A few of my favorite things.

When the bad news piles up, it’s tempting to brood, but today let’s give ourselves a break, shall we? All is not lost. There are even pleasures to be had in bad times, as last night, on the phone with my sister, when she let loose with a short list of punishments she’d like to see visited on Bernard Madoff:

…and I’d like to see them go into his closet. I’d like to see his shoes auctioned off. I’d like to see him in jail. Not a good jail, but a really, really bad one…

Me: The Wayne County Jail!

Yeah, that’s a good one. And I’d like to see his kids go there, too. And his wife, and…

Actually, I think the Scourging of the Wall Streeters would not only be a totally excellent reality show, I think that if Barack Obama made it a centerpiece of his inaugural ball, we could go ahead and start carving him on Mt. Rushmore now.

So let’s pause and just throw a little credit and praise around the room, shall we? Let’s start with this week’s Metro Times, where the horribly bylined “Detroitblogger John” has another gem, about one of the many Detroit storefronts that have become private hangouts. It’s one of the unique features of this city, with so many empty buildings and cheap real estate, that it costs practically nothing to claim a little commercial space as your own. I first noticed this when I wrote a (very bad, but that wasn’t entirely my fault) story on one of the city’s bid whist clubs, where members gather twice a week to play cards. The MT story is on the Chip-in Sportsmen’s Club on Seven Mile, home to a group of retired autoworkers who’d rather hang with their friends than hang at home, and are willing to pay a modest fee to do so:

Dues are $35 a month, plus $6 for Mega Millions lottery tickets bought by the club. Members are entitled to a key and free access anytime, including two private parties a year. They throw a Christmas Eve bash and a fish fry now and then, and grow a garden out back, giving the vegetables to folks in the neighborhood in the fall. On warm summer afternoons they’ll line chairs out front and watch as traffic passes by and the day winds along.

Detroitblog publishes in the Metro Times, and later in the day posts the same story on his own website, with additional photos. So, in keeping with what we’ve been talking about of late, read the story on the MT link above, and then, if you like, check out the extra pix here.

Everyone must be in a mellow mood today. Check out the Bush twins in People, via New York magazine:

People: Barbara, Jenna, any advice for Sasha and Malia Obama?
Jenna: Well, they’re a lot younger than we are, cuter than we are. We’re old news.
Barbara: Even the puppy is going to be cuter.

A puppy cuter than you, Barbara? It doesn’t exist!

No, wait: It does.

Finally, let’s forget our economic troubles and turn our focus to something that really matters — redecorating the White House — especially when it gives us an excuse to link to this picture:


Kids, the ’60s were real, and they happened for a reason. See above.

Off to relieve stress. Back later.

Posted at 9:45 am in Current events, Detroit life, Media |

64 responses to “A few of my favorite things.”

  1. coozledad said on December 18, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Boy. That picture is the sixties encapsulated. Everyone’s so goosed on benzedrine they forgot to put a can of pop’n fresh biscuits in the oven.
    Who’d eat them anyway?

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  2. Kirk said on December 18, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Dick and Pat are sloshed anyway. David’s thinking, “God bless us every one!” Thank you so much for that picture. What a riot. Reminds me of the visceral hatred I had for Nixon that I’ve never quite been able to feel toward Bush, though I know he deserves it.

    And the three puppies that remain are getting increasingly wild. The other day they knocked the puppycam askew, so that it was shooting through some kind of screen, with the floor either at the top or on one side of the image. It was kind of hard to tell.

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  3. Dorothy said on December 18, 2008 at 10:17 am

    That’s not the real Nixon family, right? They’re paper dolls manipulated to sit and smile, to LOOK like a real family.

    GAH – that wall mural!! What the hell were they thinking?!?!?! The only thing worse in this picture is the ugly mirror over the fireplace.

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  4. brian stouder said on December 18, 2008 at 10:17 am

    The secret to a good column or blog, it seems to me, is: leave them wanting a little more; and our Proprietress has a talent for pithy closings that never fail to produce a chuckle. Take today’s:

    Off to relieve stress. Back later.

    The first thing I thought was – Alan is a lucky guy! (‘course, there doesn’t have to be an intentional double entendre for most fellers to see one. Like that fellow on My Big Fat Greek Wedding that can take any word, and show you the Greek root of it….which, come to think of it, is the same ‘talent’ Rush Limbaugh [et al] has, in taking any Blago news, or any bad economic news, or any bad weather news – and showing you how Obama is at the root of it!)

