Shopping list: Sugar.

Great googly moogly, here it is the day before Halloween and I haven’t bought any candy. Must get some, if there’s any left. Anything other than Circus Peanuts, that is, the sad reject of trick-or-treat bags the world over.

Who am I kidding? Of course there’s candy left in the stores — that’s one advantage of living in an emptying metro area in a deep recession. There’s always inventory. It’s not always the inventory you want, but no one runs out. Yet. That’ll come. For the early warning, you need only travel a mile or two west of my neighborhood and check out our local mall, Eastland in Harper Woods. I walk through Eastland with a feeling of nagging familiarity, with another mall named for a compass point dancing just outside my cognitive lobes…oh, what is it?…Ah yes, Southtown. I can already see, Carnack-like, into its future:

It starts when you go to the mall’s big anchors — in this case, Macy’s, Sears and Target. You normally think of Macy’s as a full-service department store, but you can never find what you’re looking for there. When you ask a clerk, “Is this all the winter hats and gloves you have in stock? This is it?,” they look sad and say, “Oh, we don’t carry a full selection at this location. You have to go to (insert name of mall in more prosperous area).” The Sears is full — and I mean full, crammed, racks-in-the-aisles-full — of oddities like spangled cocktail dresses in some sort of weird polyester that looks like a science experiment and cost $14.99, but the Land’s End turtlenecks are nowhere to be found. Target soldiers on; it’s Target and it cannot fail, at least not this year, but the rest of the mall is a carbuncle on its ass. Management has decided its customer base is 99 percent African American, and every store has a name like Urban Scene and sells ghetto-fabulous gear along the lines of Apple Bottom jeans and those manic-embroidered jackets with the big fur-trimmed hoods, but there’s not a pair of Levi’s in the building.

Wait. Wasn’t I talking about candy a minute ago?

Yes, well. I’m thinking Reese’s Cups this year. I’m only staying open for the first hour, anyway. After that I’m going to a neighbor’s house for Girl’s Night Wine-or-Treat. I’ll leave the remaining candy in a bowl on the front steps with a sign reading, “Please take only one.” Some kid will empty the whole bowl into his bag before I’m out of the driveway. That’s the Detroit Way, and I’m not complaining.

So what did we think of Barry O. last night? I tried to watch it with two sets of eyes — the critical, journalist-who-dabbles-in-video one, and the lizard-brain variety, and the verdict was the same. I wasn’t in tears, but I was impressed. As a piece of propaganda, it was a master stroke. Whether anyone was watching? We’ll see. If I were John McCain, I’d hire John Woo:

Quick bloggage today (LA Mary was having a slow afternoon yesterday and did most of the heavy lifting):

As long as there’s Larry Birkhead, we’ll always have Anna Nicole Smith. Note this fabulous shot of America’s luckiest baby daddy packing up the memento mori for an impending move to the ‘burbs. I was so taken by the pink bubble wrap I was sure it was Photoshopped, but a little Googling revealed the truth: Pink bubble wrap exists. (It’s the antistatic variety, for electronics.)

When Alan bought his shotgun a while back, I said I wanted one of these. It turns out there’s more to love about the makers of The Back-Up: They aren’t afraid to exploit high-profile tragedies for their own profit. It’s the American Way!

Finally, the program for Zombie Night is online.

I’m off to put on my winter cycling tights that I splurged on this year — the ones that make you feel like you’re wearing a big diaper, or 1960s-era maxipad — and punish myself.

Posted at 9:44 am in Current events, Movies, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |
 

59 responses to “Shopping list: Sugar.”

  1. brian stouder said on October 30, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Pam and I both winced when the scene changed to the ersatz Oval Office shot, and Barack sat on the corner of the desk.

    Other than that – it was good stuff; it felt connected. Aside from the obvious historical point that Obama is black, I still believe (and feel) that a powerful part of the Obama campaign is the generational shift it signifies; he HAS younger children, and is therefore (for just one example) on the same page as many tens of millions of Americans regarding funding for teachers and the Department of Education as a real thing, and not “government waste” or “special interests”.*

    The thing took off and flew, when they showed images of the Ford worker dad reading to his daughter…and Michelle Obama’s comments about Barack and his daughters; very connected.

