There are days when I open my newspaper and wonder why any journalist would ever want to work anywhere other than Detroit. The humor in this sentence is so dry it only needs to be watered every 4,000 years:
But, as is often the case with Detroit school board meetings, the evening did not go smoothly.
I’ll say. The meeting wouldn’t have been a pleasant one anywhere; declining enrollment and the continuing train wreck of student performance dictate that many, many schools must close for good over the summer — a jaw-dropping 34. As you might imagine, this plan is not popular. As you might not imagine, the meeting where the closings were finally approved produced mayhem:
Audience members disrupted the meeting by humming in unison and shouting. One person threw grapes at the board, striking Vice President Joyce Hayes-Giles.
Grapes. Humming. Shouting. They had a raucous school board meeting in Fort Wayne a couple weeks ago, and the superintendent threatened to call security because some people spoke out of turn. I wonder what she’d do if she were hit in the forehead with a grape.
Of course, this is not a funny story at all. The sad encapsulation of woe:
Unless schools are leased or sold, by fall the city will have about 64 empty public schools and 11 empty Catholic schools. The closures are a result of declining birth rates, the city’s population decline and the loss of students to charter and nearby suburban schools, which receive the state funds for each student they lure away.
As I read somewhere (I think it was a Jim Harrison novel), if you think a factory smokestack belching fire is ugly, just wait until it isn’t.
Again with the dolorous opening salvo. Not my usual style. But then, if you’d awakened this morning to blowing snow, droopy daffodils and temperatures in the low 30s, you’d be feeling pretty damn bitchy this morning, too. Today’s projected high: 38 degrees. A 38-degree day in January is a gift. A 38-degree day in April is a smack in the face. Today I have to plan my Easter dinner. Checking forecast…oh hooray, it’s predicted to be 39 degrees on Easter Sunday. A beef stew sort of forecast, but no, we’ll have ham and potatoes and deviled eggs and all the rest of it. But I don’t care what anybody says, no pastel linens for me. I’m wearing a black wool sweater, and screw you if you don’t like it.
Busy day for me, a truly multimedia one. I need to make significant progress in projects for the web, print and — yes, really — a book. The latter is only a possibility — a bid, to be precise. But every time I think I’m wasting my time at this freelancing stuff, I look back over the last year and note two things:
1) I made more money last year than I did my last full year in the newspaper business; and
2) Versatile is now my middle name. In fact, I think I’ll change it right now.
Go be my little Easter bunny in the comments. I’m going to put flannel sheets on the bed one last time.
Connie said on April 5, 2007 at 10:29 am
Weather is just as bad here in north central Indiana, but in the 20s. My chives are almost a foot tall and all my daylilies have sprouted nicely. I hope they survive this arctic blast. We put our down blanket back on top of our cotton blanket last night.
As for being your little Easter bunny…….. I don’t do Easter. Though I do and try and buy a ham at a great sale price.
Dorothy said on April 5, 2007 at 10:40 am
My son will be 22 on Easter Sunday this year. The day after he was born we had 7″ of snow in Pittsburgh. But it melted after a few days, and the week after he was born we had to put the screens in the windows of our little Cape Cod house to allow the breezes in. Weather this time of the year is always unpredictable.
Connie said on April 5, 2007 at 11:00 am
My mother always said that if it rains on Easter it will rain every Sunday for the next 40 days. What happens if it snows?
ashley said on April 5, 2007 at 11:04 am
Welcome to New Orleans, the national petri dish of charter schools. Most of the public schools are now, post-federal-flood, charter schools.
Does this mean that anyone can theoretically go to any school? Yes! Does it mean that some people can’t go to the school 3 blocks away because the “quota is filled”? Yes!
And I doubt that many of the Detroit schools look like this…
nancy said on April 5, 2007 at 11:18 am
Those photos are ghastly, Ash.
