Tuesday open thread

Talk amongst yourselves.

Since we still have many good topics in the pipeline, this week we will only have one open thread.  I’ll continue to schedule only one open thread per week as long as we continue to have a generous flow of submitted posts.

Here’s a starter.  Nate Silver got a lot of disagreement on this tweet.  Feel free to rank the months in your city, in NYC, or anywhere else.

Upcoming topics:

Wednesday  —  Generation Z  (Rocky Mountain Stepmom)
Thursday  —  Work life balance can mean tough trade-offs  (Fred)
Friday  —  The gift post!  (Swim & Houston)
Sunday —  Politics open thread


68 thoughts on “Tuesday open thread

  1. May to early June is the best in my city. The spring rains have finished, Magnolias, gardenia and jasmine are in bloom and the scent of the flowers fills the air. It is prom/graduation and wedding season. Many people take beach vacations as soon as school is out in early June.
    It’s very hard for the kids to come back from Soring Break because the weather is so nice.

  2. For NYC, in my own opinion
    December (‘coz its Christmas)
    October (sometimes snows)
    November (often snows)

  3. Louise – that sounds so lovely, and yet that is prime allergy season for me. Spring has become insufferable in the past few years.

    I generally agree with Nate, but might push down May and April and move up December and July.

    Posted a book recommendation on yesterday’s thread for U.S. history buffs.

  4. October is the best month in Boston, hands down. Followed by June, then September. Not sure any other months are recommended for weather. May is usually damp and chilly. We have no spring. In July and August you can always get a table at a good restaurant because the place is not particularly full. And if you like winter, you would prefer to be on the ski slopes than in the greater metro area. We belong in Atlantic Time Zone, not Eastern, so it gets dark way too early from Nov through Feb. And I love it anyway. The high blue sky in January is gorgeous. February is the worst month, probably April the next worst, mostly because it ought to be spring and it isn’t.

  5. For my city, there is only one truly bad month in my opinion and that is August. However, any day that it hits over 100 degrees without adding the “real feel” is a bad day. While I like spring and fall, we tend to go right from summer to winter and back again without much of a shoulder season. If I had to suggest a time to visit, I would say mid-April to mid-May.

  6. We belong in Atlantic Time Zone, not Eastern, so it gets dark way too early from Nov through Feb 20 years ago, DH was considering a job offer in Boston. We both had spent a lot of time there and knew we loved it, but had never looked at it through the eyes of a resident. We went up to spend 10 days in September with friends who lived there, to see what it was like. To my horror the sun started to set at 4pm, and that was enough for me to say no.

  7. @Meme – I have sat through far too many April baseball games in a parka – still shivering – to think that April is anything but one of the bottom 3 months. I assume you have done the same! Meanwhile, in October, often the debate is whether or not to bring a sweatshirt in case the breeze off the lake kicks in when the sun goes down.

  8. I have long said that I would throw my unwavering support behind pretty much any political candidate, as long as they promised (1) to move us to Atlantic Time, and (2) to bury the power lines.

    I used to sort of hate summer, but now I love it. What changed my attitude are (1) we moved out of the city to a coastal location where we can get to the beach really easily, and (2) we got some awesome mini-split AC units to cool our old house. Now I think summer in Massachusetts is absolutely delightful.

    My favorite month here is usually October, but I feel like we got robbed this year — it was so darned cloudy and rainy.

  9. @Ivy – it was the drizzly frigid little league games in late April and well into May that soured me permanently on the non spring. And I grew up in DC, where mid March through mid May is the best time of year. I occasionally eat April tickets for Red Sox games if the weather is bad, although this year there will be no need because the resale market will be hot even if the weather isn’t.

  10. Ugh, a pox on freezing cold April/October kiddie soccer games!!!

    I actually often find June too cold for me…

  11. MM – I heartily agree with your ranking, except maybe trying to decide whether January or February is the worst. Obviously we both like hot weather! Some of my comments:

    For NYC, in my own opinion
    May Because it means that warmer months are on the way, and it IS warmer than earlier spring days.
    June Starting to get warm.
    July Warmer.
    August Warmest!
    September Still pleasant and mild.
    December (‘coz its Christmas) Agree!
    April Not quiet May but getting more mild days.
    October (sometimes snows) I like fall colors and only light jackets are usually needed.
    November (often snows) Still not horrible.
    March The worst of winter is over and warmer days are not far behind.
    February Ugh.
    January Ugh.

  12. “Also – Easter egg hunts in the snow.”

    Ivy – be *that* person and use white eggs (plastic or non-dyed). Now that’s a hunt! :)

    My top 3 months are October, September, and May. September and May because they are after/before tourist season and the beaches are empty. Bottom 2 are February, and August. The other 7 make up the middle.

