The heart of the house.

Like many of you, our house has lost significant value in the last three years — maybe as much as 20 percent. Unlike many of you, we didn’t live through the run-up of the prior years, and may have actually bought at the top of the local market. Which, I regret to say, won’t be bouncing back the way it will in, say, Scottsdale. So, barring a piece of spectacularly good financial luck, we’re stuck here until the police find our mummified corpses at spring thaw at some date in the future.

What do you do with a house that’s not performing like a piggy bank? Pour more money into it, that’s what.

We’re in the first, early, just-looking-thanks stages of a kitchen remodel, the stage where I wonder if this can be done for a four-figure sum, occasionally say so aloud, and watch people laugh in my face. The first Kitchen Guy is coming this morning to give us a look-see, make some suggestions, and laugh in my face. He’s the very high-end guy, and yes, Ikea will be asked to weigh in at some point, too. (From them, I expect merely a discreet giggle.) We went to the high-end guy’s showroom yesterday, and wasn’t that something, touring all those showroom alcoves of dream kitchens, some of which the Shah of Iran would think himself unworthy to occupy. A friend of mine is a caterer, and from her, I’ve learned something important about kitchens: The fancier the kitchen, the less likely it is used by actual human beings. Or, as she puts it:

“The first thing you learn in catering is, if the kitchen is really fabulous, bring your own knives. Because you’ll be lucky to find a paring knife.”

Doesn’t that make you feel good about America? Tens of thousands spent on a room that only requires a fridge, microwave and a telephone for ordering takeout? There was a stove in the showroom, an oh-my-gaw stove, six burners and a grill and two ovens, with an instrument panel worthy of a 757, and all I could think is, “It’ll boil water and twice a year be fired up to reheat the pre-cooked turkey and ham, and someone else will own it and life isn’t fair.”

Nope, it sure ain’t.

So I have to go tidy up a bit. Let’s talk convention. I missed much of last night’s hoo-ha, but I caught the Michelle and Kennedy highlight reels, and thought they did great. How credible is the assassination plot, do you think? I’ll be back after I hand the kitchen guy a tissue to wipe away his tears of helpless laughter.

Posted at 9:26 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

68 responses to “The heart of the house.”

  1. Randy said on August 26, 2008 at 9:50 am

    We are hoping for a four-figure bathroom reno, and we get the same laughter.

    We went to a high end place where the saleswoman said we could have a new bathroom in two weeks, installed, for as low as $18,000! Her smile – perfect, her eyes – soulless.

    It would have been cool to own a $750 shower head?

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  2. Julie Robinson said on August 26, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I hate to say this about someone so gravely ill, but am I the only one old enough to remember Chappaquiddick? Kennedy has done much that is splendid in the Senate, but he got away with murder. I’ll leave it to his maker to judge.

    Michelle Obama was very good–did you hear the catch in her voice several times? It seemed she was on the point of tears. A cynic might say she’s a good actor. But what a proud moment for our country–especially so for all the older, African American women they kept showing in the audience. To a one, they had tears streaming down their faces and shining eyes. That genuinely moved me.

    But they better be careful with the girls, especially the 7 year old, Sasha. She was close to being out of control. (Not that my own kids wouldn’t have been out of control at that age.)

    My only complaint is that Michelle’s speech didn’t begin until 10:35 PM eastern time. After two weeks of the Olympics, I’m already sleep deprived!

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  3. Gasman said on August 26, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Even I, the flaming liberal, was thinking of Mary Jo Kopechne. He should have faced a judge and a jury, but for manslaughter not murder. Murder implies that he intended to kill Ms. Kopechne and I don’t think anybody believes that. He was simply too drunk to drive or offer any aid to Ms. Kopechne after the crash. Still a heinous crime, just a different one. Also, even if Kennedy had gone through the legal system, the result very well might not have been any different. Times and attitudes toward drinking and driving were very different then and he was a Kennedy in Massachusetts. Would any jury have convicted him?

    Had it not been for that incident, he very likely would have been elected president in 1976 and/or 1980. He absolutely should have at least had to answer for his crime. His long and distinguished career in the Senate does not erase his role in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.

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  4. nancy said on August 26, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Julie, please. Even assuming Kennedy was drunk, the most he got away with is aggravated manslaughter — it was an accident. A stupid, preventable accident, but an accident all the same. And “get away with” is even questionable, as at the time, he likely wouldn’t have gotten prison time at all, more likely a fine and probation. He’s certainly seen the path of his life irrevocably changed in the, ahem, 40 years since. Do you really think he hasn’t paid for Chappaquiddick?

