Ah, the Cranbrook Educational Community. The hoity-toityest private school in all of southeast Michigan. Its classrooms and studios have gestated luminaries as numerous as the stars: Michael Kinsley. Bob Woodruff. Mitt Romney! Nestled in the green bosom of Bloomfield Hills, it’s known for its lovely, peaceful campus, its public art — that’s Carl Milles’ Orpheus Fountain, above, along with Europa and the Bull — its museums, academies and general devotion to learning and enlightenment.

Eliel Saarinen was the main architect of the place, as well as the art school’s director. He and his wife lived in a house on campus. Since Alex was here, taking advantage of the Stay With a Blogger Weekend special, and since Alex is a huge fan of 20th century modern, it seemed a good time to finally get out there and see the Saarinen house.

Well, it’s everything you’d expect a Saarinen house to be — beautiful, austere, clean, symmetrical, attention paid to the last detail, and terribly uncomfortable-looking. Those Finns and their hospitality — everything about them says, “Come and admire, but don’t stay too long.” There was a “cozy corner,” a built-in banquette that ran around two sides of a room. A rug was draped over the seat, and extended out onto the floor. The guide said guests would sit on the bench and pull the rug up over their legs to stay warm. How cozy. What hospitality.

But hey, it’s Saarinen. Some people design for the comfort of the body. Others design for the benefit of the eye. You need a mix.

After that we took the long way home. I wanted Alex to see the Theatre Bizarre, in the back yard of a house along State Fair Road:


It’s…well, I’m not sure what it is. Nearest I can tell, it’s a performance space that opens one night a year — Halloween or thereabouts — for a night of macabre revelry. More pictures at the links.

The next day we spent on the water. Blue sky, blue water, blue T-shirt, blue freighter:


Our next Stay With the Blogger weekend will be after I change the sheets. Make your applications soon.

Bloggage: Ashley Morris has met his match.

Some people don’t like Crocs. Some people must not have children. Or a job that requires standing up for long periods of the day, evidently.

The Columbus Dispatch is running a three-part series on the shooting of a local teenager by the sort of resident politely described as “eccentric.” I’ve read enough multi-part series on wrenching medical conditions to see me through the rest of my life, but part one — about the shooting and how it happened — is well-done and well-worth your time. Some people shouldn’t have guns.

That’s it for me. Time slips away, and I have a lot to do in what remains.

Posted at 9:51 am in Current events, Friends and family, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

26 responses to “Houseguests.”

  1. alex said on July 16, 2007 at 10:40 am

    And to think the NRA is pushing shoot-to-kill, ask-questions-later legislation to expand the right of paranoiacs to kill anything outside the walls of their homes that they may deem threatening. Occurrences like these, not to mention the pencil-dick rage I so often see and hear coming out of NRA dupes, make me think that a thorough mental health evaluation, not simply a background check, should be the minimum requirement for anyone seeking to obtain a gun.

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  2. Danny said on July 16, 2007 at 10:53 am

    And I went up there, I said, “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL.” And I started jumpin up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL,” and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, “KILL, KILL.” And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, “You’re our boy.”

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  3. Kirk said on July 16, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    The talk-radio morons (and some of our readers) seem to think this kid deserves execution for daring to step onto this guy’s property. While this guy had been harassed, these kids were about 25 yards from his house. He wasn’t shooting in the air to scare anyone; he was shooting at them.

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  4. nancy said on July 16, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    I’m simply amazed at how many people claim to be ready to execute a fellow human being for trespassing. Especially a kid.

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  5. czucky Dimes said on July 16, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Nance–Please put up all three parts of the Rachel Barezinsky series. It is a must-read.

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  6. nancy said on July 16, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    OK, here’s part two. Part three is tomorrow. And that page has links to all the extra stuff — photo galleries, video, etc.

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  7. Andrea said on July 16, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Two of Nancy’s favorite topics are in the mix here:

    Open, anonymous comments, which seem to be overwhelmingly negative towards Rachael, and the editor’s strange explanation about why “this story best told on newsprint.” (Is that an awkward headline or what?) It’s still well written online and all of the photos that you would see in print appear to be multimedia links. I’m not sure I follow the editor’s logic.

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  8. Dorothy said on July 16, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I was able to access Part II without a link, which surprised me. Because I thought the Dispatch made online stuff available only if you subscribe to it. It was compelling reading.

    I don’t care WHAT kind of harrassment this guy and his mother were getting; it would never justify his shooting someone over it, unless an intruder came in with a gun pointed at them. What is wrong with people’s brains these days?!?

