Every so often Lance Mannion mines his old notebooks for blog entries. Well, I don’t have old notebooks, but I do have NN.C. I started this site in part because it would require me to write something every day, to keep a journal of sorts, to keep a notebook in one form or another. So here’s something I turned up in my search for the Dexter column yesterday. Be glad you don’t know me in real life, for I am, apparently, insufferable.
This is from February 7, 2002:
Yesterday one of our neighbor’s kids stopped by. Middle-schooler, collecting information for a school paper on peregrine falcons.
“There’s been a peregrine falcon in our neighborhood,” he said.
“No way,” I told him. “Not around here. You’re almost certainly confusing it with a hawk. Red-tailed, Cooper’s, one of those. They’re big, they look like falcons.”
He insisted it was a peregrine. I insisted it couldn’t be. We had a short argument over whether they roost in trees in populated areas. I suspected I was putting him off, so I told him he ought to check out the Raptor Chapter, a non-profit that does rehabilitation on injured birds of prey. “Do you have the number?” he asked. I invited him in while I fetched the phone book. Alan walked in at this point. “Connor here thinks he’s seen a peregrine falcon in the neighborhood,” I said. “No way,” he said. Etc., etc. “Besides, they’re migratory,” I said. “They’re on the coasts at this time of year.” Connor said they weren’t. “I think you’d better check your research,” I told him.
Alan wondered what I was doing with the phone book. “I’m looking up the Raptor Chapter number for him.”
“The Raptor Chapter? They didn’t have the permits! The duck dicks shut her down,” Alan said.
“Shut her down? Janie? When?” I said.
“While back,” he said. “Of course we ran a couple paragraphs inside, after all that stuff we’ve been writing about her all these years.”
At this point I looked at Connor, who appeared somewhat dazed, no doubt thinking, Why the hell did I ring the doorbell of these lunatics? “I have a field guide, if you’d like to check it,” I said, gently. “Or you could call the Indiana DNR. They have lots of information. Guy name of John Castrale runs the peregrine reintroduction program.”
Finally, the thought occurred to me: “Why did you stop by, Connor?”
“I wanted to ask if you’d seen the falcon,” he said.
“Uh, no,” I said. And with that, he left. If I could have that five minutes to live over, I’d do it differently.
I have a friend who works in TV news here, and whenever I bitch about the pathetic journalism — and fourth-rate star power — of local anchors, he rolls his eyes and give me a jaded, what-can-you-do look. However, I think even he would be appalled by news of a Detroit news anchor participating in a crooked deal between a sludge treatment company and the city council, and I hope on behalf of journalists everywhere, this paragraph made his eyes pop out:
Stinger, who joined Fox 2 as an investigative reporter in 1997 and became an anchor in 2004, was paid about $325,000 a year by Fox 2 Detroit in 2005, according to divorce records.
Actually, as TV-news anchors are paid — she anchored the morning news show — this is pocket change. All to look pretty. No wonder every Miss America contestant wants that gig.
Kids these days. Adults these days. Sheesh.
Early exit this morning — it’s back to the gym for mommy.
coozledad said on July 10, 2008 at 11:24 am
Since we don’t have a TV, every time I see a Fox news or CNN clip I’m a little shocked at the $700.00 a night hooker look they’ve selected the female anchors for. Is there a class of recliner bound zombies for whom this makes any damned sense? Every time I see these people my first thought is “dinner-Red Lobster, plate-job, Motel 6”. The male anchors are no better. Christ. Poor old Wolf Blitzer looks like they pulled him off the glory hole detail just as he was beginning to get his sea legs. And there isn’t a single one of them that can speak properly, let alone think on their feet.
beb said on July 10, 2008 at 11:25 am
So many questions aboput your tale from 2002. Was it a hawk or a Falcon. Are they migratory. Dd you ever find the number for the Raptor Chapter. Who are the “duck dicks” and why and how did they shut her down?
If I had only one five minute period to live over again, I wouldn’t know where to start. So many regrets; so few do-overs.
This wiffle vall story reminds me of the people who are opposed to wind farms located within sight of their house because it “devalues the scenic beauty of the land.” Frankly I doubt that the view was that pretty to begin with, the wind farms don’t really detract all that much. They just want to be dicks towards other people. Now I can see where, if the boys had changed a wetlands area, there might be reasonable objections to it.
nancy said on July 10, 2008 at 11:45 am
“Duck dicks” = DNR officers.