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 26, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I got a lump in my throat when Teddy walked out, God bless him . . . but that was after saying to the Lovely Wife “I don’t think i would have gone with the yacht in Nantucket Sound,” to which she replied, “You think?”

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  6. Julie Robinson said on August 26, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Okay, manslaughter, not murder. No, I don’t think he would have been convicted, anymore than William Kennedy Smith was convicted in Palm Beach. But if his last name wasn’t Kennedy and he wasn’t rich, I believe the outcome would have been very different.

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  7. nancy said on August 26, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Sure it would have been different. Forty years later, no one would still be throwing it in his face.

    After all, accidents happen.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 26, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Well, if not becoming president is punishment, which it was for a Kennedy of that era, then he was. And as Gasman said, at that time and place, he wouldn’t have seen much more punishment than he got if he were Joe Nantucket than he did as Teddy K. When it came to drinking and driving in the 60’s, everyone was a Kennedy. Today, different story, but the past is another country.

    Back to cooking and schadenfreude — i’ve got a $30 Walmart charcoal grill, faux-Weber made by ChiCom prisoners no doubt. Up and down the back yards in my neighborhood are six foot wide gas grills with more chrome than my first car had, and more dials and needles than my junior high science lab, all on bricked patios with sturdy, ideal outdoor furnishings from the Easton store that has a name that makes me think they sell handguns, but they just point them at you when you ring up and say “Hand it all over!” Anyhow.

    On our concrete patio (to be fair, we’ll probably rip it out and brick it when we get the chance) with plastic molded furniture, we’ve grilled out at least a dozen times this summer. Not enough, but plenty. There are houses along our stretch alone where the grill cover has not budged all summer, and the rest maybe once or twice, and a likely blow-out soon for the first Buckeye home game. The owners are so busy and stressed making enough to pay for their stuff that they don’t ever get out and use it.

    I do hear that the whooosh of pushing a button and getting the gas flame is fun, and it seems fast, plus no ashes to clean out. But there they sit, unused, as i swing my charcoal lighting can. Plus i pour the ashes down the yellow jacket tunnels.

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  9. Kirk said on August 26, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I have the same charcoal grill that I got 25 years ago with Buckeye Stamps. If I want to cook with gas, I have a stove in the kitchen I can use.

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  10. ellen said on August 26, 2008 at 10:51 am

    We have the showplace kitchen, thanks to buying a spec home a couple of years ago. It is lovely to look at, but completely useless for daily cooking (which I do, unlike my neighbors), and I would love to rip it out and start all over. It would require replumbing and rewiring to sort it all out. Who puts an oversize island between the sink and the stove?

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 26, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Hmmm. Slate gets all up in Joe Biden’s grill —

    I left a job as associate pastor largely because the senior pastor kept doing exactly that: not just lifting sermons unattributed (which i despise, mind you), but putting himself, first-person pronoun, into stories from the sermons he lifted. Sometimes it was funny if it wasn’t so appalling, and when the leadership of the congregation wouldn’t deal with it, i bailed rather than get into a public micturition match.

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  12. Joe Kobiela said on August 26, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Lets see, Mrs Bush was 17, wasn’t drunk, reported the accident, and didn’t run away, and hasn’t been known to walk around in front of young men drunk, with her pants around her feet. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

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  13. Catherine said on August 26, 2008 at 11:14 am

    I don’t know about that assassination plot, but if I were casting meth-addled rednecks, I’d definitely take the guy on the right.

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  14. jcburns said on August 26, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Mmmm, Buckeye Stamps…is there anything they can’t do? My mom had drawerfuls of them.

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  15. kayak woman said on August 26, 2008 at 11:23 am

    My ugly, cluttered, knife-filled kitchen/office might get renovated someday, perhaps after the last three small private liberal arts college tuition bills are paid. But a new refrigerator is coming one of these days to replace the one that died last week. Why is it taking so long? Because none of our local appliance stores had one in stock that was small enough to fit into the space that the current refrigerator is in.

    I could probably renovate sooner and buy a bigger fridge. Since I want to move it out of its current location anyway, the size won’t matter. But I don’t really want a bigger one. We don’t need any more space and I get along well with what I have.

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  16. coozledad said on August 26, 2008 at 11:23 am

    It’s just more Republican projection. No one does Borgia family impersonations like our own natural born killers here in the country-club set. I love how old Cindy McCain squeezed her dad’s first daughter out of the inheritance without batting an eye. Sort of reminds me of Dallas or Dynasty reruns, but with more buttocks surgery and peroxide.

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  17. Colleen said on August 26, 2008 at 11:41 am

    We just finished a 5 figure bath reno. I love it every day, as much as I hated the old one every day. And our house has actually increased in value at a steady little pace. That’s what happens when you buy a house for a song in the Fort.

