It’s a tough town.

Quite an evocative story from yesterday’s DetNews, in Neal Rubin’s column. I can’t decide if it’s a story about pluck, stubbornness or stupidity: A Detroit teacher has had 15 vehicles stolen in four years. Fourteen, actually — 13 Town & Country minivans and one Durango, twice. I’ll give her this much — this is one nice white lady who is not intimidated by the rough, tough city:

Another time, she found her Town & Country in some delinquent’s driveway near Vetal. When the police didn’t show any great interest in helping her get it back, she dialed her cell phone, which she had left in the console. The thief picked up. “I hope you like orange,” Fulton said, “because you’re going to be wearing an orange jumpsuit.” The kid jumped back into the van, drove it to Grand River Avenue and McNichols Road and crashed it into a tree. So maybe that wasn’t the best idea on her part, but at least she felt better for a little while.

The story goes on to point out that Chrysler lags other domestic carmakers in anti-theft protection. They do, however, offer lots of helpful advice:

After the most recent theft, she e-mailed Chrysler to ask why it didn’t do a better job stopping thieves. After 15 vehicles, she said, she was running out of patience. Someone named Jenny e-mailed her back. Among Jenny’s suggestions was to park in “lighted areas, garages or neighborhoods without a history of stolen vehicles activity, whenever possible.” “Great,” Fulton fired back. “Are you going to drive me to work?”

If the city survives, it’ll be because of women like this — always willing to buy American one more time. When Alan finally got his shotgun out of layaway, the gun shop owner was examining a new item of inventory, a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Chiefs Special, the standard-issue police service revolver for generations (at least until they started carrying semiautomatics, to keep up with the bad guys). It had “Detroit P.D.” stamped on the barrel, and he said, “I could put this up for sale and get a $300 premium from somebody in Los Angeles who wants to own a gun from the murder capital of the United States. But I won’t.” You said it, mister. Keep Detroit armed and strong.

Folks, as should be obvious by now, I got nuttin’ today. I see some of you are discussing the wind on the east coast in previous post comments. Well, before you had that wind, we had it, two nights ago. Let’s all offer good thoughts and support for NN.C’s neighbor and commenter JohnC, who’s probably wishing he’d cleaned out the garage and put the Cadillac away that night:

Not the Cadillac!

They were out of town at the time. I wonder if the car alarm continued for hours and hours.

Off to write words for money. Later.

Posted at 10:24 am in Detroit life, Friends and family |

29 responses to “It’s a tough town.”

  1. Danny said on February 19, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Wow, sorry about that, JohnC. I had the same thing happen to my truck about 17 years ago. At work. Eucalyptus tree. They have very shallow root systems.

    That tree of yours looks pretty substantial.

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  2. john c said on February 19, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Yep. The tree was 50-feet plus. But the root system was not too strong. and I’m told it was very windy. We were about three hours north at a friends house, getting ready for a day of skiing with the kids. Then we got the dreaded call from the neighbor.
    Ah well. It’s just stuff in the end. No one hurt. and so far State Farm is coming through.

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  3. Dorothy said on February 19, 2008 at 11:52 am

    State Farm did an excellent job for us when we had a flood at the house in June last year (a part inside the master bath toilet broke). They went after the manufacturer of the part and got us their $8,000 back AND our $500 deductible.

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  4. ashley said on February 19, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Tell Alan to tell the gun shop owner that he’s a bitch, and New Orleans is the murder capital. I hate when we get dissed.

    State farm is semi-evil, but Allstate is evil incarnate. A pox on all who work for them.

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  5. Sue said on February 19, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    I always wondered how Allstate could continue to find customers, given their habit of canceling policies. My brother had an accident, one accident, and they canceled his policies, his wife’s, and for some reason my sister’s. This was 25 years ago and I’ve heard so many similar stories since then. Then when Katrina came along, you have to wonder why would anyone trust them at all, ever.

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  6. Danny said on February 19, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    The only reason I can think of is that they have President David Palmer in their advertisements.