    I don’t think Obama is THAT smart, or THAT lucky; but as it happens, his campaign perfectly suits the times.

    One other startling thing last night – that moved Pam to exclaim “What??!!” – was the McCain campaign commericial that follwoed, with the usual litany about don’t trust him, he’s dangerous, he’s inexperienced, he’s not up to the job…YET!

    Yet?? What?

    Olbermann went on to spend a segment on that commercial…surely a campaign blooper that will go down in media history! (until Olbermann supplied the too-cute-by-half calcualtion that went into the “yet” ad, I had NO IDEA why anyone choose that as a useful message)

    *tonight Pam and the young folks and I will shuffle from one class to the next to the next, across two schools. Parent/teacher conference time, doncha know; and we were able to schedule it so as to complete all three in one evening. It’s always more engaging once you get there, than it looks like it will be. Still – getting it all done in one night will be good stuff

  2. John said on October 30, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Candy Corn is the Wolfsbane of trick-or-treaters. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sleeping next to a loaded shotgun with my Jimmy legs and arms. And I think I some pink bubble wrap on my desk right now. It was the anti-static wrapping for a microprocessor card.

  3. beb said on October 30, 2008 at 10:16 am

    We stopped putting out candy many years ago when High Schoolers from some other neighborhood started coming around. It was partly resentment at them hogging candy meant for little children and partly fear of home invasion that motivated us.

    It’s fascinating that the GOP governor of Florida is decided to extend the hours for early voting because of the long lines. Since early voting tends to favorite Democrates and minorities, two things the GOP has long tried to surpress, I wonder what Gov. Crist is thinking. Is he putting nation ahead of politics or getting back at McCain for not picking him for VP? I’d like to think the former, suspect the latter.

    In either case it makes me wonder why voting hours on election day at to close at around 7-8 PM local time. Shouldn’t people have until 10 PM to get their votes in? For most people (but not City of Detroit employees) Election Day is just another work day an 8 PM closing makes for a narrow window for voting?

  4. whitebeard said on October 30, 2008 at 10:16 am

    OMG, the video for the Back-Up says you can have a holder for a shotgun on both sides of the bed (just in case the dinner-table shouting match extends to bedtime). Beam me up, Scotty; there is no intelligent life on this planet.

  5. moe99 said on October 30, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Joe the Plumber is appearing with McCain in Defiance, Oh today. McCain may take Nixon’s place as the town’s favorite presidential candidate.

  6. Mindy said on October 30, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I winced right along with Pam and Brian about the Hollywood Oval Office. His real office would have been better. Mitch Daniels has already claimed the best spot to chat up the camera, a table in a diner, in one of his commercials. Very Anytown, USA. Would have worked well for Obama, too.

  7. mark said on October 30, 2008 at 10:38 am

    I watched. It was as good as most of his stuff but not, to me, noticeably better. Obama is a hell of a speaker and the camera treats him well- best since Reagan for certain.

    I have never liked candidates invoking the stories of Sue or Sally or Stu to make their points. Sometime in the last 10 or 12 years it became standard, even obligatory, fare. It strikes me as anti-intellectual, I guess. I have pretty strongly held views on capital punishment (against), for example. I think I understand the issues well and have the information I need to make a decision. But, I’ve never witnessed an execution or talked with the family of the executed or the crime victim.

    I just don’t like policy by anecdote, I guess. That’s a long-winded way of saying the parade of victims and unfortunates was like nails on a chalk board for me. I felt the same way when I recently heard Palin using a “somebody I met on the campaign trail” anecdote to make a point about her proposals on more support for special needs kids. I already understand the issue, at least in general terms. What i need is more specifics. Instead I get: I met Ethel. Ethel is hurting. Ethel said help me. Ethel trusts me to help her. I won’t let Ethel down. Help me help Ethel. What I hear: Turn off Brain. Trust me because Ethel trusts me. See how compassionate and empathetic I am? Like me because I care about Ethel.

