2:00PM Water Cooler 10/3/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I have been very busy kicking CDC’s twitching corpse, and so I must beg your indulgence with an open thread. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From HL:

HL writes: “Sedum in my mom’s yard in Oregon with a whitebanded crab spider. He’s no doubt waiting for the many insects drumlin woodchuckles discussed that hang out on his sedum and goldenrod.”

Readers, I’m running a bit short on plants. Surely people have photos of autumn leaves, or of their gardens? Whether yield, or buttoned up for the winter? But send whatever you like! –lambert

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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. Hepativore

    I had to finish the job gutting one of the roasting chickens I got on Friday for Saturday night’s dinner. When I was reaching in to pull out the giblets during the pre-cook preparation stage, I kept finding tan shards of what I thought were thin plates of bone from somewhere. It turns out that there was a partially-formed brown-shelled egg inside of the abdominal cavity of one of the chickens, that had broken up inside with the membranes inside still attached.

    There was also what I think was the remains of the ovaries and fallopian tubes attached to the abdominal wall, as it was full of small, yellow spheres the size of a pea, about the consistency of hard fat when I cut it off. I think they were “proto-yolks” that had not matured enough yet to be coated in a shell by the cloaca.

    The remainder of the colon was also still present, so I cut that off as well. Who ever was in charge of cleaning the bird inside did a sloppy job, but I got it sorted out within five minutes.

    It is a huge chicken too, just over eight pounds. It is obviously a meat breed looking at the body shape, but I wonder if it was an old hen used for breeding more meat birds until her time had finally come.

    I should have taken pictures, as it was quite fascinating…although many people would be in hysterics I think at finding such surprises inside their nicely-packaged birds from the grocery store.

    1. Janie

      When meat was rationed in the 40s we sometimes bought live chickens. My father killed, scalded and plucked them; mother dressed them. I think she complained every minute of the exercise. Growing up in the rural south, that happened on a regular basis (butchering, don’t know about the complaining. And yes that’s a dangling participle. Too lazy to correct). Anyway, my original point was that undeveloped egg yolks have a wonderful flavor. You can buy them in little packages in Japan in the grocery stores and are they ever expensive.

      PS Mayby stew that chicken instead of roasting it 😀

    2. Randy

      If it was 8 pounds and had eggs inside it is definitely an old meat-breed laying hen.

      If you roast it I hope your teeth are sharp and in good shape. I have tried making soup out of two year old hens and after simmering all day they are still tough as shoe leather. I gave up on trying to eat old hens and give them away or throw them in the woods. Coyotes, buzzards and eagles have to eat too.

      You got ripped off.

      1. Hepativore

        It was actually quite delicious… I roast chickens or turkeys in an enamelware pan with the lid on until the chickens are done, and then drain the juice to set aside for gravy. Then I raise the heat a bit and cook with the lid off to crisp the skin. When they cook in their own juices like that it makes them quite tender.

        They were really good-tasting and tender chickens, actually.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yes, with older birds you almost have to steam them…like, more steamy than braising.
          the mexican americans around here wrap them in burlap and foil and bury them in a hole with hardwood coals in it(soak the burlap first).
          takes all day, but even old tough hens come out fall-off-the-bone.
          ive got a heavy aluminum “roasting pan” from the 40’s, in herited from my grandma…with a very tight fitting lid.
          its perfect for this sort of thing…but with older birds, i’ll stick a pan of water on the oven floor…like you do with bread.

          i finally got around to the fattening shed ive been trying to get together for 2 years…really a bunch of dog cages liberated from the dump over many years.
          stuck some year old roosters in there 3 weeks ago…water and lots of scratch grains and even left over grease and spoilt milk and such.
          waiting on them to get flabby.
          as opposed to tough and lean like they get running all over eating bugs.
          its an experiment…necessitated by being busy with Wife, and not being able to get this part of the infrastructure done in time to divert them from the yard much, much sooner.

          1. Mikel

            You can still afford chicken? Our family is eating brown rice and vegetables with a little pork fat bought separately at the grocer.

            I wonder what Joe Biden would taste like? Kamala Harris would definitely add some curried fat to the dish. At least she she’d serve for something.

            1. chris

              That’s a grim comment. Is it so bad where you live? If yes, I hope you have people you can rely on for help.

