Your NYT Paywall at Work: Douhat Edition

The blogosphere was making merry Monday with this passage from Ross Douhat’s NYT column:

Today, for instance, a family of four making the median income — $94,900 — pays 15 percent in federal taxes. By 2035, under the C.B.O. projection, payroll and income taxes would claim 25 percent of that family’s paycheck.

Apparently that “median income” was about twenty-large high, at least until Mr. Douhat clarified that the CBO estimate “includes employment-based health insurance and the employer’s share of payroll taxes”.

Which is all well and good. Unless, like us, you’re self-employed, in which case those two items may cause uninsured fits of hysterics.

Because, really, we’d love to pay only 15 percent in federal taxes. We’d also love to take in that High Five income, but that’s another issue.

The sad reality is that we pay 15 percent off the top — 15.3 percent, to be precise. America so loves its self-employed bootstrappers that we have the privilege of paying that comical “employer’s share” of Social Security and Medicare taxes, as well as the employee share. Folks like Mr. Douhat see an annoying 7.5+ percent deduction in their paychecks. We’re writing our own checks to the IRS every three months that include twice the amount.

And then federal taxes kick in.

Somehow, according to Mr. Douhat’s column, that family of four making $72K — plus bennies — only manages to pay about 8 percent in additional federal taxes. And we have no fucking clue how they get off so easy. For “married filing jointly” in 2011, you should be paying 10 percent on the first $17K, then 15 percent up to $69K, and 25 percent on the rest — or, rolling it all together, about 20 percent.

Of course, add in that $20k untaxed bennies, and the effective rate drops lower.

And what did we pay in 2010 on substantially less income and no bennies? Oh, about 23 percent.

Which makes this conclusion of Mr. Douhat’s the real howler:

Such unprecedented levels of taxation would throw up hurdles to entrepreneurship, family formation and upward mobility.

Dude: We’re a low-rent entrepreneur. We’re paying that now. And it fucking sucks. If you really have our interest at heart, demand single-payer healthcare and strong Social Security benefits. There’s no greater hurdle to living the freelance life than the fear of getting sick.

Which, in our case, never happens. And you know why? Because we sleep in every fucking morning.

And that’s why we put up with the taxes.


A 90% tax rate on the highest incomes never stopped the “greatest” generation from producing the baby boomers. The fact that incomes are shrinking relative to inflation is slowing down the long form certificate birf rate unless you’re insane, irresponsible or just fucking stupid like the cast members of various TLC birther shows show.

Of course, I guess I wouldn’t have known that if I were an overpaid NYT columnist pondering his navel and stroking his chin beard.

And have I mentioned recently, I mean within the last three weeks, that I now pay $9,000 a year on health insurance? No? Because I do. Pay $9,000 a year. Now I now that to Stinque Law such a paltry sum is negligible, about what we’d spend on our new Mont Blanc bought to sign the contract for the second yacht at the marina, but it makes me crazy. By me that is tax I have to pay so the ‘CEO’ of Cigna can pull down $M29 a year. And comments are closed on that article.

I pay my taxes differently. I pay in advance but it seems to be a different structure. Plus I have an accountant since a life in the theatre is guaranteed to make anyone stupid. And I pay between 15% and %25 in commissions before I pay anything else. But do you hear me whining? Do you?

I go to work now. There was an earlier scare when Happy Villagers were seen unpacking their make-up kits in the chorus dressing room but the emergency was averted and they were sent back to ALW where they belong. We’re almost at the end of act one and our Leading Lady, who has made a dramatically late first entrance, is about to sing to our hero. Wish me luck. We don’t want to end up with another Pajama Game on our hands.

Funny how Douche-hat suddenly remembered that the employer part of health insurance is essentially part of the employee’s check; I’m 99% sure he was singing a very different tune about public workers in WI…

Marginally related: AZ legislature too crazy for Gov. Brewer
Have we already reached Peak Wingnut?

This is an extremely interesting story. A Catholic activist who was engaged in getting the anti-equality marriage bill passed in Maine by all means necessary seems to have had a whiff of hell-fire and expresses ‘regret’. That’s just more of the same but the glimpse he gives of the backstage maneuvering is new and damning.

