Current affairs.

Link salad today, because I haz a tired.

It appears the story of the night is the death of Ben Bradlee, and as you’d expect, there are many wonderful words to read about this titan of the field. I recommend David Von Drehle in Time, an ex-WashPost writer with a great gift for it:

Charisma is a word, like thunderstorm or orgasm, which sits pretty flat on the page or the screen compared with the actual experience it tries to name. I don’t recall exactly when I first looked it up in the dictionary and read that charisma is a “personal magic of leadership,” a “special magnetic charm.” But I remember exactly when I first felt the full impact of the thing itself.

Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee was gliding through the newsroom of The Washington Post, pushing a sort of force field ahead of him like the bow wave of a vintage Chris-Craft motor yacht. All across the vast expanse of identical desks, faces turned toward him—were pulled in his direction—much as a field of flowers turns toward the sun. We were powerless to look away.

This was after his storied career as editor of The Post had ended. I was the first reporter hired at the paper after Bradlee retired in 1991 to a ceremonial office on the corporate floor upstairs. For that reason, I never saw him clothed in the garb of authority. He no longer held the keys to the front page and the pay scales, so his force didn’t spring from those sources. Nor did it derive from his good looks, his elegance, or his many millions worth of company stock.

I realized I was face to face with charisma, a quality I had wrongly believed I understood until Bradlee reached the desk where I was sitting and the bow wave pushed me back in my chair. It is pointless for me to try to describe this essence, because in that moment I realized that it cannot be observed or critiqued. Charisma can only be felt. It is a palpable something-more-ness—magical, magnetic—as rare as the South China tiger. I’ve met famous writers, directors, actors, athletes, billionaires, five presidents of the United States, and none of them had it like Bradlee.

Or you can try Martha Sherrill in the Post itself, writing about his legacy in the Style section:

“Hey, Tiger.” He said things like that. He had lusty greetings, exotic epithets and obsolete profanities he got away with. He was unabashed, uninhibited. Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee, who died Tuesday at age 93, was a Boston Brahmin but enjoyed being an improper one. A lesbian friend from his postwar Paris days wasn’t just “gay,” she was “gay as a goose.” A newly divorced editor with a revived sex life was “finally getting his ashes hauled.” The primal motive driving Jackie Kennedy Onassis was “she needs a lot of dough.” ¶ Men were divided into two camps: those whose private parts “clanked when they walked” and those whose, alas, didn’t. Women were judged differently. The only ones Bradlee didn’t seem to appreciate were humorless. “A prude,” he’d say, as though nothing were more distasteful. ¶ He passed on his sensibilities to Style, the groundbreaking “soft” feature section he invented and launched at The Washington Post in 1969, which replaced the toothless For and About Women. Style wasn’t for prudes. It was designed to entertain, delight, provoke, surprise and occasionally horrify, reflecting its founder’s infinite curiosity about society, appreciation for vivid storytelling and deep love of troublemaking.

Or just the straightforward obit:

Mr. Bradlee stationed correspondents around the globe, opened bureaus across the Washington region and from coast to coast in the United States, and he created sections and features — most notably Style, one of his proudest inventions — that were widely copied by others.

Sigh. The good ol’ days.

I see a few of you veered off on a tangent late yesterday — the OMG Renee Zellweger tangent. So, so sad. We must all clasp hands and thank the gods of our understanding that we don’t have to be pretty to make a living, because evidently it sucks. I would have liked to see what she looked like beforehand, because to my mind, what made her adorable was her wonderfully squinty eyes — she always seemed about to laugh. “Unrecognizable” seems to be the adjective that first comes to mind. I wonder about the plastic surgeon’s art; so many variables to consider. Elasticity, armature, that sort of thing. Oh, that poor woman.

A headline you don’t see every day: Drunken trombone-playing clown fires gun from garage, police say

Our governor considers himself very pro-business, except, of course, when he isn’t.

Let’s hope the rest of the week perks up, eh?

Posted at 9:43 pm in Current events | 36 Comments
 

It’s a tragedy, not a comedy.

When you tell people you’re going out of town to see some theater, they inevitably say “Have fun!” Even though it’s pretty much impossible to have fun at a production of “King Lear,” which is what we saw. It was Colm Feore’s Lear at Stratford, and it only underlined what I’ve thought since I saw him in only his third Stratford role in 1986: This Canadian is one of the finest Shakespearean actors in the world.

