Start your engines.

I went to bed expecting a cold and woke up feeling more or less OK, so I’m hoping it’s an omen. Because wooee, we may have a fun few days coming up here. My press credential for the North American International Auto Show was approved, so I’ll be attending the press preview, starting Sunday. Look for updates here and at Grosse Pointe Today, which may be duplicates or may not. I have no specific plan for coverage; I plan to work via the time-honored but forgotten tactic of “letting things happen first, and then writing about them.” So we’ll see. I applied because, duh, this is a pivotal year for the industry that supports this company town, and I wanted to see how recent catastrophes affect the overall mood of the show, which in most years is celebratory.

The first year I went as a working journalist I spotted a common attitude among my colleagues — the supercool mask of Not Impressed. Chrysler is known for entertaining, attention-getting stunts during its press conferences, and that year it introduced a new Jeep, then drove it offstage, through the Cobo Center, smashed through the front window, drove it down the steps, across the street and up a specially constructed rocky-hill platform in front of the Pontchartrain Hotel. They put Angie Harmon, who had been in an earlier press conference, in the way of the Jeep as it blew through the convention floor, and she squealed as she ran out of the way. Later, I mentioned it to another reporter.

“Oh, that,” he said. “They did that 10 years ago.” Well, excuse me. Friends, I admit it to you now: I laughed. It was funny.

I expect a subdued show this year, but it will have to walk a careful line. The point of the show is optimism and salesmanship, but when you’ve taken a bunch of money from the taxpayers, it probably won’t pay to overdo the stunts, or even the liquor — some tightass Baptist southern-state senator might take offense. (In the past, most of the exhibitors have some sort of open bar for press-preview days. A drinking journalist is a happy journalist.) The Firehouse — the food-and-liquor trough across the street traditionally colonized by Chrysler for its diplomacy — is closed this year. And I doubt (muffled sob) there will be a cattle drive. Damnit. But we’ll see.

I’ll be packing the laptop, the Flip and the iPhone. So start watching your RSS feeds Sunday.

In other news at this hour, our longtime friend and reader Adrianne (aka Mrs. Lance Mannion, aka the Blonde) sends along a bit of humor from that fixture in every American newsroom, the amusing soul always described as One Wag. Adrianne works in the far far exurbs of New York City and as a perk of the job gets all the NY tabs delivered to her desk. She writes:

So here’s the front cover of the New York Daily News Thursday morning: “I gave her my kidney, she broke my heart” (and now I want my kidney back!) The story concerns a certain Long Island doctor, Dr. Richard Batista, who had donated a kidney to his wife, Dawnell, in happier days. Dawnell repaid the gesture by sleeping with her physical therapist. Now they’re in divorce proceedings, and he wants the kidney back. Barring that, he’ll take $1.5 million.

I like how Adrianne has already internalized the language of the gossip pages, which you can see in her unselfconscious use of the phrase “in happier days.” This staple of the boldface names came up in Anne Tyler’s “The Accidental Tourist,” in a scene where Muriel writes a country song based on it. Funny I should mention country songs, because Adrianne continues:

I challenged Ken Hall, our editorial page editor and talented writer of doggerel, to come up with a country-western song about the doc’s ordeal. Here’s the result:

First she took my kidney, then she broke my heart
She messed around behind my back and tore my life apart.
She left a hole inside of me that’s very hard to fill
A million and a half bucks, now I’m sending her the bill


She married me and promised that in health and sickness, too
We’d share it all – and she meant all – so what was I to do?
I should have known that first time when I saw her from afar
That she would be the kind of girl who always leaves a scar.

I’m not some kind of monster, no vampire, ghoul or ghost
No grave digger or gold digger, I feel quite free to boast
My friends all say I’m very nice, and not the nasty sort
But add up what I have in life and I’m an organ short


She might give me a hand? Who cares? Not what I want to hear
She needn’t stick her neck out, or even lend an ear
It’s not as if I’m looking for an arm, a leg and such
I only want my organ back, is that asking too much?


BraVO! I smell synergy here. If anyone wants to set the lyrics to music, I ask only a credit in the liner notes.

It’s a beautiful day with snow on the way. Best hit the retail sector for supplies and, just to be safe, Zicam.

Posted at 9:50 am in Current events, Detroit life, Popculch |

55 responses to “Start your engines.”

