The Bucks and the Blue.

Headlines that pretty much guarantee you’re going to read what’s underneath:

Missing college student led a double life as online porn star

There’s not a clause in that sentence that doesn’t say “hello, sailor.” “Missing college student” establishes the mystery and implies a deeper tragedy; she wasn’t just a young woman, she was a young woman with a bright future, because she went to college. “Led a double life” is wish fulfillment, as every one of us leads a double, triple, quadruple or perhaps quintuple life, if only in our heads. (At the moment, I’m Nancy Nall, Competent Mother, because I managed to get my kid off to school on time AND with a brown-bag lunch for the field trip.) And then there’s the payoff — “online porn star.” I love how stardom is guaranteed in pornography; it just wouldn’t have the same punch if it read “porn bit player,” would it? As far as I can tell from this story and the Google, this girl had a website where she displayed nude photos of herself (“I’m a spunky little teen with a super sexy side!”). This constitutes stardom in porn. Linda Lovelace wept.

Anyway, it sounds as though this woman’s college and acting career are both over:

Sander was last seen leaving a bar in El Dorado, about 30 miles from Wichita, with a man identified as Israel Mireles, 24, authorities said. Sander and Mireles had met that night at the bar, according to Watson.

After Mireles did not show up Saturday at his job at an Italian restaurant, his employer went to the motel room where he was staying.

“His motel room was found to appear in great disarray, and a large quantity of blood was found in the room,” Boren said. “Bed clothing was found to be missing. The police were called.”

I expect Geraldo Rivera is on the case. Not to make light of what is shaping up to be a tragedy, but young ladies, this is what you call a cautionary tale.

Oy, the week limps toward its end. I remain a Word Machine, makin’ words for dolla bills, y’all, although my invoice appears to have cooled on the client’s desk, this time. I’m assuming I got caught between billing cycles, because these are stand-up people, but still — I’m starting to see why “cash flow” is something of an oxymoron in freelancing. It’s like standing in front of a faucet that sometimes gushes, and sometimes just coughs a little. “Flow” is an aspiration, not a reality. For me, anyway.

I finally caught “Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry” on HBO. Not terrible, not even half-bad, but it failed to get at what I maintain — [brandishing index finger to make a windy point] — is the essential truth of this matchup, i.e., its one-sidedness. At least one Michigan sportswriter saw it as “more tailored to a Columbus setting,” and he’s right — there’s more of this story in Ohio than in Michigan, because there’s more to film in Ohio than in Michigan. Buckeyes simply care more, a lot more, about this rivalry than Wolverines do. Saying so would have diminished the premise of the film, however, and the nuts and bolts of why that is true doesn’t lend itself to a slow-tempo violin-solo versions of the fight song, all that sports-film crapola about tradition and trophies and bragging rights.

If I were making a list, I’d start with the differences between Columbus and Ann Arbor — one a large city that lives and breathes Buckeye football because for decades it was the quite literally the only game in town, the other just a college town. The whole state of Ohio is invested in the Buckeyes to some extent; it’s the only Big Ten school in the state, the flagship school of the public-university system, the giant diploma factory in the middle of everything. The University of Michigan competes for gridiron loyalty with Michigan State, just for starters. Ann Arbor’s closest large city, Detroit, supports four major-league sports, with media attention divided between them. And here’s something no one in Columbus wants to hear (they will cut you off if you even bring it up, trust me, I know): Michigan maintains at least two other major football rivalries, with Notre Dame and Michigan State. Admittedly neither is as big as Ohio State, but they have their partisans, and that divides attention somewhat. On UM/OSU game days, you can always find a few extra Spartans flags flying around my neighborhood, as the third constituency roots against the Arrogant Assholes, as Ann Arbor is known hereabouts.

In Columbus, they have Hate Michigan rallies on campus that would make Joseph Goebbels spin in his grave. If they have them in Ann Arbor, I missed them the year I was there. Maybe among the Greek constituencies. But not at the Michigan Theater, where they were probably showing some art film that week.

That was 2003 by the way. Michigan won.

(Oh, and by the way: Several of the talking-head interviews in the film were shot at Wallace House, the clubhouse for my beloved J-fellow program. All the Michigan interviews with the gleaming woodwork and a tasteful flower arrangement out of focus in the background? I suspect this is the Mark of Birgit, the program administrator.)

