Poor Pam.

Did I mention I’m dog-sitting this week? Not at my house, theirs. It’s just a mile or so from my house, so it’s not a huge deal, but I’m sleeping over with the dogs, one of whom is an insulin-dependent diabetic, and the other a cute little shit who thinks his cuteness excuses his in-house shitting. But whatever, they’re not my dogs, I’m just here to take care of them. What else do I have to do?

These friends of mine have all the streaming services, so I’ve been watching a lot of TV. One this week was the Pamela Anderson documentary on Netflix, “Pamela: A Love Story.” I didn’t get all the way through, but I saw enough to gather the gist: This sweet girl was fed into the sex-symbol meat grinder, had a wide range of experiences related to that, and is now telling her story, her face scrubbed of makeup.

This is, I’m sorry to say, an old story. A while back I noticed that single women past the age of 50 have a strong tendency to have lots of pets, and that all these pets sleep in their beds, up to and including 80-pound pitbulls. At the same time I can’t help but notice that when sex symbols worldwide age out of the role, they will inevitably swear off men forever and get heavily into animal charities. Brigitte Bardot, case in point. Anderson is following the same path; she sold her Malibu house for $11 million, bought her childhood home and a lot of surrounding land, and now lives in Vancouver with her parents and, you guessed it, a lot of animals.

Her latest marriage, to a construction worker on her reno project in Vancouver, didn’t last. This is a theme.

Not that I am judging. One thing that becomes clear, watching this heavily documented life play out in archival video, photos and readings from her own detailed journals is, this is a woman in love with love and always willing to take a chance on it. Also, she didn’t manage her money all that well, and from time to time she needed to marry someone with enough to support her.

And here’s the other thing: What happened to her, a process in which she was a willing and sometimes eager participant, was equal parts wild ride and tragedy. You look at old photos of her, from her teen years, and she is unrecognizable as source material for the bleached, pneumatically boobed, polished, waxed, sculpted creation that came later. Here she is at the literal beginning of her modeling career, when she was spotted at a Canadian sporting event by the Labatt’s crowd cam:

So pretty, so wholesome, right? Then Playboy magazine invited her to come down to L.A. and meet Hef, and that was the beginning. Breast implants, natch. Peroxide-blonde hair, but of course. I have no idea how many surgeries and procedures she’s had to maintain it all, but I’d guess plenty. Still pretty, still more or less natural:

Then the upper lip expanded, the eyebrows were tweezed into a high arch, the ridiculous Baywatch swimsuit was glued to her body and pretty soon she was getting married to Tommy Lee on a beach in Cancun. All this time men are staring at her, exposing themselves to her, pawing her, and, needless to say, masturbating frantically to her image. When women say, later, how uncomfortable they were with this level of literal exposure, I always want to ask: What did you think would happen? Had you ever seen a copy of Playboy? Sometimes, anticipating these questions, women will say, “They made me feel beautiful, which had never happened to me before,” and OK, I guess I understand. Anderson’s first sexual experience was a rape, and that does a number on your head. But none of this is a secret, and none of it was a secret when Anderson was drawn into it. She’s absolutely right that the obsession with her breasts was ridiculous, underlined by clip after clip of some late-night talk-show host goggling at them. (You know what that tells me? We need more female late-night talk-show hosts.)

But I can’t go along 100 percent with the “it turns out Pam was a person all along” hype. Everybody is a person, but we sometimes forget it. I’m glad that today’s sex symbols have more of a voice in these things; Emily Ratajkowski is photographed naked and semi-naked all the time, but also published a book of essays called “My Body.” I didn’t read it, but it was pretty respectfully reviewed. She had the advantage of coming along 20 years later.

Once again, we learn that women are human beings, and we should treat them as such, at least until they demonstrate, over and over, that either they consider themselves far, far better than the rest of us, or that their personhood is not something they value all that much, or that they have taken it to places where it’s clear they’re actually inviting the world’s judgment. Hello, Madonna and your latest terrifying face:

That’s her daughter, of course, Kate’s former classmate at U-M. She saw her once on the bus, and remarked, “She sure is pretty.” Careful, Lourdes. That’s what they said about Pam Anderson.

