Christmas Eve Remembrances

Yeargh, I bollixed this up. Meant to post this several hours ago, and told Marcy I was going to, but instead had a giant nap on the couch with an overly large puppy right beside.

We deal with a lot of hard subjects here on this blog, and do so daily, if not sometimes hourly. The people, you, are what makes it worth it. Thank you. Every year we are separated from some. Sometimes we know, sometimes we only know because they are conspicuously no longer around.

This year, one we know is gone is John Casper (early on known as Boo
Radley). Another soul we knew from not just Emptywheel, but even before. There are undoubtedly others that we are not so aware of, but who have filled our comments with intellect and passion over time.

So, on this Christmas Eve, thank you to all here, from not just me, but Marcy, Jim White, Rayne, Ed Walker, Roving Reporter Rosalind and Quinn Norton. And thank you to those that have been here and left us. There are too many of the latter. This time of remembrance started in 2011 with our fellow contributor, Mary Beth Perdue, who literally passed on a long ago Christmas Eve. It has kind of been a tradition to go back to that as an honorarium to all friends gone, and so here we go:


Here we are, heading into Christmas. Everybody is slowing down and heading into the holidays. We all are. Things often get a tad scarce this time of year, but we would like to say Hi, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Mele Kalikimaka and any other greeting applicable. Thank you for being here with us.

It has been a couple of years…I think…since we have done the remembrance section at this time of year. Many of you are old-timers going back to when we were at TNH, even before the FDL years, but so many are new and really do not know the history. We have been at this a good long while now. The years float by, but the people are what stick.

In that regard, I want to return to thanking those that contributed much, but are now gone. If you are new here, you never would have known the names of Mary, Bob Schacht, Mad Dog, Free Patriot, Skdadl and a host of others that were not only our blog friends, but that we often met and knew in real life too.

They are gone, but not forgotten heading into this Christmas Eve. But this always, at least for me, Marcy too, comes back into focus on this date because of our friend and beloved colleague, Mary Perdue. Mary passed away on Christmas Eve 2011. She, like all the others, was the best of what this blog had, and has, to offer. So, in memory of all who are gone, but never forgotten, here is the original in memorium for Mary.

You all, each and every one, rock. Thank you for being here and supporting us. Happy Holidays everyone:


The internet is a strange and wonderful thing. Just about everyone and everything in the world is on it, even though it is nothing but data in the form of binary computer code traversing by random electrons. Yet thought is crystalized, and friendships born and nurtured, through commonality of interest and purpose. And so it is here at Emptywheel, where many of us have been together since the days at The Next Hurrah, through years at Firedoglake, and now at our new home. Just because it germinates via the net does nothing to detract from the sense of community, friendship and admiration for each other gained over time.

With profound sadness, I report we have lost a true friend, and one of our longest tenured contributors, Mary. Mary Beth Perdue left us on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2011.

Mary Beth Perdue, 52, of Robards, KY, formally of Newburgh, passed away at her home.

She graduated Order of Coif from University of Kentucky Law School and from University of Evansville with an accounting degree. She was a member of the Indiana Bar Association. She was in house counsel at Mid-Central Land Services, Inc. and served as an attorney for firms in Indiana and Kentucky. She owned and operated the Horse and Hound (a pet supply store) in Newburgh. Mary was a lover of all animals with a special place in her heart for horses, dogs and cats. She was involved in numerous equestrian sports and organizations.

Here at Emptywheel, she was just Mary; and she was so much more than a simple obituary can convey. She was funny, kind, and, most of all, razor sharp in analysis of extremely complex issues surrounding torture, indefinite detention, international human rights, illegal wiretapping and executive branch overreach. Mary had a steel trap index in her mind for even obscure torture and rendition cases and facts. To the day she died, Mary was one of the very few people commenting in America that remembered, and would never miss a chance to point out, how the children and extended families of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Aafia Siddiqui were used and/or disappeared by the US as pawns in our immoral torture in the name of the so called “war on terror”. Mary’s dissection of Jack Goldsmith terrorist detention policy, complete with with a comparison to the Ox Bow Incident, was a thing of passion and beauty.

