No more pencils.

You can’t get out of school without a final rule being shoved down your throat. The final rule of today’s Promotion Ceremony was handed down yesterday — no flip-flops. Screw it. Our student has a special new pair of flip flops with sparkly straps to go with her new dress, and she’s wearing them, and if anybody makes a stink about it they’re going to be dealing with me, and mama don’t take no mess. There’s a point at which all the stupid rules of school become unbearable, and they don’t even apply to me. I’ve sat silent through No Squirt Guns at the Class Picnic (violation of the weapons policy) and No Untwisted Paperclips (ditto) and a punishment system that frequently involves writing, but on this one I’m a scofflaw.

(The punitive-writing thing bugs me in particular. Say you’re, oh, a software designer. Were your child to misbehave while in my care, I would not make him or her design software as a punishment. And yet, teachers think nothing of assigning painful essays as punishment for breaches of conduct large and small, and then wonder why kids despise writing.)

I shouldn’t complain. I don’t have to wrangle a few hundred kids who’d much rather be at the pool. I frequently marvel that teachers stay sane at all, and don’t begrudge them two or three end-of-day cocktails one little bit. Keep in mind this is a middle-class suburban district where kids are, generally speaking, still respectful of adults (in public, anyway) and will behave if ordered to do so. Still. Squirt guns? Please.

In other domestic news at this hour, we have a resident wild thing — an opossum. (The writer within insists I call it by its formal name on first reference.) I think it’s living under the deck by day and it needs to be removed, but I caught a glimpse of it in the driveway last night and damn — it’s the size of a Ford F-150. For once I was grateful for the dog’s ailing eyesight, because I was able to call him inside before he saw that mofo lurking out by the birdbath. A fight between those two would have been ugly. Alan has a live trap at the lake house, weaponry from last fall’s Groundhog Wars (score: Groundhog 1, Humans 0), and it’s coming here a.s.a.p. I like to live in peace with the natural world, but I’m wary of the damage a beast like that can do. And I read that in possums, “senescence is rapid.” I don’t want that sucker dying under my deck.

A quick skip to the bloggage, then:

I’m sorry, but when I see a headline reading Baby born with penis on back, man oh man am I clicking that one. If more babies were born with extra penises growing out of their backs, the newspaper business would not be in the fix it is today. For the squeamish, this appears to be one of those incompletely-absorbed-fetal-twin situations, and the kid seems to be fine after surgery, even though he lost a second career as a coat rack.

My favorite blogger, Roy, is taking a few days off to have eye surgery. This seems as good a time as ever to re-promote “Detached,” our friend James Burns’ graphic novella about his own eye surgery.

My congresswoman, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, is the Detroit mayor’s mother and is, I have assumed, as cemented into the job as my last congressman. The Free Press says maybe not — her son’s troubles have given mom some challengers, one of whom released an ad on the internets this week. In typical old-media fashion, the Freep didn’t provide a link. I’m going to assume it was an oversight, but here it is, and it’s a goody. (It uses the infamous “y’all’s boy” meltdown, seen in longer form here.)

You’ve probably all seen this by now, but just in case not, the NYT looks at the popularity of re-virginization surgery among European Muslim women. Show me a culture that values chastity over everything else in young women, and I’ll show you a sick culture. Nothing in this story changed my mind. Funny line:

But hymen repair is talked about so much that it is the subject of a film comedy that opens in Italy this week. “Women’s Hearts,” as the film’s title is translated in English, tells the story of a Moroccan-born woman living in Italy who goes to Casablanca for the operation.

One character jokes that she wants to bring her odometer count back down to “zero.”

I’ve always thought you could judge a group by what they compared their women to — cows (as in why buy one when you get the milk for free), shoes (you wouldn’t buy a pair without trying them on) and now cars. I ask you.

Off to walk around threateningly on the deck. Maybe I can scare the possum away. Ha.

Posted at 9:34 am in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

49 responses to “No more pencils.”

  1. colleen said on June 11, 2008 at 9:42 am

    My writer type parents were of the same mind regarding readin’ and writin’ as punishment.

    Want to punish me? Make me do math.

