watch … is ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’ …the original Dr. Seuss ….. none of that Hollywood garbage !

      1. polecat

        The North Olympic Peninsula, where, if you squint really, really hard to the norhtwest, you can see RUSSIA !! ….

        well ….. maybe just North Korea ….. ‘;]

      2. Jake

        Roslyn’s got plenty — well, 4 inches so far, another six coming later this week. Drove through Snoqualmie Pass today, it is always a treat but was particularly so this morning. Wettish snow coats the evergreens heavily and bends the branches down until they look like those frosted cookies.

  18. Bunk McNulty

    1) Cold enough for ya? Here in the Pioneer Valley we haven’t had a really hard freeze yet. I’m okay with that. Awful darn dry, though.

    2) Sure, Christmas music in the stores is terrible, but what would you replace it with?

    Christmas In Jail (The Youngsters)

    Huey “Piano” Smith’s ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.

    3) If you give gifts over the holidays, what are some of your decisions and dilemmas? Appropriate carpenter’s tool for my woodworker brother-in-law; non-electronic gifts for nieces and nephews (as if!)

    4) Have you been to a concert, an art exhibition, a lecture, a reading, or some other improving and non-digital public event? Did you enjoy it? Why? Rudy Royston’s band at The Village Vanguard. I’m a bass player, and this band has two! Mimi Jones, from the Bronx, and Yasushi Nakamura, originally from Tokyo.

  19. DJG

    Cold enough for me?
    It was cold enough for me when it hit 50 F.

    3) If you give gifts over the holidays, what are some of your decisions and dilemmas?
    I always buy all of the gifts for the niblings (the many nieces and nephews) in my neighborhood. If you spend all of your money close to home, you don’t have to worry about Walmart moving in. Also, I object to Amazon Prime, which is soft climate-change denial.

    Luckily, I live in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago (which is the Portlandia of Chicago). I’ll see you on Clark Street. In return, I’ll ask you not to drag your shivering and reluctant pug down Clark Street. It ruins Yuletide.

  20. Mark Alexander

    I like Handel’s “Messiah” as much as the next person, but sometimes it is nice to have an antidote. This one by Procol Harum is good for that purpose.

  21. Anne

    1) Cold enough for ya?
    Not yet…it’s in the low-40’s and pouring rain, with a little bit of sleet mixing in. Really dreary. We need the rain, though, so trying not to complain about it.

    2) Sure, Christmas music in the stores is terrible, but what would you replace it with? I wouldn’t. I mean, if you can’t hear cheesy and not-so-cheesy Christmas music at Christmas time, is it really Christmas? As long as I don’t get an ear-worm of the worst Christmas song, I’m okay.

    3) If you give gifts over the holidays, what are some of your decisions and dilemmas? Last year, we started doing a Secret Santa. With the family expanding, it was just getting too expensive for the kids to have to buy so many gifts. So, we still do gifts for the grandkids, and I’m guilty of buying for everyone anyway, but it takes the pressure off the kids.

    4) Have you been to a concert, an art exhibition, a lecture, a reading, or some other improving and non-digital public event? Did you enjoy it? Why? I actually haven’t, lately. We have so many birthdays between October and the end of the year, and then add in the holiday events, and it feels like there’s barely time to do anything else. I have been making an effort to get off the grid a little bit and turn down the noise; quiet is good!

  22. lyman alpha blob

    1) no – no pond hockey yet

    2) Bad Santa at high volume on a loop – that should drive a bunch of people out of the stores.

    3) coal for everybody- it creates jawbz

    4 not exactly an event but on the rainy day after Thanksgiving I took my significant other and spawn to the zoo. There weren’t many people there so we got to watch an elephant up close pick up a grape with its trunk which was quite fascinating. Also got to talk to the elephant guy for a while about how he cared for the elephants, their personalities, captive breeding techniques ( I do not want to be an elephant inseminator), how to save them from extinction, etc. A banner day all in all.

  23. ratefink

    Last weekend the Pittsburgh Symphony returned from a two month strike with a contract that still produced concessions, but only half of what the original demand from the board was. The original threat from the recently installed president to hire replacement players to break the strike probably helped pull in a great deal of support from the entire city, as well as the highly visible pickets around the prominent downtown performance venue. Arbitration and a large private donation helped them reach an agreement and they played two free concerts as a welcome back, both spectacular!

