Another snap.

Monday night appears to be turning into a semi-regular no-show night for me. I apologize, for whatever it’s worth. (Not much.) This is the point in the winter where I begin to get mad at my coats, sick of flannel sheets, keenly interested in lying under down comforters until maybe April.

And what are we looking at for the end of the week? Single digits, just in time for the weekend. Yech. Ah, but we will make it through, as we always do.

Primary season, then. Bernie wins big, Trump wins big, Kasich finishes big, the Exclamation Point battling it out for fourth place. What a crazy race so far. What else is there to say? Maybe here’s a companion piece, a (wait for it) David Brooks column about the president:

(Over) the course of this campaign it feels as if there’s been a decline in behavioral standards across the board. Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply.

The first and most important of these is basic integrity. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free. Think of the way Iran-contra or the Lewinsky scandals swallowed years from Reagan and Clinton.

We’ve had very little of that from Obama. He and his staff have generally behaved with basic rectitude. Hillary Clinton is constantly having to hold these defensive press conferences when she’s trying to explain away some vaguely shady shortcut she’s taken, or decision she has made, but Obama has not had to do that.

This is what much of the world is so angry about, mind you. Or rather, it’s what they’re concentrating their anger upon. They’re angry because they’ve been screwed over by a changing economy and an almost unbelievably greedy and uncaring elite that cares absolutely nothing for them. But they’re focusing it, many of them, on an administration that sees mostly convenient.

You know where people are angry? Flint. And who wouldn’t be? Every day the story gets more infuriating:

In sum, a review of the e-mails provided by Genesee County from several public-information requests appear to illustrate the inability, if not unwillingness, of city and state agencies to share information with the county as it investigated multiple Legionnaires’ cases. The clash among bureaucrats went on privately for months despite growing fears inside Flint among residents that something was deeply wrong with the city’s drinking water.

Imagine owning a house in Flint right now. I’d be angry, too.

Not much bloggage today, but if you’re one of those spreading the story that Michigan passed an anti-sodomy law this week, you’re wrong.

On to South Carolina, then.

Posted at 12:04 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 34 Comments
 

Sooper.

I see the news of the gubernatorial birthday cake hit the comments. As I’ve said before, there’s a lot here I can’t talk about, but I think it’s safe to observe that the governor is said to have not one but two crisis PR firms working on the handling of this story. I think he should consider stopping payment on the check.

Also, last week Bridge published a rather extraordinary piece, which may be of interest to you completists, i.e., the full, 31,000-word document dump of e-mail and contemporaneous news clips of the Flint disaster, presented in a timeline. Especially as you get into the summer of 2015, you really get a sense of various state agencies crashing into one another, while the truth and scope of the disaster finally, finally begins to sink in. It’s terrifying, in its own way.

Anyway, everybody’s writing about Flint. Here’s a version of the same story — a feature on a Flint hero — done two different ways. The good way, and the other way. I have a hard time with a chirpy story about a “star” doctor, no matter how heroic her actions, that makes it sound as though, in the end, this will turn out to be a super career move for her. She’s undeniably a good guy, but let’s not forget who lies at the bottom of this disaster – kids with lifelong brain damage. I actually agree with the conservative ed-page editor at the Detroit News, who writes:

We are months into the awareness that the city’s water system carried lead into residents, and still there has not been a summit of local, state and federal officials to unite behind a fix-it strategy. What’s been going on is an embarrassment, and has additionally damaged a state whose reputation is built on pure, abundant water. That isn’t helping the people of Flint.

How was your weekend? We’ve got hints of spring in every breeze, although of course it’s way too early. I actually had some down time to just read and chill, and now I’m watching the Super Bowl. This will be my first football game since… the last Super Bowl, I guess. How long has giving oxygen to players on the bench been s.o.p. in the NFL? Also, let’s just give Beyonce a five-year contract on halftime and leave the whey-faced Brits to the World Cup or something, OK? She’s awesome.

Whoever made the crack about her thighs? SIT DOWN.

Monday awaits. That’s all I can say about it now. So have yourself a Monday.

Posted at 12:15 am in Current events | 74 Comments
 

Dip?

The Super Bowl is this weekend, which always reminds me to check my grocery coupons in the Sunday paper to see what the potheads at the Kraft and Pillsbury test kitchens have come up with to amuse us. Never do I get such a strong sense that drugs were involved than when I behold the recipe suggestions. A football field made of lime Jell-O, with yard lines of piped-on Cool Whip. A dip in a hollowed-out bread bowl in the shape of a football. Cheese-stuffed everything.