Now correct me if I’m wrong (it has happened, twice) but doesn’t the Catholic Church have a term for lying for the church? And hasn’t it been an encouraged activity in the past? On the thinking that we the people are too stupid to understand the divine workings and that we need to be lied to for our own protection? (Nowadays we call it politics) Also, please doesn’t someone know the correct name for looking down from heaven on the souls in torment writhing in the fires of hell? It is the – something – gaze. But I can’t remember what the something is. It’s in Elaine Pagel’s history of Satan.

Not Cath Bashing. I just find both ideas really interesting.

Spike Update

Spike Kinsey
1 Dance for the Royalty
2 Go to a Dance Club in REAL LIFE <– O_o
3 Lead a Dance and Fitness Class
4 Meet New Friends
5 Don’t Do ANY drugs
6 Eat GOOOD food
7 Stay away from the whores
8 Dance in the streets in wooden shoes
9 Fly over the ocean
10 Eat European chocolate
11 Get home safe

@JNOV is like,: $10 says Spike comes back with an announcement. Dance clubs have a way of breaking down closet walls.

@Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: Bingo!

ETA: I’m wondering about this dancing with royalty thing. I think we should warn them. Or maybe not. Snorri would know.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: Politico somehow managed a whole article out of the SarahPac relaunch yesterday.

It means — are you sitting down? — that SarahPac relaunched.

@JNOV is like,: Patent lawsuits are a dime a dozen — everybody sues everybody, everybody counters with other fine-grained patents in defense. It’s news if somebody wins.

OK, this bit from this is officially the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen attributed to a wanna-be Presidential candidate:

[Trump] said in 2006, when he was 59, that his daughter, then 24, “does have a very nice figure; I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her”

That is some Josef-Fritzl-level squick factor right there…

@nojo: Hey now, someone does win–the patent attorneys.

Some people want to be President and then there are those who want to be Pharaoh.

@al2o3cr: EEEooooourgh! I thought Fech! when I read that.

@JNOV is like,: Stay away from the whores. I always say that to myself when traveling abroad.

That NYT paywall is there to protect us for a reason. And if the Washington Post throws one up, we’ll have a real sanity prophylactic.

@¡Andrew!: I just had a vision of Krauthammer wearing a Naked Gun body condom. And now I’m sharing it with you. Because I care.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: This member of stinque law wishes $9 k was chump change. As a (self-employed) partner in my firm, I’m in the exact same boat as nojo. My savings account took a huge blow yesterday to write the tax check. After the 15 percent bite, and my 1/5 share of firm expenses (staff salaries, equipment, all that shit) and the 25 percent rate, I’m netting way less than I was as an associate. Everyone at the firm is a partner, so there are no associates to exploit to help one’s bottom line.

There is a way to beat the system, which is work a minimum of 10 hours a day Monday through Friday and at least one full day on the weekend plus engage in significant amounts of out of state travel (which is billed for at 50 percent of the hourly rate.) That way, you pull in around $300,000 – $350,000 or more annually, so the percentage of your income that goes to expenses is much lower although you are in the 33 percent bracket and still have to pay the 15 percent self employment tax. I decided I can’t live that way (I could, but that would mean neglecting my wife and son and never getting to go skiing, fishing, hunting, back packing, or out of town for a concert or trip with the family), so I just put up with it. Mrs RML let me know early on she would not stand for raising our child alone if I was gone all the time. Guys who work 99 hours a week take one trip a year, but it’s to Africa or South America, not California or Colorado.

A state or federal agency job can be less work for more take home, but these days there’s the ever present threat of budget cuts or shifting political winds. Long term, my best bet is to stay where I’m at, making a living, keeping clients happy and knowing my retirement plan is to work until I die. And, because insurance for my family through my small firm would be about $18,000 per year, we buy through Mrs RML’s employer for around what Benedick pays.

That post was worth about a tank of gas for my truck, so I gotta get back to work.