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  9. nancy said on July 16, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Good question, Dorothy. (Oh, and the Big D used to charge for web content, but dropped that a year or two ago.)

    I hadn’t read the reader comments until Andrea mentioned them, and…whew. If you knew me better, Andrea, you’d know that this story encompasses another pet peeve of mine — untreated mental illness. That so many people could read this story and not come away thinking, “How tragic, that this man never got the help he needed,” but instead, “the lack of respect for property rights in this country has to be corrected, and this shooting is a good first step” is simply depressing.

    (“Property rights” is a favorite hobbyhorse of the paranoid right wing — perhaps because so many spend so much time at home, checking on their basement supplies of drinking water and iodine tablets — and to them, it seems to mean, “Anyone who owns a piece of land should be able to do anything they want with it, on it or in defense of it.” The idea that an innocent person might lose his or her life to capital punishment is far less vexing than the idea an innocent person might lose their house (in the sense that “lose” = “paid market price for”) to eminent domain. So if a bratty teenage girl out looking for a thrill gets shot in the head by the homeowner “defending” his home against giggling and horn-honking, it’s too bad, but ultimately their sympathies lie with the shooter who got a lengthy prison term.)

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  10. LA mary said on July 16, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Within a month of moving to LA, I was home alone and a guy very high on something came to my door asking for someone who didn’t live there. I told him it was the wrong house, and he spent the next 45 minutes trying to break in through various deck doors and windows. Luckily he was high and inept because the LAPD took 45 minutes to get there. He took off on foot into the brush, and they made a very feeble try at catching him. One of the cops said, “Lady, if you are going to be alone at home, you need to get a gun.” I asked him if I should have shot this guy. If I should have killed him or just wounded him. He told me that if I shot him, to make sure he was on my property, preferably in the house, when I did it.
    I didn’t get a gun, I got a great dane.

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  11. brian stouder said on July 16, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    What a horror story. I agree with Andrea that the editor’s commentary is somewhat odd…and did you notice that he looks just like George Costanza (aka Jason Alexander)?

    But aside from that, this story is exactly what good newspapers can do better than anything else other than book publishers; call ‘timeout’ on the daily hurly burly, and the evaporating headlines, and the political ping-pong –

    and then unfold an otherwise easily over-looked tragedy, and explore the genuinely wrenching consequences (in exquisite detail), so that 10’s of thousands of fellow citizens – people who can say “that could be our family” – can catch sight (from a safe distance) of the horror that threatens to engulf that family, and that family’s common effort to overcome it.

    (…and THEN the political ping-pong begins in the comments, fueled by the cranks who side with gun-toting sad-sack who apparently has never heard of porch lights or peep holes or 911 or taking down plate numbers and dropping a dime, or…)

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  12. Kirk said on July 16, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    The cops say that this guy hadn’t called them in about 10 years.

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  13. Jolene said on July 16, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    You wanna see comments? Check out the comments posted in response to Bill Kristols op-ed, titled Why Bush Will Be a Winner in yesterday’s WaPo. There are thousands. I only read a few; in additional to the predictable (and, in my view, justified) outrage, there are many along the lines of “Can I have some of what you’re smokin’?” My favorite referred to Kristol Meth.

    And here’s a Houston Chronicle story about a man who killed, after months of planning, a gay man. He claims that, in killing this man, he was doing God’s work because “sexual perversion” is “the worst sin”. [Quotes from the original article.]

    Many of the comments center on whether God would, in fact, ever order someone to do such a thing. People come out in different ways on what God would want when it comes to killing homosexuals and on how well we can know the mind of God. As you might guess, some people have no doubt about their ability to discern divine intent because, of course, it is all written down in the Bible. And, lucky us! Because we live in the 21st century, we are able use Google to verify that the Bible is, in fact, the ultimate source of wisdom about what to do in any situation. To wit, one commenter said:

    The fact is that the Bible is the most historically accurate book ever written. I know that may be hard for someone who doesn’t live according to its precepts to stomach, but it’s true. Do a simple Google search, and read for yourself (and this is from non-Christian scientists and anthropologists). It’s not only historically accurate, it’s scientifically accurate. Again, a simple Internet search can verify this..