  24. Steve H.

    Earth’s gravity offers earlier earthquake warnings

    “The gravity signal is almost instantaneous—the speed of light—whereas classical early warning systems are based on the detection of propagating seismic P-waves at ~7-8km/s,” explains the study’s lead author Jean-Paul Montagner, a seismology expert at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris. That extra time can make a difference in minimizing the impact of an earthquake. “Any second saved enables us to stop trains, elevators, nuclear plants, warn people, and therefore to save lives.”

      1. UserFriendly

        Too bad there was no warning in Indonesia a few hours ago.

        A strong undersea earthquake that rocked Indonesia’s Aceh province early Wednesday has killed at least 20 people and collapsed buildings.

        Indonesia’s TVOne station, citing the acting governor of Aceh, Soedarmo, says 20 people have died.

        A frantic rescue effort is underway for survivors in districts nearest the epicenter.

        The U.S. Geological Survey says the shallow 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck at 5:03 a.m. Wednesday was centered about 10 kilometers (6 miles) north off Reuleut, a town in northern Aceh, at a depth of 17 kilometers (11 miles).

        There was no risk of a tsunami, according to Indonesian authorities.


  25. Annotherone

    1) Cold enough for ya?
    Yep – and some! Arctic blast on its way to SW OK. By Thursday daytime temps will be in the 30s we’re told.

    2) Sure, Christmas music in the stores is terrible, but what would you replace it with?
    Same tunes but jazzed up a tad would be good. I have a CD to be hauled out each Christmas “Light Jazz at Christmas” – nice!

    3) If you give gifts over the holidays, what are some of your decisions and dilemmas?
    Family gathering this year will do Dirty Santa, with a theme : handmade only (though not necessarily by the giver – thank goodness!) Dilemmas aplenty. Done it all online, I bet some handmade is really “handmade”, but what the heck! Husband is getting a fancy beard trimmer – he’s looking too much like ZZTop these days and with a top half like Bernie on a bad day it can be disconcerting. ;)

  26. meeps

    It’s 18 degrees F in my neck of the woods today so yeah, it’s cold. Can’t complain really, since it was unseasonably warm all the way through November.

    If I had my druthers Christmas music would be replaced by nature sounds–birds, crashing waves, rain and thunderstorms. Same goes for the grocery store on a year round basis.

    I get gifts for the men in my household (my super mansies!) and the dilemma is always budgeting because I want to give them the world. They’re awesome peeps. And they’re both musicians, so there’s always a guitar, or a pedal, or new cymbals, or…something to replace, repair or upgrade.

    I saw Gojira live recently and the show was incredible. I had a balcony seat overlooking the stage and the sound just penetrated my core. I was right in the heat and sweat of the whole affair. The crowd was energetic and much more diverse than I expected. The gentleman next to me was newly retired and had followed the band to multiple gigs around the country. The vibe at this concert was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced at a public event.

    Friends invited me to a Django Reinhardt dinner concert at a local jazz club this week. The Best of Django is standard accompaniment when I host dinner at home, so it appears my friends were paying attention! Should be fun, even for a hermit like me.

  27. grayslady

    1. Cold enough?
    It’s about to be. Within the next week, we are expecting not only more snow but temps with a high of 9 degrees F. Today it was in the 30s, tomorrow the 20s, so I’ve been racing around doing as many errands as possible before the miserable weather strikes.
    2. Christmas music?
    I prefer the sound of silence, or the sound of people’s voices. I heard a pheasant yesterday. Must have been lost, although a few years ago, looking out the window, I saw a pheasant walking down the street. Very strange, but wonderful.
    3. Gifts?
    My gifts are very personal. I start thinking about, and buying, gifts in July-August before prices are raised artificially. This year I made a couch throw for a friend. He fell in love with some plaid fabric when I was shopping for fabric at Jo-Ann. Picking out threads, to make the fringe, took forever.
    4. Performances?
    My local community college has a fabulous quasi-professional jazz band. (The performers are all music professionals; the band only performs at the college.) We were going to attend a performance the weekend before Thanksgiving, but then I saw the program–Christmas music!–so we didn’t go. I’m old-fashioned enough that I don’t want any reminders of Christmas until at least two weeks after Thanksgiving.

  28. Yertle D Turtle

    Pena, by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band? The martial music as the sub pulled into to Saint-Nazaire, in Das Boot? Theramin music from a 1950’s space-monster flick? “I Know what Boys Want” or “Martin Scorsese?”