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  7. alex said on February 19, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Yeah, when President David Palmer steps into traffic, everything stops. Just like your coverage.

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  8. kathy t said on February 19, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Where does it say she’s a white lady?

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  9. brian stouder said on February 19, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Kathy – there is a picture (looks like a glamour-shot, in fact) of the woman, at the right.

    I like her red lipstick – and the happen’n earrings; she looks like my high school english teacher

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  10. alex said on February 19, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    She kind of reminded me of John Goodman playing Linda Tripp on SNL, only with better hair.

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  11. Dorothy said on February 19, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Alex I actually snorted when I went to look at the picture of the lady. Your description was right on the mark.

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  12. colleen said on February 19, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    according to police, the person or persons who stole her car reported it stolen from them.

    Perhaps that can be the new definition of chutzpah…

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  13. Jeff said on February 19, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Nancy, does the area where you live deal well with frozen precipitation, or have you had lots of snow days? This has not been a good month for productivity with a fourth grader at home on lots of days he should be off learning “Everyday Math” or the exports of Bolivia (yes, i know, tin). Central Ohio seems to be flurry-panic central, or is this everyone in the Midwest these days? (Danny, i don’t wanna hear about it. Yeah, yeah, schools closed for mudslide alerts or somesuch.)

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  14. john c said on February 19, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    So far so good with State Farm. I’ll let you know how it turns out, though. My favorite whining insurance company story goes back to my 20s. I was male and single and living in Chicago, so I was paying through the nose. Over the course of a few years my car was broken into four times (only three insurance claims) then stolen. My insurance company stuck with me so I stuck with them. Then a few years later I was in my agent’s office signing up for homeowner’s, or something. While I was there we renewed my auto and, as he was typing this and that, he idly said something like: I don’t know why we even write insurance in Illinois. We just don’t make any money on it. As he kept typing I chewed on that for a minute and finally said: “You know Jack, you have insured my car for five years. In that time you have replaced every window at least once, bought me three new radios and two complete new dashboards, AND you have replaced an entire car … AND YOU’VE STILL MADE MONEY ON ME!”

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  15. Dexter said on February 19, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I’ll chip in and share my stories of trees, truck, and house.
    In 1994 I had just pumped 50 gallons of gasoline into dual tanks on my pickup truck, and had my little grandson with me and we got a pizza. I had just taken him out of his seat, grabbed the pizza box, scurried out of the oncoming storm…BOOM! The fierce wind blew over a tall maple, one of three on our terrace by the street. My truck began leaking and I called the fire department…amazingly, they said “just let it drip out.”
    I never figured that one out.
    My cab was smashed, windshield cracked, bed half-flattened, but I could still access the passenger door and drive it.
    I drove the truck to Cleveland to a ball game, a planned trip, the next day. Finally, on the way back, the punctured tank emptied.
    I had to junk the truck.
    Four years go by, and another storm was brewing. Carrying in some sweet Michigan cherries from the car, the winds picked up.
    I was rinsing cherries when the cat jumped up from the floor to the sink, after a loud boom
    “Pretty loud thunderclap”, I thought.
    Wrong. The second maple had cracked my house like you cracked your breakfast egg this morning. Water cascaded in, ruining the home furnishings. We were in a cheap motel for 10 weeks until our house was re-built.
    I screamed like a chainsaw at the city to take that last damn tree down. Those maples were their responsibility, but it turned out to be God’s fault my truck and house were destroyed by old-growth rotten maple trees. God is great and God is good, especially to the insurance industry. The city paid $0. My insurance company took care of us nicely, thank god.

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  16. Dexter said on February 19, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    “Carrying in some sweet Michigan cherries from the car, the winds picked up.”

    I can get away with this sentence structuring most places, but I GOTSTA proofread my posts here! Damn! [cringing]

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  17. Danny said on February 19, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    (Danny, i don’t wanna hear about it. Yeah, yeah, schools closed for mudslide alerts or somesuch.)


