I love you guys.

Back and better-rested. Maybe a little housekeeping, to get the blood moving:

In comments from time to time, most lately earlier this week, someone asks why I don’t block the rambling of michaelj/caliban (we all figured that out, right? No, I don’t know why he changed his posting name, either.). The answer is pretty clear to me, but if it isn’t to you, here’s why:

At its best, which is pretty damn often in this blog, the commenting here reminds me of something, a place I once held dear — the bar after work at the Anytown Post. It starts with three reporters bitching about work, and they are joined by two more, which necessitates pushing some tables together. Then a couple editors come over, including one that the original gang of three was bitching about, which changes the subject and increases the tension. Then a couple more, then a state legislator who happens to be unwinding after work, and maybe one of the reporter’s friends from the courthouse. Soon lots of tables are pushed together, the waitress is serving them almost exclusively, and everybody is talking. Maybe there’s one big theme to the main thread, but two people are discussing recipes for barbecue rubs, or the best places to eat cheap in Chicago or New York. Two more are handicapping a local election, and two more are talking about the funny things a bookie said while everyone waited for the jury trying him on gambling charges to deliberate.

(In my experience, he said this: “Dave Thomas may have a few million bucks, but I told him, ‘Dave, you’re still a hillbilly in a thousand-dollar suit.'” This was when a thousand dollars bought a nice suit. The bookie was convicted, after which he told far fewer jokes. Columbus, c. early ’80s.)

Anyway, what’s my role in this? Sometimes I’m in the original group. Sometimes I’m the waitress. If the bar were very long, I’d be the bartender. Sometimes I’m the single sitting nearby who is eavesdropping. I just want the conversation to continue, and to amuse me.

And who is Caliban? He’s the drunk at the bar who walks past the table en route to the bathroom, stops and makes a speech. Sometimes he makes no sense. Sometimes he seems inordinately angry. Sometimes he’s mellow and expansive. Sometimes his fingers go off the home row z c nkx ;lxgd dnc .k,d gkx/

As long as he refrains from insulting the regulars beyond the point of medium teasing, as long as he throws no punches, as long as he keeps stopping in, his money’s good in my bar.

I ban only two people (so far). Even those are still on a case-by-case basis, which is to say, their IPs aren’t blocked — they just go to moderation, where I delete them. One is a very, very angry man who works somewhere at North American Van Lines in Fort Wayne (according to his IP lookup) and is frequently racist. The other is Rich Reynolds, Fort Wayne’s self-appointed media critic, who abused me on a regular schedule (i.e., constantly) for a decade, and still does. (I expect another big outburst after he reads this.) I can always take the abuse, but he regularly swings into wild inaccuracy and targeted lying, and besides, he still has his stupid little website, faxes and approximately 12,000 blogs to post on. The last comment to NN.C submitted from his IP/screen name said, “You are a piece of shit.” That’s as much of a platform I’ll give him, while I await news of his death.

It’s my bar. I’m a magnanimous bartender. But I have my limits, and that’s what they are.

If you’ll allow me a moment of gratitude: I read a lot of blogs, and a lot of comment sections. Of course I am biased, but I think this is one of the best. Really. I’m consistently amazed by how smart and funny everyone is, how often you add real value and good information to whatever we’re discussing. I’m glad I have some people here who don’t agree with me politically, but still chime in — Danny, Jeff the mild-mannered, basset, et al. I’m pleased we’re not an echo chamber of ass-kissing and back-slapping. I’m glad we can disagree in a respectful but not boring manner. I’m glad we can disagree, go home angry and still return, hopeful, the next day. But most of all, I’m astonished by the range our bar pulls in — unchurched ministers in Ohio, urban planners in Nashville, engineers in San Diego, journalists everywhere. For a blog that is, most days, about nothing in particular, I’m honored that you all come to drink here.

Finally, it’s sort of thrilling that every day we reinvent the writer/reader model, twist and reshape the feedback loop and become, in a cliché phrase I used earlier in the week in another context, something greater than the sum of our parts.

That’s why I don’t ban Caliban. You can always skip his posts. Besides, he’s part of our strange community, and I still like him.

That seems a good enough note to start the weekend on. Current temperature: 86. Wind: 17 miles per hour. Humidity: Brutal. Think I’ll go ride the bike. See you Monday.

Posted at 12:06 pm in Housekeeping |

91 responses to “I love you guys.”

  1. Kirk said on June 6, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Excellent policy.

    And I don’t skip posts based on who’s posting them. Instead, if I see they’re going to go on more than a full screen, I often move to the next one. I come here for relief, not to get bogged down.

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  2. Jeff said on June 6, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    One round for the house, ma’am, on me.

    (Lifts mug heavenwards.) Slainte!

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  3. moe99 said on June 6, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Glad to be a part of the crowd here, even if I’m late to the party.
    Weatherwise, I’m back in my wool suits as the temps in Seattle are hitting 47 during the day (!) and it’s raining again. My next door neighbor who is a feisty little ol’ lady I am taking as my role model, told me last night that we are in Juneuary. Sounds about right.

