The Ides of March.

Houseguests — everyone should have them. Otherwise, how would you ever find the energy to clean the house?

Not that we here at NN.C Central value our houseguests purely for their motivational purposes, although the impending arrival of John and Sam (Sam’s a girl, FYI) did prove to be the motivational fire under my ass to finally whip the last room — not counting the basement — into shape. It’s the guest room/my office, and for weeks, just looking into its jumble of boxes and chaos defeated me. In this house’s former ownership, it was the baby’s room, and it still has its peaceable-kingdom wallpaper border, upon which giraffes frolic with lions. I used that as an excuse: “I think I’ll make myself some lunch first, so I don’t have to look at those giraffes.”

Now it’s more or less finished, except for the frilly curtain thingies and the wallpaper. I hung my KWF diploma/group picture over the desk, to remind me that 17 other people in the world are advancing in their careers, and I’d better get going.

As always when John and Sam visit, the computers got improved; he’s my Mac-genius friend. A few tips to pass along: If you haven’t discovered Google maps, run right over there and do so — you’ll purge Mapquest from your bookmarks immediately afterward. I’m also experimenting with — Vince, Alex, pay attention — Flickr, a faboo photo-sharing site, and hope to have a little Grosse Pointe photo essay in place by, oh, let’s set a deadline — week’s end, say.

And I pass along John’s oracular advice to you: “Metadata is as important as data these days. Pay attention to your tags.”

Yes, oh great one. But when you start nosing around Flickr, you’ll see exactly what he means.

J & S left yesterday morning, March 14, not quite halfway to the alleged lamb-like end of the month. Temperature: 18 degrees. I give up. I F**CKING GIVE UP, I say. I feel like Al Swerengen getting a prostate massage, just one big lump of misery and fury. I feel like hooking the dog to his leash and walking south until we reach the zone where temperatures sit at 55 degrees F. or higher. Unfortunately, we’d have to go through Detroit to get there. Maybe not.

So, then, the bloggage:

File this under “what liberal media?,” Richard Cohen’s take on the absurd lengths to which “balance” can be taken, especially on C-SPAN: You will not be seeing Deborah Lipstadt on C-SPAN. The Holocaust scholar at Emory University has a new book out (“History on Trial”), and an upcoming lecture of hers at Harvard was scheduled to be televised on the public affairs cable outlet. The book is about a libel case brought against her in Britain by David Irving, a Holocaust denier, trivializer and prevaricator who is, by solemn ruling of the very court that heard his lawsuit, “anti-Semitic and racist.” No matter. C-SPAN wanted Irving to “balance” Lipstadt.

Whenever I go to Starbucks, I refuse to use their stupid euphemisms for small, medium and large. I thought it was just me (and Alan). It’s not: When Seth Shepsle goes to Starbucks, he orders a “medium” because “grande” — as the coffee company calls the size, the one between big and small — annoys him. Well, there’s a man after my own heart. The story’s about how people cope with life’s small annoyances. I guess refusing to say “venti” beats going into a church with a gun.

Lance linked to one of those stupid online time-wasters, this one “Which Greek god are you?” Mercifully, it doesn’t waste much time.

Even though I feel like Dolorosa, the goddess of late-winter cabin fever, it turns out I’m…


Posted at 9:35 am in Uncategorized |

12 responses to “The Ides of March.”

  1. Danny said on March 15, 2005 at 9:52 am

    Nance, I too thought I was the only one with an embargo on Starbucks-ese. My wife and friends infrequently (I go to SB once in a great while, prefer homebrew) get to hear my scathing diatribe on why I despise SB for trying to change my personal lexicon to theirs. They usually shrug their shoulder. But you (and Alan) and I know that is just because they are not true believers.



    Now, back to work,

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  2. alex said on March 15, 2005 at 11:04 am

    On balance, the media seldom address the subject of homosexuality without exactly the same kind of balance Cohen cites. Point/counterpoint between scientists and hatemongers is the typical format. It never made any sense to me.

    As for Starbucks, you try anything different and you’ll send those poor little baristas spiraling from their minimum-wage pigeonholes. I always liked the iced grande Americano with an extra shot. Why? Because the grande cup fits in my car’s cup holder. And because it’s weak and watery otherwise. An alert barista once pointed out to me that the venti Americano delivers the same amount of coffee–not to mention more ice, water and plastic–but actually costs less than a grande with an extra shot. He told me from now on order a venti in a grande cup.

