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Ep 873[Ep 874] Like it or Not [1:35:46]
Recorded: Fri, 2024-Mar-08 UTC
Published: Mon, 2024-Mar-11 18:01 UTC
Ep 875

On this week’s Curmudgeon’s Corner, Sam is traveling for a memorial service for his step-grandfather, so Ivan makes an appearance only as a recorded ghost. Because we couldn’t miss one of his rants. Otherwise, the main topics are the State of the Union speech and the fact that the Biden vs Trump rematch is almost official. Finally, some bits from the memorial for Jim Sunshine.

  • (0:00:50-0:20:22) State of the Union
  • (0:21:00-0:53:00) Rematch is Real
  • (0:54:04-1:06:21) Rant from Ivan
  • (1:07:12-1:34:43) Jim Sunshine

Automated Transcript

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Okay, let's just assume it's working. Here we go!

Welcome to Curmudgeon's Corner for Friday, March 8th, 2024.

It's just before 5 UTC as I'm starting to record this.

I'm Sam Minter and no Yvonne this week, but this time it's my fault.

I didn't even send out the email asking for other people because what's going on is I am traveling this time.

And I had no idea what my schedules were going to look like and all this kind of stuff.

Towards the end of this, I'll give a little bit more information on this and maybe read a little bit of info on it.

But I'm actually on the East Coast in Rhode Island for a memorial service for my stepmother's father, who died at age 99 back in December.

They had one memorial service in Ohio earlier this year that I couldn't make, but I could make this one in Rhode Island, so I'm here.

So I'm in an Airbnb with my father, my stepmother, and my sister, and they've all gone to bed, and I'm trying to be quiet, and I may not be succeeding.

So yeah, so this is part of why I didn't want to necessarily try to do the whole thing with Yvonne, because I would talk loud and blah, blah, blah.

So anyway, that's the deal.

Normally, I would start out with a movie or whatever, but I don't feel like it.

As I am recording this, I just finished watching the State of the Union Address.

I want to talk about that for a few minutes.

Then we'll take a break and I'll go off and do other things for a while and come back and record more tomorrow or something. I don't know.

But anyway, State of the Unions. I had given up on watching State of the Union addresses.

The way I always put it, and I think this is right, is some way halfway through the Obama administration is when I just was like, this is pointless. This is stupid.

And the reasons are basically like, they're usually just a litany of like, here's a whole bunch of things we want to do that are, and this goes for both parties, by the way, this is not a Democrat or Republican thing.

This was almost universal across the board.

Here's a list of things we want to do that are all completely unrealistic and are almost all dead on arrival in the Congress.

And they want to spin it and make it interesting or rousing or whatever, but it isn't. And I just always get frustrated by the whole...

Yeah. Why are we listening to things that we know will never happen?

And then I also tended to get really annoyed at the whole, like, here's some people in the audience that I'm going to point to in order to make a point that I guess Ronald Reagan started that tradition.

Every president since then has done it. I just find it really annoying.

And then also, there's occasionally an interesting moment.

You had the guy who yelled liar at Obama.

You had Nancy Pelosi ripping up Trump's speech.

You occasionally get a moment like that. but the speeches themselves usually are almost instantly forgotten.

You're lucky if people are talking about them the next day, let alone a week later, and certainly not history-making.

It's just not that kind of thing. I've seen numerous analysis done, and there was a new one, and I forget who did it, like some guy at the Washington Post or something. I don't know. I don't even have it in front of me.

But there was a new one just this week. But I've seen it many times before, basically showing the political impact of these things is essentially zero anyway.

There might be a 1% bump in some poll numbers the next week, but then by the time you get a month out, it's gone back to zero.

It's sort of the same as the effects debates usually.

Have so it's like why even talk about this it's sort of a non-event and like i said i stopped watching them i used to like before the halfway through the obama administration thing i i would religiously watch them i would make sure i was home i'd put on the tv i'd watch every moment of it i'd like live tweeted or whatever and i would like be upset if people interrupted me so i I wasn't concentrating on the speech.

And this is regardless of who the president was.

I was just, it was something that like as a political junkie, I did, but then, you know, I stopped and I was like, the highlights are good enough.

You know, the, they will play highlights of this as, as.

Whenever, you know, the next day I'll see whatever was actually interesting.

And that's good enough, because there's nothing else memorable here.

And I expected to do exactly the same thing.

But I just happened to like, since I'm traveling, I had gone out to dinner with the family.

And it just happened by almost pure coincidence that when we got home and I walked in, the door was like seconds before the speech was going to start.

So I'm like, I might as well watch it. And I'm glad I did.

This was a really, really good State of the Union speech.

And I don't think anyone expected this of Joe Biden.

And, you know, one of the other frustrating things is like, when you judge a speech like this, it's not about, it really isn't about the content.

It isn't about the specific list of policies he's saying or whatever.

It's about the impression it leaves you with. It's almost an emotional reaction, not a, hey, let's go analyze his list of policies.

But here's the thing. This whole narrative of Joe Biden being too old and him sort of being a doddering fool and barely holding it together mentally, etc., has been really pushed hard recently and there's no question you know he's he's an old guy.

But it meant the expectations were on the floor for this speech and instead, from the moment he opened his mouth on the platform joe biden came to fight Like, Joe Biden was angry.

He was passionate.

He was on top of his game.

Importantly, he was interactive with the damn audience. The Republicans kept trying to heckle him, and he would just immediately react to the heckling and knock it back in their faces.

Like people speak of the I guess it was the last state of the union the one memorable moment out of that one or maybe it was the one before anyway a previous Joe Biden's state of the union, he had he mentioned social security, and the republican boot or something and he basically got them to agree, verbally that they weren't going to touch social security and like.

Tricked them into doing this in real time.

And he did that kind of thing repeatedly in this speech tonight.

Oh, and by the way, if you are not a member of the Curbudgeon's Corner Slack, you should be.

There was discussion and back and forth in real time as the speech was going on. It was a lot of fun.

Thanks for those of you who participated in that.

But anybody not on the to Slack, you should think of joining and logging in when an event like this is happening.

But in any case, the bottom line impression, I mean, he spoke for over an hour.

He was forceful. He was powerful.

He was emotional in good ways, showing his passion.

I've i've watched lots of joe biden talking and giving speeches and you know when he did little press conferences and blah blah blah, This is the best he's done in those kinds of environments in a long time.

And people were joking, what did they give him?

What did they do to Joe Biden to make him act like this?

And obviously, they've been working on this for a while. And they knew.

There had even been some talk of how Joe Biden really needed to show that he was in control and not a doddering old man.

Well, Joe understood the assignment.

He knocked this out of the fucking park.

I'm not going to quote you specific lines out of it.

But it's just the overall impression is like, look, you jackasses, you Republican jackasses, you put the expectations on the floor.

You made it so that everyone expected Joe Biden couldn't put two words together if his life depended on it.

And he did. He more than did. Like this is not, I'm not even, honestly, I'm not even grading on a curve.

Like normally you'd say like, oh, it was good for Joe Biden.

