Ripped from the headlines.

As astute trackers of the Nightstand can see, I started on Ms. Lippman’s latest over the weekend. Mystery novels go too fast; I’m restricting myself to a chapter or two a day. “Another Thing to Fall” is part of her Tess Monaghan series, and features the broad-shouldered P.I. on the set of a television show shot in Baltimore.

Huh, you’re thinking.

“Mann of Steel,” the fictional show, isn’t “The Wire,” which we all know was exec-produced by Mr. Laura Lippman, but it started me thinking about how writers work, especially creative writers. Her last book, which we are contractually obligated to refer to as “the New York Times bestseller, ‘What the Dead Know,'” had its roots in a remembered event from Lippman’s adolescence, about the disappearance of two sisters from a local shopping mall in the ’70s. During that book tour, I heard an interview with her where the questioner wanted to know about that story and its relationship to the finished novel.

I can’t quote Laura directly, but she made a distinction between “based on” and “inspired by,” and whether the interviewer swallowed it or not, I can’t recall, but anyone who writes knows exactly what she was talking about. The roman a clef is a time-honored literary form, and is excellent as a tool of revenge. (“Heartburn,” besides having good recipes, is responsible for my twin labels on Carl Bernstein. That is, “partly responsible for ridding Washington of Richard Nixon” and “capable of having sex with a Venetian blind.” And then there’s “The Wire,” season five.) But only a writer utterly lacking in imagination can get away with straight fact-to-fiction, for a lot of reasons. You can never get your endings to fit, for one, as in real life the bad guys tend to prosper and not fall in a hail of bullets in the last five pages. Dammit. My experience with fiction is very limited — one screenplay, some abortive stories here and there — but the wonderful thing about it is, it’s a conjurer’s trick. You create your characters out of clay, breathe over them and make them live, and then they turn around, kick you in the kneecap, and start doing what they want. You can try to stop them, but doing so will retard your story. Your responsibility, as a writer, is to tell their story, and they will tell you what it is. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it; it’s the closest your average modern person will ever get to voodoo possession.

I recognize a lot of the details of “Mann of Steel,” Lippman’s fictional TV show, from journalism I’ve read about “The Wire” — the sets in the unglamorous building in the unglamorous neighborhood, the producer who keeps the ship afloat by making sure no one spends like it’s Hollywood, a few other things. But it’s her own creation. It’s inspired by, not based on.

When I was at the University of Michigan on sabbatical, I briefly took a TV-writing class before dropping it out of boredom. Whereas, in screenwriting class the semester before, we’d been encouraged to dream big, to wrestle with big themes and tell big stories, the TV-writing teacher suggested we all get a newspaper subscription and scan the police news for stories we could rip off. Meh. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn the professor was a veteran of the “Law & Order” writers’ room.

I mention this just as a reminder, should any of my abortive stories ever find new life. Except for the dog. Every dog I will ever write will always be the Sprigman. His personality is too strong to change.

(What happened to “Law & Order” besides too much success? Sometimes I catch some of those early-season episodes like “The Troubles” and just shake my head. This was great TV, once. But not for a long time.)

So, bloggage on a dreary, rainy day that will nevertheless rise above 40 degrees, qualifying it as “beautiful” for this time of year:

I don’t always follow the Fug Girls’ thinking on some of their targets, but they are so, so right about Heather Mills no-longer-McCartney’s divorce-court ensemble. If I had that body, and that bank account, and needed to wear pants most days, you’d never catch me in anything but Armani. In fact, I even know which Armani — a duplicate of the pantsuit Darryl Hannah wore in her final scene in “Kill Bill, Vol. 2,” right down to the blouse. I’d have about a dozen in three or four basic neutrals, and I’d wear one every day and I’d always look awesome.

If John McCain can keep a lunatic like Rod Parsley in his pocket, I’d call Barack Obama’s crazy minister even-Steven.

Calling fellow Bobcats: All remains mellow at our alma mater. Thanks to Basset for sending the story of two kids whose heat lamp started a dorm fire:

Though the two students responsible for fire and widespread flooding in Bromley Hall last week had marijuana and drug paraphernalia in their room, they will not be charged said Lt. Steve Noftz of the Ohio University Police Department. “It was a pretty overwhelming day, five floors of people concerned with property loss, and they’re concerned with liability,” Noftz said. “I think someone would say ‘good lord, is all you can think of to throw a criminal charge on top of that?’”

Totally.

OK. Morning phone conference, followed by the gym, followed by another afternoon off for our fifth-grader-in-residence. Which means short shrift for you guys today.

Posted at 8:26 am in Current events, Popculch |
 

107 responses to “Ripped from the headlines.”

  1. Connie said on March 18, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Heather Mills was on Dancing With the Stars a few seasons ago, and I kept thinking, Heather take advantage of being in LA for several weeks and get your Brit teeth fixed. Find an American dentist. Surely you can afford it.

    Christopher Hitchens did it and wrote about it. (We’ll ignore the rest of what he wrote about in the same piece.)

  2. Randy said on March 18, 2008 at 8:47 am

    What The Dead Know is fantastic, compelling, sad, frustrating, and brilliant. Like the reviews said, you can’t figure out the truth until the author shows it to you, then you wonder why you never figured it out for yourself.

    As great as her previous books are, Ms. Lippman seems to have made a leap with that that one. Looking forward to the new addition to the Tess Monaghan series.

  3. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 9:46 am

    I really have tried not to follow the Heather Mills saga, but it has been impossible to avoid. My take, she is a hateful person. When I think of Paul McCartney and what he has done for the world, I just shake my head in disgust at her.

    They should through her in jail for a month and force her to listen to Yoko Ono … ah … singing (at least that’s what she calls it).

  4. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 9:58 am

    If John McCain can keep a lunatic like Rod Parsley in his pocket, I’d call Barack Obama’s crazy minister even-Steven.

    Ah, nice try, Nance. Several big differences here:

    1. McCain probably did this for political expediency. He didn’t set under his preaching for 20 years, get married by him and have his children baptised and raised in the church.

    2. As odious as many secular progressives might find Parsley’s take on things, it is a far, far cry from the crazy, afro-centric, hate speech that is coming from Wright’s mouth. Wright thinks that God should help him kill the “white oppressors”, that AIDS was created by the US government to kill black folk, and that 9-11 was something that “whitey” deserved.

    3. Parsley didn’t have such a close relationship with McCain that he inspired him to write a book. Which is kind of ludicrous that Obama would know a man for so long and so well, but not be aware of his crazy hateful views. How will he discern the intentions of other world leaders and the best course for the country when he doesn’t even know his own spiritual adviser very well.

    I find it ironic that Obama, who’s campaign has suceeded mainly on eloquent rhetoric (aka smoke and mirrors), is now likely to be brought low by the rhetoric of Pastor Wrong .. er.. Wright.

  5. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 10:05 am

    It seems to me a good reading strategy is to alternate big books (frequently reread, in our case) with detective stories and science fiction. This can lead to obsessive compulsive behavior. My clients thought I’d fallen off the face of the earth when I was engrossed in Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norrell, and when it’s time to revisit V or Lemprierre, I’m dead to the world for a couple of days. If I’ve got a lot to do, better to stick to Walter Moseley and James Lee Burke.

    What the Dead Know is excellent. I’ve never read anything else by Laura Lippman, but Tess Monaghan sounds like worth a shot. The idea of transcending genres is interesting. William Gibson used to be a science fiction writer back when he invented cyberspace, but Pattern Recognition and Spook Country are social and political commentary, and eschatology, along the lines of DeLillo and Walker Percy. And just as beautifully written.

    The Spenser books are favorites, because he spells it with an “s” and because Parker gets Boston perfectly. And Tony Hillerman, because Coyote’s always lurking.

    The idea that characters take over from writers must be true, because Kurt Vonnegut said that Kilgore Trout dictated much of his work. Of course, that’s a character that’s an invented author, and a hack writer at that.

    Christopher Hitchens needs an ENT more than he ever ever needed a dentist, unless he’s just faking that neuralgic drip business to sound like Bill Buckley.

