May I borrow that pen?

I was reading the paper yesterday and came across one of those stories we’ve discussed before – the public shaming of someone caught embezzling. There’s something so uniquely humiliating about seeing these items bought with purloined funds; the evidence tags only underline the foolishness of risking liberty, fortune, reputation and family for something that inevitably looks shabby under a courtroom’s glaring lights.

This case hasn’t gotten this far; the accused is still only accused, but the feds are not shy with their filings in this case, in which an executive for Fiat Chrysler allegedly siphoned funds from a company training fund into his pocket and from there into various other pockets around town. He had the mansion and the swimming pool and the Ferrari and the “outdoor kitchen,” but this story is about his fondness for expensive fountain pens. He bought two — two! — $36,000, limited-edition (aren’t they all?) MontBlancs, with mother-of-pearl this and sapphire-embedded that. They were, the story labored perhaps just a teensy bit too hard to underline, issued to honor Abraham Lincoln, who I have to think would have guffawed at such a thing. (I shudder to think of the gewgaws yet to come to commemorate our 45th president.)

Anyway, not only does this guy have to squirm under the magnifying glass of those with subpoenas, he also has to endure the scorn of the pen community:

“This is a guy trying to live like how he thinks rich people live,” said Eric Fonville, president of the Michigan Pen Club, a collectors group of about 130 members. “Nobody would buy a $40,000 Montblanc. True millionaires don’t spend money like that.”

It so happens I agree, but someone must buy the things, or MontBlanc wouldn’t go to the trouble to make them. I guess they’re all tacky people.

But the shading is not over:

Iacobelli does not appear to be a serious pen collector. Fonville, the pen club president, had never heard of him until the indictment.

“He’s not a part of the pen-collecting community,” Fonville said.

And with that, a disgraced former Fiat Chrysler executive imagines life in a cell, and when everything he writes with resembles a crayon.

Stay honest, people. Or you could find yourself publicly shamed by a pen-club president.

So, we now march into the weekend. Hot and steamy here, which I guess is sorta-Indian summer, although I thought that had to come after the first frost, and we haven’t had that yet. I’m going to do the NYT mini crossword and ask you once again to read my Schvitz story, so I can be web-traffic queen for a day.

This other Bridge link will be live after noon EDT today. It’s about a crappy poll that claimed Kid Rock could beat Debbie Stabenow in the Michigan Senate race. If you follow the link within it to the FiveThirtyEight debunking, you find this remarkable passage:

After Delphi Analytica released its Michigan survey (it has released eight polls in all), I received a direct message on Twitter from Michael McDonald, a source I had spoken to before. McDonald follows political betting markets and had previously contacted me about another survey firm, CSP Polling, that he believed was a shell organization started by some people who use PredictIt, a betting market for political propositions. McDonald said that CSP stood for “Cuck Shed Polling.” Like Delphi Analytica, CSP Polling doesn’t list anyone who works there on its website.

A betting market for politics? Really? Talk about fools and their money.

Good weekend to all.

Posted at 9:14 am in Current events | 45 Comments
 

The good table.

The Detroit News has an annual event where they recognize the Michiganians of the Year, and this year’s was last night. I went as Alan’s date – a little reluctantly but dutifully, attitudes I shed as the evening went on. The view from atop the Motor City Casino was spectacular even on a drizzly evening, the company was good, the honorees inspiring and how often do you get to go to a party with Kate Upton?

Her uncle Fred, a Republican congressman from southwest Michigan, was being honored, along with Debbie Dingell, in a special bipartisan co-award. Dingell came close to tears describing her friendship with Fred Upton, a scene that good Republicans these days would laugh at scornfully, I suspect. Uncle Fred is said to be maybe retiring, or perhaps will run for the Senate. Dingell is in her second term, and indefatigable. Dunno what Kate’s next project is; I expect she’s concentrating on planning her wedding to Justin Verlander. And no, I never really got closer to her than looking at her blonde updo from a couple tables away, but I glimpsed her from the side at one point, and she has enviably nice legs.

And that’s why I didn’t update last night.