No, this was just plain good, you know? And it wasn't like an Obama speech.

Like Obama does things differently and it's different.

No, you know, it's almost like the portions that were good were the portions where he went off script as well.

I mean, he did good on-script stuff too, but I heard some of the talking heads going on about how, you know, I think Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC said this.

Typically, in a State of the Union speech, there are not any off-script moments at all. Maybe there's one or two.

Joe Biden was going off-script, like, nearly constantly.

I mean, he read his speech, but whenever somebody random in the audience was making a noise or booing or whatever, he would immediately just look for the opportunity to engage them and make them look dumb.

He was trolling them over and over and over again. And this is like live on your feet, real time thinking and reaction kind of stuff.

This isn't like you did a good job reading the speech. This is like somebody threw something at you and you hit it.

And, and smacked it right back in their face over and over and over again.

And, you know, how much of this makes, you know, a difference in like the politics or the presidential polls or whatever, I don't know, probably nothing as usual, but like, it's, it's the kind of thing that can rapidly shut down the narrative of, oh, he's, he's a doddering old man.

I mean, you could flip it back around again, a few flubs tomorrow.

But this is the guy who had – we're usually making apologies for Joe Biden's ability to speak because he's fought his entire life against a stuttering problem.

And so he's he's not the best speech maker usually but he look you can tell I'm it's this hasn't been that long since the speech ended I'm still like in a state of being stunned because Biden really beat all expectations here and again those expectations had been lowered but I think he did good just on an objective basis too.

And this is exactly what was needed at this time.

And meanwhile, you're seeing more and more clips of Trump having issues putting two and two together or completing a sentence properly.

Now, of course, we've said Trump's had those issues issues for decades too.

So how much is new, how much is not? A lot of people are saying it is worse than it was, and I believe that.

It is worse than it was. But we're going to see some of these things juxtaposed and see how that goes.

I will do a little bit right from the end of the speech.

In my career, I've been told I was too young.

By the way, they're going to let me on ascended elevators for votes sometimes.

Not a joke. And I've been told I'm too old.

Whether young or old, I've always been known. I've always known what endures.

I've known our North Star.

The very idea of America is that we're all created equal.

It deserves to be treated equally throughout our lives. We've never fully lived up to that idea, but we've never walked away from it either.

And I won't walk away from it now.

I'm optimistic.

I really am. I'm optimistic, Nancy.

My fellow American, the issue facing our nation isn't how old we are, it's how old are our ideas.

Hate, anger, revenge, retribution are the oldest of ideas.

But you can't lead America with ancient ideas that only take us back.

If you need America, the land of possibilities, you need a vision for the future and what can and should be done.

Tonight you've heard mine. I see a future where, defending democracy, you don't diminish it.

I see a future where we restore the right to choose and protect our freedoms, not take them away. way.

I see a future where the middle class finally has a fair shot and the wealthy have to pay their fair share in taxis.

I see a future where we save the planet from the climate crisis and our country from gun violence.

Above all, I see a future for all Americans.

I see a country for all Americans, and I will always be president for all Americans, because I believe in America.

I believe in you, the American people.

You're the reason we've never been more optimistic about our future than I am now.

So let's build the future together. Let's remember who we are.

We are the United States of America.

And there is nothing, nothing beyond our capacity when we act together.

God bless you all, and may God protect our truths. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

There were a lot of good lines. He had good writers.

What can I say? He had good writers.

He delivered it well. And again, the sort of dynamic back and forth with the Republicans who are trying to be jackasses.

I mean, sometimes it was generic booing, sometimes it was specific people.

Like Marjorie Taylor Greene yelled at him about this woman who got killed by someone who was not here legally while jogging, saying, say her name, say her name.

And Biden responded by saying that person's name and talking about it and saying how he was worried about the immigration problem too.

And, oh, look, there was a solution on the table that would help the situation, maybe not solve it entirely, but would help the situation.

And the Republicans shut it down. So he took what she was giving and responded to it in a way that made her look dumb.

And that was not the only example of that. He joked around with Lindsey Graham sort of towards the end.

It was good. Like I said, I'm still sort of stunned that it was as good as it was.

And I'm obviously not the only one that has been reacting like this.

Now, of course, they're going to be the people like Donald Trump was apparently trying to live truth this on truth, social truth, truth, whatever. what truth anyway.

And he, he was starting to go on about how like Biden was yelling and it looked like he was desperate and stuff like that.

Now I'm sure Donald Trump would have had even more to say, but apparently truth social went down in the middle of it. So, oops.

And I'm sure there will people that there will be people who are like sort of, you know, he was yelling too much. He looked angry.

He, can he keep it up? You know, things like that.

Um, There's always that, but he did what he needed to do. It was good.

Some of this is going to end up in commercials, I'm sure.

And good job, Joe. Good job, Joe.

Okay. And with that, we're going to take a break.

I'm going to go to sleep and I will pick up and record more when I have a chance.

I don't know what the specific agenda will be. I think I've got some election graph stuff. I do want to talk a little bit about my step-grandfather, who's the person I'm here for a memorial service for, so I'll probably do that at the end.

And, yeah. Anyway, back after this.

And I'm back. It's been, as usual, about 24 hours later since I recorded that last segment.

So it's now Saturday, March 9th, just before 5 UTC.

And I was going back and forth a little bit on what to talk about next here.

And honestly, if you go over the news, people are still talking about that State of the Union speech.

People are all excited about it on the Democratic side.

The The Republicans are all like, he's hopped up on drugs, something's going on, blah, blah, blah.

Not all, but I've seen that comment a few times. People have also been talking a lot about the Republican response.

They had this senator from Alabama on, and it was an absolute disaster.

But I'm not going to do either one of those things. I feel like we should note Super Tuesday.

And the fact that Haley dropped out, and all the Democrats who were running against Biden too, like Phillips, officially dropped out.

I think Williamson dropped out a little while ago, actually.

But the bottom line is, mathematically, Trump isn't going to clinch the nomination until this coming Tuesday, and Biden won't do it until a week after that.

But there's now no opposition.

So we are effectively done here. here you know and i'll just also note i am way behind i should have done a new election graphs blog post on the general election stuff like a couple weeks ago now i haven't been able to get to it and i was thinking i might do it this weekend while i was traveling but realistically am i really going to do that while i'm sitting at the airport tomorrow on the way home or something like that or on the plane. No, no, I'm probably not.

So maybe next weekend, we'll see, or maybe later in the week.

I don't know. Anyway, that's well overdue.

And at this point, I can make the excuse that I want to do it once all of the nominations are officially sort of mathematically wrapped up.

And so maybe I can wait two weeks to do it. I don't know.

But really, forget the mathematics of it, this has seemed inevitable for a long time.

Even before we had the first votes of the primary season, it was clear it was Biden and Trump.

It was Biden and Trump. It was going to be Biden and Trump.

The last realistic thought that anything else was possibly going to to happen was a long, long time ago. I mean...

On the Democratic side, there was never anything serious, of course. Never, never.

