The state boys.

One of the more amusing widgets on my new desktop is one that tells me if Mercury is retrograde at any given moment. I believe in astrology about as much as I believe in the leadership capabilities of George W. Bush, but I do believe in easy, stupid explanations for a run of bad luck, and “Mercury is retrograde” works as well as any. (For a time, my friend Mark the Shark started blaming everything that happened in his life on El Niño. This worked well, as it fit in with what everyone else in the world was doing, at least as reflected in the newspapers, where everything from a plague of leopard slugs to a bad losing streak was credited to El Niño.)

After this last couple days of pratfalls, screwups, bad weather and hit-and-run drivers, I need an explanation. I went to the grocery store yesterday and discovered I’d left my wallet at home, having removed it to file my insurance report. I went home and walked the dog. Nothing like walking the dog to settle the old nerves. The leash broke. I drove Kate to school this morning because it was unpleasantly chilly, and the remains of my taillight fell out in the middle of Mack Avenue.

Went home and checked the widget. “Mercury OK,” it said.

Here’s a nice explanation of how retrograde motion happens, if you’re interested.

A nice interlude at the state police post yesterday, sitting in their sterile little waiting area, where there’s nothing to read but pamphlets, but the TV is tuned to the History Channel. I caught the end of a show on Old Las Vegas. In the usual fashion, they kept the titillation for the end, with a discussion of the early topless shows and prostitution on the Strip. Cut to the Las Vegas sheriff, who said with a straight face, “There still may be some prostitution in Vegas, but no more than anywhere else.” I looked around to see if the troopers behind the counter were as wide-eyed with astonishment as I was. They remained intent on their computer screens; it’s just background noise to them.

One of the cops was wearing shades, indoors on a cloudy day. I thought he was just rockin’ the macho cop look, but no — he’d recently had Lasik surgery, and the lights were bothering him. We discussed the pros and cons of this elective procedure, and he said some departments — not his — were making Lasik available free to all working officers. A cop without specs is not fogging his lenses at critical moments, and the prices are now low enough to make it cheaper, over time, than a new pair of $300 glasses every couple years. So far, in Michigan, this enviable health benefit was only available free of charge to — wait for it — state legislators. At least that’s what he said; I have no idea if it’s true, but if so it’s funny, since the distinguished gentlefolk in Lansing are currently displaying extreme myopia, and need all the vision correction they can get.

My first encounter with the Michigan state police came as a teenager in the U.P., where they’re known as “the state boys,” and the less said about that encounter the better. They still drive blue cruisers with a single gumball-machine light on top — none of those pussy high-tech light bars for the state boys. The other day I passed one who had a car pulled over on I-75, three adult men inside, and arrayed on the car’s rooftop — a 40-oz. bottle half-filled with beer and two tall-boy cans of same. The men inside looked glum; the party was over. The state boy sat in the cruiser writing on a clipboard. They say anesthesiology is hours of boredom punctuated by seconds of sheer terror. A cop’s life is 40 percent drunks and 60 percent paperwork.

Do you watch “COPS”? I don’t, but I know men who use it for father-son bonding purposes. Every so often it’s good for a laugh; I’m always amazed at the power of television demonstrated by how many of these Cletuses sign the release to be on TV. I’d think one of the great tensions in a police officer’s life would be the daily confrontation with life’s injustice and ambiguity, seeing how poverty and degradation can thwart even the strongest will, the same way money and privilege can buoy the most clueless morons. Maybe this is why cop-speak tends to be hyper-specific, a place where men and women are males and females, cars are vehicles and booze is intoxicants. The local weekly reports the police business in the language on the report, and so when drunks are pulled out of their cars for sobriety tests, it’s always due to “the strong odor of intoxicants coming from the driver’s facial area.”

Does this entry have a point? It doesn’t appear to, although there’s the strong odor of ass coming from its facial area, so let’s just skip to the bloggage and me to the shower.