  1. brian stouder said on January 9, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Regarding the press credential for the auto show –


    All that I learn about that (now heavily freighted) show, will be from nn.c

    As for tell-tale sayings (such as ‘In happier days’) that tell you something about the person who says them…Pam drew laughs recently when she off-handedly said something about going into “the record store”.

    Hearing her story stopped me in my tracks; Good God! – We’ve gotten old!

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  2. Julie Robinson said on January 9, 2009 at 10:42 am

    When our now 21 YO was about 5 we checked out some LPs from the library (don’t think they have any now). He was fascinated by them and kept asking if we could play the “big black CDs”. Of course now he buys all his music online. To me it lacks the zen of browsing through records in a store.

    Geezerdom is rapidly approaching.

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  3. brian stouder said on January 9, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Say, here’s a “moral dilemma” (not to say a criminal defense one), that also might spur a good Country-Western lyric:

    an excerpt –

    “The issue came to the forefront this week as about 8,000 former Madoff clients began to receive letters inviting them to apply for up to $500,000 in aid from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.Lawyers for investors have been warning clients to do some tough math before they apply for any funds set aside for the victims, and figure out whether they were a winner or loser in the scheme. Hundreds and maybe thousands of investors in Madoff’s funds have been withdrawing money from their accounts for many years. In many cases, those investors have withdrawn far more than their principal investment.


    “I had a call yesterday from a guy who said, ‘I’ve taken out more money then I originally put in, but I still had $1 million left with Madoff. Should I file a $1 million claim?'” said Steven Caruso, a New York attorney specializing in securities and investment fraud. “I’m hard-pressed to give advice in that situation,” Caruso said

    Because, of course, being a Ponzi scheme afterall, any “gain” they pocketed was really just another sucker’s “investment”.

    ‘Course, being a work-a-day bill-paying plebian, maybe the “hard-pressing” nuances of the situation escape me!

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  4. LA Mary said on January 9, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Add some Emergen-C to the Zicam. I don’t know if it really fights off colds, but it seems to keep my immune system up when I’m surrounded by snifflers and coughers here. I had two sick days all last year.

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  5. nancy said on January 9, 2009 at 11:01 am

    No moral dilemma there at all, Brian. Many of the people who invested with Bernie were scum just like him.

    (Noted: Many innocent victims, however. A local charity had to shut down before it even got started — distributing warm clothes to the poor — because its chief benefactor was a Madoff victim.)

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 9, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Paging the Ethicist, Randy Cohen to the information desk . . .

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  7. Connie said on January 9, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Julie, I had an almost identical experience with my same aged daughter. LPs were hanging from the ceiling in a music store and she said the same thing about big CDs.

    Same kid who told me last month she would not buy one of those car CD converter players things for me for Christmas because it was old technology and I needed an mp3 player.

    My library is introducing downloadable audio books next month so maybe I will have to get one.

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  8. brian stouder said on January 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Connie – how does the library deal with downloadable audio books, so that they are “returned” (as opposed to being added to a private, permanent collection, for free)?

    And – shouldn’t it still be “scarce” – so that the hottest books have to be wait-listed, for those who choose not to buy them?

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  9. hhoowwiiee said on January 9, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Those lyrics are so good that I could hear them being sung at summer camp with a group of about 100 8-14 year olds.

    Has anyone pointed out yet that Madoff has the perfect name for his crime? Bernie Made-off with the money (at least in the short term).

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  10. whitebeard said on January 9, 2009 at 11:37 am

    This report of “A storm system headed south to the Ohio Valley is expected to dump as much as 9 inches of snow in Metro Detroit by Saturday evening” from The Detroit News today, brings to mind my one and only visit to the press previews at the North American International Auto Show a few years back. I stayed at a $60 a night Windsor motel at the tunnel entrance/exit after a super-cheap Amtrak train trip that dumped me in Toledo and then a bus to Detroit.
    In my pre-cane days I loved walking but discovered that Detroit didn’t always clear snow off the sidewalks, heck, even the roads were not well-plowed.
    But the extravaganza of the auto show was worth the tired feet; I will look forward to your un-jaded, honest reports

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  11. ROgirl said on January 9, 2009 at 11:38 am

    As a contractor who got laid off this week from a supplier whose customers (domestic and transplant) have cut back on orders so heavily that there’s a shortage of cash, it occurs to me that it would be an interesting symbolic gesture to, I don’t know, cancel the auto show this year. Heresy? I know that a lot of revenue is generated from the auto show, but the atmosphere is going to be mighty somber at Cobo Hall.