  6. brian stouder said on March 18, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Literally ‘Ripped from the headlines’

    Developing: Obama: ‘Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now’

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23687688/

    Democrat Barack Obama distanced himself from “stupid statements” by his longtime pastor that have aggravated racial divisions in the contentious Democratic primary battle, addressing what he called “a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years.”

    and

    In Tuesday’s speech Obama added, “Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years. I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.”

    Danny – when you say “McCain probably did this for political expediency.” I agree completely; and we might agree that we cannot hold ‘being a politician’ against politicians. Obama & McCain have constituencies to address and coalitions to build….and some of the elements of each are unattractive, when viewed in isolation.

    When you say “He (McCain) didn’t set under his preaching for 20 years, get married by him and have his children baptised and raised in the church.”, it begs the question what McCain WAS doing 20 years ago, and the Keating Five thing was part of a debacle that cost you and I much more than the roof-raising sermon-style of a Chicago preacher.

    It looks like Obama really hit this issue earnestly and four-square – which is all a person can do

  7. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Danny, John McCain will kiss Shrub’s butt cheeks after Rove savaged him in 2000. He’ll do anything whatsoever for political expediency. That’s a mitigating factor in your opinion?

    Meanwhile, who was the editorial genius that decided on these bozos for the five year anniversary retrospective on Shock and Awe in Week in Review? McCain was too busy? Maybe he was having drinks with Little Miss Runamuck. I guess they’re never going to admit they flat f**ked up.

  8. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Costs of the thrift failures. McCain should have been duplicating his Hanoi Hilton time at Club Fed somewhere. Thing about McCain is, he’s never done anything wrong, he’s just given the appearance of wrongdoing. Wide stances and youthful indiscretions–last refuges of scoundrels.

  9. Kafkaz said on March 18, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Brian–I don’t know if Obama’s speech will be enough to quell the fears that the talk radio types are whipping up. It’s so easy to appeal to fear, and once that doubt is planted, it’s going to be hard to overcome, seems like. Anybody who actually listened to the speech and is even now pondering it will not be so easily swayed by fear, but listening is something of a dying art, isn’t it?

  10. whitebeard said on March 18, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Setting aside the politics (Canadians are not allowed to vote for a president, nor for a prime minister either), Heather Mills’ outfit appeared to me to be a definite fashion statement, like “Like it or lump it” to her watchers.
    And I intend to gather a clutch of Lippman books the next time I am in the library and will read them in sequence, I hope.
    I was reading that before the latest storm Quebec City had 210 inches of snow this winter; now that is decidely The Great White North.
    I remember driving down I-75 below the Mackinac Bridge when I encountered my first whiteout. I slowed to a crawl and inched over to the side of the road with my flashers blinking and waited half an hour: now that is also Winter At Its Worst

  11. john c said on March 18, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Danny:

    Re: Your points about Obama and Wright.

    I am a practicing Catholic who attends Mass every week and sends my kids to Sunday school. I have 16 years of Catholic education. I am pro-choice. I believe women should be allowed to be priests. I believe gays should be allowed to marry.
    And while my faith is a little shaky at times, I would call my parents devout Catholics. They share my views on all of the above, in direct contradiction with the teachings of the Catholic church and most of its priests.
    People choose to express their religion in different ways, and for very personal reasons. It is not always a matter of blind obedience with a certain preacher.

  12. nancy said on March 18, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    When did Paul McCartney become “Macca” in the British tabs? I never know who they’re talking about.

    As for Obama’s pastor: People go to specific church for any number of reasons, which can encompass everything from “it’s convenient” to “we pass a great donut shop on the way home” to “but I’ve always gone there” to “I’m a member of the minister’s cult of personality.” Obama may attend this UCC congregation for a variety of the above, or none of them.

    Certainly the Rev. Wright’s opinions are disturbing. An intriguing column here says they’re not as rare as you’d think (and hope).

  13. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Listening may be something of a dying art, but bending over backwards to make excuses for candidates you happen to like seems to be in vogue.

    One can render this thing in terms of a wildfire of irrational fears being fanned by right-wing media types (and being eaten up my stupid, mouth-breathing conservatives), but the facts are at odds with that. Otherwise, Obama would not have felt the need to address this issue so forcefully to his own constituency. If he truly wants to represent all Americans, he needs to come correct on this and continue to do so.

    I still find it difficult to believe that he had no knowledge of this hateful, divisive rhetoric before the campaign. The people in the congregation were jumping out of their seats to applaud Wright with each ridiculous and incendiary statement. I guess we are to believe that Obama never chatted with anyone of his fellow parishioners either.

    Finally, ask yourself if Obama had a “-R” after his name if you’d be so accommodating and magnanimous with your comments. And be honest.

  14. nancy said on March 18, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Good points, Danny. But.

    I worry less about Obama’s link to his pastor than others do, mainly because he hasn’t allied himself with Wright as an ideological partner. One thing you have to concede — it’s hard to separate the GOP from the religious right, mainly because they climbed into bed together and made a baby George Bush. The RR made churches touchstones in their voter registration drives. They’ve had people like Tim Goeglein and Ralph Reed running back and forth between the pulpit and the Oval Office carrying water and policy recommendations. Obama’s never endorsed anything Wright does, isn’t pushing a program of keeeeel-the-white-peeeepul, and doesn’t appear inclined to make Wright a member of his kitchen cabinet. I’ll admit to being swayed by my own prejudices, but it’s easier for me to believe Obama has a crazy pastor, and McCain has a power-mad “spiritual advisor.” Because Rev. Parsley has made it clear from the beginning that’s what he wants.

  15. LAMary said on March 18, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    They’ve been call Paul Macca for a loooooong time. It’s a Brit thing, making weird doing weird abbreviations. Having an in house Brit, my dogs know what biccies are, and we all know what choccies and pressies are. I consider myself bilingual.

  16. Harl Delos said on March 18, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    I really have tried not to follow the Heather Mills saga, but it has been impossible to avoid. My take, she is a hateful person. When I think of Paul McCartney and what he has done for the world, I just shake my head in disgust at her.

    People in a divorce are hateful. That’s why they get divorced.

    Giving her $50 million, out of his $2 billion, to go away quietly, rather than her winning $50 million in court, would have cost him far less, because he’d have saved a bundle on lawyers barristers. But when you’re angry, you do hateful things in order to try to inflict pain.

    If they’d been divorced in the US and she had good lawyers, she’d have gotten a far better settlement. She’d have been entitled to half the accumulation of wealth during the marriage.

    Personally, I’m against divorce. OJ had it right. The only way you get the kids is by killing the <bleep&rt;, and if it costs you every cent you have and every cent you will ever make, it’s a bargain.

    Sir and Mrs. McCartney didn’t have any kids together, so their situation would be a little different.

  17. nancy said on March 18, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    No, the McCartneys had a daughter together. Beatrice, I think.

  18. Jolene said on March 18, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Nancy’s point re the tight relationship between the religious right and the Republican party is important. McCain, who evinces no particular evidence of religious faith as a motivator of his actions, was forced to seek the endorsements of people he’d likely never have had anything to do with, if not for political necessity.

    Dana Bash, a CNN reporter, said last week that McCain staffers told her privately that they’d made a huge mistake in seeking the endorsement of John Hagee, the anti-Catholic end-times enthusiast. In the effort to try to kill off Huckabee, they needed an evangelical endorsement from someone, and other, more prominent, evanagelicals had already rejected him.

    Now, having linked himself to Hagee and Parsley for political reasons, McCain is stuck w/ them–not that I think those links will hurt him a great deal, but they probably won’t help him as much as he hoped.

  19. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Hmm, I thought Paul and Heather had a daughter. (ED: What Nancy said)

    I guess what made me dislike Mills so much is when you compare how it turned out with her to the obvious life-long love affair that he and Linda shared .. well, there is no comparison. It just wouldn’t seem possible for Paul to get along so famously with Linda and to write all of the wonderful love songs he did and then to all of a sudden be incapable of loving. If the marriage ended up being loveless with Heather, most would assume it was her fault. And given the extent she went to to drag his name through the mud, most would say, “a pox on her house, but not on his.”

  20. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    John, I’m not saying that Obama had blind obedience to a preacher or that anyone who attends a church should. But if he says that we no longer have Red states and Blue states, but United States and appeals to an end to divisiveness in our culture, he can’t attend a church for 20 years where the preacher and close friend of his is so extremely enaged in ideas that are very, very much to the contrary. Well he can, I guess, but it doesn’t look good.

