A lion, lost.


I was saddened to read, early Saturday morning, of the death of Vartan Gregorian. You’ve probably never heard of him. I hadn’t, before I met his son, Vahe, and later the man himself, during my year in Ann Arbor. Vahe, a sportswriter then in St. Louis and now in Kansas City, was in my Knight-Wallace Fellowship class. Vartan was invited to be one of our seminar speakers later that year.

Like I said: Never heard of him, but then, I was a Midwestern girl. He was president of the Carnegie Corp., and about as big a cheese as you could be in New York City, as we were all soon to learn.

Vartan served as president or provost at several universities, but his real claim to fame, and the centerpiece of his NYT obit linked above, was that he saved the New York Public Library from near ruin. He had his work cut out for him:

The underpaid, overworked staff was demoralized. The beautiful Gottesman Exhibition Hall had been partitioned into cubicles for personnel and accounting. Tarnished chandeliers and lighting fixtures were missing bulbs. In the trustees’ board room, threadbare curtains fell apart at the touch. Outside, the imperious marble lions, Patience and Fortitude, and the portals they guarded, were dirt-streaked. Bryant Park in the back was infested with drug dealers and pimps and unsafe after dark.

But the main problems were not even visible. The library faced a $50 million deficit and had no political clout. Its constituencies were scholars, children and citizens who liked to read. The city had cut back so hard that the main branch was closed on Thursdays, and some branches were open only eight hours a week.

To Dr. Gregorian, the challenge was irresistible. The library was, like him, a victim of insult and humiliation. The problem, as he saw it, was that the institution, headquartered in the magnificent Carrère and Hastings Beaux-Arts pile dedicated by President William Howard Taft in 1911, had come to be seen by New York City’s leaders, and even its citizens, as a dispensable frivolity.

He seemed a dubious savior: a short, pudgy scholar who had spent his entire professional life in academic circles. On the day he met the board, he was a half-hour late, and the trustees were talking about selling prized collections, cutting hours of service and closing some branches. He asked only for time, and offered in return a new vision.

It so happened that 1980-ish is when I started receiving the Columbus Dispatch fashion editor’s copies of Women’s Wear Daily, and I remember that new vision appearing in its society columns: The Literary Lions, a huge fundraising effort led by business titans, socialites like Brooke Astor and Vartan, which coincided with the city’s comeback and the flood of financial-industry money rolling in from Wall Street. What better, what nobler cause than libraries and literacy? People like Jackie Onassis and Isaac Bashevis Singer jumped on board, along with…pretty much everybody.

It was a huge success. The grand institution was saved. By the time he spoke to our group in Ann Arbor, he’d long since moved on. The night he visited, Wallace House was at standing room only, with many of the guests other university administrators who’d worked with him at one of his previous posts — Brown, Penn, University of Texas. The atmosphere was like a low-key Bruce Springsteen concert prelude. I soon learned why.

He spoke that night about his stewardship of the committee that chose the 9/11 memorial in lower Manhattan. (This was 2004, and I believe Maya Lin’s design had recently been revealed to the public.) As you can imagine, every macher in New York wanted to be on that committee, and the ones who were selected all had their own ideas about how it should do its work and what the winning design should look like. Vartan talked about how he tamed these mustangs, hitched them to his wagon and got them pulling in one direction as a team.

Wallace House seminars were officially off the record, and we were discouraged from even taking personal notes. If I had a recording of that talk, I could sell it as a MBA-level class in effective management. I can’t even recall individual details now, but how he made them all responsible for the entire group’s success, kept them from leaking to the media to their advantage, and even showing up to every meeting so that their work could proceed smoothly and quickly? Was genius, like watching someone work a complicated math proof in 30 seconds. And he did it all through charm and ego-stroking and flattery; I doubt he had enough strong-arm in his personality to lift a coffee cup, but he could levitate it and make it dance in the air through the focus of his attention.

I got a glimpse of that part later. We had the chance to ask questions, and I posed an overlong and convoluted one. I’d recently read a scathing critique of the Oklahoma City bombing memorial in the New York Observer, and the writer made the case that its biggest flaw was: Too Soon. Tragedies need time to understand, particularly those with political elements, and in its rush to honor those who died in the Murrah building that day, the designers had left out the Why of it all.