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  12. brian stouder said on January 9, 2009 at 11:53 am

    “it occurs to me that it would be an interesting symbolic gesture to, I don’t know, cancel the auto show this year.”

    RO, no-can-do! The symbolism would be EXACTLY wrong!

    If they’re gonna sell Chevy Volts and other things, they have to roll the products before the public and the press.

    The auto-industry has tremendous up-side potential (it wasn’t that many years ago that they were very profitable), moreso than the current down-side we’re seeing. But they have to communicate (on a mass scale) what they have to offer, and the auto show is an excellent platform from which to do that

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  13. alex said on January 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Blago got the heave-ho. Yay!

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  14. Lex said on January 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I hope Zicam works better than Tamiflu, which, if I heard NPR correctly this morning, is ineffective against 72 of 73 strains of this year’s flu virus.

    Get your shot, people. It’s not too late.

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  15. Peter said on January 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Alex, hold off until the press conference at 2:00 CST. This ought to be a doozy.

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  16. ROgirl said on January 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Brian – I agree that the auto industry needs to communicate positive things about product, technology, the future of the industry, etc. Maybe they have some great ideas up their sleeves to unveil at the auto show, but they also need to face up to some ugly truths about their inability to gain back customers who fled a long time ago and wouldn’t dream of buying an American car even though quality and reliability have improved greatly from the bad old days.

    It’s a moment when the industry should do some serious introspection, but I won’t hold my breath.

    For clear-eyed take on the industry, check this out:

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  17. Kirk said on January 9, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Impeachment is tantamount to indictment. There’s still a trial to go through. Of course, he could cheat the process and resign.

    Bill Clinton was impeached.

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  18. beb said on January 9, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Congrats, Nancy on snagging the car show credentials. Large crowds press my panic button so I don’t go to the car anymore, but I hope you have fun there, and find lots of saleable features.

    I heard about the man wanting his kidney back. Those two need to be strapped into chairs, they eyes taped opened and forced to watch “War of the Roses” a half dozen times. Oh, that was my suggestions for people wanting to get married. …

    As for the verse, kudos to the author. I’m not a country – western fan so, tell me, is there really a song called “She got the coal mine and I got the shaft?”

    whitebeard I’m still trying to understand why, if you were staying in Windsor, you took the train to Toledo and a bus back to Detroit instead of hiring a taxi to just drive you through the tunnel?

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  19. coozledad said on January 9, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve heard that licorice helps reduce stress hormone production, and can help with colds. Unfortunately, the amounts required to get these results pose a risk of liver toxicity.
    A swig of licorice schnapps probably wouldn’t hurt, though.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on January 9, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Connie and Brian, I’m a big fan of downloadable audiobooks. ACPL has a decent selection and you check them out for 3 weeks at a time. After that the file goes away on your computer, but if you’ve transferred it to an MP3 player you can keep on listening. You do have to put some of them on hold and it’s the same stupid rule about only 5 at a time, but in general the system works well and is easy to use. And trust me, I’m not a techie.

    Audiobooks have come a long way since their inception; for one thing almost all are unabridged. I listen to them to fall asleep at night and when I’m doing boring tasks around the house. When I was in Florida caring for my sister and doing her moving chores my MP3 player was a sanity saver. I could put on a book, favorite music or even a book of the Bible and right away I could go to a happy place. There weren’t any happy places in the situations I was dealing with so I needed all the help I could get.

    My one recommendation on MP3 players is to get an extended warranty; they all seem to be fragile.

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  21. Catherine said on January 9, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Congrats on the auto show credentials. I can’t wait for further updates!

    Whereas Nancy is taking her Flip to the auto show, I’m taking mine to… a Girl Scout meeting. I don’t think I’ll be posting their skits, which is surely a relief to all.

    Librarians: I hear a rumor that there might be no more due dates at my public library(kind of like Blockbuster). How could this possibly work for the library?