  21. Jolene said on March 18, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Danny, I don’t know anything, of course, about went on between the McCartneys, but I share your dislike for Mills. I don’t have any problem w/ a woman claiming a large financial settlement at the end of a long marriage, even if it is the man who had the money-earning career. In such situations, I figure they had an agreement as to who would do what and made their decisions w/in that framework.

    But a woman who marries a very rich man and, very shortly thereafter, attempts to leave with a large share of his wealth has earned whatever disapproval comes her way—assuming, of course, that the wealthy husband wasn’t actually evil, which, as you suggest, wasn’t the case here.

  22. Harl Delos said on March 18, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    I still find it difficult to believe that he had no knowledge of this hateful, divisive rhetoric before the campaign.

    Especially since Senator Obama said he heard it.

    The people in the congregation were jumping out of their seats to applaud Wright with each ridiculous and incendiary statement.

    You’ve never attended a black church, have you? I suspect most UCC churches are like St. John’s, on the Defiance College campus. If the minister were to announce that the building was on fire, and that there were 100 tons of explosive in the basement, people would be reluctant to stand up and evaculate the building.

    On the other hand, in the few black churches I’ve attended, if the preacher taps on the microphone and says, “Testing, 1, 2, 3, testing”, a dozen people say “Amen” loudly, five will say “Hallelujah”, half the congregation will jump to their feet and wave their arms in the air, and there will be twenty people dancing in the aisles.

    I’m more comfortable with the former than the latter, but when I was single, I ended up visiting a lot of churches as first dates. (It’s a great strategy, guys, if you want to meet wonderful women who are enthusiastic lovers.)

  23. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Aside from saying Goddamn America, and his insane personal attack on Hillary Clinton for the temerity to be born a white woman, and saying Jesus was black, and insisting during his rant that he wouldn’t stoop to divisiveness, what’s the problem with Reverend Wright?

    When he insinuated that implicit US support for state terrorism may have contributed to unrest in the so-called Arab world, he was closer to the mark than fundamentalist whackos that attribute the WTC destruction to God’s vengeance for, what, the US becoming the whore of Babylon. And when did this become a Catholic country, Bishop Hagee?

    If the US is the sole support of the Israeli state and the Israeli government picks Summer ’06 to blow up most of Lebanon in two or three days, people will get pissed off, and if that wasn’t state terrorism, I guess state terrorism doesn’t exist.

    The guy’s still psychotic, and you’d hope somebody that wants to run the country would have seen signs that counseling was in order for his mentor. But Wright’s statement about state terrorism is nothing like Farrahkan’s anti-Semitism. If you Google back at Ha’aretz, you can read Jewish people saying the same things about Gaza and the West Bank and Lebanon. The idea that finding the Israeli government’s behavior reprehensible is the same thing as anti-Semitism is a transparent intellectual canard

    The Arab world is the Thirld World, sheiks excepted, and foreign workers chattel. In some convoluted way, this guy thinks black people in America are part of the same Third World. He’s about as graceless as Geraldine Ferraro.but he’s not AIPAC.

    The American government doesn’t act in the world as an agent of pure beneficence, no matter how many lapel pins, and screwing people over will bring retribution. There are equal and opposite reactions. Raygun bonded with DeKlerk, like Shrub looked in Putin’s eyes. How’s that working out, you pisant? There is nothing in the world an American Republican loves more than an Autocrat not named Castro.

    If it’s capitalism we’re stuck with, that’s not Adam Smith’s version with the sugar coating. No invisible hand of divine guidance. Dog eating dog. China eats America but dies of smog before enjoying the repast. That might sound pessimistic, but maybe there’s a chance human beings will remember why they’re human. It’s not the opposable thumb, it’s the intrinsic value of every human life

  24. sue said on March 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Some information about the United Church of Christ: It was formed in the mid-fifties by the merger of two denominations, one of which had a more conservative evangelical heritage. It is now one of the most liberal churches in the United States, but – and this is important in both good and bad ways – it allows tremendous freedom in its member churches to go their own ways. This is why you can have the recently retired pastor of Trinity (I believe that is the name of Obama’s church) known for incendiary racially-based speeches, AND have the recently retired pastor of my UCC church known for sermons which included phrases like “rampaging lesbians”. The short take on it, I believe, is that the UCC assumes its members have enough brains to get past the crap. I am not aware of Trinity manufacturing white-people-hating radicals; apparently their most famous member is a senator known for his interest in bringing people together. Trinity’s members, as far as I can tell, do not demonstrate at funerals, call for the deaths of people not like them, or try to lobby to take away civil liberties from people who are not considered good enough. In short, like most churches, their church is more than its pastor. Recently, a minister from “the largest black church in Chicago” (I believe but cannot verify that it was Trinity) accepted a call at a UCC church in Milwaukee. The church was in a changing neighborhood and the membership, older and white, requested that the church be taken over by the Southeastern Association and used as a mission church to reach out to the area, acknowledging that they were not in a position to seek and find a compatible pastor. The woman who accepted the call spoke at an association “leader feeder” one afternoon, made up of mostly white people. She stopped her speech in the middle to ask us if we could please give her more feedback. She was not used to a quiet audience; it was making her nervous. We, on the other hand, were not about to start standing and shouting. The compromise was polite clapping here and there and we all found it funny and a strange icebreaker. So the “jumping, screaming” people you are seeing in the footage of Pastor Wright’s sermons are not being whipped into a frenzy – it’s how they worship.
    And LAMary? When I first started reading the Lovejoy mysteries (they take place in East Anglia) I had to take out a British English/American English dictionary from the library. I wish Americans said “Wotcher”.

  25. Linda said on March 18, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    “OJ had it right. The only way you get the kids is by killing the <bleep&rt;, and if it costs you every cent you have and every cent you will ever make, it’s a bargain.”

    OMG. I’m horrified that anyone would ever say that. There are bitter divorces, but there are also full-grown people who put their bitterness aside and see that the person they are divorcing might have been a crappy marital partner, but a good parent. That’s the high road my nephew took in sharing custody with his ex; it’s the high road one of my friends took when she had to move out of town, and gave her ex custody of the kids. Some exes are crappy parents and need to be fought, but sometimes, they are not–just crummy spouses–and people need to put their bitterness aside like human beings.

  26. brian stouder said on March 18, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    If the US is the sole support of the Israeli state and the Israeli government picks Summer ‘06 to blow up most of Lebanon in two or three days

    BZZZZZZZZZZZT!!

    Sorry Michaelj, Hezbollah picked the time; Israel’s response to their attacks frightened me a bit; but the United States wouldn’t put up with rockets crashing into border cities such as San Diego, or Buffalo, or Detroit…and we damned near went to war over missile placement in Cuba.

    Anyway, I probably have approximately zero chance of getting into the Grand Wayne Center after work today, but I have our camera – and if I DO get in, and see the 42nd President of the United States, I’ll send the picture to the proprietress

  27. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Especially since Senator Obama said he heard it.

    Harl, two days ago in an interview with Anderson Cooper, Obama made it very clear that he had not heard the comments until after his campaign for president started. Are you saying that today, in his speech, he changed that timeline of what he heard and when he heard it?

    You’ve never attended a black church, have you?

    Yes I have. And one of my pastors is black And my church is pretty mixed, racially. And I’ve dated two wonderful black women in my life who attended black churches.

    While there are a lot of “amens” I disagree with suggestion that black parishioners will just say “amen” to anything. Like they just check their brains at the door? No, I disagree.

  28. Harl Delos said on March 18, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    But a woman who marries a very rich man and, very shortly thereafter, attempts to leave with a large share of his wealth has earned whatever disapproval comes her way—assuming, of course, that the wealthy husband wasn’t actually evil, which, as you suggest, wasn’t the case here.

    It wasn’t exactly a drive-by marriage. The average marriage in the US lasts a little short of 7 years. Paul and Heather were married 6 years. Linda’s kids said Heather was a gold-digger, but being concerned about how much they would inherit, I’m not sure who they might have approved of.