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  4. Danny said on June 6, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    OT – Yesterday, I stopped for a visit at a co-workers office. He wasn’t there, but a nice shiny apple was. So I took a huge bite and left it front and center.

    This morning I asked him how he liked the apple and we got a good laugh. Then he told me something really funny. For years, when his wife would pack lunches for their four kids, she would take a bite out of their sandwiches, just to mess with them.


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  5. Danny said on June 6, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Just so you all know, I am perfectly fine with youz guyz ass-kissing and back-slapping, so long as it’s my ass and back.

    The line forms behind Nancy, Mary and Dorothy. Kidding, of course. Don’t hurt me.

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  6. derwood said on June 6, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Happy to come to this bar everyday. Don’t post much, but I get a kick out of reading you guys.


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  7. coozledad said on June 6, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Caliban comes by that name with enviable honesty. It’s an outsider’s anger, tuned to the breaking point. Every time I read him I think of this: “He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.”
    I’m just glad I’m not that whale.

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  8. Danny said on June 6, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Kinda funny story. Last night my wife decided she wanted to get out and go have some greasy food and a margherita. So we went to Islands, not really thinking that this coincided with the first game of the NBA finals. It was a big crowd with good ambience and we lucked out with two seats at the bar where we had dinner.

    Anyway, she is NOT a sports fan in the least. Sure, she endures the occassional football game or NCAA wrestling match or Tour de France stage, but I try not to subject her to much because I know her and I myself would rather be doing something other than watching on TV.

    But last night, she transformed into a Laker Girl before my very eyes. I almost choked on my beer a few times as she loudly cheered for baskets, screamed at missed shots and bellowed at fouls. At one point, the Celtics’ Pierce got poked in the eye and she even taunted him with, “Awww! is the widdle baby gonna be okay?!?”

    Funny. I thought her knowledge of sports was limited to knowing that 35 seconds means something else in “football-time.” Just when you think you know someone…

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  9. Danny said on June 6, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    coozledad, I have a very important question for you. Did you come by that quote from reading Moby Dick or by watching Star Trek: First Contact? Both are okay. One is better. heheh

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  10. JenFlex said on June 6, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I just had the Cheers theme song run through my head while reading. Even tho’ I mostly just lurk, I’d go out drinking with y’all anytime.

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  11. Yvette said on June 6, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I’m a relative newcomer, and I think the policy’s just fine. My boss calls some commenters “digilantes,” though she admits that she didn’t coin the word. It’s a good description for some. Still, open discussion is best.

    On another thread, we had 100-mile an hour straight winds here in Oklahoma. Only about 40 mph in my neighborhood. What are straight winds? Not the cyclonical ones, i.e. tornado. We get enough of those, too.

    Ouch, these barstools are kind of hard! Nancy, you need to upgrade to the cushy padded seats for those of us past 45.

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  12. coozledad said on June 6, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    I actually keep a copy of Moby Dick on my nightstand. The Modern Library edition with the Rockwell Kent illustrations, because it’s a seamless collaboration between artists who never met each other, and because I gotta have pictures.
    All the stuffing came out of Star Trek for me when they stopped hooking William Shatner up with those plump chartreuse sixties starlets, and absolutely gave up on trying to get Spock laid. Either that, or it was when Leonard Nimoy did that Hobbit song.Or any other song.
    I’m with Philip Larkin on anything Tolkien: Ape’s Bumfodder.

    In Re Caliban ,there’s also this, which is the sort of thing that makes me wish I had more patience for people who seem to be beyond consolation.

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  13. MichaelG said on June 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I’m glad that you haven’t banned Caliban, Nance. The comments can be a little, er, opaque at times and sometimes his fingers don’t all seem to be connected to the same brain but occasionally there’s a zinger. I have no complaint.

    Beautiful weather here: 80ish, 26% humidity, sunshine, light wind. One of those days that reminds you of why you wanted to live in California. Ten day calls for more of the same with mid 90s next week which isn’t bad here.

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  14. Adrianne said on June 6, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Nance, I like your description of your blog/Henry’s in Fort Wayne – remember Donna, one of the greatest barmaids of all time? She had your drinks cold and ready for you on the table. Also, I commend your tolerance of some out-there posters. Always refreshing to check out the commentary here.

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  15. Kirk said on June 6, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    And here I thought she was talking about Holly at the late Galleria Tavern in Columbus. Each time the bill hit $50, she brought it around for settling up. That way, the last dogs to die didn’t get stuck with a big one at the end (of course, we also lost out on occasionally drinking free when those who left earlier had thrown in way too much money).

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  16. Jolene said on June 6, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    “Beyond consolation” is a lovely phrase, coozledad.

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  17. Lex said on June 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Nance, I both envy your comments-to-posts ratio and admire the quality. I moderate comments on my personal blog because some of the stuff that got thrown my way back when I didn’t fell into the category of “shit I do NOT have to eat.” Besides, my kids will be reading it soon, and if they’re going to learn colorful vocabulary, I’d rather it came from me.

    Cheers to all.

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  18. del said on June 6, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    JenFlex, I was also thinking about Cheers while reading the post. My wife and I laugh at Sam telling Diane “I love you” and Diane responding, “And I, you.”

    To our blogmistress: “And we, you.”