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  18. sue said on February 19, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Re: snow days. Like many communities, we can’t get a school referendum passed to save our lives, but for my community I add another reason to the usual list of “howcomes”. I believe an unrecognized demographic, which doesn’t exist in such large numbers elsewhere, votes against refs in our area – angry parents of alumni. While their children, like all children, come out of the school system relieved, these angry parents come out royally pissed and never get over it. Surprisingly, a big reason for this is weather decisions. Not just snow, but stupid things like making the kids go out when there’s lightning. Last year, after the district was the only one in the county not to close on a dangerous winter day, they were embarrassed enough to pay a little attention to the outcry. They have closed twice this year, but since I know someone in the district, I also know that one of the closed days was because the bus company refused to put its people on the road. I used to think that an involved parental community could bring about changes, but sadly in some places the problems are so entrenched that they will never change. Incidentally, I still vote for the refs, even though I am in the angry parent demographic.

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  19. nancy said on February 19, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Jeff, not one snow day this year. Partly because the winter hasn’t been too bad, but the main reason is: No buses. Everyone gets to school under their own steam, and as long as cars are making it without improper delay, well, then, get to school, kiddies.

    Last year we had two days off for cold. Yes, cold. Go figure.

    Fort Wayne called school for any damn reason, and I never understood why. They were fond of the one-hour or two-hour delay (usually for fog, or frozen precip likely to melt later, or to give the plows time to work). The most rural district might as well have not attended school during winter, they got so much time off. As long as country roads were still being drifted shut, they stayed home. And that could last for days after a major snowstorm.

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  20. michaelj said on February 19, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Back in those waning of the 70’s and the 80s, which had some seriously good music against all odds, and the 90s, my least favirite for being linked to hippies though they were pretty much better than the poseurs and salsemen that followed, Boston was the car theft capital of the world. Different altogether than treating the SUV like Travolta’s bouncing bull.

    In those days, the victim knew in that dark midnight of the soul’s whatever it was Hades, the carnapping was arranged by a phone call to the ragtags of Whitey Bulger’s minions, the car was in Fort Point Channel or a Blue Hills quarry in Canton, and the insurance check was on the way. I guess there’s greed and then theirs homicidal psycopathy.

    Detroit used to have bosses, mostly surnamed Giacalone, and those good fellas lived in what passed for some gorgeous Grosse Pointe mansions. Boston was the Wild West end of Somerville. No more threatening yo the average citizen, but surely more entertaining. The boss was, after all, the blood on blood brother of the unlikely little dictator that Newt moved in for as the more telegenic Little Hitler in the Revolution. Joyriding would have been cleaned up with some ultimately inconsequential physical harm, and the boys would have promised never to repeat their transgressions. In Detroit, they would more likely have been floating in Lake Ste. Claire for the sin of independent behavior.

    Brothers Bulger is a wonderful story of American politics. Whitey’s still at large, far as I know, but he’d be creakin’. Billy ought to come clean about his nefarious attacks on, oh, Universal Health Care.

    But anyway, why do people steal cars? Chop ’em and sell the parts? Put the primos in containers and send ’em to Europe. Ride around like Cody Jarret and crash and burn in glory?

    Perhaps when you’re faced with a political monolith entirely lacking in a human component, you just have to say “Fuckit”. And I sure as shit don’t mean that weasle Tom Cruise. I mean Bulworth.

    In my estimation, being pretty old here, and having told the Kicking Ass DNC blog after his convention speech that Obama was inevitable, He might be getting JFK right. JFK never got RFK right, and Obama’s not Bobby by any means. Neither’s Hilary. This great divide is manufactured. Obama doesn’t no dick comparedwith Ms. Clinton as far as health care is concerned, and it’s the most important subject as faras the general economy is concerned.

    Didn’t FDR put everybody to work, including artists and glib sonsabitches? I’ll take one of those second jobs. ThinkI’m qualified. Didn’t the Republicans descend into heinous Reconstruction practice? The Republican Party did one good thing and descended into odious self-interest 150 years ago.

