The thing about freelancing is, I told a fellow freelancer (translation, not journalism) yesterday, it has the predictability of rain. You can usually see what’s coming three days out, maybe, but you can never discount the possibility of a random cloudburst. All you can do is pack an umbrella and train your family to get their own damn dinner once in a while.

Which is my own lame excuse for not posting anything yesterday. I drove, for a story, to a suburb not considered particularly exurban, by Detroit standards. The core of the village was distinctly rural-gone-upmarket, which is to say, a strip of storefronts that once held dry goods and hardware and other needs of a farming populace, but now feature boutique fashions and a bar where you can get a salad featuring dried cherries.

(Dried cherries are the quintessential Michigan goes-with-anything ingredient. They’re always turning up in salads and stuffed into chicken breasts or swimming around in a white sauce. Good think I like them. I believe California went through a phase like this with jicama.)

Anyway, this town, thoroughly suburbanized, not considered all that far out? Was, from my front door, 50 miles away. I guess Los Angeles sprawls that much, and a few other cities. But I couldn’t help but think that if I’d left my house in Indiana and driven 50 miles north or south, I’d either be a) halfway to Indianapolis; or b) at the Michigan border.

By the time I got home I was behind on the rest of the day’s activities, so I elected to be productive rather than bloggy. I’m trying to limit my online time, with some success, but not enough. I’ve subscribed to all my fave blogs’ RSS feeds, which helps a lot, even though the updating is a bit…slow. But really, does one need to haunt Romenesko like a stalker? I don’t think so, even as I tell myself I’m only doing it to see if my ex-employer has been sold yet. Eventually I will get another job, and won’t be able to read the entire internet before lunch and call it “research.” Time to start weaning.

One other thing that happened this week: I saw Bob Seger’s boat, or one of them. Entirely unremarkable to the untrained eye, by the way. Kid Rock would be disappointed, as it doesn’t even remotely match his fantasy to buy a yacht with a flag saying, “Chillin’ the most,” and rock that bitch up and down the coast. Bob’s a serious, serious competitive sailor, which means when he’s rocking this bitch up and down the coast, he’s flying Kevlar sails and no cocktail flags. “He’s hardcore,” said my guide. “Always the last to come out of the water in the fall. If he can, he goes sailing on Thanksgiving morning.” In Detroit. Respect.

So, bloggage:

I’ve been to an Ikea store before. It was OK, but didn’t seem like the sort of place you’d need a traffic cop for, just to manage the teeming millions. But what do I know? Not bloody much, evidently: In Staughton, Mass., the 2003 opening of an Ikea store created such massive traffic jams on local freeways that extra police were brought in to keep the situation from getting out of hand. In Dallas, customers camped in the store’s parking lot awaiting the opening of a new Ikea; resulting traffic jams lasted most of the week.

Swedish modern — the new crack.

My current congressman — congresswoman — is a jerk. My last congressman — congressweasel — is worse.

Are all law professors/bloggers fatuous twits? Lance Mannion dissects Ann Althouse.

And that’s it for me, for now.

Posted at 9:27 am in Same ol' same ol' |

22 responses to “Cloudburst.”

  1. mary said on June 1, 2006 at 10:37 am

    I haven’t been to Ikea in about a year when I needed some shelving for my laundry room. Maybe things there have changed an awful lot since then, because I didn’t see anything worth sleeping in a parking lot for. Calling the furniture there high quality is questionable. I bought a chair for my sons’ room and it disintegrated in less than a year. Ok, it was cheap, and I didn’t have high expectations, but high quality?

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  2. MichaelG said on June 1, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Gosh, everybody keeps complaining about their congressmen and I have to keep telling you all that you don’t have it so bad. You could have my rep — the ever corrupt, ever incompetent John Doolittle. Mr. Doolittle leases a Toyota Highlander for $1073 per month. I wonder how much of a kickback he gets from the dealer.

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  3. Mindy said on June 1, 2006 at 10:47 am

    I once trudged through the Ikea store by the Mall of America thinking I was in for a treat. What a major disappointment. All of the bookcases looked like fifties era cast-offs and none of the furniture was worth more than a grimace.

    The dried cherries will probably be part of your life as long as you’re in Michigan. While vacationing in Vermont a few years ago I ordered the house dressing for my salads wherever we ate. It was always maple. Without fail. Even when it was touted as being the signature dressing with no mention of maple in the menu description, it was maple. Not bad, but not a daily driver for me. My friend is going to retire in Vermont and plans to save the maple syrup for meals out because it’s absolutely everywhere.

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  4. Danny said on June 1, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    My current congressman — congresswoman — is a jerk. My last congressman — congressweasel — is worse.

    My last congressman is in was led away to jail in leg irons

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  5. Dorothy said on June 1, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    The reason why Ikea was so overwhelmed with customers is because of the inexpensive nature of their products. It’s not great quality, as Mary and Mindy said. But for the general population it’s affordable and sort of cool-looking. My niece has outfitted her little house with an awful lot of Ikea products, and it looks just great. For a single 26 year-old who just completed her Master’s degree. Her place has a flair, which is partly due to Ikea and also partly due to Janet’s innate design sense.

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  6. brian stouder said on June 1, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    The breaking news in Fort Wayne yesterday – and which affects a Michigan family – revolves around the crash of a van full of Taylor University students and staff, and mistaken identity.

    A young woman in a coma awoke, and was not who she was thought to be; and another girl was buried, under the wrong name.