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  19. nancy said on June 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Actually, the tavern I imagined was a mash-up of the two. And I liked Holly a lot better before she slept with my boyfriend.

    Of course, I liked my boyfriend a lot better before he slept with Holly, too.

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  20. Howie said on June 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Much like picking a church, if I can’t find a little bit of every kind of person at a blog, then I don’t post because I don’t belong. I don’t post much here, but by Nancy’s standards, I belong. In bar parlance, I only drink one, but I’m a generous tipper. Viva Caliban!

    On another note, I’m planning a vacation on a budget to Philly and NYC with my college friend and his 7 year old son. For NYC we are considering a hotel in Jersey, and then taking the train into Penn Station each day that we go. ($65-75 a night in Edison or South Plainfield, $18 round trip on NJ transit) Any travel advice is welcome if you have been out that way-this will be my first time to NYC. Is it good to stay outside the city and commute?

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but I know we have some travelers who post here.

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  21. Sue said on June 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    The bar comparison is correct, but Nancy forgot to mention one thing: here in Nancy’s virtual bar you get to hear all the conversations. I was surprised at the mild attack on Caliban yesterday; I didn’t know anyone actually read his comments. I like this group of people. It’s nice to hear from someone who’s graduated from the PJ O’Rourke School of Conservative Commentary And Snarky Observations (hi Danny!). I’m continually surprised by MMJeff’s conservatism, given that he seems to work in the trenches of the social wars. Jolene, LAMary, Julie R, Connie, and Joodyb (plus some others, can’t remember at the moment) can all go to the virtual ladies’ room with me anytime to chat away from the boys. I like Whitebeard’s Canadian take, and always like to hear about his grandson. Coozledad is already a fave and doesn’t need strokes from me. Dexter is intriguing. I kind of miss 4dBirds and Harl.
    And re Moby Dick editions: Your bedside copy of Jane Austen shouldn’t be some paperback piece of crap. Don’t try to read Jane without an annotated copy. If you do you will end up believing that Lizzy married Darcy for his house.

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  22. whitebeard said on June 6, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    When the blogmistress explains her bartender philosophy regarding Caliban/MichaelJ, I am surely tempted to buy a round for the house because of her benevolent attitude. When I was a bartender/bouncer I had the same kind of attitude; when I answered the late night phone at the city desk, I talked with everyone, no matter what phase of the moon. When someone complained to management that the cleaner was calling me a dirty name (something involving mothers) I apologized to him because I enjoyed his friendship.
    However, having said that, I am like Lex, I plan to delete the colorful vocabulary, if and when I ever get my blog going, when it is personally insulting and not worth the bytes it consumes.

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  23. moe99 said on June 6, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Howie: This has been awhile, but we had a lovely time at the Excelsior on the Upper West Side, just north of the American Museum of Natural History. The rooms were large, it was next to Central Park and the subway and it seemed reasonable given the cost of hotels in NYC.


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  24. brian stouder said on June 6, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I think we have several ‘Norm’s, and at least a couple of ‘Frazier’s…and LA Mary reminds me (rightly or wrongly) of a no-nonsense Lilith (albeit more California-relaxed, than Boston-firm)….and I guess I’m probably one of several resident ‘Cliffie’s (at best!) – or maybe that Harry guy that was always up to no good!

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  25. coozledad said on June 6, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    This is probably tangential at best, but we were minding our stall at the farmer’s market a few years back, when the co-owner from Chapel Hill Creamery (a very fine goat dairy) started talking about when she worked at the cheese counter of Wellspring Grocery (later Whole Foods).
    One day some poor guy suffering an attack of acute depersonalization came barreling into the parking lot driving a giant primer-gray station wagon. He scraped an entire row of parked cars, grinding to a halt only after generating untold thousands of dollars worth of business for shops specializing in Volvos, Saabs and BMW’s. After crawling out of the passenger side window, naked, he entered the store and approached the cheese counter. Portia said he was dangling near the Mahon’s and the Manchegos, threatening to dick the Spanish cheeses all up.
    An earnest new employee took the initiative: “Is there anything I can get for you today, sir?”
    The guy looked around for awhile.
    “Yeah… I sure as hell could use a salad.”

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  26. Danny said on June 6, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Mary and Lilith. Very funny!

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  27. Dexter said on June 6, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    I just flashed back to Halloween night, 1987. My brother and I were exiting the Chicago Theater (it’s in The Loop) after a Tom Waits show (Frank’s Wild Years tour).
    A drunk was raving mad, and arguing with another man. He was screaming “I”LL KILL YOU…I”LL SHOOT YOU DEAD!”. Two middle aged cops came to put some order to the situation.
    Did they pull out batons and start swinging…maybe tackle and cuff the loud drunk?
    Nope , they just said “Aw what’s the matter, come on , now…and gently grabbed the drunk’s arms and calmly started talking. Within seconds it was over, and the drunk walked away, not under arrest, just peacefully walked away.
    I never forgot that, and I learned a bad situation can sometimes be quieted with rational appeal. Ignoring the problem makes it worse, it spreads in intensity.
    On “my” other blogs, people erupt into vile name calling and long time feuds.
    Nancy’s little “talk” reminded me of those gentle Chicago cops that night 21 years ago…ya gotsta talk to the wild man, but ya don’t hafta go postal on him.
    I also enjoy reading others’ political comments.
    I might throw a shoe at the TV when Steve Shine says “McCain is a maverick” when I think he’s McBush, but other than that I am a tolerant individual.