I’ve not written much about New Orleans, because I feel pretty ignorant on the subject. (Ha. Please, no jokes.) It seems they are layers upon layers of nuance to the politics involved, and the blame can go all the way around. I think it’s possible for reasonable people to disagree on certain rebuilding issues, but I absolutely understand the anger. It took Detroit 40 years to get here, and New Orleans covered the same distance in about three days.
But there’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the city has, essentially, been abandoned by the federal government, and that this is directly related to the politics and socioeconomic realities of southern Louisiana. George Bush is going to have a lot to answer for in hell, and Iraq and New Orleans will be Nos. 1 and 2.
brian stouder said on April 5, 2007 at 11:47 am
Well, I agree that W badly mangled the immediate response to the hurricane, and could easily have done much, much better work with the resources since allocated; and I agree that Iraq could have been handled much, much more wisely – even accepting W’s “gathering storm” premise.
That said – how many American presidents would you want to trade places with, when their lives come up for judgement?
The temperature for Harry Truman’s place in hell might have been mainly affected by Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and his blundering into a land war in Korea versus the Red Chinese army!
LBJ & RN & JFK all have their own rap sheets, too. Even Lincoln comes with a list of 620,000+ names of the dead from the war he won…
Just sayin’ – I wouldn’t want to trade with any of those guys
nancy said on April 5, 2007 at 12:13 pm
True. But Harry Truman didn’t stand up in Jackson Square and say, “We’re going to rebuild this great city,” then catch the next flight out and basically do nothing further.
Speaking of which, how’s Trent Lott’s house going?
brian stouder said on April 5, 2007 at 12:55 pm
Seinfeld mode on
Oh – and btw – I liked the word you used up there….I forget which one, but it rhymed with a female anatomical part
Seinfeld mode off
4dbirds said on April 5, 2007 at 1:47 pm
Deviled eggs? Is this an Easter tradition? They say (historians, I guess) that Lincoln agonized over his decisions during the Civil War. I understand G.W. sleeps like a baby.
cce said on April 5, 2007 at 3:04 pm
God, 34 schools closing all at once? Snow in April? Brian Stouder’s comparing W to Lincoln? What’s going on around here?
Wake me up when Easter’s over, the snow is gone and W’s pulled his head out of his arse…could be a long slumber.
nancy said on April 5, 2007 at 4:45 pm
Deviled eggs may or may not be an Easter tradition, but I don’t care. I like deviled eggs, and if I make them myself I won’t have to worry that they’re made with Miracle Whip.
Last year one of Alan’s family members took responsibility for them, and showed up with a batch sprinkled with grated cheese. I could have wept. (With misery.)
Scout said on April 5, 2007 at 4:59 pm
Nancy, if you can’t write a book, then nobody can. I can’t wait to read it.
Connie said on April 5, 2007 at 5:57 pm
I’m with you on the Miracle Whip Nance. Ick.
Dorothy said on April 5, 2007 at 8:47 pm
Me three on the Miracle Whip! Gotta be Hellman’s at my house.
Jeff said on April 6, 2007 at 9:14 am
Helllllloooooo . . .
Deviled egg preferred recipe is? Inquiring minds want to know!
Andrew Jarosh said on April 6, 2007 at 10:31 am
Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers game in Detroit cancelled Thursday because of “coldness.”
Nance: Get out of there.
4dbirds said on April 6, 2007 at 10:54 am
After I posted the comment about the deviled eggs, I immediately thought “Duh, Easter, colored eggs, why not make some deviled as you’re boiling up a batch”? Miracle Whip? Never. For years, my mother used to make her own mayonnaise.
MichaelG said on April 6, 2007 at 11:20 am
It’s so easy to make your own mayo. Don’t worry about separating whites and yolks. Just dump an egg in the blender whiz it once quickly and drizzle in the oil to your desired degree of mayoness. Be easy with it but it won’t separate on you. You can add garlic or terragon or lemon or whatever. Really. Give it a try. You may have to sperament once or twice for your own best result. I learned this from my (now ex) mother in law who lives in Brussels. Home of the sprouts.
Danny said on April 6, 2007 at 11:49 am
Wasabi mayonnaise. Mmmm.