Five Things: June 10, 2020

Annnnd here we go for today:

Trump wants CNN to apologize for a poll that has Biden ahead: Oh, bless his sad little heart. I do understand it’s been a bad couple of weeks for the president, what with botched photo ops and hiding in bunkers and behind gates and his open racism not working for him the way he wants it to. But this is a very silly tantrum for him to be having in public, and anyway, it’s not just CNN that has him taking a poll thumping recently. I don’t see it being out of the realm of possibility that Trump demands an apology from everyone who give him poll data he’s not happy with, although I understand he’s going after CNN specifically because he’s decided it’s the news company that will be his nemesis, this week, anyway. CNN, of course, has no intention of apologizing, because why should they.

Christopher Columbus had a rough night: A statue of him in Boston was beheaded and another in Richmond was toppled and thrown into a lake — immersion in water apparently being the new hotness in statue desecration. On one hand, public property shouldn’t be attacked, blah blah blah, etc, but on the other hand, speaking as an Italian-American who therefore has Columbus as his secular patron saint in the United States, fuck that genocidal piece of shit, there shouldn’t be statues of him up anywhere, much less entire cities and countries named after him. Someone on Twitter made the cogent point that statues aren’t about education, they’re about commemoration, i.e., propaganda, which can be benign or… not. The propaganda about Columbus stopped being convincing a while back. I’m not going to cry to much about him walking the plank.

Gone With the Wind gone with the, uh, wind or something: More accurately, pulled down from HBO Max, apparently until such time the studio can do for it what they already do for Looney Tunes, which is to put a disclaimer up that basically says “Hey, FYI, there’s some real racist bullshit here, we’re not going to pretend it didn’t exist, but we all know better now.” Which, you know. Is fine. Stalwarts who are winding themselves up about non-existent First Amendment issues will be pleased to know one may still rent GWTW via Amazon Prime or Google Play or other online services, and can still get the Blu-Ray, so no one can take it away from them, ever (the book is also widely available, if you’re into that). So, yes: If three hours and forty minutes of genteel southern racism is your thing, you can still have it, all over the place.

The newest winery in the Dayton area, literally across the street from me: I mean, literally, as in, I can see the driveway for it from my office window:

The property used to belong to the parents of one of Athena’s classmates, and for the last year or so they’ve been doing construction, putting up vines and otherwise getting ready to welcome people in. I suppose it’s likely to increase traffic a bit, but we’ll see if it’s an actual nuisance. I’m optimistic about it and am thinking it will be a nice addition to the neighborhood. They start takeout service this Friday, so we’ll soon find out. I do like the idea of a new business in our little town. It’s good to see it happen. Here’s their direct site, if you would like to check it out (and/or would like to order something from them).

It’s hot and humid and our air conditioning is on the fritz, Part II: The Humiditing: We had our house air conditioning looked at last week, and then guy who came was all, yup there’s a problem, and then told us that the soonest anyone could get out to fix the particular problem was Thursday next week, i.e., this week, i.e., tomorrow. So we’ve had to endure the hottest and most humid week on the 2020 calendar (so far!) without central air. I am personally a delicate little flower who actually does work from home and would like not to dissolve into a puddle of anguished sweat, so I went and got a single-room air conditioner for my office. It works great, in that the instant I leave my office during the day every other part of the upstairs is noticeably hotter and makes me want to die. So: worthwhile investment, and since it’s for my office, tax-deductible as well. The only drawback is that it’s not exactly quiet. But if I have to choose between silence or sweating miserably, well, let’s just say I bought an air conditioner and got a white noise generator as a bonus.

52 Comments on “Five Things: June 10, 2020”

  1. So what to Krissy and Athena do? You didn’t get a one-room AC for the living room, or dining room, or even bedrooms? As You Know, Bob — you can get as 5K BTU one for under $100 almost anywhere (bedroom size), and larger ones for the general area for under $400 if you shop around (Lowe’s and CostCo in my area tend to have the best prices for those).

  2. I’ve had my share of AC problems that invariably occur on Friday forcing me and my family to spend the weekend in misery (I live in Florida). I’ve also had the same thing happen during a series of hurricanes, which further delayed repairs. My go-to solution is to buy two window units and install them in the two bedrooms my family uses. It’s typically cheaper than a single night at a hotel, and you can retreat to the bedrooms as much as needed while waiting for repairs. Once the crisis passes (plus extra time to make sure the AC is truly fixed) I donate the units to charity.