  29. rivegauche

    An improving, non-digital public event: Weekend before last I went to my favorite place, the Riverwalk at the canal, for a guided walk with a park naturalist. It was brief but interesting: a bit of history about the city canal built in 1820 by the Irish; how floods have affected the area, especially the devasting floods in Oct. 2015; identifying flora and fauna. The naturalist pointed out Sassafras trees, cormorants, yellow-bellied sliders, Loblolly pines, and hawks. At other times on my walks and runs throughout the years I saw an alligator in the canal, a muskrat in the canal, and a large black snake on the trail. Always see birds, butterflies, and a variety of beautiful plants and flowers. The trail sits between the Broad River on one side and the city canal on the other. Not too far away, the Broad River joins with the Saluda, forming the Congaree.

  30. crittermom

    1). Cold enough?
    Yes. It was 8 BELOW here in western New Mexico accompanied by over 6″ of snow one night last week. A whopping 5 above the following night. Going thru too much firewood already. Winter hit quickly here. (Still awaiting 2 more cords!)
    2). Christmas music? I, too, would prefer nature sounds over Christmas music. With no family around & no longer in my home, it’s not cheerful to me, but instead, depressing.
    3). Gifts? Only handmade ones of my creation.
    4). Performances? In the Fall I was enjoying the incredible symphony of bull elk in the yard & Natl Forest surrounding me. Nothing since with exception of the numerous Juncos tsk-tsking as they search for food.

  31. Eureka Springs

    Here in N.W .Arkansas the cooling air feels invigorating. We need rain… over a foot below norm for the year. I’m cutting and stacking wood madly. Preparing for the big duck, geese and venison season hunt ahead. Infamous Dec. and Jan. grand dinner parties must go on…)

    Shortly after Turkey Day we danced the night away to Andy Frasco and the U.N.. Friends said they haven’t danced like that since high school. Dirtfoot (out of Shreveport, LA) played a local small bar here last week. Excellent show, we were so fortunte to have them in such an small venue.

    I shot some exceptional photos this year, had them professionally printed and wrapped them up months ago. Gifts 90 percent taken care of by July. Will be given on Solstice.

    Have not heard one note of x-mas music, nor thought about it until reading this thread. Now where is my James Brown Funky Christmas CD? Santa Claus, Go Straight To The Ghetto.

  32. petal

    1. Cold enough? Nope. I think we’re 3-4 weeks behind weather-wise here in northern NH. Not good. It seems to be a little later every year. Got our first measurable snow Monday-just a few inches, and it has been quite warm. Anyone else remember sledding before going in for Thanksgiving dinner back in the 80s?
    2. Christmas music? I hate the stuff (and the holiday season) so much, but Bad Religion does have a great Christmas album! I also enjoy Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s holiday shows in December. They stream them live and for free if anyone is interested.
    3.Gifts? Need to figure out what to get my 2 dogs. For the few other people I deem worthy of gifts/my time/money, I made fudge and homemade dog biscuits the other day and am in the process of making an easy fleece blanket or two, and I sent a Bunnicula storybook to my friend’s 2 little boys.
    4. Recent event: attended the New England Medieval Conference last month. Super neat. Totally geeked out on something completely different from my day job(science).

    I used to blow glass for fun when I lived in Cambridge, MA. There’s a great little glassblowing school on Sherman Street. You singe your arm hairs a little while standing at the furnace gathering, but if you want you can wear special sleeves and it helps some. I highly recommend people try glassblowing. A lot of places offer one-off lessons(make a paperweight or a drinking glass, xmas ornament, flower, etc), or weekly lessons for 6 weeks, etc. It’s one of the best things I ever did and I miss it and the people a lot. Cheers.

  33. Ed

    Out here in these parts, there’s not much for entertainment, but I’ll mention two, the first because supporting local high school talent is critical: we went to see a performance of Les Miserables at a regional high school that was simply outstanding, and the second because of the intimacy and quality: Livingston Taylor, showing why he teaches students at Berklee how to reach an audience. There’s a taste of that on YouTube.

  34. 3.14e-9

    2) Ten years ago, I needed some extra cash and got a job as a seasonal worker at Macy’s. The Christmas music nearly drove me insane, eight hours of a 30-40 min. loop, IIRC, and LOUD! The selections were all from pop Christmas albums. The worst was the Jackson Five “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” There were no traditional songs, presumably to maintain religious neutrality. Ironically, in an attempt to avoid offending customers’ religious sensibilities, they assaulted their ears. It literally drove customers away. One of the benefits of shopping online is not being subjected to aural water-boarding.

    The thing is, I always liked Christmas music. I sang in the church Christmas choir starting in kindergarten (mistaking the lyrics to “O Come All Ye Faithful” as, “joyful and rhinoceros”). And I still like it. One of my favorite albums is the Roches’ “We Three Kings.”


