Area man.

Why I will never stop reading newspapers: Because blogs will never greet me over my morning coffee with a headline like this:

Police: Drunken dad called drunken mom to pick up son

YPSILANTI — Police detained a Northville couple after a wife who drove to pick up her young son when her husband was stopped for drunken driving showed up even more intoxicated than he was, police alleged.

Given that no one was injured, I can enjoy this story guilt-free. Every part of it tickles me, from the Ypsilanti dateline — as funny place names go, Ypsi is pretty good, although run-of-the-mill compared to, say, Rancho Cucamonga — to the dry, pro-forma “police alleged” at the end. [Pause.] You say there’s nothing funny about two children being driven around by drunken parents? You say the rest of the world doesn’t exist for my entertainment?

Way to rain on my parade.

Things I learned while looking up links: There’s a video online called “Living the Dream in Rancho Cucamonga” — Windows Media Player and broadband connection recommended. (If I were writing a novel set there, I’d call it “East of Pomona.”) Also, Ypsilanti was named for Demetrius Ypsilanti, hero of the Greek war of independence. A bust of him stands at the base of the Brick Dick.

Aren’t you glad you stopped by?

My plan today was to bitch about Alice Waters. She is promoting a new book, and getting on my last nerve. Farhad Manjoo in Salon sums up my objections in a nutshell:

Though I have eaten some of the best food I’ve ever encountered at her Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse, and though I have generally tried to live by the gastronomic principles that she’s become famous championing, and though I believe that the world would be better off in nearly every way if more people listened to her, there is a limit to what can be expected of us — of me! — and I wanted to tell her, Alice Waters, you just want too much.

Alice Waters is not content for you to simply eat organic produce. No, no. It’s got to be organic and local and seasonal, and really, for it to be any good at all, you have to get it from the farmer who pulled it out of the earth. And ideally that farmer would be a friend of yours. You and he would discuss the soil and seasons and his search for heirloom varieties, and he would give you tips for your own garden, where, of course, you’d spend many of your weekends.

As frequently happens to journalists when they fall under Waters’ spell, though, he’s quickly changing his tune, even after the kitchen goddess says things like, oh, “I am disappointed because (none of the presidential candidates) is talking about food and agriculture,” and then adds that food is:

…the No. 1 issue. Not one of 10. This is No. 1. It’s what we all have in common, what we all do every day, and it has consequences that affect everybody’s lives. It’s not like this is the same thing as crime in the streets — no, this is more important than crime in the streets. This is not like homeland security — this actually is the ultimate homeland security. This is more important than anything else.

In case you people who don’t live in the market basket of America are wondering how you’re supposed to eat in the winter if you’re confined to local produce, the answer is: Root vegetables. Although Waters makes it sound so wonderful: There are turnips of every color and shape!

Yes, well.

We ate from the “100-mile menu” in Stratford last weekend, and lo it was good. But it was also harvest season. I don’t care how many shapes and colors turnips come in. They’re still turnips. I’m not giving up my supermarket just yet.

OK, this isn’t going well. Let’s cut to the bloggage:

It sounds silly, but I’ve read of this happening at least twice before: Hunter shot by dog.

I’m going to Kate’s school Halloween parade tomorrow. I’ll let you know whether the Baby Ho-bag costume story is manufactured for your holiday horror or dead-on. I suspect the former.

More to come later. When I’m awake.

Posted at 8:50 am in Current events, Popculch |

35 responses to “Area man.”

  1. Julie Robinson said on October 30, 2007 at 9:38 am

    A few years back I wandered into a Limited Too store and had my own Mitch Albom moment. I had previously been unaware that dressing your toddler as a ho was fashionable and wandered around in a state of shocked fascination. The birthday present I ended up buying was glitter body lotion, which seemed positively prudish compared to the rest of the store.

    So I’m glad I no longer have a girl the age of Kate, Nance. I wouldn’t want to tread between the rock/hard place of fitting in vs. dressing as a slut.

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  2. Sue said on October 30, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Completely respectable families think nothing of enrolling their daughters in “dance troupes” where they learn to shake their booties just like the big girls. There is something sickening about watching oblivious parents cheering on their barely pre-teen girls in dance competitions where the little ones gyrate in costumes that would set off a pedophile in a second. It’s everywhere, folks. On the plus side, at least girls are allowed to play sports now, so keep those mixed messages coming.

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  3. ashley said on October 30, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Food is the number one issue? Fuckmook. Jeebus, this rings of family values stalwart David Vitter, who said that gay marriage was the number one issue. Glad to see these twits have their finger on the pulse of ‘merica.

    And for funny city names, my faves are Pacoima and Poughkeepsie. If you go to smaller settlements, “Two Egg, Alabama” is right up there with Wewahitchka.

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  4. LA mary said on October 30, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Tujunga (tuh HUN gah) is good, as are Ho Ho Kus, Hoboken and Macungie.