So I asked Vartan about Too Soon, but said that lower Manhattan real estate was some of the most valuable in the world, and was the goal to get an appropriate memorial up while they still could, or something like that. I don’t recall his response (probably “yes”), but I do remember afterward, when we were introduced and he said, “That was such a smart question! Why aren’t you working for the New York Times?” He had that gift, so vital in a fundraiser, of making the person you’re talking to feel like a) the focus of 100 percent of your attention; and b) the most interesting person in the world. And to somehow do it without a whiff of ass-kissing or sucking-up or smarminess. He just liked you so much! Thought you were great!

His late wife, Clare, called him “the one-man swarm,” someone who could pay a call at any Upper East Side apartment and leave with a check worthy of transport in an armored car. No wonder he saved the library. No wonder he boosted the endowments of all his academic employers. No wonder he appeared so often in Bill Cunningham’s Evening Hours column that after we met, I started looking for him there. I thought of him as the Silver Goatee of Merriment.

Anyway, because of my belief that personalities are always more interesting with a little shadow in the picture, I should also say that Vahe, Vartan’s son, said his upbringing wasn’t always easy, that as the American son of an Armenian immigrant, they had profound differences as he grew up. I’m sure that as a PhD who wrote books and spoke seven languages, it probably drove Vartan crazy to have a son who played football and read Spider-Man comics. But by the time I met them, they seemed to be on the best of terms. In his later years, with the Carnegie Corp., Vartan mostly gave money away, and often took his family with him to faraway destinations to watch the check-passing and do a little sightseeing after.

One such trip was to a town in South Africa, where Vartan was endowing, what else, a library. The rest of the family arrived jet-lagged and slept through the ceremony, all except for Vahe’s wife, Cindy, who was a witness. She told me the town made a big fuss, and the fuss included a band with high-stepping dancers, or majorettes, or something, and how delighted Vartan was to see it all. He would have been around 80 by this point, a man who’d stood in the Oval Office to receive the Medal of Freedom, whose Rolodex and life experiences included literally everybody who was anybody all over the United States, and he was thrilled by a band in a dusty town in South Africa.

That, I’m telling you, is how to live your life. Condolences to his family, and all who knew him. The hole he leaves in the world is immense.

Postscript: If I’d had a chance to meet him in recent years, I’d ask him about Donald Trump. Trump’s rise coincided with the Literary Lions, and I’m sure that social-climbing piece of crap got his foot in the door of a few of those dinners. I bet he had some stories. I hope he told them to someone before he left us.

Posted at 7:42 am in Current events | 30 Comments
 

Jobs for days.

Another week where I thought it might ease up after a while, but didn’t. But no matter — work is better when it’s busy and this week I got to interview Don Was, so that was a cool interlude, although it was on video, which I hate, but oh well that’s where the ad buy is this month.

It’s up, and you can see it here. Please don’t say anything cruel about my hair or makeup.

The weather cooled off this week, and Alan’s been working in the yard. New bushes, transplanting a hydrangea, the usual mulching and cutting back and waiting for spring to really hit the gas, as well as getting the boat ready for the water in a few more weeks. Much of the work we’ve been doing (OK, Alan’s been doing, although I scrub the fucking toilets, so it evens out) around here is stuff we’ve put off for years, which makes me wonder if homeownership is even worth it. It’s wonderful on a summer night when you can go into your back yard, put some cool tunes on the Bluetooth speaker, start a fire in the pit and enjoy it all, but man — keeping even a well-built house in good repair is exhausting.

On the other hand, a friend of mine just bought a house in Ann Arbor, and the prices there are — no other word for it — simply jaw-dropping. Like, over $400 per square foot jaw-dropping. They’re bad here, but there? Ai yi yi. Then I think about people I know who went back to renting after owning, and simply hated it. The noise, the neighbors, dealing with a landlord after being your own, all of it — they couldn’t deal, and bought another house p.d.q. Our own is approaching payoff, and I expect we’ll be here until we can no longer climb steps.

What’s going on in the news? Afghanistan, the world’s tar baby, claims another victim. It’s the Venus flytrap of quagmires, to mangle a metaphor. And someone asked about Covid in Michigan. It’s…complicated. The governor is resisting further restrictions, and pushing vaccination instead, but the acceptance rates are insanely low. I can’t explain it. Unburned forest, i.e., large numbers of uninfected? Yes. Variants? Yes. Dumbasses who won’t get the shot? Also yes. We’re carrying on, and fully vaccinated. Doesn’t look like a month in Europe will be in the cards this fall, though, as I had hoped. Sigh.

On the other hand, children are still being shot to death by police, so. Things could be worse.