One of Mary’s favorite, and most important, hobby horses was the seminal case of Ex Parte Milligan, on which she beat the drum loudly long before the critical 2008 decision in Boumediene v. Bush and the 2009 release of the torture memos. She was, as usual, right. Here she is taking John Yoo apart at the seams over his intellectual duplicity regarding Ex Parte Milligan. And then there was Mary’s three part opus on the history and meaning of Ex Parte Milligan (Parts One, Two and Three), which is one of the best primers anywhere on the case that has finally come back into renewed significance in the critical issues of the war on terror. Mary played a part in keeping that significance alive, and in the discussion mix, until it took hold again.

Mary did not talk much about her real life family and work, and as another still practicing attorney, I can fully understand the maintenance of that separation. It is quite likely, like me, that her friends and family had little idea of the true depth and importance of her knowledge and dedication to the interests she expressed here, both in front page posts authored, and in her consistent critical contribution in the discussion comments. But, make no mistake, Mary was not just an invaluable contributor, and affected not just me and Marcy, but key players in the larger discussion. I know for a fact, because I talk to the different people and discussed it with them; Mary’s posts and comments were seen and known by actors from the ACLU, to EFF, to other think tanks and attorneys in the field. She left a mark.

As I said at the start of this post, the internet is a curious, if compelling and wonderful place; in all the furiously teeming milieu of people and issues, it is easy for one voice to not be missed for a brief time. All of us take time away every now and then, and Mary was no exception; often being scarce for a period due to pressing duties with work and her beloved horses and land.

I had not talked to Mary since a few days before Christmas. With the rush of the holidays, and a busy work schedule for me in January I have been a tad scarce myself and I had not particularly noticed Mary’s absence. A little over a week ago, I emailed her some irresistibly cute pictures of the one of a kind racehorse Rachel Alexandra and her new foal. Mary loved Rachel Alexandra. Realizing she had not responded to that catnip, I checked yesterday and found the terrible news. There are a lot of things Mary might be too busy with real life to respond to, but not that. And so life became a little less full and enjoyable. Mary’s family has indicated:

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a local humane society or other animal rescue.

And that would indeed be Mary, and fit her, to a tee. Here is a secure link to do so for the national Humane Society; but by all means, if so inclined, give to your local chapter and let them know it is for Mary.

Emptywheel will not be the same without Mary Beth Perdue, but her work and memory will live in our hearts, minds and archives as a testament to who and what she was and stood for. We shall close with the picture Mary never got the opportunity to see, but would have been the epitome of the horses, animals and children which she truly loved, Rachel Alexandra and foal.

Vaya con dios Mary, you will be missed.


Cheers to all, and to all a good night and wonderful Christmas Day.

113 replies
  1. Hatmama says:

    Beautiful tribute. Memories Eternal to Mary Beth, and a Peaceful and Blessed Holiday and New Year to all of you at EmptyWheel, who provide us all with tremendous knowledge and insight. With gratitude!

  2. Ed Walker says:

    To the list of those gone but never forgotten, I add John Chandley, Scarecrow to all FDL fans. I miss his sharp commentary and his wonderful writing.

    And I add my thanks to all who read, and especially the commenters. Dialog on complicated and difficult issues is immensely valuable.

    Happy Holidays to all.

      • RevDeb says:

        Hi bmaz and all the folks from my deep, not dark, past. I know I’m late to the party. When I read your remembrance of Mary—who was an absolute gem—I couldn’t help but think of John. I really really miss him. Especially at this time of year as for many years he spent New Years with us. First in MA when we lived there. And when I went to PA for a job, he came down and stayed for a few days as we quietly welcomed the new year and hoped for better days.

        He was a good friend in the days when we felt we were fighting the good fight actively on FDL and beyond as we met one another and descended on the offices of our Congress critters as a group.

        I do often think about what he would be writing and saying in these dark times. I also am, in a way, glad that he was spared the lunacy of the dystopia we are now living in.

        Peace to all my FDL friends. I miss y’all too. May the new year bring some kind of hope and courage back to us all.

        • bmaz says:

          REVDEB!!! I have missed you! And yes to everything you said about John Chandley, i.e. Scarecrow. He would be here fighting however he could, and would appreciate that said fight endures. From his start beside Mario Savio at Berkeley, to the near end, he never stopped working, and never stopped thinking there was a better day ahead.

        • Jim White says:

          Thanks so much for coming by. Yes, those were heady days at FDL and it’s so nice to “see” familiar folks once again. Know that you are always welcome here and we’d love to have you drop by regularly.