    I explain this to people all the time and they act like I’m crazy. I’m glad to see someone else that uses my method.

  3. Timliebe:


    More seriously Krissy is much happier at a far higher temp/humidity point than I am, so she’s mostly fine. Athena is renting an apartment with a friend at the moment and lives there most of the time. Also, in the evening, the temperature drops enough that we do what people did in the olden days: Open some windows and let air circulate through.

  4. Based on what you wrote here, it’s pretty easy to use Google Maps to figure out exactly where your house is. Does this/ought this concern you at all? I mean, you are pretty open about a lot of things, but did you even worry about this? That said, there are other, fairly easy ways to find the same info. Have you ever had the random stranger show up wanting to say hi?

  5. If your AC unit is old enough to use R22 refrigerant, you might consider a new unit from a good manufacturer. They use R410A refrigerant and are quieter and more efficient. I got a mid-tier Carrier 16 SEER last year and save 20-30% on the electric bill during the Arizona summer — and it’s noticeably quieter than the 15-year old model it replaced. The best units have variable speed control and are even more efficient but also need their own controllers, which aren’t nearly as friendly as ecobee or Nest (the only reason I didn’t get a Trane XV18 is its hideous controller).

  6. Luckily I don’t live in a city with statues—in Britain they have statues of slave traders who built hospitals, colleges, charities and so forth, statues now being toppled. Need I have perspective?

    No, luckily I don’t need to have an opinion on toppling other people’s statues, (it wouldn’t be PC) but if I did, then at the end of the day, despite any pros and cons or wearing the shoes of historians and charity figures I would simply say: “The dead have to serve the living.”

  7. ACs@Home is an exotic vacation thing for me. The five days a year, I‘d need it here are not worth the trouble.

  8. “The newest winery in the Dayton area, literally across the street from me…”

    And that was the start of THAT slippery slope.


  9. at a good old-fashioned high school sporting event infamous shiny black-gloved E.L.E. stalwart DrHorrible’s sly laugh wafts from stage-left, as supportive locals drone rhythmically..
    > glow ball warrmmming: clap clap, clap-clap-clap. (repeats)
    signed, boycotting home air conditioners since, like, forever.
    # sorry / not sorry

  10. As long as people are giving home improvement advice, any advice about a backup generator for the house?

  11. glc: propane with auto start and monthly self test. If you can afford it.

    Scalzi: did they plant grapes in the valley where it floods? Do they know it floods? Grapes do not like boggy soil.

  12. Wow! A lot to comment on here……..

    1) Will The POS in the WH demand an apology from Gallup for the poll just published showing him with a 39% approval rating?

    2) The Looney Tunes cartoons are NEW on HBOmax. I just read they took Elmer Fudd’s gun away. We have upgraded to max and will have to check out how Elmer copes without his gun. Duck season! Rabbit season!

    3) In 1892 in Cincinnati, where we live, a big gothic school building was built and named after Christopher Columbus. It was a very spooky looking building. When I read Summer of Night by Dan Simmons, the CC school here was how I visualized the evil school in the book. The CC school in Cinci was torn down about 15 years ago. I don’t believe it was connected to the beheading of Columbus in Boston.
    I hope there aren’t any plans to tear down the Annie Oakley statue in Greenville. She was a straight shooter.

    4) So John…. When we are traveling up or down I-75 visiting our son and daugther-in-law in Michigan and decide to stop and get some good cider at Twenty One Barrels in Bradford, and then decide to drop by your house to give you advice on writing, Introduce my Chrissy to your Krissy, and play with with your cats, it would be OK? We would never have gone out of our way a few miles to drive to your house, but now with the winery across the street from you we have a good reason to be in your neighborhood. What say you?

    5) Still no air conditioning? I’m assuming you didn’t follow my detailed instructions on how to fix icing problems with a.c. units yourself. You should have shown my post to Krissy. I bet she could have fixed the problem.

  13. No idea if it would be feasible in your house, but about 10 years ago when we did some remodeling, we decided to replace our ancient AC unit with two smaller, energy efficient units and split the house into two zones. For our ranch style, it worked well to have a bedroom zone and a living zone, but upper/lower story or other options might work too.

