Category Archives: Thoughts

Hello from Friday afternoon!

This is the first weekend in a while when I won’t have all the screens up with news, and that’s a huge relief. I’m looking forward to what should be a sleepy, rainy Saturday.

Lunch today is chili that I froze earlier this month.

Happy birthday to Kevin Bebak. Shoutout to him.

I was looking forward to doing some woodworking things on Sunday, and there’s a chance that I still will be able to do it.

I haven’t posted the NYT crossword puzzle in a few days, though I’ve done Thursday and Friday. I’ll post those this weekend.

Definite high hopes for the Biden administration. I did have fun writing that letter as Trump to Biden. I used the font of his sharpie handwriting, and made it look like the marker was running out of ink a few times.

Remember how the world looked yesterday at about 3:40pm?

As usual for a Saturday post, I’ve written this Friday afternoon. If a ton has happened since time of writing that makes yesterday a distant memory, here’s what the world looked like then:

Tommy Lasorda passed away.

Betsy DeVos has resigned.
Elaine Chao has resigned.
Mick Mulvaney has resigned.
Hope Hicks will be leaving next week.

Ben Carson was trending because people are making fun of him.

Trump remains divisive.

Tucker Carlson has been abusing this audience with

Biden says he’s been saying that Trump is not fit to lead for more than a year. “That’s why I ran,” he said today.

Reported domestic single-day COVID-related deaths topped 4000 for the first time.

Kim and Kanye are splitsville.

No one knows where Melania is.

Ted Lieu announced that he’s bringing articles of impeachment on Monday.

This came after Nancy Pelosi has asked Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and later demanded Trump resign. Doesn’t look like either will happen.

But the impeachment articles on Monday and Ben Sasse saying that he is willing to consider convicting in the senate. We can’t forget that Mark Kelly has replaced Martha McSally in John McCain’s old seat.

Ossoff and Warnock may be sworn in next week.

They need only 66 votes because David Perdue of Georgia bounced a few days ago when his term expired. Kelly Loeffler is still the appointee until they certify the votes in GA.

I have all kinds of news feeds set up to inform me of developments throughout Shabbat.


Los Angeles Times Left-Center
Washington Post Left-Center
New York Times Left-Center
Wall Street Journal Right-Center
CNN Left
Fox News Right

Deutsche Welle Left-Center
BBC Left-Center
NHK Right-Center

Donald Trump twitter whoops! Just got suspended permanently! Not using this!

Commentary/Trump bashing:
Lincoln Project twitter

I wish you all a weekend of safety and health and that this weekend is pleasant and without any terrible news.

Reflections on blogging in 2020

We all know how hard 2020 was. About midway through the year I decided to start blogging as a way to feel like I was getting out of the confines of my home. While I had done crosswords over time, I decided that it doing them and broadcasting my successes and my failures would mean I’d have something to write about every day.

I then took on the NYT Spelling Bee to complement the NYT and WSJ crosswords.

I’d like to say that my blog has kept me sane from when I started in the summer, but that’s not accurate. For a stretch of weeks from late August to partway through October, I fell to a low point in through and couldn’t really get myself to write about the crosswords, even when I’d done them. I was listless.

I saw the world collapsing with political divisiveness that led to varying approaches to COVID-19 safety. With every event that caused a spike in cases, I saw my wedding date being pushed more into the future. Even when I was asked yesterday if I have a date for the wedding, I said the thing I’ve gotten used to: “Yes, I do. My date is Calah.”

I’m lucky to be surrounded by friends, even if not physically. Weekly board game night has long shifted to being Zoom-based, and that’s certainly done a lot for me. But it was Calah who told me that blogging had been a good thing early, so I should just go back to writing on the regular, even if I didn’t feel like I could.

And as you’ve seen, it’s certainly gotten back to fully chugging along.

I like that I get to write daily.

I like being part of the NYT Spelling Bee community.

I like woodworking projects I do and writing my weekly Tuesday blog about it.

I’m looking forward to a much better 2021.

