Minor-key Monday.

With the post-election afterglow quickly curdling into the usual nastiness, let me state a few things for the record today:

I think Sarah Palin knows Africa is a continent, not a country. Given that the lady is one of those people whose words, verbally, tend to become — I think in terms of the verbal expression, you know, she could be expressing, word-wise…

You get the idea. Also, I’ve heard many, many people refer to Africa as a country, and I know they know better. It’s just one of those things.

The NAFTA thing, I could go either way on. And I believe every word about the clothes and the shopping. I can’t say how, except that I’ve seen otherwise sensible people make utter fools of themselves when they thought something was free. This is all I have to go on — a few hunches.

Also, I think the McCain we saw at his concession speech was the real man, and his failure to be that man throughout his campaign is one of those Greek-tragedy things he’ll carry to his grave.

We’re reaching the end of my graciousness toward American conservatism, but I’ll hang on a little longer, to say this P.J. O’Rourke piece is worth a read. Everybody likes funny Patrick Jake, although some like him better than others, and this piece has the advantage of at least sounding honest:

Since the early 1980s I’ve been present at the conception (to use the polite term) of many of our foreign policy initiatives. Iran-contra was about as smart as using the U.S. Postal Service to get weapons to anti-Communists. And I notice Danny Ortega is back in power anyway. I had a look into the eyes of the future rulers of Afghanistan at a sura in Peshawar as the Soviets were withdrawing from Kabul. I would rather have had a beer with Leonid Brezhnev.

Fall of the Berlin wall? Being there was fun. Nations that flaked off of the Soviet Union in southeastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus? Being there was not so fun.

The aftermath of the Gulf war still makes me sick. Fine to save the fat, greedy Kuwaitis and the arrogant, grasping house of Saud, but to hell with the Shiites and Kurds of Iraq until they get some oil.

Then, half a generation later, when we returned with our armies, we expected to be greeted as liberators. And, damn it, we were. I was in Baghdad in April 2003. People were glad to see us, until they noticed that we’d forgotten to bring along any personnel or provisions to feed or doctor the survivors of shock and awe or to get their electricity and water running again. After that they got huffy and began stuffing dynamite down their pants before consulting with the occupying forces.

Is there a moral dimension to foreign policy in our political philosophy? Or do we just exist to help the world’s rich people make and keep their money? (And a fine job we’ve been doing of that lately.)

I haven’t always kept current on the O’Rourke catalog, but I assume someone here has; did he ever write this stuff at the time it was happening? If so, I don’t recall any of it, but maybe this is just his niche — truth-telling long after the fact, kind of like David Horowitz on the Panthers. Whatever. At least someone’s trying honesty for a change. Strategic honesty, anyway — there’s the usual abuse aimed at “liberals,” but I guess if there wasn’t at least a little bit of that, it wouldn’t be a Weekly Standard piece.

And so begins the new era, and while I’m optimistic and hopeful, I’m not stupid, either. If you want to know what an abyss looks like, look at an abyss, so over the weekend I contemplated what might happen to this town if General Motors, et al, filed for bankruptcy. Our house, already worth tens of thousands less than we paid for it, would fall further in value. One of the papers would probably fold, and it would likely be the one my health insurance is tied to. The freelance market would either dry up or become so competitive, what with all the unemployed journalists on the market, that it wouldn’t pay worth a damn. When I was in college, a nearby power-plant cooling tower — one of those wasp-waisted structures you see in the non-picturesque parts of the country, and in Indiana, practically on the lovely sandy beach of Lake Michigan, and whose idea was that — collapsed while under construction. The workers, under pressure to make a deadline, had anchored their safety harnesses in cement that wasn’t fully set. The line gave way at one end, and took down a couple dozen workers in a motion not unlike water going down a drain.

It would be like that.

Still, we had dinner with friends Saturday night, and we all had a champagne toast to the new era. Someday we’ll look back on it and say, either, we should have saved those few dollars we spent on champagne or else, hey, at least we have our memories.

Hard times are hard times, but acting as though they’re harder than they are can make them worse. This is common sense. Rod Dreher is on one of his pants-wetting jags about “stockpiling food.” I may well lose my health insurance, my job and my house, but staying fed has never seemed much of a risk, not in this country. By the time the food runs out, most of your stockpiles will have been depleted too, so why bother trying to keep the mice out of the 50-pound bags of rice in the basement? Now that we have firearms in the house, I plan to feed us during a Depression the old-fashioned way — by killing and eating the neighbors’ pets.

Dreher goes on to quote some lady at his church: “The newspapers ought to be telling us how to prepare, but instead they talk about nothing but sports and entertainment and everything like it is normal,” she said. “It’s not going to be normal.” No, I don’t expect it’ll be normal, but running stories about how to make your own pemmican and squirrel jerky isn’t going to set well with the few advertisers you still have left, who are trying to sell wide-screen TVs and electric skillets.