    Paul and Linda tried to wean their cat off meat because they felt it unethical for a carnivore to be anything other than a vegetarian.

    I don’t know whether cruelty to animals qualifies as evil or is a result of stupidity, but I don’t think of Paul’s lyrics as the height of illiteracy.

    Paul’s divorce justifies headlines more than, say, Brittany Spears crotch shots; he used to be a Beatle. But that was decades ago. When you add up his contributions to the world, I’d put him above those who handle threatening turnips, but below a passerby who stops and pulls a driver from a burning car moments before it explodes.

  29. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Linda said regarding Harl’s comment that OJ had it right.

    OMG. I’m horrified that anyone would ever say that.

    Linda, I don’t know enough about Harl to understand how he meant that comment, but I too was taken aback.

    Harl, last week you seem to have defended pooping as a sex act, and today, you seem to have OJ killing two people and going to church so you can lure women into fornication. At least that is what your positions seem to be.

    Perhaps you’ll elaborate and we’ll all laugh at the great big misunderstanding?

  30. Jolene said on March 18, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Hezbollah may have picked the time, Brian, but the response was, well, a little amazing. A 10 (or more) to 1 casualty rate and massive property damage suggests that there may have been a better approach. Although I’m not totally tuned into the situation, my impression is that the situation generally ended up worse for the Israelis than it had been before their assault on Lebanon.

  31. Harl Delos said on March 18, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Harl, two days ago in an interview with Anderson Cooper, Obama made it very clear that he had not heard the comments until after his campaign for president started. Are you saying that today, in his speech, he changed that timeline of what he heard and when he heard it?

    I can’t find any transcript from two days ago, but CNN has one they played at 10 PM eastern time on the 14th. I assume they may have replayed it, and that we’re talking about the same interview; please correct me if we’re not.

    No, he didn’t change the timeline.

    Anderson played a clip of Wright, and Senator Obama said he hadn’t heard those particular statements. On the other hand, Obama’s interview was clearly misleading, in that it suggested that Wright only preached on Jesus, faith, and the poor.

    Your reference to “hateful, divisive rhetoric” is much less specific than what Anderson Cooper asked about. Obama’s speech today said that he had heard stuff that he very much disagreed with, as we all have.

    The Cooper interview:

    COOPER: (AUDIO GAP) … was created by the government to kill black people. He’s called America the number-one killer around the world. He’s said that black people shouldn’t sing “God Bless America,” but say God damn America.

    There’s a lot of folks in America right now who have heard that. And I want to ask you why you have been listening to this pastor and close to him for nearly 20 years?

    SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, Anderson, you know, I strongly condemn the statements that have been shown on the tape.

    I have to confess that those are not statements that I ever heard when I was sitting in the pews at this church. This is a church that I have been a member of for 20 years. This is a well-established, typical, historically African-American church in the South Side of Chicago, with a wonderful set of ministries.

    And what I have been hearing and had been hearing in church was talk about Jesus and talk about faith and values and serving the poor…

    The speech:

    I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

    While there are a lot of “amens” I disagree with suggestion that black parishioners will just say “amen” to anything. Like they just check their brains at the door? No, I disagree.

    I was trying to lighten the conversation by humorous exaggeration. There’s a wide range of churches out there. There was one in Wisconsin, a 95% white church, I went to where the service lasted three hours, and we spent most of the time on our feet. I hadn’t eaten breakfast, and my blood sugar was dropping, and I was afraid I would fall on my face. The churches that are lily white tend to be either full of stiffs and bored me to death, or else tending towards snake-handling, and I’m going to admit that I never went twice to one of those churches. Most churches that are predominantly black seem to have animated parishioners, but there are some that are predominantly white that are equally animated, and I admire that. If someone isn’t moved by their church service, is it doing any good? Apparently not, because those demoninations are mostly shrinking.

    The most interesting service I’ve attended was an Amish one (NOT “church Amish”, but services in a home), which runs all day long. They don’t prosetylize, and they don’t welcome curiosity-seekers, but Amish friends of mine lost a baby. I asked if I could worship with them the following weekend, and they told everyone else what was up. I don’t speak German.

  32. Kafkaz said on March 18, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Danny–Oh, of course folks who are rabidly in favor of one candidate or another will spin everything their way. Nothing new, there.

    But, this is a significant speech, seems to me, quite apart from where a person might fall on the political continuum. I expect most people will have a hard time really listening to it, preferring either to dismiss it out of hand as an attempt at putting out the fire that this preacher thing turned into, or to laud it as yet another bit of what they see as this candidate’s disarming honesty.

    Either way, the part that Nancy mentions above–the broad audience for Wright’s brand of rhetoric, and how common its general themes and terms are–isn’t likely to be much considered, or brought to bear on how the speech is heard. Fear is a problem, but I quite agree that willfully deaf enthusiasm can be, as well.

    I’d like to see more work on contextualizing. I don’t think that would lead to any preordained conclusions–but some wrestling more deeply with all of the issues here would seem to be in order. Neither raw fear nor slavish awe gets a person to that happy (and rare) place.

  33. Kafkaz said on March 18, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Here’s another tack that folks who are interested in understanding the context of the preacher flap might take. There’s a long tradition of rhetoric, here. It’s frightening the way any unknown thing is. To me, it’s not possible to do too much embracing or rejecting without having some sense of how it works, what it does, what its internal logic and contradictions might be, etc.

    The “brood of vipers” and “winnowing fork” approach has never been all that warm and fuzzy.

  34. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Brian. Frightened you a bit. They destroyed every bridge, dam and major roadway in the entire country. The Hezbollah kidnapping of Israeli soldiers was entirely likely a response to an Israeli incursion into Lebanon. It’s halfway understandable to think Israelis life in constant danger. But with American firepower, everybody that lives next to Israel lives in constant danger, and if you llive in Gaza, or the West Bank, Israelis can blow you up or starve you to death, with impunity.

    What’s really strange is that Israel pulls this shit no matter the makeup of the government. I doubt there’s any good will on either side, and seven and a half years of neglect from the US hasn’t helped. Characterizing the Israeli actions in July, 2006 as defending themselves seems ludicrous to me. They tried to pull a fast one, got embarassed, and then decided it was time to level Lebanon’s infrastrictire.

    It’s also worth considering that Israel interfered intentionally with the Lebanese government’s attempts to deal with Hezbollah’s actions in the South of Lebanon. If the Lebanese army came any closer to the border, the results would have been identical. How many members of Hezbollah were in Beirut and Tripoli. None, but that’s where the damage was done.

    But, if your sponsor can wage an outright war of choice and aggression, and you’ve got the same airplanes and depleted uranium and weaponized white phosphorus, what’s to stop you from trashing another countr and innocent people?

  35. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Harl:

    Beatle Paul has written some pretty dumbass lyrics:

    “Sister Susie, brother John
    Martin Luther, Phil ‘n’ Don
    Brother Michael, Auntie Gin
    Open the door, let ’em in, yeah”

    Ridiculously, I think I might know what he’s talking about, in this case. But:

    “Hand Across The Water (Water)
    Heads Across The Sky
    Hand Across The Water (Water)
    Heads Across The Sky
    Admiral Halsey Notified Me
    He Had To Have A Berth Or He Couldn’t Get To Sea
    I Had Another Look And I Had A Cup Of Tea And Butter Pie”

    Maybe more dumbass than marrying Heather Mills. But, shoot, I doubt brains, or cleverness, or forethought, or even money have much to do with getting married, or who you decide to do it with.

    I think this is as good a Beatles webpage as I’ve come across. If you go to individual songs, this guy has all sorts of fascinating comments about weird production things.

    My favorite Beatles lines almost, and I’d guess John Lennon wrote them:

    “How does it feel to be
    One of the beautiful people
    Tuned to a natural E
    happy to be that way
    Now that you’ve found another key
    What are you going to play .”

    My favorite Beatles lines for sure, and I know John Lennon wrote them:

    “Turn off your mind, relax
    and float down stream
    It is not dying
    It is not dying”

  36. Connie said on March 18, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Yeah, but those dumbass lyrics are the sound track to my newlywed/early married years. Along with Billy Joel. Glass Houses.

  37. nancy said on March 18, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    I was always a John girl m’self, so Danny’s praise of Macca’s lyricism didn’t quite work for me, either.

