Pants, afire.

For the record, I doubted the Jussie Smollett story from the beginning. I didn’t say so at the time, so you can take that with however much salt you need, but I don’t talk about every thought that pops into my head, even if it seems that way.

I doubted the Rolling Stone rape-on-campus story in 2014, too. Actually, I didn’t believe a word of it.

There was a lawsuit filed in the Larry Nassar case a few months ago, regrettably described as a “bombshell” in the news at the time. A woman claimed that as a young athlete at MSU years ago, Nassar drugged her, raped her, taped the assault (with a cameraman), and this evidence was somehow ignored by the athletic director, who confiscated the tape and made everything go away, even though she got pregnant, later miscarried and got HPV in the bargain. I doubted it as soon as I heard the details. Not sure what the status is now, but an AG’s investigation found “no credible evidence” of any of its claims, so if it hasn’t gone away yet, I expect it will soon.

I offer this not to brag that my bullshit detector is better than anyone else’s, only that I have one. You have one, too, and should use it. I wish more people would. But if you’re wondering what it is about these cases that made me doubt them, well, here we go:

All three rely on what you might call the Too Much Evil plot line or perhaps what I call And Syndrome. In the Smollett case, we were expected to believe that a couple of MAGA chuds were out roaming Chicago with bleach and a rope/noose, looking for someone to attack. Which allegedly went like this:

According to TMZ, the attack happened at around 2 a.m. when Smollett went out to get a sandwich, after which someone yelled, “Aren’t you that f***ot ‘Empire’ n*****?” The outlet reports that the the two offenders — who allegedly are white and wore ski masks — beat Smollett badly enough to fracture a rib, then tied a rope around his neck and poured bleach on him.

“This is MAGA country,” TMZ reports the offenders yelled as they fled after the assault.

So first they yell, then they beat him up, then they pour bleach on him, and then they wrap a rope around his neck, yelling “this is MAGA country” as they run off. Any one of these things would be terrible to have happen to you, but pile them up, and it’s national news.

In the Rolling Stone rape case, we were asked to believe that first “Jackie” was given a spiked drink, then pushed into a room at a frat party, then thrown onto a glass-topped coffee table, which shattered underneath her. Upon this bed of broken glass, she said, she was raped by no fewer than seven men, while two others watched and commented. After which, she somehow managed to get dressed again and found her way outside, where she told some friends what had happened, and asked for help. Imagine what a woman who’s just undergone this punishment must have looked like — her back must have resembled hamburger. I’m surprised she could walk. But her friends — her friends, mind you — say nah, they won’t help because then they might not get into the frats they were rushing.

The Nassar story details I already mentioned. Nassar would have been a medical student at the time, but the AD supposedly took ownership of a videotape depicting a violent rape and…let the med student remain in his job, and later take even bigger ones at the same university.

So. In the first case we have two dudes walking around Chicago — not Birmingham or Salt Lake City or Fargo — carrying bleach and a rope to clear fags from “MAGA country.” And they’re wearing ski masks. In the Rolling Stone story, it’s a drugged drink and broken glass and seven guys and horrible friends. At MSU, it’s a raping med student (all of whose sexual assaults, we now know, were variations on sticking fingers into vaginas and anuses, with masturbation in one case) and a video and a cameraman and a pregnancy and HPV and an evil AD.

And Syndrome.

Smollett’s case would have been more believable if he’d been out that night and admitted to running across his attacker somehow, finding him cute, maybe flirting with him, maybe touching him, which caused the man to flip out and retaliate with violence. Jackie’s rape would have been more believable without the broken glass and two men, instead of seven. The MSU athlete? At least pick the same M.O. Nassar used in every other assault.

But all of these would have been less dramatic, and/or made the victim less sympathetic. If Smollett said he came on to a guy who beat him up, lots of people would think it was his fault. Rolling Stone Jackie somehow needed that horror-movie scenario — seven guys so crazed by lust and violence that they didn’t notice they were kneeling on broken glass — to buffalo a reporter who should have known better. I don’t know about the MSU student, but I would not be surprised to hear that she is not a stranger to mental illness.