    Didja see the story about the cat roundup?


    money quote: “The demonstrators held up banners saying “Cooking cats alive! Shame on Guangdong!” and “Resolutely oppose cruel slaughter” as they met with a representative of the Guangdong office.”

    Edit: Kirk – my theory is, you only can do that once (maintain a burning anger at [fill in the blank]), and then you’re past the ability to do it again; Sorta like catching chicken pox, and then it’s out of the way

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  5. MichaelG said on December 18, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I don’t know, Dorothy. That rug’s no prize either. What a horribly cold room. The idea of eating on that little table in the middle of that huge room is creepy and I can believe that the Nixons actually ate that way. But then the Nixons were creepy in a way that no presidential family I’ve seen has ever been.

    Nance, you turned me on to the Detroit Blog several years ago and I’ve been checking it weekly ever since. It’s a wonderful spot.

    Relieving stress? Many, many years ago I worked in the Oakland unemployment office. One morning a woman who worked for me came in about a half hour late. I kind of raised an eyebrow at her and she explained: “Well, when I woke up, my husband rolled over and said ‘Wanna have a good time?’ so here I am. Late.” She was my best producer. What could I say?

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  6. nancy said on December 18, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Out of the gutter, you guys — Tuesdays and Thursdays are Flex Appeal class at 10 a.m., Pointe Fitness. Today the trainer had us jumping rope like Tommy Hearns. I may never recover.

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  7. jeff borden said on December 18, 2008 at 11:43 am


    Back in 1999, when I still gave a damn about my health, I signed up for three months of a “boot camp” style workout session. It was held outdoors at Diversey Harbor from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Many of the instructors were ex-jocks or ex-military including a former Army Ranger. We ran in formation while chanting Army/Marines chants, which the instructors said enhanced our breathing, for about a mile, then did warm ups, then did either more running or strength conditioning like pushups, pullups, squats, situps, etc. It was murder, particularly for someone who is most definitely not a morning person.

    I hated every nanosecond of it, but it was the only time in my life I had real muscle definition in my noodly arms. The downside was I usually fell asleep by 7:30 p.m. every night.

    Jumping rope is great, great exercise, but be careful of your knees.

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  8. Kirk said on December 18, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Brian, that thought has occurred to me, too. Guess I shot my life’s wad of humongous hatred on Nixon. More misspent youth.

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  9. Jason T. said on December 18, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Cue Dan Aykroyd as Nixon: “My God … He does look like Howdy Doody!”

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  10. brian stouder said on December 18, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Kirk – in 1996-98, I harbored a seething, burning hatred for Tony George and Bill Clinton, at the same time!

    I was a huge fan of CART, which was cemented forever* at the US-500 at Michigan International Speedway in May of ’96, and thought George was the worst doofus of all time. And – I had voted for WJC in ’92, but by ’96 I was completely sick of him and his undeserved luck (Bob Dole for an opponent? Good God!)

    So anyway – I learned about how wrong I was capable of being (ie – pretty damned wrong, in both cases!) – which a worthwhile wife can also illuminate.

    At least you spent your righteous anger on a worthwhile villain!

    *”forever” turned out to be about seven years

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  11. LA Mary said on December 18, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    You must have done your kegels if you can jump rope without embarrassment.

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  12. brian stouder said on December 18, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Mary – you’ve sent me right back into the gutter!

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  13. Kirk said on December 18, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Yes, Tony George succeeded in making the Indy 500 nearly irrelevant for a few years there, didn’t he?

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  14. Hattie said on December 18, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    I actually shook hands with Richard Nixon once. How that happened I do not want to discuss. He had more pancake makeup on than I have ever seen on anyone. What a phony.

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  15. Kirk said on December 18, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I once shook hands with the execrable Gov. James A. Rhodes, who sent national guardsmen to Kent to kill college students.

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  16. MichaelG said on December 18, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    I saw Reagan when he was gov here and he wore pancake.

    Tony George is evil. That whole CART, IRL thing was about nothing more than his little rich boy ass. Also Bernie E.

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  17. nancy said on December 18, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    The more I look at that Nixon picture the more I notice about it. Both Pat and Julie are wearing white shoes, and apparently the very same ones. Everyone’s color-coordinated matchy-matchy with the room, right down to the Trickster’s necktie, perhaps so that if anyone passes out, they won’t clash with the rug. And what are those two glowing orbs in the dark maw of the doorway? The service ‘bot?

