This just in: I dropped a half-gallon pitcher of orange juice on the floor this morning. Did the lid come off, allowing all 64 ounces to go all over the goddamn place? Do you even need to ask?

In a sign my luck may be changing, however, Alan was there to help me clean up, and I had a back-up in the fridge. For those of you keeping track at home.

OK, then.

When I was a Hoosier, two of my favorite people in town were Jerry and Linda Vanderveer, who ran an architectural salvage business on the unglamorous south side. If an old house was slated for demolition, they’d go in, strip everything that could be carried away and take it back to the Wood Shack, corner of Baker and Fairfield. If you were restoring a house and wanted some 1912-era vent covers, or pocket doors, or crystal doorknobs or whatever, you went to see them. Their place didn’t look big from the outside and was claustrophobic within, but it had its own kind of order. Doors were in one room, moldings in another, eight or nine fireplace mantels leaning up against a wall in various states of repair/restoration.

A business like that depends on a certain amount of ongoing demolition, and like most rust-belt cities, the Fort had its share. But when you’re talking about vacant old houses waiting to be torn down, Detroit is Mecca. And where Jerry and Linda were one of only a few, if not the only ones, doing the job in Fort Wayne, here there are dozens.

I stopped in at one of these places in Royal Oak last year, run by a woman with more artistic sensibilities. She not only stripped the stuff, she restored it, recombined it with other pieces and did a brisk business making a lot of cottages up north look very shabby-chic. But considering the abandoned-building business here includes not only houses but architectural masterpieces from the glory days, I really shouldn’t be surprised by some of the stuff that turns up. And yet, I always am.

DetNews columnist Neal Rubin offers an atypical, but by no means unheard-of example today: What am I bid for a pair of solid bronze, 9-and-a-half-foot doors once used on a bank vault and designed by architectural legend Albert Kahn? They’re in good shape, considering they spent the last half-century in some guy’s garage. They now reside in Toledo, where a salvage expert took them after retrieving them from the garage, but they’re still underutilized. She wants $38,000 for them, pocket change for the sort of hedge-fund plutocrat who’d go for such a thing. Shipping is steep — $1,000 — but likely less than what UPS would charge you to move 1,200 pounds of bronze from Toledo to your front house.

This is like when the peasants lopped the heads off the statues on the Notre Dame cathedral during the French revolution, and they found them in some guy’s basement a couple hundred years later. Sorta.

Are you in a Friday mood? I’m in a Friday mood. So take 9 minutes, 28 seconds and enjoy this clipfest of 100 movies, 100 quotes, 100 numbers. Once you get the idea, see if you can anticipate the big ones. The only ones I predicted accurately were 50 and 44 (big clue in the freeze frame below). “Ben-Hur” fans will be at an advantage in the 40s, too:

Are you having fun? Good. Because I have to get some work done. Enjoy.

Posted at 8:47 am in Movies, Same ol' same ol' |

25 responses to “Bronzed.”

  1. Danny said on May 18, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Don’t have time to do the clip at work, but that does look like George Kennedy.

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  2. Mindy said on May 18, 2007 at 9:45 am

    My mother bought two very old concave leaded glass windows at the Wood Shack some years ago. Buying something there meant buying a major project, and she spent many hours working on them. The results were so worth it; they are the most beautiful antiques in her house. A friend who turned out to be not much of a friend wheedled them out of her. Since that whole nightmare involved attorneys, a clause was written for the return of those windows and she got ’em back. They’re that wonderful.

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  3. LA mary said on May 18, 2007 at 9:47 am

    At work I can’t do video or sound, so no clip watching here. I couldn’t hear your Elmore Leonard commentary or see your fave beer commercial.
    The genius consultant here was assigned the task of introducing and training everyone in the use of some new software. Guess what he did. He made a dvd for everyone to watch on their computer. Produced a couple of hundred of them, and sent them out in cute little packages with microwave popcorn and milk duds for that “going to the movies” feeling. Freaking idiot.

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  4. Danny said on May 18, 2007 at 9:53 am

    The genius consultant…

    That reminds me. I need to watch “Office Space” again. Soon. “I’m a people person, dammit!”

    Hey, I saw a clip of the waitress scene from “Five Easy Pieces” and thought it was Joan Crawford, but I was wrong. It was Lorna Thayer. I was just thinking about that because of the Happy Mothers Day cli[ Nancy had linked.