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  28. Cosmo Panzini said on June 6, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Ban mj/caliban? What kind of mopey dickheads would suggest that? As for the bookie who set Dave Thomas straight–would that have been Frank Hook? He may have told fewer stories after he was convicted, but he always showed up (wherever) with gorgeous ladies who looked to be about the age of his granddaughter.

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  29. whitebeard said on June 6, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Howie, I have tried the cheap hotel/take the train to Manhattan plan and believe me, what you save in dollars is not worth the aggravation. I have found some hotels on http://www.hotels.com that were not cheap but were reasonable. Hotel Pennsylvania and Milford Plaza (theatre district) are two examples, but we have found family-type accommodation in small “boutique” hotels in older buildings. If you Google New York City Hotels and spend some time there it will pay off. But getting close to museums you want to see is a good bet, also. We are lucky in that we can hop a commuter train to Grand Central terminal (not station) and spend a long day in Mahattan (as long as my legs hold up)

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  30. nancy said on June 6, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Coozledad, come and sit by me.

    And Howie, I can approve of the stay-in-Jersey plan, because we did that very thing on our NYC trip last summer. Check the PATH routes online, and try to find a place near their Jersey stops. We found a Somethingorother Suites in Jersey City that allowed us room to stretch out — with a separate bedroom for the earlybird — for, I believe, under $200 a night. In the morning we walked one block to the PATH train, and a 10-minute ride later arrived in the World Trade Center station.

    I learned this strategy from a frequent NYC visitor, and heartily endorse it. I think his fave place was in Weehauken. There are ferries that make the trip back and forth across the water, too. And the prices are low enough that you can spring for a waterside view.

    There are tons of hotels on that Jersey strip, and lots cater to temp tech workers servicing the financial district. Look for West Indian guys in polo shirts, dockers, utility belts laden with communication devices, and there you are.

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  31. Dexter said on June 6, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    …can’t beat THAT story with a stick, coozledad!
    A few years ago in this area during a summer parade, a leading citizen, an octogenarian, was driving a parade car.
    The streets were about 4-deep with people . As the parade route made a sharp turn, the man ‘s car kept going straight…straight for the spectators. The yelling jolted the driver into a heightened awareness, and he , of course, jammed the gas pedal, careening rapidly towards the assembled watchers. Somehow no one was run over, and the car jumped a curb and drove screeching into a parking lot full of cars. He , too, damaged a whole lot of cars, about fourteen as I recall . I never saw him driving again.

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  32. nancy said on June 6, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Oh, and yeah, that was Frank Hook. The ladies were possibly his daughters — I think he had five. They started a restaurant together. Called, I believe, the Fifth Amendment. I always wondered if it they did laundry on the side.

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  33. coozledad said on June 6, 2008 at 3:50 pm


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  34. Dexter said on June 6, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Howie, alas, my fave NYC hotel, Hotel Chelsea on 23rd Street is now unbearably expensive for a transient stay…about $400 a night, if they let you in…it’s a shame, because that place has so much history the walls talk to ya.
    It’s worth a visit anyway…what the hell, the 23rd Steet subway is very close and a great deli is just a minute’s walk from the lobby…just to go into the lobby and read the Dylan Thomas plaque makes it worth the jaunt. You have received great advice here on this blog already. It really helps to have friends who live in Manhattan, of course, and I did that scene many times in years past…bag on the living room floor and all that…but the only concrete thing I can pass along is to advise you to check out the many hotels in Ft. Lee, NJ…I have a friend living there who says it’s easy access from there to Manhattan…but he drives, does not rail commute…he takes the GWB in to the city.

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  35. Howie said on June 6, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Many thanks for all the NJ/NYC advice and experience. I have much more confidence in The Plan now than an hour ago.

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  36. Kirk said on June 6, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Ouch! Nance, somehow I missed that episode. Did I know the boyfriend?

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  37. nancy said on June 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Yeah, it was that ol’ horndog Jeff Hayes. Still lots of fun, though — we had a nice chat on the phone not long ago. All is forgiven.

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  38. whitebeard said on June 6, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    On MichealG’s comment on Caliban “and sometimes his fingers don’t all seem to be connected to the same brain” there was a wonderful Irish columnist in Montreal who typed his column as he talked to me one night as a sounding board for his ideas. When he handed it in later, the night copy desk chief screamed that it was gibberish and threw it in the wastebasket. I rescued it and immediately realized that my friend had been leaning a little too much to the right (physically, not politically) and he was an excellent 10-finger touch typist. I carefully retyped it by moving over one letter to the left on the keyboard and his sparkling prose reappeared as if by magic. There also was one reporter whose copy was full of crossed-out sentences and blank spaces that I always stayed late to handle, so I could retype it. He had been in the war and tossed a grenade in a building where a German had run that was a family home with children and he always remembered their bodies. That was post traumatic stress syndrome before they even coined the phrase. But he wrote beautiful words with feeling.