The year I was a journalism fellow, we threw a Super Bowl party for the overseas journalists, and i tried to come up with the most ridiculous possible nosh, and settled for something fairly pedestrian — guacamole in a low, rectangular dish, with sour cream piped-on yard lines, and PATS and PANTHERS in the end zones.

Of course, if cheese-stuffed deep-fried Doritos had been invented then, I’d have made those. I’ve been weirdly interested in this preposterous recipe for a few days, but I’m not invited to any parties this year, and there’s no way in hell I’d make them for two people. So another year will pass without experiencing cheese-stuffed deep-fried Doritos. I vow that I will pass the time trying to figure out how to add bacon to the recipe.

What’s your favorite Super Bowl food? Don’t say chili; it’s pedestrian.

So, Eric Zorn asked the other day if it’s sexist to describe Hillary Clinton as “shrill,” even if her voice does occasionally rise into the higher registers. I didn’t have to think for a second before thinking yes, it is sexist, and we should stop using that to describe not only Hillary but any woman. I think we’re just going to have to stop it the same way we stopped telling our black friends that they’re great dancers. Because “shrill,” even if it describes a person with a high, screechy voice, is making common cause with Rush Limbaugh and all his minions. You sound like the people saying stuff like this. Speaking of shrill.

Just one bit of bloggage before the weekend starts. Planned Parenthood was blocked from using public funds to serve poor women in Texas, and so had to stop serving them. Guess what happened? Pregnancies rose. Color me astounded, and I wonder what happened to the aboriton rate.

Whatever your Super Bowl plans are, I hope they include cheese. See you Monday.

Posted at 12:15 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' | 88 Comments
 

Try to remember.

I was always an excellent speller, missing only one or two on a typical test, and often getting perfect scores, but one time the teacher dumped a wowser on us in the weekly list: “arithmetic.” Ten letters, with a tricky vowel sound – the whole class groaned. Nonsense, she said, and wrote out, on the blackboard, “A rat in the house may eat the ice cream.”

Thus began my first exposure to the mnemonic device, or memory trick. Remember the sentence and you could remember how to spell “arithmetic,” by using the first letter of each word. Colors in the light spectrum? Roy G. Biv. Notes on the musical staff? “Every good boy does fine” for the lines, “face” for the spaces, and the good boy “deserves favour” if you’re British. The Great Lakes? “Homes.” And of course, we all know the planets in the solar system, in order, because we all know “My very educated mother just served us nine pickles.” I’m sure that’s been reworked since the demotion of Pluto, and will be reworked again if the new ninth planet delivers on its promise.

Ask me how to spell Cincinnati, and I’ll answer “one, two, one,” because that’s how I finally mastered the tricky interior consonants – one N, then two Ns, then one T. I still see Cincinnati misspelled in books and in national publications, less so since spell-check.

Anyway, I’m a big believer in mnemonics. This year I’ve been volunteering as a homework tutor in an after-school program one day a week, and Tuesday I worked with a boy studying for his religion test. I never went to Catholic school, but I took CCD classes one day a week after heathen public school, so my knowledge of basic doctrine is there. We did a sample test together: Which two sacraments can only be received once? Four pairs followed. I taught him the first rule of multiple-choice testing: First, eliminate the obvious wrong-os, i.e., the ones with Eucharist or Reconciliation as one of the choices, because Catholics receive those over and over. I got the feeling no one had ever taught this third-grader about the process of elimination in test-taking.

This is when I feel the most despair, and see an opportunity to actually teach something. These kids are wonderful but, as you’d expect in Detroit, disproportionately disadvantaged, in so many ways. They know the words to crappy songs on the radio, but don’t hear the rhythms of the written word, because few have been consistently read to. They’re tested all the time, but lack test-taking skills. Worst of all, learning is accompanied by rote rituals that strip all the pleasure out of it. It’s not enough to answer “Who wrote most of the Declaration of Independence?” with “Thomas Jefferson.” Rather, grasp your pencil in your fist and write, “The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson.” (Or, worse, “The person who wrote the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson.”)