Mean Christopher Hitchens on the newly departed reverend: One of (Falwell’s) associates, Bailey Smith, once opined that “God does not hear the prayers of a Jew.” This is one of the few anti-Semitic remarks ever made that has a basis in fact, since God does not exist and does not attend to any prayers, but Smith was not quite making that point. Harsh!

Via Metafilter: Runners tend toward teh crazy. Here’s evidence.

Google Analytics provides evidence that while it may not pay to pick on people more popular than yourself, it does do wonders for one’s traffic:


Another day, another stop at the body shop. Sorry for excessive lameness today; I’m preoccupied.

Posted at 9:09 am in Same ol' same ol' |

36 responses to “The state boys.”

  1. Joe Kobiela said on May 17, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Heck Nancy, I think you should just blame Bush for your run of bad luck lately. It has to be his fault. I couldn’t be any other reason. We had a water line break at work the other day, the guy working buy it happened to be a big ol democrat, I walked by him and said “it’s Bushes fault” for some reason he did not get the joke.
    I laughed,

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  2. LA mary said on May 17, 2007 at 9:41 am

    My ex blamed my getting fed up with him and tossing him out on sun spots. It works for him.

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  3. nancy said on May 17, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Capital idea, Joe. It’s ALL BUSH’S FAULT.

    God, I feel better now.

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  4. LA mary said on May 17, 2007 at 9:54 am

    In spite of the fact that most of the state cops here seem to look like H. R. Haldeman, my experience with them dealing with my hit and run was really excellent. I didn’t get a Haldeman clone to talk to. It was more like a Jennifer Lopez clone, but they got the job done in a friendly and professional way. LAPD is a different story. I’ve never ever had an encounter with them that didn’t leave me ticked off.

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  5. danindy said on May 17, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Um…that necklace made me throw-up a little in my mouth.

    Where do you find these things??!! Keep ’em coming!
    I always blame my bad days on biorhythms.

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  6. James said on May 17, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Regarding Falwell.

    (I don’t know if they’ll run this yet… scheduled for this week…)

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  7. brian stouder said on May 17, 2007 at 10:09 am

    What danindy said!! Blecchh!!!

    Also – Marcia won’t like that blog; it seems to be a capital letter free zone.

    A question: what is “teh”. This word shows up enough that I no longer think it is a typo. Is it an adjective? (today’s context clues seem to indicate that it might be equivalent to ‘very’ )

    Just between us, lately I’ve taken to using the word “feh”, which no doubt entered my vocabulary thanks to this place – and for which I DID find a definition

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  8. LA mary said on May 17, 2007 at 10:23 am

    teh is like abotu and almsot in my vocabulary.

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  9. Danny said on May 17, 2007 at 10:31 am

    I heard a clip of exchanges from Hannity & Combs last night where Hannity and Hitchens were really going at it. Hannity at one point said, “Christopher, I know you think you are the smartest person in the room, but when you attack his [Falwell’s] family like that, you just sound like a total jackass.”

    That pretty much describes how most of you have comported yourselves around here the last few days.

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  10. brian stouder said on May 17, 2007 at 10:36 am

    I once had a formal quote, on letterhead and ready to mail (this was years before e-mail and pdfs) addressed to a fellow named Bob.

    Later – after signing it and setting it aside, I came back to it and was just about to fold it up and mail it when the words “Dear Boob” leapt out at me!!

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  11. sdh said on May 17, 2007 at 10:56 am

    teh is like abotu and almsot in my vocabulary.

    Its a way of making fun of AIM writing while emulating AIM writing. Vry FTW!1!!1

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  12. Scout said on May 17, 2007 at 11:20 am

    I came here to make a comment about the toenail necklace and saw that danindy already said, word for word, what I was going to. So I’ll just leave it at I second that emotion!

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  13. LA mary said on May 17, 2007 at 11:20 am

    I’m making fun of my bad typing. I used to be a slow bad typist on typewriter, but now I’m a fast bad typist on the computer. Porgress.