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  2. MichaelG said on June 11, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I can picture the kid with the extra appendage grown up and dancing with one of those Muslim girls.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on June 11, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Oh MichaelG, no one will top you today!

    And I’ve had to reconsider my previous contribution about how cute the little criitters in our yard are, specifically chipmunks. A couple of weeks ago our front sidewalk (made of oh-so-quaint bricks) collapsed due to their burrowing. The hubby has now buried mothballs underneath since they are rumored to be nauseating to the chipmunks. So what if you can smell them when it rains?

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  4. coozledad said on June 11, 2008 at 10:43 am

    That kid’s parents should have thought a little more about his future. You never know when you might have to do a little “acting” to pay the bills. He could have financed his college education with films like “Buddy Got Back”, “Dickback Mountain”, or “Edward Penisback”. And there’s always the sequels. Kid coulda been the life of the party.

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  5. nancy said on June 11, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Just the other day I was looking through the spam queue in search of a mistakenly spammed comment, and found a link to Edward Penishands. I cannot tell a lie — I laughed and laughed.

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  6. coozledad said on June 11, 2008 at 10:59 am

    I’d like to see the boardroom scenes where they shop the ideas for those films to the producer. Especially the “high concept” Hollywood knockoffs, like Glad He Ate Her. I wonder how that one compares to Caligula.
    I’ve got to stop dragging this thread in the gutter- it’s cooler here today. I actually get to do some work!

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  7. Dorothy said on June 11, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Nance I snorted ice water when I read “…even though he lost a second career as a coat rack.” This again reminded me of the the line in the David Sedaris book that made me laugh out loud. Hope this won’t ruin it for anyone, but I just have to share:

    “A bow tie announces to the world that you can no longer get an erection.”

    I’ll never again be able to keep a straight face when I see a guy in a bow tie.

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  8. James said on June 11, 2008 at 11:15 am


    Thanks for pimping my “Detached” comic.

    Did you hear I’m experiencing another detached retina? This time in my left eye? Yep… a Post Vitreous Detachment; no tear this time (although I’m watching for one). Mostly suffering from gunk floating around in my vision, and of course, the fear…


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  9. whitebeard said on June 11, 2008 at 11:16 am

    A possum got in the house through the cat door and attacked the broom I chased it with; it was a vicious large beast that even frightened the dog, a German shepherd. I trapped it in a Have-a-Heart cage, drove it to the center of town beside a busy highway. IT came back, even more menacing. I trapped it again, drove it over three rivers, looked for pit bulls for it to play with and left it in a gravel pit. IT never came back. Be safe, drive fast and far.
    Did you hear the one about the Islam fanatic who did his martyr bit and went to Hell where 72 very mean Virginians were waiting for him.

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  10. Sue said on June 11, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Re-virginization surgery? Ouch. Like any of us want to go through that over and over again.
    Now I understand how they supply 70 virgins to each dead martyr.

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  11. MichaelG said on June 11, 2008 at 11:24 am

    C’dad, I often find myself imagining conference room scenes when ad agencies are pitching particularly crappy commercials to clients. I can see the idiots sitting there: “Yeah, . . . yeah, that sounds good.” while their product is embarrassed on screen and I wonder if the ad agency people are laughing their asses off or are just incompetent.

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  12. harry near indy said on June 11, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I frequently marvel that teachers stay sane at all, and don’t begrudge them two or three end-of-day cocktails one little bit


    my mother taught first grade for 20 years. she started when she was in her mid 30s and ended when she was in her mid 50s.

    early in her career, she’d had a vodka martini once a week — usually on fridays, when the school week was over.

    during the last year she taught, she had a vodka martini at least three times a week.

    it was then when she decided to quit teaching.


    the quote from sedaris, which i post here:

    “A bow tie announces to the world that you can no longer get an erection.”

    so george will can’t get an erection. a worthless dick has a worthless dick.