I see the need to get students accustomed to writing in complete sentences, but when a writing assignment asks a high-school student, “What do you think of X?” and the automatic first line of the answer is, “I think X is…” we’re doing it wrong. The other day a bright high-schooler and I talked about Eleanor Roosevelt. The study guide asked students to explain why the first lady was controversial, and she dived back into the chapter for the facts she’d need to marshall for her answer. I told her to put the book down and we talked a little about Hillary Clinton and the things people say about her – that she rode her husband’s coattails to power, that she meddled in affairs she had no business in, etc. I told her people had said these things about Nancy Reagan, Michelle Obama and pretty much every first lady in my lifetime. I asked whether this said anything about those women as individuals, or about women in general, and about Eleanor Roosevelt in particular. You could see understanding dawning over her face, and people? That is a wonderful thing to see. She went back into the chapter for her facts, but now she understood not just what she was looking for, but why.

I am not a teacher, I have no skills in teaching. I’m not always a very good explainer. I’m not creative about dreaming up new ways to impart knowledge. But when I read Mother Goose and A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter to little Kate, I held her on my lap and jiggled my leg in time to James James / Morrison Morrison / Weatherby George Dupree / Took great care of his mother / though he was only three. And today? She plays a rhythm instrument. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

After we settled on the correct answer to the religion question (Baptism and Confirmation), we matched details of various rituals to their symbolism and significance. Why do converts put on white garments? Why do priests baptize with water? He knew most of them, but was having a hard time with the laying on of hands. It signifies the power of Christ, the book said. Hmm…the kid’s dad is a boxing trainer, so I told him to connect the power of Christ with the power of a punch, delivered? Through the hands. Mnemonics!

Even though Jesus wasn’t much of a brawler, even when he was kicking the money-changers out of the Temple.

On to the bloggage.

Speaking of people who didn’t learn well in school, an atrocious rewrite of a TV script, featuring the fun neologism “rigamortis.”

I guess my old newspaper’s new letters policy is that they’ll run any old crap that comes over the transom.

My local Trader Joe’s is nothing like this. Is yours?

Skating into week’s end, I am. We all are. Happy Thursday.

Posted at 12:15 am in Same ol' same ol' | 90 Comments
 

Falafel is not an anagram of alfalfa.

Today I lunched in Dearborn with my colleague, Bill. You know Dearborn — where Sharia law (makes dragon-roar sound, paws the air with terrible claws) prevails! Where Detroit police dare not go! Where the mayor goes by the very no-fly list name of… Jack O’Reilly?

Yep, that one. I was just there for the hummus and falafel. Bill’s a native, so we had a mini-tour, checking out the houses that have been remodeled and rebuilt for the Arab community and their multigenerational families. And then we stopped at his favorite Lebanese sweet shop to celebrate the end of my sugar binge. Let me just say that after a month off? Those date-pistachio cookies and coconut whatever-it-was hit me like a ton of bricks. It might as well have been nerve gas, it put me down so hard.

Tomorrow, nothing racier than an orange. Maybe a banana. I learned my lesson.

Now I’m watching the Iowa results coming in. Cruz up by 3 percentage points, Hillary ditto, but it’s still early. Who gives a crap about Iowa, anyway? Rick Santorum won Iowa, remember. (And yeah, Barry O did too. But also Mike Huckabee.)

Annnnnd… this is the point where I had computer problems last night, and elected to shut things down and go to bed. Let’s discuss Iowa. My icebreaker: Should we worry about Hillary, or not?

Posted at 8:56 am in Current events | 67 Comments
 

January, now on ice.

What a difference a weekend makes. I went into it a teetotaler and came out free to imbibe again. The Whole 30 is over. January is over. And I discovered I have knack for curling. Sorta-curling, anyway.

I was invited to a fundraiser by a woman in my boxing club, for a new group that’s trying to help women in difficult circumstances. Alan was under the weather, so I went stag. (Doe?) The house was large and beautiful, but the party was in the back yard. Where I found this:

curling1

Now that’s a backyard ice rink. The host said he’s been doing this for his kids since they were little, just knocking the frame together and filling it with a hose. They skate a couple hours a day, and then he goes out after they’ve gone to bed and manually Zambonis the surface, with scrapers and a big squeegee. But we weren’t there to play hockey; backyard curling was the night’s entertainment. I found their homemade curling stones charming — two mixing bowls filled with cement, with pipe handles. We played backyard-curling rules, which was basically ice bocci: Throw a puck down the ice, then try to get your stone as close to it as possible.

curling2

The temperature was just above freezing, so the brushing was pretty inconsequential. Mostly we just slid the stones down the ice. Our team was trailing in the final, caught up and was down by one on the final point. The other team had two stones in scoring range and our last player sent his down the lane and knocked both to kingdom come, leaving his close enough to the puck to kiss it. A real Michigan-Michigan State 2015 finish. The prize was any bottle from the booze table, and I chose a nice bottle of champagne. A great way to end Dry January.