          • RevDeb says:

            Thanks Jim. I feel like I have little to contribute these days except rage. But I SO miss the whole FDL family. It seems that one by one our friends left —either this physical world or just the blog world. It’s harder to focus on doing good when there is such a tsunami of evil coming our way and whack-a-mole just doesn’t work anymore.

            John used to find hope in things I had trouble seeing. I sorely miss him for that alone if not the friendship we had and the fun outings we managed to squeeze into his trips.

            I will, however accept the invitation and try to be more engaged in this community where many of the FDL orphans migrated to. Glad to see a number of names I knew.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.

      Happy Holidays, Ed, and to the guy batching it with his dog, the headmistress, Rayne, and everyone.

    • pdaly says:

      I got to meet John Chandley during FireDogLake’s Occupy Supply campaign, dropping off winter supplies to the people participating in Occupy Boston. He was as great a guy in person as was his online persona.

      Thanks for remembering everyone each year, bmaz.
      Warmest holiday wishes to all of you here.

      • bmaz says:

        pdaly, thank you for that about John. And you are right, Mr. Chandley was, in person, exactly who you thought he was before meeting him away from the electrons of blogland.

        That is an interesting thing about Emptywheel, every time I have the privilege to personally meet people from our long time community, and there have been tons over the years, it is thus. They are exactly who they have seemed to be, and are fantastic.

        Watch out, our daughter is currently up there and has already met Phred, we may be coming to visit you!

          • bmaz says:

            We have tried twice previously. Once during her first six month stint in Waltham, but something came up with my docket of cases. Then she was tasked to Bangalore for six months, and returned back there to MA in September. So we, as had Southwest, redid our tickets for a Thanksgiving visit. This time my wife had a family problem and reset her ticket to Atlanta, and I unfortunately, let my credit expire. We are tentatively thinking late next spring, and will keep apprised. It would be huge fun to have some food and drink.

  3. Jim White says:

    Thanks for this, bmaz. It’s always touching to remember those we’ve lost here, and especially so to think back to Mary’s unparalleled contributions to the world.

    Wishing the happiest of holidays to all those here, writers, commenters and lurkers. May you all find comfort in friends and family and warmth in your homes and hearts.

  4. bmaz says:

    I added the link for the original Vaya Con Dios to the last line of the post. I should have back when I first drafted it. It is by Les Paul and Mary Ford. Yes, guitar aficionados, that Les Paul.

    But I would like to also point out yet another honorarium, this time by Jeff Beck and Imelda May. It is wonderful. And note that Beck is playing, of course, a Les Paul. And it is absolutely stunning, watch it.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      I just love the music links you find and post. They satisfy the music geek in me. To everyone in EmptywheelLand, writers and commenters alike, best wishes for an amazing 2020. (And, here’s hoping the impeachment thing really works out.)

      • bmaz says:

        Thank you, the happiest of holidays to you and yours.

        There is so much incredible music out there, we try to touch on as much as we can.

  5. jdmckay says:

    Thanks Bmaz, for remembering Mary. Through the atrocities of GWB years, I used to come to read her comments clarifying obscure legal issues even good attorneys muddled. Her insight was, for me, as worthwhile as Marcy’s excellent work. I remember tearing up a bit when I saw she passed.

    Seems I recall she bought a farm just a few years before she died, just to be closer to nature. I always liked that. As far as I remember, photo you posted was first I have seen of her. Nice smile. :)

    Cheers, Merry Christmas to all and especially thanks to Marcy for all these years of superb, tireless, unique and extremely valuable contributions. Her writings here are a national treasure.

  6. timbo says:

    Mary is missed here a lot in Berkeley… where her missives could at least cause John Yoo to at least wince. It is too bad she was not part of an international tribunal investigation into the torture program Dr. Yoo conjured up to swallow us all. Our country has a long way to being better than him it seems. And still he has tenure in law at Bolt Hall… :(

  7. Doug Fir says:

    Thank you so much to the amazing contributors and commenters. You have helped make sense of a crazy, chaotic year. Wishing you ALL a fantastic, wonderful, joyful, fun-filled and lovely holiday!

  8. Jan says:

    When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
    Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime —
    But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight —
    Got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight

    Keep on kickin Emptywheel, and thank you.

