Well, you could have this weekend and return it to the manufacturer, eh? The giant snowstorm was followed by a big freeze — this is not news to a large number of you, I know — and everywhere was suffering. The dog is irritable, torn between his instinctual need to visit the outdoors regularly and its utter suckitude. My poor car looks like it has leprosy, but it’s too cold to wash it and besides, it’s only going to snow again tomorrow and probably the next day, too. I deprived a local mall of my business and went to one farther away, because the former is one of those Potemkin Village lifestyle-center malls, and if there’s one thing I don’t want to do on a day with single-digit temperatures and a howling wind, it’s walk outdoors between stores.
I went to Somerset instead. Every luxury store under the sun, plus a few you haven’t heard of. None had anything I wanted. Everything seemed cheap and stupid. The upside: Cheap and stupid is now 30 percent off. Even Barney’s was having a sale. You could buy a pair of ugly shoes for $325, marked down from $545. I really can’t wait for Christmas to be over. Nothing like double-digit unemployment (barely; Michigan’s now at 9.4 percent, but expected to go much higher, and I suspect that makes us No. 1) and the promise of an even worse future to extract all the fun out of spending your money.
But enough about me.
Some good bloggage today: Every so often I go Googling for Tim Goeglein (who really should work for Google, don’t you think? He could answer his phone, “Google, Goeglein.”), to see if he’s left a breadcrumb trail. The new Washington will be a hostile place for conservatives other than Rick Warren, but you should never underestimate the ability of people to land on their feet, change and/or find a seat somewhere on the Wingnut Welfare gravy train. So far, nothing’s turned up, until this, a WashPost story from earlier this month, about a lunchtime gathering at a D.C. Buca di Beppo. Deal Hudson, founder and former publisher of Crisis magazine, was host of a big table in the Pope Room, and the idea was to read Christmas poetry aloud to the group. That’s it. Sort of charming when you think about it.
Tim’s not in the story, only in the photo (and only the top of his head, at that). But just to show you what a big tent the right wing is and remains, note that lineup in the picture: born-again virgin Dawn Eden; nice Lutheran Tim (hands folded prayerfully?); and Hudson, the host. (The other two guys are Googleable, but ciphers — to me, anyway.) Eden is known for having rejected what she calls a “‘Sex and the City’ lifestyle” for orthodox Catholicism, celibacy, anti-abortion activism and a book contract (“The Thrill of the Chaste”). Hudson became ex-publisher of Crisis after a story surfaced about a drunken sexual encounter with a teenage college student that led to harassment charges against him, i.e., unchaste behavior. And among the magazines Goeglein plundered in his strange career as a writer was Crisis.
We are all sinners, and the balm of literature is soothing to all. Remember that.
Thinking of the Wingnut propaganda chorus reminds me that Alicublog is still on the job keeping tabs on them all, and has a fine roundup post on Christmas Week at the National Review. Sample:
“Why does an obsessive Nazi-hunter like Simon Wiesenthal get positive press,” (Mark Goldblatt) asks, “while an obssessive Communist-hunter like Joe McCarthy is vilified?” Maybe because Wiesenthal hunted actual Nazis, while McCarthy was happy to tar citizens ranging from Owen Lattimore to Adlai Stevenson.
Finally, although it isn’t technically Holiday Photos Week yet, I’m kicking things off with a couple of contributions from our webmaster, J.C. Burns, who is way ahead of me on the digitizing-old-photos chore. He sent two along, pegged to my comment about Tri-X film, but since one includes me and another features a famous mystery guest, let’s get it started. First, here are three of J.C.’s women friends, c. 1979-80ish, in the courtyard of his salad-days garden apartment in Atlanta. The woman on the left is Verneda I-forget-her-last-name, the one on the right is Deb Warlaumont-now-Mulvey, my BFF then and now (posts here as deb, always lower-case), and in the middle is a woman who really should have rethought that scarf. And her hair. And the shoes (Dr. Scholl’s!). And certainly the glasses, although that was the fashion at the time.
It looks like I was consulting my checkbook while about to descend concrete stairs in wooden sandals. Which explains why I frequently sported bruises in those days.