So the week starts. A few more days here, then a Shadow Show gig at the end of it. Should be good.

Posted at 5:36 pm in Movies, Popculch | 58 Comments
 

Our nativist tongue.

Before I get to whatever pops into my head today, a quick note about comments: Ever since I got my new laptop in October, the day’s comments are not ending up in my inbox. Rather, sometimes they do, but only a few. Sometimes four or five will download, then disappear before my eyes. I’m trying to remember to check the site a few times a day to see if anyone is hung up in moderation, but don’t always. Which is the long way around to saying sorry, I just released one from the mod pen, and it might have been there a while.

Meanwhile, in today’s news, I find myself agreeing with Nicholas Kristof on so-called inclusive language:

Before the millions of views, the subsequent ridicule and finally the earnest apology, The Associated Press Stylebook practically oozed good intentions in its tweet last week:

“We recommend avoiding general and often dehumanizing ‘the’ labels such as the poor, the mentally ill, the French, the disabled, the college educated.”

“The French”?

Zut alors! The result was a wave of mocking conjecture of how to refer sensitively to, er, people of French persuasion. The French Embassy in the United States proposed changing its name to “the Embassy of Frenchness.”

The A.P. Stylebook deleted its tweet, citing “an inappropriate reference to French people.” But it doubled down in recommending that people avoid general terms with “the,” such as “the poor, the mentally ill, the wealthy, the disabled, the college-educated.”

I believe the crime of putting a definite article before a group of people is known as “othering,” one of the many, many terms I see on Twitter these days. And this practice, of allegedly making people feel more included by changing small things in the language we use, is something I have very mixed feelings about. When I wrote about fat kids a while back, I noted the change I heard in a reporter’s use of the term “obesity.” You can scroll back if you like. I’ve also noted that we no longer say “slave” but “enslaved people,” etc.

Personally, I don’t think these small changes make much of a difference in perception – if you didn’t know slaves were human beings, I can’t help you – but that’s just one old person’s opinion. A young person’s opinion, which I saw on Twitter a while back, is that it’s a terrible, terrible crime of othering to ask someone with an accent or unusual-for-the-U.S. name anything at all about their family, immigration origin, etc. I was taken aback, as I’d just done just that with Mohsen, my Uber driver home from the airport the other week. He enthusiastically told me about his journey from Lebanon to Dearborn, his family, and gave me some excellent cooking tips for making the cuisine of his native land.

All this time, I thought I was being friendly. It’s a conversation-starter, and I think most of us are sensitive enough to word and express our questions in such a way that we express curiosity and genuine interest, not go-home-Johnny-Foreigner attitudes.

(May I say that after five seasons of “The Crown,” I’m mostly indebted to it for that term – Johnny Foreigner – used in an early season by Matt Smith, playing Prince Phillip? It’s a great term.)

I approve of replacing “bums and winos” with “the homeless,” but I really don’t see how “unhoused” is better, or even more accurate. I supposed it’s driven by the fact so many of these individuals consider their tent or lean-to or even a van down by the river as a home, but holy shitballs, this strikes me as a fine hair to split. It may also reflect the belief held by many advocates for this population that is is perfectly OK for people to live in a tent pitched under an overpass permanently, if they so desire, and this is not something I agree with, so.

Kristof goes on to cover the Latinx thing, pointing out that most people of Latino/a origin don’t like or use the gender-neutral thing – no surprise, as it bends a gendered language, Spanish, to English-language ends, which strikes me as a form of, what’s the word, supremacy. And my age and personal gender will never allow me to use terms like “chest feeding” or “pregnant people” without a wince, either internal or external.

Ultimately, I come down with Kristof on his contention that:

…while this new terminology is meant to be inclusive, it bewilders and alienates millions of Americans. It creates an in-group of educated elites fluent in terms like BIPOC and A.A.P.I. and a larger out-group of baffled and offended voters, expanding the gulf between well-educated liberals and the 62 percent majority of Americans who lack a bachelor’s degree — which is why Republicans like Ron DeSantis have seized upon all things woke.

DeSantis, who boasts that he will oust the “woke mob,” strikes me as a prime beneficiary when, say, the Cleveland Clinic explains anatomy like this: “Who has a vagina? People who are assigned female at birth (AFAB) have vaginas.”

