Nothing like a death in the family to make you wish you were born a fish. The morning’s activities here at Chez NN.C include a whole-house search for Alan’s Social Security card. It’s for a bank thing. Of course he knows his number, but they want to see the actual card. Let me see the hands of those of you who can lay hands on your Social Security card within 15 minutes. Yeah, thought so. After a while, I thought screw it, let’s get the replacement. There’s an SSA office two blocks from here; he can bring in his passport (which we can find) and get it while he waits.
But can you get it while you wait? Good luck getting an answer. The website offers exhaustive instructions on how to request a card, but is vague on the while-you-wait part, which is important, because this all has to happen today. A call to the office was in order. The local number was disconnected, and all inquiries now go through an 800 number, which employs one of those automated voice recognition programs but NO ACTUAL HUMAN BEING, and…and…
Alan reached someone at the bank. Turns out they don’t need the card if they can see your W-2. Crisis averted. But a new resolution: This year, once and for all, assemble a “grab box” of key family documents so we can avoid this nonsense in the future. I’m not the best record-keeper, but I’m good enough, but life is simply growing too complicated.
Per Kirk’s comments yesterday, I’ve decided to stop feeling bad about enjoying the mayoral scandal. It’s the story that keeps on giving, and it would be…dare I say?…wrong not to smile once in a while. Last night’s big event was the mayor’s public apology, made at his church, but in an empty room, to one pool camera, no media allowed, no questions, in and out in 12 minutes. It was pretty much total crapola, as you might expect, all “I’m sorry” but no mention of what he was sorry for. He has to be very careful what he says now, because he’s facing a perjury investigation, and that’s not a charge to be trifled with. Once again, he showed his beguiling combination of Street and Suit, in his declaration “I would never quit on you.”
(Oh, why even mention it? I hear more mangled English on the evening news than anywhere else in my world. Last night’s neologism: “fictitionally,” which seems to mean “fictional,” but has some extra syllables, making the speaker sound extra-smart. There was also “tenor” used incorrectly, i.e. “The mayor struck the right tenor in his statement,” and this by an anchor.)
But the cherry on top was yet another performance by Steve Wilson, WXYZ’s designated Kwame-botherer. The station deployed its chopper for overhead surveillance of the church, not just to get video but to let Steve know which door he was sneaking into. So Steve was right there to yell, “Who is Carmen Slowski?” as his honor stepped out of his SUV. The mayor Heisman’d him nicely. I’d say it was like a bear swatting away a smaller animal wanting a bite from the carcass, but Wilson is easily as big as Kilpatrick. He’s truly a wonderful figure, because his distinguishing fat-man feature is a wattle that lends a comical note to the blowhard self-importance. Follow that last link, a transcript of his 11 p.m. report, to get a sense of how he rolls:
I’ve faced the mayor many times in the last few years, usually with questions he hasn’t wanted to answer…and tonight proved to be no exception. While most reporters and cameras waited at the side door…our Chopper 7 “eyes in the sky” pointed me to where the mayor was heading—the front door, so when he pulled up and finally stepped out the car, I asked him one of the questions so many of you have been asking—and got a shove in return…As I first revealed last Friday and the Detroit Free Press confirmed today, only days before the text message scandal broke a week ago, the mayor was here at a North Carolina mountain resort eating chocolate-covered strawberries, drinking fine French wine, and soaking in an aromatic bubble bath with a woman using the name Carmen Slowski. Mrs. Kilpatrick and the couple’s three boys were back home in Detroit at the time…and the mayor has never explained why records show there were two people in his room, or just who was the mystery woman sharing his bubble bath.
“Soaking in an aromatic bubble bath.” If you can’t laugh at that, you’re dead.
If the mayor’s lucky, the approaching winter storm everybody’s fretting about today will turn out to be a rip-roarer. Nothing like a foot of wet snow to get people talking about something other than bubble baths, not to mention “fine French wine.”
Note to self: Go shopping today, lay in a supply of fine French wine. If we’re going to be snowed in, might as well do it right.
Do we have bloggage? We have bloggage:
Steve Novick, candidate for U.S. Senate in Oregon, really is a guy you’d want to have a beer with. Here’s why. (YouTube link, for those of you who avoid them.)
Don’t waste your time on “Meet the Spartans.” Slate says why:
Various news sources have declared that Meet the Spartans has a running time of 84 minutes. Some online reviews peg the actual running time at 68 minutes. I went to a 5:30 p.m. screening. After previews, the movie began some time between 5:44 and 5:47. The closing credits started at 6:47. After a cast-performed rendition of “I Will Survive” (note: this was a reprise of an earlier performance) staged on the American Idol set (note: not the real American Idol set), the credits ran over a black screen. Perhaps two minutes later, the credits gave way to scenes that weren’t strong enough to make the first 60 minutes, including Spider-Man removing Donald Trump’s toupee. After about five minutes of these deleted scenes, the credits started again. They moved at about 10 lines per minute. And, considering the movie is about an hour long and probably took about six hours to make, they included a surprising amount of names; I’m guessing 8,000. By the time the credits had been slow-rolling for several minutes, the other 15 people in the theater had gone home. As the credits continued, I put on my headphones and listened to some music. At 7:09, more than 20 minutes after the credits began, I was rewarded by the aforementioned five-second, fake-Stallone-as-Britney bit. The lights went up and I left, shaken and depressed.
This was the worst movie I’ve ever seen.
Thank God for the New York Times Thursday Styles, because who else is covering the Slow Design movement? Ahem:
Katrin Svana Eythorsdottir, another designer from Iceland, made a “chandelier” from beads of glucose that clung to twine and caught the natural light. After five months, the chandelier disintegrated (as Ms. Eythorsdottir, who wanted to create a temporary, biodegradable object, had intended). It is true that a decomposing chandelier seems sort of fast, but as it turns out a domestic object with a built-in expiration date is a slow notion, said Carolyn Strauss, a designer, curator and the founder of SlowLab, a three-year-old design think tank with offices in Manhattan and Amsterdam that’s devoted to searching out the slow in cutting-edge design. “You wouldn’t buy that chandelier and go away on a two-week vacation,” Ms. Strauss said. “It’s an object you’d really cherish because of its temporary and therefore precious nature.”
No word on the cost. Whatever it is: Not enough.
OK, friends, I’ve wasted too much of the day already. Hang in there and enjoy yours. I’m after some fine French wine.