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  18. Kirk said on December 18, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Could be Chuck Colson.

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  19. LA Mary said on December 18, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Gordon Liddy?

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  20. MichaelG said on December 18, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    No wine glasses. What’s that by David’s right hand? Could it be a bell to summon the help? I like it, Kirk.

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  21. coozledad said on December 18, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Or Gordon Liddy holding both hands over the warming candles.

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  22. Kirk said on December 18, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Is David giving a thumbs-up with his left hand, or is that something else in his lap?

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  23. coozledad said on December 18, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Kirk: I think he’s holding a pomade dispenser.

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  24. Kirk said on December 18, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    He was a Boy Scout, wasn’t he?

    Meanwhile, they’re all wondering, “Where the hell is the lobster bisque?”

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  25. Gasman said on December 18, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Nope, your theory doesn’t wash with me. I detested Nixon, Agnew, and Reagan with the white hot hatred that I reserve for enemies of our Constitution. W and Cheney have achieved new levels of disdain for me. I am rather enjoying listening to the pathetic bleating from W and Cheney as they try to rewrite history. They haven’t done a damn thing right in 8 years and now they seem to care how posterity will judge them. I hope they both live long enough to realize just how much the nation as a whole finds them contemptible.

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  26. Dorothy said on December 18, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    You’re right, MichaelG, the carpet is gaggy, too.

    I think Tricia and Pat’s outfits are made from the same fabric.

    Maybe the glowing orbs are the switches for the chandelier. Flip the magic switch, and the light fixture turns in to a disco ball!! Oh wait – disco was the 70’s. Never mind.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on December 18, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    About how about the hair? The women have at least a can of Aqua Net apiece.

    I’m guessing we won’t hear too much about redecoration because the Obamas have too much common sense to let that become a focus. Too expensive, too frivolous. Sure, they’ll distract us with the new puppy, but they know in today’s economy the nation would be infuriated with new china.

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  28. brian stouder said on December 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Kirk – wow! If that is something else in his lap, then one wonders how he got past the Secret Service! Talk about your Tricky Dicks…

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  29. LA Mary said on December 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    That mural looks like part of some Frank Frazetta fantasy book cover.

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  30. Jim in FL said on December 18, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I’m guessing the two orbs are door knobs, reflecting the photog’s flash.

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  31. John said on December 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    I’m with Jim on the door knob idea.

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  32. MichaelG said on December 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    What kind of salad is that?

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  33. LA Mary said on December 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    I’m not sure which I like better, the service bot idea or Chuck Colson, wide eyed and lurking. Imagining Richard Nixon speaking to a service bot is keeping me amused.

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    It’s the Family Residence Dining Room upstairs, and the wallpaper is gone, picked by Jackie and deep sixed by Betty — http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/floor2/private-dining-room.htm

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  35. LA Mary said on December 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    I think Frank Frazetta should do all the walls in the White House.


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  36. Dexter said on December 18, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Nuts to Nixon!
    The Chipin Club story is fascinating. It gave me a chance to remember the places old guys hang out ; many bars open very early and old men play cribbage on back-room tables and sip coffee, I recall that from my third-shift days when I drank 7:00 A.M. beers. Most of us can probably name a place where old guys hang out, but I can’t recall anything like the Chipin Club, where the men run it like a for-real club.
    Thanks for posting that story.
    LAMary…do the old guys still hang around “On the Nickel” in LA? Tom Waits sang about Fifth Street there in a song.

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  37. nancy said on December 18, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Frank Frazetti should definitely become speechwriter. I like his prose style:

    A word of caution:
    Frank Frazetta’s art
    occasionally depicts
    the human form
    devoid of coverings.

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  38. LA Mary said on December 18, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Dexter, Fifth Street is Skid Row, and yes, there are many guys hanging out on the nickel. There are some sort of trendy loft buildings on Sixth, but for the most part, that neighborhood is as it’s been for a long time. I think they figure there are 70,000 homeless people in LA and Skid Row has the highest concentration.

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  39. coozledad said on December 18, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    To which I would add:
    Frank also depicts the covering-devoided female form
    as it is and was always conceived
    by hormone-stricken boys
    shuddering at the precipice
    between stupidity
    and insanity.
    (ages 13-35)

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  40. MichaelG said on December 18, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    If you like Frank Frazetta you’ll probably also like Boris Vallejo. Just Google. There are a million sites. His women, though, tend to be a tad more devoid of covering than Frazetta’s.