The other is today’s Comment Thread Mystery, and if I had something to give as a prize I would, but alas. Below is another picture of Deb, along with a college classmate of ours. Same general era. He is, today, a journalist of national reputation (his official bio calls him “renowned,” but I think that’s pushing it), who makes frequent appearances on TV. This puzzle may favor the men in our audience, but that’s the only clue I’m giving you. Once his identity is correctly identified, I’ll post a contemporary photo in an update, so we can all laugh over the difference. Who is our mystery man? (And please: Those who knew him then, or know because they read all the comments here, sit this one out, please? This means you, MarkH. The underlying joke of this photo is the physical change.)
Everyone have a great start to a short week. And try to stay warm.
UPDATE: Jeff TMMO wins, but I think he had help. I just don’t see how you could recognize “renowned NFL reporter Peter King” based on the jaw alone. Not when the hair is such a distraction, anyway. (It looks like a wig, doesn’t it?) I guess it’s all that practice at looking at the soul within, because this is what he extrapolated from:
Kirk said on December 22, 2008 at 8:29 am
Is he a sportswriter?
James said on December 22, 2008 at 8:31 am
“The woman on the left is Verneda I-forget-her-last-name…”
Kruger, although I’m not sure if that’s how you spell it. Why do I use brain cells to remember my brother’s friends from the 80’s? I dunno.
Now if only I could remember things like my wife’s cellphone number, or programming stuff I read…
nancy said on December 22, 2008 at 8:32 am
James: You did better than me. For some reason I was thinking her last name was Graham.
Pam said on December 22, 2008 at 8:38 am
Wow! That hair!
Kirk said on December 22, 2008 at 8:48 am
OK, I thought I knew, probably because I subconsciously remember you mentioning him. So I’ll step aside and let the others play.
Hoosier said on December 22, 2008 at 8:55 am
But y’all look so happy! Don’t know who he is, but he looks like a young Al Franken!
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2008 at 9:01 am
Looks like Peter King, mebbe? I’m going by the jaw, not the hair.
brian stouder said on December 22, 2008 at 9:03 am
I thought that the best nn.c joke that could be made about who that person is – would be Mitch Albom, and on second look, it appears marginally possible!
SO, that’s my guess
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2008 at 9:22 am
Nope, i barely recognize that current photo, Nancy; it’s the shots from above in the booth that tracked nicely with the face sans hair. I usually don’t get home in time to see football until the fourth quarter, or [cue Al Roker voice] Football Night in America-ica-ica [end Al Roker voice]. Couldn’t be Albom, i was sure of that, don’t ask me why. My first thought was . . . Bob Greene? Nah, you would have had a more caustic aside buried in the challenge if ’twere him.
Dorothy said on December 22, 2008 at 9:24 am
I thought it was Al Franken, too. And I didn’t know who the hell Peter King was anyway.
Hey the airport reunion thing on Saturday went off fine. Josh spied his sister immediately. As the little bugger was hugging me, he said ” Tell Laura she’s not doing a very good job of hiding.” She had been trying to snap pictures of us hugging, but he spotted her right off. Must be that Army training. Here’s a link to anyone who wants to see the pictures.
MichaelG said on December 22, 2008 at 9:24 am
At least those cute girls aren’t wearing socks with their sandals. And Deb (deb?) in the second picture looks more freezing to death than interested in the mysto guest.
Who would want to jump Dawn Eden’s bones? Sex is as much mental as anything else and even when she condescends to allow some “lucky” gent to worship at her holy temple it’s not gonna be any fun because her head’s all twisted. By the way, I couldn’t get that video to start.
The Governator sent us a letter this AM outlining a plan for layoffs and furloughs for state employees. Merry Xmas from him. Michigan may be number one, but CA is right up there at eight and a half points and rising.
I grew up in Chicago and I don’t miss that weather or the “hawk” one bit. I’m proud to be a wuss. The WaMu thermometer I pass on the way to work showed forty degrees at 5:00 AM today. That’s cold enough for me.
MichaelG said on December 22, 2008 at 9:25 am
Link doesn’t work, Dorothy. I’d love to see it.