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  13. whitebeard said on June 11, 2008 at 11:36 am

    James, that really sucks big time. When I had my detached retina (left eye) almost four decades ago, I had noticed is so quickly and gone to a doctor that it fell back in place overnight and the eye surgeon scolded an intern for not being able to draw it on a sheet of paper. Even after the surgeon welded it securely, no lasers then, it was so hidden in one corner that he asked me if I would mind being a test patient for his surgucal classes. I agreed, the guy had saved my sight. Even today, eye doctors have great difficulty spotting the buckles where the retina was reattached.
    In recent years, cataracts flared up and I have two implant prescription lenses so I basically see beyond nine inches without the powerful eyeglasses that I bought with my first job when I was 16. I worked at a movie theater and couldn’t see the screen clearly until a cute usherette (remember those) let me try on her glasses and I realized what I had been missing up to then.
    I couldn’t see the blackboard in school so I would walk by slowly and memorize the homework questions and write them down when I was outside the classroom.

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  14. derwood said on June 11, 2008 at 11:41 am

    When I think of bow ties I think of Tucker Carlson…ewwwww.

    Many moons ago in the halls of Jefferson Junior High, I had a math teacher who loved to assign writing as punishment. Not only did we have to write xx number of paragraphs on whatever topic she would choose, but we had to write the paragraphs out 10 times. Apprantly hand cramps would make me understand compound fractions. The second time I had to do this I sharpened my pencil and got each paragraph to fit into one wide ruled line. The next time she was more specific about the requirements.


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  15. nancy said on June 11, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    James, sorry to hear about that. Fingers crossed.

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  16. beb said on June 11, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    derwood beat me to it, but if bow ties means you can no longer get an erection, that pretty much defines Tucker Carlson.

    My outrage of the day is all the hubbub over the Republican governer of Nevada who wrote 750 text messages to his mistress on his State owned cellp phone. Detroit’s mayor wrote more messages and wrote them, after issuing an ordinance stating that all text messages on city phones were public. (He’s since changed his mind on this) I’m outraged that liberal bloggers are not going after our mayor — just because he’s a Dem.

    A couple months back I was polled over the phone by a state firm regarding our mayor and Congresswoman (I’m in the same district as Nancy.) Within the bounds of answers ranging from 1 to 5 I tried to convey my desire to bitch-slap the mayor so hard that his mama falls on her ass. In fact I think I did volunteer that Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick was a bad mother because she raised a bad son. What’s funny is that since the questions always keep coming back to perceptions about Kwame and Carolyn that I’m pretty sure the poll was paid for by Cheeks-Kilpatrick.

    Burrowing under sidewalks sound more like moles or groundhogs. God luck with that. My father had trouble with groundhogs undermining the flooring in is barns. Trapped and drowned a couple dozen of them over the course of a few years. He once ask a County Agricultural Agent what he could do about the groundhogs. The agent drawled back, “they’re not an endangered species.”

    Ernie Harwell used to say whenever a baseball player took a third called strike, that he “stood there like the house at the side of the road, and watched that one go by.” Since seening the video of whole, complete houses being washed down a river this week by the Wisc. flooding I guess we can paraphrase Ernie into saying “he stood there on the bank of the river and watched that house go by.”

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  17. Dexter said on June 11, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    So…? Youse guyz t’ink bow-tie dudes are impotent pussies?
    Go tell the brother here. ‘Nuff said.

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  18. Mindy said on June 11, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    While yakking on the phone one day last year I had my chair turned to face the beautiful patch of woods that surrounds my house. A huge skunk waddled across the back yard in the direction of the deck. Fortunately, my dog was not outside at the time and my friend is not deaf in the ear that I screamed into. I doused the perimeter of the house and deck with repellent and have been lucky so far.

    The same friend’s Husky dog Leo got skunked early this spring and still reeks. They were on a walk when he put his head in a bush to inspect it for marking and startled the skunk. He was thoroughly scrubbed with whatever the vet provided and the smell was banished from his coat, but it’s still on his breath something terrible. Bend down to peer into those incredibly blue eyes for some adoring Leo attention and it’s like meeting the business end of the skunk yourself if he opens his mouth.