    I’ll admit that the main motivation was to always have a “safe” (or at least comfortable) zone in the event of a single unit failure, but we also save a little on our monthly bills because the smart thermostats are setup to only cool each area during the hours we actually use them.

  14. Like everyone else, I clicked through to the 21 Barrels site so I could stalk you via Google Maps. While there, I noticed you didn’t even make it on their list of “What’s Nearby”. How disappointing.

  15. The Columbus thing makes me think… Are they Baptists, that want his statue to be given Full Immersion? :-)

  16. John,
    Thanks. I’m glad that my concerns were overblown!
    (And, as nathanzumwalt says, “How disappointing” that you did not make their list.)

  17. Another Italian-American here, totally in favor of getting rid of Christopher Columbus propaganda. One of the first kiddie biographies I ever read was about Columbus. Oh well, I learned better. At the same age I read a bio about Harriet Tubman. Now THERE’S a person worthy of statues, streets and towns named for her, and replacing Andrew Jackson on the twenty!

  18. In Barbados there’s a sculpture generally called the Bussa Emancipation Statue, just outside of Bridgetown. It’s a representation of a Black man standing up and breaking his chains.
    I’m just saying, if this was really about history and remembrance, there’s nothing stopping these places from erecting similar statues. They can even put them alongside the ones of slavers, if they like.

  19. @glc

    We have a natural gas generator hooked up to automagically drive our main electrical panel when the power goes out. Since it does go out for hours/days at least twice a year, and since we have to replace insulin at market prices (our insurance will not pay for a second round of insulin in a given month just because of a power outage), we saved the money we spent by the second year we had it. It does a weekly test of the generator and a monthly test of the panel switch. The only annoyance is that topping off the oil requires two different wrenches, since not all the bolts on the cover are the same gauge. We pay for the annual oil change rather than doing it ourselves, since they dispose of the dirty oil for us. I do love being able to enjoy storms without the constant fear that we’ll suddenly find ourselves plunged into a no power situation that could (and usually does) last days. I wish we’d done this years ago, instead of suffering the power outages for 20 years before the addition of insulin to our budget made the compelling case for the generator.

  20. This makes me wonder if Trump’s lawyers are on retainer or if this is a matter of billable hours. Either way, they’re probably laughing themselves silly all the way to the bank.

  21. I read over the list of wines they produce and they offer a semisweet red ‘Fredonia’ would it have been a crime to name it the much more amusing ‘Freedonia’?

  22. Robert Arlinghaus: If memory serves, Dan Simmons based that structure on a spooky old elementary school in Longmont, Colorado. Central or Columbine. I forget which. Simmons taught Longmont kids how to write, including gifted students, until he it big as a writer. Carrion Comfort is my favorite.

  23. I had a good laugh today when I read about the Trump campaign. Especially their claim that the CCN poll was “designed to mislead American voters through a biased questionnaire and skewed sampling.” Becase today I received in the mail an Emergeny Survey putout by the RNC at the request of Trump that was extremely skewed to support Trump and unless your political view is like mine you’d be answering in the positive. Several of the questions lead off with “the President’s” leadership or talked of his accomplishments and the choices were easily shaped to show how much he is needed. I completed the survey but I’d be surprised if they actually include it in the results. One of the questions was what did you think would be the major issues in the next five years. The choices were the Middle East, North Korea, Iran, the Pandemic, etc. My response was “Other: Cleaning Up Trump’s shit.”

  24. Looking at the map with blue circles on the right, with all this social media these days, I thought it said, “Outrage map.”

    For whingedrinking’s idea of putting a breaking free slave statue beside the slaver ones: Right on! Please both sides! Too bad others won’t have your nerve.

  25. Thanks for the generator comments. We might well lose power for a week in the hurricane season and our usual strategy for dealing with such events doesn’t look viable now.

  26. John and all, I do not think the cease & desist from the Trump campaign to CNN is at all a laughing matter. They are setting up a paper trail now so that later – say, November 4, or maybe around the third week of January, 2021 – they can point to these incidents and tell the base they were robbed of a victory / the media was against them / fake news, etc. It’s part of their ongoing attempt to undermine belief in institutions and expertise, however ham-handed it looks to us.