  13. September sometimes feels like a dirty trick to me – my brain says fall. School starts. It starts to get dark earlier. But then it is still 90 freaking degrees, my hair is frizzy, I’m sweating like crazy, and I want to punch someone. Early November is often delightful.

  14. @Rhode – I do agree that early September is perfect for the beach. Especially here because the lake is about as warm as it ever gets, but the rentals are plentiful after Labor Day. Unlike in June when the water in Lake Michigan is still in the 50’s & the beaches are crowded.

  15. Off the starter topic: This morning I got an extortion e-mail from someone who said he hacked into my work e-mail account. He wanted me to transfer $932 to his bitcoin wallet. A lot of the e-mail sounded generic, but on the other hand it had some identifying information particular to me, so it had me good and freaked out. My IT guy told me it’s not legit, and forwarded me an article about this exact scam (which apparently is quite making the rounds of cyberspace), but I still feel like my blood pressure is sky-high. Going back to our conversation the other day about differences between being a business owner and an employee — as a business owner I am on the front lines of dealing with icky stuff like this.

  16. Off topic – DD#1’s school computer does not have a cd/dvd drive. She is asking for an external/portable one for Christmas. A quick search shows that they range from about $18 to $150. Anyone recently purchased one? Recommendations? Features to consider?

  17. @AustinMom – I bought one last weekend. I bought the one linked below because I just wanted to walk into Best Buy (walking distance from my house) & buy one that was Mac compatible. Don’t need blu ray capabilities. Didn’t seem like something worth overthinking. The Apple one is twice as much for no apparent reason. I used it to copy a bunch of CD’s last weekend & it was completely painless.


  18. If anyone remembers, last year I was desperately searching for Terry’s Orange Chocolates. I’m once again in the same boat. Aside from Amazon (and I fear I’ve left it too late for even them), any suggestions on where to buy them? Trying get them by tomorrow evening.


  19. @AustinMom – I should say – the sales person that helped me said the main thing was whether or not you need BluRay compatibility or not. I did not.

  20. For those of you who are secular, do you still find yourself doing things that have a religious underpinning? For me it’s St. Nick’s day. My son asked me for an Advent calendar, to which I said no after explaining what it was. And yet, we celebrate St. Nick’s day. (We also celebrate Santa/ Christmas and put up a tree but I don’t view those as particularly religious. We do not have an Advent wreath or grow Christmas wheat, for example.) This is always a tricky time of year!

  21. Kerri, you can try Target, but call ahead. I was at Target last week and I was stunned by what-all they didn’t have. Could just be a local problem, of course.

  22. Kerri – we do either chocolate or lego advent calendars and for us, they are secular (countdown to Christmas! chocolate! lego!) and not religious.

    Lark, you also wouldn’t like Seattle – today sunset is at 4:19 pm. The summers are gorgeous and light until 10 pm though.

    July – September are my favorite months for Seattle although August is starting to be somewhat smoky due to wildfires – this is a relatively new phenomenon (for the fires to be so bad that the smoke affects Seattle).

  23. Kerri – I loved those chocolate oranges when I was a kid. But I’m the only one in my family that likes them so that tradition has died out (they used to be a stocking stuffer).

  24. I was at Target last week and I was stunned by what-all they didn’t have

    You didn’t expect them to have Christmas tree lights in early December, did you?

  25. Kerri — I think Trader Joe’s was an alternate place for a chocolate orange, different brand.

  26. Seattle – I’m not sure anyone else likes them but -darn it – there’s very little these days that reminds me of my dad and he liked them on St. Nicks so I get them. I also end up eating a lot of roasted chestnuts by myself this time of year cuz of dad.

  27. “You didn’t expect them to have Christmas tree lights in early December, did you?”

    That’s because Target is busy putting out the Valentine’s day decorations.

  28. No, I had a regular shopping list too, and they were just out of everything. Really annoying. I had to go on to Kroger.

  29. Home Depot usually has lights left over after Xmas, when I stock up, 100 lights for 29 cents or thereabouts! :)

    I love winter and also fall. My top months:

    The summer is too hot for me here. Maybe when we retire we can summer in Canada. :)

  30. Thanks Ivy. I may have to ask if blue ray is needed. I sort of think not, but you know what happens if you try to read someone’s mind.

  31. I have sat through far too many April baseball games in a parka – still shivering – to think that April is anything but one of the bottom 3 months.

    The coldest place I have ever been is Wrigley Field in April.

  32. “For those of you who are secular, do you still find yourself doing things that have a religious underpinning? ”

    More around Easter than Christmas. Easter is the one I still feel kind of odd celebrating at all as a secular holiday, even if the dying and hiding of eggs isn’t particularly religious. I don’t find St Nick’s Day to be any more religious than any other Santa-like activity. Maybe you do it differently? We just have St Nick deliver candy & maybe a small stocking stuffer type gift.