Dorothy said on December 22, 2008 at 9:28 am
Sorry. Technical difficulties. Try now. I think I solved it.
nancy said on December 22, 2008 at 9:28 am
Albom went to Brandeis (and has straight hair). Greene went to Northwestern, like the privileged rich kid he always was. I’m proud of Peter for doing so well after having been launched from such a proletarian state school. He was always a hard worker.
brian stouder said on December 22, 2008 at 9:32 am
Dorothy – very, very good stuff; Put a lump in my throat!
Randy said on December 22, 2008 at 9:46 am
Here in Winnipeg, the lifestyle mall is The Next Big (Retail) Thing, with a couple of major projects in the works for 2010 thereabouts. Please note today’s temperature here: Minus 29 Celsius, plus windchill. A fairly average day at this time of year. I can’t wait to lug my Xmas purcahses from one lifestyle affirmation to another, pausing to lower my toque as I lean into the wind. Good times.
Peter King has achieved enough standing to be mocked by younger, less noted sportswriters:
MichaelG said on December 22, 2008 at 10:05 am
Very nice, Dorothy. Thanks.
What’s a lifestyle mall? It might be fun shopping for a new lifestyle. Moneyback guarantee?
I went to Home Depot on Sat. It was stone empty. I thought maybe I had missed the anthrax alert or something. Employees were standing in clumps here and there talking among each other. I had them stopping me on every aisle asking if they could help. They sincerely thanked me for buying what I did – some light bulbs, a window squeegee, a couple of filters for the heater and a mop. It was scary.
jcburns said on December 22, 2008 at 10:43 am
I kinda like this Peter King pic. And I too was going to guess Al Franken just to throw you all off…gee, quick contest! And I have no Jay Mariotti pictures. Did we mention that Peter was not a sportswriter in college? I’m just pleased he’s a Mac guy.
nancy said on December 22, 2008 at 10:50 am
I don’t know what the timeline is on those two recent Peking photos, John. At one point I know he was portly, but the last time I saw him on TV he looked like he’d lost some weight, so either he’s gained it back or the picture you link to is older. What-ever. That’s right, though — I forgot we also matriculated with Jay Mariotti, who is even more loathed by the blogosphere (and a lot of other people) than Peking. However, based on reading his columns, Mariotti deserves it.
Where’s Tony Grossi these days, John? (Never mind. Google knows all. Answer: Cleveland.) Throw in the pathetic Marty Gitlin, and that’s about the whole OU Post sports staff, right there.
coozledad said on December 22, 2008 at 10:51 am
In Durham, NC, they built a replica of the “Five Points” area of the old downtown and called it “Southpointe” (I may have added an extra e, but you get the idea). It’s on several acres of farmland, and several miles away from anything. The streets are decorated with calculatedly innocuous bronze sculptures and fanciful Victorian lamposts, from which the people who conceived and executed the project should hang until real vultures pick them clean.
My wife and I have had to go there to eat at a “restaurant” for a holiday dinner sponsored by one of her old employers. I had a dish of “Italian” food putty. The company she worked for at the time failed because its “capital” evaporated.
basset said on December 22, 2008 at 11:16 am
Basic idea of a “lifestyle center” is that the traditional enclosed mall in the middle of a sea of parking is over… and the new approach is “mixed use,” combination of retail, residential, and office in a walkable community.
Some of them are indeed pretty bad, haven’t seen the center Cooz refers to but I know some others which take that approach. Done properly, though, a lifestyle center can do a lot to get people out of their cars and build community.
Southpointe, Five Points… rule of thumb in the mall business is that you cut down a forest to make room for construction, then name the mall after the trees.
Kirk said on December 22, 2008 at 11:17 am
Sounds like the French Market in north Columbus was a lifestyle center ahead of its time before it collapsed.
brian stouder said on December 22, 2008 at 11:25 am
Fort Wayne’s Jefferson Pointe is very pleasant in April or May or June, but July-August heat & humidity, and artic blasts around the holidays are MAJOR demerits.
They strive to make them like little towns, with fountain squares and occasional activities or musical attractions ‘on the green’ – and faux streets w/light posts (there’s one north of Indianapolis – at Carmel – which strikes me as flatly odd)
My old-guy attitude is that the real goal IS to have an old style downtown, but where the landlord owns it ALL (and doesn’t have to pay for heat), most especially including the ‘police’ – rent-a-cops that don’t have to tolerate the presence of anyone who isn’t shopping
Catherine said on December 22, 2008 at 11:40 am
Dorothy the reunion photos are boffo! I especially liked the feigned surprise one.