There’s a lot of automotive-buyout money floating around town now, and I think it’s behind a lot of small businesses that are popping up in the oddest places. Two are on the commercial block nearest our house. One I suspect is doomed; there just can’t possibly be that much demand for a dog wash, aimed at that slice of the population that has a dog to bathe but doesn’t want to do it in their own tub. The other is a fast-casual restaurant called the Big Salad, which amuses me because I remember the “Seinfeld” episode where they got the name, and pleases me because they make a pretty good salad there. I try to stop in every week or two, if only because it’s good to get out of the house and without customers, the lettuce will wilt and there will be no more Big Salad on the block. Perhaps Dreher and his old-lady friend, eyes squinched shut in fervent prayer, haven’t thought of this.

Anyway, I’m sick of current events, and plan to be for a while. You guys talk amongst yourselves about whatever you like, but I’m going to turn my thoughts to art and Christmas shopping. Or that might just be the weather talking — snow is flying outside my window as I write this. Seems like a good time to study Russian instead of polling data, and for a good long while.

(This is also, I warn you, the “my website is a tar baby” spasm of disgust I go through from time to time. I can’t think of the last time I got a nickel from GoogleAds, those chiselers. Roy Edroso details the unintentionally hilarious goodbye-to-all-that of a one-time high-flying right-wing blogger, his finances destroyed by hours spent at the keyboard, along with gout and the expenses of “lap-band surgery,” for both the blogger and his daughter (so she could make the weight requirement for military enlistment). I was so embarrassed for him, reading this, that I had to look away for a while. I don’t want to be that guy. But I would like to write some other stuff. So I may redirect my time for a while.)

Anyway, I think Brian Dickerson, easily the best remaining columnist at the Freep, sums it up well:

The wild-eyed Marxist revolutionary known as Barack Obama convened the first meeting of his economic advisory board Friday. Besides Michigan’s own Gov. Jennifer Granholm, those invited to participate included two former secretaries of the U.S. Treasury Department, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker, and über-capitalist Warren Buffett. If this strikes you as an unlikely group to task with the radical redistribution of America’s wealth, you’ve stumbled upon the not-so-dirty little secret of American government, which is its frustrating (and enormously reassuring) continuity.

Not that any of this has occurred to yet another Hoosier asshole picking up on the fly-the-flag-upside-down meme, tacitly approved of by the newspaper columnist who detailed it. Get this guy to a Boy Scout, stat.

Off to the gym. Monday. Sigh.

Posted at 9:54 am in Current events, Detroit life |

59 responses to “Minor-key Monday.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Hey, i’m between computers on a semi-computer, and can’t find it fast, but your fellow OU alum (or did he ever graduate? or did he just party and live in a house near Athens? i can’t think on a Monday) P.J. O’Rourke has been treated for rectal cancer, and got a both hilarious and touching column for the LA Times out of it.

    Like him or not, worth the read (we may all get rectal cancer someday, or at least be checked for it) — can someone find the link? Grazie.

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  2. Nancy Friedman said on November 10, 2008 at 10:11 am

    When I read about Palin’s Africa mixup I was reminded of a post-Olympics column by Tom [no relation] Friedman, in which he referred to “the African team”: http://is.gd/6TEu


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  3. jcburns said on November 10, 2008 at 10:19 am

    I think we have P.J. Bednarski (Chicago media columnist/editor), and Miami University (of Ohio) gets P.J. O’Rourke.

    But we also can proudly (?) point in the general direction of Clarence Page, Rudy Maxa, and that pinnacle of journalistic ethics, Joe Eszterhas.

    And Nancy.

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  4. Connie said on November 10, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Hey, the coyote pic showed up in Fort Wayne Observed.

    And yes for those who asked, my kid was fine once she was rehydrated, though still feeling somewhat flu ridden.

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  5. brian stouder said on November 10, 2008 at 10:43 am

    When I was in college, a nearby power-plant cooling tower…collapsed while under construction.

    Here in the Fort, near where I-69 and US-24 come together, there is an Indiana State Police post, and a nice little southwestern-style restaurant, and a hotel. The skeleton of a brand new, 7-story high hotel is also going in, but work stopped because…. it has begun to leeeeeeean –

    an excerpt from channel 15’s cached article on it (which I cannot link) – regarding the nice little southwestern-style restaurant:

    Cars are few in the parking lot of Antigua Mexican Bar & Grill. Inside, the lunch crowd is sparse. The majority of seats are un-warmed and numerous menus are untouched. “Eventually, we assumed it would benefit our business, once construction finished,” says Antigua Assistant Manager, Ernesto Leon of the project. “But it doesn’t look like it’s going to be finished anytime soon.”