Happy weekend? Yes, happy weekend. I’m going to watch the new Bob Odenkirk movie and be an extra in a video — not for Kate’s band, another one. Tell you more after.

Posted at 8:22 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 34 Comments
 

The iron heirlooms.

Now this was a weekend to enjoy. Busy, but not too. Productive, but not too. Saw friends. Weather was nice. Started on my latest project — restoring my grandmother’s old cast-iron Dutch oven. It’s currently in the garage, bathing for 24 hours in Easy-Off. Fingers crossed.

Sometimes I wonder if projects like this are worth it, then I think, what else am I going to do — throw it away? Unthinkable. In the Thomas Harris novel “Hannibal,” aka the book where the “Silence of the Lambs”/Hannibal Lecter legend really goes off the rails and ends up in Crazytown, he has this passage, in a letter Hannibal writes to Clarice Starling, telling her to buck up after a professional disgrace:

Do you have a black iron skillet? You are a southern mountain girl, I can’t imagine you would not. Put it on the kitchen table. Turn on the overhead lights.

Look into the skillet, Clarice. Lean over it and look down. If this were your mother’s skillet, and it well may be, it would hold among its molecules the vibrations of all the conversations ever held in its presence. All the exchanges, the petty irritations, the deadly revelations, the flat announcements of disaster, the grunts and poetry of love.

Sit down at the table, Clarice. Look into the skillet. If it is well cured, it’s a black pool, isn’t it? It’s like looking down a well. Your detailed reflection is not at the bottom, but you loom there, don’t you? The light behind you, there you are in a blackface, with a corona like your hair on fire.

We are elaborations of carbon, Clarice. You and the skillet and Daddy dead in the ground, cold as the skillet. It’s all still there. Listen.

I remember reading that and thinking wtf, Dr. Lecter? Maybe some of you who understand science better than I do can explain how those molecules are hanging on to the vibrations of me saying, “Whoever said you should never wash cast iron cookware in soap obviously never made a pineapple upside-down cake two days after cooking onions in one.”

Anyway, for those of you interested in these things, here’s Before:

Also for those keeping score at home, I’m now 72 hours-plus from my second Pfizer vax, and felt nothing worse than a sore arm, so I guess I’m one of the lucky ones.

Let’s keep it light in this week’s bloggage: Everything you ever wanted to know about findom, or financial domination:

“It’s controlling someone through their wallet,” said Mistress Marley. (The Times agreed to identify her only by her professional name to prevent stalkers from finding her.) “I love waking up every day realizing that submissive men pay all my bills and I don’t spend a dime.”

Trysts take place mostly online, though there can be in-person encounters. And the humiliation could be as fleeting as a few moments, or persist for hours during so-called draining sessions, when the dominatrix hurls a barrage of insults and demands that ends only when a monetary cap is reached or a finsub’s bank account hits zero — whichever comes first.

In its purest form, financial domination is not transactional. Sending money is the kink, and finsubs offer tributes without expecting anything in return. “The arousal is in the act,” said Phillip Hammack, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the director of its Sexual and Gender Diversity Laboratory. “It’s about that loss of control.”

Man, I missed my calling on this one. (And I know some ex-wives who could give Mistress Marley a run for her, um, money.) I met a woman here in Detroit who does fetish videos on customer demand. Nothing really gross, though; she said she specializes in Mommy.

“Like, mean mommy?” I asked.

“Oh no, I’m nice mommy,” she replied. She dresses like June Cleaver and smiles a lot, tells her clients that they’re good boys and make mommy very, very proud and happy.

My head, it whirls.

Seems like a good place to stop. And the week begins!

Posted at 4:55 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 80 Comments
 

Schedule wonked out.

Greetings, somewhat late today. I had my second shot yesterday, then came home to write something (for work) before the dread second-shot side effects set in, and that ate up my blogging time.

You can read the thing I wrote here. It’s a local story, but those of you who follow HGTV — hi, Pam! — might recognize one of the parties involved. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out; it’s a both-sides condemnation that actually seems justified.

And with that, I will dip out. You have a fresh thread for the weekend now. I should also add a couple housekeeping notes:

Sorry for those of you who have had comments hung up in moderation. I don’t always get to them immediately — email issues not worth getting into — and if you’d like to avoid them in the future, this is what lands you in that particular holding pen:

Posting from a different IP address, posting from a different email address or name, or putting too many links in your comment. I thought it was set at two links, but maybe just keep it to one to be safe. And if you end up there, feel free to comment again, double-checking the stuff I just mentioned.