    I want to believe. I want to not be jaded. But if Kennedy has been in Congress for my whole lifetime, and he’s been talking about health care for everyone all that time, how come? Why hasn’t it changed?

    So Nance, do I infer that you’re not down with playing the Mary Jo card?

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  18. nancy said on August 26, 2008 at 11:51 am

    You can play the Mary Jo card. It’s just that it’s so dogeared and falling-apart by now, everyone knows it’s in your hand and what it’s going to be be when you start to pull it from the deck, so why not just get a new card? I mean: It’s been 39 years. Time for a new card.

    Kennedy bugs people because he’s beloved by his constituents, who have re-elected him for a jillion terms. Sort of like Tip O’Neill, too.

    That’s why I hated all that Newt Gingrich term-limits blowhard bullshit: “It’s not MY popular, multi-term, lots-of-seniority-and-powerful-committee-seats representative who’s the problem. It’s YOURS.”

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  19. Jolene said on August 26, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Why haven’t things changed re healthcare? I’d say the chief explanation is Republicans, w/ health care industry lobbyists as a close second.

    But some things have changed: We have the Family and Medical Leave Act (written by Chris Dodd, signed into law by Pres. Clinton; the Americans with Disabilities Act (sponsored by Kennedy and others, signed into law by GHW Bush; and S-CHIP sponsored by Kennedy and Orrin Hatch; signed into law by Clinton).

    Not exactly the same as universal healthcare, but better than nothing.

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  20. A Riley said on August 26, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    God, kitchen remodeling. Good luck, Nancy.

    A fancy-shmancy kitchen designer in town drew up a design for us for $100 (we weren’t going to buy the $30,000 remodel, but $100 for a pro’s design seemed like a good deal), and she was able to fit a breakfast bar into our teeny tiny kitchen. Wow! What a magician! Then we looked closer — she’d gotten the measurements wrong — if we’d had those extra three feet to begin with . . .

    We finally went with Home Depot cabinets & local handymen doing the dirty work. Some details aren’t perfect but hey, it’s done and we didn’t get divorced.

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  21. Crabby said on August 26, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    As a teen (just after the earth’s crust had cooled) I worked in the Buckeye Stamp Redemption Center in the Big Bear Store #1 Lane Ave OSU. Inventory was kept on IBM punchcards, one card for each item in stock and you really could buy anything as they would special order high-end items not in the catalogue.

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  22. beb said on August 26, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    The speed with which the FBI, a div of GOP,Inc., decided that these were not the droids we were looking for suggests that the Denver police went off the reservation and arrested THE RIGHT PEOPLE.

    Since I’m more than 40 years old I remember Chapiquidick, even if I can’t spell it. There was always something troubling about how Ted Kennedy tried to duck the issue, which is why people to this day believe he murdered a secretary rather than that he drove off a narrow bridge by accident.

    Laura Bush killed an ex-boyfriend when she ran a red light and slammed into his car. Nothing to see there, folks, though I wonder if George’e ability to stay off the booze and snow for the past twenty years stems from Laura having the car keys?

    A kitchen would have to be pretty crappy to justify putting over $10,000 into renovations it. Of course if you’re planning to live the rest of your life there some investments in convenience makes sense, too. I never did see the attraction to central islands in kitchens. You end up running around it all the time to reach the sink / fridge / stove. And if all those are on the same side of the island, then it just means your kitchen is too big.

    The family took a vacation to Chicago last week, went to the Science and Industry Museum among other things. They had a “Smart House” installation. A model home full of energy and environmental saving devices. It had two smallish bedrooms upstairs and an “office.” Downstairs was one huge room –living room, dining room, den and kitchen with breakfast nook. I’d gladly trade some of that living room space for bigger and more bedrooms.

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  23. nancy said on August 26, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I got my first set of pots and pans with Buckeye Stamps, and redeemed them at the Lane Avenue store, Crabby. That place was so old-looking — I always found it exotic.

    Fun fact to know and tell: J.C., our tech guru and James’ brother, left his mittens or hat or something at Big Bear when he was four years old. His mother said she left the room and returned to find J.C. on the phone with the store, having looked up the number and dialed it himself. Our little genius.

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  24. Kirk said on August 26, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    The location of the Buckeye Stamps redemption center where we got our stuff is lost in the mists of time, though it might have been Kingsdale if there was one there. The card table and lawn furniture finally gave out, and I quickly lost interest in the electric lawn trimmer, but that grill survives.

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  25. Danny said on August 26, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Kennedy. Talk about a guy born on third base with a long lead who didn’t make it home. Nancy, you defending him is unbecoming. Please. Stop.

