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.