Some friends and I began making an annual Stratford pilgrimage when we all lived in Fort Wayne, and have gone back periodically since — first annually, but there was a long gap after Kate came into the world, but over the years we’ve seen Feore play Hamlet, Iago, Richard III, Cassius — all the bigs, not to mention the Pirate King in “Pirates of Penzance,” Cyrano de Bergerac, and so on. This review from the Toronto Star gets the production right, by my lights. It really was a good one.

But a little fun was had on a cool and blustery weekend. The fall colors were at their peak for the drive, and when we arrived at dinner, found ourselves seated next to this guy, another company standout. That’s the fun of a repertory company in a small town — you see Macbeth walking to work on a hot day in shorts and a T-shirt.

Tickets are pricey, though, so we only stayed one night. That’s the fun of living so close to the repertory — you can just pop in and out. Although this is the end of the season. But we’ll be back next year.

I had a Caesar at brunch Saturday, a Caesar being a Canadian Bloody Mary; it’s made with clamato juice. Just like so many things with U.S. and Canadian equivalents. Similar, but different.

I’ve been so done with the church of my upbringing for years, but I am SO so done now:

Vatican City — Catholic bishops scrapped their landmark welcome to gays Saturday, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Pope Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families.

The bishops failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to homosexuals that stripped away the welcoming tone of acceptance contained in a draft document earlier in the week.

Rather than considering gays as individuals who had gifts to offer the church, the revised paragraph referred to homosexuality as one of the problems Catholic families have to confront. It said “people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy,” but repeated church teaching that marriage is only between man and woman. The paragraph failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

Ohh-kay.

This story about my current home has so much wrong in it, it’s hard to find the right. Good thing it appeared in that obscure rag, the L.A. Times. It’s hard to say what’s the wrongest part; let’s choose a section at random:

In the last year or two, there have been complaints at the suburb’s premier park, which resembles a country club, with yachts listing quietly in the lake, bubbling fountains and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

“I do sense it from some of the residents. If there’s an African American picnic there, and people are hopping in the pool, I sense a bit of, ‘What are you doing in my park?'” said Paul Wargo, who mans the gates at the park.

“Yachts” list before they capsize; there’s no source for the “complaints,” which I don’t believe are happening, as there’s a well-established African-American population in Grosse Pointe Park; the pool is not Olympic-size; and if you’re going to quote a guardhouse employee saying he “senses” something, it’s reasonable to follow up with “how do you know all this, working in the guardhouse?

But don’t mind me.

I think I’m going to make some chicken salad. Enjoy the week, OK?

Posted at 10:06 pm in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' | 76 Comments
 

The homestretch.

Sorry for my absence these past few days. It’s been ridonkulous busy around here, mainly during the evenings, which is my blogging time. It’s election season, which is the Center’s busy time, so night before last I was at a “Ballot Bash,” as we’re calling it with our media partners. This was the third meet-and-greet-the-candidates event, and it invited two Democrats — Gary Peters, running for Sen. Carl Levin’s soon-to-be-vacated seat, and Mark Totten, running for attorney general.

(Lest you fret, the GOP was repped at a Ballot Bash in Grand Rapids, and there was another one in Lansing. We are nothing if not bipartisan. It just worked out this way.)

Anyhoo, it was 10 by the time I got home. I get up before 6 for my newly healthy lifestyle, so — well, you’ve heard all these excuses. Many times.

But I’m sort of looking forward to Election Day. Even though three weeks later, I will mark another birthday and be that much closer to death.

To death, I tell you.

Fortunately, I will leave you with a few things to read:

This is great, a look at something I find puzzling — the weird culture of “emotional support animals,” for people who cannot leave their doggies at home even for a minute:

One person’s emotional support can be another person’s emotional trauma. Last May, for instance, a woman brought her large service dog, Truffles, on a US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. At thirty-five thousand feet, the dog squatted in the aisle and, according to Chris Law, a passenger who tweeted about the incident, “did what dogs do.” After the second, ahem, installment, the crew ran out of detergent and paper towels. “Plane is emergency landing cuz ppl are getting sick,” Law tweeted. “Hazmat team needs to board.” The woman and Truffles disembarked, to applause, in Kansas City, and she offered her inconvenienced fellow-passengers Starbucks gift cards.