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  5. nancy said on May 18, 2007 at 9:55 am

    When Knight-Ridder was sold, the company sent out a mailing explaining what would happen to our pensions, etc. On MINI cd-roms. Which don’t play on my computer. It was an act of such magnificently moronic cluelessness that it pretty much wrote the epitaph for the place. Ugh.

    Yeah, that’s George Kennedy in “Cool Hand Luke.” Guess what number that one was?

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  6. MarkH said on May 18, 2007 at 10:11 am

    I got down to 61 before I HAD to get back to work. Good stuff.

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  7. Danny said on May 18, 2007 at 10:50 am


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  8. MarkH said on May 18, 2007 at 11:28 am


    The Perils Of The Internet Age.

    I’m a little mortified today. Has anything like the following ever happened to anyone here?

    I get an email from a client two hours before signing papers requesting an adjustment in the financial end of the deal, which was not in my favor. I’m a little ticked at having my value lowered. So I forward the email to an associate who referred the client and needs to know; forwarded complete with a sem-snarky remark about the client, including the work ‘crap’.

    The problem is, in my anger-resulting-in-haste, I was in ‘reply’ mode, not ‘forward’ mode. Guess who got the missive?


    Communications cut off, deal in great jeopardy, client relationship with referrring associate and company in jeopardy as well, etc., etc. Massive salvage work in progress.

    Severe case of keyboard anxiety taking hold. AAARRRGH!!!

    In this day and age, I can’t be alone…can I?

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  9. MarkH said on May 18, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Click on the YouTube clip; you won’t be sorry.

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  10. MaryO said on May 18, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Mark H.:

    I feel your anxiety. That happened to me once. Stupid, stupid, stupid act on my part. I called the consultant and apologized profusely. He hadn’t seen the email yet and read it as we talked. He instantly turned cold and distant. But there was nothing else I could do. I have been very careful ever since.

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  11. brian stouder said on May 18, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    I once caused two friends (including a distinguished friend of NN.c) to knock heads pretty significantly – because I did a “reply-all” instead of a “reply”; my error really affected their friendship.

    Thinking back on it, I still shudder with embarrassment.

    I have since become very, very much more careful with e-mail

    (now if only I could be more circumspect when it comes to blog-comments! Or – if only Nance had an “edit” key…)

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  12. LA mary said on May 18, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I never use reply all. The grief I’ve been caused by other people using it has shown me that it’s nearly never a good idea.

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  13. brian stouder said on May 18, 2007 at 1:30 pm


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  14. MarkH said on May 18, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Interesting point, LA mary (and Brian).

    Using ‘reply’ in a business setting can help keep important correspondence in a useful chronology, but…danger lurks. Forcing your self to type in a correct address on a fresh email in response can obviously prevent a lot of friction.

    What bothers me is my carelessness, if only for that instant. I’m normally VERY careful, I type slowly on purpose, try my damndest to proofread EVERYTHING, even entries on this blog.

    Talk about toothpaste out of the tube…

    When pissed, count to ten.

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  15. Danny said on May 18, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Well, as you all might guess, being that I am such a snappy commentor and the, as everyone seems to agree, self-appointed torch-bearer of propriety, I’ve never had a problem. 🙂

    But I did just spill coffee all over my keyboard. And a an engineering drawing that I was checking. That wasn’t too cool. At least I missed my pants and shoes.

    Actually, I have had a time or two when I wanted to send off a strongly worded email in the work environment. I’ve even flirted with disaster by typing out the email in all its explicit-expletive glory, sat back and admired it, letting the embers of my grudge be stoked, then quickly extinguised deletion or edition of the email. Maybe I should never do that again.

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  16. LA mary said on May 18, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    There are a couple of people who work here who fire off an email like, “who dropped the ball on scheduling the new grad nurses?” They address it to everyone, administrators, managers, everyone. I ignore it, since not only did I not drop the ball, it wasn’t my ball to start with. This is followed by someone replying to all with “isn’t it mary’s job to do this?” The discussion of if it’s my job goes back and forth, with replies going to all. Inevitably, someone else points out it’s not mary’s job, but that piece of news is not in reply to all format. Two hours later I get a phone call from administration asking why I dropped the ball. I lamely have to say it wasn’t my job, and that who’s job it was was figured out eventually. This has happened, initiated by the same person, four times. Does it suck? You bet.