    But while we’re on the subject, who has “Heavy Music” on MP3 in their collection? And before you accuse me of thievery, tell me why the fool isn’t in the iTunes music store.

  38. Connie said on March 18, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Sorry Nancy, my only copy of Heavy Music is on vinyl. Somewhere in a box in the basement.

  39. Harl Delos said on March 18, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Linda said regarding Harl’s comment that OJ had it right.
    OMG. I’m horrified that anyone would ever say that.
    Linda, I don’t know enough about Harl to understand how he meant that comment, but I too was taken aback.

    OJ’s ex was having sex in front of the kids, and the courts wouldn’t do anything about it. I know of a case where a woman in NE Indiana let her kid miss over 60 days of school. The father asked the court for a change in custody because the boy was obviously not being cared for by a responsible parent, and the judge said, well, we’ll give it another year, and see if she mends her ways.

    What’s the problem here? You have to be told that school attendance is mandatory? Southern Wells doesn’t seem to want to enforce truancy laws, and his lawyer told the guy that if he complained to child protective services, the kid would go to a foster home instead of the father getting him.

    And eventually the kid did go to a foster home, where he was put to work in a gambling business.

    The mother gets the custody in 70% of all cases – it was 85% when OJ got his divorce – but in many cases, it’s not because Momma wants the kids, it’s because Momma wants the income. It’s absurd that we treat kids as a liability, when they are an asset. I’ve repeatedly heard women complaining that support wasn’t being paid, and challenged them: if you don’t think the kids are worth the cost of raising them, give them to me. My wife and I will raise them, covering the cost out of our own pocket, and you’ll no longer be suffering. But nobody was ever willing to accept my offer.

    Harl, last week you seem to have defended pooping as a sex act

    I will continue to say that what consenting adults do with each other in private is nobody else’s business, no matter how silly it might seem to me or anyone else.

    today, you seem to have OJ killing two people

    I didn’t defend killing a bystander. I will continue to argue that fathers need to do whatever it takes to protect their kids, up to and including homicide. If you think otherwise, I hope you are using very effective birth control.

    going to church so you can lure women into fornication.

    The whole purpose of dating is to meet persons of the opposite sex, with sexual intercourse as the hoped-for end. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with a life-long relationship. If you’re not, it won’t.

    But I was taking church-going women to church because it was a good way to get to know women. (A lot of guys try to meet women in bars, but I wasn’t interested in meeting drunkards.) After church, we would typically have dinner at a restaurant, and then I’d ask them how they wanted to spend the afternoon. My late first wife, we flew kites. Sometimes we would go to a museum or a zoo. (Zoos are better; you’re expected to be silent in a museum, and if you don’t talk, how do you get to know each other.) But a lot of the time, on a first date, she’d invite me to her place, and then she’d attack me.

    You may disapprove of fornication, but I believe God is the only one who can define sin, and he defined ten of them. There is one against adultery, which is a violation of marital vows. Perhaps you think when God made adultery a sin, she really meant fornication, but couldn’t spell it?

    Perhaps you’ll elaborate and we’ll all laugh at the great big misunderstanding?

    I’ve elaborated. Perhaps you’re laughing; perhaps you think I’m just an asshole.

    I was in a collision a dozen years ago, and spent 8 days in intensive care at St. Joseph’s. A nurse there told me that nobody spends more than 2 days or so in ICU; they either die or move to another floor, and I should have died, given my injuries, but God obviously had plans for me. Who knows? But I’ve decided not to put a period where God put a comma.

  40. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I was always a John girl m’self, so Danny’s praise of Macca’s lyricism didn’t quite work for me, either.

    I dunno, I thought Wings was better than solo Lennon. And the early love songs of the Beatles are just flat out good, fun pop.

    But I love John and Paul equally.

    Yoko and Heather, not so much. I don’t wanna hold their hands.

  41. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    There are 499.000 hits on Google for Catholic Church cult. Hagee’s responsible for a few. As a Catholic I’d find this mildly offensive if it weren’t for the abject stupidity and arrant bullshit involved. My question: If you’re church came 16 century’s later and was founded on the idea you were making corrections to take the church in the “right” direction, isn’t your theological foundation a cult? But, I’m a deluded cult member.

    Hagee? Wright? I’d pick the guy that dislikes a manufactured State over the unreconstructed, unmitigated bigot. Neither associated Presidential candidate has a decent leg to stand on, though. They knew and didn’t care, or they didn’t know. Which is worse?

    Doan mean much. Being an out and out bigot doesn‘t prevent you from being President, it‘s a jumpstart. Hell, it’s positively transformational.

  42. Jolene said on March 18, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    “I expect most people will have a hard time really listening to it, preferring either to dismiss it out of hand as an attempt at putting out the fire that this preacher thing turned into, or to laud it as yet another bit of what they see as this candidate’s disarming honesty.”

    Reading around the blogosphere, I found reactions to the speech could pretty much be predicted on the basis of the political slant of the site. Not too much evidence that minds were changed in one way or another by what Obama said. Not very surprising, I guess.

    My own reaction was that it was probably better as a speech about our painful racial heritage than a speech to explain his relationship to the outrageous Rev.

  43. Julie Robinson said on March 18, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    We watched “Across the Universe” last week and I, too, was struck anew at the greatness and silliness of Beatles’ music. Mostly in relation to their drug use. The hubby said it was the first time he’d actually been able to understand a lot of the lyrics.

  44. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Connie, my apologies. I actually like both those songs, and we play the Wingspan album regularly. Jet is a great song and so are Band on the Run and Venus and Mars. Oh, and especially Junior’s Farm. But Admiral Halsey and the little farting noises, and Mademoiselle Kitty, I think he was trying to piss John off.

  45. brian stouder said on March 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Pearl Jam, baby!!

  46. Sue said on March 18, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Since OJ hasn’t found the killer yet, I’m still kind of assuming he did it. And silly me, I thought he killed her not because he was protecting his kids but because he couldn’t stand that she was with another man (the “bystander”, who actually may really have been only a bystander). How awful to have to watch your mother have sex. How awful to watch your dad beat the crap out of your mother. How awful to have to find out after the fact that not only did your father beat the crap out of your mother, he joked about it to others. How awful for those kids in every way. I’m not saying you don’t have a justifiable argument, but you really need to pick a better example to illustrate it.

  47. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    One thing is for sure, Jolene. Tonight at 8p est Minister of Information Keith Olbermann will proclaim it the greatest political speech in the history of political speeches and possibly greater than the entire works of W Shakespear.

  48. Kafkaz said on March 18, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Jolene–I think you’re onto something, there, for sure.

    Probably a good time to listen to George Harrison. “Run of the Mill,” maybe.

  49. nancy said on March 18, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Yeah, Harl, as childhood traumas go, seeing your mom having sex doesn’t really compare to knowing your dad killed her.

    Besides, whose word do we have on that? OJ’s? And what did “having sex in front of the kids” constitute? They woke up one night and walked in on something? Or she called for them to gather ’round and take notes? Big diff.

    As for Lennon and McCartney, they were one of those pairings that was truly greater than the sum of its parts. Neither was as impressive as a solo artist, but Lennon took more risks. I’ll take “Cold Turkey,” “Working Class Hero,” “Number 9 Dream” and even “Double Fantasy” over anything by Wings.

    Linda = Yoko. The fact one was despised and the other beloved shows you what being non-white and — far more important — unattractive gets you in this country.

    Yoko’s 75 now. Can you believe it?

  50. 4dbirds said on March 18, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Harl your explanation of OJ’s ‘justifiable’ crime actually made me side with Danny. Shudder.

  51. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    We watched “Across the Universe” last week and I, too, was struck anew at the greatness and silliness of Beatles’ music. Mostly in relation to their drug use. The hubby said it was the first time he’d actually been able to understand a lot of the lyrics.

    Julie, I read a hilarious review of that movie that said it was so literal that it really was stupid. During the song where they sing, “she came in through the bathroom window,” the character was .. well, climbing into the house through the bathroom window.

    Reminds of a joke i heard from a comedian hwho recently committed suicide: “I once saw a forklift pick up a pallet of boxes of forks. Man, that was way too literal for me.”