In June, a miniature Yorkie caused a smaller stir, at a fancy Manhattan restaurant. From a Google review of Altesi Ristorante: “Lunch was ruined because Ivana Trump sat next to us with her dog which she even let climb to the table. I told her no dogs allowed but she lied that hers was a service dog.” I called the owner of Altesi, Paolo Alavian, who defended Trump. “She walked into the restaurant and she showed the emotional-support card,” he said. “Basically, people with the card are allowed to bring their dogs into the restaurant. This is the law.”

A brief, but great read on Bubba Helms, the potbellied kid who became a symbol of the 1984 riots that followed the Detroit Tigers’ World Series victory. I’ve seen the picture many times, never heard the story behind it.

Finally, one by yours truly, which won’t be readable until after 6 a.m. Thursday, on the effort to sell Detroit — the city, not the metro area — on the GOP. It was fun to report. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Have a swell Thursday. I’m astounded the week has gone this fast, but, well, see above.

Posted at 9:17 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 66 Comments
 

Bows.

bartender

And so it’s farewell to the Comet Bar, a Cass Corridor dive that will soon fall to the relentless march of progress. It closes Wednesday, and as you can gather from the sign behind the bar, the people who work there are stick of answering questions about it. It had the advantage of being located on a desolate enough street that it looked scary from the outside, but it was always warm and friendly inside. You could watch a game or play the jukebox, and as you can also tell from that picture, the state’s smoking laws were, shall we say, not always strictly enforced.

We went Saturday night for karaoke, but astonishingly, the DJ couldn’t find the Andrea True Connection’s “More More More,” which is what I agreed to sing with my young friend Dustin. Oh, well.

I’ve been thinking a lot about gentrification this year, and this is a classic case that looks open-and-shut from a certain perspective, and it’s not necessarily wrong. The area around the arena’s footprint is already flowering, and my guess is it will continue to. You can certainly argue with the financing of this arena, which is the usual privatize-the-profit, socialize-the-risk deal. Detroit needs all the help it can get, and this will help. But. One reason people have started returning to this area has been its mix of — cliché alert ahead — grit and fun and, shall we say, its atmosphere, so unlike the suburbs. I don’t care what anyone says; the number of people who want to live in an area of perfect cleanliness and safety are already living in Seaside, Fla., and are 10,000 years old. Younger people want a little excitement in their lives. I disagree that sports arenas provide it, but they certainly inject oxygen into an area. But the old Cass Corridor, now rechristened Midtown, was never as bad as people in the suburbs feared it was, and the good things about it — the music, the street scene, places like the Comet — were a product of artists, students and others who lived closer to the margins than those who can afford NHL tickets.

They’ll find new neighborhoods; they always do. But in the meantime, it’s worth a final toast to places like the Comet.

So, some bloggage? Two from the NYT today. First, a look at the Dutch pension system. Which works, evidently:

Dutch pensions are scrupulously funded, unlike many United States plans, and are required to tally their liabilities with brutal honesty, using a method that is common in the financial-services industry but rejected by American public pension funds.

The Dutch system rests on the idea that each generation should pay its own costs — and that the costs must be measured accurately if that is to happen.

Vaccine denial culture in New York, as opposed to California.

We had a gubernatorial town-hall thing tonight, so my attention is divided. Let’s all have a good week, eh?

Posted at 9:24 pm in Detroit life | 95 Comments
 

Saturday morning market.

Haven’t done one of these for a while, but how often do you see a turnip as big as your head?

bigturnip

Posted at 9:34 am in Detroit life, iPhone | 20 Comments
 

The grand canyon.

Remember what I said the other day about making room in your life for delicious foods of all sorts, because they are wonderful? Today I had to attend a Thing — you know, a Thing — that included a “light breakfast,” according to the invitation. I arrived to find fruit, bagels and doughnuts.

Had a little fruit, ignored the bagels, because if you can’t toast a bagel, what’s the damn point? Most of the doughnuts were the sort I don’t like — chocolate-frosted, sprinkled — but there, nestled among its less-appetizing brethren, a little spotlight from heaven fell on my favorite doughnut of all time: Sour-cream glazed. Hello, beautiful, I thought, and selected it for my own.

I don’t mind telling you that eating it was like manna from heaven, if a little overpowering. I’ve been eating eggs and spinach and yogurt and protein-y breakfasts for so many months, I’d forgotten the simple, now-verboten joy of the Homer Simpson special. My heart soared like a sugary hawk. The program started. Ten minutes into the keynote, my eyelids grew heavy. That sucrose is one powerful drug.