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  14. Dorothy said on May 17, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    When did Danny become principal of this school?!

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  15. LA mary said on May 17, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Were you stifling the urge to write, “Who died and left you in charge?”

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  16. MichaelG said on May 17, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I was going to write a snarky comment for Jerry Jr., but I stifled it. Mary, I assume that when saying “state police” you are referring to the CHP. In the course of my job I have occasion to visit CHP field offices all over the state. I was at Joshua Tree yesteday. I’ve found that the CHP seems to attract a decidedly better quality of officer than your average police dept. With (naturally) a few exceptions, they all seem to be pretty good people.

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  17. Danny said on May 17, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Hey, just because I call you on what I see as poor taste, doesn’t mean that I am trying to be authoritatrian. So you can have an opinion, but my disagreeing with your actions automatically makes me the bad guy. Sounds to me like you feel guilty.

    And maybe you should. I mean, we’ve already been treated to two cartoons that “light heatedly” imagine Falwell rotting in hell. Great. That’s real funny.

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  18. nancy said on May 17, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    “Light-heatedly?” That’s Purgatory you’re thinking of, not Hell. It’s always 89 degrees with high humidity and no air-conditioning in Purgatory.

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  19. Danny said on May 17, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    MichaelG, you don’t have to stifle your comments. I’m a big boy.

    I’m just surprised at the acrimony and callousness around here. Though I am not a supporter of Falwell (barely knew of him), I do appeal to common decency. When Brian wrote that he couldn’t imagine one person from the liberal slant who he would gleefully celebrate the death of, I thought that was a pretty good summation of what was going on here.

    So, for those of you who identify as progressive or tolerant or caring or whatever generous moniker you want to adopt for yourself, maybe you should think about how incongruous your words have been of late.

    ‘Nuff said.

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  20. Danny said on May 17, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    “Light-heatedly?” That’s Purgatory you’re thinking of, not Hell. It’s always 89 degrees with high humidity and no air-conditioning in Purgatory.

    No, that’s the Carribean. I know. I was just there.

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  21. LA mary said on May 17, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    I admit to being intolerant of hatemongers like Jerry Falwell. If that’s callous, so be it.

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  22. brian stouder said on May 17, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    Well, maybe if he had died ‘in flagrante’ (like Nelson Rockefeller) or ignominiously (like Elvis) – maybe THEN (between guffaws!) more people would see something in the late pastor/wire puller that they could identify with.

    As for me – I suppose I can (generally!) identify with a guy who is wrong about much, and hard-headedly so

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  23. Dorothy said on May 17, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Aww shucks, Danny, I hope you know I was teasing you! Don’t be mad! Come out and play again!!

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  24. Danny said on May 17, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    sniffle… rubs eyes .. wipes tears away

    Oh, okay. 🙂

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  25. alex said on May 17, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Danny, where do you get the idea that progressives should be prigs? Hannity and Colmes (yes, COLMES) whom you adore say far worse about people most nights. I suppose bad taste is okay only when it’s appropriately illiberal?

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  26. Danny said on May 17, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks for the spelling correction. I’m far too busy to worry about it myself. A few things:

    1. I do not think you are using that word “prig” correctly unless you meant to type something totally different. Anyway, I’m just trying to appeal to the better angels of our nature and to point out that being gleeful about another’s ultimate demise is not very cool.

    2. I do not “adore” that show. I didn’t even watch it last night. Just heard clips on the radio coming to work. I agree that they say stupid things.

    So, I don’t think your point applies. At least to me.