Call people what they ask to be called: That’s fine. But there’s something creepy about white, educated people correcting everyone else’s.

You may disagree! And if you get stuck in moderation, I’ll try to free you a.s.a.p.

Posted at 12:26 pm in Current events | 52 Comments
 

Losers.

The best estimates of the state GOP chairman race are, shall I say, optimistic for Democrats. Which is to say, the state party looks like sometime next month it’s going to elect the second-worse of the top-three terrible losing candidates in 2022 to lead the party boldly, and bankrupt, into the future. Seriously. This is a guy who was fired by one of his law firms, accused by another of getting physical with a client, but who pushed the stolen-election lie early and often, winning the endorsement of guess-who. He faced the only truly beatable candidate on the Democratic slate and lost by…checking…eight points.

In other words, 2022 taught them nothing.

This morning I read about a new initiative to monkey-wrench sex ed in Michigan, led by the Thomas More Law Center, which I will heretofore refer to as Those Guys. I don’t know what its chances are of success; Those Guys make a lot of sword-and-shield noise before they drive off a cliff, but admittedly, I don’t know a great deal about them, other than their co-founder’s role in failing to convict Jack Kevorkian. (Turned out of office in a landslide, he sought a safe haven with the right-wing non-profit and became one of Those Guys.)

I don’t know what world these people are living in. Every single suburban mom I know has her sassy gay boyfriend, and many of them gay children. The sorts of people you’d have expected, 10 years ago, to make a face and say “ew” when you mention gay people, now look thoughtful and say, “Well, we do love our niece Sandra and her wife Joellen.” Even “wife” and “husband,” as they apply to same-sex couples, no longer have air quotes around them where I live. We just had a meeting of the nonprofit I serve with, one that helps women get their lives back on track, and no one batted an eye when we decided, unanimously and without discussion, that we’d help trans and cis women alike.

So carry on, Republicans. Gretchen Whitmer wouldn’t be on the shortlist for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024 without your help.

Posted at 1:38 pm in Current events | 45 Comments
 

Fat kids.

If you keep your ear to the ground, you probably know there’s a new set of recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding childhood obesity. These are sometimes called “startling,” and they are – the doctors are now recommending medication for obese children as young as 2, and surgery, bariatric surgery, for children 13 and up. In between is a mix of meds and behavior modification classes, which no one really has much faith in.

I’ve now listened to two podcasts on the subject, and I was struck by one thing in particular. Gina Kolata, the New York Times health reporter, referred to obesity as something a child “has,” rather than something he or she is. So: “If your child has obesity, they’re 45 percent more likely to…,” etc. It struck me as one of those language things that seem to be decreed by a memo that I never get, as when we stopped saying people committed suicide and instead say “died by suicide,” or we no longer say “slave,” but “enslaved person.” It’s part of the thinking that makes us consider obesity as a disease, and not a character flaw.

Anyway, that’s just one thing, and not what this is about. A statistic flew by early in this discussion that didn’t surprise me: About 20 percent of American children are obese. You can see it with your own eyes, particularly if you live in the places where the rate is probably far higher, i.e. the American south. In my year-end cleaning/purging, I came across some photos of my grade-school classes. Here’s one, third grade:

To my eye, there’s one fat kid in that group, and she wasn’t that fat, just kinda plump. I just looked her up on Facebook and she’s about the same (which is to say, she’s about like me, still in Misses sizes but a M/L for sure). Side note: 26 kids in that class, with one teacher. And yet we learned, and the school was excellent, and still is. Look at that stonework; they don’t make ’em like that anymore.

Nowadays, even in an affluent area, you’d see at least five. And somehow, the causes for this, which are myriad and diverse, weren’t even mentioned.

Don’t say it’s sugar. We all ate sugar, pure cane sugar, on everything. Pour a bowl of cereal? Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar before you pour the milk. A favorite snack in my house was something my mom called “garden bread,” i.e., a slice of buttered white bread with, yep, a teaspoon of sugar on top. We ate potato chips, whole milk, all of it. Salads? If you like iceberg lettuce with Good Seasons Italian on it, maybe, and who likes that? By contrast, today’s groceries are cornucopia of unbelievable goodness, to my eye. Avocados, piles of pre-washed and ready-to-eat fresh greens, once-unheard-of exotic fruits and vegetables, and we’re only in the produce aisle. The rest of the store – just an ordinary Kroger, not a Whole Foods or anything like that – offers healthy foodstuffs the richest pashas of antiquity can only dream of.