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  19. Dexter said on June 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Opussums are kept as pets and are given loving care by some.
    OK, I KNOW you are wanting documentation. Here ya go!

    theopossumpage exists to:

    * increase public awareness that the opossum is a beautiful and worthwhile creature,
    * change public opinion that opossums are destructive, dangerous and need to be exterminated, and
    * make the whereabouts of good information available to those who need help quickly to care for orphaned or injured opossums.

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  20. Catherine said on June 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    A possum died under our house… while I was pregnant. I was the only one who could smell it, for a few days. Then pretty much everyone caught on. The good thing about being pregnant was that it was not my responsibility to crawl under there and remove the remains.

    My advice: Get rid of it BEFORE it dies.

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  21. del said on June 11, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Thanks Dorothy for my LOL moment of the day.

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  22. LAMary said on June 11, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I have possums and skunks aplenty here in the second largest city in the US. Currently we are without any skunky smelling dogs, but I’d say over the past 23 years I’ve deskunked dogs at least thirty times.
    We’ve dispatched maybe ten possums, alive and dead, and treed racoons many times. I see coyotes running down my street in the early AM quite often. This is five minutes from downtown LA. I can wave to the folks in City Hall from my deck.
    There were two truly heinous skunk experiences. One was when my dog Sophie, may she rest in peace, heard something outside the bedroom window in the middle of the night. She jumped out the window, pushing out the screen. The skunk sprayed into the window. My whole bedroom stank for weeks. I had a very fancy business related cocktail party at the Hotel Bel Air the next day and I was sure I reeked of skunk, the smell had so thoroughly wiped out my nose.
    Second one was again Sophie. This time she killed a skunk and brought it into the house. Then she shook it. We had skunk guts on the ceiling, walls, furniture, everywhere. Of course Sophie lived to be 16 and never stopped getting skunked. Some dogs learn. Some never do.

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  23. basset said on June 11, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    second career as a coatrack? only till he’s, say, forty.

    the possum… wait till you see it eating the dog food or some other way occupied. stride confidently up to it, grab it by the tail, and hold it away from your body.

    put it in a box or something and take it away. you’re not exactly dealing with an Upper Peninsula wolverine there.

    when I was about nineteen or so and we lived out in the country in Greene County, our two coonhounds caught a groundhog on the porch. each of ’em grabbed an end and pulled, you’d be surprised how long it stretched before it finally came apart.

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  24. MichaelG said on June 11, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    When I lived in Auburn before splitting with my wife, one of the dogs got skunked. I had heard about tomato juice so I poured TJ all over poor Aimee’s head and shoulders. Worked like a charm. She had instant relief.

    Saw possums waddling around but never thought of them as pests. Same, same coonies. The hawks (chicken killers), bobcats (ditto), foxes (ditto) and coyotes (couldn’t get past the fencing but killed three cats) were more of a concern.

    Our eggs were never that dirty. We just rinsed them in warm water and let it go. Boy, were they good.

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  25. LAMary said on June 11, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Better than tomato juice is hydrogen peroxide, a little Dawn dishwashing liquid, baking soda and warm water. Like a whole bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a small box of baking soda. I mix in it a three gallon bucket and pour it over the dog. It works really well. You will always have some reisdual stink where there was a direct hit, but mostly it works.

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  26. Howie said on June 11, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    There must be a reasonable explanation for Brother Mouzone, Dexter. I will offer the first two:

    a) He is simply the exception to the rule.

    b) The writer/costumer wears a bow tie, and wanted to compensate for his own weakness, while elevating the street cred for bow-tiers everywhere.

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  27. Dexter said on June 11, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    …and the last thing Stringer Bell saw was that bow tie and a muzzle flash…

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  28. brian stouder said on June 11, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    the possum… wait till you see it eating the dog food or some other way occupied. stride confidently up to it, grab it by the tail, and hold it away from your body.

    Nance’s coat rack sight gag got me giggling, and MichaelG’s dancin’ w/Muslim chicks crack made me cackle – and then basset’s possum plan finished me off!

    Chloe and Shelby and I just got back from the still-kicking Lincoln Museum, and I was feeling a little wistful; but good ol’ nn.c’s tales of suburban possum trespassers and little handiman with multiple tools and muslim girls who want to roll back the odometer set me aright again!