And that means the Whole 30 is over, too. Truth be told, it was more of a Whole 15 and a PrettyMuch 15, but it accomplished what it was supposed to do. I lost seven pounds, and while I didn’t break my sweet tooth in half, I held it at bay and learned it was not my master. Didn’t miss alcohol even a little bit. Bread was different, but I broke some habits there, too — I no longer consider eggs without toast a pathetic excuse for breakfast. And not only is it possible to add vegetables to every meal, sautéed vegetables make scrambled eggs pretty damn special, as Mark Bittman can attest.

Now to keep the trend going. My opinion of Paleo recipes has changed, but not by much. I still think most of them suck (TOO MUCH SEASONING), but I’ve found a few exceptions. But I’m never buying a bottle of coconut aminos, and I sorta regret this coconut oil, too, because it makes everything taste like coconut. I like coconut, but not that much.

I was regretting the bottle of unfiltered organic apple-cider vinegar I bought a few months back, once I realized I could never find a way to choke that stuff down like the healthy people do, and why would I want to anyway? Until I started using it to treat a small patch of toenail fungus that appeared on one of my tootsies last spring. It never spread or got worse, but never got better, either. OTC remedies were expensive and did nothing, and my doctor said the Rx solution wasn’t much better, had a potentially serious side effect and wasn’t something he liked to recommend for a non-critical case. “It might go away on its own, or you might have it for years,” he said. “They’re stubborn.” So I sadly stripped off my summer nail polish (that would make it worse, the Internet said) and scowled at it, week after week. Toenail fungus. It sounds like something bums get. I’m sure it is.

Until I thought, what the hell, and started dabbing the spot with cider vinegar twice a day, and dripping a little under the nail. One sock smelled like vinegar, but that was the only side effect. After a few weeks of this, damn if it didn’t get smaller, and smaller, and today is on the verge of disappearing altogether. An old-timey remedy that’s actually a remedy! Could this January get any better?

A little bit of bloggage to start the week.

Michael Phelps in a gold Speedo and a chest full of medals would certainly distract me. I guess he’s the ultimate shiny object. Check out the core strength on that young man. Not to mention the quadriceps. #swimminggoals

Welcome back to DellaDash, aka St. Bitch, who showed up in comments over the weekend. She’s an Iowa caucus voter. I have to say I’m very glad I don’t live there, because I would grow weary of shooting my TV over and over:

A super PAC supporting Mike Huckabee produced an ad for both radio and TV in which two women express doubts about Cruz’s commitment to Christian causes, saying that he speaks in one way to Iowans and in another to New Yorkers whose campaign donations he needs.

“I also heard that Cruz gives less than 1 percent to charity and church,” says one of the two women.

“He doesn’t tithe?” asks the other. “A millionaire that brags about his faith all the time?” They conclude that he’s a phony.

Thanks, Mike Huckabee, you loser, you also-forgotten piece of crap. Thanks for all you do for your country.

Grr. I guess I’m ready to start Monday, then. Hope you are, too.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 61 Comments
 

Water, everywhere.

Another …day. Another day, but it started with a pretty good swim, and so there’s that. This is why I work out with the dawn patrol; if the day goes well, it goes well. And if it doesn’t, at least you got a workout.

I’m working on learning the butterfly. I’m terrible at it. Wikipedia explains why:

The breaststroke, backstroke, and front crawl can all be swum easily even if the swimmer’s technique is flawed. The butterfly, however, is unforgiving of mistakes in style; it is very difficult to overcome a poor butterfly technique with brute strength. Many swimmers and coaches consider it the most difficult swimming style.

But like I said a while ago: Just keep swimming.

Water is sort of a theme around these parts. Today this story broke:

The state provided its workers in Flint with bottled water in January 2015, 10 months before officials would tell residents the water was not safe to drink, according to state emails released Thursday by liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan.

The decision was unrelated to elevated lead levels that were later found in Flint’s drinking water, said Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Instead, the management and budget department decided to provide water coolers in a Flint state office building after the city sent out a notice saying it had been found in violation of the state’s Safe Drinking Water Act because of high levels of disinfection byproducts.