A friend once pointed out the oranges and lemons in still life paintings by old masters: “That was a treasure. Think how far that orange had to travel to make it to Belgium or the Netherlands in 16-something. No wonder they wanted to capture it in art.”

I don’t have the answer to why kids are consuming far more calories than they can burn in a day, because I suspect it’s not one answer. When we go to Europe, and this was especially true in Spain, I was struck by all the children out playing in the after-school hours. They’re in every square, kicking soccer balls around, climbing on anything climbable. I’m sure some of them have video games, but they’re not playing them while the sun is out. Some of them must have phones, but they’re not staring at them, or taking a million selfies, or keeping up with their favorite influencers. And hardly any of them were fat. Presumably they eat the jamon and queso Spain is so famous for, which isn’t diet food.

I suspect the problem is a cornucopia as rich as the one in the grocery store, and it is filled with 20-ounce soft drinks; single-serving bags of snacks that were once .75 ounces and are now 1.5, yes video games; yes suburbs with a culture that encourages kids to have “play dates” and not just play; yes urban areas where parents fear to let their children roam, justifiably or not; fast-food restaurants where portions keep growing and growing, pushed by economies of scale; and, well, the list goes on. In other words, good old American capitalism-driven trends that we dare not even mention, much less criticize or shape policy to discourage.

I mean, even the dinner plates I got for my wedding in 1993 are 15 percent bigger than the ’50s-era fine china my mother gave me when they downsized.

If we really want to help kids not be fat, we don’t start with medication, let alone bariatric surgery. But it’s a crisis now, and this is what we look like.

OK, rant over. The weekend awaits. What’s on your agenda?

(Oh, and that’s me, top row, second from right.)

Posted at 9:26 am in Current events | 68 Comments
 

Snow day.

Nothing like having everything cancelled for snow, then waking up to…not much snow. And nothing really falling. However, the weather radar informs me it’s just a pause, and the real walloping will come in a couple hours. Whatever. I have nowhere to be, a stocked pantry, and am thinking…lentil soup. Maybe some apple crisp. Maybe an apple cake. Depends.

We went to the Strand bookstore in New York, of course, and browsing the stacks made me miss the days when every city of any size had an independent bookstore, or just a bookstore, period. It was Little Professor for me, growing up, then a host of others. Borders was wonderful in Ann Arbor, and even Barnes & Noble fit the bill. All gone now, another casualty of the internet. There’s a home-furnishings store where my local Borders was, and B&N’s space here is now a grocery for orthorexic eaters, which is to say the vitamin aisle is as long as any other, and a jar of organic mayonnaise — the only kind available — costs $6.

It’s a small jar, too.

Alan bought a book at the Strand called “Cocktail Codex” — he’s become quite the bartender in his retirement — and spent a chunk of yesterday paging through it, before looking up and saying, “Apparently I need a centrifuge.” Ha ha, he’s not buying a centrifuge on my watch, but come summer, there may be some interesting fruit syrups and infusions on offer at Alan’s bar. But nothing requiring a centrifuge, I can assure you of that. Many of these drinks are garnished with a dehydrated slice of fruit, but we’re not adding a dehydrator to the arsenal, either.

Me, I bought a collection of horror/fantasy/sci-fi-adjacent short stories co-edited by Neil Gaiman. This is a genre I’ve avoided most of my life, with a few exceptions, one of them Neil Gaiman, although I stop well short of total fangirl status. His ideas about gods, lower-case, are interesting, but ultimately I prefer reality. The story collection is about what you’d expect from a story collection — uneven. Bright spots, less-bright spots.

That seems to be the theme of the week so far, innit? Expect something, get less, shrug.