    So one day I did exactly that, but with a different barista, one who looked at me like I was from Mars. “Venti means twenty. You know–like twenty ounces? Duh. You can’t get that into a grande cup.” Whatever. I know ask for four shots on ice in a grande cup and pay the diff so I don’t have to play who’s on first with the clowns at the counter.

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  3. juan said on March 15, 2005 at 11:17 am

    GOOGLE MAPS ROCK! Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing that site to my attention!

    On the coffee sizes, I too think it’s silly that I am expected to learn Latin to order a cup of coffee. I was relieved to visit my local Border’s and see that somebody had taped cardboard over the coffee menu board so it now reads SMALL MEDIUM LARGE. A-freakin-men!

    More on marketing over common sense: My brain almost exploded. I ordered a small pizza from our local pizza chain.

    “Uh… We don’t have small pizzas.”

    “??? What sizes DO you have?”

    “We have Medium, Large, and Extra Large.”

    Boom. Splatter. Thunk. I’ve also had the experience of ordering a Large pizza, only to be surprised at how small the pizza was when it arrived.

    “This is a LARGE? This is the biggest pizza you have?”

    “Oh no. The biggest pizza is the extra large.”

    It reminds me of working at McDonald’s as a kid. We were never allowed to call the “small” sizes “small.” They were “regular.” “Regular, medium and small.” If a customer didn’t specify a size, then we were supposed to give them a regular. Customer’s were frequently angered by getting a Nyquil cup of Dr. Pepper.

    At this point in my life I just order “The largest latte allowed by law, please.” “Gimme the biggest/smallest damn pizza that you make.”

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  4. Lance said on March 15, 2005 at 12:21 pm

    I buy my cup of joe at a rogue Starbucks where even the baristas call the sizes small, medium, and large.

    They probably don’t call themselves baristas either.

    Don’t tell Corporate.

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  5. juan said on March 15, 2005 at 2:45 pm

    Mapquest joke.

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  6. Joe said on March 15, 2005 at 4:54 pm

    I like the Richard Cohen column and the line about Irving’s friends — “His people seem to prefer anonymity — or, in the old days, sheets.”

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  7. KCK said on March 15, 2005 at 6:37 pm

    Not a map exactly, but this site is fun, find your old house:


    You might want to open in a regular sized window

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  8. Eric W. said on March 15, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    Hi, I was wondering if you’re going to update the links page. It’s been down for some time now so I’ve not been able to check it out. Thanks a lot. Great site.

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  9. Nance said on March 15, 2005 at 9:05 pm

    Yes. Good idea. Give me…two weeks.

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  10. juan said on March 16, 2005 at 2:34 pm

    TerraServer is very cool. Thanks KCK!

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  11. vince said on March 17, 2005 at 12:30 am

    Love TerraServer. Just plain cool.

    I’ve been using Google maps at work for several weeks. Thanks for plugging it here; your praise got me to try it again at home on my Mac. Just two weeks ago the service was not compatible with Safari or Internet Explorer on Mac. Now Safari works great. Maybe Mr. Gates could learn something about rapid software upgrades from the folks at Google! It kicks his mappoint software in the cushy tush.

    I await your photo site with baited Nikon breath.

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  12. vince said on March 17, 2005 at 12:42 am

    Not being a coffee drinker, I’m still amused at the Starbucks language dictums.

    And I laugh out loud when Garrison Keillor does bits on it.

    Go to and search “venti” to find 3 of his routines in the least 2 years.

    A fair use clip here:

    “Guy Noir Saturday, February 21, 2004

    GK: Gimme a latte. Extra shot. No whipped cream, no sprinkles, no syrup.

    FN: You want the Small, the Medium, or the Venti?

    GK: Gimme the biggest one you got.

    FN: That’d be the Venti.

    GK: Good. Gimme that one.

    FN: Which one?

    GK: The biggest.

    FN: We got the small, medium, and Venti.

    GK: I’ll take the last one.

    FN: The Venti?

    GK: Yes.

    FN: Why can’t you say it?

    GK: I don’t want to.

    FN: Why not?

    GK: I choose not to.

    FN: Try it. Venti—-

    GK: Just give me one.

    FN: I’d like to hear you say Venti

    . GK: Then give me two mediums. Okay?”

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