            2. Randy

              I have raised chickens for meat for about 40 years. My cost has always been about double what it costs in the store, not to mention the work raising them and butchering them. It is still worth it.

              This year my feed costs are the same as 2 years ago and my final cost will be about the same as store chicken. I am somewhat amazed.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                ive got two chicken houses…and fixin to add a third in the great big greenhouse…so i can rotate the flock.
                late summer, when they start not wanting to go into the house on this side of the road, we have a great migration east. keep em in the run over there(12′ fences) until they forget that they used to live over here, and turn them loose to clean and eat.
                spring, i reverse the process.
                when big greenhouse is finished, that’ll be late winter quarters…and also for cleaning and prophylactic bug eating.
                in their absence the so far 2 runs(again 12′ fences) are planted and replanted with all manner of things…field turnips, grass, millet, mustards(trap crop), etc…so that when they arrive, there’s plenty to do.
                boredom is an oft overlooked cause of various pathological behaviours…like egg eating.
                still playing catchup with many things like this after the almost 4 year cancer ordeal, when everything went to shit.
                when the System is up and running, my feed bill is negligible.
                for meat, i’m finally able to sequester the surplus roosters…confine them, feed them rich foods(chicken bucket in the kitchen), and after 6-12 weeks , depending on breed, butcher and cook.
                i handled all the confined year old roosters yesterday, and they are getting fat…we’ll see if such confinement undoes the lean toughness from a year of running loose.
                i’ll braise 2 to test…and if that still leaves them tough, its the burlap and hole in the ground all day cooking method.
                i remember learning how to caponise in high school FFA, but when i looked into it to refresh my memory, backed off messing with all that.
                perhaps in the future i can incorporate it…really boosts the meat production, from what i remember….but not sure its worth the hassle and risk.(its surgery)

            3. griffen

              I really don’t wonder what either one would taste like, to be fair! I got $100 saying that Hunter Biden tastes like he went on one bender too many in his sprawling time as a mischievous ne’er do well.

            4. Hepativore

              At Aldi and Walmart, you can get roasting chickens ranging from 5-7 pounds for less than a dollar a pound. I prefer shopping at the former, but Aldi has been having a lot of supply issues in regards to poultry in the past year and a half as half of the time they are sold out of both whole chicken and chicken parts.

              These latest birds I got were from Walmart.

        2. Randy

          I stand corrected.

          I raise my roosters to about 18 weeks and I cook them just as you do, in enamelware. For cut up pieces about 1 1/2 hours, for a whole roasted chicken, 3 hours. They don’t cook on the grill for 20 minutes and wind up tender like store chicken.

          I used to raise hens for eggs. I preferred heavy breed meat chicken hens because they had a mellow disposition but they would always fight to lay in two of the four nest boxes. The fights would always result in broken eggs and by the second winter they were eating their eggs and I don’t feed chickens because I enjoy their companionship. Then it was the soup pot and they just weren’t worth the effort for soup so I gave them away or fed them to wildlife.

          The heavy breed hens got big (about 6-8 pounds) but that took several years.

    3. playon

      We have noticed that even the more expensive organic chickens we sometimes buy are poorly cleaned. Probably not enough help at the processing plant, and of course they pay the workers as little as they can get away with while forcing them to work quickly.

    1. Haps

      We need a general economic strike starting the first week after the midterms to register our displeasure and unwillingness to sleepwalk into poverty.

  2. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have sometimes seen spiders like this. We need these spiders to eat the insects we “don’t like” and the price we pay is that they also eat the insects we like. It has all worked quite well for millions of years. There has not been a shortage of either crab spiders or pollinators or flowers till very very recently.

    ( By the way, a few days ago when it was 56 degrees out in the shade, I saw a few bumbleshape bees being active on my last few goldenrod flowers. Apparently they can make enough of their own internal body heat to stay active at that temperature).

    1. Paul Beard

      Try sitting a warming up bumblebee on your finger and you’ll feel a vibration from it’s muscles as it uses them to generate heat from a sort of shivering.

  3. drumlin woodchuckles

    Here’s a question for the readership . . .

    Is it possible to dig up a corn plant from garden or field and re-plant it in a big-enough pot to keep it alive through the winter?