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  14. Dorothy said on July 16, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Mary your story reminded me of when we first moved here to SC. Some ass from a security company came up to us as we were unlocking the door to our new house right after we left the closing. I dismissed him as quickly as I could, and he came back four days later. By that time we had bought Augie. I let Augie “greet” him (barking and clawing in the air as I held onto his collar and shouted to him “We don’t need a security system. We have him!” He was peeved to say the least.

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  15. Jolene said on July 16, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Does anyone know what is required to add preview buttons to blogs of this sort (i.e., fairly simple in technological terms)? All relevant caveats apply (i.e., I don’t really care all that much, I know there is no tech staff devoted to system maintenance and upgrades, operations should occur at least cost, etc.). (And are you allowed to continue to post if you use parenthetical “i.e.” phrases in two sentences in a row?). I’m just asking, not complaining.

    Given my loquaciousness, it would be nice to be able to see whether I’d ended up saying what I meant to say. Of course, shorter comments are always a possibility, but then I’d have to think more carefully before posting.

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  16. Jolene said on July 16, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    And one more thing: Should I introduce myself in some way, or should I just keep talking? Or, I hate to ask, should I stop talking?

    I’ve been a regular reader and very occasional commenter for months, but lately I seem to be wanting to be part of the party. I’m happy to go along and let things unfold as they do, but if those of you who are regulars want to know what’s in my checkered past, I could provide, at least, a few facts—selected, of course, to highlight my many charms and talents.

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  17. brian stouder said on July 16, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Jolene – if they check to see who has invitations to this party, then I’m in trouble right along with you! (and I’ll be just ahead of you, out the side window)

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  18. nancy said on July 16, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Preview is a feature of some comments systems, but not mine (I think). If nothing else, it would spare us Brian’s occasional failure to close his tags. I’ll ask around, see if it can be added.

    As for how you choose to participate here, it’s all up to you, Jolene. If you say, “Hi, I’m Jolene, and I’m an alcoholic,” you’ll just have to imagine us all saying, “Hi, Jolene.” It’s just the way we roll.

    P.S. Send me the link to the Houston Chronicle piece, and I’ll fix your link.

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  19. John said on July 16, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    If we all are coming clean on our “checkered past”, I can’t wait to hear Dorothy’s stripper stories!

    (HaHa….you know I love you!)

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  20. Jolene said on July 16, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    OK. thanks. I’m Jolene. I’m not an alcoholic. I’ll leave what I am to spill out as it will.

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  21. Dorothy said on July 16, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    My STRIPPER stories?! JOHN! And you said you could keep a secret.

    Hmph. Last time I confide in YOU!

    (that ought to get ’em thinking, right John??)

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  22. Kim said on July 16, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    Didn’t know much about Daddy Saarinen except for the 2nd place for the Trib Tower competition, so very cool linkage. Did know about the kid, Eero, who designed the St. Louis Arch (official name much less descriptive), the TWA terminal at JFK, and Cncordia Theological Seminary in … The Fort!

    When I moved to VA some security guy came over and tried to sell us a “system.” I (coming from Chicago) asked if it was better than the gun I wore on a concealed shoulder holster, or the one on my ankle, or the knife on the other ankle. I was not serious at all, but it worked. No one ever came back to ask me about a system.

    Reading the series shortly and looking forward to the good work suggested.

    Oh, and Hi, Jolene. I’m Kim, and I have been sober for, um, well, does the beer I’m drinking now to recover from the swim meet count?

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  23. bassetf5 said on July 16, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    Crocs, no. Mucks, yes, at least for me.

    but being the only liberal I know who owns guns and knows how to use them… I have to be different, I guess.

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  24. Dave said on July 17, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Late comments, I know, but I still listen to WTVN radio, Columbus, occasionally, which comes in fairly strong in Fort Wayne, and was shocked (perhaps I’m silly) at the callers to the morning talk show. These people are nuts, making one wonder at the folks that’re out walking around amongst us. I also read a lot of comments at, which were equally dismaying, people who actually think she got what she deserved.

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  25. 4dbirds said on July 17, 2007 at 8:58 am

    As another liberal who knows how to use a gun, I can’t imagine the carnage in this country if every teenager got what he or she deserved. I have four kids and they put their dad and me through the wringer. Thank goodness I didn’t have any neighbors with itchy fingers. Maybe its because I almost lost a child to cancer but I can’t imagine putting things or property above a living breathing person.

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  26. basset said on July 17, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Plymouth made a car called the Cranbrook back in, I seem to remember, the early to middle fifties. Now, that makes sense.

    then again, some rejected names for the Edsel included “Utopian Turtletop” and “Mongoose Civique”…

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