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  29. Judith said on June 11, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    My granddaughter gave me one of her favorite books of a couple or years ago to tell you about for your daughter’s summer reading. It’s part of a series called WARRIORS written by Erin Hunter. There are six books in the original series and a second series has begun. Erin creates mythical explanations for the cats behavior, including astrology and standing stones. You can find out more at The characters are mainly cats, with a few no-good Two Legs thrown in.
    We were still reading to her at bedtime then, and the names are tongue-twisting. She would read a few chapters during the day, and love to listen to someone reading aloud at night.

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  30. coozledad said on June 11, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    A friend of ours’ father had a Perdue chicken farm he was managing in his son’s absence, and he was trying to find a home for a four legged chicken he’d somehow missed when he was culling chicks. We volunteered, more out of morbid curiosity than any higher motives. We hadn’t really had anything like direct experience raising chickens at that point, and I couldn’t imagine why four legs would be such a big deal. I even thought it would help it be ‘sturdier’. Our friend brought it in a cat-carrier and left it in my wife’s car at work. When she got it home I had a small outdoor pen prepared enclosing an old corn-crib. We brought the cat-carrier in and opened the door and the hen came out , dragging what appeared to be a half-eaten chick from the vicinity of her ass. The phrase “and they were sore afraid” just about describes how we felt at that point.
    We spent the next few days making her comfortable and trying to figure out how to clean the partial chick that was hanging from her by not much more than a fine membrane and the arteries and veins. She was an active bird, and dragged her reluctant half through mud, brambles, and even gaps in the chicken wire. I kept telling myself she’d just snap it off while she was chasing a junebug. Never happened.
    Then I decided I was fine with the idea, and even began to show it to various locals who happened to be walking by the house, delivering mail, or driving a tractor to the field to cultivate tobacco.
    “Hey. You ever seen a four legged chicken? We got one. Check this out.”
    I couldn’t help myself. There’s just something about watching leathery old men have to reach for the nearest fencepost to steady themselves while they have the dry heaves.
    “God Almighty Damn!” They’d say.
    Eventually, we discovered a nearby avian vet, and we asked him if he’d have a look at her. He agreed. I still remember filling out the paperwork where it asked for the pet’s name. it took me about five minutes to decide if I wanted to reveal what we’d been calling her. “Chicky Pootis.” It’s all we had.
    He X-rayed her and showed me the pictures. “Poor thing. I won’t let her go around like that. I can suture those bleeders off and she’ll be fine. $100.00.”
    We weren’t rich in those days, and $100.00 is still pretty fucking steep for a chicken. Still, I was ashamed not to pay it. But over the next days watching her heal and happily run about the yard convinced me I’d finally done a little good in my life.
    The next week, a possum chewed her head off.

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  31. LAMary said on June 11, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Coozledad, your first mistake was saying you would take in a four legged chicken. I can’t imagine saying yes to that offer unless it was a very generously packaged cut up broiler/fryer that came with extra parts.

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  32. Jolene said on June 11, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Are you all enjoying watching what is happening to the Dow? I can hardly wait to get the next quarterly statement from TIAA-CREF to see just how much my retirement account has shrunk.

    Not as much fun as encounters with varmints, but there it is.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 11, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Coozledad gets the narrative structure award for the week, IMO. Nicely told!

    Where i’m tellin’ stories and leading songs this week —

    That cabin in the background was built in 1923 and used to be the dining hall, with big stone fireplaces in either end. New roof and an indoor flush toilet 75 years later, but we still sing “Tom the Toad” and “Shenandoah.” But in the picture i think we’re doing “Up In the Air, Junior Birdman.”

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  34. brian stouder said on June 11, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Great photo, Jeff! I can just about smell the smokey campfire

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  35. Jolene said on June 11, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Great photos, indeed! Really fun to see all those junior birdhouse-builders.

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  36. Dorothy said on June 11, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    When my son was little he loved to eat chicken. Sunday dinner at my parents’ house one time found pork roast on the table. Knowing his fondness for chicken, my dad dubbed the meat “four legged chicken” and Josh ate every bite. We still call pork roasts by that name to this day.