And C’dad, that makeup job is unique to Fox. I”m told, in the trade, they’re called “Fox lips.” Jack Shafer has a slide show.
beb said on July 10, 2008 at 12:26 pm
FireDogLake.com has a bit about people planting gardens in Detroit
I can’t get the video to work on my browser but it looks like a montage of Detroit’s worst buildings between interviews with people.
As for growing food in vacant lots… I’d be hesitant. And in one instance along my route to work someone dumped a truck load of topsoil in a lot, leveled it out and planted in that. But even then I’m not sure four inches of top soil is enough to keep plant roots from invading the lots original soil.
Peter said on July 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm
That Greenwich story is interesting, but here’s the part I don’t understand: The kids spent THREE WEEKS clearing out brush and installing plywood and concrete. If the neighbors were that concerned, wouldn’t they have called the city early on, or were they hoping that the kids would clean the place up so they wouldn’t have to? Maybe the neighbors did call and the City never got around to looking? If this piece of turf is supposed to be a rainwater shed, wouldn’t the City have come in earlier to shoo the kids away? I give the kids props for taking initiative, but you tell me that nobody noticed until the lights were turned on?
nancy said on July 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm
I watched that FDL thing last night, and was unimpressed. The community-garden initiative is worthy, but the overall impression it left of the city didn’t read for me. They kept talking about the lack of grocery stores “downtown,” which is utterly unremarkable in the Midwest. You won’t find downtown grocery stores in most cities; I’d imagine even Chicago doesn’t have many Jewels close to the business district.
Truth be told, a lack of national chain groceries is a problem, and poor people without cars are forced to the “fortified liquor stores” they can walk to for milk/bread/diapers, but Detroit has more grocery stores — large, non-chain — than that piece would have you believe.
Also, I get irritated by the “it’s just a huge wasteland” portrait. To be sure, it is a very odd city that way, and there are large uninhabited parcels that probably should be turned into gardens or parks or whatever, but that’s such an oversimplified picture of Detroit.
And finally, my patience is running out with the food evangelists. Yes, good food is important, but urban poor people have bigger problems than can be solved with organic lettuce. And when Michael Pollan says, “Yes! Food should be expensive! That’s a good thing!” I get… irritable.
alex said on July 10, 2008 at 4:36 pm
You’d be surprised, Nance. The Mag Mile has grocery stores. The Loop has grocery stores. They’re just hidden in multistory buildings instead of the usual big box surrounded by acres of parking lot. My Jewel used to have parking — in a garage above the store.
In the poorer neighborhoods, however, grocery stores can indeed be scarce. I remember when the Jewel in East Rogers Park closed. The neighborhood was having a downturn about 10-15 years ago. Other grocers were interested in the property as it was still a very densely populated area, but Jewel refused to sell, figuring things would turn around. And they have.
Cosmo Panzini said on July 10, 2008 at 4:49 pm
c’dad—The glory hole detail? I’ll still be doubled over laughing at that tonight at midnight.
moe99 said on July 10, 2008 at 5:31 pm
Letting my freak flag fly on this glorious summer day:
joodyb said on July 10, 2008 at 5:45 pm
watch the fox lips vid. it’s unbelievable.
i am perplexed for a host of reasons that anyone wouldn’t want a windfarm nearby. coming upon one is like seeing a japanese garden. there are seas of them in southwestern MN.
and just when you think you’re too old to be surprised by an earthly vision: i had a double whammy a couple years ago. i had not ventured into central state, had no inkling what the big deal was about Mille Lacs. fishing, sure. major communities on the ice in winter, big whoop. won’t get me out there nohow. no one had told me it is practically an inland sea. i’m talking like its own coastline. it’s like driving along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin; it goes on forever. bonus: en rural route, as we approached this lush pastoral ridge, i saw something resembling a giant black fin. as we topped the rise, the biggest standalone windmill i’ve ever seen came into view. i wish i remember what highway it was. breathtaking.
Catherine said on July 10, 2008 at 5:52 pm
I met some urban farm pioneers from Detroit at a conference this spring and came away so interested and impressed with the project. Their biggest problem (we should all be so lucky) is that it defies a one-sentence marketing proposition. On one hand, it addresses food insecurity. Urban farms also work from an urban planning, what about all this vacant land? perspective. And there are elements of workforce development, when it gives people transferable skills and leads to local, sustainable employment. Focusing on the quality of the food is almost beside the point, if you ask me. I’d respectfully suggest, without having seen the FDL piece, that the journalists got their angle on the story wrong, if food evangelism was their focus.