OK, back to work. And bloggage:

If you live outside the area and haven’t been reading the foreclosure series in the News this week, I can’t blame you, even though the story is a national one, albeit extra-bad here at Ground Zero. Parts two and three concentrated on what you don’t hear about so much — the outright fraud and criminal activity involved in this disaster. It’s easy to say, “Well, people should have known what they were getting into,” but when what they were getting into involved a quitclaim deed slipped into a pile of documents and signed by an old poor lady, touching off the outright theft of her house, well, that’s a different thing, isn’t it?

Today’s installment starts with the Full French, a one-two punch:

As Michigan’s foreclosure crisis was growing in the fall of 2006, state legislators jumped into action.

They took money away from the state office that investigates mortgage fraud.

Take that, libertarians.

Finally, I don’t want to forget this before the week slips away: On Monday, the NYT did a story on the foundry in India where Con Ed, the electrical utility, gets its manhole covers. There were many photos, which weren’t pretty: Workers stood barefoot and shirtless, waiting to receive molten metal in buckets, which were then hand-carried to molds. The temperatures were punishing. The conditions, 19th-century. DetNews columnist Laura Berman used the story as a peg to write a column about East Jordan Iron Works, which makes manhole covers in northern Michigan under, as you might expect, drastically different conditions.

Globalization isn’t something you can argue with; it’s simply a fact of the world’s economy. But I’m grateful for stories like both of these, which remind us all that we do things differently here, and for good reasons, and that it’s not a bad thing. Solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong. safe. safer.

Posted at 9:26 am in Current events, Movies |

20 responses to “The Bucks and the Blue.”

  1. brian stouder said on November 29, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Say, speakin’ of irresistable news stories, and bucks, and blues –

    Here’s an excerpt –

    Timothy Elliott – the lucky buyer of a $1 million scratch ticket in the $800 Million Spectacular game – is a two-time bank robber whose lottery ticket purchase last week violated the terms of his probation. Last year, when he pleaded guilty to unarmed robbery, the 55-year-old Hyannis man was ordered “to not gamble, purchase lottery tickets, or visit establishments where gaming is conducted, including restaurants where Keno may be played,” according to his probation from Barnstable Superior Court. So two days after a trip to the winner’s circle in the lottery’s Braintree headquarters, where he claimed the first $50,000 of his payout – about $35,000 after taxes – Elliott earned himself another court date. A hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 7 in Barnstable Superior Court to determine the penalties for violating his probation – and, perhaps, what happens to the winnings.

    And in addition to this fellow’s ridiculous story, in his publicity picture with his lottery check, he looks like the roaming gnome (and of course, the roaming gnome always has something bad happen to him by the end of the commerical)

    I was going to go on about the ill-starred ‘college porn star’ article, but suffice it to say that impulse-control seems to be adult life-lesson #1

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  2. Dorothy said on November 29, 2007 at 10:38 am

    I’ve been living in the greater Columbus area for just about 90 days now, and even though we are proud of our son being an OSU grad, my husband and I are officially sick of the Buckeye overload we hear on the news and read in the Dispatch. I think the newscasters have entire wardrobes of Buckeye turtle necks, vests, earrings, you name it. It’s positively smothering the way they cover the football team.

    Then again, I’m a Steelers fan and the coverage in Pittsburgh doesn’t usually faze me one bit. Guess it’s what you know and what you love.

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  3. nancy said on November 29, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Dorothy, if I were writing a big, windy essay about this, the media factor would be next on the list. Columbus news media, particularly TV, simply milk the OSU/UM cash cow over and over, and it never fails to fill the bucket. Whereas Ann Arbor has one thin newspaper and no TV, and the Detroit media aren’t nearly as invested in the story as Columbus is. Here, the story stays almost entirely on the sports pages. In Ohio, it leads the newscasts all week long.

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  4. Dorothy said on November 29, 2007 at 11:04 am


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  5. Sue said on November 29, 2007 at 11:21 am

    When we moved to Wisconsin, we found ourselves in a protective bubble. It was as though other teams did not exist beyond the Packers and the Badgers. Newscasts did not include scores from other games, even regional ones. Even the Brewers were largely ignored, because if Brett Favre sneezed in July it made headlines (and I mean news headlines, at the beginning of the newscast). Not so much as a streaming summary of other teams or games at the bottom of the screen. This continued for years and did not help our cultural assimilation (difficult in any case since we are from Illinois and flatlanders are considered the enemy). They finally started recognizing other teams and games about three years ago but by that time we were solidly watching ESPN.