  8. Jim in FL said on October 30, 2008 at 10:57 am

    beb…In this case, I think Crist put people before politics. Close to one million Floridians have already voted, and I’ve heard that some have waited in line two hours or longer to cast their ballot. I voted yesterday, after a 45 minute wait.

    It currently appears that Obama is the beneficiary of early voting, but that should motivate the McCain team to get out their vote. The more people that engage in the process, the better for the country. Extended polling hours are a good thing.

  9. jcburns said on October 30, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I don’t get it. Obama appeared in a place that looks more like a cabin in the North Carolina mountains, with dark wood and hills out the window…which is pretty un Oval Office-like.

    What would be the safe, Oval-office-inference-free choice…a brightly florescent-lit windowless room that comes off more like Southern California unemployment office with a grungy steel desk, a tattered calendar on the wall and a dying potted plant in the corner? Dunno.

    I was more concerned that he didn’t have an iMac on his faux-Presidential desk.

  10. moe99 said on October 30, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Obama’s 30 minute spot brought home to me better than anything else I have seen or read this season, how so many people are hurting. I would have been absolutely bored out of my mind with the Ross Perot pie charts again. And although Obama could have lectured us for 30 minutes given his experience in that as a law prof at the Univ. Chicago certainly gives him that ability, he instead tried to show us and not simply talk about it. And, unfortunately, mark, the only way you can show it is to offer up specific examples. He gave us real people, as far as I could determine and he didn’t try to overdramatise their situations–the facts were sufficient. I thought it was powerful and compelling overall. And that was even though I was watching on my small screen computer late at night, because I’d had to stay at work to finish a brief. The infomercial took me out of myself to think of other, more hurting people and I don’t do that much these days.

    In fact the effect was so powerful that afterwards, when reading about other political snark, I was offended by the vulgar tone, and that usually does not hit me. And in this instance it was about tshirts w/ pictures of Palin that read: “VPILF”. Now, in general I would not have been put off by anything nasty about Palin, but I thought this was petty and beneath the Dems. Luckily I can report that the feeling has passed, in part since the Repubs have not let up on slime slinging.

    Obama was not my first choice in the Dem primary. I wanted a candidate who could win the general election and I feared that he could not win given his background and the make up of this country. Yet he has, by dint of his steady, consistent approach and incredibly hard work, just mowed down those fears in me, and I hope in a majority of Americans.

  11. brian stouder said on October 30, 2008 at 10:58 am

    I see the point, and of course you can get no end of policy-wonk detail at the big campaign websites. A nationally televised campaign message, though, has a different mission, and uses different means (in this case, anecdotes and ‘real people’)

    On one hand, Henry Perot (the funny little man with the great big ears) did the pie-charts and bar-graphs thing for 30 minutes on TV…didn’t really work.

    On the other hand, Ronald Reagan had a hand in harnessing tv’s connective power; HE’S the guy who started dropping Joe the Plumbers (et al) into the State of the Union Address – which really DOES sorta bother me….but now it is almost a minimum requirement.

    By way of saying – don’t expect steak at McDonalds; and on the other hand – look at the genius that is McDonalds!

  12. mark said on October 30, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Brian and moe-

    Different things work for different people. In my career I took all sorts of personality profile type tests and one that made sense to me pointed out the different ways in which people absorb information. I don’t think Obama overdramatized or made anything up. I just think he is more persuasive (to me) than his examples. His speech about race and the one in Berlin were compelling oratory.

    And Brian I think you are dead-on about Reagan starting this anecdote thing, at least in modern times. I tend to think that Reagan attempted to choose examples that would inspire us to believe in ourselves, our neighbors and our country. Today, all I see are examples designed to inspire me to believe in the candidate, who must care a lot because he remembers poor joe’s problems and promised to help him.

  13. LA Mary said on October 30, 2008 at 11:19 am

    My son’s girlfriend found the perfect Halloween candy at Big Lots (formerly Pic ‘n Save). I plan on buying a lot of it. It’s Kellogg’s John Deere Tractor Gummies. Little yellow bags of tractor or gear shaped gummies. Big Lots has a ton of them, so some genius in marketing probably got fired for coming up with such a sucky idea.

  14. brian stouder said on October 30, 2008 at 11:22 am

    We should get up an expedition to Royal Oak on 11/11 for Zombie night!