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  6. Linda said on November 10, 2008 at 11:04 am

    In a way, the column is a typical P.J. O’Rourke piece. He admits conservatives do stupid things, but conservativism (TM) is itself never wrong or bad, only its advocates are. Ideology doesn’t get any purer than that.

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  7. Gasman said on November 10, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I am mystified by the reactions of the Rod Dreher set. I can understand them being freaked out by their perception of dire things to come from a perceived socialist, but they are behaving as if their apocalyptic visions have already happened.

    Fort Wayne’s candidate for National Moron du Jour, Jeffery Smith, the second rabid Republican to show disrespect toward the flag by flying it inappropriately, sounds like he is blaming Obama for our current economic woes.

    Their seemingly absolute disconnect from the real world is what I find hard to fathom. They’ve needlessly worked themselves up in a lather over what? What will they do if things get undeniably better? Whom will they credit? Better yet, will they even acknowledge positive change? My guess is not.

    I keep coming back to race. I can’t help but feel that the extremely irrational response only makes sense when you look at Obama’s skin color. Obama has done not a single thing as president, yet these folks have gotten angrier at Obama for doing nothing than they did at Bush for doing way too much. When you’ve got Drs. freaking out because “our business will never again expand,” how do we respond?

    They’ve donned their hairshirts and busy themselves with paranoid navel gazing. They are worth neither time nor breath in engaging in debate. You can’t argue with logic like that. I am afraid, however, of their potential for inciting violence, because that seems to be the only step left beyond their feverish rhetoric.

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  8. alex said on November 10, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Not only did the coyote pic show up on Fort Wayne Observed, but the box of puppies showed up on Angry White Boy. The Republicans really are out of ideas.

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  9. Dwight said on November 10, 2008 at 11:29 am

    During debate prep, Palin asked her handlers for a point of clarification on which– if any — CAFTA countries overlap with NAFTA countries.

    The Africa quote that spewed out in debate prep is, “Africa is a country with a lot of problems.”

    Source: Bill “hard worm” Kristol, Fox News Sunday, Nov 9, 2008

    McCain’s smear merchants selling minor gaffes as stupidity know well the minds of the bumper-sticker attention span liberals who will run with this for years, long after the truth is known. Just like ninety-five percent of the commenters here still believe that the story about GHWB not recognizing a grocery store scanner is true, despite the fact the reporter who wrote the story later admitted it was no ordinary grocery scanner, but rather an RF scanner that could price an entire cart of groceries at once.

    Y’all decry republican “fear-mongering” but you have no issues at all with the patented liberal “dufus-ifcation” of those whose values you fear: Dubya, O’Reilly, Quale, GHWB, Reagan, Ford, Eisenhower. Now Palin.

    Yawn. All you did was make her more prepared for 12. Reagan’s first primary defeat did the same thing.

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  10. Gasman said on November 10, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Yep, NN.com is a hotbed of opposition to Eisenhower. Us liberals just can’t get over him.

    I actually think that you’re headed in the right direction with the NAFTA and Africa comments, at least I hope so. But, as a conservative, what is your take on why the McCain camp is going after Palin harder than liberals did? It seems to make little sense. What could they gain?

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  11. brian stouder said on November 10, 2008 at 11:55 am

    “dufus-ifcation” of those whose values you fear:Dubya, O’Reilly, Quale, GHWB, Reagan, Ford, Eisenhower. Now Palin.

    dubya – let’s skip him for now

    O’Reilly – DUFUS!

    Quayle – agreed (that he was unfairly “dufusified”), although he wasn’t ready for the bright lights, and GHWB SHOULD have picked Jack Kemp that year, but we digress

    GHWB – DUFUS! I voted for him three times – if you count the primary vote where I supported him over the eventual nominee in 1980, plus the 1988 primary and general election….but he made me FIRING mad when he switched from “Read my lips” to his go-to-hell “Read my hips” dismissal of questions about his outright LIE about not raising taxes, as he jogged away

    Reagan – Your claim is dismissed from court. Sean Wilentz (who ain’t no right-wing Human Events/Weekly Standard hack) has written a book about RWR that I intend to buy; my understanding is that the book pays serious respect to RWR’s clear-sighted, upward looking presidency.

    Ford – agreed, he was badly treated. In 1976, in the wake of Watergate and his pardon of the disgraced president, and the ignominious end of the Vietnam War, and the onset of the killing fields of Cambodia, and our recession and general down-turn – the odds were stacked against him in any case…and still, he made it pretty close

    Eisenhower – what? Folks back in the day might have had a caricature of him in mind, but he did get us out of Harry Truman’s disasterously mishandled war, and kept us out of new wars, and whacked Joe McCarthy off of the national stage, and presided over boom times, and was generally revered as the iconic hero that he was.