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 6, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Delightful to know i can still surprise people . . . Garcon, another round for me and the house.

    If i talk to one more parent who knows exactly how many days ’til their child turns 18 so they can stop having any responsibility for them, i’ll actually end up somewhere i’d have to pay up when i said “another round for the house.”

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  40. Catherine said on June 6, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Set ’em up, and a round of Pegu Clubs for one and all. I hearts the whole package here.

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  41. Danny said on June 6, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Howie, I’ve not spent as much time in MYC as some here, but one place I can recommend is Carmine’s on 44th. Italian family style dining. Good stuff.

    And if Mary has time to post later, she really knows the city, I believe.

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  42. LAMary said on June 6, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Danny, NYC changes fast, so I can only recommend the classics. Sarabeth’s on Columbus for breakfast, Good Enough to Eat on either Columbus or Amsterdam for breakfast or lunch. H and H for hot bagels. Fairway if you want to pick up some fruit and cheese for a picnic in the park. Go over to Yorkville for German food and down second avenue for Hungarian charcuterie. Stop in Paprikas Weiss for spices to bring home. Have a hot dog and a papaya juice at Gray’s Papaya all over town.
    If you want one nice grown up meal without kids, nice food, not overly pricey, go to Madison Bistro on Madison avenue in the high thirties. I recall a good fixed price lunch menu with really lovely food. A good deal.

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  43. coozledad said on June 6, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Have any of you guys ever eaten at Paolucci’s? It’s on Mulberry. Near John Gotti’s headquarters. It’s not boutique food, but they have a good Bloody Mary with a little Marinara
    sauce. Stone cold retired icepick murderers for waits, with hands the size of Smithfield hams. They were kind to me and my wife, but I was extraordinarily careful not to piss them off

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  44. nancy said on June 6, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    We found that 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen is a good, walkable stretch of many, many low- to mid-priced, non-fancy restaurants. We took a bus to a central point and just strolled until we found a place we could all agree on, and it was quite nice.

    Downside: When I said, “Let’s go to Hell’s Kitchen,” Kate blanched, thinking Gordon Ramsay would be waiting there to scream and throw chicken at her.

    But Mary’s right: Her NYC is not today’s NYC, and unless you were there very recently, it’s hard to say you know the city at all.

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  45. LAMary said on June 6, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    NYC changes but remains the same too. I remember Good Enough to Eat opening, and recently I saw it in some recommendations. I hope the same two women are running it. They were good eggs. Sarabeth’s same deal. I remember it from the beginning, revisited in 94 and 2001, and it’s still there and still good according to friends and articles I’ve read. I like the pumpkin muffins and Irish oatmeal. They make and sell their own preserves as well. Peach apricot is excellent.
    If I were to go to NYC right now I’d call my friends Martin and Jim, who are twins who both act on Broadway (and in occasional Law and Orders, usually playing teachers for some reason) and I’m sure they would drag me all over town and we’d have a great time.

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  46. Scout said on June 6, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I found myself nodding as I read the whole comment section/Nancy’s Bar analogy and found myself agreeing with its every point. I really do love the difference of opinions here and the respectful way in which the issues are debated, even if I DON’T get it why each and every one of you isn’t on board for Obama yet!

    And coozledad @ 3:24 – you really smacked my funny bone with that one. I could picture every single moment of it! Great story and great delivery. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, you are my favorite commenter here at NN.C

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  47. ellen said on June 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Can I have an “LA Mary” moment and say that on my first trip to NYC in mid 1990s I stayed at the Chelsea in Julian Schnabel’s apartment? Of course, LA Mary probably stayed at the Chelsea in Andy Warhol’s apartment and happened to bring him a can of soup from the corner market…

    I’m the kid in the bar trying to look older and talk big, but who actually has a fake id and hasn’t been more than 100 miles beyond the city limits.

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  48. JenFlex said on June 6, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    @Ellen — YESSSSSSS! I have been trying to figure out who I am in the bar. I’m trying not to get carded and hoping I grow up to be that cool!

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  49. MommyTime said on June 6, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    I read here every day, though I almost never comment. But I just had to say: Nancy, you are one class act.

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  50. velvet goldmine said on June 6, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Kirk, first comment — That’s what she said!

    I’ve always liked Caliban, and the name change is cool with me, since I mix him up with the other michael, although obviously the confusion is quickly cleared up.

    I agree that the comments here are always worth dipping into. Not only are there some incredible insights, but there’s something about the recipe and anecdote exchanges that add to that front-porch feeling.

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  51. velvet goldmine said on June 6, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    So Ellen and JenFlex — you’re John Cusak? “War is gross.”

    I’m Tecumseh.

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  52. Dexter said on June 6, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    …and if you are “on the cheap” in New York, you can get this plate of Halal food on 6th Avenue at 53 St. for four bucks

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  53. KarenNM said on June 6, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Count me in as another mostly-lurker that loves both the main entries and the comments. I feel like a learn something new every day. I’m still a journalist at heart even though I only worked in the business very briefly before finding something else that I was better suited for, so I love all the newspaper-talk. I’m not sure who that all makes me in the bar, but I’m glad to be here!