@redmanlaw: Thanks. I’m always grateful to know the nuts and bolts of other people’s lives. I guess it all depends on what one thinks is important.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: I tell myself, don’t be a whore. Doesn’t work. Vacation sex is yummy!

@redmanlaw: When I was a law firm partner, I was billing out around $500/hr and taking home about $100 of that, pre-tax. The way to make the really big bucks is through leverage, meaning suck the lifeblood out of armies of associates ( non-partners) and then throw their dessicated husks into the gutter and hire some more. We didn’t do that.

@Dodgerblue: Wow. Wish I’d worked there instead of We Are a Big Fucking Pyramid Scheme, Dumbasses!

@JNOV is like,: It’s all a fucking pyramid scheme now. Financial firms are among the worst, with the executives making seven and eight figure incomes, while the schmucks who actually run the place are selling our hair by the pound to the wig store.

Speaking of, it’ll likely surprise no one that I’ve become the hated Purveyor of Inconvenient Facts in my Econ class. Just yesterday, our Prof was explaining the simple Truth to us with charts and graphs about how minimum wage laws, taxes and social benefits actually cause unemployment by driving up labor costs. “Excuse me, Professor, but if that’s the case then why do countries like Germany, Canada, Finland, et al, have lower unemployment and stronger economic growth, when their taxes are higher and their wages and social benefits are far more expensive than ours?”

Well those relationships suddenly got too complex to explain to a punk-ass grad student.

@Dodgerblue: I earn about 1/6th of what my time is billed out at (nowhere near $500, obvs). I have no idea what the ratio is for our associates, of counsel, senior counsel, and partners.

TJ/ Shit water off again, boil water advisory in effect until at least Thursday. I might have to do this.

@JNOV is like,: East coast flooding? Boil water advisories usually accompany rising floodwaters. A thimble full of household bleach in a litre – or is it a gallon? – will kill the ickies, as well.

@flypaper: No flooding this time; that was last month.

Our water mains are over 100 years old, someone broke a fire hydrant or something, they went to fix yesterday’s break, and then they found/created another this morning. Yay, failing infrastructure!

ETA: Oh, yeah, once the water is back on, the bleach is coming out. I boiled a bunch of water this morning and ran it through the Brita, but I’m just kind of annoyed. I had NO IDEA how easy I had it. Christ. I’ve always been like, “Oh! People in [wherever] don’t have potable water! That’s horrible!” Yes, it’s absofuckinglutely horrible. At least I don’t have to walk miles to gather firewood, tote water and risk rape along the way. I’m really unhappy, though.

@mellbell and Dodgerblue: I win. I earn less than 1/10 of what is officially collected as my billable rate.

@SanFranLefty: For me, winning will be finding a new job.

@mellbell: What do you want to do? Do you want to stay in DC? Meet me in the sandbox….

@redmanlaw: Add – pick child up after school and take to appointments as things my top earning partners don’t do.

Nojo: I have to comment on “sleeping in every fucking morning.” My husband and I are both 68 and have been living on Social Security (which ain’t much in my case, better in his) for the last few years. The absolute best thing about being retired is Monday morning. If we wake up at 5 am and want to get up, fine. If we sleep until 10 am, that’s fine too. Fortunately we blew everything that came our way from our parents’ estates on travel in the nineties (Paul had already done lots of travel because he was a travel agent). Then he developed Parkinson’s, and travel now would be a terrible hassle even if we could afford it, which we can’t. I started doing armchair traveling about forty years ago, when he was getting to go places while I stayed home with the kid and the cats. Lost my job because of my alcoholism in the late eighties at about the time my parents died within six months of each other and left me a car and lots of money. I started doing all kinds of day trips by myself and longer ones with friends to places like Cahokia Mound, Serpent Mound, Hot Springs, Eureka Springs, the Shaker places in Kentucky, the quilt museum in Paducah, the Buffalo River in Arkansas, the Smokies, and other wonderful and little-known places in striking distance by car. Later Paul and I went on repeat trips to England and Scotland, to New Mexico, to national parks in the West, then two trips to Italy, all of these trips happily and thoroughly researched in advance by me. So, now, with our coffee in the mornings we can reminisce about the high spots and inevitable miseries of travel and then go back to bed if we wish. Ah, naps! Monday mornings and naps! I recommend doing as much travel as you can as early as you can.