    And Brian says: Pearl Jam, baby!!

    Brian, Eddie Vedder doesn’t even agree with you when compared to the Beatles. Hehehe.

  52. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Harl your explanation of OJ’s ‘justifiable’ crime actually made me side with Danny. Shudder.

    Well it is my birthday today, so I’ll take that as my present, 4DB.

  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Well, hey, but, then again, y’know . . . ah, never mind. Which is not to say “nevermind.”

    Pat Paulsen for President!

    (Wotcher, Sue. You’re a right dinkum bird.)

    (oh, and i see congratulations are in order for another full circuit of the local star, Danny. Many happy returns!)

  54. Julie Robinson said on March 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Danny, I thought the movie took a lot of artistic risks, which always leads to mixed reviews. I mostly enjoyed the choices that were made, and I really enjoyed the musical interpretations. They found some great unknown actors who deserve greater reknown. It was also a history lesson come alive for our kids.

  55. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Ah, Nance, Yoko was despised becasue she broke up the Beatles. And Linda wasn’t too great looking either.

    Man, are you just throwing up fat pitches for me to hit out of the park today. You really, really like me (said in my best Sallie Fields voice).

  56. brian stouder said on March 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Well it is my birthday today

    Happy Birthday, Danny! (mine is tomorrow; as soon as the Iraq war began, I lost ownership of the day)

  57. Sue said on March 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Jeff(mm): back to the British/American dictionary for me, unless you want to enlighten me.
    Danny and Brian: Happy birthday! Where are we all meeting for drinks? Or will you be bringing doughnuts tomorrow morning when we all meet again to solve the problems of the world?

  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Oh, and i want to repeat a point i’ve perhaps made too often here, but maybe too late in the day — i’ve heard Jeremiah Wright’s riffs, albeit without dashikis and in Methodist and Disciple and Presbyterian pulpits from bearded white guys and a few older brush cut ladies for many, many years. Finding a mainline/oldline church where there aren’t regular critiques of American imperialism and the genocide of Native Americans and hints that 9-11 was an inside job is a neat trick even out where the big box stores fear to tread. And i’ve talked face-to-face with Jeremiah Wright, who called me a “brother,” and not a white devil.

    Parsley, on the other hand, is moonbat crazy. Not because he’s a charismatic with a very Pentecostal worship style (which is not to everyone’s style, i grant), but because he does want a theocracy, and has worked hard to make sure people know it. McCain should have kept a clear separation between himself/his campaign, and this Christian Reconstructionist.

    I loved Obama’s opening riff on “who I am.” I’d love to vote for him just on his self-aware complex pedigree, or against any other candidate just for their unsavory associations — if there was a remaining candidate who had none. [spit take]

    But i gotta figure out who to vote for based on who should run our foreign policy and encourage national self-restraint and discipline. This is not gonna be easy, and my mind is no where near made up, but i haven’t heard Obama or Clinton say anything that convinces me they’ve got a plan other than what they don’t want to do, and i’m less worried about what McCain has said he will do that i don’t agree with than i am about the D’s on what they won’t talk about.

  59. alex said on March 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Danny, dating two black women doesn’t exactly mean you’ve got your finger on the pulse of Afro-America. Wright’s statements are shocking and disturbing only to those who are unfamiliar with or are wilfully in denial about the true extent of the racial hostilities that still smolder in this country. Wright is really no different than a lot of white fundamentalist preachers who have no shame about playing to the greatest fears and resentments of the most gullible among their largely uneducated followers. The only difference is that since the white demagogues can’t use the N-word anymore they substitute the word “Democrat.”

  60. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    OJ was tried twice, for all practical purposes. In the criminal trial, the case was so lame, the alleged evidence so obviously manufactured by a guy that could have founded Aryan Nation, and the prosecution so inept there was nothing to do but acquit. Then they went to Simi Valley, where you can’t get a verdict against white cops, two of whom admitted they were guilty, for beating the absolute shit out of some guy with about a 70 IQ for no apparent reason. Score one for the ubiquitous and incredibly obnoxious Mr. Goldman.

    Justice surely wasn’t served. Whatever OJ did or didn’t do, he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers in proceedings that looked like a lot more legitimate trial than the utterly ludicrous civil trial. I don’t know, so I wouldn’t say Nicole Brown was an unfit mother, but unapt, yeah. Out clubbing until dawn with a seedy personal trainer or whatever, it always seemed completely plausible she was the victim of a coke deal rip. Marsha and Chris and the State of California presented no evidence whatever that OJ killed her.

    The second, civil suit for wrongful death seems like a fairly grotesque loophole in the legal system that let’s somebody be convicted after they’ve been found not guilty in a criminal trial in which the state’s evidence was depantsed. Fuhrman should have gone to jail, for sure, for perjury and manufacturing evidence.

    If you actually paid attention to the prosecution case, it seemed to exonerate the defendant by basing arguments on a timeline Spiderman could’t have managed.

  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    For those who haven’t seen/heard it yet —

    “I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.”

    It is an awesome statement, wherever his campaign goes from here. Me, i figure the Democrat nominee will be Al Gore anyhow, but i’m going to stay interested in this guy.

    (Alex, the placeholder you’re looking for isn’t “Democrat,” it’s “liberal,” but your point remains.)

  62. Laura said on March 18, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    You’re getting some weird and scary (murder? good idea? yikes!) posts there, Nancy. What do you make of it?
    Also, I never bought into the Lennon/singular genius thing. He seemed like kind of a prick, too. But Paul, he’s dreamy.

  63. Julie Robinson said on March 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    I liked what he said about his grandmother–that he didn’t agree with everything she said, either; specifically a comment about her feeling uncomfortable when a black man was walking down the street near her.

    I sure don’t agree with everything my pastor says, either, and he knows it. That doesn’t stop me from accepting and loving him as a brother in Christ.

    The one thing this does point towards is Obama’s degree of inexperience and naivete. That’s what I have a bigger problem with.

  64. Jolene said on March 18, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Michael:

    You don’t have to wait for 8 PM to hear Obama’s speech being incorporated into the American canon on MSNBC. Chris Matthews said that it should become something schoolkids read–that people should read it once a year, just as they should read Huck Finn and The Great Gatsby every so often.

    Interesting conversation, actually. There was a quote from Joe Biden, which I was somewhat surprised to hear as he has stayed out of the Clinton/Obama race up to now, unlike Dodd, who has endorsed Obama.

  65. Julie Robinson said on March 18, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    And Laura, didn’t Paul always know how dreamy he was? Surely that impacted his choices.

    Good to be back, by the way!

  66. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Alex, “dating black women” was not my only qualifier nor was it exactly what I said. I do know and have known for a long time that this sort of rhetoric is popular in the black community and in black churches. But just because it is popular, doesn’t change the fact that it is racist, hateful, false, and promotes a victim mentality that serves no one and especially not the adherants to such twisted doctrine (though they are blind to this).

    And as far as the rest of your comment, it basically boils down to “everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t we.” That really doesn’t fly in a logical sense. Definitely not for Obama, who is claiming he wants to be a unificator and not divider-in-chief.

  67. nancy said on March 18, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Happy birthday, Danny.

    Now that’s out of the way, you are so full of shit.

    Are you seriously arguing that most music-buying westerners would find this —

    Linda

    — roughly equivalent to this —

    yoko

    — in terms of physical attractiveness? I mean, don’t even.

  68. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Also, I never bought into the Lennon/singular genius thing. He seemed like kind of a prick, too. But Paul, he’s dreamy.

    Laura, that cracked me up.

    BTW, I read the Julian’s forward to his mother’s book. John was not there for Julian and Yoko was a large part of that equation. That struck a chord with me. I had a similar situation in my life.

  69. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    HAHAHA!

    Good point, Nance! I concede.

  70. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    The thing Paul did about rearranging the credits bugged me. I figured Lennon, McCartney was alphabetical, and trying to figure out who was responsible for what was a large part of the immense allure of Beatles music. And, then, Beatle George wrote Frank Sinatra’s favorite Paul McCartney song.

    The first John album, pretty great. “But you’re still f**king peasants as far as I can see.” Yow. I like the gorgeous song he wrote for his son, Beautiful Boy:

    “Before you cross the street,
    Take my hand,
    Life is just what happens to you,
    While your busy making other plans.”