    Kitchens. Like you, we first talked to the high-end guy. He wanted a lot of money even for thermofoil, which I consider to be a lot like having a picture of a wood finish attached to particle board. Yuck.

    We went with IKEA and we love it. We designed and installed it ourselves. Complete with the radiaoactive, radon-releasing granite countertops (the countertops were third party, though). Note, IKEA has an online web applet that lets you mess around with kitchen layouts and look at it in 3D. Check it out.

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  26. coozledad said on August 26, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    The Kennedys committed the cardinal sin of beginning to dismantle the apartheid south, and the Strom Thurmond Republicans are never going to let that one go.
    That slap in the tobacco chewer’s faces still stings, and will until the last of the hateful bastards is lowered into the grounds of his cheese-ass megachurch. It isn’t even about Ted Kennedy. He’s just code for Martin Luther King, who he becomes by transubstantiation after your average Republican’s downed half a fifth of scotch.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on August 26, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    We did our kitchen rehab with ourselves as general contractor and a very handy brother-in-law doing most of the labor. Way under 5 figures and it looks fabulous as well as being a great place to cook. Wish we lived near enough to IKEA to have gotten their cabinets, but we did buy lots of other stuff there. My favorite is a long piece of butcher block that we used to top a cabinet for a cheapie island. Don’t knock islands–they work very well in some kitchens. With wheels and fold-out ends, it’s versatile to the max.

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  28. Catherine said on August 26, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Zillow can help you figure out how much to spend on a reno. You can run the numbers for your house with, for instance, another bathroom and x more sq. ft. I was amazed at how much another bathroom added to the numbers, and used that to persuade the hubby. If you’re a Zillow believer…

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  29. James said on August 26, 2008 at 1:29 pm


    I love that “John” story. But, imagine growing up in the shadow of that freaky intellect…

    Did my mom tell you that one?

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  30. Danny said on August 26, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Ah, Coozle, yeah. All us Republican’s are really missing Jim Crow…C’mon. Get real.

    You all have fun today deifying Kennedy {snort} and warming up to Joe Biden. What’s next? A hallelujah chorus for John Edwards.


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  31. John said on August 26, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Coozledad got it right. Jesse Helms and his ilk are dying off fast. The solid South has less than a generation to go before they start voting for education and sustained economic growth rather than what two consenting adults do at home or the threat of Al Sharpton marrying their daughter.

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  32. Howie said on August 26, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I was about 20 and in college before I heard about Mary Jo. Considering my history & gov’t teachers, that’s as good as I could do for something that happened the month I was born. In my ideal country, Teddy admits his guilt in 1969 and imposes his own penance by removing himself from elected government service. That principle would get rid of a lot of politicians, wouldn’t it? I wish no harm to Teddy, but for different reasons I think of him and Souder in the same way: I won’t be sad when they go away. I’m certain there are people qualified to replace them both.

    I’m sorry I missed Michelle’s speech, but I will find a copy online, and I think I will appreciate it. I’ll try to skip the midweek Clintons, but I’ll be watching Thursday for sure.

    Regarding assassination. Sadly, there are lots of stupid, prejudiced, crazy people who don’t want Obama as president. Secret Service should be acting with extreme precaution. I work in the public schools and overheard a conversation last year where a normal kid was pointing out (a little too emphatically) that he thought Obama would be assassinated. The European exchange students he was telling this to seemed quite uncomfortable. I sat down and interjected that he shouldn’t say that too loudly or they will come looking for him if something happens. He’s a good kid with underdeveloped social skills, but he got the message.

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  33. nancy said on August 26, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    James, you’re not exactly Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel y’self, you know…

    I”ll try Zillow. The high-end guy smiled condescendingly when I asked, plaintively, “Under $10,000?” Then Alan said, “Under $20,000?” and that got another head shake. He said he thought maaaaybe we could bring it in for $30K, but it could go to $40K with no problem.

    So that’s the high mark. Let’s see who can bring it down from there. My next call is to a friend of a friend who’s currently doing Eminem’s kitchen, but might be able to squeeze in a low-budget job down the road.

    Although, if we go with him, I want a sign reading, “Kitchen by Eminem’s Guy” in my front yard during the construction.

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  34. Howie said on August 26, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Oh, and I appreciated very much the NYT story about the high school science teacher. He understand the foundation of the controversy: Science and Faith are asking different questions. Religion/Faith taught correctly overlaps a lot with Philosophy. And that is where the fundamentalists fail.

    Now about that headline. “A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash.” Fundamentalism and Science clash. Faith and Science, philosophically speaking, do not clash, they cooperate. They are both seeking understanding. Faith is not Fundamentalism.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 26, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    We did the Museum of Science and Industry last month, and i thought the bedrooms upstairs looked like they were modelled on the U-505 accomodations around the corner down in the basement (if you haven’t been to Chicago for a few years, yowsa, they’ve classed that old German sub up something fierce).