Thank you for your time.

@lynnlightfoot: I used to say I retired at 24, and I haven’t worked a full-time job since. Instead, I read a lot in the years following, picked up the bullshitting philosophy degree, and, yes, traveled a little, although I was more an SF road-trip dude in those years.

In short: Lots and lots of adventures. And this is the latest.

@lynnlightfoot: One of the best things I ever did was fly to Spain when I was 19 with a backpack and a Eurail pass and spent the next 10 weeks traveling around Europe and visited about 23 countries (pre-EU/euro). This was in the pre-wired days so my parents had not a clue where I was except when I called them once from Norway. Slept on trains, churches, cathedrals, train stations, and dumpy hostels; met new people who became travel buddies (and the occasional fuck-buddy); smoked some amazing hash in Holland and ate orgasmical fresh from the oven bread in Paris; had a fucking blast and ruined my college GPA (at least the chance to be Phi Beta Kappa) because I spent a semester “studying” in Spain but that mainly consisted of traveling around the country on 4 day trips.

I still can’t quite believe I did all that.

@lynnlightfoot: I’m guessing you’ve also been to Angel Mounds?

@mellbell: We are about to have some job openings in Santa Monica. Email me if interested.

@SanFranLefty: My younger daughter, after her volunteer gig in Israel, bummed around Europe for a couple of months, is now bumming around Peru, then on to Costa Rica for what she describes as a Spanish language and surfing school. Surf arriba!! She’s 23, now’s the time.

@nojo: @SanFranLefty: @JNOV is like,: @mellbell: Yes to Angel Mounds.

Bless you all for responding. I love this site and the excellent company I find myself in. I learn so much and I am made to laugh uproariously so often (great for my health–by the way, I think I’m older than most people here–I read a tip a long time ago that I’ll pass on–if you think you’re having a heart attack, make yourself cough–evidently it’s a rough-and-ready heart-starter).

@lynnlightfoot: Thank you for the lovely story and advice. BTW, my dad worked for the Park Service at the Buffalo National River, and we frequently visited Eureka Springs. Maybe we passed each other on the highway? Did you get to enjoy the amazing Fay Jones architecture, like Thorncrown Chapel?


I got into trouble as teen doing that when the local MP candidates went to my high school (just turned 18 and eager to vote.) I asked one how is it being fiscally responsible when you blow billions on flawed stupid projects like nuclear submarines we didn’t need while raising taxes to record levels. The local Con candidate busted my chops for being an ignorant pinhead–first taste of politics. I was mocked at school for it, but I was right though.

@lynnlightfoot: New Mexico? The desert or the groovy mountains we don’t tell people about?

Never really traveled outside of the US. Couldn’t afford it when I was eating $8 worth of groceries a week back in college. The folks had nothing to throw may way either. It’s basically been work, work, work since I was 13.

Been to Mexico a few times, seen a lot of the West with the family and by myself, picked up a Big Journalism Award in New York once then hung out with my beatnick musician buddy for a few days. Last time I was in DC was on a 24 hour hit and run several years ago. Caught some salmon in Alaska 10 minutes from the Anchorage Hilton on some flies I tied and caught a pompano in Florida when we were there for a wedding by figuring out where the fish would be hanging out by reading the water. On the other hand, I think I really know my local mountains, streams and back roads.

@ManchuCandidate: My first campaign? Running a stuffed armadillo for student body president in high school. And that’s my I’m a stinquer.

@¡Andrew!: Yes, I loved Thorncrown Chapel and the Buffalo River. Another place we loved in Arkansas is Mammoth Spring, which my husband and I visited on a beautiful spring day (sometime in April). It was alive with the busiest muskrats you’d ever hope to see building whatever it is they build for their young. Syllamore Creek is the most beautiful color and if you go see Blanchard Cavern Springs, you’ll never forget them. Reminded me of the story St. Exupery retailed about taking some Arab acquaintances of his from his time as a desert pilot to a waterfall in Switzerland. After everyone had gazed respectfully for a while St. Ex made motions of leaving, at which the Arabs said no, let’s wait till it’s over.