    But, the more often I hear Maybe I‘m Amazed, on which Paul plays piano and scorching guitar, and sings better than just about anybody, the more I think it’s a masterpiece. Wings, lots of nonsense, but Jet and Junior’s Farm are superb.

    I don’t know, it’s like Steven Stills and Neil Young. Really good, better together. Can’t live with ’em…never mind.

  71. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Jolene:

    Would that be the colossal head Chris Matthews that once said “We’re all neocons now”, and gets wet over John McCain because he smells like Old Spice? Why isn’t his voice squeaky from the helium. He’d break tethers and rip out light poles on Thanksgiving Day.

    Olbermann makes no attempt at pretense of objectivity any more. He tries to badger Rachel Maddow and Dana Milbanks and his other guests into alternately mocking and painting fangs on Clinton. It’s revolting. We skip the first 15 minutes and tune in for Oddball, which is occasionally the funniest thing on TV, and then come back for Worst Person in the World.

  72. Danny said on March 18, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Nance, here are two pictures I ran across today while wool-gathering about the past.

    Robin, my wife, had quite the buffon hairdo at age three. What a cutie. And for myself, I wasn’t a bad looking little girl either.

  73. sue said on March 18, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    I always figured that Linda and Paul had a more traditional marriage than people thought. She followed along and was willing to sing in his band for no other reason than that he wanted her to be a part of his life. Certainly not because she had any talent. The first time I heard the Linda McCartney “Hey Jude” outtakes I laughed so hard I almost drove off the road. Then I found out that she only did it because Paul wanted her to and was really hurt and humiliated when the outtakes were released. I still laughed, but I felt bad doing it. Paul probably expected something similar with wife #2 and was surprised, to say the least. And re the big Paul vs. John debate: those of us with an appreciation of brains, looks and depth know that George is the go-to guy, “My Sweet Lord” notwithstanding.

  74. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    There’s a George Harrison song called Dream Away that plays over the credits in the Terry Gilliam movie Time Bandits. Great movie, great song, and some day I’ll find out what the opening verse means. George was also the writer and director of Magical Mystery Tour, which might require pot and a certain sarcastic sensibility, but it’s pretty entertaining, and actually had the Bonzo Dog Band in it.

  75. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    [No comments to post, just background sound of rummaging through box for VHS tape of “Time Bandits.”]

  76. moe99 said on March 18, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    http://tinyurl.com/38r8kd

    thought this was some good commentary on Obama’s speech. I got an email from a lawyer acquaintance who has never sent me a political email before–but he was so moved by the speech, he felt compelled to direct all his friends to at least read it if not listen to it. That’s some rhetoric!

  77. Harl Delos said on March 18, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Paul probably expected something similar with wife #2 and was surprised, to say the least.

    I imagine that’s true for more second marriages than not.

    Remarrying too soon is a mistake, and I suspect that was the problem here. (But don’t ask me to define “too soon”, please.)

    Shortcomings of the first wife are forgotten, thought trivial, or are reinterpreted as strengths. The only thing that cannot be forgiven is abandoning the marriage bed for a casket. How’s the second wife to compete with perfection?

    Given enough time, a second wife does not compete against the memories of a first wife, but against the memories of life alone. My current wife is nothing like my late first wife. We rarely are out of communication with each other for more than two hours – thank God for cell phones – and we probably don’t argue enough. We seem to have a lot of Abilene Paradox going on.

    But that’s the thing about Abilene Paradox. You can live with it. What’s unacceptable is outliving her. I’ve put my foot down and demanded that she outlive me, but she’s not willing to compromise on this issue, and demands, instead, that I outlive her. Uppity bleep!

  78. joodyb said on March 18, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Bonzo Dog Band! Yay! Hitler on xylophone!
    Turn off the cable news and get out yer vinyls, peepuls!

  79. Harl Delos said on March 18, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    I got an email from a lawyer acquaintance who has never sent me a political email before–but he was so moved by the speech, he felt compelled to direct all his friends to at least read it if not listen to it. That’s some rhetoric!

    I thought it was an outstanding speech. It had a lot of great hooks in it; I thought the one about his grandmother’s fear, and the one about Ashley were especially good.

    It’s pretty much preaching to the choir, though; those who oppose him won’t listen to it, nor read it. It’ll help calm the fears of those who want to support him, though.

    Both the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos have full text on their sites.

  80. LAMary said on March 18, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    The same cheery Brits who called him Macca had a joke:

    What do you call a dog with wings?

    Linda McCartney.

  81. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    joodyb,

    Yeah, but what was Tasmanian Devil playing? This has been driving me crazy. Viv Stanshall was just getting warmed up to do the career-defining vocal on Tubular Bells, natural born Master of Ceremonies. You know that Neil Innes and Eric Idle are taking The Rutles to Broadway, right.

  82. michaelj said on March 18, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    DooDah. Funniest band ever that didn’t include Fee Waybill, Mark Motherspaugh, or either of the Mael bros.

    Not politically correct, either.

  83. Linda said on March 18, 2008 at 7:52 pm

  84. basset said on March 18, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    y’know what, this was a lot more fun when there were 20 responses a day instead of 80 or 90.

  85. Dorothy said on March 18, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    I agree, Basset. Takes too damned long to read through them all now.

    Happy Birthday, Drag Queen! And Robin looks an awful lot (in that picture) like the youngest daughter in “The Sound of Music.” And I think you meant “bouffant” hairdo, not buffon.

    Happy Birthday a day early, Brian!

  86. nancy said on March 18, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    I’m waiting for things to die down. I may have to alter my style a bit — more posts, to break up the topics a bit. But one of the things I like about the one-big-post-a-day format is, the commenting takes the form of a good table in a bar, everyone talking about everything. But it may yet cool off a little; we’ll see. Give us another week or two, and we’ll drive ’em off.

  87. alex said on March 18, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Danny, I think Obama put it very poignantly when he said he didn’t experience what Wright’s generation experienced and therefore couldn’t empathize with the resentment. But it’s no different than what young leaders of the GOP ought to be saying about the party’s unforgivably uncouth fuddy-duddies. Hey, they’re just stupid old farts who can’t be blamed for their prejudices because they really did get fucked over by whomever. We honor their shit and we move on. Sounds good to me.

  88. brian stouder said on March 18, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Well, President Clinton gives a good speech! The whole event was quite the spectacle…I was toward the back of the room, which ended up giving me a pretty good view of the president. Watching the newsies do their thing was interesting, too – and I learned that if you’re in the back of the room, you get approached by the reporters (although I did duck the camera folks). And to top it off, an older woman just to my right keeled over during the president’s speech, and the emt’s assisted her as we all made room.

    From the time I left the car to the time I returned was 31/2 hours, and there was no sitting down. Yapped with Jill Long Thompson a bit; I think she will be our next governor.

    And now, I think it’s time to go to bed!

  89. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Are the Lovely Wife and i the only ones watching “Dancing With the Stars” thinking Priscilla Presley’s face looks like those china carnivale masks you hang on the walls of your first post-college apartment? You know, the ones with ribbons and stylized, unchanging, slightly eerie features?

    (Right, right, if Renee Zellweger does it, all the cool kids do it.)

  90. grapeshot said on March 18, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Meh.

    While I agree that Lennon/McCartney were great pop song writers, I also agree that separately, neither quite equaled the sum of them together. The saccharinity of Paul was balanced by the acerbity of John, and vice-versa. Or something like that.

    However, I also find that 40+ years of exposure to their music has made me rather tired of them. Listening to their music now only elicits from me a vague feeling of nostalgia. The only bands that I still find consistently fresh to listen to from that era are The Who and The Kinks. And some Pink Floyd.

    Perhaps it is this ennui with The Beatles which has also made me rather more sympathetic to Ms. Wilson.

  91. sue said on March 18, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Danny, you are a fox. It takes a real man to wear drag.
    Nancy, do you really want things to die down? Can we help it if we’re such a well-informed, stream-of-consciousness bunch? Seems the only thing we haven’t covered here is 18th century English underwear, and fortunately for me I participated in that discussion on Austenblog a couple of weeks ago.
    And who do you want to drive off? I’m not seeing too many new names. Now you’re making me nervous.
    Mild-mannered Jeff, right back at you except without the bird part.