Re the empty Home Depot: Yesterday, my husband went to Stats, a Pasadena institution of the pre-lit Christmas tree, ornaments, nice wrapping paper type. Normally this time of year the place is nuts (which is why I sent him!), but this year everything is 20% off and you could have shot a cannon through it without hitting anyone. Welcome to double-digit employment, indeed.
nancy said on December 22, 2008 at 11:46 am
Around here, Birmingham is our local lifestyle center, although it’s real — a pre-war downtown lined with upscale shopping and restaurants. We went last weekend to find Smith & Hawken liquidating, along with a shoe store and several other high-end retailers with similar everything-must-go signs in the windows. (The chic pet emporium was seemingly unaffected; anyone need a $350 cat scratching post? Alan thinks they’ll be toast by March, however.)
alex said on December 22, 2008 at 11:55 am
Tell Alan he’s wrong. A $350 scratching post has to be good until at least April.
Dexter said on December 22, 2008 at 11:58 am
Peter King? I guess I really DON’T follow football if he’s a renowned football guy. When I saw the name I instantly thought of R-NY Congressman Peter King (usually called “Pete”), who was on the teevee Sunday morning bashing Caroline Kennedy . King thinks she’s just much too “Park Avenue” to deserve HRC’s treasured NY Senate seat.
Well, “my” Peter is first at Google, “yours” is second.
Congressman Peter King
US Representative for New York’s 3rd District, Republican Pete King.
SI.com – Peter King – Writer Archive
Peter King, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, joined the magazine in 1989 after spending nearly a decade as an award-winning newspaper journalist. …
Dexter said on December 22, 2008 at 12:07 pm
I was sure it was Al Franken, too…
but…I see Al’s hair is less “wiggy”, and then there’s the school thing…Al Franken’s school was Harvard College, the undergrad school of Harvard University.
I just thought…I know exactly one person who went to Harvard, but about 12 who went to Ohio U in Athens, mostly my kids’ friends.
LA Mary said on December 22, 2008 at 12:32 pm
I think I’ll buy this car for my son for Christmas:
LA Mary said on December 22, 2008 at 12:34 pm
Catherine, I’ll have to hit Stats. I need some new lights and I was thinking LED, and Target in Eagle Rock, which was pretty busy, was completely out of any sort of lights. Stats is usually a place I don’t even want to drive by at this time of year.
Catherine said on December 22, 2008 at 12:43 pm
Yes, and then you are just up the street from the Folk Tree and their international nativities exhibit, which put me directly into the Christmas Zone.
whitebeard said on December 22, 2008 at 1:33 pm
LA Mary, that’s my kind of car. I once had a very used Pontiac T1000 that I parked at LaGuardia airport in New York City in a rush to fly to a funeral.
When I came back a week later, someone had broken into it, looked at the vintage McDonald’s wrappers in the back seat and gently closed the door.
Even car thieves were not that desperate to steal those pitiful wheels and would rather walk.
In today’s economy it might have been a different scenario. One of those greedy, bonus-rich bankers might have taken it to pretend he was down to his last stolen dime.
MichaelG said on December 22, 2008 at 2:05 pm
Home Depot has plenty of lights, Mary. On sale too.
“Smith & Hawken liquidating” Really? That’s too bad. They started in Mill Valley which is too hip to have real businesses in it and then moved up to Novato. When people talk about peacock feathers in Marin County, they mean Mill Valley. S&H was the new age darling of cool business people some years back. Books were written.
LA Mary said on December 22, 2008 at 2:09 pm
Michael, no lights at Home Depot in Glassell Park. I bought a tree there and looked all over the store for lights. Nada. Lots of stuff like the life size wire deer with lights all over them but zip on the tree lights.
MichaelG said on December 22, 2008 at 2:22 pm
Well, it’s nice to hear not all Home Depot stores are abandoned although I can certainly understand why those wire deer were left behind.
LA Mary said on December 22, 2008 at 2:29 pm
I think stuff like life sized deer are more of a committment than I’m willing to make, decoration-wise. I’m a tree a small wreath type. Sometimes no wreath if I don’t see one I like for under ten bucks.