  15. nancy said on October 30, 2008 at 11:28 am

    One word: Don’t. I’ll get it on Vimeo eventually. Besides, I’d be embarrassed.

    As for John Deere tractor gummies: I bet they were ordered for a convention, and the supplier added a few zeros to the quantity. Nothing else explains it. Even farm kids, what few are left in this country, don’t want tractor gummies.

    (Kate’s really into Swedish fish these days. Some kid brought candy sushi for his birthday treat last year — Fruit Roll-ups, Rice Krispie-treat “rice” and Swedish fish in the middle. Sounded vile, but all the kids thought it was the bomb.

  16. whitebeard said on October 30, 2008 at 11:30 am

    So the Fed has lowered the rate to.one percent, but not for the ordinary joes and Paulson and crew are still talking about mortgage loan modifications. Socialism for the big guys first, of course, not the middle class.
    The New York Times says today that AIG has declined to outline how it is using the $90 billion in bailout money and AIG’s internal auditor is in seclusion, The congressional backlash against these greedy companies is going to mean blood in the streets, Wall Street, that is.
    The smarmy hedge funds and banks were short-selling Volkswagen and lost $38 billion because Porsche had a lock on about 75 percent of the shares when it announced its holdings in VW.
    But sometimes there is payback for the peons. When I needed a big block of ready cash some years back and I borrowed against a savings account that was earning 2 percent I read the fine print. When the loan manager said the rate would be 13 percent, I countered with 4 percent and she said that was impossible until I showed her the regulations that said when you borrow against a savings account, the interest rate is 2 percent above the interest paid on the account. She said huffily that she would see about that, called her boss and came back and signed the loan papers at 4 percent and never spoke to me again when I visited the bank, even though I went out of my way to her desk and said hello. I love reading fine print.

  17. brian stouder said on October 30, 2008 at 11:42 am

    One word: Don’t.

    Well, hell! Anyway – it wasn’t ’til just now that I looked at a calendar – and realized (duh!) that the 11th is a TUESDAY!!

    Who ever heard of a Zombie Night film festival on a Tuesday?

    Yeah yeah yeah – I’m sure the venue is much less expensive on a weeknight, than, say, a Friday or a Saturday night.

    Maybe that Eastland Mall at Harper Woods – which come to think of it has a suitably gothic note in its name – has a defunct cinema that could be utilized?

    ‘Course, then again, maybe the prospect of a walking-dead festival in a walking-dead mall is a bit….much!

  18. Jeff Borden said on October 30, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Oh man. 11/11 is my 19th wedding anniversary. It would be lovely to take my beautiful wife to a zombiefest, but the commute from Chicago is a bit much.

  19. Catherine said on October 30, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    11/11 is Veteran’s Day and a public school holiday hereabouts. My Brownie troop will be camping Monday night, so I’ll be going to bed about 6 p.m on Tuesday and can’t make the film fest.

  20. nancy said on October 30, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Please, people. It’s not an invitation. It’s just proof I exist.

  21. brian stouder said on October 30, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Please, people. It’s not an invitation.

    TOO LATE!! You’ve accidently awakened the legions of undead hereabouts, and we are now stirring in our graves and threatening to come staggering out (the better to prove that WE exist!)…

    and nobody knows where these things will end, once they get started…

  22. beb said on October 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Maybe that Eastland Mall at Harper Woods – which come to think of it has a suitably gothic note in its name – has a defunct cinema that could be utilized?

    It did but I think it got chopped off to make more parking available for the Lowe’s that moved in a couple years ago. (Bye-bye retiement condos as I recall.)

    Americablog’s “Chris in Paris” has been on about CEO compensation on Wall Street ever since Der Leader discovered we have a crisis right now! Apparently there’s a $70 billion kitty floating around for CEO bonuses and staff retention funds. Money that ought to be used to shore up the companies. So something like 10% of the bal-out money is slated to go from our pockets to CEO pockets. AIG is put aside a big pool of money for dividends instead of shoring up their company. And in Germany I heard the government had come out with a bailout plan that included strict limits on CEO pay (to something like $600,000 per year. The German banks have taken a wait and see attitude about the government loans appearently because someone is unwilling to take a pay cut.