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  6. Dorothy said on November 29, 2007 at 11:30 am

    I know I really should NOT make fun of people, but the weekend newscasters on Channel 4 are just easy targets. The woman has one eye that occasionally looks like she’s quickly winking as she blinks. I don’t think she can help it, it’s just a quirk. On the other hand, the man is just a giant goof. I have nicknamed then The Winker and The Wanker.

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  7. Jeff said on November 29, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Iiiiiiiiiittttttssss . . . . . . the Fedko Zone.

    [Pittsburghers will understand. They hyper-hype high school football.]

    Nancy, every time my wife and i spend a few days in Indianapolis, and then come home to Metro Columbus, we’re stunned by the difference in quality/professionalism/maturity of the local news teams. Which is to say, Indy has grownups talking about real stuff, and Col’s has a few seniors riding herd on the junior varisty AV club channelling “Extra” and “A Current Affair.” How is it Detroit to Col’s in your opinion?

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  8. LA mary said on November 29, 2007 at 11:52 am

    When Maria Bartiromo did the live early AM reports from the floor of the stock exchange on NBC, we used to call her Blinky because she looked like her eyes could not steadily hold up her false eyelashes.

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  9. Jason said on November 29, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    I think Jeff will back me up on this … Pittsburgh has a similar lopsided rivalry.

    Many University of Pittsburgh fans and alumni hate, hate, HATE the Penn State Nittany Lions, while in State College, Pa., they’re aware that the University of Pittsburgh exists.

    The best part is that Pitt no longer plays Penn State in football, and hasn’t for several years.

    Naturally, that’s one of the many reasons why certain Pitt fans hate, hate, HATE Penn State.

    The administration has tried to put a lid on the State-hating, with varying degrees of success.

    (P.S.: Opinions expressed here are not those of the University of Pittsburgh, or the commissioner of Major League Baseball, for that matter.)

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  10. nancy said on November 29, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Good question, Jeff. I can’t really answer how Detroit and Columbus media compare — I just haven’t watched enough of the latter to say — but I can state with great authority that Detroit’s broadcast news is the


    Indianapolis’ local stations won two (!!!) Peabody awards this year. I can’t imagine even Detroit’s “good” station winning anything other than Best Lip Gloss. It’s really that pathetic.

    In Fort Wayne, it was Romper Room — everyone was 22 years old, fresh out of college, and couldn’t pronounce common place names. Everyone here is 29 years old, fiercely ambitious, and willing to do anything to get their story promo’d during “The Biggest Loser.” I generalize, to be sure, but not much.

    There was a story out of Sacramento earlier this week about a TV reporter who quit rather than do stupid shit on-camera — slap his neck during a standup about mosquitos and West Nile Virus, for instance. That’s so common here I don’t even notice it anymore. We just finished a sweeps month, and the “investigative” packages were topics like High Heels are Bad For Your Feet, featuring a reporter who did her stand-up from a chair in Nordstrom’s shoe salon, then wrapped it up by turning to the saleswoman kneeling before her and saying, “They’re adorable! I’ll take ’em!”

    There are a few exceptions. One is Steve Wilson, a bull in a china shop “investigator” who specializes in on-camera confrontations. (They all do, but at least Wilson aims higher, going for public officials wasting tax money, especially the Detroit mayor.) Wilson is fat and has about three chins and zero self-consciousness. Last spring, he flew to Hawaii for some government conference that featured about two hours of professional development in the morning, followed by eight hours of networking on the beach, and a big luau. A number of Michigan municipalities were dumb enough to not only send half the staff, but flew them first-class. Wilson mingled among them with his hidden camera, in a Hawaiian shirt, big straw hat and, of course, the three chins. Then he started confronting people with the better camera, and caught great footage all these public servants swearing and running away down Waikiki beach. As journalism it was pretty average, but as entertainment? Nonpareil.

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  11. brian stouder said on November 29, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    As journalism it was pretty average, but as entertainment? Nonpareil.

    I watched about 1/2 of the Republican YoutTube debate last night, and that statement might be paraphrased to describe the event –

    As journalism it was pretty average, but as entertainment? somewhere between Dancing With the Stars and To Catch a Predator

    (Anderson Cooper seemed to be off his game, and the whole production seemed to bearly get off the ground)

    Political campaigns have historically had an important element of entertainment; even so, that YouTube affectation grated on me

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  12. Jeff said on November 29, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    The possibility of a WVU/Ohio State match-up could set in motion a nice second-tier rivalry, since the basic animus is already in place. The ‘Eers (short for Mountaineers) have a longstanding “Backyard Brawl” rivalry with Pitt, that used to be really intense on a fan level, with the stadium in a concrete chasm and Mountaineers Field formerly near the main campus in downtown Morgantown. Lots of thrown beer cups and flaming dumpsters. But State College? I’m not sure who they think is their rival. They kinda coast above it all, while WesternPA and northern WV folk like to either adore or abhor them.