John said on December 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm
We are off to sunny North Carolina (coozledad country) to visit the grandkiddies for Christmas. May you all have a Joyeux Noël and eat way too much!
brian stouder said on December 22, 2008 at 2:49 pm
To you and yours also, John! (I think Rudolph with ‘his nose so bright’ is going to be needed for Christmas travel, this Christmas)
edit: And btw – we’re just being cool and steering around the neat pic of the proprietress, from back in her salad days; but suffice it to say – the caption about appearing to review her checkbook as she prepares to descend the cement stairs made me chuckle! (although to me, it appears that the saucey young ladies are reviewing their black book, before descending upon the town!)
coozledad said on December 22, 2008 at 3:25 pm
John: You’re just in time. Warming trend starts tomorrow.
Dexter said on December 22, 2008 at 5:12 pm
coozledad…are you making a Christmas wreath for the mules? You mule-pics are more fun than the puppy-cam!
Dexter said on December 22, 2008 at 5:15 pm
Jeezuss…it took me hours to thaw a frozen pipe…oh,no…I am not Mr. Handyman—I called all the plumbers in town and got the same response from all…”you won’t be getting a plumber anytime today…” —so there went Dexter with electric heaters and tape and insulation crawling around and about.
coozledad said on December 22, 2008 at 5:24 pm
I am now..slave of mules…must slice… more apples.
LA Mary said on December 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm
The mules can’t eat whole apples? Do they want brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on their apples too?
nancy said on December 22, 2008 at 5:43 pm
You’ve been around farm animals enough, Cooze, to know that handing them apples from your fingers is an invitation to lose a digit. Put the goodie flat on the palm of your hand, and let them pick it up with their prehensile muzzles. I have to relearn this lesson from time to time with the dog.
coozledad said on December 22, 2008 at 5:47 pm
LA Mary: They can, but it assists me in creating the illusion of more apples. It’s kind of like Rockefeller handing out a big bag of nickels to poor children. Half got nickels, half of them got chestnuts.
And they’d love the sugar and cinnamon, but they already could use a little dental work.
coozledad said on December 22, 2008 at 5:59 pm
Nancy: The mules lip everything first, but they do seem to be getting less shy, especially when they’re contesting the ownership of the apple (or carrot). This morning was cold enough I was wearing work gloves while handing out treats. A nearly new pair, too. Andy took the apple, and slid the glove off my hand via the third finger.
He only gently bit the finger, but the glove is a mess. I think he thought it was part of the treat.
Do horses talk as much as mules?
I swear I’ve heard one of them say to the other: “Get out my way, sumbitch, or I’ll make breathing hard for ya.”
LA Mary said on December 22, 2008 at 6:13 pm
coozledad, our household determined long ago that dogs can count but not measure. A dog biscuit broken in half is two dog biscuits. I guess mules are the same.
LA Mary said on December 22, 2008 at 6:36 pm
Something to entertain you:
Deborah said on December 22, 2008 at 6:43 pm
Arrived in New Mexico for the annual holiday stay. Flew into Albuquerque and the drove to Santa Fe for the traditional lunch at Pasquales. Was shocked at how empty Santa Fe seemed compared to previous years. The weekend before Christmas is usually bustling with tourists and shoppers. Not nearly so this year (thankfully). I found a super bargain, a Borsolino hat for $25 marked down from $250. On to Abiquiu where we normally stay near our land. Today back to Santa Fe to renew our well permit for another year since we haven’t started construction yet on our house. Again, it wasn’t nearly as crowded as usual. Except for Trader Joes. Everyone seemed to be there, it was a mad house. I think people were taking advantage of Trader Joe’s great values on party supplies.
coozledad said on December 22, 2008 at 6:55 pm
LA Mary: The highlight of that video for me was Todd Rundgren in sock/stirrups.
One more winter sewing project.
LA Mary said on December 22, 2008 at 7:20 pm
My office is torn between the Geico Caveman guy in black and yellow, and the last guy who is very enthusiastic. The rainbow guy has the same haircut I had in that era.