    All of which raises good questions about why Congress should ever have approved the bail-out. Wall Street is filled with thieving bastards who desire to go to jail and the sooner we get to work on that the faster our nation will recover its confidence.

  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Whitebeard — Power to the people! That is sweet even at one remove. I’m still working through the years of training from my dad that cash always gets you a discount . . . cars especially. When that formula went upsidedown, and credit (thru GMAC, natch) got you a better deal than whipping out your checkbook and saying “i’m ready to buy it today,” which only makes the salesguys yawn (or wonder what kind of whacko you are), i just felt something was askew.

    So i’m with Nancy on “huzzah” to a wee tightening of the credit; maybe cash discounts will return someday. Just paid $2.12 for gas, which i thought i’d never see again, either.

    Missed the Obamathon, was with 11 Cubs making birdhouses and jewelry racks out at the rec comm lodge. Heard it only lacked Russell Crowe running his hand through the grain stalks . . . but had the distant trumpets.

    Don’t zombies hunger for sugar? Or is it just brains? Braaaaains . . .

  24. nancy said on October 30, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Heard it only lacked Russell Crowe running his hand through the grain stalks

    But it did have a scene of Obama wearing the wolf-pelt cape. I think Russell loaned it to him.

  25. Connie said on October 30, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Well I hear that Wars and social unrest lead to more zombie movies. http://www.boingboing.net/2008/10/30/wars-and-social-unre.html

    And Obama’s real secret? This article proves Barack Obama’s use of a little-known and highly deceptive and manipulative form of “hack” hypnosis on millions of unaware Americans, and reveals what only a few psychologists and hypnosis/NLP experts know. http://www.pennypresslv.com/Obama%27s_Use_of_Hidden_Hypnosis_techniques_in_His_Speeches.pdf

  26. Bruce Fields said on October 30, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    I’m with Mark: I’ll take a good graph over a thousand anecdotes. Which is why I always enjoy reading the economist, despite their excessive faith in markets: their articles have data!

    And speaking of that magazine:

    http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12516666&source=features_box_main

    “The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence.”

    Yowza.

  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 30, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Found some screen grabs (can’t do YouTube at work, and good thing, for many reasons), and the office looks like the kind of place i’d rent for a week in the Hocking Hills if i had the time to spend a week in the Hocking Hills, with camera probably backed up against the hot tub (all Hocking Hills cabins, by Ohio state law, must have hot tubs).

    Anyhow, i just assumed the point was “this isn’t the Oval Office, we don’t assume we’ve got the Oval Office in the bag, don’t anybody say we made it look like the Oval Office.” It looked mature, but casual, and very un-Oval Officey . . . maybe Camp Davidy.

    Meanwhile, in Ohio — We’re history — don’t know which candidate is going to do much about this, but it all goes back to that chart and what we’re gonna do about it. “Everything else” is going to run out as a category pretty darn quick.

  28. jcburns said on October 30, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    One Ohio oddity…you grow up there, and you think nothing’s wrong with “Hocking Hills” as a name of a beautiful place. It conjures up for you lovely autumnal walks to cabins with (yes) hot tubs.

    For anyone not from Ohio, apparently (I have spousal evidence), it conjures up..uh..expectoration. Of course, don’t get me started on Michigan place names. Excuse me while I clear my throat.

  29. brian stouder said on October 30, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Forget Hocking Hills; a great, intimate, long weekend getaway can be had in French Lick, Indiana

  30. brian stouder said on October 30, 2008 at 1:55 pm

  31. Jolene said on October 30, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Re the infomericial, I wasn’t sure what to think. I’m so not the audience. Too much information, too much in favor of Obama. I loved the amber waves of grain, however corny the iconography may be. I visited my heartland homeland just before harvest this past summer and still flash back to the images of how beautiful they were.

    After that, watching from the viewpoint of a supporter who wanted others to be persuaded, I worried about two things.