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  54. coozledad said on June 6, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    Yeah: It’s been ages since I was in New York. And each time things were tightening up a little bit. But when I first visited with my wife in the mid-eighties, it was like Tom Waits said: a ship going down, and the water is on fire. We strangely hit a lot of the Polish-Russian-Ukrainian areas and there were snags using a credit card, but we ultimately ate well and I got to see the works of Watteau and Felix Valloton and Balthus. And it really pisses me off that no one where I hail from gets the unique importance of that town. It’s our face.

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  55. Dexter said on June 6, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    I drink bottled water in bars these days when I must go to a bar…but in New York a regular beer is seven bucks in a place like Bar Nine i Hell’s Kitchen, where my New York friends congregate on Fridays.

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  56. basset said on June 6, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    if this were a bar, though, when Caliban got obnoxious you could cut him off.

    and I generally DO agree with your politics. thought I was expressing myself better than that.

    never seen “Cheers” or been to New York, though, and I find Tom Waits annoying… maybe that’s the cause of the disconnect. I did work for Steve Shine a long time ago, very briefly, part-time, and several levels down the food chain, although we were both really young and he went back to the Fort not long afterward.

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  57. moe99 said on June 6, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    OT: Here’s a Father’s Day gift for the Dad who can’t get enough of the internet:


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  58. joodyb said on June 7, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Howie: Try to strike up a friendship with someone in Brooklyn for your next trip!
    If i won the lottery I’d stay at the Benjamin until i did everything there is to do in NYC.
    {DRAT! now everyone will know where i am. Martinis for everyone at the Palm Bar!}

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  59. Terry WAlter said on June 7, 2008 at 1:08 am

    In 2002, we stayed in Joisy City & took the PATH train over. It wasn’t going to WTC back then. It sounds like it very well could be the same place Nancy stayed, what with the extra bedroom. When I booked it, it was a Best Inn. Drove by it a couple times before I figured out it was now a Ramada, so who knows what in Hades it’s called now. Seems like it was about a hundred a night, but they were a little more desperate for visitors back then. They’d even take Republicans money.
    Yes Nancy, have to say I agree with your approach to moderating. In spite of some small arms fire I’ve sent zinging over the head of you and most of the posters here, I haven’t been sent to the compost heap. This embodies liberalism in a positive sense,letting everybody say their piece(See also Alan Colmes). I would think true liberals have to be appalled by todays politically correct version.

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  60. Dexter said on June 7, 2008 at 2:05 am

    joodyb: yes, especially if Howie’s a pizza lover, because it’s a real strugle to get pizza in Manhattan. Brooklyn is New York’s pizza-central.
    But if you are in New York, why settle for pizza?

    Fort Wayne used to have great pizza…I don’t go there anymore. Lexy’s , Alexander’s, and the Godfather chain all were great.

    Here, we eat Marco’s, a chain HQ’d in Toledo.

    We had a scare earlier, tornados all around us…three touch-downs around Wauseon…..

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  61. Linda said on June 7, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Thanks, Nancy, you encapsulated my reasons for stopping by here. So many blogs are “safe” spaces (meaning that the prime social or political theory of the blogger is treated like a sacred cow, and nobody may disagree with it in a meaningful way). Fark is like that, too, only sometimes too snarky/creepy in place of witty. Also, I noticed that fark allows you to electronically “ignore” people. Why? Can’t you ignore them unaided, like you do in meatspace? As I said before, the big problem with the blogosphere is that you can edit your experiences so that you don’t have to experience people who disagree with you, and that’s just sad. No wonder people can’t take reality anymore.

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  62. Hattie said on June 7, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Nancy: It is your excellent writing that keeps bringing me back here.

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  63. Cara said on June 7, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Nancy, Neat blog. I stop by your bar nearly everyday just to eavesdrop on you and your pals having great fun. today I got a story that will just crack up my pals–“yeah, I sure as hell could could use a salad–that is a classic! Add to that, the information to make a trip to NYC not only more affordable, but more fun! Pretty good take, I’d say. If you’re Scotch drinkers, here’s a Johnny Walker Blue for you and Ferrari wine for the rest. To the good life! Viva NN.C!

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  64. John said on June 7, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    As I said before, the big problem with the blogosphere is that you can edit your experiences so that you don’t have to experience people who disagree with you, and that’s just sad. No wonder people can’t take reality anymore.

    Linda is a smart cookie! I wish she would post more often…

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  65. Dorothy said on June 7, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Wow I really missed the freshness of these comments yesterday so I have to own up to being Carla, the crankypants who suggested Nancy should ban (at least some of) caliban/michaelg’s comments. But in retrospect I realize that I should just ignore them or scroll past them as quickly as I can. What bugs me the most about his diatribes is that many times, they have absolutely NOTHING to do with what everyone else is talking about. He’s like the crazy uncle who stops by after dinner, and everyone scatters when they hear the doorbell ring.