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  5. Danny said on October 30, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Wewahitchka sounds Cherokee. The 1/256th (or was it 1/2048th) of me that is Native American is deeply offended that people find that name funny. The rest of me wonders if there is an Indian casino in that city yet.

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  6. ashley said on October 30, 2007 at 10:52 am

    I think Wewahitchka is Seminole. The 1/32,768 of me that might be Seminole finds it deeply offensive that you wack job Cherokees would try to take credit for our funny names.

    And, no, there’s no casino there, yet. However, visit the Miccosukee casino and resort whenever in South Florida.

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  7. MichaelG said on October 30, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Alice Waters has moved from food guru to do gooder. It’s tough when you become a parody of yourself. And that little girl sing song voice.

    Those costumes are too much. There’s something pathological about the idea of a sexy 11 year old. The Jon Benet thing. But Fairy-Licious? Sounds like something Perez Hilton would come up with. I’m gonna get me a Big Daddy self-adhesive hairy chest kit. A man merkin.

    I just ran spell check. Word doesn’t recognize “gooder” and suggests “goober” as a replacement. Hmm.

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  8. Danny said on October 30, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Ok, very off-topic, but I recently bought four CD’s I am really enjoying.

    Bread: The Definitive Collection
    Rascals: The Best of
    CSN: (self-titled first album)
    CSN&Y: Four Way Street

    The last two I am very familiar with because my dad loved them and as a teenager I often got to listen to CSN(&Y)’s Deja-Vu and Young’s Live Rust at his place.

    The Rascals are, of course, great too. But I always forget that they did not do “Get Together.” It was The Youngbloods.

    But Bread. Man…

    David Gates sure was a great singer/songwriter. I’m convinced that if computers ever become self-aware and the machines decide it best to exterminate humans, all we have to do is slip a recording of “Diary” into the old CD player and humanity will get a reprieve. But then, later, the machines will probably decide just to dig up David Gates’ corpse, clone him, and kill the rest of us.

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  9. Sue said on October 30, 2007 at 11:44 am

    It’s a bit of a pastime here in Native-American place name-rich Wisconsin to check out new local news broadcasters and listen to them butcher names until they’ve been here a few months. Oconomowoc, Wausaukee, Chenequa. Me, I’ve always wanted to visit Embarrass, Wisconsin.

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  10. ashley said on October 30, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Somebody’s gotta say it:


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  11. nancy said on October 30, 2007 at 11:54 am


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  12. Mindy said on October 30, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Yesterday’s paper came with an interesting tidbit. I saw in the local headlines that my cousin had been named superintendent of the county parks and recreation department. I blanched at this, knowing that’s not what he does. The article listed his degree and area of special interest, architectural engineering, which was very weird. So I began to second guess myself and wondered why he didn’t mention this at a family dinner the night before. Since he’s not one to volunteer information I began to imagine that he’s been living a dual-career life for fifteen years. When I couldn’t stand the suspense any more I picked up the phone and called him.

    He laughed and said that other people who had read the same thing in the morning paper had also called him to ask about his secret life. It turns out that another guy with his name was a year ahead of him in college and working on the same degree. They were forever getting each other’s classes and confusing their professors. So I feel like an idjit. But at least there’s that many people still reading the local news in the paper.

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  13. nancy said on October 30, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    Here’s what I don’t get about Limited Too: What little girl wants to dress this way? My own is more modest than the wife of a Saudi religious policeman, and among her friends, at least, this is typical.

    I’m a little wary of swallowing the baby-ho-bag story whole, if only for this reason. The other reason: Everyone has a different idea of what’s inappropriate. If my kid is comfortable in it, everyone else can go pound salt. And yet I’ve heard no end of opinions on what’s “immodest” for girls her age — short shorts, halter tops, two-piece bathing suits, etc. Halter tops expose your back. In the summer, it’s hot, and it’s comfortable to expose one’s back. If I had no breasts to speak of and single-digit body fat, I’d be out there in a halter top and bikini all summer, too.

    For now, we draw the line at the same things: No words emblazoned across the butt. The rest we take on a case-by-case basis, and so far so good.

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  14. Dorothy said on October 30, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Pittsburgh has some good tongue twister places in the vicinity: Monongahela (former home town of Joe Montana), Coraopolis, and my former zip code, Eighty Four. (Okay it’s not a tongue twister, but I still get funny looks from people when we discuss former domiciles.)

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  15. alex said on October 30, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Around here we’ve got funny names with even funnier pronunciations. In Allen County there’s Ari (pronounced awry). In Noble County there’s Ege (pronounced eggy). In Wabash or Miami County there are Chili (pronounced shy lie) and Galveston (pronounced Gal-VEST-in).

    One of my fave names is Caloosahatchee in Florida. It sounds like an incontinence problem.

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  16. Dorothy said on October 30, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Oooh, if someone has a “Caloosahatchee” I think they need to start wearing Depends!