Let’s all hold hands and have a little cry for Prince Philip, too. I’ll be back Sunday/Monday, on schedule, I devoutly hope.

By the way, I’m still waiting for the side effects. Sore arm is it, so far, at 25 hours post-shot.

Posted at 2:01 pm in Detroit life, Housekeeping | 55 Comments
 

Which edit? The edit.

My email signature, various online bios, all describe me as a writer and editor. And OK, yes, I get what this phrase — “the edit” — means, but it still gives me a bit of a facial tic:

It’s the definite article with “edit” that bugs me. One minute you’re just a badly paid pen for hire, getting an email or text reading, “Please address my edits,” or “I’ve done my edit,” and the next, cookies are getting edited.

Edit, in these usages, means, “a pre-selected group of something, made by people who know more than you about whatever’s being selected.” The Saks edit:

A whole store, called just…you know:

Note the copy block. The Edit is a store with not just an owner, but a curator. You see that word a lot in Edits, although as someone who’s edited, or been edited, my whole career, I’ve never had a curator, too. (Just an editor!) Maybe I’ll try that on my next note to whoever I’m tasked with editing next: “I am done curating your copy. See the edit, attached.”

It’s just one of those language things. One day you wake up, and no one says, “I gave you a present.” They say, “I’ve gifted you with this sweater.” Sometimes past tense just needs a kick in the ass. Or it’s “the U.S. team” one day, and “Team USA” the next. “Get well soon, Adam” yields to “AdamStrong,” justlikethat.

I blame hashtags.

You can tell what kind of day Tuesday was. Sitting around, waiting for phone calls, wishing I were already retired and could bore people with these sorts of observations full-time.

So I leave you with a little bloggage. Matt Gaetz tried for a blanket pardon:

Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, was one of President Donald J. Trump’s most vocal allies during his term, publicly pledging loyalty and even signing a letter nominating the president for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the final weeks of Mr. Trump’s term, Mr. Gaetz sought something in return. He privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, according to two people told of the discussions.

Ha ha ha. That guy.

OK, hopes for a better Wednesday, here. I hope it is The Edit of good days.

Posted at 7:49 am in Popculch | 69 Comments
 

How to make a bunny cake.

First, make your favorite cake recipe in two 9-inch cake pans. I chose carrot, because Duh, from Mark Bittman’s How To Bake Everything book — it has a lot of crushed pineapple in it. On a sheet-cake cardboard, which I had a five-pack of, leftover from a years-old experiment with making a blighted gingerbread house, place one layer about two-thirds of the way down. Cut ears out of the second layer and place the leftover piece at the bottom, like so:

Frost it all over with your favorite frosting. We went with the classic cream cheese:

Then, bunny it up:

And that is how you make an Easter dessert. I can’t believe that we spent all those years with a little girl in the house and this is the first year I’ve made one. Oh well, it’s never too late. It looks a little like a child helped with the decoration, doesn’t it? Things to remember for next time: Make a separate batch of icing for piping the details, because the cream cheese was too creamy to pipe very well. Also: Be more creative, but I was specifically requested to make jelly-bean eyes, so that’s what I did. Also might try toasting the coconut for a brown bunny.

The rest of the meal was fine, but simple — smoked a turkey breast on the grill, mac/cheese and a nice potato salad. And the traditional nibbles beforehand:

I love deviled eggs. Why don’t I make them more often?

So that was my Easter. I drank too much wine, had an afternoon nap, and went for a bike ride after. The weather was perfect — clear and sunny, warm but not too. I hope yours was as pleasant.

The weekend being what it was, I paid little attention to what news there was this weekend, except that Michigan is No. 1 in the country in new Covid cases, and had an eye-popping number Saturday — 8,413. We should change our name to New Variants, because that appears to be what’s driving all this. My second shot is Thursday. Can’t come soon enough.

OK, then, Monday commences. Let’s get through the week.

Posted at 8:47 am in Current events, Holiday photos | 74 Comments
 

Empty boxes.

I interviewed a futurist today. (Such a job title. I ask you. “Hi, Bob, what’s your game?” “I’m a futurist, Ken.”) Although he was a very nice man, and our conversation was interesting. As part of my prep, I listened to a radio interview he did, and they went off on a tangent about the pandemic’s effect on retail.

This is nothing new, the observation that retail is at a crossroads. Even before Covid, malls were on shaky ground, and those stores that thrived in them likewise, well before. Most of us are old enough to remember the mall era, its glory days. I remember being in one with my sister and little preschool Kate, and I said, “Wasn’t there a Bath & Body Works on the third level?”