    First, I wondered if it shouldn’t have taken a slightly more “Morning in America” stance. I know we’re in a dark time, but a little less empathy and a little more optimism might have been good. I don’t begrudge him the stories, as opposed to charts. I’m an empiricist, too, but good examples are essential to persuasion.

    Second, I wondered whether some viewers might find it hard to follow. The shifts from the stories of the four families to Barack talking in the office to testimonials to shots of him giving speeches or meeting w/ groups of people all occurred w/o any transition or introduction. I was thinking of my elderly mother who I’d encouraged to watch the show; I’m sure she wasn’t able to track those transitions. Of course, she isn’t the main audience any more than I am, but it would be interesting to know whether other viewers had that problem. Perhaps, though, the main goal was to drive home the “Barack is not scary” idea, and it did that very well.

    James Fallows’s has, as always, great comments on the infomercial, as well as a summary of what we’ve learned about Barack through his campaign.

  32. Jolene said on October 30, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Joe the Plumber stood up McCain in Defiance, Ohio today. Also, check out this paragraph re who did show up.

    A local school district official confirmed after the event that of the 6,000 people estimated by the fire marshal to be in attendance this morning, more than 4,000 were bused in from schools in the area. The entire 2,500-student Defiance School District was in attendance, the official said, in addition to at least three other schools from neighboring districts, one of which sent 14 buses.

  33. Connie said on October 30, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1008/Martinsville_update.html?showall

    Remember yesterday’s pic of the Martinsville home with both a Confederate flag and an Obama sign? Turns out the flag belongs to the husband, the sign to the wife. Husband says, we never talk about religion or politics.

    Earlier today I posted a link to a boingboing.net story that said Wars and social unrest lead to more zombie movies. Madame moderator is my comment lost in space? I tried to repost it and was told I had just posted an identical comment. Wonder where it went?

  34. nancy said on October 30, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Connie,

    It was, indeed, caught in the net. Free now, although it’s up in the queue somewhere.

    For others: Spam filter trips when you embed more than one link, so be advised.

    I note that link you posted speaks of Obama’s “hypnosis” of the electorate. Why is it, when Republicans move an audience, it’s because they have a deep connection with The People, but when Democrats do? TRICKERY!

  35. Catherine said on October 30, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Wow, Bruce, that Economist article was eloquent and, coming from that source, surprising. I liked the quote about the peculiar bargain that McCain voters are being asked to make: “Cast a vote for me, and I won’t do what I’ve been saying I’ll do in this campaign.” This is clearly the line of reasoning my DH is pursuing, and I’m sending him the link. I also liked the part about Senator McCain vs. Candidate McCain. As someone said here recently, I used to think of him as Harry Truman, but now all I get is Grandpa Simpson.

  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    And i live in the immortally named Licking County, Ohio, where the newspaper not so very long ago ran a Community Calendar note that “The Eager Beavers of Licking County will have their monthly meeting at Licking Baptist Church.” You just kinda forget after a while.

    (Sorry, i know i’ve used this comment before, but it still cracks me up that this kind of stuff doesn’t cause much mirth around here; we lack irony as a natural resource, and flooded the Salt Licks back in the 1830s so we don’t even have that anymore.)

    Nancy, Obama has hip-gnosis going for him now! He has the true knowledge of the zeitgeist, plus it has a good beat and you can dance to it. I give it a 98. McCain just can’t get past the “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!” vibe . . . no hip-gnosis for him.

  37. nancy said on October 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Kinda like the residents around Big Bone Lick, Ky., I’d imagine. Or Blue Balls, Pa.

  38. Jolene said on October 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    That hypnosis document has been floating around for a while. There is, apparently, no limit to the amount of time and energy available to invest in analyses that clearly demonstrate the perfidy of Obama.

    Perhaps you’ve seen the claim that Obama’s books were really written by Bill Ayers. We “know” that they knew each other before their stated 1995 meeting date because they were both in New York during the early 1980s, which means they could have met. And there are mind-bending textual similarities in Obama’s memoir, Dreams of My Father and Ayers’s memoir, Fugitive Years. What are they? In both texts, “said” is the term most frequently used to attribute speech to individuals–rather than, say, declaimed, exhorted, or spoke in tongues. Clear evidence that both books must have been written by one author, don’t you think?

