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