  9. harpie says:

    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy All the Holidays to ALL!

    To: Marcy, Rayne, bmaz, Jim, Ed, Rosalind and Quinn
    and this whole Community of Commenters:

    Many thanks to you for the refuge in the storm.

  10. scribe says:

    Another one of those where the pictures tell the story: if you’re going to have fish for Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner and it’s GOT to be fresh, do yourself a favor and put it in the back seat when driving home, not the front-passenger seat like this woman did:
    From a small village in the Czech Republic: This carp (live) flopped out of the tub where the woman had put it, on the passenger’s seat. When it flopped onto her feet it startled her so much she lost control, took on a concrete power pole and … the car lost.
    According to the article, she had a broken leg and some chest injuries but is expected to recover fully. The carp flopped its last by the pedals.

    Colleges are turning students’ cellphones into all-pervasive surveillance devices, giving the term “permanent record” a whole new meaning. See

    Merry Christmas.

    • Desider says:

      Word has it it wasn’t an accident, that she really wanted to see the fish dead. Carpicide is a major problem in this landlocked country, where each year hundreds of thousands of carp meet their ill-deserved fate, enough that Czechs have built their festivities around it, bathtubs lining the streets filled with unsuspecting victims with big glassy eyes – you might even call Xmas (celebrated on the 24th) “Carp Diem” for all their enthusiasm (or perhaps “Carpe Carpem”), though some forgiving soles would release the carp with just a stern warning (“worse luck next year” – the Czechs are gifted pessimists). What has changed since Communist days is that cars are bigger – in the old days a carp wouldn’t have even fit near the pedals, accident averted. With new SUVs, you can fit a whole school down near the gas – allowing the problem to scale quite horrifically. With the popularity of Czech bone churches (“ossuaries”), it’s only a matter of time before fish bones make their appearance in religious ornamentation. New “traditions” pop up all the time to appease the steadily growing tourist business. Carpistry seems destined to make its mark.

      • e.a.f. says:

        thank you for the laugh and bringing back memories for me. Had a friend who passed away some years ago, who was, from what was then, Czechoslovakia. Every Christmas Eve, carp. was served. good god her husband never did understand it, but the carp was served. It made her happy to cook and serve it. the sauerkraut soup was fabulous and to this day I miss it, but the carp………….her husband, my friend, has also passed, your comments have brought the memories of those Christmas Eve’s in the 1980s back, clear as a bell and so I thank you.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, jeebus, yes!! Thank you. For those who do not know, Kiki the Wonderdog left us in late October. She was a constant, from TNH through EW at FDL, through all these years at our standalone site. Really old people may remember my somewhat hair raising drive to past the “Denver” airport (yes that is basically the Kansas line) to get her as a pup. Yikes, it is still kind of amazing that either of us survived that winter venture drive.

      BUT, if canines are in play, then there must be a remembrance to the First Dog of this blog, McCaffrey. Somewhere I have a picture of McCaffrey and Marcy in a river when we were all in Minnetonka with John Forde. But this old post by McCaffrey will serve for now. The boy did really like jerky!

  11. Robin Harper says:

    I would like to wish all the contributors and commenters of emptywheel a happy and blessed holiday season. Thanks to all of you for helping me to understand what is happening in our country, the legal ramifications, what can and can’t happen, or be expected. I have learned so much reading here, and I appreciate the intelligence, the patience, and the kindness of the people here. Please know that your hard work is very much appreciated!

  12. punaise says:

    Gosh, sad to hear about John Casper and scarecrow, two very familiar interlocutors I remember from the FDL days.

    Happy holiday greetings to the emptywheel community!

    • emptywheel says:

      I did get to meet John Casper early in the year, before he passed. It’s always great to meet people I’ve “known” for years IRL.

      • punaise says:

        For various reasons most of us reveal only so much of our identities online here (waves to NSA :~)… It is a rare treat to actually meet one’s blog buddies.

    • FishGuyDave says:

      Sad to hear about John’s passing. He and I – back at FDL – once had aN extended conversation about my CV, and I always appreciated his insights. Best holiday wishes to all.

  13. rosalind says:

    as the rarely reporting Rosalind, doesn’t feel quite right to be included with the A Team, but i appreciate it.

    love our supersmart international family of deep thread thinkers and thought provokers. miss our fallen stars. miss you, mary, most of all.