I’ve never been a full-time police reporter, but in years in newsrooms, I’ve been amazed at the randomness and weirdness of the crime that appears in the police reports. It so rarely follows the scripts we see on TV. A woman cuts off a man in traffic, he fires a gun into her car, killing a child in the back seat. (This happened in Detroit recently.) Fistfights tend to end after one or maybe two punches, with one guy yelling OW MY NOSE and the other OW MY HAND. The people who throw chemicals, or hot water, on others? Often women, maybe because they know where the bleach is (laundry) and because they’re not as strong as men. And even terrible people have enough self-awareness to know that a gang rape of a young woman at an elite university is not a good idea, and would at least leave the room, rather than watch and participate.

I’ve been lied to, and fallen for lies. My BS detector is certainly not perfect. I want to believe people are basically honest and tell the truth. But many are not, and we should apply simple skepticism, or at least hold our fire until more is revealed. Because more almost always is. \

OK, then! Weekend wrapped. We had surprise Saturday houseguests — Alex and his partner Harry, who came north on the spur of the moment to eat chicken paprikash at a divey little bar under I-75. We ended up at D’Mongo’s, drank too much and sent them off to Ikea to shop for storage solutions. Me, I had a lazy day today, and I regret not a moment of it.

Now it’s snowing. At this time of year, it seems it will snow forever.

Posted at 8:10 pm in Current events | 33 Comments
 

Returned.

Well, we’re back. We’ve been back since Monday night, but as so often happens when you take time off, work falls on your head the minute you walk back through the door.

Also, laundry. Also, snow and ice and more snow.

So now there’s a moment, and here I am. Back! We went here:

That’s an architectural detail outside the Dakota, John Lennon’s old apartment building on Central Park West, in New York. This was a spur-of-the-moment trip, which we threw together at the last minute and lucked into, with a good Airbnb, a decent flight and four days away from Detroit. It was cold, but not as cold as here. We wandered here and there, shopped a little, and did the two NYC museums I’d somehow not seen — MoMA and the Whitney. We went to this show at the Whitney:

The permanent collection was more impressive. With Warhol, you see one, you’ve seen …most of them, anyway.

The true revelation of the trip came Friday night, when we went to the cabaret space at the Public Theater to see Salty Brine, a performer whose Living Record Collection is a series of shows that mash together contemporary albums with other stories. We saw “And If You Listen Very Hard,” a combination of personal stories, Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” and “Led Zeppelin IV.”

It was truly one of the most original, entertaining, funny, poignant and moving nights at the theater I’ve had in years, probably because it was so unexpected. Alan found the listing in Time Out, the seats were dirt cheap ($20), and we got the last ones. Write down the name; you don’t want to miss it if you can.

Otherwise, it was just walking and the subway and eating and all that. It’s been a while since I’ve been to New York; I should go more often.

And now we’re back, with the snow and ice and misery of mid-to-late winter. Good to keep up with all your stories via the comments.

As I continue to cough. Yes. It’s fully tuberculosis now, I figure. So I’m heading to bed.

Here’s a column I wrote. Read it. Traffic is important.

I’ll try to be back Friday. Thanks for holding the place up in my absence.

Posted at 9:49 pm in Same ol' same ol' | 58 Comments
 

Sick, sick, sick.

In my bottomless masochism, I subscribed to Will Sommer’s Right Richter newsletter. It’s not the reading that’s difficult; Sommer covers the nutso right for the Daily Beast, and man. Man. It’s hard to believe this isn’t just pro wrestling.

The newsletter is free, and if you follow the link above you can get it, too. I’m going to quote more liberally from the latest issue this week than I generally do, just so you can get the gist here:

Two of the internet’s greatest galaxy brains are at war.