    And I was never someone who hung out with friends at bars. I did it rarely, so even though I’m a Cheers fan (Shelly Long era more so than the Kirstie Alley one), I was thinking more along the lines of my Wednesday quilt group, which I haven’t participated in since 1992. I was thinking of the group dynamics of that fun gang when I was reading this entry, Nance. My mother accompanied me one time, and when we were driving home I asked her if she had fun that night. “Everybody talks and nobody listens!” was her comment. But she was wrong. We were all adept at listening in to a conversation across the room even though we were participating in a different one.

    I sometimes daydream about how fun it would be to meet all of my fellow commenters here at nn.c. I did get to meet Jeff (the mild mannered one) and that was a real thrill. (I lead a very boring life, Jeff – dont’ get too excited!). If the virtual bar ever became a real-life picnic or something, I think I’d feel like I died and went to heaven!

    I love all y’all, too!! Just like our hostess!

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  66. Kim said on June 7, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Haven’t posted in a long while, Nancy, but feel compelled to do it now. You’re right on; this world has enough division and not enough listening. When we do listen we find many more common threads. I think that’s what makes the conversations from the more conservative posters so provocative, and I mean that in a good, let’s-think way. For many – like, I daresay, Caliban-michaelj – the world is a lonely place. The same’s probably true for that piece of shit R. R., whom I have never met. However, as a fan of NN.C., I look forward to reading about him here.

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  67. Dave said on June 7, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Nancy, I’m a longtime reader from the time we moved to Fort Wayne all those years ago now, plus we do share the native Central Ohioan connection. Oh, and OU, too, but I was mostly a product of the Lancaster campus and not a lot of time at Athens. I’m not the most politically astute person and, having done the same thing for 36 years, I can’t claim to know a lot about any other work world than my own. I sure enjoy the variety of commenters (commentators?) here and look in about every day, I find when I can’t, I really get behind scanning through the comments.

    I’ll never understand RR and his hate-filled diatribes and what does he gain from any of it?

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  68. Linda said on June 7, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    John, that’s kind of you. Actually, stuff like this and more is in a wonderful posting at cracked.com: 7 Reasons the 21st century is making you miserable. A must read:

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  69. del said on June 7, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Dorothy’s comment about a crazy uncle stopping over for dinner reminded me of the movie Scent of a Woman when Pacino’s character Colonel Slade stops by at his brother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner and gets into it with his nephew. After their fight the impression left is that the uncle isn’t crazy at all, just angry.

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  70. Dexter said on June 7, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    …to tell the truth, I was expecting a ban for caliban, not hoping…and now it looks as if he has approval and encouragement to stay, and support…but the whole scene reminds of this.

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  71. brian stouder said on June 7, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Very interesting article, Linda; thanks!

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  72. MichaelG said on June 7, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    So, Caliban, come out, come out wherever you are. You’ve received an overwhelming vote of confidence. Of a sort. I, for one, would welcome you.

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  73. LA Mary said on June 7, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    I shook hands with Andy Warhol in Denver. When I lived in NYC I used to see PDQ Bach pretty often. He used to visit Robert Dennis, who did the music for Oh! Calcutta! and they would come into the shop where I worked. Martine Van Hamel who was the principal dancer with ABT used to come in, as well as Kristopher Tabori who was very cute. Tim Curry used to come in to visit one of our employees who was also a studio musician. Edward Said shopped there. I used to OK his checks. And John Cryer, now a TV type star, was a high school kid then and he used to come by to visit the kids who worked there who went to the performing arts high school. Renne Taylor and Joe Bologna used to shop there, and Joseph Lelyveld from the NYT.
    Lots of interesting people.

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  74. Dexter said on June 8, 2008 at 1:42 am

    LA M: My friend lives and works in Manhattan, and I have only visited there , oh, maybe 25 times over the past 41 years , never more than a week or so. So living in small towns most of my life, it catches my attention when , in an email, he might mention he saw a celebrity (which happens frequently).
    In the past year he has seen too many to mention here, but I will report he was elbow-to-elbow with Paul McCartney waiting to cross 7th Avenue. They crossed the Avenue and my friend saw a fellow worker and they stopped and got some work details straightened out. Then my friend told his co-worker Paul was waking a half block ahead.
    The guy freaked out and ran up to Paul and scared the hell out of Paul with his high pitched scream. Paul sort of ducked and braced himself…my friend was just disgusted at the scene the co-worker caused.
    Outside of greeting celebrities (like athletes) with hellos, I think the only two celebrities I ever had meaningful conversations with are Bill Cosby (during a 1970 talk he gave in the cafeteria at Monterey Peninsula College, and I was on an Amtrak with football announcer John Madden once.

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  75. Judith said on June 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Hi Nancy,
    Like Kim I read often and post little. However, you are familiar withthe Golden Pen Award of Fort Wayne’s Journal Gazette. I won for May, and I thought the letter might generate some comments from your faithful? It’s at http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs/dll/section?category

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  76. Jolene said on June 8, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Judith, I just tried to read your article, but the link didn’t work.