  14. Savage Librarian says:

    My Christmas surprise has been the gift of new neighbors across the street. They are an interracial couple who just moved here from CA. They said they moved to my particular neighborhood because it reminded them of Oakland. Imagine that!  We used to be the best kept secret in Florida.

    The next time we chat, I’ll have to ask how they found us…And, while I’m at it, I’ll have to ask them if they know punaise and timbo :-) Just so you know, it would be wonderful to have more of you move here, too. The cost of living is great. And, it would be wonderful to turn from red to blue. Wouldn’t that trump all?!!!

    Metaphors be with you, one and all.

    • Jim White says:

      Didn’t realize you share my fate of living in an oasis of goodness surrounded by a deep red area. Gainesville stands out as a bit of sanity, but things deteriorate quickly as you move away from town…

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Yup, a tiny oasis here, too. Calling all Jedi Masters to help turn this Mirage-a-Lago into a real life force to be reckoned with. It feels like the winds of change might be stirring. Power to the People!

  15. emptywheel says:

    A bit tardy to this post. We took June Bug the Terrorist Foster Dog to a new park, thinking it’d be quiet on Christmas Day. It was mobbed, no doubt bc it was 51 degrees. Both the next door neighbor and I are grilling for dinner.

      • P J Evans says:

        That’s what it is here – supposed to start raining in a couple of hours.
        Dinner is a black bean/green chile tamal.

        • bmaz says:

          Yum! I’ve been own my own, with the pup of course, for a few days, so it has been the old basics of beef on the grill and basic potato.

          • P J Evans says:

            Lunch was Chinese-style beef with veggies and rice, and “Alice White” Shiraz (a quarter bottle that’s been in the pantry for way too long). Salad with the tamal, and cookies sent by my brother’s family. (Shortbread stars and gingerbread people. No frosting.)

  16. JamesJoyce says:

    I know why I come here and why I went there.


    Reading and learning from those much smarter than me. Life experience enables “Wisdoms,” which provides truths. That is really all we wanted and still seek now.

    Departed reinforced truth..

    Solace just after a winter’s solstice is required like a fire’s warmth after being out in the cold all day.

    We celebrated yesterday the birth of a child who spoke truth and will be reminded in a few months of the consequences of simple truths spoken and never once imposed by sword or law. A choice…

    Much has changed in 1,986 years.

    Some things have not, one being….

    Imposition via sword and law making mockery of truth.

    -John Leland-


    John Lennon…


  17. Peacerme says:

    Happy Holidays to all of the contributors here. I truly ache as I miss some of those voices and perspectives. Mary, Scarecrow, Skdadl. UGH. And Cheney is still alive? (Not that I wish anyone death) Its like when I thought my brother got two birthdays every year. It feels like “only the good die young.”

    Thank you for this blog. I feel certain I would have lost my mind without it.

    Katie Jensen (PeaceRme aka wavpeac)

  18. Valerie Klyman-Clark says:

    Wishing all you fine folks good cheer during the season. I am deeply grateful for this haven-bless you every one.

  19. quebecois says:

    Joyeux Noël à toutes et tous.

    I’m less of a goon anytime I visit Marcy.

    I miss a few of the old commenters, it’s always a shock to see that a virtual friend is gone.

    On Christmas eve, I was told I was going to go through a major operation, I have an agressive left kidney cancer and they’re popping it out.

    I’m going to fight this shit like five Rocky films, I will get better as fast as it’s possible.

    I’m not looking for your sympathy, I’ll be doing a bunch of charity bike rides for cancer, I’ll be looking for your money… Any thoughts about me should be fun, let the Punaise in you roar.

    Peace, love you all.

    Marcy, bmaz, merci infiniment.

  20. Peterr says:

    From the opening . . .

    had a giant nap on the couch with an overly large puppy right beside

    Bmaz, giant naps are a good thing, but there is no such thing as too much puppy.

    • bmaz says:

      No no, this this thing is HUGE! It is the size of a Shetland pony.

      And, as you know, we have spent decades with various Sasquatches, so we kind of know big when we see it.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    TrumpWorld is like the unreformed Ebeneezer. Its patrons think their taxes – the citizen’s commitment to community – are always too high. They respond to appeals for mercy with the hope that if those on the periphery are inclined to end it, they should hurry up and make room for their betters.