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  22. jeff borden said on January 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    On the Blagojevich impeachment, this is only the first step in what will be a long, expensive and ugly dance. Mod Rod has hired an infamous defense attorney named Ed Genson, who successfully defended R. Kelly from those child molestation charges and has been known to counsel the occasional mobster. He’s a florid and theatrical attorney who loves the spotlight and already is signaling that he and Blago will fight impeachment tooth and nail. I’m inclined to believe that Blago will be removed from office simply because he is the most hated politician in the entire state — despised equally by Republicans and Democrats– and currently enjoys an approval rating of 8%. Yeah, he’s even more widely disliked than W., which is no small feat.

    I used to attend the big auto show at the I-X Center in Brookpark, Ohio with my dad, so all this talk about the Detroit show makes me a little melancholy. We always enjoyed gaping at the Jaguars, Aston-Martins and other exotics, though he always groused about the ignominy of paying an admission fee so that someone could try to interest him in a car.

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  23. Rana said on January 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Catherine – maybe you can only check out so many books, and you have to return them before you can take out more?

    I’ve long been spoiled w/regards to due dates and library fines. My mother’s a librarian, so when I was a kid, we never incurred fines for late books – and then I went into academia, where you can check books out for months at a time and renew indefinitely. Being able to renew books online is a godsend!

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  24. Julie Robinson said on January 9, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Librarians and their families are always the worst ones for bringing back books on time. So says another librarian’s daughter. Actually ACPL doesn’t allow extra time for its employees, but of course there are ways around that. Branches can check out an item for 6 months, and if it happens to go home with someone…

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  25. brian stouder said on January 9, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Well, the young folks and I went to the marvelous ACPL main branch just 2 evenings ago, and I got two Laura Lippman books (which were only available in LARGE PRINT, WHICH WAS SORT OF HARD TO GET USED TO, BUT NOW IT’S OK) – the first two of the Tess books – and then I did something that I hadn’t done before….I lost our parking ticket!

    In gabbing with one of the desk people, I was informed that I could get another ticket, but it would cost $7!! Mind you, if you’re an Allen County person with a library card, it’s free.

    After fruitlessly arguing the point (Pam and the young folks took our dozen books and headed for the car), and double checking every pocket – it was Last Resort time….and I threw myself at the mercy of the nearly motionless and mostly mute security guy at the entrance…and without saying a word, he fetched up a ticket and validated it, before handing it to me.

    That guy was the Star of the Game, in my book

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  26. Connie said on January 9, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Brian, what Julie said. Although it depends on which vendor you are using. You will be able to download to your computer, and after 3 weeks it will disappear. But you can also download from your computer to your mp3 player and that will not disappear. OF course it will completely fill up your mp3 player so why keep it?

    Our service allows multiple simultaneous download use of the same title.

    My library places limits only on movies and magazines, when it comes to books, audio books, there are no limits. I always tell people they may check out as many books as they can carry.

    And at my library employees are fine exempt, so yes we have due dates, but if we’re late returning it, no fines

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  27. Connie said on January 9, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I just took a quick look at the Allen County PL web page, and they are using a different vendor service. They are using Overdrive. We are using NetLibrary and will have the complete Recorded Books Inc. package.

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  28. MichaelG said on January 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I know it’s not nice to laugh at other people’s misfortunes but I almost lost my coffee when I heard the kidney story on the TV yesterday AM. Somehow it’s even more amusing that the guy’s a surgeon and the woman has a trailer trash name.

    I’m eagerly looking forward to the dispatches. The ones last time were excellent.

    How do you like your Flip? I’m thinking of getting one.

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  29. whitebeard said on January 9, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    To Answer the question from Beb earlier “whitebeard I’m still trying to understand why, if you were staying in Windsor, you took the train to Toledo and a bus back to Detroit instead of hiring a taxi to just drive you through the tunnel?”
    The Amtrak train and really cheap fare (something like $60 roundtrip) was from New York City to Toledo. I live in Connecticut, a commuter train ride to and from Manhattan). I freely admit I am geographcally challenged, but from Windsor to Toledo to Detroit might have rang some alarm bells for me.

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  30. MarkH said on January 9, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Speaking of Librarians: Connie —

    Were you aware of this film?:

    It’s showing in Jackson this week and promises to shatter the traditional image of librarians, showing just how fun-loving and sexy all y’all REALLY are!

    It’s been out for a while, but I didn’t know if the nn.c population had known of it.

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  31. Carolyn said on January 9, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Nancy, Great news about the car show. I still remember the bang-up job you did that last time you staffed it. Good show!