On one side: InfoWars chief Alex Jones, who’s been scrambling to get headlines after getting booted off of nearly every social media platform.

On the other: Joe Rogan, the mixed-martial arts commentator, hallucinogen enthusiast, and bro god who doubles as the gatekeeper to the quasi-conservative, quasi-mystical Intellectual Dark Web.

Jones and Rogan used to be pals. The InfoWars chief was on Rogan’s mega-popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, less than two years ago, racking up millions of views for his one-time chum.

But now, Jones will only describe Rogan as a pig he’s going to gut.

“Joe Rogan, metaphysically, is a Christmas hog,” Jones said Wednesday. “And I’m going to politically haul him up by his back legs and slit his throat. His blood will fill buckets — politically, not violently.”

The beef between the two started at least last summer, when Jones, beset by social media bans and lawsuits over his conspiracy theories, watched his influence start to wane. But the feud has turned red-hot after Rogan interviewed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — and failed, in Jones’s view, to press Dorsey enough on why InfoWars was banned from Twitter.

Enraged, Jones has “declared war” on Rogan, claiming that he’s working for the CIA and George Soros. In his response video, Rogan said he’s just too busy to be a CIA asset.

Jones insisted that Rogan promoted Bitcoin to his audience as part of a scheme to make himself and Dorsey rich off the backs of his “sucker plantation” audience. Naturally, Jones doesn’t mention that InfoWars, too, went wild for Bitcoin in 2017.

Even Rogan’s enthusiasm for the hallucinogen DMT has come into play, with Jones claiming that Rogan is using the drug to mind-control his fans.

It’s tempting to say that of course this is pro wrestling. Because no one could be crazy enough to believe this. But then you wander…well, take a Facebook profile I found myself marveling over the other day, one I’d found while following a comment back from a right-wing deplorable in northern Michigan. I learned that this person, a woman who also lives up there, is convinced she is being poisoned by, among other things, vaccines, fluoridation, chemtrails and 5G internet radiation. She lives remotely because that’s the only way she can feel safe.

Imagine a mind like that, hearing Alex Jones tell you Joe Rogan is using DMT to control his fans. You’d scoff, I’d scoff, but someone who thinks the internet is giving her cancer? Please, Mr. Jones, tell me more. The other day I was thinking about quackery, for some reason, remembering, yet again, the fabulous Flo Ripley, my high-school health teacher, who taught us about chiropractic and osteopathic medicine, how they differed from the traditional sort (at least as practiced in this country), other topics related to how medical con men work, and how we might know when we were being bullshitted. And then the laetrile story broke big — I think Steve McQueen traveled to Mexico to get this cancer cure that Big Pharma wanted to keep from the people, but spoiler alert, he died of cancer anyway. I read these stories at 16, 17 years old and said, Why, this sounds like bullshit. As I recall, Coretta Scott King did the same thing, although I don’t know whether she was after laetrile. Steve Jobs tried to treat his own cancer with “nutrition” and all that.

All dead. And now we have Goop, vaccine “hesitancy” listed as a public-health threat, fluoridation panics and myriad other ignorance afoot in the land, aided and abetted by the internet. And Alex Jones, of course.

So this is going to be it for me for a few days. We’re packing our bags for a long weekend away, Alan burning auto-show comp time and me? I just need some time away. Of course I am still sick. I went to see my doctor and begged for a Z-pack, because I was sure all this crud had migrated to my ears and become a bacterial infection.

His cold-hearted reply: “It’s viral. I had it. My wife had it, everyone has it. Antibiotics won’t do any good and might give you diarrhea.”

So on I go. In week three now. Maybe I’ll spread this to the whole world before I stop coughing.

Posted at 6:29 pm in Current events, Popculch | 132 Comments
 

Slow down, short month.

Oy, what a week. Can February be a little less ridiculous, please? I hope so, anyway. An extraordinarily busy week ended it all, complicated by the cold.