    I had no idea the Kennedy’s gave me the pip because of Desegregation. Interesting. Let me search my soul and get back to you — anyone got a flashlight? A match? Burning cross?

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  36. brian stouder said on August 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    An anecdote that may or may not apply: Pam and I had our roof and gutters replaced last month. We selected the shingles we wanted, and then dutifully collected (4 or 5?)quotes, including from the Big Box stores (who now helpfully subcontract for you, if you wish) – making sure that the same materials and particulars were included on each.

    The quotes varied, from highest to lowest, by more than 100%!

    We made a point of getting addresses of homes that each contractor had done, and then driving out to see several of each….and really, we couldn’t see 5% difference amongst any of them – and the more expensive contractor’s work was no better at all.

    Moral of the story: get lots of quotes

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  37. alex said on August 26, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Nance, call my husband. Not only can he bring it in for way less; what he earns will help him renovate my kitchen. He has already fabricated steel cabinetry for my laundry area with sheet metal.

    This weekend he just built me a stainless steel wheelbarrow with all-terrain wheels and a hinged dumping door on the front end of it, all from scratch. We’re seriously thinking about refining and mass-producing the thing and trying to market it, btw.

    Anyway, he can do carpentry, plumbing and electrical. The folks you’re getting quotes from no doubt charge union scale, just like it was when I lived in Chicago. I once paid $600 for an electrician to install a light fixture in the bathroom. He didn’t ground it and it shorted out. Fortunately this happened before I turned on the shower.

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  38. Peter said on August 26, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Nancy, the tales I can tell about kitchen jobs – I pray for your soul.

    A couple of years ago my lovely wife and I went to one of those home shows in the suburbs to see the latest over the top treatment. One item I found really got to me – most of these homes had two kitchens, a back room with a big service sink and huge refrigerator where all of the prep work was done, and the show kitchen with the hot ticket items that couldn’t really do squat.

    Isn’t that really just an update on the pantry/servant’s kitchens of 100 years ago? Sheesh.

    It kills me because we did our kitchen six years ago, but if you watch any women’s porn (HGTV, DIY), you think our kitchen was straight from the ’50’s.

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  39. Peter said on August 26, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Check out the NYT site – new article: “Hearings on Removing Detroit Mayor to PRECEDE”.

    Honey, get me rewrite!

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  40. jcburns said on August 26, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    That OSU/Lane Avenue Big Bear was a bizarre throwback..remember? It had a big arched ceiling and was all warehousy inside, much like Atlanta’s DeKalb Farmers Market…but very UNLIKE our 1960s-modern West Fifth Avenue Big Bear (frozen in my memory as a piece of ‘Mad Men’ production design.)

    Confession: the OSU Big Bear scared me as a child.

    (I looked around online for scanned in images of Buckeye Stamps, to no avail. Gonna try harder.)

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  41. brian stouder said on August 26, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    you think our kitchen was straight from the ’50’s.

    Rachel Ray’s new ‘kitchen’ purposely looks like it’s straight from the ’50’s! Can’t decide if I like it.

    Speaking of echoes from 100 years ago, last week I spent a few days in Bloomington, Illinois. The Bloomington newspaper (the Pantagraph) has a feature wherein they give a paragraph about the big news on this date 100 years ago today; 50 years ago today – etc…

    Their ‘100 years ago today’ this past Wednesday was about the return of a regiment to Bloomington, from “the riots in Springfield”. They never elaborated on what the riot in Springfield was about, which I thought was telling (to say the absolute least, literally)

    PS – a riddle in Bloomington was – “How many former Illinois governors are in prison?” – a trick question, because one just got out…but Blagojevich is unpopular enough to someday add to the list! I was told he only won in two counties in the whole state – but of course if Cook is one of them, then it matters not!

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  42. Jim in FL said on August 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm


    For your reading pleasure:

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  43. brian stouder said on August 26, 2008 at 4:29 pm


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  44. jcburns said on August 26, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Aahhh. my work here is done. And since we’ve brought most of my family into this, my father’s nickname for Big Bear, which probably set a precedent for my style of humor:

    The Large Bruin.

    Har de har har.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Which is why, with or without an Obama administration, we will have reparations. Not because of slavery, which was balanced by the Civil War, but because of the failure of Reconstruction and the era of Mass Lynch Justice from the 1890s thru the Great Depression. Springfield in ’08, Chicago in 1919, Tulsa in 1921 and Rosewood in ’23 and many more not listed on any monuments, from Colfax in 1870’s Louisiana to Detroit during the 1940’s . . . yet even Greeks and Hispanics have had their moments in the gunsights and nooses through this period as well.