Thanks for reading what I write. Thank you for your support. I hope you find it to be entertaining. I try to find something interesting to write about with the puzzles I solve.

Coming upon the woodworking blogs are a couple chairs and some more end tables! Should be good.

What’s happened today?

This post is set to publish at noon on Saturday. There is a fire weather watch in Los Angeles. It’s been so dry here that the backs of my hands have gotten rough and require me to use lotion. I’m guessing the extensive handwashing is exacerbating the issue, but I’m fine making that trade. Using lotion is annoying and is messing me up because I have yet to figure out the proper balance between making sure I use enough to prevent my mitts from splitting open and the Chanukah miracle of the oil not going away nearly as fast as it should.

I hope this Saturday has been and will continue to be uneventful.

The Spelling Bee will post tonight as usual.

I made latkes for the first time!

Happy Chanukah, everyone! Thursday night I made latkes for the first time.

For years I’ve enjoyed the latkes that Lauren has made for me, but stupid COVID has made certain that I won’t be seeing her this holiday. So I asked her for the recipe, and she linked me to the one on Epicurious as a good starting point.

The recipe says that it takes 45 minutes to make, but that was absolutely not the case for me. Holy smokes. I don’t know if it was just that it was because it was my first time and wasn’t yet practiced at what I was doing, but it took me more than two hours.

The recipe calls for use of a food processor rather than hand-grating. Some of you may be thinking that it took me so long for that reason. Nope! I used a food processor. I don’t think my food processor is small, but I did have to dump out the contents after each potato. I guess it’s possible that I didn’t have to do that, but the container seemed full, and I wasn’t prepared to risk the safety of my only food processor.

I realize now that it’s probably a good idea to register for a new food processor for when Calah and I can finally get married. STOP DELAYING MY LIFE, COVID!

Lauren said that draining the mixture is important. I didn’t do a comparison, but I agree with this assessment.

These aren’t the latkes that my bubbie would make. Those latkes really capture the Chanukah feeling of never-ending oil. They didn’t have the hash brown consistency of these latkes but seemed to be made from like a potato puree, though I’m sure that description is inaccurate.

The latkes were monstrous. Each was the size of a plate. It’s like she was running IHOPP–International House of Potato Pancakes. Massive latkes.

Each was cooked to a different level of crispiness. There were some that could stand up on end. I’m salivating at the memory of that crunch.

She knew that my dad and I loved the latkes, so she took advantage of the strength that she had to make them for us at every opportunity possible rather than limiting it to a Chanukah specialty because she knew it wouldn’t be long until the pancreatic cancer gained the upper hand.

I don’t know if I can replicate those. It’s been nearly a decade without her and therefore without them. If I had the recipe, I don’t know what I’d do. I might try to make them, but I don’t know if I even want to be certain what those are made of. I feel better about them because I don’t know exactly how much oil she used. She may also have grated the potatoes by hand, and I have no interest in doing that.

This all said, I wish she could make them for me again.

Musings on Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th thoughts as written on the day. The world may look different now than it did at 4pm Friday as I write this, but here are thoughts from the past, posted at 10am PT Saturday.


It’s Friday the 13th! And it’s the last Friday the 13th of 2020. March also had a Friday the 13th. Remember that notification of the California lockdown was on March 16 (the night of my accepted proposal to Calah), effective the next day. So what are we going to find out on Monday, November 16?

Keep in mind that 2020 is a leap year. We weren’t even supposed to have Fridays the 13th in March and November, since February had Friday the 12th.

In a normal year, the combinations of Fridays the 13th are
-January, October
-February, March, November
-April, July
-September, December
and there’s only ONE Friday the 13th if it appears in May, June, or August

But in a leap year, things go weird:
-January, April, July
-February, August
-March, November
-September, December
and there’s only ONE Friday the 13th if it appears in May, June, or October!

And every year there’s at least one Friday the 13th.

2020 would have been one of those years. February’s Friday the 12th would normally mean August had a Friday the 13th. And that’s it. But nope! In true 2020 fashion, we got two.