How did it go? The Henry Ford story went viral and provoked a boneheaded response by the city administration, which culminated in a story in the New York Times, but they included a link back to Deadline Detroit, so hey — win-win.

A former owner of one of Detroit’s two most-beloved coney islands died, so that was a quick-turn obit. Then the deep, deep cold settled in for a two-day stay, and my friend Dustin got CO poisoning from the furnace in his apartment. So we had an emergency houseguest Thursday night. (That’s why no blog Friday.) And on Friday night I helped host a fundraiser with about 200 people, for a 501(c)3 I’m involved with. It was a big success, but with this cold — my cold, not the free-floating cold, although it was pretty nippy that night, too — still hanging around, I was croaking like …something that croaks by Saturday morning, which required a bloody-mary debrief on how the night went.

We stayed in Saturday night. For which I am grateful.

The fundraiser was at a local yacht club. Here’s the last picture I took from the back deck before the guests arrived. You get a sense of the temperature, I expect:

But now it is Sunday, and a relatively normal week lies ahead, which will end with a long-weekend getaway for the Derringers, sorely needed. I hope the news behaves itself.

Random notes: Watched “BlackkKlansman” Saturday night, and hated it. Hated hated HATED it. It was vintage Spike Lee: Heavy-handed, too long, scenes that go on and on and on, the whole nine. Did it have its pleasures? Sure: Denzel’s son John David Washington is fine, and Adam Driver is always worth your time. One of the too-long scenes was a dance montage to Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose’s “Too Late to Turn Back Now,” so at least the music was good. But by the time the fourth or fifth white racist said something like, “One of these days we’ll elect a president who thinks like we do” or “America needs to be great again,” I’d had enough. I turned it off with 15 minutes left. It still took two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

I can’t tell whether Spike Lee beats his audience with a Message Stick because he doesn’t trust us to get it, or if he just hates us. I’m going with the latter.

Is there a surge in human trafficking at the Super Bowl, as we hear over and over and over at this time of year? In a word? No.

As for Ralph Northam, I have nothing to say. I checked Twitter during a bathroom break Friday night, when the story was breaking, and thought: I have no more room in my brain, sorry. But for now? I’ll just say that Pam Northam now joins the unhappy ranks of Wives Who Stand in the Background While Their Husbands Self-Immolate.

Also, medical schools have yearbooks? Why?

OK, then. The week awaits, but before that, the Super Bowl. Go Rams.

Posted at 5:57 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' | 70 Comments
 

Beware the ice dragon.

Because this is the news of the hour, the temperature as I write this is -6. And my cold has settled in my chest, so I am hacking like a tubercular hobo. At times like this, I just need to relax and remind myself: By Saturday, it’ll be above freezing; by Sunday, it’ll be in the 40s. And by then, I hope to be on the road to recovery. It’s Wednesday. That’s only half a week away.

What’s the saying about parenthood? The days are long, the years are short. At times like this, it’s the hours that are long. The days will fly.

(I can’t think too hard about that stuff, either. It just reminds me that someday I’m going to die, and I haven’t seen Moscow or St. Petersburg yet.)

Hope all of you are OK. I’m actually feeling a little better, now that I’ve eaten something healthy (spinach-mushroom frittata, avocado toast) and am on my second cup of coffee. I can work at home, and I intend to. Because I’m not sure my car would even start.

I have to say, it’s a good week to be sick, because I’ve been able to read all about Howard Schultz. I love it when a heckler can get this specific:

But otherwise? What a maroon. It really points out how much CEOs and others at that rare-air level surround themselves with butt-kissers. And it seems so…logical for one of these guys to know that, and work hard to find people who will tell them the truth. That just seems like good business; who wants liars and flatterers around them all the time?

Don’t answer that. We all know.