It just keeps getting worse. This is going to be such a mud bath.

I had the world’s most boring task today (transcription), and a lot of busy work, so my brain feels steamrolled this evening. But hey! So some pix today.

My colleague Chastity did a story on breed-specific legislation, i.e., banning pit bulls, and it’s attracting the expected slapfest in the comments, but I only want to call your attention to this puppy:

chiapet

That pup is the offspring of, wait for it, a Chihuahua and a pit bull. They lived under the same roof, and the owners never had them neutered because they figured, what are the odds? So now there’s this litter of chia pets (or chit bulls). For some reason, it reminded me of the puppies we meet in the final scenes of “Babe: Pig in the City,” one of my favorite kid movies, and maybe movies, period:

poodlepitpups

Supposed to be 40 degrees this weekend. Woo. Have a good one.

Posted at 12:27 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 72 Comments
 

Ask the sage.

I’m missing Rachel Maddow’s Flint town hall, which makes this the…first? Maybe second thing I’ve regretted missing since cutting the cable cord a few months back. I’m interested in seeing what R.M. does with the known information, although I can imagine. This story is going to blot out the sun in Michigan for quite some time, and the long tail of investigations and lawsuits is going to consume us even longer.

Meanwhile, I want to explore a moral question with you smart people: Do we have an obligation to donate to ease a man-made disaster?

I ask because water drives are the big thing here, and everyone is using social media to either collect for them or recruit people to shlep cases of bottled water to Flint. And this is very admirable, but I find myself wondering why anyone feels the need. It’s pretty clear this whole disaster came about through the direct actions of various arms of government; which ones and how blame is distributed is what all those investigations and lawsuits will be about, but still, government. Flint wasn’t hit by a tornado. This wasn’t an act of God. So shouldn’t the state pick up the tab for disaster relief? The whole tab?

I think people are simply good. They want to help. But this feels a little different, and I can’t quite put my finger on why.

Long day, lotsa driving, late lunch, dog walk, short errand run, late dinner. I’m-a ready to snooze. Quick bloggage:

When a person evades taxes, we call them unpatriotic shirkers, criminals. When a corporation does it, it’s just doing what corporations do.

I’ve barely had time to process the surprise grand jury indictments in the Planned Parenthood case. I should probably do that.

And now, Thursday. Huzzah.

Posted at 12:11 am in Current events | 32 Comments
 

Not covered in drivers ed.

It looks as though the Oregon situation is, as we say in the biz, developing. Discuss, if you like.

I know we generally start with a little banter before getting to the bloggage, but really, can this wait?

Detroit — A Detroit man watching a porn movie while driving his car got into an accident and died.

The man, who wasn’t wearing pants, was watching the movie on his cellphone, said police.

Clifford Ray Jones, 58, wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was partially ejected through the sunroof.

A state police spokesman said it’s the strangest incident he ever encountered.

The accident happened at 3:30 a.m. As Alan sometimes says, “I suspect alcohol was involved.”

Now, the banter: Another week lurches toward its midpoint. Sorta scattered at this end, trying to get a couple things going, but nothing really catching hold yet. It’s like scratching a match and trying to get it to light. You know it’ll happen eventually, but it’s going to take a few scratches first. But I swam fairly well Tuesday. You flail in one part of your life, and you do better in another.

Or, as Clifford Ray Jones might have put it: Just keep both hands on the wheel.

I wish I had more words for you today. I wish I had more links. But I have this:

Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker has been following Trump:

Trump’s fans tend to express little regard for political norms. They cheer at his most outlandish statements. O’Reilly asked Trump if he meant it when he said that he would “take out” the family members of terrorists. He didn’t believe that Trump would “put out hits on women and children” if he were elected. Trump replied, “I would do pretty severe stuff.” The Mesa crowd erupted in applause. “Yeah, baby!” a man near me yelled. I had never previously been to a political event at which people cheered for the murder of women and children.

But right now, I have a little more work to bang out. Later.

Posted at 12:07 am in Detroit life | 44 Comments
 

Bund-tastic.

(Sorry about this, guys — I had this cued up to publish shortly after midnight, or so I thought. So here ya go. Just imagine it’s 6 a.m., or whenever you usually read it.)

I’m about Flinted out at the moment, so let’s talk about another ongoing fiasco, eh? Let’s talk Bundyville.

I’ve been following it at something of a remove, via the social-media feeds of a friend who works at Oregon Public Broadcasting (but isn’t covering the standoff at the Malheur wildlife refuge). And I must admit, I’m …puzzled.