    Palin – first – I agree with the proprietress; Palin’s no pushover. But your inclusion of her is somewhat odd, unless you mean to say that the right-wing goon squad that has been attempting to “dufus-ify” her is guilty of infringing the ‘patent’ on the ‘dufis-ification’ process

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  12. Connie said on November 10, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    The thought of the box of puppies on Angry White Boy has started a serious cognitive dissonance problem in my brain.

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  13. Peter said on November 10, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Nancy – that dog wash may do better than you think.

    In Chicago we have a few of them – I frequent a place called Soggy Paws and they’re constantly booked – so much so that less than a mile away there’s a worthy competitor called the Bark Bark Club.

    I have an oversized Goldendoodle (That’s right Obama, you want one of these and you know it) and when Copper has had fun at the beach or the muddy forest preserve, if I don’t wash him there he will trash the house. Even washing him between cuts is a disaster – he’ll gladly jump in the tub, but he goes into hyperautomatic shakedown when he gets out and I get a few rooms with dogwater spray until he calms down.

    And of course I could wash him outside but he instinctively stays 50′ away from any hose unless he’s thirsty.

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  14. LA Mary said on November 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Other than asking my relatives in distant parts of the country if we could maybe tone down the whole Christmas thing and all spend a little less, and messing around a bit with my 403b so I don’t lose a third of it again, I’ve not done much other than brace myself for the possibility that the ex will lose his job and won’t send us our check each month.
    I think my job is pretty secure. Others in my department, not so much. I’m paid the least and I produce the most, and I’ve been there the longest. All good reasons to keep me on and to lose the pair of gigglers who make 25 percent more than I do and produce, literally, one sixth of what I produce.
    I think my survival skills are strong. And I know where the bodies are buried.
    What I want to know is: when did you stop being a troubled teen, Dwight?

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  15. alex said on November 10, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    My fave DIY dog-grooming place in Chicago had a big poster of a dalmatian licking its balls. The caption: Self-service cleaning isn’t exactly a new idea.

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  16. James said on November 10, 2008 at 12:45 pm


    I know Wikipedia disagrees with me, but I was sure that P. J. O’Rourke went to your in-law’s alma mater, that hotbed of hippydom in Ohio, Antioch College.

    At least, his early stories talked about going there… Maybe he never graduated, or changed schools.

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  17. LA Mary said on November 10, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Connie might not agree with me, but having a Frisian grandmother prepares one for economic downturns. I can’t imagine not washing my own dogs. I’m not criticizing anyone who takes the dog to the groomer, I’m just saying I can wash my own dogs and iron my own dress shirts, and do my own gardening, carwashing. And I recycle my graywater.
    Bear in mind, I’m on record as saying I could EASILY spend 150K on clothes at Neiman Marcus and Saks. Selective cheapness, it’s the Dutch way.

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  18. Catherine said on November 10, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Knowing where the bodies are buried is definitely a life skill, LAMary.

    I think the crazy doctor lady is pretty much in the same boat as the auto industry. Basically, they both know that their industry is FUBAR. They’re looking at a painful restructuring and that can make a person a) guzzle champagne; and b) feel insecure and angry. Crazy doctor lady is just turning it toward a convenient target.

    Off to go click on those Google ads. Maybe there’s one for tar removal.

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  19. alex said on November 10, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    More embarrassing behavior by sore loser hoosiers:


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  20. Peter said on November 10, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I think I need to clarify my earlier post – while Soggy Paws and the Bark Bark Club will wash and clean your pooch, both places have showers/soap/towels for the DIY crowd – which is what I do.

    I mean, I can be as wasteful as the next Republican, but I do draw the line somewhere.

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  21. brian stouder said on November 10, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    From Alex’s link:

    Pence said social issues like “the sanctity of marriage” will remain the backbone of the Republican platform. “You build those conservative solutions, Chris, on the same time-honored principles of limited government, a belief in free markets, in the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage,” Pence said.

    Hmmmm. So “limited government” = a game of “Mother, May I” with regard to who gets married and/or what decisions can be made between a doctor and her patient.

    Here’s something that catches my ear (like a fingernail scratching on a chalkboard) everytime I hear it: the Mormons, who put major (and tax-deducted?) dollars behind California’s discriminatory ballot initiative, are now pouting and whining about the political blow-back they’re getting (protesters and demonstrations at their facilities, and so on).

    They issued a press release saying that it’s NOT FAIR TO SINGLE THEM OUT for the success of the proposition they supported!