This turned up late in the last post’s comments, and I wanted to pass it along: That Trump’s ideas about duct-taped women, prayer rugs in the desert and smuggler supercars all can be found in a cheesy movie that came out last year — “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” Rachel Maddow did a whole bit about this, but Stephen Colbert did, too, and his features jokes about Howard Schultz, so that’s the one I’m linking to.

And with that, I must turn my efforts toward making my living. Stay warm if you’re in a cold place, cool if not. And send decongestant thoughts my way, OK?

Posted at 10:06 am in Current events | 81 Comments
 

Still hacking.

I noticed Deplorable America objected to the way Roger Stone was arrested — dark and early Friday morning, with the usual phalanx of big dudes with guns. Shameful! and so on. Why, he’s an old man.

As though, if the target were Hillary Clinton, they wouldn’t settle for less than a flash-bang fired directly into her bedroom at 2 a.m., then one of those battering-ram vehicles flattening the front door.

Anyway, that was good Friday news. A friend of mine said her husband woke her up with the news. “Honey, good morning. Roger Stone was just arrested.” Not a bad way to start the day.

If you’re of delicate constitution, I don’t recommend googling “‘Roger Stone’ + swinging + 2006,” lest you turn up the text of a couple of his personal ads that will make you somewhat nauseous. It seems ol’ Roger is an enthusiastic cuckold, which is kind of funny, all things considered.

Of course, by the time this lot is driven from office, we’re going to learn a lot more. That Stone is a p.o.s. is widely known, of course. Widely, widely known:

There were two ways Roger Stone’s morning arrest could have played out.

The first scenario is the one Roger rehearsed in his mind a hundred times; his attorney would have been notified well in advance, giving America’s number one parody cartoon supervillain time to assemble some typically foppish confection: perhaps a purple morning coat, spats, hand-tooled lemur-skin calf boots, a jaunty top hat, a monocle, and an exotic cravat tied in a knot typically used only in vigorous German fesselspiele games. He would stride toward the waiting federales with a louche swagger, his bejeweled walking stick in hand. He would smile for the assembled cameras and toss off some bon mot that communicated both searing contempt and breezy insouciance.

Instead, a second, real-world scenario obtained. A frowzy, shocked Roger Stone woke to the sound of “FBI, WARRANT! OPEN THE DOOR!” in the predawn hours. The FBI may not be getting paid, but that didn’t stop them from rolling hard on Stone’s lair, arresting him, and booking him into the Broward County jail. Stern but polite FBI agents arrested Stone on seven counts of lying to Congress and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

So now it’s Sunday. I’m still sick. We had about three inches of snow overnight, and will get five more tomorrow, followed by the worst cold of the season. And I’m coughing about every 45 seconds, so you can imagine how much I’m into this right now. So let’s go to bloggage, and hope I feel better in a day or two.

Let’s look at this story: Why does the president keep talking about women and duct tape on the border?

There have been no credible reports of women being duct taped there, but…

Nevertheless, there was Trump on Jan. 4, dramatizing the traffickers who “have three or four women with tape on their mouths and tied up, sitting in the back of a van or car.” There he was on Jan. 6: “They nab women, they grab them, they put tape over their mouths.” On Jan. 11: “Taping them up, wrapping tape around their mouths so they can’t shout or scream, tying their hands behind their back and even their legs.”

Sometimes the tape is explicitly duct tape, sometimes it’s electrical. Sometimes it has a specific color, as it did on Jan. 10: “Usually blue tape, as they call it. It’s powerful stuff. Not good.”

It’s hard not to be disturbed by the explicitness; one assumes disturbing explicitness is the point. Trump could have merely said the journey was dangerous for migrant women.

It’s a fantasy of his, I can only assume. And as he has no filter between his id and his mouth, we all get to share it with him.

Maggie Haberman got her hands on an advance copy of Chris Christie’s book:

President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, believed that the “Russia thing” would end as a side effect from the firing of the national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, in the early days of the administration, according to an account in a new memoir by Chris Christie.