And on the Republican side, Romney had his little burst where he was ahead more than a year out and had been declining.

Did I say Romney? I said Romney.

Not Romney. DeSantis.

You know, I would kill for Romney to actually be the Republican nominee again.

I mean, my God, I did not prefer Romney when he was running, but he was sane.

He was a person who actually believed in, I don't know, Trump is a whole different animal.

Romney had all kinds of problems. But in comparison to Trump, I mean, come on, give me any of the old Republicans.

Romney, McCain, George W. Bush. For God's sake, give me Jeb Bush.

Any of these people would be such a welcome improvement.

But all of those folks have been drummed out of the modern Republican Party.

Anyway, bottom line, for those of us who've been paying close attention, it's been clear for a long, long time that absent somebody having a major health crisis that made it physically impossible for them to run, it was going to be Biden versus Trump again.

Well, now it's official. Well, almost official. Within the next couple weeks.

You know what I mean.

The illusions are completely gone. The token opposition has given up.

And so, yeah, it's Biden versus Trump.

And the question is, will this change anything about how we're seeing the rest of this race?

Because, you know, Yvonne and I have talked about this multiple times before.

The number of people who just plain did not believe that this rematch would happen is freaking huge.

About both sides. There are people in denial that Trump could ever be the Republican nominee again.

And then there are tons of people thinking there was no way it was really going to be Biden.

There's going to be some sort of last-minute switcheroo, and it's going to be somebody else.

Biden's going to drop out, and it's going to be Newsom.

Or, of course, there were these things about, oh, Michelle Obama's going to step in at the last minute.

There's no basis. No basis. There's never been any basis for this kind of thing.

It's just people wish-casting and being like, I feel uncomfortable with Biden.

He's old, blah, blah, blah. And so, it's not going to be Biden.

It can't be Biden. Oh, Trump is Trump.

It can't possibly be Trump again. There's no way we're really going to have this rematch.

That's just ridiculous.

And poll after poll after poll have said that a majority of Americans wish that it was not a rematch, wish that they had somebody else to pick from.

And so, this may be one of the reasons why I said I own an election graphs post, but I'm not ready to do a full election graphs analysis, But we've talked over and over again about how the group of people that say they will either vote for somebody who's not Biden or Trump or who say they're flat-out undecided, you add those categories together, it's huge numbers. numbers.

For every single one of the close states, and I'm defining here as close as a margin less than 5%, the number of people in that third category is more than that 5%.

So that group of people who is like, I'm not voting for either of them, or let's be specific, because I want to be accurate here.

It's not because that includes undecideds too.

And undecideds aren't necessarily saying they won't vote for either of them.

They're just saying they don't know yet.

Plus the people who are picking third parties.

But that number is huge. It's huge. It's larger than I remember seeing.

Now, I'll be honest, I wasn't actively tracking this in the last couple of election cycles.

And I keep meaning to go back and look to see, okay, what was that number in March of 2020? 20.

I haven't actually gone back to check. I know, I know, I should, but I haven't actually gone back to check, like looking at that in different state-by-state polls.

You know what? No excuses.

Let me go look. Come with me, friends, as I go to the earlier elections sections, a section on election graphs, and go to 2020 Electoral College. Actually, no, that's not where I want to go.

Yes, it is. That is fine. And then I will go to Pennsylvania. Nice close state.

And then I want to go back to make sure I can see back to March.

You know, this way isn't going to show me. Yeah, sorry. I'm not finding what I'm looking for.

Okay, no, I didn't find it. Damn it. I have to actually go back and do calculations.

It's not easily findable on my website history.

Damn old Sam. Or I guess that would be young Sam. I'm old Sam.

In any case, my gut is that right now, this number is a lot bigger than I've seen it before.

And, like I said, someday I'll check.

I tried to check right then, I failed.

But these numbers, this other category, both third-party and undecided, collapses as you approach the election.

The undecideds mathematically have to collapse.

They will either vote for somebody or they will stay home.

The third-party numbers tend to get much smaller as the election approaches.

Churches, third parties will often be seen getting 9%, 10%, 11% more at this stage and then end up getting 1% or 2% in the actual election.

Because at this point, they're hypothetical.

It's a protest. It's, I don't like either of them. I'll pick the other guy, even if you know nothing about the other guy.

But when it comes to actually voting, people do pay a little bit more attention and they They decide to do what they need to do and pick somebody.

And when the undecideds collapse, this is the big thing.

If the undecideds are small, just generally speaking, I mean, on election graphs, I only look at the margin.

I don't look at, you know, this candidate has 48% and this candidate has 44%.

I would count that as a four-point margin, and I would also count it as a four-point margin if it was 52% to 48%. But those two are really different from each other, because in one case, somebody has an outlet rate majority.

In the other case, neither one does, and there's a significant undecided group there.

And if you assume the undecideds, well, you can just ignore the undecideds because they'll end up breaking about the same as everybody else.

But that might not be true. And we've got some signs that that isn't true.

We've had a series of special elections over the course of the last year, and typically the Democrats have been overperforming.

But more specifically, even if you look at the primaries, which obviously isn't a head-to-head between the Republicans and Democrats, but at least not in most cases, jungle primaries in California and stuff like that aside, Generally speaking, Biden has been overperforming his polls and Trump has been underperforming them. Those are primary polls.

They're not head-to-head polls between the parties, so it's hard to necessarily interpret. interpret.

But it does show a pattern that may be generalizable.

And maybe this indicates a case, where we should expect that this time around, unlike the last two elections, the last two elections, polling in the close states underestimated Donald Trump.

He did better than the polls indicated.

Obviously, 2016, there was massive surprise that he beat Hillary Clinton.

He was surprised that he beat Hillary Clinton.

Here at Election Graphs, we still had it within the realm of possibility, but it was a surprise.

In 2020, everyone expected Biden to win, but it was a lot closer than anybody thought it was going to be. I shouldn't say anybody.

Again, election graphs like other places that looked at odds, you look at a range of possibilities, possibilities and a close race was always within the realm of possibilities.

But this sort of median case, the case everyone expected, was for Biden to win by a decent margin.

Instead, Biden won a very, very close race.

But there are indications this time that maybe, maybe, just maybe, the polls are underestimating the Democrats this time.

And my odds on election graphs and stuff assume that the polls will have the same kind of error as they have in the previous few election cycles.

So basically, they're assuming that the polls are underestimating Republicans in closed states.

But that may not be true. And.

Given how big this group is who are not yet picking Biden or Trump, if the undecideds are leaning one way more than the other, that changes everything.

That changes everything.

And the way I've tended to talk about it is this just indicates there's a potential for are lots of volatility in these numbers, that things could change very fast as this group.

Eventually collapses and makes up their mind.

And this brings us back to these two candidates clinching the nomination, officially over the next couple of weeks, but in reality already.

Ready because at what point do people wake up and realize that yes this rematch is real this is actually what's going to happen but you may want this to be a matchup between Nikki Haley and Governor Newsom from California or some other random matchup that you can make up. That's not happening.