Now that I am thinking of Arkansas , there’s Petit Jean State Park and the one that’s like a layer cake. can’t think of its name right now. you wind around and around and at the top there are splendid views of the Arkansas River coming in from the west and winding around to the south As you see, I get very enthusiastic about Arkansas.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: The Doctrine of Equivocation. It’s not lying, exactly, it’s more like saying your bed was empty all afternoon when you actually spent it fucking your lover on the couch.

You can say what you like about the Roman church, but they never missed a trick.

@redmanlaw: I love New Mexico too. My husband and I spent a couple of weeks there in 1993, I think it was. My sister and I earlier than that (1989). Mostly in the northwest quadrant. Went to the Malpais, to Acoma Pueblo, to Chaco, to Farmington (Aztec site?), to Chamas, to Taos, Bandelier, Santa Fe, Albuquerque. The two trips are now mingled in my mind with my readings of Tony Hillerman and Martin Cruz Smith and other writers about NM. I have always wanted to go back, but probably now it won’t happen.

I have a story I hope you’ll forgive me for telling. My sister and I left Taos and drove over the mountains through Cimarron, etc.. We were heading home from a long trip we took after she nursed my mother through her final illness from cancer. So I went from Indiana to Iowa to pick my sister up and we drove through Iowa, South Dakota, (oops I left out Wyoming Yellowstone, the Tetons, and all that jazz), Idaho, down into Nevada and through California to our other sister’s house in Hayward, CA, arriving a few days before the Loma Prieta quake. Then we visited other relatives in San Diego and headed toward home planning to stop on the way in Great Bend, Kansas, to visit our aunt.

So we left Taos. My sister was coming down with something and wasn’t much company. Between Springville and Clayton, NM, near the border with Texas, a distance of about 90 miles, I saw only two other cars on the road. The map showed two place names, one of them Gladstone, where all there was was an abandoned house, I never figured out where the other one was. I always like to read myself to sleep and was out of books I hadn’t already read so when we got to Clayton just after dark and checked into a motel I went looking for reading matter. Of course there was no bookstore, but there was also nothing in the largest market, no magazines, no paperbacks, no newspapers. In a convenience store I found exactly one copy of a day-old newspaper, and that was all there was to read in Clayton that night. Can’t remember how I coped. Don’t think I sucked my thumb. May have cried myself to sleep. Clearly northeastern NM is the Empty Quarter, or was then. The only other time I was similarly skunked for reading matter was in Benton Harbor, Michigan, but at least there there were books in the supermarket, it was just that they were appalling books.

Probably everyone has died of old age while I was writing this.

@lynnlightfoot: Oh wow, you have seen the best parts of Arkansas. I grew up in the northwest corner near Fayetteville. It is a truly beautiful place in many ways. You can find a real peace and quiet–a certain stillness– there that doesn’t really exist out on the coasts.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park northwest of Little Rock offers jaw-dropping, dramatic views of the Arkansas River. Even the Delta area in the southern part of the state has its own forlorn, American Gothic charms. I have to admit, there are some places that I really miss.

@redmanlaw: Please tell me the armadillo won.

@¡Andrew!: Third out of four. My friend who came in fourth is still pissed.

@lynnlightfoot: My places.

@redmanlaw: “my places” Northwestern or northeastern NM? Hardly matters, they’re all beautiful. I saw a roadrunner once, near Acoma. Top of the morning to you. May all your dealings with bears remain respectful on the part of all parties.

I have a story I hope you’ll forgive me for telling. That’s what we’re here for.

I think I’m older than most people here. Anyone seen Catt?