Back at work, and I feel pretty good so far. Yesterday was a bit of a grind, but I kept my nose to the stone and only have a little blood spattered on my blouse to show for it. In between, I caught up with some podcasts, in particular the week-old “What Happened” edition of “Pod Save America,” a 45-minute interview with Hillary Clinton. This WashPost piece concentrates on her comments about Bernie, but what stuck with me was her flinty defense of the necessity of courting big-money donors in an age of Koch, Mercer, Sinclair Broadcasting, et al. These are people who either own media empires or command them as such, and in an era when people are so easily manipulated by utter fucking bullshit, well, you can’t fight fire with kumbaya. I encourage you to click that last link, last week’s NYT magazine piece on the Russian propaganda operation, another piece I’m catching up with. It’s sort of terrifying.

And I’m multitasking with the NYT podcast looking at yesterday’s UN speech by the prez. He’s very fond of unnecessary modifiers, I notice — completely unacceptable, totally destroy, etc. Beyond that, I’ve not had enough coffee to further analyze that one.

So on to the bloggage.

We all know this, but Jamelle Bouie says it again.

Do you follow Will Sommer’s coverage of right-wing media? You should.

There’s a big freeway-restoration project going on in Detroit, the rebuilding of one side of the I-75 bridge over the Rouge River, but not only the Rouge River – it also crosses a landscape of industrial works that looks like the set of a dystopian sci-fi movie. It’s a two-year project and everyone around here knows about it. Except for this guy, who broke through the barriers, did $50,000 worth of damage to the project and nearly fell through the bridge surface. I know this is hard to believe, but police say alcohol may have been involved here.

With that, let’s tackle Wednesday.

Posted at 9:01 am in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' | 77 Comments
 

Back to the mangle.

And in just a week, that’s that.

No complaints here. Last year’s vacations were about getting out and exploring and doing new things. This year’s was more about retreating and refreshing, and that is fine. Fine, I tell you. I desperately needed both parts of that R ‘n’ R, and the setting was lovely. The image above was from the same walk that yielded the last one, when the first maples were just starting to redden. By the time we left, the bracken ferns were browning, the milkweed was yellowing and while the forest is still mostly green, the last act of the year is underway. Sorry to break it to you, but I guess most of us check the calendar from time to time.

Thank you all for keeping up the conversation in my absence. I tried to avoid most news, but couldn’t get away entirely. Actually, me on a news diet is approximately an average American who considers themselves well-informed, I suspect, at least judging from the conversations I overhear in restaurants. We had zero cell signal where we were staying, and no wifi. Have you noticed how the only place you find video stores these days are in rural areas and poor neighborhoods? One can’t get decent-enough internet service to stream, the other can’t really afford it. I’m leaving out the exceptional film-snob place deep in some university-adjacent neighborhood, but even those are going away, I expect. So we watched cottage-shelf DVDs and read. Got through three New Yorkers, one a disappointing fiction issue, and two books – “Conversations With Friends” and “Under the Tuscan Sun,” which a friend gifted me with and said I’d love. (I realize it was a best-seller for a long time, but I remind you, I was the very last person in the world to see “A Chorus Line” on Broadway, too.)

It turns out I liked-short-of-loved it, but it’s an interesting artifact of its time, I’ll say, that time being the bygone Clinton presidency. Sigh. Remember that time? Everybody was earning good money, the newspaper business was robust and Al Kida was a guy who sold you your morning bagel. (Carbs were OK then, too.) You could publish a memoir about resetting your life by undertaking the renovation of an Italian villa on an American academic’s schedule, and people found it refreshing rather than self-indulgent. Even “Tuscany,” back then, was sort of a yuppie Brigadoon, a destination you visited, fell in love with and vowed to return to ever after. It’s a richly detailed book, but after the main work on the house is over, it lost steam for me.

“Conversations With Friends” was richer, and I bought it based on the fact I read this New Yorker piece about it all the way to the end. It’s not a substantial book, but it’s interesting, as a glimpse of how young people think about love. At least the young person who wrote it.