MichaelG said on December 22, 2008 at 7:33 pm
Before Cooz beat me to it I was going to note that you can tell they’re Germans because they wear socks even when barefoot.
basset said on December 22, 2008 at 8:55 pm
Mmmmm, NOW I remember Dr. Scholls. Right.
being the only straight male (aside from Basset Jr.) south of the Mason-DIxon Line who actively avoids football, I had no idea who Peter King might be. Thought that was Al Franken.
I try to avoid Home Depot but the George Jones liquor store was heaving with humanity after work tonight, as was the upscale beer store a few blocks away. (Here in Tennessee you have to go to a liquor store to get wine or spirits, can’t get ’em in a grocery or drugstore as you can in Indiana; beer you can get just about anywhere but not in a liquor store. It’s a mystery.)
No lifestyle centers quite yet in my neighborhood – the mall two miles from my front door was still on deadmalls.com the last time I looked.
Meanwhile, the inlaws aren’t gonna make it down from Michigan for Christmas, or for grandson’s birthday tomorrow night. Twenty-two inches of snow in one weekend on top of the foot they already had, can’t be goin’ nowhere in that.
del said on December 23, 2008 at 12:39 am
Watching LA Mary’s video post generated enormous psychic dissonance. Repulsive as it was I was completely unable to avert my gaze. I remain under its hypnotic spell.
Dexter said on December 23, 2008 at 1:02 am
I see bff or BFF everywhere , and I know what it means to most, but to me it means this: http://www.bicyclefilmfestival.com/
Gasman said on December 23, 2008 at 3:04 am
We were quite thankful to get the Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe. It is the best source for weird European cheeses and cheap wine, not to mention affordable veggie friendly fake meat (for us recovering carnivores). As you know, we are getting a pretty good snow tonight. My mom is supposed to fly in from Fort Wayne tomorrow. We’ll see if she makes it on time. If you’d gone to see the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble on Sunday at First Presbyterian you would have seen me playing guitar. Maybe some other time. My wife is liturgist at the second service on Christmas Eve, that is, if we can get to Santa Fe from Los Alamos. We will put our 4-wheel drive to the test this week. Feliz Navidad, mi amiga. Enjoy some biscochitos while in the Land of Enchantment. (Preferably, without lard.)
It may not count, since we live way out west, but I didn’t know who Peter King was either. I don’t think that I have watched an entire football game in my life, and that includes the year that I played high school football. I was with you all the way in thinking that it was Al Franken in the photo. What do I know. The bizarre concept of separate stores for liquor and beer is de rigeur up in Ontario (that’s in Canada, you know.) There, both the liquor and the beer shops are run by the provincial government. They also have a separate store for wine. Tres bizarre.
basset said on December 23, 2008 at 10:34 am
been awhile since I have had occasion to buy beer in Ontario but I remember going into a state store in Sault Ste. Marie, a bare room with about half a dozen twelve-packs on display behind a counter, one for each brand they carried, and the clerk would fetch whatever you wanted out of the back room.
in Indiana, meanwhile, you can get beer in a grocery or a convenience store but it has to be warm, only liquor stores can sell it cold.
Dexter said on December 23, 2008 at 2:30 pm
For a look at a Canadian beer store, check out “Strange Brew”, from 1983, eh?
Deborah said on December 23, 2008 at 4:51 pm
Why would I want to skip the lard? Lard makes the tastiest pastries. My long dead aunt used to make the best cinnamon roles with lard. Guess what she died from.
Enjoying the snow in Abiquiu, although we were chagrined to find out that our rental SUV does not have all wheel drive. Who ever heard of that? Now we know we have to ask for AWD not just an SUV.
Those Roger Ebert lines were as you said, laugh out loud funny. My sister-in-law claims to have had a few dates with Ebert when she was a student at the University of illinois.
LA Mary said on December 23, 2008 at 5:00 pm
Deborah, a lot of the folks who have been buying SUVs in the last ten years have not been interested in AWD. They just want big vehicles.
CrazyCatLady said on December 24, 2008 at 12:49 am
Dr Scholl’s wooden sandals?? I just loved those! And I was a devotee of “Earth” shoes too. Why the hell was I so obsessed about ugly uncomfortable shoes? I was just the victim of 70’s fads, I guess. And they were so groovy!