I don’t know most of the places you’re all talking about. I had no idea that Arkansas could be beautiful. I’m not trying to be rude, I just don’t know that part of America. But it’s what I still do love about this country and what astonishes Europeons. I’ve driven across the country a couple of times and loved every minute of it. I loved my drive to SLC because I spent some time in Laramie and then drove through a couple of the most beautiful parks in Wyoming and Utah. We stayed at the Altomah Lodge right on the rim of the Grand Canyon and I loved walking about while the OH watched Judge Judy. He refuses to sight-see though I did once get him into a cathedral in France. My late teens and 20s were mostly spent haunting London trying to get a job. I never seemed to get the fun jobs in fun places. I’d be doing As You Like It in Scunthorpe, while everyone’s off to stay in a palace in Bahrain. (A friend is playing the Capt there in Sound of Music, which seems unnatural on more than one account.) But we did stay in France for some great times in rented houses.

Where we live now is my favorite place ever. And the States is still cheap compared to Europe. My ambitions now are chiefly nordic. I don’t think I have the patience to lie on a beach any more. I find the whole Norway/Denmark/Faroes/Scotland/Iceland/Greenland saga irresistibly romantic. BTW. The account of the first European settlements in North America in Saga of Greenlanders and Saga of Eirik the Red are really remarkable and well worth a read. They always begin the same way, “There was a guy called Nigel who had a big nose.” Or some variant on that.

All right. Now I have to get to work.

@Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: Thanks. I knew you’d know. No ideas on The Gaze? Don’t make me read that fucking book again.

@Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: There’s a DOCTRINE of Equivocation??? Well, that explains how all the bishops, etc., all the way up to Il Papa came to grief over the whole Molesting Scandal–they were just doing the usual obedience to Church doctrine.

Your explication of the doctrine is, well, I’m speechless with admiration. “It’s not lying, exactly, it’s more like saying your bed was empty all afternoon [while you were fucking your lover on the couch].” (my brackets)

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: I also deeply appreciate “There was a guy called Nigel who had a big nose.” He had an ax or a halberd too, right? maybe both, and sailed off with them to settle the hash of another guy who richly deserved it.

@lynnlightfoot: It is mostly reserved for things that the church knows through confidential means (i.e. the confessional), but it also situations where a higher purpose is served by concealing the truth. it would have allowed Christine O’Donnell, were she male and a priest, to have mislead the Nazi’s as to the whereabouts of Jews during World War 2. Or any specific act of pederasty committed during that time period or any other, apparently.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: I’ve never heard of that. I’m not a big believer in Hell, but the concept of a special look on God’s face when he takes a peek there is awesome.

And I’m not old, I’m just well-seasoned.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: When my in-laws still lived in Albany, I pored over some NY guidebooks and made sure that the next time we went to New York State, we went to the site of the Catskill Mountain House (I hope I’ve got the name right). In the 19th century it was a popular resort with the wealthy of New York. There was a narrow-gauge railway up the sheer face on the western side of the Hudson River valley and the place overlooked where the painter Frederick Church had his house on the eastern side. The hotel itself is long gone. If you’ve never been there, you might think about going. It’s pretty close to you, I think, it’s a state park or something, and it’s gorgeous. Also, of course if you drive up the Northway toward Lake Champlain and Canada (in summer), you could believe you had died and gone to heaven.

@Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: It’s not the look on God’s face, it’s the gaze of the blessed looking down over the ramparts of heaven at the damned burning in hell forever. The gaze itself has a name.

@lynnlightfoot: As I understand it all of this is possible because, after centuries of struggle against Donatism, the Church very sensibly at the time declared that moral authority does not lie in the individual priest or prelate but in the body of the church itself. Tomm will put me right here if I’ve got it wrong. Consequently the idea that it doesn’t matter what I do because it doesn’t reflect on the church became the rule. So someone lying, so long as the ends were ‘good’, was perfectly all right. I believe, again this is mostly my imagining, that this laid the church open to the priest abuse as there is a moral obligation to allow a sinner to repent and that sinners sins don’t attach to the Church.

I do know of the Mountain House. It’s about 25 mins north of here above the town of Catskill. It is a park and nothing much is left of the great hotel beyond, I think, some landscaping. It’s quite a popular spot now and I don’t go there because it’s so busy. Nearer home are unspoiled villages and mountain hikes that I like better. Church’s house is Olana. Extraordinary vistas down the Hudson that are untouched since his day, apart from the trees. By some fluke of getting it right any development had to be hidden from Olana. It’s fun on the outside and pretty hideous inside: cramped dark little rooms stuffed full of mostly awful paintings and persian tschochkes.