  27. Re the statues –I think we ought to leave the horses’ statues in place, along with commemorate plaques establishing some history.

    Having grown up in the South, I recall the Late Unpleasantness being pitched like the course of a wrestling match between two rival brothers, and the statues etc. being treated as commemorating a remarkable, albeit ineffective, contest.

    It’s unwise to remove all reminders. I say leave the horses in place, so kids have reason to ask wha’happen.

  28. Oh, please! Gone with the Wind is so much more than just “hree hours and forty minutes of genteel southern racism”. It showcases some of the greatest acting and directing from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Vivian Leigh’s performance as Scarlett O’Hara is absolutely stunning–that actress could convey more emotion with an eyebrow than many late 20th century actors could manage with their whole body and voice. It is an intense drama, and yes, it’s from a Southern point-of-view, specifically two families of aristocratic, rich plantation owners and slaveholders. It also shows a bit of what war does to family and friends not on the front-lines–until the front-lines move over them.

    Scarlett O’Hara is not a nice person, but she is interesting. GWTW is one of the great classic movies. OTOH, I have never read the book, and have no interest in doing so. GWTW the movie is a classic; I suspect the book would be less engaging.

  29. Dear Dragoness,

    I don’t see the word “just” appearing in John’s description. GWTW may indeed be great film making (haven’t seen it, so no opinion), but that doesn’t have anything to do with what John said.

    Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will are spectacularly brilliant film making and should be part of the education by any student of cinematography. There are likely some who can watch them for entertainment, overlooking the blatant racism and Nazi propagandizing. That does not mean thode works shouldn’t be identified for what they are, nor excused from it by any artistic brilliance.

    pax / Ctein

  30. The folks over at Wizards of the Coast (who make Magic the Gathering) have done a similar thing to HBO Max of pointing out that certain old cards are 100% not ok –

    The one that sticks out is Invoke Prejudice, which already sounds bad, and that’s before you see the art which has klan members with an axe (cleverly disguised by being in black robes). It’s always been Magic’s dirty little secret.

  31. “Someone on Twitter made the cogent point that statues aren’t about education, they’re about commemoration.”

    I still can’t figure out why even this needs to be said. Making a statue of a historical figure is literally putting history on a pedestal. That’s… that’s where the idiom comes from.

  32. The american continents have been “discovered” by Amerigo Vespucci, not Columbus…

  33. AIUI it’s more that Vespucci was the first non-Viking European to realise that they actually were a new continent and not part of Asia. CC had mapped the Yucatan coast before AV set foot in Brasil, but he believed until he died that he’d just found a new route to Indonesia.

  34. When I recommended you to borrow an AC, I forgot you were filthy rich, which, for my purposes I shall define as anyone making over $50K. :)
    I’m glad you bought that thing that lets you keep writing!

  35. Loving these 5 things bits–maybe because my concentration is shot and I can still get through a paragraph, take a break, and come back to another paragraph.

  36. As alluded to by Dave Crisp, above:

    Predating Columbus, Cabot and Vespucci by nearly 500 years, Norseman Leif Erikson voyaged to present-day Newfoundland along about 1000 AD. The Norse explored Vinland (as they called it) as far south as New Brunswick and possibly even Massachusetts. They didn’t make permanent settlements, realizing they’d come off a poor second in a turf war with the Mi’kmaq. The Mi’kmaq, as with other indigenes, are descended from the *actual* discoverers of the continent – the Paleo-Siberians who walked over Beringia 20,000 years ago.

    Anyhoodles, there are no statues of Leif Erikson in need of toppling, and I guess that’s a good thing.

  37. From previous Whatever post comments, I am aware that “being of your time” is no excuse in the slightest for any wrong ideas. (I’m still getting used to that concept) So I won’t excuse Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Ebert.

    I try to love the man, not the sin, hoping that my grandchildren will still love me for, say, back in 2000 wrongly not knowing about transgender children.

    At least Roger approved that the fifth black playmate in Playboy finally had truly African, not white, features. But there he was, “of a time” when he had a Black wife but did not utterly condemn Gone With the Wind. Here is his review:

  38. Your air conditioner story reminds me of an old Mitch Hedberg joke – “I do not have a microwave oven, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks sh*t.” Stay cool, sir!