    Cost Plus World Market for the chocolate oranges?

  33. I was just in midtown last week and it was sleeting, but I walked by the tree and Fifth Ave. I absolutely love Manhattan in December except for the weather. I think midtown and even most parts of Manhattan become special with decorations and warmth once you walk inside a restaurant or office building. There is just a different feel in the air. It is not my favorite month in NY…that honor belongs to September. The cloudless blue sky color that happens in September was unfortunately happening on Sept 11, but many days in September are spectacular once the humid summer disappears. I’ve actually overheard some NYers refer to those perfect days as 9/11 sky. I like May and June, but it can sometimes be very rainy/chilly or very hot/humid. I don’t have allergies, but DH and DD have terrible allergies in the Spring so they’ve sort of changed April, May and June for me. They’re miserable until just about mid June.

  34. So Christmas as we know it today is an intertwining of ideas and traditions from many cultures. While it is often marketed as a religious holiday, I am not sure that Pope Julius I had anything other than trying to co-opt converts into discarding their other practices.

    Mostly our Christmas focuses on the secular vs religious side. I’d say the exception is Christmas carols. I like the music more so than the words and often play the wordless versions.

    My DD#1 is in college this year, so I sent her a “Countdown to Christmas” care package. It is sort of like an advent calendar, but is just a series of numbered wrapped small (biggest one is a pair of socks) gifts to open every day as she counts them down. The last package is the 21st because she leave EARLY in the morning on the 22nd to come home.

  35. Will Amazon do same day delivery to your office or Whole Foods? I thought they did this in NYC??? I don’t have this service yet, but I bet WF, Trader Joes, or Bed Bath and Beyond might have some kind of chocolate orange. TJs has a lot of good stuff right now for the holidays.

    My DH was in London last week and he received an advent calendar at a conference. It is filled with chocolate so he brought it back to the US. DD has been enjoying the chocolate from the calendar along side her TJ gelt gold coins for Hanukkah.

  36. We were at the mall and DD was looking at Advent calendars. Advent calendars were not a “thing” in my Christmas tradition growing up so I snorted and hustled along. DD then spent the afternoon making her own advent calendar out of a cereal box and making little cubby holes all covered with tissue paper and dates like a calendar. I think she put M&Ms in each hole. She makes a hole in the calendar each day to mark the dates and get M&Ms.

  37. We have always lit candles on our Advent wreath (which is a family heirloom of sorts) and we do Advent calendar too. I see the Advent calendar as more secular, though.

    Although we are not hugely religious, I see Christmas more as a religious holiday than as a secular one. I take Advent very seriously, and wish I could slow down even more at this time of year because I feel like I need the spiritual reconnect that Advent brings. I like going to church during Advent because I love the hymns we sing at this time of year. I also very firmly believe that Christmas starts on Dec. 25 and ends on Epiphany, and that Epiphany should be marked in some way. Oh, and I always sit up and watch the Pope’s mass from the Vatican on Christmas Eve.

    Easter for us is baskets, then go to church, and then finally go to the in-laws. On Good Friday we die Easter eggs while listening to the St Matthew Passion.

  38. I don’t remember Advent wreaths in the home country. Growing up there were no weddings allowed during Advent. There used to be grumbling because winter is wedding season in the home country and people really wanted their weddings earlier in December rather than cramming weddings after Christmas and the first week of Jan.

  39. My favorite time to for city travel is the first half of May. The days are longer, it’s not crowded and it’s not too cold and or too hot. March is my favorite month to take a ski vacation because the days are longer, it’s not so cold and there’s a greater chance of precipitation (fresh powder!).

    We have an advent wreath and we do advent calendars. We used to do St. Nick’s day when I was kid but I’ve only done it a few times with my own kids.

  40. I want to get a new Advent calendar, but we do have the candles. The boys have an Advent Tree which is magnetic and you add an ornament for each day until Xmas.

    Louise – I find the wedding thing fascinating. When DS1 was born, we were told that he wasn’t allowed to be baptized during Lent. When I asked about special circumstances, the priest assured me that he would do the blessing. At least the Church didn’t want me son to die a heathen… :)

    MM – we celebrate our family Xmas on the Epiphany. All of our decorations and tree remain up and the family has a special dinner and opens presents. It’s a nice way for our house to have a tradition while being able to share the actual Xmas day (and eve) with extended family.

    Of course, my oldest opens bday presents again 4 days later… and then again the youngest gets presents at the end of the month (and usually a joint bday party in between)… so basically the end of December through the end of January is present-palooza in our house.

  41. We started doing St Nick’s day last year. It was never a tradition in my family, but DD heard about it at school and wanted to start leaving her shoes out. We celebrate it now. I think it’s a lot of fun. Usually, it’s just chocolates and a stocking stuffer type gift.