At least it was better than “August Snow,” which I picked up at a Friends of the Library $1 sale and almost immediately soured on. It’s the first of a crime series set in Detroit, highly praised, now in its third volume and already sold to Hollywood. Annnnddd? I kinda hated it. For one thing, I’m tired of the standard setup for these things: A hero who is somehow freed from having to work a regular job ($12 million lawsuit settlement from the city, in this case), leaving him time and cash to have adventures. But he’s special, an ex-cop or ex-soldier, or ex-SPECIAL FORCES or some other macho hitch, which gives him a facility with weapons and a dead-eye aim. Introduced to this character, you just know he’ll meet bad guys and overcome them with his basic decency and dead-eye aim, but the pleasure is in the execution, and by the time this one wheezed to an ending, I was done.

But why did I sour on it in just the first pages? The author did not respect local geography, and this brings up a question for you readers of fiction: How important is this to you? I was brought up short when, as the character drives down East Jefferson out of downtown and headed for Grosse Pointe, he passes the Kronk Gym. Wait, what? The Kronk is — was — on the west side, and was always on the west side. Detroit is a very east side/west side town, and relocating one of its well-known institutions to another part of town, just to make a picturesque drive more so, strikes me as heresy, or at the very least, distracting. I mean, why not move the RenCen to Southfield while you’re at it.

Now. I know some people differ on this. To me, if you’re going to set your story in a city, and make that city’s history and landscape part of its fabric, you owe your readers some authenticity. Some license is granted; Jeffrey Eugenides invoked the name of a real Grosse Pointe street (Middlesex) and put a fictional house on it, in his novel of the same name. Laura Lippman created a small, fictional pocket of a real Baltimore neighborhood for her main character to live. This doesn’t bother me. In “August Snow,” the author invents a whole new Grosse Pointe (GP Estates) and even that didn’t bother me (although it looked, based on the description in my mind’s eye, more like Bloomfield Hills), but when he fictionally decreed that the entire community somehow sits on the Detroit River? Sorry, I’m out.

Also, the typos, oy the typos. Barack Obama’s name is misspelled, and that’s all I’ll say about that. Also, when the main character rousts a drug dealer and finds “a couple dime bags of weed” in his pocket, which actually made me guffaw.

OK, then. Time to put on the sneakers and have a little bike ride in the prison gym, i.e. the basement. Happy snow day to all who celebrate. Consider a slow-simmering soup for dinner tonight.

Posted at 9:09 am in Uncategorized | 54 Comments
 

Going to ground.

Well, that was a nice trip, except for the ending — a five-hour flight delay out of Newark, with the five hours (closer to six-seven because I’m an early arriver) spent at the Newark airport. Now the real slog of the long winter begins. I’ll be spending it mostly in more-or-less isolation, as I feel I’ve been taking too many Covid chances and need to atone.

If I escape getting it from this trip, it’ll say something about the efficacy of vaccines, because I took chances. Masked on the flight, but not in the airport, unless it was crowded. Masked on subway trains, but not in subway stations; my rule was, if I can feel air moving across my face, it’s OK to take it off. Outdoors, not at all, indoors, depended on the venue. This, I recognize, is a little like sometimes wearing a condom, but oh well. Something’s gonna get all of us, and you gotta live your life.

But it was still a very nice trip. Ate good food, saw lots of great entertainment, actually got to a Broadway show (“Between Riverside and Crazy,” which was Just Meh). Took some pictures:

That’s the Bleecker Street subway station, built at a time when a little beauty in a public place wasn’t considered a waste of taxpayer money.

Chinatown fish market:

Beautiful ceramic of a gruesome scene, at an upper east side commercial art show.

At the same show, a depiction of my state, late-ish 18th century:

Brooklyn:

(I think the proper reading of that is, “I fucking love New York.”)

Jazz at the Blue Note:

Now I’m ready to economize and get back to dry January. Nothing like spending $18 for a mediocre glass of wine to make you ready to clip coupons and switch to Diet Coke.

Posted at 9:28 am in Same ol' same ol' | 47 Comments
 

Walk between the raindrops.

You guys are all having a nice conversation in the comments and I hate to interrupt it, but just popping up to say we’re having a great time in NYC, despite some terrible weather. Yesterday was nice, though:

Today was just cold, rainy-all-day and dreary. I did capture Alan near a tag that he’s never, ever seen before, just down the street from the Whitney, where we bought two senior-discounted tickets and beheld the Edward Hopper show there:

We saw this cabaret show last night. (Seriously, it’s a video of the entire show. Watch along with us! It was very funny.) Tonight, a shocking twist: There’s a Broadway play, a Pulitzer-winner, we were able to get $40 tickets for — “Between Riverside and Crazy.” After that, who knows? I just want it to stop raining.