    It’s a recent topic, editors. There are all sorts of editors. I can turn engineer’s gibberish and architect’s CYA crap into something that moves projects foreward, gets buildings built, and minimizes post-construction lawsuits so things get built that ought to.

    Then there are literary editors, and even more interesting, translators. Was Maxwell Thomas Wolfe’s editor or his collaborator? How important to the American legacy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez is Gregory Rabassa? When it comes to poets, I’m at a total loss on this subject, but I think I need a second language.

    Now there is the subject of newspaper editors. In Jschool, I edited a one-off campus paper (caper), for a 101 sort of class. I took this seriously, but always felt loath to stymie the initial impulses of the writers. Didn’t see how it could hurt back in those days to just let the budding writers just let it rip.

    Nancy has brought up the idea of keeping you’re ass from getting sued. I wrote a column about an annoying campuus revolutionary I thought of as particularly self-aggrandizing. I was the editor, so there was nobody to edit my copy. I’d say I tore him a brand new one in the instance of his spectacular self-importance, his denigration of women’s opinions, and his overall weenie appearance and intellect.

    There was no editorial control. I was the editor. Everything in the column was sourced. The guy was spectacularly a jerk, and he was in it more to get laid than anything else. But, you know, I just found him such a despicable toad, I couldn’t help myself. And this jerk threatened the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism with a lawsuit.

    This scummy jackass said I’d defamed him in the name of the UGA, and it was that cash his idiot claim was entitled to. Jackas.

    Now, I sure as shit didn’t defame this jerk. But I found myself threatened with expulsion by my Dean, who was somebody I revered. Welll or maybe. If it had been Ralph McGill, maybe.

    Now, what are newspaper editors supposed to do. First place do no harm, kind of like doctors. You know, first place I’ve always thought is to keep anybody without a lot of experience from embarrasing herself.

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  21. michaelj said on February 19, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    What are newspaper editor’s
    ? So so we do no harm? supposed we do do? So I ask the sonehow slightly cleverer than I. How do we put up with editors? I tell you, I’m such a good editor you’d just go along with whatever I said. no, it’d just kind of scary. Supposed to think everything is scary. Guess its not. ia everrything seriously weird? Supposed to make things things come up all right. Here’s where we get into this. I know it’s supposed to be stupid. I .THINKS EVERYTHINGS NUTW

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  22. Dexter said on February 19, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Thought I’d share my feelings on another topic. You may have different feelings…I hope there’s room for everybody here.
    Too young to follow la revolucion en Cuba, I never realized what went down until a few years later, and that was from reading on my own as a teen.
    Che Guevara was not mentioned in my school, and Fidel was described as a terrible communist.
    MSM really tried to convince us Fidel was an animal when Fidel came to NYC…he was cheered like Lindy as he rode through Harlem, but the media portrayed Fidel as a dirty chicken-bone littering lunatic, as he prepared to address the UN.
    I remember being invited by some fellow Young Democrats to hear an anti-Castro speaker at our courthouse…he was speaking harshly of Fidel, of course.
    I became increasingly politicized, and the more I heard about la revolucion, the more I came to understand Batista, the Habana gambling and whoring, the US mob presence en Habana, and the righteousness of Fidel’s takeover.
    I was never invited to Venceremos Brigade, but I have met people who went, helped with the cane harvest, and had an audience with Fidel. I learned the truth as I see it. It is a fascinating story, no matter which way you feel about Fidel Castro. He’ll be missed.

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  23. LAMary said on February 19, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    After twenty two years of coverage and one claim for under $1000, Allstate cancelled my homeowners insurance because I was five days late with my payment. They are not writing policies in California anymore, and I got the impression they were looking for whatever reason they could to dump me. I switched my auto insurance when I got new homeowners insurance, because I got a much better deal, and my Allstate agent actually acted sort of hurt about it.