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  17. cce said on May 18, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Oh, I’ve had similar cell phone issues…thought the call had ended. Forgot to press ‘End’, put the phone on my desk and spent the next five minutes tearing apart the client that was still on the other end of the line . Oops. Project terminated. Never again, never again. Damn technology makes it so hard to be snarky and spiteful.

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  18. brian stouder said on May 18, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Good point about those *#&# cell phones, CCE! Madame Telling Tales recently noted the loss of the classic, satisfying, dramatic punctuation provided by slamming a phone at the end of an unpleasant call.

    The first cell phone maker that figures out a way to allow you to slam the phone down to end a call – and with a positive way to know the call is over! – will outsell the razrs

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  19. Danny said on May 18, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Yeah, Mary, we haven’t quite had that at my work, but what we have had is someone sending out and inocuous email to “ALL.” ALL equallying about 75,000 souls worldwide.

    Inevitably, several bozos will start replying that this email does not apply to them, and then a senior admin will tell ALL that the original email was sent to ALL in error and for everyone to stop replying to ALL. Then the next round of bozos start up again with “Hey, can you take me off of this distribution,” or “Hey, can everyone pelase stop replying to ALL.” Then the senior admin or an IT guru will send out a threatening email about how this is misuse of corporate assets. Then a few more bozos who ignore this will straggle along with their predictable comments. Then it dies down. Finally.

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  20. John said on May 18, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Danny, we get the very same thing here. Only we (the engineers) belittle the admin folks who hit the reply all button.

    The best “send all” e-mail I’ve seen involved a part-time receptionist and her question about Disney animated feature films. She thought “all” meant the 40 some folks in our facility. Not!

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  21. MarkH said on May 18, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks to you all for your responses. Misery loves company, although I’m sorry others have gone through the same thing re: slip-o’-the-email/cellphone.

    Here, we also have to suffer the inane emails broadcast to ‘all’; drives me nuts. But having to see the kind LA mary related would really tee me off.

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  22. michaelj said on May 19, 2007 at 6:56 am

    Using ‘reply’ in a business setting can help keep important correspondence in a useful chronology, but…danger lurks. Forcing your self to type in a correct address on a fresh email in response can obviously prevent a lot of friction.

    Unless you’re Kommissar Karl Rove, illegally using an RNC address. Then it’s just lost in the ozone, or stuck in Lodi, again.

    I’ve never seen the problem with spam and mass redirection of idiotmail. Delete, delete, delete. Spam filters work pretty well. I guess I don’t ever feel like ‘I have to take this.’ Maybe Jack Bauer does, but I’m not saving the world 48 times every 24 hours. I answer to one person alone on my cell phone (ringtone, Waterloo Sunset). Connected? World of Two suffices nicely. Simpler that’s what, and simpler is good for not angrying up the blood, though I like fried food. But you know, if your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts. Works with Cheney, too. My pitching philosophy is simple – keep the ball away from the bat.

    And everybody would do well to take Satchel Paige’s advice, and ‘dance like nobody’s watching. ‘

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  23. michaelj said on May 19, 2007 at 7:08 am

    And MarkH, there’s a great song by Soul Asylum on that particular subject:

    They say misery loves company
    We could start a company
    And make misery, Frustrated Incorporated

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  24. Ricardo said on May 19, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    From 1971 to 1974 I worked for a subcontractor who contracted with HUD in Wayne county. There were around 17,000 abandoned houses in the Detroit area and we cleaned up the weeds and debris. Even before that time, I was struck with how many other communities treasured their old buildings (Ann Arbor) and Detroit wanted to tear them down as quickly as possible. It was so sad, but we all had a lot of stories of our visits to the sites that had been homes to families, and not all of the stories were sad.

    Most of Orange County was built since 1955, but I do live in a town that has a lot of Victorian houses, an “Old Town”, and a downtown that looks like Bedford Falls (except for the snow). The stores mostly sell antiques. This morning I was by an architectural salvage yard in the town circle, but they have to go all over the west to find items to sell.

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  25. Danny said on May 20, 2007 at 8:20 am

    That’s hilarious, John. At least the admin wasn’t asking about Disney or Bill Gates giving away a large sum of money for signing everyone up to reply to a chain mail.

    I’m not positive, but at my work I think most of the reply-to-all infractions come from the shop guys, so we engineers tend not to belittle them for fear that they may feed us pencil-necked geeks into their CNC machines.

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