OK, carry on.

Posted at 4:15 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 49 Comments
 

What we talk about when we talk about ‘Tar.’

(Before I start talking about “Tar,” the film starring Cate Blanchett as a Leonard Bernstein-level celebrity conductor who gets #MeToo’d, I just want to note that yes, I know the a in her name should have a diacritical mark, but I’ve been dancing with the keyboard option menu for a while now and haven’t figured it out yet, so just be advised: Blanchett’s character is named Lydia Tar, with an acute accent mark over the A, but pfft.)

Anyway. We watched “Tar” Saturday night. Loved, loved, loved it. It was smart and talky and everything I love in a wintertime movie. As someone who finds Marvel movies boring, it’s exactly what I was looking for. But there’s a weird thing that happens about 2/3 of the way through, as the toppling of Tar (this is not a spoiler) really picks up speed, and if you have seen it — only if you’ve seen it — you might want to read this piece in Slate and tell me what you think.

But if you haven’t seen it, it’s absolutely worth your time, if only for the Juilliard master-class scene, in which Tar disposes of a conducting student who blithely dismisses Bach — Bach! — as a “misogynist” that he, as a “BIPOC pansexual” doesn’t have to pay attention to. He pronounces it “buy-pock,” like it’s an identity he picked out of an array on a shelf at some very chic boutique that he can’t give you the address for, and they wouldn’t let you in, anyway.

Those of us old enough to remember Bernstein probably know he was a sexual exploiter without peer, too. A friend of mine was at Indiana University when he did a residency in the music school there, and said Lenny ran through college boys like breath mints. They weren’t boys, of course, but young adults capable to consenting to sex, but as we all know by now, the power dynamic makes any sexual encounter between the two problematic, to say the least. It’s equally true that imbalanced-power-dynamic sexual relationships don’t always end in tears and misery. That needs to be said.

“Tar” is set in the tiny, rarified world of classical music, and the highest levels of even that world. So you get the experience of glimpsing an environment of super-luxe life that doesn’t involve Wall Street assholes, so: Win.

This, I thought, was the review that best reflects my reaction.

The highlight of my otherwise ordinary January weekend. We’re going out of town for a few days, leaving Wednesday, so I hope to have more to report by the end of the week. We’re headed to New York for…just to get away. I can’t afford Broadway anymore, so we’re going to a cabaret show by Salty Brine. We saw him in 2019 at Joe’s Pub, and it was one of the most inventive, imaginative, funny nights of theater I’ve experienced in ages. Other than that, my aim is to find a chopped cheese sandwich. Small goals.

Talk later.

Posted at 3:58 pm in Movies | 88 Comments
 

Mixed grill, again.

It’s the end of the week, and time for? Items in search of a blog!

Like every other writer on the planet except for me, Gene Weingarten has a Substack, and dropped one of his language pet peeves: “reach out to” instead of “ask.” This peeve is journalism-focused, so he quoted some story where X reached out to Y for an explanation, etc. I am in full agreement with Gene, and would like to add one that came up in my reading yesterday:

“Change out.” X was recommending Y change out their air filter, although sometimes it’s “swap out,” which might have a tiny bit of nuance, but probably doesn’t. Don’t get me started on “change up,” which is just ridiculous. Change your air filter, swap it, I don’t care. Just stop adding “up.” OK? Settled.

Next week: We’ll circle back to “circle back.”

I don’t believe I have it in me to fight another culture war, so I’m just saying it now: I’m a non-combatant in the Gas Stove wars to come. Also, I will give up my gas stove when you pry it from my cold dead fingers. That’s how much I love it, and don’t tell me how great induction is. It may heat up quickly, but it’s the cooling down that takes a while, and that’s what I love about gas. You turn off the flame and…the heat goes away! We cooked on induction in Europe, and that “H” stays lit quite a while after you turn the burners off. Don’t talk to me about air quality, either. I have no respiratory illnesses, neither does Alan, and if gas fumes were going to kill me, they’d have done so by now.