My sister replied, “There are two. Bath & Body Works thrives on impulse shoppers, so they put two in one mall, to maximize the chances people will pop in and buy something.”

Me: Mind blown.

Anyway, the pandemic is adding a turbo boost to the death of malls, the death of the big box store, the changing of everything. Back to the interview:

“So our challenge is, what do we do with the infrastructure?”

Ah, there’s the rub.

If it were up to me, we’d nuke them and turn it back to farmland, but that’s, shall we say, not feasible. Probably the best solution for urban areas is medium- or high-density housing, but for rural? Eh, hard to say. A lot become things like laser-tag venues or indoor go-karts, or whatever — a definite comedown.

So what do we do with the empty big boxes? Question for the room while I phone in yet another week. Sorry to miss Wednesday, but it just happened.

So accept a little bloggage:

A nice kinda-sorta appreciation of G. Gordon Liddy, hell’s newest resident.

Let’s also have a big laugh over Matt Gaetz, too. Because no one deserves it more.

Good weekend, all.

Posted at 8:43 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 66 Comments
 

Shiny new surfaces.

A productive weekend, on the House Overhaul project. Alan took most of two days to clean out the garage, and the number of heavy-duty trash bags at the curb — oy. Me, I handled a Problem Closet, and added one bag to the lineup, and also did some basement tidying, so while I didn’t pull my weight equally, I did my part.

In between, I came up with little chores to do. Like finally taking some copper polish to the bowl I bought at an estate sale a couple years ago:

I was so amazed, I looked it up online, because the polishing revealed a previously undetectable maker’s mark; that’s a $200 beating bowl, made in France. I got it and another saucepan for around $15, as I recall. Surround yourself with beautiful, functional things, if you can. You don’t need a lot — one or two will do.

In other news at this hour, I cooled on “Genius: Aretha” as it went on. It did do an interesting job with the central relationship of her life — with her father — but like so many of these things, it was too damn long and the dialogue could grate. The last episode or two was all OK time to wrap this up, so we’ll put the actress in a fat suit and give her some needlessly expository speeches. Why is it so hard for screenwriters to listen to the way people talk and then try to duplicate it? And watching the animations of the song titles rising to the top of the charts were…ugh.

Now I’m just waiting for some inspiration to strike, and allow me to progress with my day, which is mostly filled with chores, but oh well. Fortunately, I have some bloggage:

Mother of six fatally shot in road-rage attack. Yeah, this is perfectly normal and just collateral damage from all this freedumb:

Officials said they responded around noon to a report of a person shot on Interstate 95 in Lumberton, N.C., about 125 miles from Charlotte, N.C.

They discovered Julie Eberly, 47, of Manheim, Pa., had been shot through the passenger door of the vehicle her husband, Ryan, had been driving. She was taken to Southeastern Health in Lumberton, where she later died, the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office said. Mr. Eberly was not injured.

The couple celebrated their anniversary this week, Sheriff Burnis Wilkins of Robeson County said on Facebook. They were headed to Hilton Head Island, S.C., for a getaway, the sheriff said.

The story says they had a close call during a merge, so the other driver came around to the passenger side, rolled down his window and let fly. No suspects yet.

The Man With Ohio’s Most Punchable Face, Josh Mandel, was a participant in this so-called “Hunger Games” competition for the favor of the Lord of Mar-a-Lago as the Buckeye State’s Senate race heats up:

The contenders — former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, former state GOP Chair Jane Timken, technology company executive Bernie Moreno and investment banker Mike Gibbons — had flown (to Mar-a-Lago) to attend the fundraiser to benefit a Trump-endorsed Ohio candidate looking to oust one of the 10 House Republicans who backed his impeachment. As the candidates mingled during a pre-dinner cocktail reception, one of the president’s aides signaled to them that Trump wanted to huddle with them in a room just off the lobby.

What ensued was a 15-minute backroom backbiting session reminiscent of Trump’s reality TV show. Mandel said he was “crushing” Timken in polling. Timken touted her support on the ground thanks to her time as state party chair. Gibbons mentioned how he’d helped Trump’s campaign financially. Moreno noted that his daughter had worked on Trump’s 2020 campaign.

The scene illustrated what has become a central dynamic in the nascent 2022 race. In virtually every Republican primary, candidates are jockeying, auditioning and fighting for the former president’s backing. Trump has received overtures from a multitude of candidates desperate for his endorsement, something that top Republicans say gives him all-encompassing power to make-or-break the outcome of primaries.

