If California were Virginia, they could get Pat Robertson to turn stuff like this back:
God hates the Golden State, obviously. I often note, driving around town, that Detroit is really one of the butt-ugliest cities I’ve ever seen, but so far I’ve never seen anything like this, driving home. On the other hand, I can’t say it’s all that much worse than a typical January morning commute down, say, Jefferson, with the boarded storefronts and the snow pushed to the curb and what is that in the right lane that I can barely make out in the gray murk of a steely dawn? An old woman driving her electric scooter in the road because the sidewalk is impassable? Oh, OK.
(Sometimes she’s walking on two canes. Alan and I have been to the Majestic Theater complex a couple times in the past year. It’s adjacent to the Detroit Medical Center, formerly Detroit Receiving, the big public hospital that serves everyone. In a place where the safety net is strained and fraying, it’s safe to say that not everyone is released from the ER into the arms of a loving family and a comfortable home. Both times we were at the Majestic, I came thisclose to mowing down some poor shlub in a hospital scrub top and fresh bandages, jaywalking home from their latest doctor visit, across Woodward and against the light. One was in a wheelchair. I almost wet my pants.)
Anyway, LA Mary, who sent me a couple of fire pictures this week: Keep your roof wet and your powder dry.
I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: It’s hard to understand what life is like in another place, even another place you’ve visited. Even if you read a lot and are very skilled at putting yourself in the shoes of another. And if that place is Los Angeles, triple that. I’ve never been anywhere in this country that felt so much like a different country, and that mostly has to do with the land and the weather. Everyone discusses L.A.’s essential oddness in terms of freeways, which seems silly, because every city bigger than a grease spot has freeways. What always baffled me about L.A. was the topography — one minute you’re in a regular old city and the next you’ve gone over a ridge and you’re in a canyon, and you might as well be in a cowboy movie. When I was freelancing for a horse magazine, I had a long chat with a California-based rider, who told me she kept four jumpers on a single acre of land tucked back in one of those canyons, and it all worked out fine. There was a small barn — I imagine the horses slept in bunk beds — and a small corral made of PVC pipe, and her own living space. The tack was hung from trees. The animals were ridden daily, and there was a network of trails leading to a community ring for their schoolwork, and that was just the California Way.
In the Midwest, in case you’re wondering, the rule of thumb for horsekeeping is one acre per horse. Some people go denser than that, but those would be commercial operations, not backyard owners.
Throw in the hell winds from the desert and the sort of single-digit humidity that makes your skin feel like a stretched drumhead, it’s easy to see how this sort of thing happens. But hard to fully understand, just the same.
Meanwhile, I’m always telling people how flat is is here. How flat? This flat: Last weekend I stopped at a light at Mound and 10 Mile Road, facing south. And I could see the Renaissance Center. Ten miles away.
OK, bloggage, while I frantically clean house — John and Sam due this afternoon — and prepare for Tolstoy:
You know how Sarah Palin complained about how irritated she was with Katie Couric’s mean, irrelevant questions? She was probably happier with Rush Limbaugh:
“You seem to understand the stark choice we have and the real danger the country faces in the future if the Obama-Biden ticket is elected. And I’d just like to know, do you see it that way?”
“I do,” she responded.
I missed David Frum on Rachel Maddow’s show the other night, but that’s why we have YouTube. My lord, what a horrible, horrible man. Is it worth it, having to take ridiculous, contemptible positions in public in exchange for a fat living? It can’t be, not in the end. (When he brought up Paul Wolfowitz, I thought my head would asplode.) Roy, as usual, nails it.
OK, sheet-changin’ time. The floor is yours.