There are some grand little river towns still left above and below Catskill; Hudson, once home to the 2nd largest whaling fleet in North America; Saugerties, with its light house in the river and cheap antique shops; Malden, where I’ve seen bald eagles; Kingston, which is both beautiful and very run down; etc.

I’ve come to love this place and have to know it pretty well. I got a kick, for example, when one of the cars had to have some body work done (don’t ask) and I took it into the garage to find that the owner was a descendent of one of the first families who’ve lived here since the late 1700s. That’s not unusual. There’s a local family with a dutch name that’s been around since the late 1600s.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: The gaze itself has a name.
I vote for “Supreme Schadenfreude.”

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: Without looking this up, I thought that Hell was originally looking away from God. Not a place, but a perspective.

@nojo: Not a real place? Are you some kind of Muslim?

@Mistress Cynica: Now I’m going to have to find that motherfucking book, read it, and discover I made the whole thing up.

BTW. Cock industries instructed its serfs employees how to vote in the mid-terms, handing out handy instruction packets on who is right and who is Satan.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: Non-story:

On the eve of the November midterm elections, Koch Industries sent an urgent letter to most of its 50,000 employees advising them on whom to vote for and warning them about the dire consequences to their families, their jobs and their country should they choose to vote otherwise.

Heavens! They mailed a packet! Alarums! Excursions!

Show me the actual intimidation, and then I’ll care.

@nojo: You know what your problem is? You’re too fucking calm! I’m bouncing off the walls here, plus fighting off an attack of Happy Villagers, and you’re all “Yadda, yadda, whatever, dude.” I want to see some fucking hysteria, pronto.

@mellbell: It’s the only place I’ve seen it mentioned. And with that I’m off to the Library.

Speaking of the Catholics, I missed this Frontline special last night about how the Catholic church sent a bunch of child-molesting priests to Native Alaskan villages in the ’70s. As part of the settlement of the class-action child abuse case said that the Archbishop of Fairbanks had to travel to every Alaskan village affected and personally apologize to the people there. The PBS camera crew came along for some of the encounters.

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: Had to ask when you talked about the gaze and the blessed looking down on the souls in torment, do you know the film A Month in the Country? It’s about a WWI veteran going to a country church in the north of England to restore a medieval fresco of the Last Judgment. One of my all-time favorites. Performances by the young Natasha Richardson, Colin Firth as the damaged veteran, Patrick Malahide, Jim Carter, among other Englishers I love. Since I’m extremely ambivalent about GOD, it’s right up there with one of my other favorite Brit movies, Whistle Down the Wind. In that, a small boy and his older sister (played by Hayley Mills, I think), go to ask their parish priest why a kitten died, the one they entrusted to a wounded, escaped convict (Alan Bates) hiding in a barn whom all the local children have come to believe is Jesus come back who must be protected from a reenactment of what happened to him the first time around. After they talk to the priest, the boy says to his sister (in a strong North Country accent), “Doesn’t know, does he?” Says it all.

@lynnlightfoot: There is far more here than I can take in, especially with the office sactioned Happy Hour ™ under my belt – but I want to say that your comment stopped me in my tracks, Lynn.

I’m slightly less than a generation removed from you – Prom, RML and (I think) Cyn are roughly my cohorts – and somehow – whether despite or because of the relative privilege in which I was raised, I knew from the age of 20 I needed to move. By 21 I had Colorado residency (I’m a ‘birther’, actually), at 26 I was legally a Texan, and by 40 I had three continents under my belt.

I somehow reside on this planet to both fulfill the joy of loving my wife and parenting my kids and and as well to play Firefighter to the World. Everyday I tell my colleagues “walk carefully, dudes – we’re spending RML’s money on this one” – but it could as well be any of y’alls. When I ride my bike to work, that’s a day that you’re not footing my local metro benefit.

Selah – but I can’t wait until the day that I wake at 6 and can decide to either get up (my default is 5…) or sleep until 10. Until then, please enjoy your Mondays on me.