Back to eggs tomorrow. I don’t need this sugar-crack stuff.

So. I was surprised to see myself Twitter-tagged on this story, until I read it and realized one of my tweets had been cited as evidence of the little-known cult of fans of the big-vagina subplot in “The Godfather.” Not the movie, the novel; Francis Ford Coppola wisely left those pages on the cutting-room floor when he wrote the script, although Lucy, the possessor of the oversize vagina in question, is in two brief scenes. As I think we’ve mentioned here before, it’s a strange little diversion in a badly written novel about organized crime. Lucy is one of Connie’s bridesmaids in the wedding, and is filled with shame because her vagina is SO BIG — how big is it? — it’s SO BIG that guys can’t even feel it. But Sonny Corleone has a giant Italian sausage and can please her. He first does so at the wedding; she’s the bridesmaid he’s seen banging against the wall, early on. His death at the toll plaza devastates her, until she meets a nice doctor in Las Vegas, who does vagina surgery on her and tightens her up again. They get engaged.

I read this when I was old enough to know what sex involved, but before I’d actually had any, and I can’t tell you how much this concerned me. Could I, too, have a giant vagina? How would I know? Would I be like Lucy, and just have to glean it from the grumbling of my unsatisfied boyfriends, who would mutter I was “too big down there?”

Do you start to understand how women’s minds work? Find us a topic, we’ll figure out a way to worry about it.

I tweeted the story to Laura Lippman, who once told me she, too, remembered Lucy. She replied: “Meanwhile don’t forget Puzo’s other valuable lesson — the best sex in the world is had by a Sicilian virgin on her wedding night.” We’ll save that analysis for another day.

Today’s unfortunate ad placement. You newspaper people know how this stuff happens. They are endlessly amusing to me.

Finally, some of you who read Bridge know that one of the services we provide during election season is fact-checking campaign ads, mailers, etc. — political speech of all kinds. You are certainly welcome to rummage around the Michigan Truth Squad section of our site, but I call your particular attention to this mailer, which encourages voters to call the candidate and complain about Obamacare. But the number given rings at the bedside of the candidate’s 91-year-old mother, who is in a nursing home. You think you’ve seen ‘em all, and then you see another.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen one of the six “Say Yes to the Candidate” spots, we did that one, too. You may spot a familiar prose style.

Happy downside of the week, all.

Posted at 8:25 pm in Movies, Uncategorized | 75 Comments
 

Our changing language.

The other day one of my co-workers wondered how in the world someone got the great idea of naming a town in Michigan Climax. What were they thinking? Didn’t they know they’d be a butt of jokes forever after, another Intercourse or Blue Ball (both of Pennsylvania).

I pointed out that history takes a long time to arrive until one day it’s here, and it’s within my lifetime that people even started talking about sex out loud, much less using words like climax to describe what happens during it. Fort Wayne had a mayor named Harry Baals; my father went to grade school with a girl named Lucille Buttlicher.

“I wonder if there’s a town somewhere named Money Shot,” he mused. Let’s not go there. It’s a dirty, filthy enough world already.

I forgot to mention one of the fun activities of last weekend: Alan seemed to notice I was glum, and took me out to the fights. Yes, the fights — boxing, at Detroit’s Masonic Temple, in the Jack White Theater. Our seats were lousy, but the place wasn’t that big, and for once, we were in a central-city event where the crowd was a pretty accurate demographic reflection of the city as a whole. Interesting, I thought, that the boxing crowd was more than 80 percent black, and yet mixed martial arts, which has put boxing in its shade, attracts a far whiter audience. For the record, I hate MMA — the first time I saw it I watched a bloody beatdown that looked like first-degree felonious assault, all while the guy on the next barstool told me how much safer it was than boxing. Whatever.

Anyway, it was a fun night. Eight four-round fights ranging from pinweight to heavyweight, and wasn’t that one a revelation — one guy coming in at 240-ish and the other at 300. I thought for sure the lighter fighter would win. It’s really hard to be quick on your feet when you weight 300 pounds, but shows what I know. The bigger guy landed one lucky punch and boom, TKO. It was like something on “Game of Thrones.” The pinweights — that’s under 102 pounds, smaller than my petite daughter — put up a lively contest, too. They both seemed to hail from a part of the world where children grow up on gristle and wild plants. I really don’t know how you can be a grown man, able to train as a boxer, and still weigh less than I did in fifth grade.