    Isn’t that absurd? They specifically backed a measure that specifically SINGLES OUT individuals who want to get married and live their lives together, and tells them “no, YOU cannot do this”….and they (the Mormons) are crying that THEY are being singled out?

    Somewhat breathtaking

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  22. Jolene said on November 10, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Mike Pence, who, as Alex points out, plans to rebuild the Republican party on the basis of opposition to gay marriage has a considerable record of “stupid as a stick” statements, the most prominent of which was his comparison of a visit to a Baghdad market conducted under armed guard to a visit ti a farmer’s market in Indiana.

    According to Matt Yglesias, he is also a genius in the realm of economic affairs.

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  23. brian stouder said on November 10, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Well Jolene – that’s just mean-spirited dufus-ification of Pence, doncha know?

    Hell, his background includes….talk radio!! He’s obviously smarter than anyone else in the room!

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  24. beb said on November 10, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Does anyone else out here find Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy” not merely unfunny but kind of sick? I used to watch the show all the time but lately I find I can’t stomach any of it. Not the new shows which seem berift of plot or point, nor the later shows where sometimes a plot did hold the show together. I used to find the parent’s treatment of their older child, Meg, kind of funny because parents obviouly don’t always love their children equally. But lately the hatred towards Meg has become so patent and chronic that it’s like a sickness. Then again I don’t recall one positive female character on the show, so maybe the problem is that MacFarlane is a hard-core misogynist. But my dislike of the show goes beyond its treatment of Meg. It makes jokes about child molesters and Stewie’s increasingly preverted sexuality. Is it that the show has become too perverse for me or that MacFarlane has no new jokes and has become boring.

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  25. Dorothy said on November 10, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I thought the do-it-yourself dog wash I went to when I lived in Cincinnati was brilliant. Wish I had thought of the idea myself. They were always busy. And it seemed much safer to take my dog there, where they had steps or a ramp for the bigger dogs to walk on. Plus the strappy thing to hold their heads just so, to give you the freedom to use both hands to wash them, instead of wrestling with them to keep their heads up so as not to get water in their ears. And I could leave all the drippy towels there.

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Waaaaait a minute — i thought doofus was spelled, well, “doofus.” Can we get a ruling?

    Anyhow, the O’Rourke anal cancer column is here, and i’m still thinking that in one of his memoirish things from his college radical days he ended up living on a farm outside of Athens, either after or interspersed with his Miami of Ohio years, before he went to — Baltimore? — somewhere to work on a radical paper and in fact was an informer for what he thought was the FBI but turned out to be the state police. I am sure of none of this, other than the embedded link.

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  27. MarkH said on November 10, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Another one of Nancy and JC’s fellow J-school alums, my favorite football writer, Peter King at SI. In fact, didn’t he graduate the same year as both of you? Did you know him there? I used to wonder about his political persuasion, but today he answered it with a very nice section in his column on the Obama election.

    And, beb, I agree on Family Guy; can’t get hold of it, even though my 19-year old is a devotee, and I try to watch it with him. And, funny thing about Peter King is he is nuts about that program and writes about it every week.

    EDIT – Jeff I agree on the spelling of doofus. My local service club does an annual skit show as a fundraiser where we lampoon all the local valley pols. One got doofus as part of his name, only spelled dufus. I have argued otherwise to no avail.

    And, Jeff: O’Rourke in BALTIMORE??! OHIO?? I lived in Fairfield County in the late ’70’s, and can’t imagine anything radical there. EDIT: OK, maybe you meant Maryland. I was tracking a Hocking Hills thing there…

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  28. coozledad said on November 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I’ve actually washed one of our beagles in the bathtub. The first couple of times we tried a flea shampoo, thinking the insecticide would somehow help to cut the funk.
    It didn’t. We tried combinations of human and pet shampoos, a dash of patchouli (Manet era prostitute, anyone?), even a capful of household bleach added to the bathwater.
    Has anyone ever tried Barkeeper’s Friend?

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  29. Dorothy said on November 10, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Beagles fit nicely in bathtubs. My golden retriever mix does not, unfortunately.

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  30. nancy said on November 10, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I have several photos of me and PKing (as we called him), both with ’70s hair. Next time I’m near a scanner, I’ll hook you up.

    And P.J. went to Miami of Ohio. But remember — Oxford is (or was) dry, so it’s no surprise he spent some time in Yellow Springs. It’s close by and yet, in the most important sense, miles from the preppy Miami.

    Everyone crashed for a while on a farm near Athens, including me.

    P.J. got his master’s at Johns Hopkins, I b’lieve.