That is not happening. You've got Biden versus Trump for the second time in a row, whether you like it or not. Those are the choices.

And does that becoming real make more people sort of get off the fence and start actually making the call they're going to have to make in the end anyway?

Because you have so many of these people going, I don't like either of them.

Well, too fucking bad. You have to pick one.

Okay. Yes, you can stay home. Yes, you can vote third party.

But the reality of the way our system works, those third parties have no chance. Zero, zip, zilch.

If you vote for that third party, you are taking your vote away from whichever one of the two major candidates you would, prefer to the other even if you hate both of them even if you hate both of them you are damaging the one that you hate least and yet people are like you know i'm not gonna vote for the lesser lesser of two evils.

I'm sorry. That's how life works.

You know, I don't think it really is the lesser of two evils.

I don't think Joe Biden's evil.

I think Donald Trump, well, yeah, I think he is.

But regardless, even if I did think they were both evil, there's a harm reduction principle at play here.

There's a principle of you're not voting for somebody because you love them.

You're not voting for somebody because you think they're incredible and amazing and the best thing that this universe has ever popped up.

You're picking of these options, of these two, which will I be least unhappy with?

You do not live in a universe where you're going to get a choice that matches your own opinions on everything.

If you get somebody who even matches you on half, you're lucky.

You have to look at it in terms of who you think will do the most or least damage.

And I feel like.

As we get past the point where, yeah, these really are the two candidates.

And as we get closer to the election, these huge, huge numbers of undecided plus third pluggy have to collapse.

They just have to. I don't see how they don't.

Just to give you an example right now, the tipping point state right now is Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania according to my election graphs averages where right now Donald Trump is ahead by 4.8 percent in the polls like his his number is 4.8 percent higher than Biden's, so he's clearly going to win Pennsylvania right well first of all we still have 241 in a fraction days left as I'm recording this, and that's a long time, and a lot will happen between now and November, and things will change because of that.

But even if this was the number on election day, yes, Trump is ahead by 4.8%, but like I said before, there's a big difference based on the absolute numbers, because what that really is on my averages right now is Trump at 43.5%, and Biden at 38.7%, which leaves 17.8% either saying they are undecided or saying they will vote for third or fourth or fifth parties.

The margin is 4.8%.

17.8% are in that somebody else category.

That dwarfs the 4.8%, which means that all you need to completely flip the election from looking like it's Trump ahead by almost 5% to Biden winning by a significant margin is a significant chunk of those undecided people deciding to break to Biden.

As we get closer to the election. This is why I'm saying it's really volatile.

Am I predicting that those people will break all to Biden?

Not necessarily. I don't know that yet. Like I said, they're tantalizing signs based on the election results that we have in the last year, year and a half, that polls have been underestimating Democrats this time around.

But am I willing to bet anything on that? Not really.

But that huge undecided group tells you that you know i don't want to say don't pay attention to polls because i like i run a website on on the stupid polls and i believe the polls do tell you something but you have to be super super careful in interpreting them the way that i gave you Pennsylvania as an example, but this is true of all the closed states right now.

All of the states where there's a margin less than 5%, which right now is Virginia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

All of those states have a margin under 5% and have that third category significantly larger than 5%.

And even if you go outside of that to states where they're 5%, six, even 7% margins for one candidate or the other.

They also have this third category bigger than the margin.

All of this indicates that the whole situation is able to turn on a dime because there's this huge group of people in the middle that are not committing.

And okay, you can say maybe some of them really are committed to RFK Jr., maybe.

But I don't think so. I think RFK Jr.'s vote is actually very similar to the undecided vote.

From nothing I have heard convinces me that there's actually a groundswell for RFK Jr.

He is just a repository for people who don't like either Trump or Biden.

Biden, and chances are most of them will not stick with Kennedy as we get closer to the election, because at some point, they're going to actually want to know more about Kennedy, and they may or may not agree with what they find.

Maybe some of them will. I'm sure Kennedy is going to get some fraction of the vote.

I predicted in our prediction show that he would come in third in November in terms of popular vote over traditional folks like the Libertarians and the Greens and whoever else.

I think Kennedy is going to come in third unless something happens to him before the election.

But I don't think it'll be the kinds of numbers he's been getting so far because I think a significant portion of those numbers are simply people registering.

I don't like either of the two main guys.

And I think a lot of those folks will go home to whoever they supported otherwise or whoever they would, whichever party they tend to sympathize for.

Like I think Kennedy's getting some of both.

Kennedy is getting some Republicans who just can't stomach Trump and they're getting Democrats who just can't stomach Biden.

But I think a lot of those folks are going to quote unquote, go home to either the Democrat or the Republican when push comes to shove closer to the election.

So we'll see, like we've, we're just getting to the point now where these candidates really are, really are official.

And so we'll see if some of these polls start to turn or adjust.

And specifically if this third category starts shrinking now, maybe we'll see some of that now, but also there's another factor, which is that most people people aren't paying attention yet.

If you are listening to this podcast, if you ever go to election graphs, then you are already in a rarefied group of people who actually pays attention to this kind of stuff on a regular day-to-day basis.

From what experts have said, like when you listen to campaign managers from both parties and everybody else who does this stuff, the general population doesn't start tuning in until like Labor Day or even until the political conventions, the party conventions, which this time are in July and August.

And then those last couple months before the election that's when people are actually paying attention and that's when the polls that you're seeing start actually reflecting what might happen in november like this far out the polls tell you who who needs to do what work where so for example it tells us right now that Biden has work to do.

He is behind in critical states. He is behind in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

At a bare minimum to win, he has to flip those states back into his column.

Now, given that big third category, flipping it may not mean changing changing anybody's mind who like, it's not necessarily converting a Trumpy to a Biden voter.

It may be taking some of those people who are currently saying undecided and get them to decide, or it may be getting some of those people who are currently saying, I'm going to vote for RFK Jr.

And make them decide that that's a wasted vote and they need to come come to Biden.

Meanwhile, if you want to look at it from the other side, Trump's doing pretty well, but those same three states I mentioned, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, absolutely critical to him.

He has to make sure that he stays ahead if he's going to do this.

I mean, there are more states that are potentially in play, but those are the critical ones.

Those are the absolutely critical ones. Right now, with the way the polls are in all the states, the critical battleground right now is Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

If somehow Biden can pull off in Arizona or Georgia again or something, then that changes the picture.

But right now, he's even further behind in those states.

Similarly, if Trump was able to pull in Minnesota or Virginia, okay, fine, that changes things too, But he's further, you know, he's currently behind in those.

And I feel like he's got to be near the top of his range right now.

Like, it feels difficult to see him pulling in Minnesota, Virginia, or Maine, for instance, or Colorado, as if we go more and more blue.

Whereas it seems fairly easy to imagine Biden pulling back the lead in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Anyway, I've gone on a long time. We should probably take another break.

Bottom line here is just this is one of the potential inflection points.

We've had so many people in utter disbelief that the choice they are going to end up with is Biden versus Trump.