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  13. Connie said on November 29, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    UM also won during my long ago grad school year in Ann Arbor. I even have a photo of the scoreborad – 14 to 6.

    I have one of those flags with a white on green S on one half and a maize on blue block M on the other. We have enough trouble figuring out who to root for, so in addition to rooting for my two alma maters we also root for whomever is playing OSU and IU.

    I moved from Ann Arbor to my first professional job in Upper Arlington, a Columbus suburb. I suffered vandalism to my car and threats in parking lots due my UM decal on the back. But I did get that great schadenfreude experience of Woody Hayes firing during my short time in greater Columbus.

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  14. nancy said on November 29, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Ha. And speaking of Woody Hayes and the media, you probably also recall the Dispatch headline:


    I swear. One of the biggest embarrassments of the paper’s history, just days before I started work there. It was explained by the editor thusly: The head football writer was so close to Woody as to be his personal valet, and when Woody stormed off the field after punching the Clemson player, he supposedly told the writer, “That’s it! I quit!” Never mind that he was being fired by the athletic director simultaneously. If Woody says he quit, dammit, WE BELIEVE HIM. I can’t believe that didn’t make the documentary — a great moment that could only have happened in Columbus.

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  15. Dorothy said on November 29, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    I’m married to a Pitt grad, and my kids are Penn State and Ohio State grads. At least we can all agree on the Steelers.

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  16. joodyb said on November 29, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    ‘The Rivalry’ stirred up a lot of memories and feelings. Having lived in OSU’s shadow, i’ve never been able to fathom any of it. I learned a lot, as i have managed to pay only marginal attn over the decades (i.e. i forgot what a rout Cooper’s firing was really and how Tressel is so much more what a coach should be etc etc etc). My sister has been a shameless Buckeye fan (neither of us went there) since she met Rex Kern when he came to our high school (fun to see what he looks like these days, and odd – i recently wondered if he was dead or alive).

    watching that show was like looking through some kaleidoscope and all the glass is scarlet and gray, but they’re nice colors, really, aren’t they. plus what else is there in life. you don’t have to think about war or hunger when the band is whipping 10s of thousands into a frenzy inside St. John’s. And Wayne Woodrow Hayes – the confederate flag of Central Ohio. get a life, people.

    we went west, apparently a good thing.

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  17. MichaelG said on November 29, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Tell me about the Sacto news person who quit. I haven’t seen that. KCRA in Sacramento has an excellent news operation. There are three or four other operations in Sacto that are not so good. In my travels I regularly see them all (in California). LA area, Bay Area, San Diego, Fresno and the really funny ones in small places like Eureka. I’d put KCRA up with any major city news outlet in the country. They are that good.

    You want to see football crazy people, go to Bumminham Ala on a Friday during the season.

    The Bay Area has a great rivalry playing this weekend. Cal vs. Stanfurd. Both schools are right there and both have very large alum bases in the SF area. It would be interesting to see what schools have the highest percentages of grads who don’t leave the school’s neighborhood. Cal and Stanfurd would rank right up there. As with the Motown area, there are other attractions with two minor league “pro” football teams (49ers and Raiders) two baseball teams, a hockey team, an NBA team etc. etc. And yes, I know how to spell. What you see reflects my bias.

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  18. joodyb said on November 29, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Brian! I forgot to say i loved your roaming gnome analogy. hee!

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  19. Colleen said on November 29, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for tip….I jumped online this morning and asked TIVO to catch the program for me, and we’re watching it now.

    Craziness. Pure craziness. My husband is a sports fan, and I just don’t get it.

    OSU football insanity is the one thing I DON’T miss about Columbus. Though during a home game was a great time to go to the grocery….

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  20. Cosmo Panzini said on November 30, 2007 at 11:53 am

    All this school rivalry crapola leaves me disappointed in my fellow citizens. After watching the OSU-MU documentary you mentioned, I marveled at how someone so apparently unbalanced as Woody Hayes could inspire such slavering and unquestioning admiration. No wonder W got re-elected. As for the teen “porn star”, it seems that some basic education in semantics is called for here. The world seems to blast along so quickly now that we forget that athletes and actors are just athletes and actors.

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