I did much of my reading on the screened porch, because the weather was so warm, approaching fall or not. This is overexposed; I was trying to capture the gnat cloud at the center — look closely — but it also captures the warmth of the day:

The next day was ever warmer, and we floated on the river for about six hours. Lunch was a sandwich on a convenient gravel bar. Longtime readers will remember the boat from 2004, when Alan built it.

Our time in the cottage was done Thursday, but we couldn’t bear to go home, so we headed over to Traverse City in hopes that the usual summer crowds had abated somewhat. They had, but the place is still too much for me, except food-wise. We had a couple of good meals there, a couple more good beers, and I found a pair of cool boots, half-price, which makes it a good trip.

And then, homeward bound. As the cell signal grew stronger, I caught up on some reading. Almost all of it is outdated, but here are a couple you might not have seen yet:

The death of expertise, via Politico. We’ve hashed this out here many times, but the dark side of the internet’s democratization of everything has been the idea that anyone can be…oh, take your pick. A filmmaker, a publisher, a writer, a politician, a designer, etc. etc. I’m ready for the smart people to make a comeback, but god knows when that might be:

Voters say they reject expertise because experts—whom they think of as indistinguishable from governing elites—have failed them. “Americans might look back on the last 50 years and say, ‘What have experts done for us lately?’” one USA Today columnist recently wrote, without irony. Somehow, such critics missed the successful conclusion of the Cold War, the abundance of food to the point that we subsidize farmers, the creation of medicines that have extended human life, automobiles that are safer and more efficient than ever, and even the expert-driven victories of the previously hopeless Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. Experts, in this distorted telling, have managed only to impoverish and exploit ordinary Americans; anything that has benefited others apparently happened only by mere chance.

Also from Politico, the loneliest president, by Michael Kruse, who has made Trump-the-man his beat over the last year.

Finally, maybe a little housekeeping note. I’ve decided to continue the 3x/week posting, instead of the former 5x. I need to do some other writing, personal writing, and I need the time. You folks seem to carry the freight well in my absence, so keep on keeping on.

Now to find the bottom of my inbox. Over and out and back to the mangle. See you Wednesday-ish.

Posted at 4:04 pm in Housekeeping, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' | 85 Comments
 

It’s heeeere. 

Briefly have wifi, zero cell service. (Thank God.) But guess what’s coming?

Posted at 7:31 pm in Uncategorized | 141 Comments
 

All I ever wanted.

As I mentioned a couple days ago, today begins a week of vacation for yours truly, the first full week off since last Christmas, and yes, it’s nobody’s fault but mine. You can procrastinate on claiming your days off, the same way you can in filing expense reports and the like.

All I know right now, though, is I NEED A LITTLE BREAK. Yesterday I was toiling in one form or another for about 14 hours. Not heavy lifting, of course, and yes, there was a 20-minute power nap in there, but still. My mind needs a break from the news, from the grind, from all of it.

We’re going up north for a week. Alan will fish, I will read.

And there’ll be at least one more week off before the year-end holiday break. I mean, use it or lose it.

So now we wait for the next catastrophe. One of my Facebook network is posting intermittent short posts from Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of St. Martin, which took a direct hit from Irma and is awaiting José. It’s grim there. I know dozens of people in Florida, and I’m thinking all my good thoughts for them. And of course we don’t know what our president will think of next. All I know is I’ll have a poor cell signal for a while.

I hope to put fresh posts in from time to time, probably picture posts you can comment on, as I don’t even know our rental’s wifi status. I hear the weather will be fine for at least some of the time. The woods and river are pretty up there. No hurricanes, anyway.

Have a great week, all. I plan to.

Posted at 4:52 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 58 Comments
 

Fresh notebook pages.

It’s a bad policy, but Michigan schools are prohibited by law from starting until after Labor Day, and there’s a tiny part of me that is OK with that. I want the curtain to come down on summer before it rises on the school year, and yesterday was a perfect ending. The day was windy and increasingly hot through the afternoon, the gusts pushing the 80s out like a broom. A big front of thunderstorms was behind it all, and it hit around dinnertime where we are. It was the whistle that blew to clear the pool for good, send all the kids home to lay out their first-day outfits and backpacks, eat the final summer meal and set alarms for the first time in weeks or months.