    Coozledad that was the best damned story I’ve heard in a long time. I sorta hope you heard me yell “OH GOD!” about 5 minutes ago when I read the last sentence!

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  37. coozledad said on June 11, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Well thank you, Dorothy. I’ve been trying to find the right moment for that particular story, and everything seemed to converge. It actually has another subplot that my wife would have to write, or at least dictate when she’s had a few. But she’s got to earn enough for us to keep farming.

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  38. coozledad said on June 11, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Jeff: The cabin reminds me vaguely of one of the summer homes of the fabulously wealthy Durhamites, circa 1920. You ought to see the kitchen in this thing; and you actually can. They rent it out for individuals as well as groups.

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  39. caliban said on June 11, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Untwisted paperclips (hyphenated?)? We used to bend them till they broke, Jumbos, and fire them with spectacular force with doubled-up rubber bands. This actually was a second generation transmogrification of sticking each other in one extremely southern glute with hat pins. God knows where we got hatpins.

    This permutation of mortally embarrassing combat peaked in 7th Grade at St. Hugo. (It’s in Bloomfield Hills, and if you’ve never seen the church, it’s like the Detroit version of the Cloisters, and if you haven’t been to the Cloisters, please visit it first when you get to NYC, because anybody with the concatenation of cynicism, skeptitude, imagination and appetite for wonder to frequent this spot will be spellbound.)

    Anyway, we shot twisted paperclips. I’m sniffing the air. We did every foul thing we could think of . But the Sisters of St. Joseph were wily. They actually infiltrated with young nuns with visible hair and recognizable names. Meanwhile, Sister Melita laughed like Satan when Tom Sansone stumbled two flights down to the cafeteria on marble flights.

    Look. If you were a girl, this was negligible, and if you didn’t have self-esteem and you were a guy, it was negligible. If you’d read “Penrod and Sam” and “Huck”, you knew this was Aunt Polly.

    So anyway, the paperclips. I shot a broken clip at a guy that since became a courageous Fransiscan and offered his life with his twin sister in Guatamala. It didn’t do to be thoughtful or intelligent in those days, so I mocked them to try to stick with whoever was thoughtful. I hit the flat plane of Sr. Aurelia’s snood, the twisted clip broke a statue of Mary, the class went numb like lightning had struck.

    Clip hit Mary, clattered broken to floor. Aurelia, a nice nun, for all her age, swept the books from her desk when she reeled and said “Oh, Shit.” Woman in her Seventies. Mortified. Never saw her again. Where in the world do peoples’ ideas about Catholicism come from? Last two centuries, we’ve got John XXIV, we’ve got J2P2 who told the raisin smuggler he’d camp in Baghdad shortly before the nadless shit landed on the Lincoln, and we’ve got Teillhard. Really reactionary. And I’ll tell you he’ll guarantee W is despicable.

    Some idea Catholics are dangerous. Babdiss? Nah. Catholics think things through, and if you want to consider what people think in the last two decades, here’s the deal: There are some 3mil whack job Catholics. There’s everybody else. Those aholes made kerry out to be persona non grata. They were bought and paid for scum and that’s a fact that might take 15 seconds to prove.

    Know something? Kerry wasn’t worthy of the Governor’s backing? Not good enough for his VP? These assholes climbed in bed with Nader. Who was responsible? Progressives. There is no other way to look at this. My thirty years of beating at Chicago and dying when Bobby died, and I’m supposed to think Obama means a shit?

    Howard Dean is a canker. Howard Dean believes he’s a hero and John Kerry isn’t. Even Obamaniacs with no brainstem understand why this is horseshit.

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  40. caliban said on June 11, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Dow isn’t the dap. Back in 1998, all those whack jobs like Daniel Perle and you know those scum like Rummy and Heart-Attack Man tried to talk Clinton into invading Iraq. These bizarre piece of shit misanthropes were called the PNAC. They had always had more important priorities. It was pretty important to them that other people might die so they sure as shit didn’t have to.

