Cocktail hour: solving the world's problems one glass at a time

I just love the conversations that come up with the in-laws. Even when the conversation steers towards politics. It seems we can all agree that we genuinely trying to figure things out -- even if we disagree on the specifics. In addition to politics, the conversation last night ranged from No Child Left Behind to imitation foods, from president Abraham Lincoln to photo processing in the 1950s and 1960s.

Everyone (even me) in the grouping seemed to know that...
  • Abraham Lincoln was a political outsider (thanks to Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals), but we didn't know that his name was not even on the ballot in southern states;*
  • Imitation pork is usually made out of sietan;
  • Students in many other countries are placed on different educational or vocational tracks at a certain age, but we lack specifics on how placement is determined (Eurydice and EuroEducation provide profiles of European educational structures, and if you can read other languages, UNESCO profiles educational system structures around the world.); and that
  • Cecil's still makes the Best. Reubens. Ever.
The question of whether cats will scratch leather came up. Basically, yes. They will. And not necessarily intentionally -- just by jumping on and off the furniture, their claw marks will show up more. Soft fabrics fare the best, according to various forums on a range of home design sites, but the best solution is to provide more appealing alternatives for the cats. Luckily, our boy cat likes his sisal rope scratching post, and the girl cat likes her variegated cardboard.

And finally, "how is *the merger* going?" All I can say is it's huge. It's a huge thing that will take a lot of time.

*Whenever I get disgusted with the division within the Democratic Party, I just try to remember that the Democrats actually split into northern and southern wings at one point in our history, and that we aren't there now.

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