@Nabisco: Thanks, darling. Hang on. You sound strong. Chances are you’ll live to a ripe old age, napping at will and raising a ruckus when you feel up to it.

@lynnlightfoot: Indeed it’s Hayley Mills in, I think, her second movie, first being Tiger Bay. And isn’t the boy wonderful? I don’t know if he worked again or decided to have a life instead. It was transposed to the South (uh oh) and musicalized by our own dear noje’s favorite, Lord Lloyd Webber, but closed out of town and hasn’t been heard of since. Haven’t seen Month in the Country but will Netflix its ass. Of course you’ve seen Brief Encounter but have you seen it recently? Celia Johnson gets better and better. She’s also very fine in Coward’s lovely This Happy Breed. We’ve been watching some of the new wave Brit films recently which is interesting if somewhat annoying on account of the OH saying “My God, there’s Bunny!” or someone else, every five minutes. They don’t hold up very well. “Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” has a fine perf from Tom Courteny but the script is very crude. Haven’t seen Saturday Night, etc which might have fared better. There’s a general air of condescension in those movies made by upper middle class boys about the working class. The new Upstairs, Downstairs is intolerable in its condescension, something that Downton Abbey (now shooting its second season) manages to sidestep pretty neatly.

Going on with all things Brit, if you’re in a reading mood you might try to find Larkrise to Candleford, a classic of women’s literature. A memoir of a young girl living in a small village as the old agricultural England is being torn apart. Shot through with sadness and packed with detail about how people really lived. It was published by Penguin Modern Classics.

@Benedick: When I first heard of Downtown Abbey, I’d imagined these hardcore 80s street nuns in a gritty southeast London ‘hood who know karate and hold down recovering heroin addicts while they’re convulsing from withdrawals: “Bite down on my Bible for THE PAIN, guv’nuh!”

Once again, reality has eschewed my Vision, though the series is delightful, especially the glamorous costumes. (Suh-woon!)

@Benedick is not as stupid as he looks.: Thanks for the response. I haven’t read Larkrise to Candleford, but now I’ll find it. Glad to have your take on the new Upstairs Downstairs. I can’t imagine why (too busy? bullshit detector? good taste?), but I seem to have passed on the original. I remember seeing one or two episodes and losing interest, whereas almost everything else that WGBH Boston imported from the UK, starting very early, when we were living in Boston before we moved to Bloomington, IN, in 1974, and going on at least until the mid-nineties when Newt Gingrich began his work of destruction on PBS, found me fastened to the tube every Thursday and Sunday evening.

I may have seen Brief Encounter when I was too young to appreciate it. That could be the one I took my small sister to when I was babysitting her on a parents’ night out. Although, really, she behaved impeccably, she had to be taken to the restroom TWICE. Mind you, I think I paid for our tickets with my allowance. I’ll find it too.

Thanks again for sharing, and best of luck with your writing.

@¡Andrew!: Just remember, when you’re looking at those Edwardian/Georgian period series that all the upper-class women would have been wearing split-crotch pantaloons. I wouldn’t say no to a valet, even though the hero of Downton (about to get seriously wounded in the coming war, I should imagine. I picture him at Ypres. Then Lady Mary will nurse him back to health just in time for the whole sordid story of the death of hunky diplomat to blow up in everyone’s face) has no patience for such stuff.

@lynnlightfoot: The two of them made a glowing final pairing – Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard – in Staying On by Paul Scott of Raj Quartet fame, memorable for the scene in which she gets hammered and dances solo to the gramophone. A performance of such grace and intelligence it should be compulsory viewing.

@Benedick: And there’s no question that if Lady Edith tries to sabotage her sister’s budding romance with Sir Matthew Crawley, Lady Mary’s gonna go stone-cold nuts and cutta bitch.

@¡Andrew!: I have a terrible feeling that the chinless wonder who was ‘interested’ in Edith till Lady Mary – the headstrong slut – put the kibosh on it, is going to end up owning the Abbey. Either him or Sting.

But I would agree – Do not fuck with Lady Mary.

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