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  7. Danny said on June 1, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    When we remodelled the place we bought a few years ago, we used the IKEA wardrobe cabinets in a cool way. We built a bank of five of them into walls where closets with sliding doors would normally go in two rooms . This accomplished two things. It took the inherent flimsiness and instability away and it gave us extremely customizable clothing and storage places. The hardware they use for the shelving options and door hinges is actually very good quality.

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  8. nancy said on June 1, 2006 at 1:45 pm

    Brian, that story is front-page news here, too, as both of the girls are from Michigan. For me, it’s one of those what-can-you-say deals. How awful.

    And Dorothy’s right — Ikea’s market is young people who don’t have all the money in the world to decorate. With the right eye, you can do all right by them. Still, camping out in the parking lot probably …isn’t necessary.

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  9. Dorothy said on June 1, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    I read about that story, too, and went to the blog the family was keeping for the girl (Laura Van Ryn) who turned out to be dead. It’s just so sad but after seeing the pictures of the girls, understandable why there was a mistake. But only so far. Wouldn’t you think they would have done a dental records check on the one who was buried?? God forbid anyone I know is ever in that situation, but if so, that’s what I’d insist upon.

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  10. Dorothy said on June 1, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    Oh and I bought a chair at Ikea about 5 years ago in Pittsburgh and it’s still going strong. It’s my sewing chair!! But Nance is right – camping out in the parking lot was overkill.

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  11. Randy said on June 1, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    I just go to IKEA for the Swedish meatballs served in their restaurant…they too are inexpensive and of adequate quality.

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  12. ellen t said on June 1, 2006 at 4:00 pm

    The columnist neglects to mention that Ikea gives away gift cards to the first X number of people in line when it opens a new store. For the grand reopening in Houston a couple of years ago, I think the first person in line got a gift card worth several thousand dollars and the rest got gift cards in smaller denominations. Thus explaining the camping out.

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  13. mary said on June 1, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    To be fair, my laundry room shelves are sturdy and have a sort of stripped down coolness to them. The chair was bad, though.

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  14. Dorothy said on June 1, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    I’ll be fair like Mary. Bookshelves we bought for our kids were not great and one set did not survive one of the moves we did 4 years ago. Split down the back and it was not worth repairing them. A computer chair we got for my son was crap and broke after about a year. However we have a cook pot I bought there and we love it. It cleans up so well (it’s not coated) and I use it frequently. It cost $40 and every time I use it I kick myself for not buying the same thing in the next size up. We have lots of their kitchen implements and like them all very much.

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  15. John said on June 1, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    Ikea Sweedish meatballs and ligonberries

    I confess as an aviation nut and Sweedish meatball fan I have parked myself at the Ikea in Elizabeth NJ becuase the cafeteria has the best view of flight ops at Newark Airport.

    Also funny trivia, since Frak is both a curse word on Battlestar Galactica as well as a shaving mirror from Ikea, the new BSG features a Frak mirror in Commander Adama’s quarters.

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  16. Danny said on June 1, 2006 at 7:43 pm

    John, I did not frakkin’ know that! Wonder if Adama says that whenever he cuts himself shaving (which may be often with Olmos’ craggy chops). I’ll have to look for it when the new season starts.

    Do you know, does it start up again this summer or are they going to wait ’till fall or next January?

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  17. Danny said on June 1, 2006 at 7:59 pm

    Ashley, you around? If so, I was reading over at defamer of how bad Steve Seagal’s band was (actualy band good, Steven bad) and someone posted this:

    i saw his band play right before will nelson at the bacchus ball in n.o. for mardi gras this year. he’s amazingly bad. but he has an amazing backing band. that was also the night that michael keaton tried to sing with willie nelson. willie’s personal security guard didn’t know who this guy jumping on stage was and he tackled batman.”

    Is this true? If so, hilrarious. I could just picture Willie sayin’, “No, he’s cool, man.” And then afterwards, after the singin’, apologizing to the guard and telling him he made the right initial call.

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  18. basset said on June 1, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    so what is Seger’s boat named? not “Beautiful Loser,” I’d guess…

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  19. nancy said on June 1, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    It has no visible name. It says “Falcon” on the hull, but I think that’s the manufacturer. Bob must prefer a low profile in at least some things.

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  20. John said on June 2, 2006 at 9:07 am


    Heres a link to the mirror trivia.

    I’m just doing my part to promote an amazing show, perhaps as TV guide said, the best show on television.

    No one is safe, or sacred. It has as many sick twists and backstory as any other show. I’m a fan of the old show but this is a much better show. More than a few times I have been left in shock or yelling, No! Ron D Moore is a true artist. It’s also cool to see Richard Hatch (not the tax evading Survivor star) back and playing a role with a lot of depth. He is the vice-president, at least for now.

    The show won’t be back until mid-october but things were lookin very bleak at the end of the season. I’ve peeked at some spoiler pages and have to say season three promises more twists and turns

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  21. John said on June 2, 2006 at 9:09 am

    would help if I posted the link… DOH

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  22. Danny said on June 2, 2006 at 9:31 am

    John, I totally agree, we’ve been hooked on the new BSG since the pilot a couple of years ago. I don’t watch much TV, but this is a very well written show and the acting is superb. Though it is technically science fiction, it’s really much more and the SF content takes a backseat to good character development and interesting questions. I think even non-SF folks would like it.

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