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  77. Judith said on June 8, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    woops! It’s suppose to have a period before dll

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  78. coozledad said on June 8, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    The day Dan Quayle was named as Poppy’s running mate quickly achieved the status of legend with Republican operatives. Within a couple of hours, he’d managed to fuck up so many times, some of them were contemplating the phenobarbitol syringe. One of the Bush staffers exasperatedly told Martin Amis, who was covering the race, “We’ve got to calm him down. We’ve got to find a way to calm his ass down!”
    I don’t think they ever figured it out.

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  79. whitebeard said on June 8, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Wow, Judith, your comment at the end of your letter: “Racism and bigotry are what they are, and they cannot be covered up by calling them “patriotism.” is a worthy slap-in-the-face at the columnist. Imagine, the definition of full-blooded American applying only to white Americans. My grandson was born in Connecticut and he is a full-blooded American in my opinion and could run for president some day, but he also has roots as a West Indian, as a Black American, as a Black Canadian with a little Irish thrown in, and as a Canadian Indian his people watched from the shore as the Europeans landed. Obama’s selection as the nominee-to-be is both a turning point and a tipping point in the story of America and it will never be totally the same again, thank God.

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  80. Dexter said on June 8, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Many people are not ready for President Barack Obama. Ain’t that just a damn shame?!
    My candidates dropped out of the debates one by one ( I was a Kucinich man…then Richardson, then Edwards, then Clinton)..and now it’s decided, and it’s time for all Democrats to rally behind Obama and eliminate a Bush third term.
    As Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) said on TV today, “…we can’t have a president who doesn’t know a Shiite from a Sunni…”
    The 24 year old mentioned in the letter can just vote for good ol’ boy McCain if he wants to maintain the status quo.
    Obama took a 41 point beating in West Virginia; I’d guess that young man voiced a majority West Virginia opinion.

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  81. basset said on June 8, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    the letter was indeed interesting but I got sidetracked into the food section… jawdropper? monster burger? sounds like a road trip to me, if I leave now and 65 opens back up near Columbus I can be there right after the breakfast rush tomorrow…

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  82. Sue said on June 8, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Ooh, new regulars at Nancy’s bar! Hope so, anyway. I liked Judith’s and Linda’s comments a lot.
    I was at an actual bar on Friday night. This is most unusual for me. We went to a piano bar called Lucille’s Rockin’ Pianos in Milwaukee. My daughter works there. Lots of fun, some very embarrassing humor, non-stop music, and I couldn’t hear for two hours after we got out. And I didn’t get home until 1 a.m. That’s 1 in the morning. An hour after midnight. I’m so proud of myself; all I do anymore is work and sleep.

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  83. brian stouder said on June 8, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Judith – great letter! Thanks for the link; I totally missed it when I read the ink and paper version of the JG.

    So – is the golden pen a nice one? (I was gonna ask if the pen was a Cross, but then I thought it might look like a sarcastic question)

    edit: – btw, with your quilting background, Dorothy & you might have lots of common ground

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  84. coozledad said on June 8, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Sue: That is precisely how children extend your lifespan.

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  85. MichaelG said on June 8, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Judith, help me. I’d love to read what you wrote but your link puts me on a main page and I have no idea of where to go. I see local headlines, recent headlines, one dead – one missing etc. Tell me where to go. Thanks.

    Hmmm. You can go to the head of the long line to tell me where to go.

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  86. Kim said on June 8, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    MichaelG – here you go:

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  87. Dexter said on June 9, 2008 at 2:25 am

    I just watched “Hairspray” on HBO. What a delight! In the opening scene, John Waters plays a flasher.
    This is one of the best re-makes ever. Pure joy!

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  88. MichaelG said on June 9, 2008 at 8:36 am

    Thanks, Kim. Nice letter, Judith. We should all take heed.

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  89. nancy said on June 9, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Kathleen Parker is a big maroon. Thanks for saying so, J.

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  90. Judith said on June 9, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Hey, Brian,
    Thanks. The gold-plated pen is inscribed “Journal Gazette.”

    I agree, Nancy. I just hadn’t paid much attention to her columns before–but this one was so mind-boggling! The only even vaguely possible explanation is that she and Josh were referring to Sen. Obama’s father not being an American. That probably wouldn’t have mattered if the senior Obama was from Europe!! But Senator Obama was born on American soil to an American citizen. The great exception I had to her column was her claim diversity was bad for our country. Of course, diversity from many cultures and ethnic groups has been the catalyst for our great inventions and leadership.

    Actually, though I do hope Senator Obama will be our next president, I wrote the letter to protest the legitimizing of racism under the guise of patriotism! Of course John McCain’s campaign in 2000 was torpedoed by the claim before the South Carolina primary that he had an illegitimate black son that they subsequently adopted–so false! (But could McCain’s son ever be elected president. He was not born to an American citizen, nor on American soil. But now that he is adopted, his birth certifiate probably says he was born to American citizens?) Anyway, we should be color-blind to skin color by now. Did you see “Meet the Press” yesterday where they showed Bobby Kennedy shortly before he was assasinated (1968) saying that in forty years there could be sufficient progress in the U.S. for a black president to be elected? I hope that prediction comes true!

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  91. wade said on June 11, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    As long as you can make an acceptable Glenlivet Rusty Nail, I’ll continue to lurk here at a table near the end of the bar, sipping smirking around my Marlboro Ultra Light occasionally…

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