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  24. basset said on February 19, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    for some reason this reminds me of the joke about the two old widows sitting out on the retirement-home porch and one asks the other if she would answer a personal question…

    “How long were you and Fred married?”

    “Forty-three years.”

    “Did you ever have mutual orgasm?”

    (she thinks a minute)

    “No, we always had State Farm.”

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  25. del said on February 19, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    In Michigan, Allstate’s got the worst reputation. At a wedding I once sat next to a medical defense expert (whose specialty I won’t reveal) and gently asked him about Allstate. His wife turned to him and asked, “Honey, isn’t that the company that you said we should NEVER get insurance from?”
    I also shared office space with an attorney who was representing an Allstate insured in his case against the company. The attorney told me the day before trial he was nervous . . . he had no idea what Allstate’s defense was going to be. It owed the money. And the jury agreed and Allstate was made to pay penalty interest. But of course America only hears of the rapacious plaintiffs bar . . .

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  26. michaelj said on February 20, 2008 at 1:46 am

    0h. I think the idea was simultaneous. Which happens occasionally and serindipitously. I think it happens when you’ve been practicing. The rapacious trial liars are much like claiming there are lions on the American savanahs, munching on otherwise benificent companies like Walmart, that want nothing but the best things for consumers, and there are sharp lawyers trying to take advantage of these honest consumers.

    I’d say, that’s Bungle in the Jungle. These assholes are after your cash. That’s what they do. Hillary? Barack? Both are trying to make everything better for everybody. Republicans, well somebodys going to be saved, shether it’s rich people or rich people that buy into the rapture. If the voting populace screws this up, the way they they did with the creepy draft-dodger vs. the actual war hero, (if they actually did, because anybody not a moron knows Kerry won Ohio) well fuck this country.

    Seriously, everything out of the mouth of the president shits on the Constitution. Does a single American elieve in a single signing statement. Was George III nuts? How does this shit go on? He hasn’t been running anything for years, and Cheney is so clearly certifiable, it just seems like he needs to find some sort of Geli to go in the bunker. But it doesn’t seem like there’s a female on the face of the earth that would go anywhere with Cheney.

    And I seem loony? These assholes are running the country, and they’re spending $10bil a month without it showing up in the budget. That WMD shit? They made that up. They made it up in 1998 and tried to talk Clinton into it. It’s difficult to understand how what seems to be a good people could be led so wrong.

    It seems to me this is all the logical conclusion of Newt and the 1994 Republican Revolution. Newt is awesome. He served his wife with divorce papers while she was taking cancer news. They despised Health Care Change. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the Clinton Health Care Plan would have put the country on path that would have cut off the current economic black hole. The problem seems to have been been that it was proposed by a Democrat. If you can’t see that you’re an idiot. If some sort of the Clinton plan had been put in place, things would be spectacularly better. But she was just a woman. And those are facts jack.
    And if her ideas don’t count because shes a woman, well I’d say this. There is no single issue other than health care that bears on the the overall economy of this country. Anybody that doesn’t doesn’t understand this is an idiot. Or at least somebody without a clue.

    The economy of health care includes something like $80bil. Are you nuts? Wheres that money going? You Asshole? Down a gottdum hole, you stupid insensitive piece o shit. There’s a guy that’s supposed to be the commander in chief. Does he know where this money is going? Well he has no clue. You gonna put this on? Pure stupidity on the part of the pretzeldenet. Look assholes he’s dummer than grunt. You cant get stupider than this asshole.

    Oh, excuse me. I was thinking about the Pretzeldent. In my world, this asshole pulled the black bastard ao McCcain which McCain seems to have written off as just a good joke about darkeyism.



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  27. michaelj said on February 20, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Could I make a comment?

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  28. michaelj said on February 20, 2008 at 1:54 am

    No joke.

    Look, most of y’all are are
    democrats. Most of y’all made up your minds.

    First thing I’ve got to to say, if you think you’re gonna pull that john mccain bullshit your an asshole.

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  29. del said on February 20, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I liked your line about “rich people waiting for the rapture.”

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