  39. jcburns said on October 30, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Sammy noted one tell-it-like-it-is place name we saw heading down through West Virginia a week or so ago.

  40. LA Mary said on October 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Hey, my nephew was at Columbia in NY in the early 80s. Maybe he and Barack and Bill were chums or conspirators or something. He’s an oncologist in Connecticut now, but who knows what was happening back then.

  41. MichaelJ said on October 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    You can imagine how my daughter, who used to live nearby, refers to a certain North Carolina ville named Fuquay-Varina.

    The female sports teams at Oregon State Univ are reduntantly referred to as the “Lady Beavers.”

    Boy, I guess I really have gotten tired of the election.

  42. Scout said on October 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Not that Blue Balls, PA isn’t much funnier, but the actual name is Blue Ball, PA. Hey wait, maybe the real name actually is funnier!

  43. Gasman said on October 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Jeff(tmmo),
    I, for one, got and appreciated the “hip-gnosis” line. Very clever.

    As for French Lick and Big Bone Lick, you can get either of those at a gay bar in Santa Fe for $50. Sorry, the 12 year old in me emerges whenever those towns are mentioned. Place names obviously derived from more agrarian times which now seem really smutty. However, they also usually make me laugh.

  44. alex said on October 30, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Gotta love that Fuquay-Varina.

    Colonial Appalachia had some other cool place names that were erased by Victorian cartographers, says David Hackett Fischer in Albion’s Seed, chief among them Tickle Cunt Creek, Virginia.

  45. LA Mary said on October 30, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    It’s not obviously funny, but I drove through a town called Flippen, Alabama. We took a picture of the Flippen Church of Jesus Christ.

  46. Jolene said on October 30, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Pretty funny to me, Mary. “Flippen Church of Jesus Christ” made me laugh out loud.

  47. joodyb said on October 30, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    i don’t know why, but i too think “Flippen” is the funniest of all. any f-word replacement makes me howl, mostly.

  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 30, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Hmmmm. An oncologist in Connecticut. Like a shady shoe salesman in Schenectady? Sounds suspicious either way.

    64 kids to our door — this daylight savings switch has it too durn light out for trick or treating, but i’m being as ominous as my lighting allows, with Messiaen in the bkgd, playing “Quartet for the End of Time,” which works well on soooo many levels.

    Happy Hallowe’en (observed)!

  49. LA Mary said on October 30, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    News for Catherine: They carry Jo Malone cologne and other nice smelling things at Nordstrom now.

  50. Hooiser said on October 30, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    A place or person can’t be responsible for the name someone else hung on them. Nancy, remember the former mayor of Fort Wayne, Harry Baals?

  51. brian stouder said on October 30, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    And don’t forget Climax, Michigan (a long, arduous journey from Blue Ball, PA, to be sure).

    Makes one wonder what they do there for a summer festival (one imagines a weeklong ‘Climax Daze’ – or maybe a week of Climax Nights? – finished off with fireworks in the sky, of course)

  52. Jolene said on October 30, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Brian, that “long journey” phrase was great. Might have been wiser to stop off in Intercourse, PA.

    Alternatively, one might try for a second coming in Climax, MN.

  53. MarkH said on October 30, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Jolene, I was just going to say that folks in Blue Ball solve their problem by finally heading over to party at Intercourse.

  54. Suzi said on October 30, 2008 at 9:30 pm

     
        More Palin fun –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh9BmNuqeiQ

  55. Jolene said on October 30, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Nice to see, MarkH, that I’m not the only middle-aged person w/ a sophmoric sense of humor.

  56. beb said on October 30, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Then there’s Big Beaver road just north of Detroit.

  57. nancy said on October 30, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Big Beaver is Exit 69 off I-75, too. There’s a guy in town who sells T-shirts reading, “Get off at exit 69.” Talk about funny sophomoric.

  58. Catherine said on October 30, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    LAMary, hallelujah and thanks for the update! Now I don’t have to drive to freaking Sherman Oaks.

    Oh, I just looked at the website… where to start, where to start!

  59. MarkH said on November 1, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Middle-aged?? Moi?? Hee Hee.