    Why would I even ask? Well, I planted a bunch of corn seed a little after July 4th, very late, just to let them grow a little. Most tassled, many silked, some are trying to grow ears.

    Two or three show such visible promise that I would like to carry them alive past the first outdoor kill-freeze so that I can get dry-mature replantable seed-on-the-cob from those two or three.

    1. Louis Fyne

      won’t hurt to try.

      Not the same, but I’ve successfully replanted corn stalks that were too densely sown.

      You’ll probably need a grow light

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Thanks. If I am indeed diligent and driven enough to actually do it, I will let the readers know how it turns out.

    1. ThirtyOne

      What is with J Sachs, first calling for an open covid 19 origin investigation and now making paid shill’s heads explode.
      I guess he’s done with making money, lol.

    1. Acacia

      That would be funny if the frogmen were sent back to “finish the job” they ‘effed up, and they got captured.

  4. Wukchumni

    Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today submitted a statement in support of the Save Our Sequoias Act, which received a hearing today before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

    The bill, introduced earlier this month by Senators Feinstein and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) would take significant steps to help protect California’s giant sequoias – the largest trees in the world – from the threat of wildfire and expedite future wildfire-resiliency projects.

    Sequoias were long considered nearly immune to the effects of wildfires, but unfortunately, devastating fires in recent years have overwhelmed even their potent defenses. Officials have estimated that 20 percent of all mature giant sequoias have been lost just since 2020. Scientific research has additionally suggested that without significant action, another 20 percent could be lost in the next three years.

    To prevent such a tragedy, the “Save our Sequoias Act” would codify the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition, an existing group of public land managers with jurisdiction over sequoia groves, and require it to develop a strategy to make sequoia groves more resilient to wildfire. It would provide statutory support for the Biden Administration’s emergency declaration that is currently expediting sequoia wildfire resilience projects.

    Federal agencies should not be reliant on emergency authorities, however, in order to implement necessary wildfire resilience projects that will become more common in the future. To that end, our bill makes narrow, targeted adjustments to authorize federal agencies to implement sequoia protection projects in the highest wildfire-risk areas. It also authorizes the federal agencies to engage with the local community to conduct these projects, from tree nurseries and wood product companies to local and Tribal governments. Californians have an interest in protecting these magnificent trees, and this bill recognizes their role in providing aid.


    Looks as if there won’t be any losses of ancient Giant Sequoias this year, but hopefully the oldest living thing in Senate can gin up some help in gettin’ R done after My Kevin (since ’07) faltered badly on a similar bill, as is his fashion.

    …Kev’s long suit legislatively is renaming stuff

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s only right that Dianne Feinstein supports this piece of legislation. After all, she has known most of those sequoias since they were seedlings.

      1. Wukchumni

        Four score and nine years ago her mother & father brought forth on this continent, a new human, conceived in Frisco, and dedicated to the proposition that not all Senate terms are created equal.

  5. Duke of Prunes

    Should be interesting to see how fast that gets memory-holed. Perhaps he can be safely ignored since he’s not a “foreign policy expert” (like all the trusted MIC shills).

    Oops, this is a response to Rev Kev’s Jeffrey Sachs video

  6. flora

    Milton, “Paradise Lost, Book 2.” Yeah, yeah, academic pedantic stuff and nonsense, but Even so…

    “HIgh on a Throne of Royal State, which far
    Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
    Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
    Showrs on her Kings Barbaric Pearl and Gold,
    Satan exalted sat, by merit rais’d
    To that bad eminence; and from despair
    Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
    Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
    Vain Warr with Heav’n, and by success untaught
    His proud imaginations thus displaid. ”


  7. Wukchumni

    The Bad Coin

    Things had started out innocently enough, a small but useful purchase in the mid one figures of Bitcoin, oh to be a player with the big boys, was the initial attraction.

    Our relationship soured when Bitcoin wanted to go out to bars @ night, sometimes paying for endless rounds for all the patrons, trying to prove that it wasn’t a johnny come lately fluke. It rarely got up before noon and that was to only check the latest quote repeatedly before going to a Starbucks to try and sweet talk the 20 & 30 somethings into a relationship, the nerve of my 2-timing invisible friend I thought to myself!

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