There's this big denial effect where people, not just in polls, but if you see the person on the street interviews, there's just so many people who are like, yeah, I don't believe it's going to be Biden versus Trump.

Something's going to happen.

It's Absent one of them having a heart attack or dropping dead or being otherwise physically or mentally incapacitated in a way that's incontrovertible that no one can deny, these are your two candidates.

And so I think we're going to start seeing that middle category shrink.

And then as it shrinks, we'll get a better picture of what's really going on.

I could be wrong though. Maybe that middle category doesn't shrink until we get past Labor Day.

But I think it's going to start shrinking now. Maybe it'll shrink faster once we're past Labor Day.

But I think it's going to start shrinking now. And as it shrinks, we'll have a clearer picture.

My guess is that Trump is at his highs, and we're going to start seeing some reversion to the mean and back to a closer race where it really is sort of neck and neck and I'm not sure which way it'll go, but it's close.

Whereas right now we're seeing Trump ahead, but I could be wrong.

Maybe I'll flip the other way.

And of course we've got news happens all the time.

Trump's got to pay all of these civil judgments or even if he's appeal and he has to pay, he just, he just came up with the bond for the eugene carroll stuff between the first segment i recorded in this segment and he needs to come up with another 500 million approximately in a couple more weeks so we'll see how that goes and his first criminal trial is starting and all kinds of other news will happen biden will biden does a great state of the union this week who knows what happens next next week.

Both of these candidates will campaigns matter and news events matter and all kinds of things will change.

But the thing I'm looking for next is does this category of people who can't choose between the two major candidates, does this category of people start shrinking in the the critical states or not ask me again in april it should be enough time to see if we'll have enough polls by april to see if those numbers start moving anyway i'm going to take a break.

We will come back with another segment i had promised a segment on what i'm doing here like I'm on the East Coast for a memorial service for my, I guess he was my step-grandfather.

My stepmother's father, who died at the age of 99 and a half years old.

And I've gotten my stepmom's permission to include in the next segment her eulogy for him at the service from today. day.

So I'll be back after this break to first give a few of my thoughts, and then I'll play that eulogy.

You guys may or may not be interested, but I think it's worth listening to.

Anyway, I'll talk more about that when we come back from this break.

Okay, we are back. And it's of course the next day again.

It's now Sunday, March 10th for me, just after 17 UTC.

I am back home, finally. And I was going to do the stuff related to my step-grandfather now, but Yvonne decided that he did not want to be left out this week.

And he was like, I have a rant. Can I record it and give it to you?

I'm like, yes, absolutely.

So Yvonne has recorded a rant and given it to me and I'm going to play it for you in just a moment.

He does cover some of the same material that we covered that I covered in the last couple segments, but he of course does it in his own particular Yvonne sort of way.

So we're going going to listen to that and then after that i will take another break and then we'll do then then we'll do like the memorial sort of stuff back no not back after this not yet well we will be back after this but it's not a break it's yvonne okay here's yvonne hello.

Here's yvonne Bo, Curmudges Corner co-host, and I have, in Sam's absence, decided to send him a recording at least, so you can get some of my opinions of what the hell has been going on the last week anyway.

Pain in my ass, Sam now decides to be out of town, but oh well, it had to happen at some time.

And so, here are my takes on a couple of things, quickly.

Quickly so sam can have some added content not just him talking into the microphone first thing is state of the union was it seems great i mean all the reactions have been really good all the clips that i saw i did not watch it i kept my tradition of not having watched one of these in a long time and usually checking the highlights but it's very clear that to me from all the highlights and from what everybody has said that he really came off sounding really good and.

He did go into it very well prepared to battle any heckling or any of such situations.

He was extremely well prepared, had answers at the ready.

He stumbled because, as I had to tell somebody recently who just doesn't realize that, you know, Biden's a guy who's battled a stutter his entire life.

It's amazing that he is able to overcome that. I've met many people, executives or others, that really struggle with that in public communication.

And, you know, unfortunately, people make fun of it, and it's, you know, he brought that to the fore a couple of years ago, but probably not as much because the fact is that he's so good at it that sometimes when he stumbles, people attack him and make fun of it and don't realize how difficult it is for somebody with a stutter.

To, to communicate as well as he does, especially under pressure, which makes it worse for stutterers.

So therefore that's, that's, I think is something great. And he, he was great. It was well-prepared.

He hit the right points, self-deprecating and was able to have quick retorts to the small-minded idiotic attacks that he received sometime during that. So that was good.

On the other hand, the Republican response was ridiculous.

I mean, aside from the fact that now it's come to light that one of the main anecdotes that this person did was something that happened under the George W.

Bush administration. So...

You know, people saying, well, it's difficult, whatever. And I am like, that just showed a big lack of preparation and not taking that seriously.

Number one, her delivery or just not even understanding her audience.

But aside from that, also, the entire setting of her in a kitchen was just absolutely ridiculous.

Well, I mean, I guess it's not ridiculous. I mean, it's just exactly what you would expect the Republicans to put the woman in the kitchen.

And so therefore they did. He just stuck her in front of a fucking kitchen, you know, to deliver to State of the Union.

And, well, not a State of the Union, but a response to the State of the Union. And it was pathetic.

I mean, it was really pathetic. I mean.

Nobody in their right mind could say that this went well.

So that was that. Aside from that, I had made some notes this week.

I got that actually interacted with a couple of people who are on the undecided camp.

And I realize that so many of these people are in part very low information.

For example, it's like telling somebody, well, Biden is, you know, has difficulty speaking.

And then you tell him, do you realize he has a lifelong stutter?

And they're like, well, well, he's old. Well, yes, he's old.

But I think that Biden made best case around that, that anybody could is like, but his ideas aren't.

And I and I think that's the that's the point. He's not trying to drag this country back 50 years.

And so even if Trump's a little bit younger, he doesn't have he's not trying to do that.

I heard people saying that Biden should quit, let someone else run for reelection.

Look, in this show, we have discussed this many times. it's one of the most idiotic things that you could do.

The times that that has happened, it's been a disaster for wherever the party is in power.

Incumbency is such a big advantage, there's no reason to do that.

There's just not a good reason, and all the things that have been said are just very dumb. It's just such a huge risk.

Biden is a disappointment because, you know, I mean, he didn't fix the Middle East, and he's an old Democrat. Well, yes, he's old. We all know that he's old.

But I really think that the fact that You've had this crisis in the Middle East where whatever response he did, there are just so many negatives and people not understanding the roots of that conflict and a lot of those things.

And, you know, really thinking that many basically think that Hamas is just this sweet and loving organization. It's just, you know, absurd.

I heard some others saying that the Ukraine war was our fault as well.

I'm just like, what? What?

Yeah. Yeah, I mean, going back to even W, for God's sakes, he had been sanctioning Russia after Georgia.

Obama wasn't. The only guy that's been nice to Putin is fucking Trump.

And not understanding the geopolitics of that also, just people just don't know.

And it's just ridiculous.

One other thing that I heard as a comment is that somehow he sabotaged Kamala and that he should have, I don't know what magic he should have done in order to make her be the candidate now.