The rest of you who want to preen about your moral superiority in cooking with induction, go right ahead. I’m sitting this one out.

(Also, I know this issue is overblown, and based on sloppy reporting. Still.)

Nolan Finley, the conservative op-ed page editor at the Detroit News, gets a fair amount of undeserved credit for mundane observations; I will never forget or forgive the chorus of what-a-keen-eye-this-gent-has when he noted the near-absence of black people in a trendy new restaurant. But generally, gennnnerrrallly, I can respect that he seems to be a conservative with eyes to see and a tongue to speak, which is another way of saying he’s smart enough to see Trump for what he is. In discussing the current state of the Michigan GOP (paywalled, sorry), he writes:

How sorry are the affairs of the state party?

It still is figuring out how to pay for its state convention in Lansing Feb. 17-18, where roughly 2,000 delegates are set to gather to select a new chairman from an 11-candidate list. That slate, in its mediocrity and lack of both political experience and appeal, is distressingly reminiscent of the field of hopefuls who initially filed for the GOP gubernatorial primary in 2022.

The party is proposing for the first time charging delegates a fee for attending the convention, as many other states do. The suggested amount right now is $50 each.

Failed attorney general candidate Matt DePerno is pitching a proposal to charge the 11 candidates running for party chair, including himself, $20,000 each to pay for the convention and other operations.

Maybe the GOP should just hold a bake sale.

And you know what? DePerno, a thug fired from one of his former firms for putting hands on a client, is likely to win the chairmanship. The two closest competitors are equally crazy and unqualified, and it’s going to be glorious to watch them try to rebuild with a 2020 election denier (no matter who of the top-polling candidates wins, it’ll be a stop-the-stealer) at the helm.

With that, the weekend awaits us all. Let’s enjoy it.

Posted at 10:00 pm in Current events | 74 Comments
 

Please do that indoors.

In today’s delightful news, I drop this nugget in front of you, tail a-wag, and wait for a chorus of GOD I WISH I LIVED THERE.

Now that I check, it’s a paywalled story, so here’s the headline, which is really all you need:

Hamtramck council approves allowing animal sacrifices for religious purposes

And here’s the non-paywalled condensation: The all-Muslim city council was asked to consider whether to outlaw the ritual killing of animals in the name of religion, and decided to weigh in on the side of state and federal law, which allows it, surprisingly. The consideration here isn’t about Santeria, but Islam:

Animal sacrifice is practiced in some religions, specifically around some holidays. In Islam, during Eid al-Adha, or the “Festival of Sacrifice,” some families may sacrifice a sheep, goat, camel or cow.

“There’s a religious and spiritual import to these sacrifices,” Walid said. “It relates to our faith being Abrahamic. The symbolism of the sacrifice in particular around the Eid al-Adha season relates to Abraham giving the permission of sacrificing a ram instead of sacrificing his son based upon a dream he had.”

Walid added: “We would normally sacrifice a sheep or goat. From that meat which is slaughtered religiously, one third is traditionally kept for one family, another third is given to the poor and then another third would be given away to others who are perhaps not indigent but would enjoy the meat. There are a lot of lessons involved in that, being charitable to the poor.”

There are a lot of strings attached to the city ordinance regarding safety, sanitation and clean-up. It’s safe to say no one’s going to be swinging a scimitar at a goat in their front yard. But if it’s done humanely, it’s hard to see a difference from regular commercial slaughter. I also like the idea of giving away two-thirds of the cuts. Not that I am particularly interested in eating goat or sheep, never mind camel.

Weirdly enough, the News didn’t open comments on this one. Gee, wonder why.

The other news of the week: Lynette Hardaway, the Diamond of Diamond & Silk and no don’t ask me which one that is, the talker or the non-talker, because I don’t know, don’t care, and…does this sentence have a landing set up? Whatever. Anyway, Diamond? Is dead. Almost certainly Covid, if you ask me, mainly because they won’t answer questions about it.

And that’s all my midweek news, and inspiration. You should see the sky here — just the most relentless gray blanket imaginable, and no snow.

Posted at 2:35 pm in Current events | 46 Comments