    It was a terrible time for much of the country, with the rise of industry and urban concentration dislocating social patterns all over the national map, but worst for Blacks and Jews and more pervasively, if hidden in plain sight, women.

    Newark, Ohio had a lynching on Courthouse Square in 1910 that was white on white, but the tensions and rioting were neighborhood versus neighborhood, have littles versus have less-es, urged on by the have a little mores, while the wealthy stayed as far away as they could manage, working through surrogates who thankfully were usually ham-fisted idiots. 1893 to 1932 was a very peculiar time for this country, and Jonah Goldberg slams aside, we really just missed an authoritarian fascist state in the 1910’s/20’s. Not led by either party, but stopped by both, really — because enough leaders in each party refused to join arms to march towards a totalitarian solution, which officers like MacArthur and Patton would happily have supported. Smedley Butler (yes, there really was such a man with that name) may be one of the more unappreciated heroes in American history. But Butler warned about the predatory wealthy uber-class, who are not at all identical with conservatives or Republicans. Woodrow Wilson and the eugenicists of the Progressive movement wanted to protect the purity of the “finer race” and didn’t care how messy their hands got to clean out lesser breeds. Segregationists were racist, but they just wanted to keep certain groups separate and necessarily unequal. Progressives wanted to cull and sterilize them into oblivion.

    On the other hand, Republicans have to be reminded on a regular basis that wealth is an acid that tends to eat away at the inside of whatever vessel you put it in. At least Democrats want to dilute the acid and spread it around, but they forget that you need a little concentration occasionally to get certain reactions, or at least to make a good Screwdriver.

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  46. Kirk said on August 26, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Appropos of nothing but the earlier reference to the hearings “preceding”:

    Radio goof on WBNS-AM in Columbus this afternoon said that Chad Johnson of the Bengals was out with a torn labia.

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  47. LAMary said on August 26, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    >>>>>Chad Johnson of the Bengals was out with a torn labia.<<<<<<<

    This is wrong on so many levels, and it makes me uncomfortable.

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  48. nancy said on August 26, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I’m trying to think what was being mispronounced here. Maybe he split his lip.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 26, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    fibular or tibiofibular ligament?

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  50. alex said on August 26, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Well, hopefully they can give Chad the old honeymoon stitch and put him back in the game.

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  51. Dexter said on August 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Senator Kennedy has done so much good for the working class, and has been such a tireless crusader for health care for all, that without him we would have all been poorer. Some of my friends still harbor a grudge for the way he treated Jimmy Carter in 1980, but only the ones I consider Neanderthals continue to crack jokes with the punch line being something about not even being able to get a whore across a bridge.
    Kennedy is genuinely concerned for the downtrodden of many levels; Kennedy listens to visitors who come to him with concerns from gay rights to help for hep-C patients, and he frequently will stop, sit down , and show strangers his photographs on his office walls—he is not just all-for-the Kennedy clan.
    I love the Senator, it looks like most of you don’t—that’s your right. I like to rip corrupt republicans new assholes, too.

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  52. coozledad said on August 26, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Alex: I just choked on my cookies.

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  53. Dexter said on August 26, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    I heard about the assassination plot from my friend Zoey who is a delegate to the convention from Iowa. She reported it on the blog we frequent last night about 12:30.
    I searched Reuters…nothing…she posted back it was on msnbc website, by then I had found it as banner-breaking news at Sometimes the Sun Times is quicker on the ball than the Trib.
    One of the assassin-wanna-bes is named Adolf, last name.
    I ain’t shittin’ ya. Oh yeah…his little gang is comprised of white supremacists….
    Any of you Hoosiers remember when I think it was Joseph Paul Franklin shot Vernon Jordan by the FWA Marriott? That was too close to home….

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  54. Dexter said on August 26, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Chad Johnson sez he ain’t gonna have no surgery…”I got a season to play, man!” , I heard him say.

    Hillary alert: one hour and fifty six minutes yet…..

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  55. ellen said on August 26, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    it’s his labrum (shoulder)

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  56. brian stouder said on August 26, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Dexter, I remember that; I think it was before Madam Telling Tales came to town, and the local media paid an undue amount of attention to the woman who he was accompanying at the time (the woman lived just a little way from where my girlfriend at the time lived, on a beautiful tree-lined street called Lafayette Esplanade).

    I recall that the guy they arrested beat the wrap; googling him reveals a serial killer who now claims to have shot Jordan and Larry Flynt.