And look, I mean, Kamala actually ran and lost the nomination to Biden, and she didn't do very well in the campaign trail and i like her very much but saying that biden has somehow sabotaged her is just preposterous i mean you know she's done a good job for a vp and i actually think that especially recently that he has been elevating her more than anything and a whole bunch of issues and things and so therefore it's just this whole thing that biden purposely sabotaged Kamala and some selfish plot to do whatever. It's just insane.

I think that if Trump perhaps is not running for reelection, then I think that maybe this whole dream that people had that Biden steps down and gave it to somebody else, maybe Kamala herself, was more feasible.

But really Really doing it when Trump is running again, it's just insane.

I just don't see how that works. It's giving up your biggest advantage.

Many other experienced political hands have said the exact same thing, and the only people that I see say that are very naive at this point.

I think that one thing about what happened this week is, is I do think that Biden very assertively changed the discussion around him.

And because if you can come out after that speech and say that he is some doddering, can't-speak fool, it's just absurd. I just don't...

I mean, you're just making yourself up a story.

And if you think that he...

Hasn't accomplished a lot there's not much you know we can sell the story but it's it's very tough look i've said this before obama faced the same problems heading into his election a lot of the same comments i've pulled stories you can pull them for bait i mean it's almost the same, shit that these disenchanted voters the younger ones because he's not you know he's not moving fast enough blah blah blah but look getting shit done is not something that is turns on a dime, and building is far more difficult than destroying.

And let's face it, the reality is that Mitch McConnell, with all the things that he had done in order to withhold judiciary appointments during the Obama administration in hopes of getting a Republican to win, and then withholding also the SCOTUS seat, and then you have these people that didn't vote, that didn't show up and voted for Trump, letting Trump in and basically flooding the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments, including multiple SCOTUS appointments that tilted the court the other way and wound up.

Taking Americans' rights back 50 years.

That's the fault of those people that kept saying that Trump and Hillary were the same.

And they just don't see the consequences and not understand what the hell it is.

And they think that they get on these points of, oh, well, I don't know.

I don't particularly like his policy.

He's not moving fast enough on climate change. Well, okay, yeah, but the other option is moving the other direction on climate change.

Why the fuck can't you see that? Why are you so blind to that?

But anyway, I think Biden had a really great week.

And I think that actually some polls came out recently that also showed that he has been doing better on the national polling as well. Thank you.

I think that maybe this is a point where, especially after Super Tuesday, with so many of these have been decided, that finally maybe you'll start seeing some more clarity in this polling.

And I will say to you all undecideds, you guys are a bunch of fucking naive idiots.

It's just not... it's stupid. Just stop. Stop. Okay?

So, okay, that's it. Sam? Take it back. Do something with this. Talk to you later. Bye.

Okay. Now with that out of the way, thank you, Yvonne. That was great.

He does a great rant. I wish we had gotten a chance to bat these things back and forth together this week like we normally do.

It's just the timing did not like.

There may have been some places where we could have squeezed it in, but it was very unpredictable.

I didn't know what I was doing when and blah, blah, blah. So that didn't happen.

Anyway, now we'll take a break. And when I come back from this break, I'll talk a little bit about Jim Sunshine.

And I'll actually play the eulogy from the service. Back after this.

Okay, I'm back. It's now Monday, March 11th. Just after 5 UTC, I intentionally did one segment per calendar day, or at least per UTC day.

UTC, URTC, URTC. See, anyway, as I mentioned, I was going to say a few thoughts.

You know, I went to this memorial service for my step-granddad, James Sunshine.

Because, look, you know, I was trying to think how many times I've actually met this man. And I don't think it's more than five.

And basically when my sister had major life events like her graduation her multiple graduations her graduations her wedding one time i visited them in a cabin that they had in maine but i don't think it was more than five times but the thing is each and every time i met jim he left a huge huge impression on me.

Just, he was such a character. And, you know, what I'm trying to think, like, I mean, the first time I met him, he must've already been in his eighties.

The last time I met him, he was 98 and he died at 99 and a half.

Yeah. He must've been almost 99 already when I met him last.

And he was just so sharp and such a character and so absolutely like his presence filled the room.

And, you know, each time I kind of wished I was like, you know, my sister, her entire life has had a really close relationship with him.

She's, you know, She's seen him a lot. When she went to college in Oberlin, Ohio, he was already there in a retirement community too, and they saw each other like every week.

And I was actually kind of jealous of that because like every interaction I had with the man was positive.

I mean, it wasn't a lot. I didn't know him well.

But yet, when he died, I definitely felt it.

And like, it hit me like it was somebody that I knew a lot better than I actually knew him.

I don't know. That may seem a little silly, but that's how I felt.

And, you know, the first few times I met him, I really didn't know that much of his history. I didn't know all that. I knew he'd been in newspapers.

I remember the time I met him in that cabin in Maine having a discussion.

And this was like, I don't know, it was when my sister was still under 10.

And so 20 plus years ago, I remember chatting to him about the future of the newspaper industry and how, you know, I couldn't, you know, I, I, I couldn't imagine reading a newspaper in print anymore.

Like this was something I would do electronically and, you know, that, you know, even if I appreciated like a publication, just physically, the medium I was going to read it in was not going to be the paper.

It was going to be online. And we talked a little bit about blogs and, you know, that I really appreciated knowing the individual reporter that I was reading and following them because of them, not necessarily because of the publication they were at.

And that if some reporter left publication A and went to publication B, I would follow them if it was somebody I liked and go read them at the new publication instead.

And him sort of lecturing me about, hey, editors are really important.

You don't just want these reporters' raw thoughts on their blogs.

There's a real purpose and utility to editors and what they do.

And of course, he was an editor in a newspaper.

So of course, but it was a fascinating discussion. It brought in a perspective that I didn't have.

I'm not sure he convinced me, but I think these days I'm more inclined to think he was right.

I mean, we've been through this sort of the craziness of disintermediated, everybody sharing their thoughts.

And of course, me doing this podcast is an example of that. Me doing election graphs is an example of that.

I probably could really use an editor on all these things.

But you I think the value of having professionals who can sort of select hey here's what's really important here's what's not let's strive for telling the truth let's make sure we're not spreading misinformation etc that is a valuable ideal.

I don't know how well it works in practice, though, because any actual publication or any actual human editors clearly have their flaws, and some are better than others.

But the concept is good. Anyway, lots of great conversations with him.

And even this last time I saw him, I guess it was a year and a half ago or so, it was It was at my sister's wedding in October 2022, I think was when that was.

I think it was October. Anyway, something like that.

He was still sharp as a tack. And from relatives of mine who saw him much more recently than that, he was living independently and fully capable.

His mind had not gone anywhere. anywhere.

He was sharp as a tack and living independently until less than a month before he died.

It was sort of a very rapid onset.

I mean, even a few days before he died, he was apparently still really sharp, even though for the last few weeks, There'd been health issues starting to accelerate really quickly.