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  31. jcburns said on November 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    PeKing not only had 70s hair, he had a white-boy-from-Connecticut afro the size of, well, Connecticut. Reporters at the OU Post who didn’t want to be seen by the editors could successfully hide behind Mr. King’s hair. I say this now as someone for whom hair is becoming a memory.

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  32. Jolene said on November 10, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Just want to draw your attention to a feature article in yesterday’s WaPo magazine about the free clinics that are held in remote parts of Appalachia—this one in Wise County, VA, which appears to be some of the most godforsaken real estate in America.

    Our images of poverty (or, at least, mine) lean toward inner cities and people of color, so this story is a useful corrective. More important, though, is the portrayal of what life is like when you have limited education, little income, and no health insurance. In short, pretty darn tough.

    In addition to the story, there are a couple of videos, some still photos, and a follow-up web chat w/ the author.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Jolene — you don’t have to drive past Hazard Co., KY to get to Wise Co., VA to find Appalachia, when up towards Columbus you can get to our Baltimore, as MarkH points out, in Fairfield Co., OH. In Baltimore’s long-ago absorbed twin town, Basil (there’s a now-filled canal track in the long version of this story), you can walk back and forth across a quiet street to get competing bids on meth, fresh from mama’s home-cookin’ lab.

    We lose more charming yet dilapidated farm houses around here to meth lab combustibility. But in Baltimore, they’re as uptown as a village of 2,800 can get. Meth, plus sidewalks, and a pop machine on the corner. Otherwise, you have to pick the burrs out of your shoestrings when you get back in the car after walking down an unkempt rural lane to the house or shed where the dealing gets dealt.

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  34. jcburns said on November 10, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    It’s amazing. The washingtonpost.com folks have done some of the most simple, profound ten minute-ish documentaries on subjects from elections to race relations to the new economics to (as you saw) poverty. Their stuff should earn them a Peabody or three.

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  35. nancy said on November 10, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Some of the best video journalism these days is being done by print folks. The Free Press has won a couple of well-deserved national Emmys. I often wonder what actual TV journalists think when they see this happening. Painful thoughts, I hope.

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  36. Jolene said on November 10, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Yeah, I worry about the Post, jc. I think they’ve been pretty creative about using the web, and they have tons of readers from all over the world, but, like all other newspapers, they are losing subscribers and advertising revenue. And no one is paying to use the web.

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  37. MaryRC said on November 10, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I’m not a fan of Family Guy either but it’s my impression that the cruelty is the whole point — they’re pushing the boundaries of the father’s behavior in order to mock the standard sitcom where the father is a petulant self-absorbed child who is always forgiven. Peter can offer his wife to his friends, publish an intimate photo of her and even get a Mafia contract on her life but she will just roll her eyes and say “Awwww, Petah!” and at the end of the episode there will be hugging. Think of sitcoms like Everybody Loves Raymond or any one of the many shows starring a boorish, selfish guy married to a long-suffering wife. Family Guy is just taking this to an extreme.

    On the other hand Stewie and the dog are bores. My newspaper’s comics page has no less than 4 strips featuring talking dogs, leading me to observe that simply putting dialog for an adult human into a dog’s mouth doesn’t make it funny. That goes for children as well.

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  38. brian stouder said on November 10, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Some of the best video journalism these days is being done by print folks.

    And of course, when the broadcast television news did ‘white papers’ and documentaries, back in the ’60’s, all their titans were print journalists from the Second World War; that is to say, people who could write (and edit) on-the-fly.

    But we’re eating our seed corn, if the papers all go the way of Lehman Brothers

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Speaking of minor-key days, “the church bell chimed, and it rang twenty-nine times, for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald” — In Memoriam

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  40. Dexter said on November 10, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Even though I have never been there, it’s sad about Antioch College in Yellow Springs closing a while back. My friend wrote telling me the art-movie theater is still open, at least. A thumbnail is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioch_College

    27% of the US population is scared of Obama, thanks to right wing claims of terrorist-in-waiting and all that stuff. .

    Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps. My boss at my last job was a Marine (there are, of course, no “former” Marines) and he always brought in a huge fancy cake to share on this date. A salute also to all US veterans of the US Armed Forces , for tomorrow is Veterans Day.
    It’s just 38 years and a week since I invaded Vietnam, too…tempus, it sho’ do fugit!

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Semper Fi, since 1775 — cakes are being cut in some distant and dusty places today.