Let me say right up front I’m not one of those who consider this crowd of freedom lovers terrorists. I don’t want to go all Waco on they asses. Rather, I think the best strategy to handling this situation is to wait them out but in the meantime, not make it too easy for them. The feds could cut the power, but I’d rather they not. Just let them run out of food, starve them of attention strategically, and let nature take its course. But that’s not what appears to be happening.

They’re letting the mail through, for one, and even though this has led to amusing scenes like the boxes o’ dildos video, it’s also keeping them stocked with white cheddar goldfish crackers. They’re letting reporters in (of course I approve) and apparently young children, too (of course I disapprove). And they’re allowing them to fire up the bulldozer on site and cut new roads (and I totally disapprove of that one).

It’s hard to know what the strategy is for ending this thing. Apparently the FBI is giving no briefings whatsoever. It’s all a matter for conjecture:

As the Bundys will seemingly speak with anyone who will listen, law enforcement spokespeople won’t talk about the investigation. Requests for detailed comment on the situation are routinely denied.

However, federal sources familiar with the occupation, investigation and legal case did speak to OPB on the condition of anonymity.

Those sources tell OPB there is still hope among law enforcement leadership the occupation will end without violence. That’s why law enforcement doesn’t patrol the area, block travel to the refuge or take other actions that could lead to a confrontation.

There’s also a legal concern that a shootout, or raid, could make it harder to get jury convictions and prosecute material supporters.

For now, it seems as though the FBI is taking a chance: If the militants can’t get the standoff they want, they’ll get sick of standing around.

Part of me sees a plan in all this; see paragraph three. These guys are self-deluding little drama queens, and the best strategy with a drama queen is to deny them drama. On the other hand, this Missoula Independent piece on Ryan Payne, the occupiers’ security chief (if indeed they truck with titles, and I bet they do) suggests that if the drama won’t come to them, well then they’ll bring it themselves:

Payne came to believe …that the government uses regulations to deliberately undermine the average American, “that they are purposely destroying industry, they are purposely taking this land from people.” The more he looked, the more he saw a deliberate and nefarious plan being orchestrated by a small number of people wielding enormous power. He saw a pervasive conspiracy to control all aspects of the media, the financial system, the entertainment industry, the military and the government.

More specifically, he came to believe that slavery never really existed in the United States and that African Americans in the antebellum South “didn’t view themselves as slaves.” He came to believe in “an effort by some Jews to control the world.” He came to believe the founders of the United States intended for the states to act as sovereign countries. He came to believe taxes are a form of “legal plunder.” He came to believe names are spelled in all-caps on driver’s licenses because U.S. citizens are actually “corporate entities.” He came to believe U.S. courts are actually foreign admiralty courts. He came to believe that “in most states you have the lawful authority to kill a police officer that is unlawfully trying to arrest you.” He came to believe when a newborn child’s footprint is made on a birth certificate, that child is effectively entering a life of servitude to the U.S. government, which borrows money from China based on that child’s estimated lifetime earning potential.

He came to see all aspects of government, culture and society as mechanisms of control. “And they’ve set everything up so they can maintain that control,” Payne says, “because they believe they are God.”

Every person who’s done time in a newsroom meets these people from time to time; they write insane letters to the editor (or did, before the internet, when they all traded a typewriter on a card table under a single hanging bulb for a PC on the same card table), they self-publish books that they press into your hands, they stalk columnists and editors until one finally sits down with them in a conference room with a glass door, which is checked often by worried colleagues.

And we’re letting these people accept deliveries of food and ammo. Wonderful.

The weekend passed in a blur of sobriety and efficiency. Laundry, market, dry cleaner. Watched “Straight Outta Compton,” which mainly served to remind me why I dislike biopics, and why I shouldn’t watch them if there’s any alternative to be had. I watched my feeds and enjoyed the snow news from the east coast; we enjoyed high pressure, low-but-not-too-low temperatures and a rare blue sky. No snow, little ice and a good day to take the dog for a walk on Belle Isle:

icyriver

But while you’re still thinking snow, thanks to Hank you can read this lovely piece by David Von Drehle, on the peculiar peace of shoveling. I feel exactly the same way — that a well-shoveled walk or cleared driveway speaks well of the person who did the work. (You may not, I understand.)

Monday! Bring it the hell ON.

Posted at 12:30 pm in Current events | 58 Comments