But anyway, I mentioned my stepmother, Kathy, gave permission for me to repeat.

I recorded the eulogy just on my iPhone from the second pew in the chapel where the service was.

So maybe it was the third. Anyway, somewhere near the front.

So the audio quality won't be as good probably as if i had a good mic but i i previewed it it sounded like you could hear what people were saying so my stepmom kathy sunshine gave permission for me to include her eulogy and i'm going to do that in just a second i will also though before i do that point you to her blog or i guess newsletter they're calling it these days it's it's a the sub stack, but they are, it's whatever they want to call it. It's a blog.

Uh, you can find her at third

And you know, I, I've, I've read a bunch of her stuff, not all of it.

It's, it's, it's good stuff though.

It's basically about that period of life, sort of of from middle age to the end where you're sort of adapting to that part of life.

And yeah, there's a bunch of good stuff on there, but I'll particularly point you towards the James K sunshine post that, uh.

That she posted when he died and it has links to previous posts.

Oh, I I've gotten all like flustered and away from one of the things I was going to say, I said, I didn't know much about his history.

And then I started talking about the journalism stuff because that was what he did for his major part of his career, uh, was working at as an editor in a newspaper.

But just within the last few years, I've learned, you know, that, He was a medic on D-Day in World War II.

And if you go to that James K. Sunshine post, there are a couple of additional links from Ohio to Utah Beach and across Europe into Germany, which are two articles that he co-wrote with my stepmom just last year, like October, November last year.

And they go through his experiences during World War II. and it's absolutely fascinating and worth a read.

And there are a few other posts that involve him that are linked from her James K. Sunshine post as well.

So I recommend you go there.

And next up, though, is the actual eulogy. And I know, like, for those of you who've never met the man, it's like, oh, okay, what is this?

I understand if you skip it. But I found it moving. I learned a lot about him. He was a great guy.

And the eulogy goes through a bunch of the interesting stuff from his life as well. So I thought I'd just play it.

I will be back for a short amount of time to sort of wrap up the show after this is over.

But yeah and this by the way is not the whole service there a bunch of other people spoke to my sister cynthia spoke a couple of her cousins spoke my dad spoke and there was a minister who said some stuff too but whatever like the the family members who spoke were all interesting they called some people that he knew from the newspaper business spoke as well it was all very very interesting, but I'm just including here my step-on theology.

So here you go.

Hi, I'm Kathy. I'm Jim's daughter.

Dad loved a good party, and he especially loved a pray-jo party.

In the early 1960s, my grandmother would take the train down from Maine to Providence to visit us at Christmastime.

And on Christmas Eve, or whenever the general held its holiday party, we would wait for Dad to get home so we could eat dinner together. And wait and wait.

Mom would say, say, Jim will come eventually. He just loves being with his journal friends.

And my grandmother would go, oops, I'm wet.

Dad would come in the door eventually, in good cheer, shall we say, and we would have our dinner and all would be well.

So I know he would have loved seeing you here today, and I wish you were here to enjoy the party.

Dad could lift your spirits just by being around. He was never moved, never depressed.

He took ideas seriously, but he didn't take himself seriously.

He would tell you exactly what he thought about anything, but he was just as interested in what you thought about it, and he would press you to say why and to convince him as well.

Going through his files recently, we found letters of unsolicited advice to people on matters large and small.

He wrote to the student editors of the Oberlin Review about how to do journalism, and to the editor of the New York Times, demanding to know, what exactly is a blog?

The Times published the letter with a response from managing editor Jill Abramson.

Leah Gawker, which you may recall as a gossipy, provocative blog, picked up on the exchange, and they published a sarcastic piece under the headline, It's 2010 and this New York Times reader wants to know what a blog is.

They ran it with clipart of an old man with a long, scrawny beard.

But Dad had the last laugh, because he outlived the bankrupt gawker by seven years.

Then there were his Facebook screeds, often incisive, about Trump, whom he loathed, gun violence, and war.

Dad was not rigid in his views, and I watched his politics evolve.

Evolve, but he held core values grounded in three life experiences, going to Oberlin College, serving in World War II, and being a newspaperman for the rest of his life.

After my mother died, Dad sold their house on a wooded hillside in Tiverton and moved back to Oberlin to spend his last years in the gray flatness of Northeast Ohio.

To understand why he loved Overland so much, you have to begin with where he came from.

Dad's father, William Sunshine, immigrated from Hungary in 1902 at the age of 14.

Joining the family firm in Cleveland, William was a traveling salesman who took men's clothing samples to department stores around the Midwest.

During the Depression, to make ends meet, Dad's mother sold dresses out of their home and later opened her own shop.

Neither parent went beyond high school.

Dad respected his parents and their accomplishments, but he never forgot that he, too, could have been on the road with a suitcase of samples rather than running a newsroom had it not been for Oberlin.

His family had no money, so he borrowed the $800 tuition from a more prosperous aunt and entered in 1942.

He later recalled, Oberlin opened my eyes.

He developed a steadfast belief in education as a path to betterment, and in later life he would provide help to other students, including some in Rhode Island who were the first in their families to attend college.

Several of those living with Dad in his dorm that fall of 1942 would become his lifelong friends, including Bill Warren.

His freshman year were made, but the war was heating up, and Dad left Oberlin after one semester to enlist.

He served in Europe as a surgical technician in the 42nd Field Hospital from the Utah Beach D-Day landing to the end of the war.

He later wrote, I had the good fortune to be a surgeon's assistant in a forward field hospital, hospital, back from the line just far enough to avoid getting shot, but close enough to feel that I was part of the huge war machine that could never be defeated.

I assisted surgeons cutting off arms and legs and digging shrapnel out of the bowels of wounded GIs.

That summer I lived with bodies, American and German, rotting in the hedgerows.

That winter I escaped from St. Vith in the Battle of the Bulge, one step ahead of the the oncoming German infantry.

I rode in a fleeing truck convoy past Malmedy, two hours before the SS massacred their American prisoners in a snow-covered field.

I was at Buchenwald the day it was opened up, gagging at the sight of the emaciated prisoners.

Dad was furious when the U.S. invaded Iraq, exclaiming, I don't mind fighting the necessary wars, but I sure as hell hate the unnecessary ones.

On June 6, 2004, the 60th anniversary of D-Day, he published an op-ed in the journal. It ended this way.

Today, three days after my 80th birthday, the country I do indeed love because it is a good country, stands before the world claiming the right to wage something called pre-emptive war, shredding our freedoms at home and our young soldiers' lives abroad for reasons few really understand or believe, despite what they say, issuing orders that no one is to see bodies being brought home as if somehow they are unclean, paying civilian mercenaries to do our fighting for us, making war a profitable game for corporations, collaborations with friends in a White House whose occupants have never seen a real war up close and whose version of the truth seems to shift from day to day.

Dad returned to Oberlin after the war on the GI Bill this time and worked on a college newspaper, the Oberlin Review.

He married Ann Fassett in the campus chapel in 1948 and graduated in 1949.