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  17. Kirk said on October 30, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Knockemstiff, Ohio

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  18. brian stouder said on October 30, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    I’ve always wanted to drive up the road to Climax, MI…but doesn’t everyone?

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  19. Danny said on October 30, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Brian, I think most of us guys wish that life was just a great big Hai Karate commercial. All the time.

    Edit: Not that it isn’t for me, mind you.

    Oh, and if you google hai karate, this is one of the top links. Which probably explains why that commercial stuck in my mind from childhood on.

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  20. Linda said on October 30, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    One of my favorite funny names is Kissimmee, Florida, spring training home of the Astros, which, of course, makes them, for about a month and a half, the Kissimmee Astros.

    Re: Food. In the romanticized days of yore, lots of malnourishment happened because of not getting food shipped in, especially in the winter. For instance, before iodized salt, lots of people in the middle of the country got goiter due to their inaccessibility to seafood. When I lived in Memphis, it was estimated that about 95% of fresh fruits and vegetables in markets came from at least 200 miles away, because farmers there, understandably, grow big cash crops like soy, corn, and cotton. A pressing food issue that nobody talks about is the inaccessibility of poor people to ANY fresh food, because they don’t have private transportation or supermarkets in their neighborhood, and are buying whatever food they can at party stores, which are not bastions of nutrition.

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  21. LA mary said on October 30, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    I know the state department of agriculture here heavily encourages farmers markets in poor neighborhoods, and they even take food stamps, but they don’t do as well as the ones in wealthier parts of town, so they don’t attract as many farmers. I don’t find they are any less expensive, either, but the quality is usually much higher than in the supermarket. There’s a big billboard campaign here in LA encouraging people to ask their local grocer to stock more vegetables and fruits.

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  22. Jeff said on October 30, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    The Lord as my witness — I live in Licking County. No, really. Which has a watercourse named Beaver Run. Yeah, but wait. We had for years a service club called the Eager Beavers. Yes, the Eager Beavers of Licking County. No, no, it can get worse: the microfilm of our local paper will confirm, they once met from time to time at Licking Baptist Church, on Beaver Run Road.

    So the Community Calendar on A-3 would not infrequently include: “Eager Beavers of Licking County meeting at Licking Baptist Church on Beaver Run Road.”

    And i was the weird one for finding that funny at Ministerial Association meetings? Apparently not everyone got the joke, or adamantly refused to admit they did.

    It is funny, right? Or am i just filthy minded?

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  23. Dave said on October 30, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Gee, Jeff, having grown up only half a mile or so from the Licking County line, it seems normal to me. Maybe most of your fellow ministers were native to the area. Did they raise their eyebrows? Roll their eyes? Look at you askance?

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  24. nancy said on October 30, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Dave’s right — it’s all in when you hear about it. As a Columbus native, Licking County is nothing, but whenever I pass Big Beaver Road here (exit 69 !!! [snicker]), well, I notice.

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  25. basset said on October 30, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    Names… Loogootee, Indiana, has to be right up there. It’s a little west of Shoals, a little south of Bramble, not far from the Jug Rock.

    Or Detour, Michigan. Four Holes, South Carolina. Panther Burn, Mississippi.

    Alice Waters? Somebody has to be more annoying than the Sterns.

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  26. LA mary said on October 31, 2007 at 9:51 am

    The Sterns, especially in combo with Lynn Rosetto Caspar, are far more annoying than Alice Waters. Beyond annoying.

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  27. jcburns said on October 31, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Big Bone Lick State Park, Kentucky.

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  28. alex said on October 31, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Bong Recreation Area, Wisconsin.

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  29. Dave said on October 31, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Not weird and an Indian name but I always liked the way it flows off the tongue, Kinnikinnick, north of Chilicothe, OH.

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  30. Jeff said on October 31, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Beautiful house there on the west side of the road in Kinnikinnick (no Google image hits that i found).

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  31. LA Mary said on October 31, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    There are bong recreation areas everywhere.

    How about Fresh Kills, NY? It’s home to a huge landfill on Staten Island.

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  32. Halloween Jack said on November 1, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Toad Suck State Park in Arkansas. Also, there are several Methodist churches named Leet, after a bishop.

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  33. LA mary said on November 1, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    I drove through a small town once called Flippin, I think in Alabama. They have a church there called the Flippin Church of Jesus Christ.

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  34. Ricardo said on November 4, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    One of my co-workers had a post card that idealized the beauty of the town Bell Gardens. It was in the style of a 1910 real estate poster complete with – gardens. It was made as a tongue-in-cheek artifact.

    In real life, Bell Gardens is a rectum of a place east of Los Angeles more along the lines of River Rouge. Pretty name, though.

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  35. Jenny said on November 7, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    The 3/4th Blackfeet in me says that you don’t count as a Native American at all, and we don’t need anymore 1/256th Cherokees.

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