The incident recounted in Mr. Christie’s book, “Let Me Finish,” is among the anecdotes describing how the president and Mr. Kushner grappled with a campaign and a presidency that Mr. Christie says neither was prepared for.

Back to bed.

Posted at 9:01 pm in Current events | 48 Comments
 

The edge of NyQuil.

Excuses, excuses. Insert your favorite here, as all are true: I’ve been busy I’ve been tired I’ve been listless it’s been cold it’s going to be colder and now? NOW? I’m getting sick. Just a cold, but I don’t get them often, so it feels like ebola.

Also, I’m the self-pitying sort. But you all know that.

But people? Any day you can wake up to the news of Roger Stone’s indictment is a pretty good day.

I’m disappointed in the CNN-exclusive video, however. I wanted to see him frog-marched out in his Hugh Hefner smoking jacket and bunny slippers, but I guess you take what you get.

I’m going to suck down some Dayquil and prepare for the day. A longer read today, for the weekend:

My friend Bill, retired but a storyteller to the bone, crafts a great one in the course of retirement-editing the Dearborn Historian, a quarterly published by the city of Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit. Locals and the better-informed may know it as the home of Ford Motor Co., and the longtime home of its founder, Henry Ford. People who know their history know Ford was an anti-Semite, as well, a common prejudice for his time.

Anyway, 2019 is the 100-year anniversary of Ford’s purchase of the Dearborn Independent, a failing weekly newspaper, which he then transformed into an amplifier of his beliefs. This passage, early on, amazed me:

In 1931, two years before he became the German chancellor, Adolf Hitler gave an interview to a Detroit News reporter in his Munich office, which featured a large portrait of Ford over the desk of the future führer. The reporter asked about the photo.

“I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” Hitler told the News.

What makes this relevant today is this wrinkle: Ford and his confederates published the Independent’s contents in three books, known collectively as “The International Jew.” And they did so without copyright, so anyone could republish them. And they did, and do, to this day. Ford’s name and ideas (which he almost certainly didn’t write himself) turn up time and again on white-nationalist websites like Stormfront, and “The International Jew” is still in print and available for purchase via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, et al.

It’s a good read, on the longer side but not that bad. Take you half an hour, tops.

Oh, and one more by me, after I attended a press conference featuring John Sinclair, a Detroit radical from back in the day. Was going for a certain Talk of the Town voice here; don’t know if I succeeded.

On to the Dayquil. Fortunately, I have this to read and chortle over:

Republican senators clashed with one another and confronted Vice President Pence inside a private luncheon on Thursday, as anger hit a boiling point over the longest government shutdown in history.

“This is your fault,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at one point, according to two Republicans who attended the lunch and witnessed the exchange.

“Are you suggesting I’m enjoying this?” McConnell snapped back, according to the people who attended the lunch.

And this. OK, gotta scoot. Good weekends, all.

Posted at 8:50 am in Current events, Detroit life | 49 Comments
 

Sequins dead ahead.

We were hit by the same snowstorm y’all were hit by this weekend, but fortunately it was a) under 6 inches; and b) waited until Saturday, which is a good thing. Hate commuting during a major snowfall.

Regrettably, it was followed by a temperature plunge, so out of the closet comes the Parka of Tribulation for an unknown period of time. It was 3 above zero when I got up this morning, and while it will get into the high 20s during the week, next weekend looks pretty grim, too.

But this is winter. Make soup.

Fortunately there was no snow when women had to get to Cobo in heels for the auto show Charity Preview, so let’s get to the pix, eh?

This is an Infiniti concept something-or-other. Alan notes that it cannot be left outdoors in the rain, because it will fill up like a bathtub. Very nice design, though:

And right next to it, another Infiniti concept, this one a sedan. Because every back seat needs a bud vase, don’t you agree? Also love the suicide doors and the steering — thing, because it’s not a wheel — that retracts into the dash. I assume this is a concept for the autonomous era.