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  41. joodyb said on December 18, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    that decor was the fashion of they day. i know, right? yikes! photographers had ways of enhancing portrait-type work like that back then. when you find these edited prints today, with their odd matte finishes that ape oil painting, many have ‘matured’ and the cyan tones pop out. i don’t know nothin’ about the actual science of it all, but i’ve looked lots of photos of this vintage lately. surreal.

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  42. coozledad said on December 18, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    This guy is actually an incredibly technically gifted artist, but he’s totally kicked Dali to the curb in the freak department: Ladies and gentlemen, the King of Kitsch…

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  43. Catherine said on December 18, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Jeff, fun link. I enjoyed the picture of Amy Carter reading at the table.

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  44. joodyb said on December 18, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    i love that link, jttmo.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Speaking of slimy yet oddly compelling undersea creatures — http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/12/photogalleries/top-ten-photos/index.html — and you thought Nixon made you nervous!

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  46. brian stouder said on December 19, 2008 at 8:52 am

    WooHoo!! We had an ice storm in the Fort, in the wee hours this morning. (I bet Motown got glazed-over, too).

    This morning at 7, our power was on, but all our neighbors and were blacked out. Then, our lights went out, and channel 15’s big diesel generator started up.

    When I went out to scrape the car, the temperature was right at the tipping point, between 32 and 33 degrees; all the trees and bushes were bowed down, and there was a singular ‘creaking’ sound all around.

    Pam had multiple strings of Christmas lights strung up to the top of the flag pole, which has now assumed the shape of a banana; I went to lower the lights, and of course failed (the pulley at the top of the pole is presumeably glazed over) – and in the process worsened the problem. The pole now looks like a parenthesis, and I think it may well snap….but it IS at least bending away from the house, so that’s good!

    On the way to work, the streets were slushy and colored every shade of grey – except where they are flooded (every low-spot is ponded up); and limbs and branches are down everywhere.

    Act II (presumeably later today) will be when the ice chunks begin to come off of the TV tower back at home. If it warms up quickly, the bombardment can be quite intense – a nonstop mix of chunks that vary in size from pop cans to stew pots.

    The first time I ever witnessed this, it finally struck me (pardon the pun) why the folks who owned the house before we did planted the tree that had always annoyed me, between our house and the neighbor’s. The limbs are always brushing our roof, and the thing drops leaves right into our gutters – and it generally always used to irritate me… right up until the first time I saw the tree do its real job, which was to deflect/breakup/catch chunks of ice intended for my car or roof or siding.

    Edit: Actually, Act II appears to be another round of limbs crashing to the ground. Pam called to say that several more big limbs of our neighbors’ have snapped off and fallen into their yards, and into the street

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  47. Danny said on December 19, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Wow, Brian hope all stays reasonably well. Ice storms suck. My remembrance of them carries no hint of comforting nostalgia.

    But this is an excellent segue into me asking a question of you all: What should I take to wear in Hawaii? We’re leaving tomorrow. First time for me.

    Don’t worry, I’ll be thinking of you all every moment. Every. Moment.

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 19, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Duh. Hawaiian Tropic!

    What? You’re going to a public beach? Oh.

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  49. Dorothy said on December 19, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Gang, I just have to share my excitement for an impending event tomorrow. My son is coming home for 15 days after being at Basic Training (Army National Guard) since mid-October. My daughter decided to fly in today from Virginia to come with us to the airport tomorrow to surprise him. The airport is going to be just wild for us – I know he’s going to be thoroughly surprised. My daughter and I will be crying, that’s a given. Not sure about Josh, though, if he’ll succumb. Anyway, we are buzzing with anticipation for the fun. Think of us, and pray the weather cooperates! It’s raining like mad here – at least the morning ice has melted.

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  50. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Dorothy, hug that boy good! Here the ice storm continues. Our power has blinked off and on about 25 times and trees with limbs 20 feet up are brushing the ground. I’d love to take some pix but the DH has the camera. I’m torn between worrying about a lenghty power outage and the accompanying water-in-the-basement-woes and the awesome beauty. Every object, every detail is encased in half-inch thick ice. If the sun were out it would be blinding. It’s raining now and supposed to begin snowing soon. Go winter!

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  51. Danny said on December 19, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Majel Barrett-Rodenberry died yesterday. She was the widow of Gene Rodenberry, creator of Star Trek. In the original series, she played Nurse Chapel, but I remember her most as the sexy computer voice for the Enterprise. Dang.