And the former president, as was so often the case during his presidency, has seemed to relish pitting people against one another.

Of course he does. He’s that kind of asshole.

Posted at 8:45 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 96 Comments
 

Leftovers.

Well, midweek kinda got away from me, didn’t it? A burst of work and…more work, so no Wednesday blog. Also, Alan was out of town for a couple nights (fishing), and I decided to CUT LOOSE and do stuff like eat a single hot dog for dinner, standing up at the sink, then go out and see friends.

So that’s what I did. So no blog.

Now I’m lurching toward the end of the week, with still a lot to do, but the hump is passed. Alan got Shot Numero Dos today. Mine is April 8. Watch out, end of April, because I’m going OUT.

How’s everyone? Anyone else watching “Genius: Aretha” on …I guess we watch it on Hulu, one day behind its premiere on the…National Geographic channel? There’s a National Geographic channel? Who knew.

Anyway, we’re watching. I’m enjoying it at the 25 percent mark, so I’m taking that as a good sign. I normally don’t care for music biopics, because they’re all essentially a 98-minute version of “Behind the Music.” But this one is different, at least so far. I think they’re doing a nice job exploring her relationship with her father, which was…complicated, to say the least. And with several hours to fill, they can play around with those complications more than most biopics would.

The dialogue is too expository at times, though. Hate that.

But we’ll see.

Here, watch this. You’ll dig it:

And the only thing I have to recommend is this amusing essay about the big ship stuck in the Suez Canal:

Let’s put it this way: When someone joked that we’re five minutes away from learning “all of our vaccines were being stored on the big ship stuck in the Suez Canal for some reason,” it took an uncomfortably long second to realize that’s fiction. The whole thing feels so absurd, so ridiculous, so perfectly on-brand for the state of the world that it crossed the bridge from “heinous” to “hilarious.”

Instead of wondering how on Earth does a boat get stuck in the canal that sees almost 20,000 ships a year, everyone just thought: Well, duh. There’s nothing the sadistic screenwriters of our current reality can throw at us to faze us anymore. Instead, we delight in the disaster. What else can we do?

Yes, what can we do? Maybe start the weekend.

Posted at 8:20 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 74 Comments
 

Vernal.

And just like that, spring has kissed us on the forehead, blessed us with her favor, coaxed the first green shoots out of the thawing earth.

All this by way of saying we saw a couple of squirrels fucking in the driveway the other day. The male was having a hard time getting his lady to hold still, and we lost track of them in the higher branches, so I don’t know if the deed got done. I imagine it doesn’t really matter; there’s never a shortage of squirrels in these parts. Wendy managed to catch one the other day; its pea-size brain told it to outrun her, which was very bad braining. It got away, but I suspect it was mortally wounded, so score one for Wendy.

If you’re sensing I don’t care for squirrels, you’re right, but hey — they’re part of the kingdom. I don’t poison or shoot them or anything. Live and let live.

What a glorious weekend, though. Got a lot done. Got a bike ride in. Got over my first vaccine’s side effects (a sore arm) and the first truly warm weather got me fantasizing about a summer of outdoor socialization without fear of death. What a concept.

Couple bits of bloggage today:

This is the local Covid-related dustup: Another recalcitrant Michigan restaurant owner collides with The Book, thrown by a judge who is just not havin’ it:

A 55-year-old Holland restaurant owner operating in defiance of a court-ordered closure and the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, including Michigan’s mask mandate, will remain in an Ingham County jail for up to 93 days.

The story is not paywalled, and reading it, you get a sense of the judge’s impatience. This paragraph, though? Chef’s kiss:

During Friday’s hearing, Aquilina also ordered a man attempting to represent Pavlos-Hackney as “assistance of counsel” to be arrested for contempt of court because he allegedly had represented himself as a lawyer when he was not licensed to practice. Richard Martin, who described himself as a constitutional lawyer and is the founder of the Constitutional Law Group, was ordered to serve 93 days in jail.

It’s worth a google to see the Constitutional Law Group website, especially the video, showing Martin in action.

Here’s video of him getting arrested, and sounding like a dolt:

This is the judge who allowed the extraordinary Larry Nasser sentencing hearing, by the way. It took the better part of a week for every assaulted woman to make a statement.

Also, since we were talking about Josh Mandel here just last week, here’s his latest blurtage. What a dick.

But let’s not let that ruin this lovely day! Let’s get it under way — oh wait, it already is.

Posted at 11:41 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 97 Comments