On to Kia’s new concept-but-bound-for-production model, the Telluride, its three-row SUV. J.C., please be advised that the video wall had all that falling water animated, to remind you of the streams you will be able to ford in your rugged machine:

But you probably won’t want to use this one, because you’ll mess up the fine bespoke leather work on that spare-tire cover. Note the ladder, so you can get on the roof and glass the distant lions on the savannah. Again, mind the leather and those million-dollar suitcases.

Not to spend too much time in Kia-ville, but I liked the color juxtapositions here:

We were making our way steadily to Subaru, having heard from a reliable source that their display featured puppies. Nope. Only one dog, reppin’ a Subaru trait as popular as the gay-friendly thing — they’re beloved by those who own big-ass dogs.

The dog came courtesy of the Michigan Humane Society, of course. She wore a pink bow tie on her collar, because it was a formal event.

This will be the last show in January, and it showed — besides the disgraced VW, there were no European brands on the floor. This freed up space for what Alan derided as “used-car lots,” although they were extremely luxury-focused lots, with Lambos and McLarens and all those rich-D-bag models, including this BMW.

Remember Miss Michigan? She made a splash last fall when she introduced herself at the Miss America pageant like so. She was there, and mobbed by people wanting selfies, but I was able to get a few words in with her. She’s not only a badass, she has a nose ring and TWO tattoos. She said she was having a blast now that Miss A is over and she can just “do the fun stuff, like this.” Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma:

I entertained Alan’s young colleague with stories of covering the Miss A pageant back in the early ’80s. A very different time, in so many ways.

Everybody loves a sexy-ass Corvette, so here’s a Corvette with a sexy ass. Alan said, “They don’t cost as much as you might think.” He pulled out his phone, scrolled for a minute, and said, “They start at $56,000.” The turntable brought the product specialist into view, and I said, “What does this one cost, as equipped?”

“$135,000,” she replied. OK, then.

Here’s that color again, this time on a Camaro. At least you can find it in a parking lot:

And here it is reflected in the amazingly shiny dress of one of the floor photographers. Year after year, I notice the real risk-takers, fashion-wise, are African Americans. I missed a lot of good outfits because I couldn’t deploy the camera fast enough, but this lady will have to do. She had matching boots, too.

And that’s it for your car-show roundup. Signing off with a self-portrait, because Alan only took one picture of me and it was terrible. Guess I’ll have to wear the dress again soon.

Until June 2020! Although this stupid blog will be back later in the week.

Posted at 12:26 pm in Detroit life | 92 Comments
 

What day is it?

I wrote this on Wednesday:

Ah, the midweek. I worked the super-early shift on Wednesday this week, because the person who usually does it texted me at noon and confessed she’d just had a 16-oz cappuccino, and knew a normal bedtime would be impossible. If only I could be that in touch with my own body. Insomnia stalks me like Jack the Ripper, sneaking out of the fog and laying me low for no good reason.

Like last night. Awake at 3:30 a.m., never really got back to sleep. No worries. I feel fine.

But now I’ve been staring at this screen, with a few breaks for this and that, for 14 hours. I’m knackered, I tell you.

And after I did, I thought, shit, I really have absolutely nothing to say, closed the laptop and watched an episode of “Killing Eve.” And now I have to say this: “Killing Eve” is a very good show, and Sandra Oh is just a revelation in it.

That concludes what I have to say about it, and pretty much everything else.

OK, not really. It’s been a busy news week for our household. Alan’s had the auto show, which stretches across the weekend before and into tonight, when we’ll get dressed in what’s inevitably described as “finery” and go to the Charity Preview. Yeah, I got a new dress this year. Sue me. I like nice dresses.

And then things will settle down. At least, I hope so. In the meantime, I’m giving you guys a new thread, with some new material. Which includes…

Oh god, there’s so much, I can’t even get close to it. I started writing this when the fast-food banquet was news! That seems like it happened six months ago.