Dexter said on July 10, 2008 at 6:17 pm
coozledad…you seem to be a big hit with your blog on the west coast, in particular Sea-Tac area…I have some blogging buddies there—I emailed the link to your blog— and they are already raving about your blog. Oh, yeah, I enjoyed the entries also.
Dexter said on July 10, 2008 at 6:32 pm
Bill Granger, ChiTrib, was a fave columnist of mine in the 1980s. He was a novelist, too,writing as Joe Gash. His most famous novel “Newspaper Murders” was published in 1985.
When Granger married and started a family, he moved to Hillside, out off the Stevenson Expressway.
When his son got older, he moved back to the city, north, near an el stop.
He related how his shopping habits changed, as he adopted the system of “only shopping for what is easily carried by hand”.
This was quite a change from loading his pickup truck (affectionately called “Daddy Truck” by his son) up with many bags. He reported he lost significant poundage, of course.
Oh , that truck…after he traded it off, he started missing it, and so did the kid. One day he was driving and was taken …there on a lot sat “Daddy Truck”, traded in again by someone else, two years later.
Oh yeah…he immediately wrote a check and bought Daddy Truck back.
Does anyone know if Mr. Granger is still alive, maybe retired?
coozledad said on July 10, 2008 at 7:10 pm
Thanks Dexter. I’ve never been to Tacoma, but when I was a kid I visited Olympia for awhile; and the unforgettable Tumwater*.
Beautiful country out there, at least in ’73.
* I’m afraid I really don’t remember Tumwater. Isn’t that where they brew Olies?
MichaelG said on July 10, 2008 at 7:24 pm
I particularly liked that Pate woman in the wiffleball whirlwind who was so put out by the sounds of children playing.
Oly has been gone for 20 years and more. Somebody may own the name and sell some stuff as a discount label but, come to think of it, you don’t see those cheap beer labels any more.
Dexter said on July 10, 2008 at 8:40 pm
I was in California in 1970 and Oly was by far the most popular brew among the GIs. Coors was a big seller, too, and when we had to pinch pennies we drank Lucky Lager, which was about a buck and a quarter a six-pack. I am nearly certain Oly was brewed in Tumwater, yes.
Another thing—we used to enter the left field bleachers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, using the outfield gates to access the bleachers, and they let anyone carry in all the beer he could carry, as long as it was in a sack. Seems incredible, does it not?
coozledad said on July 10, 2008 at 11:16 pm
My first beer was probably an Oly. The kind teacher who offered to take me out west for the summer (and my parents gleefully assented) when I was twelve, often let me drink one. The big local food fetish then seems to have been salmon and some sort of Colby cheese with an Oly 16oz. She told me if I learned how to drink , I wouldn’t become a drunk.
Well, in retrospect, I think she was a very nice, gentle person who had a lot to learn about mutual exclusivity. And to her credit, I’ve never been a terribly drunk drunk.*
*My wife may be commenting soon. She keeps muttering something about bullshit she’s got to straighten out.
Dexter said on July 10, 2008 at 11:36 pm
I am just throwing this in here…there has never been anyone even close to Wolfman Jack as a radio personality. I’m listening to a show of his right now on XM Radio…he was simply hilarious with those fake ads and the banter with the crazies who called in, or more likely were staged to act like callers.
Bob Dylan uses the fake caller on his XM show, too, probably homage to the late, great Wolfman.
It takes timing and a great selection of records, alternating slow and fast, trivial and serious songs, to make a great show. The Wolfman Show had it all, and as to that everlasting question about where he was broadcasting from, Wikipedia to the rescue…”In 1962, Smith took his act to the border when the Inter-American Radio Advertising’s Ramon Bosquez hired him and sent him to the studio and transmitter site of XERF at Ciudad Acuña in Mexico. It was here that Wolfman Jack invented his own style of border blasting by turning the airwaves into one long infomercial featuring music and off-the-wall products…”
The Wolfman died in his wife’s arms , age 57, in 1995.
LAMary said on July 11, 2008 at 2:28 pm
I remember he referred to his wife as Wolfwoman.