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  42. MarkH said on November 10, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Johns Hopkins, right. That would put O’Rourke in MD, not OH fortunately for him, based on Jeff’s description above. Sadly, this has become such a scourge. Homes in the outlying areas (read lower income) around here in the Tetons are now at risk of having required thorough meth lab inspections prior to any financing approvals; joing an increasing number of neighborhoods throughout the country, I suspect. Very sad about Baltimore, OH. Radical, in a way, after all. And, I had forgotten all about Basil! RIP

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  43. coozledad said on November 10, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Well, so much for “there ain’t no greenhouse effect” fantasists.
    Here it is mid-November in NC and we’ve still got tomatoes. Not so long ago you were picking the green ones in September to let them ripen on the windowsill; and that late availability wasn’t common among amateur horticulturalists. It’s not just getting warmer, certain insect populations are expanding, turning once marginal pest species into real problems. We now have about an acre of sod fully churned over, eaten and digested by junebug larvae. It looks like fucking planting medium. If they hatch, they’ll devour every shrub from here to New Bern.
    I remember when I was a kid how cold late September used to be. October nights you commonly got a 15 degree freeze. Not this year. I still think we’ll get cold around Christmas, but winter only lasts two, maybe three months around here anymore.
    Today I’ve been preparing Vietnamese dishes from our late fall harvest of chiles, tomatoes and EGGPLANT. That’s just wrong.

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  44. a different Connie said on November 10, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    What do you mean you have guns in the house? You were supposed to turn those in last Wednesday.

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  45. joodyb said on November 10, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    for you john leonard fans, in case you didn’t see it, andrew’s tribute:


    ftr, there are way too many people who think africa is a country and don’t know NAFTA from NAPA. big deal. our schools suck.
    i did wonder where the post-elex hatin’ was comin’ from, as the woman WAS NOT VETTED and the choice was purely political on McCain’s part. he wasn’t even talking to her on the plane 2 weeks ago, for chrissake. there are some ops who are seriously worried about their careers right now.

    she is indeed ’12 material, based on the Reagan analogy. i don’t think he was quite the diva she is and at least had the smarts to hire people to read the papers for him. but we’re all gonna die that year anyway, if you believe C2C.

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  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Not die, but be transformed . . . big diff. We’ll all become indigo children in the cosmic realignment of energy fields, predicted by the infinitely wiser Mayans (except when they listened to their shadow side and tore beating hearts out of living chests of sacrificial victims, but we all have bad days once’t in a while).

    Dec. 12, 2012. Mark your calendars, stone wheel or on-line planner.

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  47. Dexter said on November 10, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    The Africa country/continent dust-up reminded me a bit of an incident from 37 years ago. I was media spokesman for our Ft. Wayne Vietnam Veterans Against the War chapter.
    We had been raising a little hell around Fort Wayne, demonstrating a few times, and the TV and radio decided we were the big story of the day.
    For the only time in my life I was granting a series of interviews , on the phone as well as on the street.
    Rog Wellman of WANE interviewed me for the local evening news. The piece was taped in front of the Allen County Courthouse where we were conducting a demonstration against the war.
    Of course nothing was rehearsed and Wellman , who was quite well-versed on the war, asked a lot of good, detailed questions, which I handled easily, but somehow as I was giving a long answer I said “Indonesia” when I meant “Indochina”. I had corrected myself immediately, but boy…did I hear it from my brother and some friends who watched the segment that night…”DUMB ASS !! DON’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE !!…”
    Nobody is as cruel as your family and friends. No slack.

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  48. Suzi said on November 10, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    “We’re going to invite the American people to join us in stopping any slide to the left by the Obama administration or Pelosi Democrats,” Pence said.
    I guess Pence didn’t get the mandate memo or there’s some lukewarm KoolAid left over from the last several weeks. He wants to be President reeeaal bad and the old-fashioned social conservative agenda is the only schtick he’s got. I’m warnin’ y’all — Pence/Palin . . . wouldn’t they make a pretty ticket?

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  49. Suzi said on November 10, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Jeff, thanks for the reminder about the Fitz. I’ve only visited the shores of Superior on calm summer day when the lake is serene and blue and you just can’t imagine a raging November gale like the one that took the Fitzgerald. I believe the ship’s bell is still in the little shipwreck museum at Whitefish Point. You have to go through Paradise to get there.
    Rest in peace, sailors.

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  50. Suzi said on November 10, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Re: Pantygate, did Sarah’s Dad really say that “the kids lose underwear . . .?”
    Good God!
    So when is Sarah’s grandbaby due?
    You couldn’t make this stuff up.

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  51. joodyb said on November 10, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    And then he brought them all moose meat chili. he’s a good dad, i think. he tries.

    thanks Jeff TMMO. i feel much better thinking of it in those terms! of course i will be trying to acquire the needed ‘shroomage between now and then, as well.

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  52. basset said on November 11, 2008 at 12:28 am

    the Edmund Fitzgerald… interesting tv piece about it here:


    comes from a local station in Michigan which dug up some marine radio traffic from the night the Fitzgerald sank & laid pictures over it. needs a couple of interviews or something but it’s still interesting.