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  32. moe99 said on January 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Back from hiking Death Valley and the south rim of the Grand Canyon (in the snow) and it was absolutely fabulous. Not so much crowds at this time of year, and the mules were beautiful, though we just hiked rather than rode them.

    I’ve been reading all the posts since I left Dec. 30 and have a couple of things to say that relate back.

    One on the subject of verbosity. You should go read Booth Tarkington, an old time Hoosier author iirc. His Penrod series is laugh out loud funny and all the more so because of his use of words, many of which we don’t see any more these days. It’s racist by current standards, but in his time I am sure he was considered progressive. You can write well using lots of words, but it takes a great deal of talent.

    I have a post on my blog site listing over 200 names of Kentucky towns that I found funny when one night during law school at UK, a couple of us got loaded and had nothing better to do, since driving would have been deadly. Brownie does show up as one of the towns though there are a number of more colorful spots than that.

    Rode home from my 9 day hiking trip with a group of sports equipement sales reps back from a Las Vegas convention. The guy next to me said the sports industry is being held up by phenomenal gun and ammo sales. They cannot keep anything in stock.

    And as the daughter of a Republican Ohio family for whom “FDR” was a dirty word, I became acquainted with what really occurred during the depression when I went away to college in MN. Anyone who thinks that FDR didn’t do enough or prolonged the depression, has been drinking right wing kool aid for too long. Look at the facts and read Krugman for starters.

    And the CCC signs in both Death Valley and at the various lodges and buildings scattered around the south rim of the Grand Canyon were a welcome reminder that “make work” can actually create things of lasting value for our society. May we have more of the same in the coming years.

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  33. Connie said on January 9, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    MarkH, I am certainly aware of the film, but haven’t had a chance to see it yet. Although I could have gone to the big preview, during ALA in NO in 06.

    Moe99, your trip sounds most cool. Many many years ago my parents did the snowmobile expedition in Yellowstone and said it too was a phenomenal experience.

    Yesterday’s Leelanau Enterprise online had a blurb about an upcoming ranger led snowshoe trek across Sleeping Bear Dunes. It sounded like another wonderful possibility. Too bad the cottage gets closed for the winter. Maybe someday, after I get those new knees.

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  34. coozledad said on January 9, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Pericles said you can tell a lot about a society from its architecture. I wonder what he would have thought of Pickles’ taste in china and flatware.
    I honestly believe a Georgia O’Keefe motif would have been less gynecological. And the pearl handled gold filled flatware obviously came about because it somehow got confused with the order for George’s whorin’ pistols.

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  35. MichaelG said on January 9, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Jesus, that shit is beyond tasteless. Anybody check to see if it was lead free? 320 place settings? And Hillary’s probably just as ugly stuff and Nancy Reagan’s probably just as ugly stuff and so on and so on. Where do they keep all this drek? First Ladies obviously have time on their hands. And there are people out there who think we should pay them to inflict these horrors on us?

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  36. Catherine said on January 9, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Moe, I did the Grand Canyon at New Year’s once, too, and it was absolutely beautiful. When I got home, I bought up all the pinon-scented candles available, because I missed that cozy smell of pinon fires. Yosemite in winter is a treat too.

    Re the First Ladies and their china, can we give them a little break? Honestly, I don’t think I’d wish that gig on an enemy. It looks like hard work of the variety that requires frequent dental treatments for teeth grinding. Hillary seems soooo much happier these days.

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  37. Dexter said on January 10, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Hi folks…I’m back from dead-computer land with a brand new computer…I have lots of catching up to do here!

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  38. MichaelG said on January 10, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I get your point, Catherine. Hillary Clinton had, I believe, an exceptionally tough time as first lady. I’m not going to go into all that slime machine stuff here. She also had to stifle her ambition and her natural instincts to jump in and stir things up. The position was just too subordinate for her. I can only guess at the feeling of freedom she felt getting out from under it. Maybe bequeathing horrible china to the American people, not to say the incoming first lady, is a sort of departing freeway salute to the whole thing. Still, I think there are other people in tougher situations who are more deserving of my sympathy.

    I was out of town the other day when you mentioned lunch with Leon Panetta. When I lived in SF and she was the Mayor I had lunch a couple of times with Diane Feinstein, the incoming head of the Senate Intel Committee and Leon’s sort of gonna be supervisor. Not one on one but fairly intimate. Each time there were six to eight other people around. Interesting woman. My then boss was my entre. He had dated her back in the ‘50s.