    How does anybody get off. These assholes are murderers, and they aren’t committing murder for any reason but some some vile political enhancement.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 11, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Round semi-logs seem to have been big in the 1920’s and early 30’s for faux-rustic, whether wealthy North Carolinians or rural Ohio scouters. May be some offspring of Lincoln Logs (introduced at the 1893 WCE in Chicago).

    I wish i had one of these digital camera things, because about a mile from the camp entrance is an old farm house where they’ve been taking siding, older siding, and sheathing off, to reveal laths and some residual plaster, which left — 1820’s era yellow poplar squared logs, the real deal for the earliest houses in this area. Could be older, but the sawing of the square joins on the corners looks . . . whoops, i keep almost driving off the edge of the dirt road, but i’d say 1820 to 1845.

    A few weeks from now, the pioneer log cabin will disappear under new siding that spreads across the original structure and the new ell (1880s i’m guessing from the window shape/arrangement). Did the owners know they had a log cabin when they started? Who will know when they’re done?

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  42. Dexter said on June 11, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    This has been THE perfect evening for cycling. No wind, perfect temperature, light car traffic when I was connecting from one path to another, and the miles spun away . The paths were populated with many walkers , strolling hand-in-hand and lots of solo folks too, enjoying this wonderful night. Let’s see…OK,I roughly calculate that I rode fourteen and a half miles, and I never hit the water bottle once, and I usually hydrate a lot. Just that once-a-year flawless evening, peacefully co-existing with the pedestrians.

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  43. Dexter said on June 11, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Jeff? THIS is HORRIBLE!

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 11, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Aaaaaah . . . crap. Horrible it is, and this early in the season, it’s the staff setting up for the summer week-long camps and apparently a Junior Leader Training camp for the council. The hopeful part is that these would tend to be the more mature, even better prepared Scouts.

    And we’re supposed to get that same front through here for Friday, which is the night the older ones (including my Little Guy) stay overnight. We’ll be hyper-cautious, i promise (we have NOAA radios and a dining hall — new one, not the old one that’s now a winter lodge in the picture — that has a basement designed for tornado warnings).

    Plus a generally paranoid dad who’s also a twenty year Cub Day Camp staffer watching the skies . . .

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  45. MaryC said on June 12, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Jeff, the moment I saw the awful breaking news about the tornado I had to stop and check that it wasn”t your camp! I hope all your little guys stay safe.

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  46. Connie said on June 12, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Jeff, I will now spend my day singing Tom the Toad, and it is all your fault!

    Oh Tom the toad, oh Tom the toad, why did you hop out on the road?

    One of those songs I learned from Garrison Keillor’s Dept of Folk back in the early 80s. Even bought the songbook.

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  47. MichaelG said on June 12, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for the tip LAMary. I certainly defer to your greater experience but now I live alone in town and as a frequent traveler I don’t have any pets.

    C’dad – great story. Just a reminder that no good deed goes unpunished. We never had more than 12-15 chickens at a time. They were locked in their house at night and ran loose during the day. I was never aware of possums as predators but I’ll again defer to the greater experience. The worst were the bobcats who showed up during the last six months or so that we were together. There was no stopping them and we eventually had to give the surviving chickens away. The mother is the only one I’ve seen and at a good 2.5 feet long and looking like 25 lbs she seemed huge to me. My untrained eye has probably caused her to grow but even so . . . So far they haven’t bothered the goats. Talked to my ex the other day and she reports that current population is mom and two wee ones. Obviously, dad’s not far away.

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  48. brian stouder said on June 12, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    The mother is the only one I’ve seen and at a good 2.5 feet long and looking like 25 lbs she seemed huge to me…. current population is mom and two wee ones.

    MichaelG, my assumption is you are referring to the bobcats?


    I’ve spent a fair amount of time admiring the bobcats at the Ft Wayne Children’s Zoo, and they look like jumbo-sized, muscular kitties in their containment….if I saw one of them on the loose, in our backyard, I don’t think I’d be less petrified than if I saw a large cargo jet plunging from the sky toward our home!!

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  49. coozledad said on June 12, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Brian, Michael; They’re supposed to be really shy of humans. But mountain lions used to be, too. Both animals seem to be getting more comfortable foraging in suburban areas.

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