    Leaving that loser aside – up to this point on MSNBC, the convention coverage has been interesting. Rachel has just been wonderful….and Olbermann and Matthews seem to be on the verge of an on-air breakdown, from time to time. The level of animosity between them burst forth in the last hour, and then they seemed to be working to tamp things back down again

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  57. Gasman said on August 26, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Back in 1969, drunk driving was considered unfortunate but understandable. Most nobodies didn’t do time for drunk driving accidents, let alone rock-star politicians. It had less to do with the Kennedy machine than our rather unenlightened views on DWI. New Mexico’s attitudes and DWI laws are just now passing those 1969 attitudes. When you’ve got judges that are driving drunk, nobody is going to do time.

    I’ve always been somewhat amused at the absolutely irrational hatred that many conservatives seem to harbor toward Ted Kennedy. I’ve never heard anybody cite chapter and verse as to why they hate him so, it is usually the same vague nonspecific crap about tax and spend. Resident conservatives, a question: are there specific legislative sins that he has committed that warrant his eternal damnation? For the sake of this conversation, let’s keep Chappaquidick off the table – it’s too easy. Let’s also leave out the foggy ad hominem stuff like, he’s a pinko, he’s a pervert, etc. If you can, cite specific things that he has done as a Senator that stoke your ire. I am seriously curious at what the root of your apoplexy might be.

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  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 26, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    No apoplexy, just a vague amused distaste for the scion of distilled wealth putting themselves forward as the foremost advocate of the little guy. Not saying hypocrites are without representation in the Grand Old Party, just that the Kennedys have felt like the ultimate refinement of . . . look, Teddy agitating to help block wind turbines in Nantucket Sound because it would interfere with the artistic purity of the view from Hyannisport. That’s what it is most recently, but there are more. Just a severe lack of ironic capacity, which assassins have surely eroded, so there’s slack to be cut.

    I’d rather read Caro’s bio of Lyndon than any three books about Kennedys, put another way. LBJ is fascinating and human and flawed but aware of his flaws in a way no Kennedy seems to have mastered, and i’ve spent time talking to RFK, Jr. They really think they’re touched by destiny to do great things, and got Joe Sr.’s wealth as compensation for having to spend time with all us non-family members and get shot by us occasionally.

    To be fair, any large, high achieving family has an insular County Sligo group persona like that, and i got to know a fair number of Irish Catholic families in Chicago and South Bend who had a Kennedy Jr. vibe. It’s just that none of them went into politics, i guess. But i don’t know many conservatives who really care much about modern-day Kennedys . . . i explain Riverkeepers, and most go “well, that’s good, i support that.” The fact that a Kennedy with a chip on his shoulder is behind it doesn’t really bother right wingers who are interested in conservation.

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  59. Gasman said on August 26, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Interesting take on the Ks. Your characterization of the Ks reminds me mightily of the Bush clan. What struck me as a resident of Texas in the late 80’s and early 90’s was W’s rather profound sense of entitlement toward the notion of the presidency. I had not thought of the two clans being so closely linked. I would agree to a similar sense of arrogant superiority that emanates from both families. They seem to be political mirror images of one another. I’ll bet you can find many people in both Texas and Massachusetts that would not agree with our assessments.

    That said, posterity will certainly judge (possibly already has) the political record of the Kennedys – Ted included – as infinitely more substantial than that of the Bushes. Feel free, of course, to prove me wrong.

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 26, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    No, i suspect the parallel will work to our mutual discomfiture re: Bush ‘n Kennedy. Large hopes, limited vision, major unintended consequences, failed heritage. It’s a twofer, but i pray Teddy has a good run with or without the yacht. Hillary could be an ideal replacement standardbearer if “merely” the Senate doesn’t strike her as too little, too low. She’s smart enough, she’s good enough, and doggone it, people like her.

    I could have not voted for Bush a second time, but Kerry wasn’t the combo to my lockbox. McCain (who will keep me with a Romney tap) is not ideal, but Obama strikes me as less ideal. Anyhow, folks — ignore this conversation, and find out what your school board and county commissioner and statehouse office hopefuls stand for. That’s where we need more attention and more smackin’ upside the haid.

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  61. Gasman said on August 27, 2008 at 12:25 am

    I am not not as smitten with Ted as much as many of my political persuasion. But, I still think that much of the criticism from the right is laughably inane and unrelated to any demonstrable facts. I am equally mystified by the equally irrational loathing of the right wing toward Hillary Clinton. This predates her Senate career by at least a decade. This seething resentment seems to have arisen when her greatest sin seems to have been to have been married to President Bill Clinton. I truly have never been able to understand it. Mind you, I did not support her bid for the White House based solely upon her support of the Iraq war. However, I still don’t get why she has been the conservative lightning rod.