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  39. Catherine said on January 10, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Should have said, I’m with ya on the horribleness of the china and, more so, the flatware, especially in the present economic environment.

    So, Michael, what was your impression of Senator Diane? “Interesting” can mean so many things…

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  40. nancy said on January 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I just got off the phone with my sister, Mrs. China Expert, and we both decided that isn’t gold flatware. It’s silver, reflecting the gold of the blingtastic new china. She’s meh on the new formal stuff, but actively dislikes the new casual collection: “When will southerners figure out not everybody loves magnolias?”

    You know what? Of the recent stuff, I like Nancy Reagan’s best. And that caused a terrible brouhaha when it was purchased, as I recall.

    Also, the Trumans’.

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  41. Jolene said on January 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I actually don’t hate the china. What amazed me was the idea of buying 320 place settings. That’s a lot of plates.

    I wish, naively, that I could take a really detailed tour of the White House. Would love to see both how it’s run and how the people who live there really live. More seriously, I think cutting out White House tours in the wake of 9/11 was a real loss and, like most of our security measures, probably not worth it.

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  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    If you read the article, you’ll see the reason for replacement is largely breakage — i’m inferring from that the average State Dinner is 240-250, so they have to order up a new set everytime the totals go down to 275 or so; 45 divvy 8 years means about six plates per year breakage, which is pretty good staff slippage (said a former busboy/dish machine operator/grill cook).

    I like Truman’s and Jefferson’s, fwiw.

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  43. brian stouder said on January 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Pierce’s plates don’t look done yet; and Reagan’s and Truman’s look like wheel covers; while Taylor’s look like they were stolen from a Chinese restaurant. But I liked Jackson’s, Lincoln’s, and Indiana’s own – Harrison’s

    Jolene – regarding a detailed White House tour – C-SPAN has a fascinating series of shows that do exactly that…very good stuff.

    Aside from that, the best $5 (or whatever) that I spent in Indianapolis was to tour the lovely old Benjamin Harrison house. Seeing the Lincoln home in Springfield was good stuff, but the feeling at a non-Mt Rushmore president’s home is decidedly more intimate, and the tour guide had lots more to show and share

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  44. Julie Robinson said on January 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    What would be the problem with mixing and matching?

    I like dishes and linens as much as the next girl, probably more, and I love setting a pretty table. But spare me from the fine china that would get me upset if it broke, and can’t go in the dishwasher anyway. I’d rather have cheap stuff and lots of variety.

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  45. coozledad said on January 10, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    I always liked Wedgewood’s Medici pattern. It’s fairly restrained. If you want brash “in your face” Americana, there’s this, which isn’t at all bad in terms of either the ceramic or visual art.
    Though I’d prefer the Moby Dick series.

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  46. MichaelG said on January 10, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I think you’ve pretty much got it there, Brian. I’d hate to face Grant’s plates with a hang over. Polk’s also came from a Chinese restaurant. FDR’s seem about right. I like simple.

    DiFi, as she used to be known back in the day, is a very intelligent woman. She came from $$ and I think she went to Stanford. She was well informed and thoughtful on SF issues and very obviously well read and conversant with world affairs. She was thoughtful and spoke in full, well considered sentences. That said, she was also very cagey and doled out opinions very sparingly. Kind of the flip side of a certain other female former mayor. She was a very charming and amusing lunch companion. But then a politician of her stature would be.

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  47. Jolene said on January 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for the pointer, Brian. Here’s the link for anyone else interested in videos re the White House.

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  48. Rana said on January 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Why can’t they just have a nice white bone china with a simple gold rim? Easy to match, easy to find replacements – and when some break, you don’t “have” to commission an entirely new set.

    I’m really looking forward to having a family in the White House that wasn’t born into money, I have to say.

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  49. basset said on January 10, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Nice band pictures on the Grosse Pointe… blog, online paper, whatever you call it.

    Did Kelly Berg ever come home, or is he still down here with us? (This would be the guy a couple stories down on the Pointe blog, went missing and the cops found him in a town along the interstate about a hundred miles west of Nashville.)