    Also like Mannheim Steamroller, renditions with classical guitar or Celtic harp, and Baroque, especially Corelli’s Christmas Concerto and, possibly the oldest Christmas song, “In dulci jubilo.”


    3) I don’t buy Christmas gifts anymore. I bake cookies, several kinds, all from scratch. Never fails to make people happy.

    1. drexciya

      Aural waterboarding is a very good description and one to remember. It’s beyond me why people think a shopping (or dining) experience is enhanced by playing music which isn’t selected by the audience and isn’t specifically asked for. It even really puts me off when eating somewhere. I most definitely pity the workers in shops and restaurants for having to put up with it; it would really drive me mad (a Dutch easy listening station really gets on my nerves in record time for some reason).

  35. Quentin

    It’s striking how many posters tell about their surroundings but fail to mention where they are geographically. They know, we don’t, which makes the information about temperature and precipitation seem abstract.

    1. meeps

      I’m at ~8500 feet in south central Colorado, Quentin. The late July monsoon never arrived here and the heat lingered much later than usual. I’m generally reluctant to reveal too much about my location, but since you sorta asked…

      Wherever you are, I hope you’re thriving.

  36. Oregoncharles

    a) Finally got a frost, last night and tonight (12/7). 32 degrees at 1030 AM.

    Then back to rain, with “wintry mix” in between.

  37. cm

    I’m going to out myself by forwarding my response to an e-mail from the Sanders (“Our Revolution”) campaign:

    Sanders stated that Clinton was unqualified to be President.


    I believed him.

    Once he supported her, he lost all credibility.

    This has been a very clarifying period in history — one in which we see that there is no real difference between Obama/Bush/Clinton and indeed Sanders. I was very disappointed to see how Warren waits to see who the winner is before deciding whom to back.

    If this supposed movement is backing Sanders then I do not support it.

    I want a revolution. I do not want anything related to Hillary Clinton.

    Bernie Sanders supported Hillary Clinton.

    He no longer speaks for me.

    Until this is addressed I will not support anything Sanders promotes.

    Chris Mathews,
    Washington State delegate

    On 12/7/2016 4:02 AM, Our Revolution Washington wrote:
    > We’re reaching out to you because you were a Bernie delegate during the
    > primaries, and we figured you may be interested in hearing from us…
    > Election season is finally over, and while not every election could
    > be what we had all hoped for, there is hope in the pacific northwest as
    > a progressive beacon over the next four years.
    > Two of the initiatives we backed, I-735 and I-1433 won BIG across the
    > state! With I-735 (WAMend) we have sent a very strong messages: it’s
    > time to overturn Citizens United. An even bigger victory came
    > with I-1433 (Raise Up WA) — we gave the working families of this state
    > a raise and paid leave!
    > A more formal introduction is coming soon, but for now we’re still in
    > the very early stages of organizing Washington.
    > Part of this is dividing the state into 10 “regions” based on counties:
    > 1. King
    > 2. Pierce
    > 3. Thurston, Mason
    > 4. Kitsap, Clallam, Jefferson
    > 5. Grays Harbor, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Lewis
    > 6. Clark, Skamania
    > 7. Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish
    > 8. Chelan, Douglas, Grant
    > 9. Kittitas, Yakima, Klickitat, Benton, Walla Walla, Franklin, Columbia,
    > Garfield, Whitman, Asotin
    > 10. Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Orielle, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams
    > If you are interested in becoming a lead organizer from one of these
    > areas, and shaping the future of Our Revolution Washington, please fill
    > out this form:
    > https://goo.gl/forms/FWFlNoZAXiwovbX03
    > I’m looking forward to hearing from many of you! Also, if you haven’t
    > yet, please join us on Facebook
    > , Twitter
    > , and Slack
    > . There is
    > already work being started on Ranked Choice Voting and Healthcare, and
    > we’re counting on people like you to give us a diverse range of ideas
    > and suggestions.
    > In solidarity,
    > Andrew Saturn
    > Interim Director
    > —
    > This message was sent to chris@solberg-mathews.com by info@ourrevwa.org
    > To forward this message, please do not use the forward button of your
    > email application, because this message was made specifically for you
    > only. Instead use the forward page
    > in our
    > newsletter system.
    > To change your details and to choose which lists to be subscribed to,
    > visit your personal preferences page
    > Or you can opt-out completely
    > from all
    > future mailings.

    1. Andrew

      Hi, I wish you would have actually sent that message! We aren’t the Bernie campaign and we aren’t blind followers of Bernie Sanders. We’ve since re-branded as WOKE Washington. Give us another try: http://www.fb.com/wokewa

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