After a year at a semi-weekly in Carcona, Wisconsin, he went on to the Columbia School of Journalism, graduating in 1951.

Wilbur Grummage, in the news department of the Providence Journal, interviewed Dad, but told a dean at Columbia that he could not hire someone who wanted to be an editor rather than a reporter.

The dean advised Dad to write a letter proclaiming his great desire to cover school board meetings and auto accidents.

Swallowing his pride, Dad did as advised, and Brummage hired him at $65 a week.

After more than a year in the South County Bureau, Dad moved to the city staff in 1953.

He became education writer in 1955, winning awards for his coverage of the field.

After a few more years of reporting, he achieved the goal he had set.

During his job search days, he became an editor. One of his first responsibilities was to produce TREN, a section of a Sunday journal that analyzed the week's biggest news developments.

In the 1970s, he accepted a quite different challenge, leading the entire news operation into an era of technological change.

He oversaw the installation of A-TEX computer terminals in the newsroom and guided some 300 technology skeptics through the frustrations of learning new procedures and new ways of thinking.

He also supervised the staff of the paper's business section and oversaw the journal's library, transforming it from a morgue where copies of all stories were housed to a technologically advanced information source for reporters.

Over the decades, he moved up the ladder to deputy executive editor, retiring in 1955.

Discussing his newsroom days with me recently, he hinted, mischievously, that he'd enjoyed barking orders at underlings.

This turns out to be nonsense.

After his death, messages came in from younger colleagues, who remember his patient mentoring. In my eight years at the Projo, your dad never showed me anything but kindness and support, one person wrote.

Dad practiced journalism in an era when newspapers held communities together.

They informed people about what was going on in the world, in the nation's capital, in the statehouse, and down the block.

When the newspaper industry entered its death spiral of corporate takeovers and closures, dad grieved. He disdained social media, although he used it.

Without editors to serve as gatekeepers, he complained, blogs and the like were merely unscreened personal notions.

They could not replace the vital news-gathering function of the print press.

As he wrote several years ago, to live in this country without reading a reasonably good print newspaper is to remain ignorant of what you need to know to participate in a self-governing society.

Dad shared his love of good writing with me. Every evening when he got home from work, I'd perch on the arm of his chair, curled up against him.

As he read aloud to me from the Oz books and other classics of children's literature.

He scouted Dana's second-hand bookshop on Waybossel Street to find books for me, and each Christmas brought a racked stack of them under the tree.

I kept them all, and decades later read them to my own daughter, ostensibly for her benefit, but just as much for my secret joy.

We camped through New England and Canada in an old canvas army tent.

We spent part of each summer on Capitol Island, Maine, in my mother's family cottage, lovingly tended to this day by my cousins Frank and Laura, Fassett, and their families.

We spent ski weekends in a one-room, unheated Vermont shack with a pit latrine.

My parents actually liked this sort of thing.

Later, they restored an old farmhouse in Tunbridge, Vermont, with plumbing this time, and they built their retirement home in Tiverton. him.

Mom died in 1999, and in 2005, Dad moved to Kendall, a Quaker-run retirement community on the edge of the Oberlin College campus.

He was supremely happy at Kendall, where he worked in the library and woodshop and tended a beloved garden block.

His one complaint about Kendall was the food.

A recent photo captures his surprise and delight when rare roast beef, cooked just as he liked it, appeared in the Kendall dining room.

This was in November, days before he landed in the hospital.

In mid-December, a little more than a week before the end of his life, he and I got carry-out from an eatery in town, and he made a hearty meal of lamb shish kebab and beef meatballs.

He enjoyed it so much that the very next night, he sent me back to the same restaurant for more.

He once told me the appetite will be the last thing to go.

Last October, Dad sat in his favorite chair beside his garden cloth, supervising me as I planted winter rye to prepare the soil for next spring.

At ninety-nine and a half, he looked forward to another harvest of tomatoes and peppers.

The cherry side of his plot is empty now, but the winter rye is growing there still.

The hole in my life is gaping wide.

But he taught me how to read and how to write, how to live out my values, how to make and keep friends, and how to age with grace and joy.

Okay. If there are any of you left after that, I really appreciate you hanging on. I hope it was at least a little interesting.

Like I said, I only met him like five times, but like, and, and he was 99 and a half great life.

It's not like he left early. He was ready to go. He'd apparently been telling people he'd lived too long for at least a decade before he went, but he was a massive character. and I really liked him.

I enjoyed all my interactions with him.

And even though I didn't get to talk to him that often, I'm still going to miss him.

Okay. Time to wrap up the show. You know the deal. It's

And there you can find all the ways to contact myself and Yvonne.

You can find the archives of the show, including transcripts for almost a year now we've had transcripts and yeah you can also find our patreon where you can donate us a little cash money to help with the expenses of the show and yeah and at various levels on the patreon we will send you a postcard we'll send you a mug we will mention you on the show, all of that sort of thing and very importantly at two dollars a month or more or just if you ask us because the more the merrier we will invite you to our Convergence Corner Slack where Yvonne and I and a bunch of our listeners are sharing news links throughout the week and chatting about whatever's going on in the world and you know sometimes personal things too what's going on in our lives I'm not going to give a highlight from the Slack this week you know, we talked about the State of the Union and other things and Yvonne usually does that part anyway Should I find at least one thing?

Let's see. What's something? The latest thing posted.

Oh, yeah. Just minutes ago, Yvonne shared the Jimmy Kimmel on the Academy Awards reacting to a...

I keep wanting to call them tweets, but they're not. Donald Trump posting on Truth Social a criticism of his hosting duties on the Academy Awards and replied, you know, basically read it on the show, like minutes after Trump had posted it.

Everyone, I was just, you know, doing this show is not about me, and I appreciate you having me.

It's really about you and Emma and all these great actors and actresses and filmmakers.

But I was told we have like an extra minute and I'm really proud of something.

I was wondering if I could share it with you. I just got a review and...

Has there ever been a worse host than Jimmy Kimmel at the Oscars?

His opening was that of a less than average person trying too hard to be something which he is not and never can be.

Get rid of Kimmel and perhaps replace him with another washed up but cheap ABC talent, George Slopinopoulos. He would make everybody on stage look bigger, stronger, and more glamorous.

Okay now see if you can guess which former president just cross-hid that on true side, anyone no well thank you president trump thank you for watching i'm surprised you're still isn't it past your jail time.

So fun stuff, yeah so amongst other things all kinds of other stuff going on on the curmudgeon score slack you should join us we love to have more folks okay with that hey everybody have a great week and yeah stay safe have fun blah blah blah, we'll be back next time Goodbye.

And that's it. And I am hitting stop and starting to edit this thing.

It's already like, ah, and daylight savings. I didn't even rant about daylight savings time.

We are, because of daylight savings time, look, it's 538 UTC as I'm recording this little bit right here, but local time here in Seattle, that means it's 1038 PM before I even start to edit. it.

But if we hadn't changed the damn clocks would have been nine 38.

That hour was stolen from me. Damn it. Oh, well we're done. Bye.

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