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  53. MarkH said on November 11, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Uh, Jeff, I believe the date is Dec. 21, 2012. You pastors gotta help us be on time for our apocalypses, don’tcha know…


    Can’t believe I missed the Antioch closing; had a couple of friends that went there. The ones that decided to break with the crowd that went to OU.

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  54. JGW said on November 11, 2008 at 7:41 am

    My jerk ass old former publisher who (disclaimer: I believe) is a compulsive liar and hard core GOP wingnut decided to contribute to the Townsend Tire upside down flag thing with an editorial supporting the guy, and saying it’s not about race, it’s about issues. Of course he failed to mention that the same one issue voter who rails about abortion is a death penalty fan. And he also failed to note that despite all the moans and groans and Right to Life Marches every year EVERY GOP President and congress has paid the movement lip service and Roe V. Wade is alive and well. I was there in the 80’s when ROnnie waved at us in the cold, but the right is clueless that that wave was about the strongest support any GOP guy has shown the movement.
    For the record I am pro-life and anti-death penalty but refuse to define my vote by one issue, thats assinine and it’s like not bothering to vote at all.
    The publisher in Bluffton stated that he wrote his fanciful editorial to apologize for running the AP brief that was not supportive of the Tire Tyrant.
    I’d post a link, but the same publisher has adopted a paid access plan – like that worked well for the NY Times or any other paper- and despite a staggering fall off in web traffic and , hmmmm, 35 paid readers, still locks out the text of stories. I’m so glad that I quit that fogie factory.
    I got tired of preaching about the new media, community journalism, and building goodwill and credibility among the younger generations. Their readers die off in handfulls every day. I’d link to their obits but those are paid access too. Want to read Aunt Jean’s obit. Cough up $5.95 a month. Thanks for being clueless and accelerating the decline of a once great newspaper.
    It won’t take long before the Bluffton local paper is as retarded as the once great Huntington Herald-Press. They purged everyone with any clues or skills, and while the new editor argues his ideas, like hypehenated headlines and huge pictures of nothing, he has managed to hire a staff composed of almost all young and pretty girls. Not women- girls.
    Am I bitter? Hell yes. But despite almost 20 years in journalism I can’t convince my kids that newspapers matter anymore. If they read the local paper it’s only for the police blotter “man told police that lawn gnomes belong to god, thats why he stole them,” or the typos, like “He is a gifted pubic speaker.” Does he have to pick the hairs out before he speaks pubically?

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  55. alex said on November 11, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Palin is the reason half the GOP defected in this election. I doubt she’ll be back. Mike Pence is just Palin with a penis and a better education. I’d love to see either or both on a national ticket. It’ll help keep the Dems in office.

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 11, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Sorry, Dec. 12 is Feast of Our Lady of Guadelupe, 21st is the winter solstice, and hence the trigger for the Mayan Big Crunch in 2012. Set your watches accordingly.

    Like i said to Suzi, i’m not out driving around at 2 am as much as i used to (thanks be to God), so i’m a little sketchy on my C2C ref’ns.

    Today is a good day to pick up a copy of “Tolkien and the Great War,” by John Garth (uber-geek alert); it isn’t just about how WWI shaped the Lord of the Rings much more than the shadows of WWII looming as he wrote it, but it gives you a ground level view at the front and on the homefront of just how overwhelming the impact of WWI was on England, where 11 am is still a universally acknowledged moment of silence in stores and offices, pubs and parks on this eleventh day of the eleventh month, when the guns fell silent.

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  57. basset said on November 11, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Apropos of absolutely nothing… went to see Brian Wilson last night, incredible band but I wonder what’s going on in his head. they did an hour of Beach Boys, intermission, his whole new album and another twenty minutes or so of old stuff… didn’t see him smile once the whole time. they had him propped behind a keyboard front and center, he sang sitting down and leaning a little with his hands hanging by his sides.

    he’s in Ann Arbor tomorrow night, I’d go see it…

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  58. MarkH said on November 11, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Stand by, Alex. She’ll be back, and in national office.

    Lisa Murkowski’s term is up in 2010 and Palin will make a run at it. Or, how about THIS (as fellow republican Murkowski will certainly want re-election): Ted Stevens survives any challenge his election win, but his recent convictions wind up pushing him out of office: she appoints herself as his successor(!!). Could this actually happen? Based on how we’ve come to know Palin, don’t put it past her if there is a legal mechanism in Alaska election law.

    In any case, my prediction for Palin is an embarkation on some equivalent of a four year college education in public policy and international relations, as she does not let go of presidential aspirations. She may surprise all of us. But she will end up in the senate, at least. Just think of the eventual senate floor hijinx if Franken pulls this out as well. Heh.

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