    So it came to pass that mercy came late this year. On Christmas day, a Boston mom of 40 plunged off the top of a parking garage, her arms wrapped around her 15-month and four-year old children…. Nothing will ever be the same for her husband, family, and friends.

    Tolstoy wrote that each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Commentators tell us that it is at year-end that we most see the gulf between “I wish” and “It is,” and sometimes the vision is too much to bear. But the systemic violence and casual cruelties Trump & Co. distribute, like lumps of Trump in stockings hung on the mantel, do more than their share to make hope a tunnel with no light at its end.

    We have a small miracle here. It’s open to anyone with an Internet connection, who obeys a few rules Fred Rogers might have written. We learn lots of new things, including about stuff the MSM refuses to get right. We find common ground with people we know through screen-names and their written voice, and occasionally learn new recipes for chili and mince pie. Like a groaning holiday table, there’s always room for one more.

    I say, “we,” but I mean Marcy and her team. Commentating is like sitting down to a dinner someone else has prepared – and will clean up after. So, thanks to all of you, to those who haven’t found us yet, to those here now, and to those we remember.

  22. klynn says:

    Thank you bmaz. A beautiful tribute.

    Such a crew of commenters to miss. Each welcomed me early on at TNH and FDL.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree, Jim, Anchor Steam is the best beer, notwithstanding Fritz Maytag having sold it in 2010 to a pair of former investment bankers who promised to expand the brand, and then sold it to Japan’s Sapporo Holdings Limited.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ve described it as ‘they only have bottles so as not to scare the customers, who don’t expect beer to stand in the fridge without them’. (For those who haven’t met Anchor Steam, it’s heavily hopped. It’s also better at cellar temp than fridge temp.)

      • bmaz says:

        I used to consume copious amounts of Anchor Steam, but have not had one in a while. Need to slurp one soon. It really is good.

        • Jim White says:

          My kids only bought me one six pack, so I’m not much in the mood for sharing. But it does make me sigh when remembering that our house in Menlo Park was only three doors down from the Dutch Goose, which has Anchor Steam on tap and the best greasy cheeseburgers in the world. I still don’t know how I lived so close to that without assuming the shape of a bowling ball.

          • rosalind says:

            happy to report the Goose is alive and well, peanut shells on the floor and anchor steam on tap intact. Oasis, alas, has succumbed to the Silicon Valley slaughterhouse. Rossotti’s is now Alpine Inn, serving a Zott’s Burger to keep the memory alive.

            • P J Evans says:

              One of my cousins worked for a while at the Oasis. (I never went there, though I went once to, ISTR, the Blue Goose, for lunch with a group from work.)

            • Jim White says:

              Gotta find a way to get back there soon, then. Alas, the last time we checked on Google maps, our old house still had its very own redwood at the front door but had been repainted a hideous shade of blue (a few shades lighter than my Comet from hell).

              • rosalind says:

                *sigh* just got word my family home (of over 50 years) was just razed. 2-story, gorgeous hardwood floors, mature oaks, fab wisteria vines, all flattened to make way for fugly ginormous silicon valley tech trash house. progress!

                • P J Evans says:

                  Idunno why people with Way Too Much Money all seem to think that houses the size of small hotels are the way to live. (If all you want is Expensive Showy Stuff, buy Steuben glass or sponsor artists whose work you like or something that puts money back into the economy, and fund a museum wing for it.)

                  • P J Evans says:

                    Most-senior-aunt sold her house (with a studio) when she moved into a good seniors apt building. The person who bought it had it torn down to build something bigger – but the neighborhood made him redesign it to leave the big live oak on the lot. (I wonder if he’s found out how it can flood?)

                    • Savage Librarian says:

                      Two of the most mystical and spiritual events that ever happened to me involved live oak. Maybe I’ll be able to share them here some day. But now that I have learned about mycelium, I really have to wonder if it had something to do with that. Anyway, hopefully the person who bought the property will one day have the opportunity to learn something from the majestic tree.

                  • rosalind says:

                    big time. it’s been an interesting grief journey. first i mourned the home, but what is staying with me is the life lost: oaks, redwood trees, wisteria, shrubs, birds, gophers, rasberries, racoons. all to be replaced by some sterile landscaping.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Our current joint may not be a family home of anywhere near that long as yours, but it is where we brought up a daughter and dogs for a very long time, and this joint will be scraped and replaced by a new McMansion the second we leave. That is a given, but I do hope whoever does it saves the natural flora on the property.