One hometown hero was accompanied by his Omega Psi Phi brothers, entering to their theme song, “Atomic Dog.” He won.

We really need to go to the fights more often. Tommy Hearns was sitting ringside, Buster Douglas was training someone. Celebrities.

So, a little bloggage:

Someday we’ll look back at this era of corporate worship and wonder why we didn’t tie these folks to a whipping post: Two assholes argue over whether they can trademark the word “how.”

A good, simple explainer on the significance of the Supreme Court choosing not to engage with same-sex marriage. TL;DR? It’s over.

Happy hump day, all.

Posted at 10:42 pm in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' | 52 Comments
 

Size 10 revisited.

I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, but as of today I think it’s official: I have successfully lost every pound I gained during my pregnancy, and am back to what I guess you’d call fighting trim. (I’m a welterweight.) I think they tell you that at the OB’s office at your first post-natal visit: “Nine months to gain, 18 years to lose.”

But of course, when I finally dropped the baby, the placenta and all the extra blood I was carrying around, I had 10 to lose. Then it was 15, then 20 — you know the drill. Our culture makes it easy to be fat, my individual psychological profile (“eat your feelings”) makes it even easier, and I can’t even say when the corner was turned and I started taking better care of myself, but just in case you’re in the same place, here are a few things I learned along the way:

** Ninety percent of weight loss is getting your mind right. If your head isn’t in the game, it won’t work. And for me, that basically meant giving up. I stopped thinking in terms of “by this date, I want to weigh that much” and approached it more like an alcoholic: Today, I’m going to take care of myself. Just today, not tomorrow, not next Christmas. You will have many days when you fail at this. But as long as you succeed more often than you fail, the successes will add up. This weight loss was about 30 pounds, but took the better part of two years. There were a lot of failures along the way.

** There’s no way around this, but at some point you will have to become something of a hunger artist. My aim was always to arrive at the next meal hungry but not ravenous, and trust that the smaller portions I slowly grew accustomed to would satisfy me. I’ve mentioned many times that our culture keeps making everything bigger, and nowhere is this more true than in portion size. Restaurants pile our plates high, and we become accustomed to it, and soon this is the model at home, too. You don’t have to eat that much; the restaurant is dealing with economies of scale that don’t apply in your own kitchen. But you have to get comfortable with occasional tummy-rumbles, that’s all there is to it. If you’re hungry at 5 p.m., have a tall glass of water and a few almonds and ask yourself, “Can I put up with this for 90 minutes? Until dinnertime?” I bet you can.

** Exercise is great, but unless you’re training like an Olympic athlete, it’s still the lesser part of the battle. Controlling your eating is. What exercise will do is make your body look much better once the fat goes away. The last time I weighed this much I was a size 12. Now I’m a 10. I think it has to be because of all the weight training and yoga and cycling and swimming. And exercise, besides making you feel better and stronger, can come in handy at other times. A few weeks ago, I was having a bad day, part of a bad week and not the greatest month, either. I was in a mood to destroy some Haagen Dazs, maybe a pizza, maybe both. Scowling at myself in the bathroom mirror, I reached up to brush my hair and something resembling a small mouse scampered under the skin of my arm. Holy shit, it’s a muscle, I thought. And went for a bike ride instead.

** That said, be kind to yourself. Make room in your life for Haagen Dazs and pizza, because both are wonderful. You can have them, just not the whole thing, and not every day. Understand that winter happens, and you may not want to leave the couch for weeks at a time, and that’s OK, as long as you get back into it come spring.

** Finally, go for a walk every day. What MichaelG said about the people of Barcelona is true: Walking, and walking tall and with a nice forward stride, is just the most natural, pleasant, simple physical activity human beings can do. It’s why we stood up from all fours in the first place. It enables us to see the world, smell it, meet the eyes of others, experience the weather, all that stuff. It elevates your heart rate, but not too much. It’s an anti-depressant. Sometimes I pick up a weight at the gym for one reason or another think, “I used to walk around with this all the time. No wonder my feet were always killing me.” I walk a lot more now. For this I have Wendy to thank.

And that’s all I know. I think I’m going to stop losing for a while, see how the maintenance goes, and then reassess in a few more weeks. I feel great, honestly. My knees, the ones the orthopedist said were overdue for replacement a year ago, still hurt, but not as much – I don’t even take ibuprofen. But that’s about it. And I just ate some macaroni and cheese. Just not very much of it.