Trump’s best chances of still winning are to resign

Now that he’s lost the election, he can pout a little more, but that should end quickly if he’s thinking about his future. You know, as a businessman. Forget about this refusal to transfer power peacefully. It’s foolishness.

And it doesn’t help that his bold campaign promise that nobody would hear about Covid-19 after November 3 was undermined by Mark Meadows who picked a really bad time to test positive.

Instead, he should resign. Not today because he needs time to show how much of a victim he is. He should wait till, I don’t know, Wednesday?

And here’s why:

Self- and Base-Preservation

He should make Mike Pence the 46th POTUS so that Pence can pardon him like how Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon. Not only will that be good for Trump, the likely recipient of “Lock him up!” chants that he pretty much brought on himself, but he can do this while claiming to be saving the American people. He can continue to rail against his opponents.

You can imagine tweets like: Crooked Dems like Shifty Schiff and Nutsy Pelosi and AOC+3 are ABUSING their power to go after YOUR PRESIDENT for NO REASON! WHERE WAS THE INVESTIGATION INTO CROOKED HILARY? HUNTER BIDEN???? THE POLES SHOWED I WON! BY A LOT!

And then when he resigns and gets Pence to pardon him, the story can be that he doesn’t have to be a criminal to be pardoned. After all, he pardoned Susan B. Anthony. (Also I just learned that the Susan B. Anthony Museum told Trump to peddle his pardons elsewhere. Go them!)

The Rest of the World Has Moved On

Very, very quickly, European leaders like Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson congratulated Joe Biden on his win. And Trump still hasn’t conceded. They’re not waiting for that. They just straight-up don’t agree that Trump can win a legal battle that would allow him not to have to pack up his stuff.

By stepping down and letting Mike Pence take office, transfer of power can happen and, likely, in a civilized way. The benefit of such a transfer is that Pence can learn what to do because the experts will have a voice. That is to say that when they teach Joe Biden stuff, Pence can be a fly on the wall and gain knowledge. He can lead the country by more than whatever just comes to his head.

He Has Much to Lose

He’s said over and over that nobody is more pro-law enforcement than he is. He doesn’t even care if someone is convicted yet. That someone is being arrested is enough for him to recommend that police officers not to “be too nice.” It’s gotta suck to be on the other side of that, right?

It’s widely reported that he’s vulnerable to all kinds of criminal prosecution after the leaves office. Even if they don’t get anything to stick, he may be out the legal fees. And I’m not an attorney, but if I were an attorney, I’d only want to have a client who is likely to pay his bills. And that’s not Trump.

And while he should be able to raise funds if he needs to hire good lawyers, his lenders don’t even want to deal with him anymore.

Resign on Wednesday

It’s not so bad. And it’s way better than being beaten up by the people who had your back for so long:

TFW your support goes from a lot to well down under. Also literally hat in hand.

It’s the smart thing to do. For Trump and for America. Yeah, I know that if he avoids prosecution that that would rob everyone else of seeing that happen. But if we can get rid of him this week and be like the Chilean coal miners rising from the depths, we can all move on. Our lungs a little blacker, our eyes needing to adjust. But the healing can begin. I think that’s better.

Remember how the world was at about 4pm Friday?

How’s everyone doing right now? This post is set to publish at 10am but was written at about 4pm Friday.

Here’s a blast from the past:

Joe Biden leads Georgia by 4,224 votes!
Joe Biden leads Pennsylvania by 16,041 votes!

As of writing, there aren’t lots of sirens going around Los Angeles. The West LAPD radio is pretty quiet. Nothing is unusual. Other than that it’s supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow. That is to say last night and today by the time this posts.

While I won’t be able to post during Shabbat, I have a full panel of information up that refreshes every few minutes.

My sources are:
Los Angeles Times Left-Center
Washington Post Left-Center
New York Times Left-Center
Wall Street Journal Right-Center
CNN Left
Fox News Right
Deutsche Welle Left-Center
BBC Left-Center
NHK Right-Center
Donald Trump twitter
Friends’ Discord