    Oh, and Deep Throat died too, but that doesn’t mean what some of you think it means.

    EDIT: Dorothy, I hope all goes well with the reunion with you son. Have fun!

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  52. Dorothy said on December 19, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Thanks Danny. Behave yourself in Hawaii!! And Julie, I will certainly do as you instructed! He might not be able to breathe for a few seconds after I get done squeezing him!

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  53. moe99 said on December 19, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Jeff (tmmo): all beaches in Hawaii are public.

    And the term skid row was originally skid road and originated in the Pacific NW:


    Finally, we can be grateful that we do not live in Galveston:

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  54. Danny said on December 19, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Duh. Hawaiian Tropic!

    No, Jeff, I have it. I’ll wear plaid Bermuda shorts, a white fruit-of-the-loom, crew-neck t-shirt and leather sandals with knee-high black socks. People will think I’m from the 70’s and that I’m there to mow lawns and drink Schaefer beer.

    Jeff (tmmo): all beaches in Hawaii are public.

    Moe, even ComeonIwannalayya beach? I’m not sure, but I think that is where we are staying. Hee!

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  55. Kirk said on December 19, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Danny, did you see that San Jose native John Byrne, lead singer for the oft-forgotten Count Five, died this week? Remember “Psychotic Reaction”?

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  56. LA Mary said on December 19, 2008 at 10:59 am

    “…No, Jeff, I have it. I’ll wear plaid Bermuda shorts, a white fruit-of-the-loom, crew-neck t-shirt and leather sandals with knee-high black socks. People will think I’m from the 70’s and that I’m there to mow lawns and drink Schaefer beer…”

    Minus the lawn mowing and the Schaefer and people will think you’re English. Especially the socks and sandals bit.

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  57. Danny said on December 19, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Kirk, when you first posted that a day or so ago, it did not register with me. I could not recollect that song and I was too busy trying to wrap stuff up at work. But I just listened to Psychotic Reaction on Youtube and I definitely remember that song. Great song.

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  58. Sue said on December 19, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Dorothy, I’m excited for you – I’ll give my son a hug on Sunday in honor of you and your son. Ok, an extra hug. And it goes without saying that we’d all like to hear how it goes.

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  59. brian stouder said on December 19, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Well Dorothy, what Sue said!

    It sounds like you and yours will have a marvelous Christmas (the airport scene you describe sounds like a Hallmark movie I just saw)

    Danny, Hawaii?! If I were in San Diego, I’d be happy! – we expect a full report upon your return (especially including things that must be seen, for the day – if ever- that Pam and I make it out there)

    Meanwhile, the procession of holiday foods and sweets keeps showing up here at the office. Vendors send in all sorts of candies and cheeses and breads and meats and cookies and popcorns (I prefer caramel, but the cheese goes quickly); and we sort of graze

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  60. LA Mary said on December 19, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Brian, Danny and I are in the middle of what is considered a deep freeze. It was 34 when I left my house this morning and the highs don’t get above 60 by mid afternoon. True, it causes terrible problems for the farmers, but from the way it’s reported on the local news you’d think we were in the frozen north somewhere.

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  61. Danny said on December 19, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Danny, Hawaii?! If I were in San Diego, I’d be happy!

    Brian, yeah, that is one of the conversations I’ve had with my wife over the years. When she would explain why we should visit Hawaii, I’d respond with: “Hey, we have sun and ocean and sand here.”

    But she says that it is different there. Way better. We’ll see.

    My parents and brother and sis-in-law will be there too. So fun seems unavoidable.

    EDIT: Mary, you left out the most terrible part. We got… RAIN! {{shudder}} I can’t wait to leave this godforsaken, wintery hell-hole that is Southern California.

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  62. LA Mary said on December 19, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Oh God yes, Danny. Rain. A week of local stations being on “STORM WATCH” as rain approached us. I nearly wished I had worn a coat this morning, but I got over it. My sweater was adequate by the time I got to the office. I had to use an umbrella several times this week as well. It’s not fit for habitation, this place.

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  63. Kirk said on December 19, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Problems getting on puppycam, but here’s a new one (more Shiba Inus):


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  64. MichaelG said on December 19, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    We’ve been suffering through a cold spell here as well. The bank thermo I pass on the way to work in the morning read 28 degrees yesterday at 5:00 AM. That stuff should be illegal.

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