So, some bloggage?

The Building Detroit program, a city-run ongoing auction of blighted, yet still restorable, houses, has been going on for a while now, and is generally considered a success. Online bidders pay peanuts for places and agree to fix them up within a certain time frame. I encourage you to click the link and explore the variety of places being offered. Detroit boomed in the 1920s, and many of the houses date from that era with its lovely, sturdy architecture, but I’m also struck by the homelier places. There are a couple houses up now that are 700 square feet, maybe 800. Someone raised a family in that house, maybe several families. They stood in line for one bathroom. They never thought they didn’t have enough, even though the house was an ugly box. And there are thousands upon thousands of places like those in Detroit’s 138 square miles. Even if we could figure out a way to turn water into oil, if we could spark a North Dakota-style boom here, people just don’t want to live like that anymore. But remember: The failure of Detroit is due to? Yes, DEMOCRATS.

Somehow I think this story about a man rescued from a floating hamster wheel, says everything you need to know about a) runners; and b) people who pull stunts to “raise awareness” of things. But you be the judge.

Big week ahead, and deadlines still have to be met, so expect the usual scantiness.

Posted at 4:03 pm in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' | 62 Comments
 

It’s heeeeere.

EBOLA IS HERE. EBOLA IS HERE. PLEASE COMMENCE PANICKING IN THE STREETS.

I don’t know what else to say about ebola. Tell me there’s a disease in this country that makes you bleed from the eyeballs, and all I have to say is, “How is this different from PMS? Really?”

All jesting aside, I hope this isn’t the beginning of “The Stand” or anything. In the meantime, here’s some reading material:

The deportation of a dangerous illegal immigrant here in Detroit:

For five months, Teresa wasted in a Calhoun County jail cell, some of that time in a maximum security section, where she was placed with armed robbers and other violent criminals. She lost weight; she lost hope. Last week, just as family and friends mounted an effort to plead publicly on her behalf, she was again handcuffed and deported to Montenegro, the homeland she doesn’t remember.

“I do not even know where I am,” she said in a telephone call last Friday, her first day there. “It is surreal.”

Through a series of circumstances and events, most not of her making, Teresa Pecovic is experiencing the kind of culture shock few of us could imagine —dropped into a place travel guides despair of recommending, with limited language skills, and little chance for future reprieve.

A letter to George Clooney from an Arab guy:

Incidentally, now that you will have an Arab wife who advocates for Arab rights, if you were ever going to run for political office in America, you definitely cannot now. Unless, of course, you move to Dearborn, Michigan, where you will be swiftly elected mayor with 99.9% of the vote, Saddam-style.

One of the best condemnations of the machinery behind the Concussiongate fiasco came from my old pal Dave Jones in faraway Harrisburg. You should read.

Later, all.

Posted at 9:14 pm in Current events | 122 Comments
 

Remain in light.

This weekend was Dlectricity, a biennial festival of light installations and other twinkly art up and down Woodward Avenue and thereabouts. I took my camera, but my friend Dustin has a better one, and an enormously better eye, and captured this:

dlectricity

That’s Rodin’s Thinker, for those who aren’t familiar with the Woodward face of the Detroit Institute of Arts. It only looks like he’s wearing a baseball cap.

So, a little bloggage:

I once assigned a long article on a digital movie pirate to my students, and in passing, asked how many of them illegally watched/listened and traded copyright material like movies and music. Nearly every hand went up. I asked if any felt guilty about this. All hands went down. Which maybe is why Hana Beshara, the woman profiled in this NYT story Sunday about the fallen proprietress of an online copyright-theft site, is still so unrepentant about her crimes, even after a prison term. Me, I’m baffled. Pay the artist! But we’ve discussed this before.

I don’t know if anyone else is watching “The Knick” on Cinemax — it’s a channel we hardly pay attention to, but Steven Soderbergh always gets my attention — but I think the most recent episode, “Get the Rope,” is one of my absolute favorites of any show this year. The series is about a New York City hospital c. 1901, and it’s fascinating for a number of reasons, from the spurting blood to the opium dens. The most recent episode was about a race riot, and perhaps captured the nature of riots, at least as they happen on television, with a small cast and not a lot of budget for extras, as well as any. If you want to discuss, feel free.

Book work continues, slower than I’d like. But expect fresh threads every day or couple-of-days for a while.

Posted at 4:35 pm in Detroit life, Television | 60 Comments