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  27. MichaelG said on May 17, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Danny, when you insult people you should be prerpared for them to respond in kind. I hadn’t made any comment about Falwell. My comment was not about Falwell. My comment was about you. You admittedly don’t know anything about the man, “(barely knew of him)” yet you’re making nasty, self serving and unjustified accusations about other people who post comments here. Seems to me that the acrimony around here is mostly yours. Falwell devoted his life to spreading hate, fear, intolerance and division. This is not opinion, this is fact. Bringing up these unpleasant issues upon the occasion of his death is not being a jackass or attacking his family. It is simply a plain and honest assessment of his life and legacy. Some people have made comments to the effect that they are, to say the least, untroubled by his death or even happy that he’s gone. These comments may be honestly viewed as suffering somewhat from a lack of taste but the world certainly is not lessened by Falwell’s passing. His actions, his rhetoric, his preaching, his dishonesty, his hypocrisy all begged for just such comments. After all, they were nothing more than a reflection of his own words. If you buy into Rev. Falwell and his supporters to the extent of defending them then you are buying into the whole program.

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  28. Danny said on May 17, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Michael, “somewhat poor taste?” Maybe you need to review some of the posts and linkage.

    Bottomline, I do not mind being in the minority on this one. Especially since I’m right.

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  29. basset said on May 17, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Danny is trolling, folks. come on, you know better than to respond to that.

    about the toenail necklace… I am a bluegrass/old-time mandolin player (insert adjective of your choice, “halfass” seems to be the most popular and accurate), and in that world plenty of people will pay forty or fifty dollars apiece for a pick made of genuine, now illegal, sea-turtle shell.

    so awhile back on a bluegrass list I made up a story about having the nail of one big toe surgically removed due to some problem or other, keeping it, and doing a course of soaks in boiling water and squashes in a vise to get it flat, then filing it to shape and pickin’ the old Gibson with it.

    you would be amazed how many people believed that. not only hook, line, and sinker, but rod, reel, boat, and baithouse.

    but if I have to run such a distance that my toenails really DO fall off… well, no, not me.

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  30. Danny said on May 17, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Craig. I’m not trolling. It is my strongly held opinion, not a ruse to just piss people off.

    About the toenail story on the bluegrass forum; I can believe the response. I used to frequent and nail care was a frequent topic.

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  31. Kim said on May 18, 2007 at 7:32 am

    Mercury next goes retrograde on/around 6/15 through 7/9. Since it is in Cancer (the sign, not the disease) you’d best be tracking emotional concerns with self (the deepest kind). Writers are particularly susceptible to merc. going retrograde as are travel/real estate deals.

    Generally, Mercury goes retrograde three times a year. June’s will be the second, with the third coming in October (I think).

    I see Mercury going retrograde as a way to put off making big decisions, or to explain big decisions that go awry. But I’d be willing to blame Bush instead, or LA Mary’s ex.

    Ah, the benefits of a liberal arts education.

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  32. Dorothy said on May 18, 2007 at 7:53 am

    MichaelG I like everything you said. You said it better than I ever could.

    Danny I like you, but I think you need to be a just a little less self-righteous on this subject. Just a little.

    That’s all I have to say on this matter I swear.

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  33. James said on May 18, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Hah! You’re lucky you didn’t hear my first comment on hearing about Falwell’s death.

    Now that was in poor taste… This was toned down.

    What I like about the cartoon is that it’s a litmus test. What makes you think that’s Falwell writhing in the pit? It’s just a hand…

    Maybe because the hateful bastard deserves it?

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  34. MichaelG said on May 18, 2007 at 11:54 am

    I think Basset’s right. I need to go back to my original policy of keeping my comments light. Lite? The worst toenail stuff I know of is that disgusting toenail medicine commercial they insist on playing at dinner time.

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  35. Scout said on May 18, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    For the ultimate in poor taste, most of you (not Danny) will love Betty Bowers’ ( All’s Well That Ends Falwell and the accompanying link to “President Bush Declares National Day of Mourning for Beloved McJesus Taliban Huckster” at

    Mark Morford also has a nice greatest hits tribute up today:

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  36. basset said on May 18, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    >>It is my strongly held opinion, not a ruse to just piss people off.

    OK, you really ARE the principal of this school, then. I will go stand in the corner, shamed and disgraced.

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