Certainly, this list — Donald Trump’s 50 Most Unthinkable Moments, published a couple days ago, needs to be updated.

Then there’s this bombshell, and it’s a real bombshell, assuming it’s true. Suborning perjury. Boom.

So why not relax with this photo gallery — thanks, Ann Fisher — taken by a WPA photographer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan after the lumber boom was over. It documents the extreme hardscrabble of life in “the cut-over,” i.e., the land where every tree had been felled and sent to the mills, which is to say, pretty much every goddamn acre of Michigan. Some amazing pix of some amazing faces.

Me, I’m outta here. Auto show photo gallery coming, eventually.

Posted at 9:38 am in Current events | 39 Comments
 

At least no trains and tunnels.

I envy those of you who have vivid dreams, funny dreams, the kind with truly David Lynch-ian symbolism and imagery. I hardly ever remember my dreams, and when I do, they involve one of two things, and sometimes both: Houses and water.

In dream symbolism, these are primary colors, no-brainers, the sort of thing Sigmund Freud would delegate to the interns. Houses are oneself, water is…well, it’s usually emotions, but it’s also anything you might find in poetry. I never wake up groggy and think, “What did that mean?” I know as soon as I wake up.

When I was pregnant, I had a recurrent dream of a koi pond. I could see the brightly colored fish moving around just under the surface, with one occasionally breaking the surface long enough for me to catch a glimpse, then diving down again. It was so obvious. I was very disappointed in my unimaginative subconscious.

Here’s my typical house dream: I am living in one, and one day I open an interior door and find…a previously unknown room. Which is actually part of a whole warren of undiscovered rooms, in a variety of states of repair, but usually good, but maybe with outdated decor. In the end, I realize that my house is far bigger than I knew.

Then I wake up.

I am large, I contain multitudes — of rooms.

How was your weekend? I put a couple of 2018 things behind me, and now truly feel ready for the new year. I was going to have a schvitz, but opted to clean a bathroom instead. One makes me feel as good as the other, and the schvitz will be there next weekend, whereas my bathroom needed cleaning now.

The auto show begins tomorrow — it’s already begun, actually — and that means the Charity Preview is Friday, and that means I have to spend a few days thinking about whether it’s OK that my jewelry is silver and my clutch, sorta gold. Weigh in, if you like.

Bloggage: This is a terrible story that will make you hate the pharmaceutical industry even more than you do already:

In the meantime, a portion of the more than 7 million diabetic Americans who take insulin are stuck with debilitating costs. Though most don’t pay the full list price for insulin because of insurance coverage and other rebates, some do, especially those who are uninsured, underinsured or facing a coverage gap through Medicare. “The most vulnerable patients are subsidizing the system,” William Cefalu, the chief scientific, medical and mission officer of the American Diabetes Association, told a Senate committee in May.

At the same hearing, a father from Maine told senators that a 90-day prescription for just one of his son’s insulins would cost him $1,489.46. That’s with his high-deductible insurance. He testified that he has taken to buying the same three-month supply from a Canadian pharmacy for about $300 plus $50 in shipping. (It’s technically illegal to import medication from other countries, but the Food and Drug Administration generally doesn’t prosecute individuals if it’s a short-term supply for personal use.) He is not alone in his dilemma: The website GoFundMe has thousands of posts with people pleading for help to pay for insulin.

This stupid country. A friend just got back to the U.S. after an extended stay in France. He’d needed an ultrasound while he was there, and had to pay out of pocket. “But it’s so much money!” the clinician fretted. Never mind that, he said; he’d pay. The bill was $60. For an $800 procedure in the U.S.

Couch-based entertainment update: Now watching “Killing Eve” (excellent), just finished “Leave No Trace,” which is merely heartbreaking.

Hello 2019, hello auto show. Hello, week. Hope yours is good.

Posted at 9:33 pm in Movies, Same ol' same ol', Television | 91 Comments