Then, today, cool again, struggling to reach 70. My social-media feeds are full of pictures of little kids holding signs that say FIRST DAY 2017-18 and older ones smirking at mom.

People who live at this latitude say they like the change of seasons. They better, because they sure do change.

How was your weekend? We did a little sailing…

And I did a little rokkin’…

And there was relaxation, and some cold beers, tacos and laundry. The show was fun, Edgar Winter and Alice Cooper and Deep Purple on one bill, in that order. My young friend Dustin describes himself as an old soul, mainly reflected in his fondness for music that was popular when I was in high school. I wouldn’t have purchased a ticket for $5, but I was happy to be his plus-one as he reviewed the show for the local paper. The revelation was Edgar Winter, who I expected to be at death’s door, but wasn’t, and did a valiant “Tobacco Road” cover in honor of his late brother. Alice Cooper was…Alice Cooper, givin’ the folks what they came there for. Deep Purple took too many extended breaks for keyboard-solo noodling, doubtless to give the lead singer time for oxygen treatments backstage.

“One day, one of these guys is actually going to die out here in front of my eyes,” Dustin told me once. “And then my life will be complete.” He does a pretty fair impression of Roger Daltrey gasping for breath after struggling through the final yell in “Won’t Get Fooled Again” that always makes me laugh. “He actually bent over and put his hands on his knees,” D. said, eyes aglow.

Our first trip to this venue was two years ago, to see Steely Dan, and of course Walter Becker, half of that group’s central duo, did actually die over the weekend. I have complicated feelings about that. Long live their many fine recordings.

During one of Deep Purple’s extended jams, I scrolled Twitter and learned of the DACA situation. What is there to say about that? The nation’s mattress continues to get soaked with pee.

And now we have Irma coming for us, but “The Deuce” to look forward to. One of these things is not like the other thing, and I’m not making the comparison.

Short week ahead, then VACATION FOR ME. Rarely have I needed one so badly.

Posted at 6:00 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 107 Comments
 

The snapshots of summer.

Last summer at this time I was bound for California, and put up a big post of sunrise photos taken over the season of early-morning swimming. This year I’m not going to California, so I think I’ll torment you with even MORE photos, although not all of sunrises. Here we are, almost at the end of the season, and this is My Summer 2017, and if my life looks pretty dull, well, that’s life in the year 60, in Trump-adjusted terms.

Hope this download isn’t too big, but everybody has broadband now, right? So let’s get started.


June 19

The time stamp on this is 5:43 a.m. God knows what I was doing up so early, but maybe I was really looking forward to the first outdoor swim of the season. As I explained last year, this is the view of Lake St. Clair from the Grosse Pointe Shores municipal pool deck, where I’ve worked out the last two summers. You can tell this is a rich neighborhood; views like that aren’t cheap.


June 22

Almost every morning it’s like this. As we’ll see.


July 1

This was outside the venue for my high-school reunion, in Columbus. What a scarily accurate rendering of Woody Hayes. Of course, I ended up leaving the reunion and vowing to never, EVER return to this group again, after I was informed by one of my classmates that Barack Obama was “the most racist guy ever.” I blame Woody.


July 2

The next day. Nothing a little sailing can’t cure, although I included this mainly for the Wendy photobomb.


July 3

I wanted to capture the back yard when the clematis was in full bloom. Another Wendy photobomb — look closely.


July 7

Craft cocktailing is a thing where you live too, right? This is at the Peterboro in Detroit. I want to know where they buy those eensy-weensy clothespins.


July 25

The Tigers lost to the Royals that night, but the shadows and light were very fine.


July 28

Even gray mornings are lovely this early.


July 29

My Saturday-morning happy place. For obvious reasons.


August 4

Sometimes I stay up late, although this wasn’t that late. A little house music on a Friday night on a patio feeling a pleasant cooldown that night. That’s my friend Dustin shooting a photo of his friend Stephanie, who was on the turntables. Very meta, and would have been better if I’d exposed it better.


August 6

The ottering adventure in St. Clair with Bill, foreground. Background: Canada.