    Romney? Surely you jest. The man had the audacity to suggest that the reason our health care system is in crisis is because dishonest people are gaming the system by intentionally not buying insurance. Show me a single person in this country that is doing so and I’ll eat my hat, and yours to boot. Who doesn’t want insurance? It’s the exorbitant cost that keeps people from getting insurance, not their calumny. Add to the mix a White House co-opted by the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and insurance lobbies and voila! You have our present mess.

    I also disagree in the notion that we need local governmental responsibility more than national. There are some 4,200 service men and women that would be alive and home with their families had we honest and competent leadership in Washington. Add to that the hundreds of thousands of veterans that will require intensive medical and social support for decades as a consequence of this recreational war. Our local leaders don’t have the power to commit our troops to immoral and unjust combat. This is serious. I am tired of being afraid and ashamed of my government.

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  62. LA Mary said on August 27, 2008 at 12:42 am

    I never really got the Kennedy adulation thing, but I do respect Ted Kennedy’s years of service and his passion for issues he cares about. Orrin Hatch considers him a close friend. How bad could he be?

    I find the self righteous right, citing religion whenever possible, pandering to what Christianity has become, and still drinking, screwing around, and helping their cronies get richer far more disgusting than anything Kennedy has done.

    Ignoring the personal morality of the representatives of each party and just looking at what those parties represent, I cannot imagine voting for a Republican these days. To perpetuate the lies that brought us into this war, to continue to trash the constitution (except the second amendment), to not recognize the role the “pro-business” politicians have played in driving the economy into a huge hole and to further destroy any respect and credibiltiy we have in the world is not acceptable. I don’t believe John McCain will change these things. He objects to torture, and I respect him for that. Other than than, he’s so far up the asses of the Republican leadership, he won’t change squat.

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  63. Gasman said on August 27, 2008 at 12:54 am

    LA Mary,
    Sister, you’re preachin’ to the choir. After the political lynching that was the Tom Delay orchestrated impeachment of President Clinton, I vowed to NEVER vote for a Republican until every single bastard that participated in that fraud was out of office. They showed their patriotic colors in that little charade. Interestingly enough, many of the R protagonists have since openly regretted their participation. Delay thought a blow job worthy of impeachment while he (Delay) was raking in cash from Grover Norquist by the truckload. That party has shown itself to be willing to shred the constitution for temporary partisan gain. Where are the moral men and women of the party speaking out for truth, competency, and simple decency? On the national stage there are very few people within the party decrying the conduct of the Cheney/Bush White House.

    One of the most striking differences between liberals and conservatives seems to be that we liberals won’t suffer liberal fools any more than conservative ones. We eat our own.

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  64. Dexter said on August 27, 2008 at 1:58 am

    Gasman you are on a roll! More! What about Jack Abramhoff ?

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  65. Dexter said on August 27, 2008 at 2:05 am

    …and I want this Denver convention to give us some attacks on Bush and especially Cheney and to focus on how much McCain’s 94% support of Bush all down the line ensures the promise that McCain would be a Bush third term. So far the attacks are too weak on Bush.
    Also, not one word of the foiled assassination attempt from last night. The security at Invesco Field will be staggering Thursday night.

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  66. jcburns said on August 27, 2008 at 2:48 am

    I always vote for the smarter of the two candidates (calculus can include the vice-president pick, but sometimes, like with Quayle, that actually brings down the average.)

    McCain would have to run with Stephen Hawking to tip the balance for me. And, uh, I think Hawking’s British.

    Obama is a very, very, very bright guy. What a delight. What an easy choice.

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 27, 2008 at 7:20 am

    But the general trend since 1976 has been that Americans vote for the candidate they think they’d rather have leaning against a counter in their kitchen while they cut up tomatoes and onions for the burgers out on the grill. I’m not saying that’s the best way to pick, just that this is how folks in the post-statesman era of US politics have been choosing. Smarter can be a double-edged sword. You can turn that into “we vote for idiots who don’t make us feel nervous about being stupid,” but i think it goes a level more reflective than that — people know the president has information and inputs on decisions that we don’t have and we’ll never hear about, so they want to at least have a sense that they know something about how the person in the office makes decisions.

    Not quite “the regular guy” vote, but look at Bill Clinton: probably one of the smartest presidents we’ve ever had, but he did a “brilliant” job of not running as the smarter guy . . . another lesson worth learning from #42.

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  68. Hattie said on August 28, 2008 at 12:20 am

    Burgers. That’s what I need.
    There is a big Irish Catholic family in the city where I was born that have been in left politics for four generations now. Talk about a clan.
    The Hallinans of San Francisco.

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