  24. Steve13209 says:

    This website has been a revelation. My thanks to all (present and past) who have created and maintained this community. Here’s hoping everyone enjoyed their families and friends this holiday season. I look forward to traveling 2020 with emptywheel at my side.

  25. Jenny says:

    Mary sounds like she was a champion like Rachel Alexandra, in her own right. Thank you for a year end message that is what one should be – – with epic love.

  26. rosalind says:

    just saw that Zenyatta is the featured photo for the homepage for this post. danke, bmaz. for the newcomers, we wheelies were besotted with the wonder horse that is Zenyatta, and i had the honor of attending – and reporting – from her 19th and final win at H’wood Park (out of its ashes, soon to be the new home of the LA Rams).

    i just spent several minutes going through the FDL archives hosted at Shadowproof (thank you forever Kevin & Brian!), and realize most of my reporting must have been in the comments, which no longer exist. what i can say is watching that horse strut and preen in the pre-race walk about, and stop and pose for photos – seriously, she knew exactly where the photographers were – and intimidate the hell out of the other horses.

    i didn’t know her style was to wait until the last minute to make her break, so was freaking out a bit as she lagged behind, and then – just as she raced past me – she put on the jets and with her l-o-n-g strides casually took the tape. one of the best afternoons of my life.

    • bmaz says:

      Those posts should be here, we portaged all of our stuff from FDL over here. Some links, and for more than I expected, attribution, kind of changed. But, to my eye, they are all here on Emptywheel. Including, not perfectly, but pretty much all, of the comments. Not always easy to search and find; even I have issues every now and then, but it is there.

  27. e.a.f. says:

    Thank you for the history lesson. I remember reading Fire Dog Lake, then I couldn’t find it and now here on Empty Wheel. The world at times can be very small and reading blogs makes it smaller. it brings us together.
    Blogs such as this educate us, inform us, challenge us. They some times are the only source of true political information as some of us saw in B.C., Canada. Some of those original bloggers have also passed on. However, they like those mentioned in this post never do really leave us. We can go back and read their comments, posts and remember them and the valuable work they did.

    Thank you, and have a Happy New Year.

    Spent Christmas and Boxing Day eating and it was wonderful to be with friends. For at least a day and a bit the world around us stands still and gives us a chance to think

    • bmaz says:

      e.a.f. – Thank you so much. And eat up whatever you want! Mrs. bmaz came back from a trip east a couple of days ago and immediately said “what have you been eating”? Answer was all the burgers and steaks in the fridge/freezer. With easily cooked potatoes. That is what I know, and left to own devices, will consume readily. And, damn, it all went down well.

      • P J Evans says:

        I keep sliced cheese and mayo in the fridge, and nut butter and honey in the pantry. Bread of some kind is always around, too – so sandwiches. (Single-serving oatmeal exists – I don’t buy Quaker – and you can get instant eggs that are edible, and muffin-in-a-cup: all microwaveable.)

  28. posaune says:

    Holiday wishes to all here — you are treasured greatly in this house! We’re behind this week — down with the flu — all three of us (and we got the flu shot this fall). Been miserable with asthma complications. Feel somewhat on the mend today finally. But still, grateful for jobs with sick leave and health insurance. Thanks for your fine writing, bmaz, earl, rosalind and all here. Oh, and Jim for the precious photos of RJ and Kayla. Those two sure have the corner on cuteness!

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Responding to claims that the 500 richest people on earth do good things – 35-year old Mark Zuckerberg increased his personal wealth in 2019 by $27.3 Billion – Anand Giridharadas provides pithy context:

    “Many of them are philanthropists [including Jeffrey Epstein].

    And for many of them, making a difference is the wingman of making a killing.

    Giving back is the wingman of taking too much.

    Doing good is the wingman of doing harm.

    And changing the world is the wingman of staving off real change.”

    “May the 2010s be the final decade of the Age of Capital. May the 2020s usher in an Age of Reform.”

  30. Mooser says:

    Took me til yesterday to notice this: the children in Trump’s concentration camps vanished over the holidays! No media attention, no nothing. Wha?

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