August 9

Dark enough in the 6 a.m. hour on this day to catch the moonset over in the west. Purely accidental framing.


August 11

I wasn’t going to include this until I saw the wolf in the cloud, alertly facing north. Omen? Oracle?


August 15

A pretty sunrise early, then it clouded over and I took this shot of Tim, the lifeguard/coach who’s been helping me, and many others, improve our swimming these few seasons. He’s a retired teacher and coached the high school girls for years. Love Tim.


August 23

I took a bike ride this morning, and this is a different spot on the same shoreline. Caught not only the swan and the duck, but the downbound freighter Assiniboine. I know because I looked it up on my phone app.

And while we have a few more days of summer left, I’m going to call this the wrap, photo-wise, and I’m taking Monday off, like a good working American. Sunday I’m seeing Alice Cooper at Pine Knob, wooee. I just remembered: Nine years ago I went downtown on Labor Day to see our future president, Barack Obama, who made a brief campaign speech at Hart Plaza. Of course we couldn’t get close, and I don’t recall what he said, but I remember the spring in his step as he took the stage and his slender form in profile. Who could have known that nine years later we’d be where we are today?

The sun keeps rising, and you never know what the day will bring. That’s a good thing.

Enjoy your holiday, and see you Wednesday.

Posted at 8:23 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 81 Comments
 

Open your eyes and see.

I remember something medical ethicist Art Caplan once told me in an interview, which I’ll paraphrase here: “Americans are great at saving the baby from the well.” (This was not long after the Baby Jessica story, which most of you will recall.) He went on: “We’re not so great at buying her a pair of glasses so she can see the well in the first place.” In the disaster in Texas — in every disaster — a lot of people have valiantly, heroically, pitched in to save the baby from the well.

That link goes to a WashPost story on the “Cajun Navy,” the assemblage of mostly Louisiana people who turn out with their low-draft boats to save people left in dire straits by floodwaters. I believe they first came to national prominence in the northern Louisiana floods last year, and they’ve turned out to help in Houston, of course. And that is a great thing, because lives are in acute danger. What’s much harder is caring about people when they’re not in danger, when they’re not wading chest-deep through the wreckage of their lives, holding their pets on their shoulders, or their children, or each other.

It’s harder — for some people, anyway — to admit that climate change is having a direct effect on these storms, and maybe we should swallow hard and make some difficult decisions. Maybe it’s time to buy the baby some glasses.

During the 1993 Mississippi floods, some towns were so inundated that after the waters receded the hard decision was made to actually relocate them, to rebuild on bluffs instead of bottomland. This wasn’t 100 percent popular — history blah blah blah 500 year storms blah blah blah — but cooler heads prevailed. Or maybe they were cash-register heads, because the argument was pretty plain: If we want to rebuild on this soggy plain, we will be uninsurable, period. The next flood will take what it wants with no hope of recompense. And so the town trudged up the hill, and rebuilt there.

The floods in Houston are said to be similarly rare, a once-in-five-lifetimes thing, even though other no-way storms and damage have hit with more yes-way frequency in recent years – Katrina, Sandy and the the 2016 Louisiana floods, to name but two. Just in my little corner of the world, we have inches-in-not-many-hours rain events nearly every year, filling basements, closing freeways and overwhelming infrastructure that once could handle anything. We had one last night, in fact. We had one last summer. In 2014, Detroit got four to six inches of rain in four hours one night in August, doing a cool $1 billion in damage. And chances are, you didn’t even hear about it.

Maybe it’s time to buy the baby some glasses. Climate change is a done deal, southern Louisiana is nearly lost, but perhaps we can start acknowledging that this thing our modern age did to the planet exists, and plan or modify our infrastructure accordingly. At the very least. Something.

Otherwise, it’s just us and the Cajun Navy, CNN, and the rest of this televised pathos-porn we love so much. Which is not enough.

So, bloggage:

This week also marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana. A complicated woman, a tabula rasa for the princess fantasies of millions of young women, who were collectively flattened by her violent end in a traffic accident, as a drunk-driving chauffeur tried to outrun a pack of photographers. I stuck with that story three days before I couldn’t watch another minute, but it went on for three weeks, maybe more. It was a rare case of worldwide hysteria. I mostly remember snapshots:

My local Borders bookstore had a table set up with a blank notebook, where customers could write their thoughts and condolences, with the promise it would be sent to the royal family. The pen was one of those with a feather glued to a ballpoint, I guess because it seemed more princess-y. There was a bud vase with a single flower and a box of Kleenex. This was an exercise that would arouse strong emotions; you needed a tissue. I wonder whether the book was ever sent, and if so, which mail clerk in the royal retinue fed it to the furnace and whether he laughed over it first: “Nigel, it says ‘ere, ‘Charles U R a monster and U deserve that horseface hag.’ Ha-ha!”

The classic-car auction in Auburn, Ind. a couple days later featured a Rolls-Royce with a single claim to fame — it had been used to carry Charles and Diana around on one day of a years-earlier trip to the U.S. Which is to say, she had sat in it for… maybe an hour? Two, tops? Sounds about right. The auctioneer treated this thing like it was the jawbone of a saint with centuries worth of provenance to back it up. The dumbasses at the auction lined up to fling some gladiolus stems into the back seat, like they were seeing on TV in London. I’m sure some tissues were dampened there, too. That they were bestowing near-religious significance on a car, to commemorate the death of a woman who had just died in a car? This seemed lost on them.

I wrote a column after 10 days or so wondering if maybe we weren’t all getting a little overexcited. I received a letter from a woman accusing me of hating Diana for her beauty, because I was so plain. That’s the word she used — plain. I’ve been on Team Camilla ever since, because Plain Girls Rock, or at least Survive. Plain girls don’t date vapid playboys and entrust themselves to their private-sector chauffeurs, anyway. At least I hope not.

My favorite single detail of the whole tawdry affair: Four people were in that car, three of them unsecured, all of whom died. The fourth, the princess’ palace-issued bodyguard, was sitting in the passenger seat. He fastened his seat belt, and survived. Let’s all lift a glass to Trevor Rees-Jones, and remember to buckle up.

Oh, and here’s a Hilary Mantel essay about Diana.

Finally, I remember Alex met an earlier partner at an event in Huntington, Ind., called the Nut Fry. Apparently nut fries are a thing in Indiana, and no less an authority than Rex Early, aka a “GOP power broker” used to host one.

And now you know.

Posted at 8:45 pm in Current events | 71 Comments
 

Saturday night, special.

Sunday morning as I write this, a coolish one that reminds us of what lies ahead, but frankly, delightful to enjoy after weeks of swelter. I slept late because I stayed up late last night. The Schvitz, currently undergoing renovation, hosted a fight night party for the McGregor/Mayweather matchup. Ladies admitted free, freewill offering toward the construction fund appreciated.

I went alone, but met friends old and new, including the owner of a marijuana dispensary. The law is in flux here, with a new city ordinance and a state licensing system set to go online later this year. The old dispensary was closed, but a new one is planned. The owner was optimistic and promised it would be something fantastic. I forget the exact language he used, but he implied a Walmart of weed crossed with Nordstrom-level customer service, or something. Should be amusing to see, once it’s finished.

Was the fight worth staying up late for? Meh. Of course the outcome was foreordained, but McGregor delivered, staying upright for 10 rounds and only fouling his opponent with MMA-ish moves about a million times. I wish I could have enjoyed the memory of watching it a little longer, before reading somewhere — can’t recall where, so no link, sorry — that McGregor was the rooting choice of White America, and they’re taking his brave stand as a victory. Well, bully for those rednecks then. I’m feeling a little cranky these days, and I’m blaming it on TAJ, or Trump-adjusted terms, as the new phrase goes. McGregor won in Trump-adjusted terms.

I miss the days when our president didn’t impose himself into my consciousness so often. But that is the world we live in now.

Honestly, Friday’s events left me feeling discouraged and depressed. The more you learn about Joe Arpaio — and I encourage you to follow this Twitter thread, and click the links — the more repulsed, sad and insert-bad-emotion-here I got. And that was only one of the awful things that happened Friday. In an optimistic moment, it’s possible to see this shitshow as the last gasps of a dying corpse. When I’m feeling less so, I think: 60 million people voted for this shit.

Right now I have to get the house in order. We’re having guests for the “Game of Thrones” finale, and I need to do some prep work. In the meantime…

Remember Kirk Jones, the guy who went over Niagara Falls to his death that I wrote about a while back? The Detroit News did a deep dive — so to speak — on him. Nothing about his life is particularly surprising, and he fits the pattern of so many Niagara “daredevils,” who really should be called desperados, in the truest sense of the word. I still owe you guys a story about the Toby Tyler Circus, Jones’ brief employer. One of these days.

A good NYT piece on the best and worst places to be gay in America. I’m not spoiling things to note that most of the best places are in urban America.

Someone was looking for a book recommendation recently, can’t recall who. I can recommend “Mrs. Fletcher,” Tom Perrotta’s new novel over there on the nightstand. It’s funny and seemingly slight, but it has some interesting things to say about contemporary sex and sexuality. I guess I also have to read Joshua Green’s “Devil’s Bargain,” although I don’t want to, but I probably have to. I’ve heard good things. It’s going on the list.

And with that, off to whip up dessert, then do a little more shopping. Enjoy this lovely day, and give thanks you’re not Conor McGregor, who this morning probably feels like he was in a car accident. See you in roughly 48 hours.

Posted at 11:32 am in Current events, Detroit life | 67 Comments
 

Last weeks.

A shortish day, a longish week, and I am so ready for it to be over. How’s your Thursday/Friday/Saturday?

Oh, but what am I talking about? This is one of the fleeting final weeks of summer, and we should savor every minute of it.

That said, I still need a vacation.

I’m planning to do another version of last year’s Sunrises of Summer post, as I can’t seem to stop myself from taking a photo every day I see it. That’ll be for Labor Day. Today was the last day I’ll swim at the Shores pool, overlooking the lake. It’s such a lovely spot, and never lovelier than at sunrise, which comes later and later. In another month, it’ll be the equinox, then the slog to the solstice, and then we start our trip back into the light. This fourth-grade science lesson is brought to you by Got Nothing to Say.

So let’s skip to the bloggage.

Charlotte posted this the other day, but it took me a while to get through it and I’m here to tell you it’s worth your time — GQ’s odyssey in search of Dylann Roof. It’s, um, a powerful piece:

In Charleston, I learned about what happens when whiteness goes antic and is removed from a sense of history. It creates tragedies where black grandchildren who have done everything right have to testify in court to the goodness of the character of their slain 87-year-old grandmother because some unfettered man has taken her life. But I also saw in those families that the ability to stay imaginative, to express grace, a refusal to become like them in the face of horror, is to forever be unbroken. It reminds us that we already know the way out of bondage and into freedom. This is how I will remember those left behind, not just in their grief, their mourning so deep and so profound, but also through their refusal to be vanquished. That even when denied justice for generations, in the face of persistent violence, we insist with a quiet knowing that we will prevail. I thought I needed stories of vengeance and street justice, but I was wrong. I didn’t need them for what they told me about Roof. I needed them for what they said about us. That in our rejection of that kind of hatred, we reveal how we are not battling our own obsolescence. How we resist. How we rise.

Reporters know about outfits like the Congressional Budget Office. Most states have a local version of these wonk-nests, where apolitical number-crunchers estimate the financial implications of legislation proposed by politicians, and then attach it to bills, just so everybody knows what they’re voting for. Trump doesn’t like the CBO, says Steve Rattner:

Developing long-term projections — particularly for complex policies like health care — is exceptionally difficult. And by no means do C.B.O. analyses invariably prove correct.

But passing sweeping legislation without input from the budget office would be like planning a picnic without checking the weather forecast. Meteorologists are not always right either but imagine what life (and businesses such as agriculture) would be like without them.

Finally, my old newspaper is more or less folding — they’re dropping the paper-paper and going all-digital. I don’t even care. Shit happens.

But I hope it doesn’t happen on your weekend. Enjoy.

Posted at 9:32 pm in Current events | 70 Comments