  42. Were any of you at Harvard Law School at the same time as Ted Cruz? If so, I met one of your classmates over the weekend. She was the nicest possible person. She seemed like the anti-Ted Cruz. They were on Law Review together and she said he didn’t seem any more awful than most people.

  43. They had Terry’s chocolate oranges at Kroger this morning, not that that’s any help to you. But maybe they’re in more places than you’d think. I definitely second the Cost Plus World Market suggestion.

  44. Ivy (and others) – I seem to be really sensitive to the wording. If it includes a religious word (Saint, Advent, etc.), I’m uncomfortable doing it even if the activity has become more secular, like Advent calendars. My mom hates how secular religious practices like Advent have become, so maybe that’s rubbed off on me.

    I also don’t give to “St. Ann’s Food Drive” (made up example) or the Salvation Army but in the past have contributed to the Red Cross. Quirky, I know.

  45. @Kerri – I just filled out a bunch of donation matching forms for work, and there is a new requirement that the non-profit be non-religious. (There goes the match for the donation I made for my mom – oh well.)

    I don’t really think of St. Nick as “Saint Nick” just as another name for Santa. But I understand your reasoning. An Advent wreath is not something that I would own. Just like I don’t have a nativity scene of any kind.

    Maybe I will put up a giant red “A” like they have in Daley plaza next to the nativity and menorah. (It is all lit with red lights at night & looks sort of evil. I chose to find it funny.)


  46. Ivy – in a public park near me, there is a CRAZY large menorah and one of the large pine trees is decorated with lights and I believe a manger scene. Seems odd to me, but whatev. One of our biggest condo board/resident fights we’ve had in recent years was over the entry way decorations. The Christmas tree was Christmas tree size and the menorah was tiny. People were pissed. I preferred the year that the building chose pine boughs and candles, but others thought it was too corporate. I feel sorry for the folks who have to deal with this stuff because you really can’t win.

  47. We always have a Nativity set up inside. I really want one of those beautiful outdoor Nativities, the classy Neapolitan style, but they are really expensive. When the kids were small, we went totally the other way, and had a huge inflatable nativity on our lawn. I mean, really huge. The kids loved it. Eventually it fell apart.

  48. Since Kroger was mentioned, there’s a(nother) beef – specifically, “non-intact raw beef products” – recall at Kroger’s among others.

  49. Since kids go to a religious school, St. Nick will be leaving candy in everyone’s shoes (or maybe leaving it on their desks) Dec 6. I sent in discounted Halloween candy. I don’t know how kids in a language club are going to do this for the whole school but whatever.
    There is an ugly Christmas sweater day, so DD got a light up one. She has also been taking any wrapping paper to school to decorate her classroom. We are a house with Christmas being celebrated in odd ways.

  50. Just curious – how is Santa Claus less religious-y than St. Nicholaus? They are based on the same guy/saint.

  51. Lark — Yes, I do have that rider on my insurance policy, but this would definitely be a good time for me to take a fresh look at it and maybe increase my coverage.

  52. For some reason my free Malwarebytes seems to have uninstalled itself so I’m having to reinstall. It’s a bit unsettling.

    What are you all using these days to protect your devices?

  53. “how is Santa Claus less religious-y than St. Nicholaus?”

    Nah – Santa is a creation of advertising. Yes, it has ties to St. Nick but with all the North Pole, Rudolph, Elf, etc. stories, Santa (IMHO) is secular. We celebrate giving to others, giving to those in need and more cultural and seasonal stuff (food, music, activities). For us, with the kids birthdays right before Christmas, we make a bigger deal of their birthday than Christmas.

  54. RMS – we have 2 devices with malwarebytes. I’ve been very happy with them. As we replace personal computers, I may switch all our devices to them and pay for the bundle.

    Work device is symantec and I honestly forget what DH’s computer has on it….

  55. The outside lawyers were told by multiple people that CBS had an employee “who was ‘on call’ to perform oral sex” on Mr. Moonves.

    How is that a thing?

  56. Malwarebytes is driving me crazy. It keeps taking over my phone. On my laptop, I have university installed McAfee and that makes me nuts too. It keeps popping up at the most inopportune times, asking if it can scan now, and if I don’t respond within 30 seconds, it goes ahead and starts. Which renders my sad, ancient laptop unusable as it spends the next half hour at 100% disk utilization

  57. How is that a thing?

    There are a lot of sex workers in the world. One of them worked at CBS. I hope she got 401K, medical, dental, etc.

  58. I hope she got 401K, medical, dental, etc.

    I hope she gets a lot more than that once the lawsuit settles.

  59. Nah – Santa is a creation of advertising. Yes, it has ties to St. Nick but with all the North Pole, Rudolph, Elf, etc. stories, Santa (IMHO) is secular.

    I agree. Santa has absolutely nothing to do with religion.

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