  39. Listening to our local conservative radio station (at the barber’s) saying that the people tearing down the statues were like the Taliban, destroying history that ought to be preserved. I wonder if they thought that the Iraqis shouldn’t have destroyed Saddam Hussein’s statues (with our help) and if not, why.

    Of course, they were saying that people of different political stripes needed to come together (to their opinions, I assume) while spending a long time supporting a President and party whose entire strategy is focused around doing precisely the opposite (and grinding the old ax about Obama and burnishing their evangelical cred). It’s like short attention span theater for (alleged) adults, with even more cognitive dissonance.

  40. So, CNN has the money and the legal resources to fight this out until a judge says “yes, CNN wins, other side has to pay all legal fees.” What about all the others? Is there a defense fund for all the people he’s been shutting up with lawsuit threats, and should there be?

  41. Gone With the Wind is also a remake in more gentile and updated fashion for the 1930’s, as both novel and film, of the vile Birth of A Nation, which is so obvious to anyone who is deeply conversant with both the novels and both the films that were made from the novels.

    As desperate deathcultistchief has determined 1) to hold massive rallies; 2) the first one in Tulsa, on JUNETEENTH! — he’s definitely agitating for out and out shooting race war. Imagine the horror show that rally is going to be with the deathcultgoons in full camo and gun drag, roaming about, seeing black bodies to torture and murder, as they have certainly done before in Tulsa,

    howling howling howling.

  42. The newest winery in the Dayton area?

    (checks Google Maps for “wineries near Dayton OH”, gasps in disbelief)

    There are at least a dozen, not counting wine stores or churches that have “vineyard” in their name.

    WTF is going on with wineries everywhere? Last time I was sentenced to visit Indianapolis, there was a display about Indiana wineries at the airport. Virginia has a growing wine industry which includes that bastion of quality, the Trump Winery near Charlottesville. We did a small winery tour last time we were in Arizona (very pretty with all the mountains in the background).

    To the rest of the country: enough already. Stick with CA, OR, and WA wines. We on the West Coast have it down. MO has a long-established wine tradition using native grapes and NY has been producing mediocre wines forever so they are grandfathered. AZ is making some good wines at higher elevations. But the rest of you: stop it!

    (Scalzi: thanks for providing an opportunity to rant about something trivial. It’s a relief.)

  43. @Foxessa:
    Not sure if you’ve seen this, but it’s interesting reading.

    That is precisely why I have written off everyone who supports him.

    We’re not just talking about the “murican” freedom to pelt, with impunity, non-whites with racial slurs or advocate for the reestablishment of Jim Crow laws.

    These people aren’t just posting racist caricatures and memes on social media or publishing and broadcasting racist screeds about low information voters, food stamp armies, soul food, Ebonics and sagging pants.

    Those things are atrocious enough, but now their tacitly and openly advocating for lynching black people on sight.

    His supporters are well aware of what he stands for, as aware as they are of the race war that he and his more…enraged supporters have planned.

    Oddly enough, I actually have a bit of respect for the would be race warriors, as they’re willing to admit who they are and what they’re up to.

    Social injustice warriors who hide behind pithy, deliberately multivalent internet comments are jellyfish who lack the courage of their convictions.

    On another note, the fate of conservatives like Candace Owens, Michelle Malkin, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and those who pass for white will be something to see.

    They’ve forgotten or are studiously ignoring the fact that murderous racists aren’t likely to verify their conservatism first. They’ll just take them out.

    Their belief that they’ll be spared is as hilarious as it is sad. How well do they expect to fair when Trump himself caught flak from white supremacists for allowing a Jew to “steal [his] daughter”?

    When you lie down with dogs…

  44. I’ve never seen the movie Gone With The Wind, but I have read the book.

    From what I saw, you could go either way as to whether the book is actively racist or simply depicts the racism of the time. But I have to say, the picture I got of the South, before, during, and after The War (in the South, that term is not ambiguous) was not at all flattering. The world Scarlett grew up in was snobbish, hypocritical, obsessed with appearances, and out of touch with reality, and that was before The War. As the story progressed, you got to also see the sordid barbaric foundation of that society.

%d bloggers like this: