Mixed grill on Wednesday.

A few short items this morning before I start packing for the Christian Burning Man:

We’ve been visiting our lake cottage in Branch County less and less over the years, and perhaps you’d like to know why. OK.

Our next-door neighbor there, who bought the cottage built by Alan’s uncle, tore it down this year. No harm in that — it’s small and had a powder-post beetle infestation at one point. It probably needed doing. Of course we knew they’d put up something much bigger, but we were hopeful it would be, er, in character with the neighborhood. They decided on a prefab Swiss chalet. Other houses on the strip had been brought there in pieces, so there was a precedent. Can they get the truck to the lot without major damage? Oh sure, no problem.

The chalet went in this week. Their truck driver backed his semi across our front lawn and without so much as an oops, flattened two 10-year-old river birches Alan planted when Kate was a baby. Number of profuse apologies that have arrived at this address, or that of my sister-in-law, in the interim: Zero. Simple acknowledgment? None.

That’s it, in a nutshell.

We’ve told Spriggy that if he’d care to entrust us with his share of Leona Helmsley’s $8 billion, we’ll take very good care of it. Jeez, what a bitter old crone — $12 million for her own Maltese wasn’t enough, I suppose. I love dogs as much as you do, maybe more, and let me tell you: $12 million for a single dog deeply misunderstands the nature and needs of all dogs. You can argue with the foundation setup — I suppose there’s always someone who needs to hear the spay/neuter argument again — but at its heart it’s the work of a true misanthrope, in love with the poochies but not a dime for humanity. You know what I think? I think it’s because LA Mary couldn’t get her the strawberry preserves she wanted for her hotels. It queered her on two-legged creatures once and for all.

Inside baseball: Hank Stuever on why Clay Felker mattered:

Appreciate Clay Felker? It’s all anyone ever did, who wanted anything to do with magazines. Was it emulation, or was it envy, or was it a fantasy — working for the perfect place, the perfect editor, at the perfect time?

When I started freelancing, I had a simple goal: To do as much work as possible for editors who could help me improve. Needless to say, I never met Clay Felker.

Metro mayhem: Someone stole the copper plumbing from one of the city’s most visible landmarks. A six-figure repair bill for a few bucks in scrap metal.

John Scalzi printed one of his famous sunset pictures and included his cat, so I LOL’d it. No one will get it:

Bonus: Stay at Scalzi’s for a little perspective on the military service/electability track record.

That should keep you. I’ll be in and out until I leave for the airport, so, y’know, whatever. Oh, and thanks for all the SF recommendations, folks. I neglected to mention, this trip is basically a rerun of our honeymoon lo those many years ago. (Alan: “You sure you don’t want a diamond ring?” Me: “I want a two-week honeymoon more.”) You brought back memories and gave me some new ideas. You guys are the best.

Posted at 9:24 am in Current events, Media, Metro mayhem, Same ol' same ol' |

39 responses to “Mixed grill on Wednesday.”

  1. Kirk said on July 2, 2008 at 10:34 am

    So any chance you can get Kramer to drop a lighted Cuban cigar anywhere near this “Swiss” chalet?

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  2. Crabby said on July 2, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Gone with the Wind.

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  3. Connie said on July 2, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Years ago I lived in a rural area with no city water. When the old lady next door set the pasture between us on fire burning her trash the volunteer fire department drove a water tanker through our yard, and then back through on a different route when they left. Took us more than one season to get it back to normal.

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  4. coozledad said on July 2, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Me: You don’t want a diamond do you?
    My wife: If you spend any of our money on that shit I’ll kill you in your sleep. Now fix my goddamned lunch.

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  5. Sue said on July 2, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    That was a joke, wasn’t it? About us not getting it? And shouldn’t Scarlett O’HaraCat be clutching a radish? Or is that just in the book?

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  6. beb said on July 2, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    In past years there have been a 6 foot chain link fence surrounding Scott Fountain during the winter. I don’t recall seeing it there this year. I wonder if that had anything to do with the theft? As in making it easier to them to steal stuff? Maybe the Parks dept ought to check the (closed) Belle Isle zoo to make sure all the plumbing is still there.

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  7. LAMary said on July 2, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Leona was known as a real sweetheart until I broke the news about strawberry preserves. It turned her into a bitter, broken soul.

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  8. Peter said on July 2, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    You know, back in the day, I would have paid good money to see a Leona Helmsley/Nancy Reagan cage match. It would have been great.

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  9. brian stouder said on July 2, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Clicking back to Mary’s Leona story, it made me laugh all over again! With Ash’s departure, she strikes me as one of the main good things here, besides the Proprietress herself.

    If LAMary had a blog, I would no doubt become one of her blogosphere barnacles; I cannot give any higher praise!

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  10. LAMary said on July 2, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    My goodness, thank you, Brian.

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  11. Stephen Craig said on July 2, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Good Lord Nancy!

    Considering the stories you link to, perhaps the Wire should have been set in Deroit. Maybe Detroit should invade a less powerful but richer city, like San Jose, and steal their lunch.

    for you Wireheads, I watched of one of my favorite scenes last night; the one where Cutty (older ex-con back from prison) goes to the party with Bodie and Slim Charles, and as Cutty’s eyes bug out at the debauched scene, they go into the bathroom and drink 40’s and “kiss the sky,” and a couple of ladies welcome him home. End of Episode 4, Season 3.

    “It’s oooooooon.” Check it out.

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  12. Danny said on July 2, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Yeah, me too Mary. If you didn’t ban me…{smirk}.

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  13. caliban said on July 2, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    My dad owns a 15 year old house on Sea Pines Plantation (that’s actual Hilton Head, unlike the Sun City at Hilton Head which is actually Bluffton. ) It’s a wonderful, sprawling place my parents bought for a relative song from some Cindy McClain clone that bought it to stage a wedding. It’s housed some massive family reunions to effects both wonderful and horrendous.

    He also owns what’s called a ‘patio’ lot. We’ve proposed several home designs, every one of which meets the published requirements, and been turned down. Numerous and only marginally onerous homeowners restrictions apply, but these seem to be honored in the breech. People buy ‘teardowns’ and put up unsightly mausoleums seemingly at will, and they violate height and massing regulations like its’s going out of style.

    If someone killed my birch trees to erect some Bush era cathedral of excess, I’d consider taking Scalia at his word and bear arms. Seemingly, this sort of thing is cash and carry. Way back in the day, my brother Chris and I transplanted birches from the woods behind Lamplighter Lane, in a Pulte subdivision. I’d say the tree-killers are terriss. No habeas. Nuke ’em. Birches are so purely beautiful, they had a semi-great poem written by a semi-great poet.

    Did Nancy’s husband plant those trees to memorialize a birth? Was there reckless disregard. Ridiculously awesome lawsuit. I’m open to other opinions on “Birches” Having tried poetry, it’s kinda hard to be judgemental. At least he wasn’t Joyce Kilmer,

    Since Nancynall.com is a national brand, with a Michigan connotation, who’s the best Michigan band (it isn’t the Stooges, and it’s a tossup between SRC and MC5). Whose the best Michigan writer? That would be Tom McGuane. Best Blogger (though I despise the term), that little old second coming of HL Mencken in Grosse Pointe, though the Grpsses aren’t actually Detroit.

    Having transported to Georgia, I feel qualified to say, Margaret Mitchell couldn’t write her way out of a paper bag. Gone With the Wind is horrible. Hemingwayesque in it’s literary turpitude.

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  14. Jen said on July 2, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Nancy, I love your Gone with the Wind LOLcat! It perfectly blends my two favorite things…”Gone with the Wind” and pictures of cats with funny, misspelled captions. (I like it even more since we got an adorable cat just over a month ago!)

    My sister does not understand why I go to icanhascheezburger.com – she thinks it’s weird. She once asked me why the captions are all misspelled. My mom answered, without skipping a beat: “Because cats can’t spell. Duh!”

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  15. LAMary said on July 2, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    My late great cat Edith would park herself in front of your chair when it was her supper time. When you stood up, she would lead you to the cat food, looking back every few seconds to make sure you were following. I think she assumed humans were too stupid to find the cat food without her guidance.

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  16. coozledad said on July 2, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Rilke’s Duino Elegies in LOLcat Translation
    Die Erste Elegie
    Wer, wenn ich schriee, horte mich denn aus den Engel Ordnungen? und gesetz selbst, es nehme einer mich plotzlich ans Herz: ich verginge von starkeren Dasein.
    First thang
    Who, Whenz I meow, hearz me in Ceiling Cat’s nest of kittenz.
    An if one hooks me, willz he get my bucket?

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  17. LAMary said on July 2, 2008 at 6:43 pm


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  18. coozledad said on July 2, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    LA Mary: Danke!….Ich denke.

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  19. joodyb said on July 2, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    what meanest you ‘no one will get it’? seriously brill on your part.
    LOLcats is my go-to PYP site — lessee if anyone gets THAT ONE. of course we’ve all long since gotten over finding humor in things others think are DUMB.
    happy sparkler holes in yer feetz, everyone.

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  20. nancy said on July 2, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Jen, Alan said the exact same thing: “Why is it misspelled?” And he’s actually owned a cat. Sheesh.

    Hello from St. Louis, y’all. It’s raining.

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  21. Connie said on July 2, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    The whole LOLcat thing just doesn’t do it for me. Another thing I just don’t get.

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  22. caliban said on July 2, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    If Detroit wants to invade, maybe Windsor. But probably Birmingham. Or the Bloomfields. Kinda like the Grosses, but more nouveau.

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  23. brian stouder said on July 3, 2008 at 8:10 am

    ditto Connie

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 3, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Thursday grilled leftovers (we’ve already had this conversation here, but it’s nice to see the NYT catch up) — http://egan.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/02/save-the-press/

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  25. Dorothy said on July 3, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Hate to say it but I’m with Connie & Brian. I guess I’m too far lost inside the brains of my dog(s) now to appreciate cats.

    We recently adopted a new dog. Our neighbors in South Carolina (who were also our real estate agents until mid-May) were moving to LA. They needed a good home for this Malamute/Chow mix, named Husky. So my husband drove to Kentucky to meet them half way and now he’s ours. He’s got to be the most laid back dog I’ve ever met. If anyone’s interested, here’s a pic of him:


    Happy 4th of July folks! And happy 44th birthday to my baby sister tomorrow, too.

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  26. Cathy D. said on July 3, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I am ROTF at your LOLcat…thank you, Scarlett.

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  27. brian stouder said on July 3, 2008 at 10:24 am

    A great picture, Dorothy! I’m just finishing Jack London’s White Fang* (making this mildly “on subject” – since the Proprietress is heading for SF), after enjoying Call of the Wild last week….so dogs are on my brain.

    *the book is more than a little racist, when the wolf observes the interaction between the indians and the traders. It’s not Huck Finn….almost ready to say it’s more insidious than that

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  28. Connie said on July 3, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Brian, reading older books reveals a great deal of undisguised racism. Reread any of the “Little House on a Prairie books lately? Nancy Drew’s villains were always dark and foreign looking.

    Cute dog. Sometime in the next few weeks or months we are going to have make that hard decision about our old man Shih Tzu, who has been suffering from congestive heart failure for about a year now. He’s skin and bones, coughing all the time, but still happy and peppy and behaving mostly normally. Also deaf and bad vision, poor guy.

    I can’t imagine living without a dog, or with a cat.

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  29. moe99 said on July 3, 2008 at 11:47 am

    One of my favorite books as a kid was Booth Tarkington’s Penrod. It’s set in Cairo, IL at the turn of the last century and is funny as all get out. But it too is racist, reflecting the age in which it was written.

    Here’s some fun for the 4th of July, reminding me once again, why dating these days is such a pita:


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  30. Jen said on July 3, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I would have never thought that I’d own a cat – I always grew up with dogs around and rarely interacted with cats because my dad hates them. However, my husband’s family is a cat family, and he isn’t a huge fan of dogs. The more I observed and played with my in-laws’ cat, the more I liked them, though. It’s very different from owning dogs, but it’s nice – cats are a lot lower maintenance overall. Yes, you have to clean the litterbox, but you never have to let them outside – they just go on their own. You can leave for a day or a weekend and not worry about the cat because it’ll take care of itself. The biggest problem we have is that some days she likes to run around our bedroom and attack our feet at 4 a.m., but overall I’m enjoying cat ownership.

    I still love dogs, though, and visit my parents’ golden retriever every chance I get! And I get to go see my husband’s uncle’s yellow lab puppies tomorrow!

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  31. beb said on July 3, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    I read overnioght that Rush Limbaugh has signd a nbew 8 year contract worth $400 million. Is there that much money in talk radio to justify a salary like that? $37.5 million a year plus a $100 million signing bonus. Is anyone worth that kind on money?

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  32. MichaelG said on July 3, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I am. Now just tell me where I can collect.

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  33. LA Mary said on July 3, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I am too, but no one acknowledges it.
    I like cats and dogs and have three of each. I have my favorites, but they are all good company.

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  34. brian stouder said on July 3, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Is anyone worth that kind on money?

    The easy answer is “yes” – since he got it. I suppose one has to look at his peers, wherein Howard Stern makes who-knows-how-many millions every year, just for making the sorts of remarks (and copping the sort of attitude) that any 14 year old boy in a locker room makes (or cops).

    On the retail level, if a person subscribes to satellite radio because that’s where Stern is, then it can be argued that his astronomical remuneration (pardon the satellite pun) makes sense…and if local advertisers notice that their commercials get heard if they buy spots during Rush’s show, then it can be argued that everyone is winning in the business end of that transaction, too.

    Philosophically, one wonders about the wider effects of these “everybody wins” deals, though….just as ripping down 1000 acres of forrest will make lots and lots of money for one group of people, and have other, unhappier effects on others – people who were not “in” on the transaction.

    Note: I am NOT for restrictions on speech, nor for “equal time”. Nowadays, “equal time” for opposing views is replaced by “at the same time, all the time”. But it IS worth reflecting on the effects of having one’s own prejudices reconfirmed all the time, without having to risk a genuine intellectual challenge.

    In that regard, we (as a society) are “back to the future”; American history is full of flatly partisan newspapers and party organs and muck rakers….and we saw how that worked out in the 1860’s (Some of the states would interfere with the US mail specifically to intercept and destroy the abolitionist materials being sent that way)

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  35. Julie Robinson said on July 3, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Cruelly, I am allergic to both cats and dogs, which we learned only after a childhood of both living with them and being sick. Allergy shots, heavy medication and air purifiers have not changed the reactions I get from them. I struggled with this for a long time, but everytime I visited home I was reminded that I can’t have animals. (Oh yes, since I was going away to college soon the ‘rents kept the animals. Thanks alot.)

    When our kids were growing up we had fish and a series of gerbils/hamsters. Even the small furry ones weren’t good for me, but can you imagine the therapy sessions? “My childhood was deprived–I never got to have any pets.”

    So everyone, give your beloved animals an extra hug tonight, and if you can handle an extra one, visit your local shelter. My life is blessed in so many ways, but I am envious of you-all for that.

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  36. moe99 said on July 3, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Julie–poodles and Siamese are reputedly allergan free. You could check that out. I know of one family that acquired a labradoodle (combination lab and poodle) to see if that would work, and so far so good.

    BTW the LOLcats site is hiring:

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  37. Julie Robinson said on July 3, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks for the good thoughts Moe–we tried them both!

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  38. Dave said on July 5, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Siamese cats? Hmmm, I’ve been allergic to cats all my life and nothing has been worse to be around than Siamese. My cousin always kept Siamese cats and I could barely go to her house for more than half an hour.

    Might I suggest a Bichon Frise for a allergan-free dog. We love ours.

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  39. moe99 said on July 7, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Well, if you have a spare $4K you could buy an allergy free cat:

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