    Jackson’s a fascinating place – you got your Porter-Cable power tool warehouse, your Pringles potato chip factory (the first and, I believe, still the only), your Diamond Jaxx minor-league baseball; I can understand how someone flush with gambling winnings and tired of upscale life in the Pointe would want to decompress in Tennessee awhile.

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  50. april glaspie said on January 10, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Has anybody ever seen a car from an autoshow driving down the road? Has anybody ever seen one of those absurd Fashion Week costumes on somebody going to work, or a party, or to John R and Brush??

    I love fine China. Royal Doulton Carlysle to be exact. I think when there’s fine China involved, this makes holidays nicer at the dinner table if you don’t invite Cousin Eddie. I was a High School football player, but I liked choosing patterns a lot. Something to do together
    If you all haven’t seen Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, see it immediately. There’s something odd about this and I can’t put my finger on it. Powers Booth seems to me to be somebody that could carry a movie. He made the brilliant Emerald Forest with a brilliant director, and then he sort of disappeared. He showed up as a scumbucket in 24, and he was superb.

    Press credentials? Who get’s to ask Sara anything. I went to JSchool at UGA. Pretty good school. My school decides what sort of meia offerings are good. My school is named after Henry Grady. Atlanta Constitution. Ralpn McGill was the legendary editor.

    There used to be a paper called the Michigan Daily. A friend of mine named Bill Thigpen was mursered while investigating drug delers for that paper. Bill was a gentleman, but I suppose he pushed too hard.

    There’s a guy named Danny Casolaro that was an old family friend, He figured out that Raygun and Bush regimes had robbed mom and pop computer comanies blind to sell their software to finance raping nuns and shooting Bishops at the communion rail. Danny’s dead too, and Elliot Richardson thought the cover-up was obvious.

    When the old men do the fighting and the young men all look on.
    And the young girls eat their mothers meat from tubes of plasticon.
    Be wary of these my gentle friends of all the skins you breed.
    They have a tasty habit – they eat the hands that bleed.

    So remember who you say you are and keep your noses clean.
    Boys will be boys and play with toys so be strong with your beast.
    Oh Rosie dear, doncha think it’s queer, so stop me if you please.
    The baby is dead, my lady said, “You gentlemen, why you all work for me?

    So Nancy, deck .em and, look, it’s likely if somebody’s pushing you out of the way, there’s a story. Maybe, it’s a big story. Yeah, there is something buried in this levity about what’s a journalist and what’s a story. In my opinion? If you can write and youb’e goy facts? That might be a story. If you’ve bot Drudbe to start with, you’re an idiot.

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  51. basset said on January 10, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Aha! Caliban revealed!

    about this Berg guy… should have said the cops THOUGHT he was in Jackson, Tennessee, or he said he was there, or something. Still missing, though – probably in Bucksnort by now.

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  52. Catherine said on January 10, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    That presidential china link was really fun. Julie, I agree about the mixing… matchy-matchy is just so bourgeois. No one else mentioned the Wilson china but that was my fave — also the Truman because of that nice shade of green. The Reagans forever spoiled the entire color red, unfortunately. And are those corncobs on the Harrison rim? At least it would be more emblematic of the country than that magnolia.

    MichaelG, it’s interesting that DiFi wouldn’t have relaxed even a bit with such a small group. She telegraphs “professional politician” and it sounds like the mask is always neatly in place. And is the other female pol you mention Barbara Boxer? I love her (and think her cosmetic dermatologist rocks!), but what on earth has she done to her hair?,0,4404834.story

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 11, 2009 at 8:42 am

    If Laura and George really like Mexican food and themes, they could have gone to Rick Bayless and gotten this line for new White House China (and they woulda sold lots of it in the gift shop on the way out, i’d think, more than the fru-fru teacups) —

    (If there’s a way to stick the photo itself in, i don’t know it, but that might also be a bandwidth biter for the blogboss, so click if you want to see colorful dinnerware.)

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  54. Jolene said on January 11, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    They really do like Mexican food, Jeff. In fact, they had tamales, enchiladas, guacamole, rice and beans for dinner on Christmas Eve. Sounds pretty good. Wish I had some now.

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  55. LAMary said on January 12, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Hey Moe, I’m in your drizzly city, doing work on an excedingly shitty hotel “office center” computer. The space bar has to be smacked to work.
    The Grand Canyon in winter is something everyone should do once, if only to throw a snowball to the bottom of the canyon.

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