  92. basset said on March 18, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    OK, I’ll bite… tell us about 18th-century English underwear. bet they didn’t wash it much.

    >>The saccharinity of Paul was balanced by the acerbity of John, and vice-versa. Or something like that.

    one of the great Beatle misconceptions right there. for example… “I’m Down,” “Get Back”… Paul. “Because,” “If I Fell”… John. what really made the difference was that once they quit writing together and stopped taking direction from George Martin, each of them did whatever he felt like doing with no counterbalance and not all of it worked out.

  93. Harl Delos said on March 19, 2008 at 1:35 am

    each of them did whatever he felt like doing with no counterbalance and not all of it worked out.

    Yeah, but “not all of it works out” when it’s just an individual and not a group, too.

    My respect for Ringo has really shot up over the years. A number of people have pointed out to me that the Beatles were a failure until he came along, and in the decade following their split up, he sold something like twice as many records as any other former Beatle. Back when they were together, though, I sorta dismissed him as “just a drummer”.

    Not the first time I’ve been convinced that I was wrong about something, and it won’t be the last either. That’s one reason I really like people who disagree with me, and do it well; they’re the ones that teach me interesting stuff. There are some really smart people here, undoubtedly due in large part to Nance’s talent.

  94. sue said on March 19, 2008 at 6:30 am

    Bassett: From the comment section of Austenblog, Postshow Open Thread, Feb. 17. I didn’t write the comment, I asked the question:

    “Paddydog says that “they didn’t wear underwear back then”. Oh, my, oh, my, now I can’t watch one of those lovely dance scenes without picturing everyone going commando. What did they wear, then? Surely there was something between them and those really flat-fronted pants they wore? While they were bouncing around on horses etc.?”

    “What did they wear, then?
    Reallllllly long shirttails.
    Actually, by the time P&P95 is set, a lot of men were wearing knee-length underpants. The main function of them was to keep the outer layer of clothing (the one that showed!) clean of sweat and oil from the skin. They didn’t have washing machines or dry cleaners, remember. It was easier to wash linen underclothes and cheaper to buy lots of them and change them often. Actually a man’s shirt was considered underwear of a sort–he would have lots of them and change them daily and wash them often, whereas his breeches/pants and coats, not so much.
    Women went commando until the 1820s or so; in fact it was considered rather risqué for women to wear drawers! Women wore a cotton or linen shift (a knee-length or so sack dress) under their stays for the same reason–to keep sweat and oils from the skin off the more expensive, harder to clean outer layer of clothing.”

    Well, you asked.

  95. MichaelG said on March 19, 2008 at 8:49 am

    So how did codpieces work?

  96. Danny said on March 19, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Thanks, everyone.

    Brian, happy birthday, man! Sounds like you had an interesting evening. Did any of the newsies interview you and did you put your quote machine hat on?

    Dorothy, you are so right about Robin. She does look like Gretl. I just want to pinch her little cheeks.

    Sue, I’ll have to find the first picture from that night. That is the one where I am trying NOT to get my picture taken and my mom is pulling me back into the picture by my elbow.

    Alex, I’m wondering where this speech will land Obama. I listened to it last night and reread the transcript. So he has a racist grandmother and a crazy “uncle.” I think his tepid excuses for Wright come off poorly. We really need to get beyond this stuff.

    I’ve said it before: When the pre-civil-rights generation (white and black) is gone, we’ll be better off. Kids today hang out with each other regardless of race. Sure, there will always be racism, but it will have less of an intoxicating influence for those who wish to demagogue the issue for their own gain.

  97. brian stouder said on March 19, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Ben Lanka of the J-G ambled over, and we spoke for a few moments…..looks like I missed the cut, but if you watch the slide show at their website, I’m way in the back with a thousand of my fellow citizens

    Interestingly, when you go to one of these things, you can gab with folks all evening. While in line to get in, I had extended conversations with several women; and once in the room, another with a very pleasant fellow (who looked a little like younger Anderson Cooper), and then with an attractive (and diminutive) woman…..an interesting atmosphere.

    It’s just so nice to be in a state having a consequential presidential primary, for a change!

  98. Sue said on March 19, 2008 at 9:25 am

    MichaelG: Why, a system of levers and pulleys, of course.

  99. Dorothy said on March 19, 2008 at 9:46 am

    It takes a long time to read the comments, but I, for one, am learning so much from them. I really don’t mind the time involvement! Keep it coming, folks!

    Danny, Gretl (whatever her real name is) was a cutie in “Spencer’s Mountain” too. When she has her big scene and says “I love you Clay-boy, kiss me good night!” with her chin quivering, I cry every single time. Seriously.

  100. Connie said on March 19, 2008 at 10:05 am

    I have run into several comment discussions lately regarding whether new comment posts should show at top or bottom. Made me consider the long scrolling I sometimes to do get here. Happy birthday all birthday boys. And girls. My birthday is commemorated in old rock song: It was the third of September, a day I’ll always remember, cause that was the day that my daddy died. Papa was a rolling stone…..

  101. Connie said on March 19, 2008 at 10:08 am

    And that was comment 100!

  102. Dorothy said on March 19, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Connie we’re almost birthday twins! Alas mine is not immortalized in song (August 31st).

    LOVE that Temptations song!

  103. Dave said on March 19, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    102 posts?! It’s almost overwhelming to come home and weed through all the responses and when you’re last on that many, you’re pretty much ignored but wasn’t Bromley Hall the dorm that was a private facility, this being back in the dark ages of the very early seventies?

    It’s said Pauls’ children were deadset against the marriage but was it inheritance or were they able to see her for a golddigger? Only they know, only we speculate.

    I’ve always liked Ringo, Ringo knew he was a lucky man and it was said he was the best drummer in Liverpool. Pete wouldn’t conform, I’ve often wondered if he’d been willing to grow his hair, if that would have saved him. Somehow, I doubt it, his personality didn’t fit with the others, glib, alive, Ringo was a natural fit for a Beatle.

    George directed and wrote Magical Mystery Tour? I thought it was all Paul who pushed that. I thought nobody wrote it, making it the mish-mash it is.

  104. joodyb said on March 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    michaelj, i’m a dunderhead. hitler was on vibes! this should MORE THAN make up for my gaffe, though:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3647630

  105. basset said on March 19, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    somewhere around here I have a MP3 of an old Lennon interview saying that Pete was a “lousy droomah” who “nevah got any bettah” and who they’d just picked up for their first trip to Germany because it was on short notice and nobody else was available.

    and I wouldn’t say the Beatles were exactly failing when Ringo joined… at that point they were eight months on from their first major record-company audition and tearing up the dancehall circuit, which was about as big as pop bands got back then.

    and I’m nearly a birthday twin too, Sept. 2 here… my brothers and I were all born on dates of military significance. that, Dec. 7, and April 9.

  106. Harl Delos said on March 19, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Dorothy said: mine is not immortalized in song (August 31st).

    It’s the birthday of radio news, though. Born 1920, in Detroit. And since 1991, it’s been independence day in Kyrgyzstan.

    Basset said and I’m nearly a birthday twin too, Sept. 2 here… my brothers and I were all born on dates of military significance. that, Dec. 7, and April 9.

    On September 2, 1864, the Northern army entered Atlanta, on December 7, 1917, the US declared war on Austria-Hungary,
    and April 9 is a triple-whammy – the battle of Verdun in 1916, the battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917, and the Battle of Liegnitz in 1241.

    I have an online friend who was born on the 3rd of June. None of his friends live near Tallahatchie, nor near each other, so in his honor, we each individually drop dandelions into muddy water off whatever bridge is near.

  107. basset said on March 20, 2008 at 5:03 am

    hmmm, didn’t know about those… I had the 1945 Japanese surrender in mind for Sept. 2, Pearl Harbor Day for Dec. 7, and the 1865 Confederate surrender for April 9. some interesting additions…

    speaking of Austria-Hungary, and how could we not… anyone read John Biggins’ “Sailor of Austria” series? historical fiction about an Austro-Hungarian naval officer in WWI?