The hat.

Forget Michelle’s dresses. You really want to know where Aretha got her hat, and today we have the answer: Mr. Song Millinery on Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. The phones started ringing within moments of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and the details are this — you can buy versions of the hat in 15 colors for $180, but the original is “exclusive to” Aretha, and you probably expected that, didn’t you?

The Free Press story goes into greater depth about millinery designer Luke Song, son of a Korean immigrant, whose humble storefront conceals a business with national, and now international, range:

Mr. Song Millinery’s clientele is 90% African-American, churchgoing women, Song said. His wholesale business supplies hats to shops in other cities with large African-American communities, and the merchandise sells especially well in California, Houston and Dallas. He designs 100 hat styles every six months.

…By Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Song had sold hundreds of hats. A store in Dallas had sold 500 more, and the material was running out.

“People are calling from England, asking for the hat,” said Luke Song, who designed Franklin’s chapeau. “I’m shocked. I had no idea. We did not expect this.”

He should have. Aretha looks about five minutes away from a major coronary, but she can still sing a song, and she can definitely rock a hat. This is a black city and a church-going city, which means it’s a hat city; I told Alan I knew we had moved to Detroit when I noticed our local Macy’s had a men’s millinery department.

(Men have their own version of Mr. Song — Henry the Hatter, also downtown, where Kid Rock buys his lids. I urge you not to click that link unless you have about an hour to kill. The Borsalinos alone — oy. I reread an Elmore Leonard novel during the most recent cold snap; a Borsalino appeared in one scene. The character called it a “Bosalini.”)

Anyway, I call your attention to this for two reasons — just in case you want to buy Aretha’s hat (even though I suspect that ship has sailed), and to introduce you to the comment section that the blogger Detroitist calls the Free Press Klavern, the chorus of ugly, anonymous racists who can always be counted on, in any story featuring black people, to make ignorant-ass comments like this:

Jig up your own songs-not ours.

I used to wonder why the paper didn’t moderate their comment queues better, and someone told me it’s a legal thing — if they make any attempt to treat the comments as actual content and not as randomly sprinkled turds, they open themselves up for a lawsuit. Doesn’t make sense to me, either, but hey. Anyway, there’s page after page after page of them. Warning: at the bottom of every page is picture of Winkin’ Sarah Palin:

Which seems like a good transition to the bloggage, which today includes The Poor Man’s Golden Winger Awards, and they include a reference to None Other. So it fits.

You really don’t need to read more than the lead —

A dive team in Port Huron is fishing a car out of the Black River today after a man who drove onto the ice accidentally locked his keys in the car, and the running engine melted ice beneath it.

— to get the awesomeness of this story, but there’s the link, anyway.

Bye, Caroline. You’re free to go back to being deeply private, and I can’t help but think that’s a good thing. Someone who can’t even make up their mind about quitting is clearly not cut out for the hurlyburly:

After frantic talks between the governor’s operation and Ms. Kennedy’s camp Wednesday evening, Ms. Kennedy appeared to waver on whether to withdraw, and was preparing a statement reasserting her interest in the job. But just after midnight, she decided to make clear she was taking her name out of consideration and released the statement saying so.

The Hoosier dropped the ball, but the refs allowed a do-over. I just find this story hysterical.

And that’s it. Short shrift today, but I have to get back to the gym before they forget my face. Have a swell day, all.

Posted at 9:28 am in Current events, Detroit life |

60 responses to “The hat.”

  1. Pam said on January 22, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Our mother could easily have made that kick ass hat. And if you recall, most of her hats were original designs. And she made several for family members. I wish that we had kept most of them. Do you know where they went?

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  2. MichaelG said on January 22, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Send this post to QEII. She needs all the help she can get.

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  3. Gasman said on January 22, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I am glad that Roberts insisted on a do-over with the oath. I was willing to bet that venomous contrarians on the right would have insisted that Obama was not really president because he didn’t say the oath exactly as it reads in the constitution. There also would have been leftie conspiracy nuts that would have contended that Roberts did so intentionally to keep Obama out.

    If nothing else, it speaks to the decency of our new president. He could have made a point and insisted that Roberts get it right and embarrassed him even further, but he tried to be gracious. It should serve as a lesson to the wing-nuts.

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  4. Jen said on January 22, 2009 at 10:57 am

    My question is whether people will still be unhappy because he didn’t swear on the Bible during the second try at the oath. Hopefully everyone will just accept that Obama is our president, whether they like him or not. But I’m sure that is too much to hope for…

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  5. Dorothy said on January 22, 2009 at 11:09 am

    The Constitution states that a person becomes President at noon on inauguration day, regardless if he/she has taken the oath. So all of this broo-ha-ha is just hot air.

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  6. brian stouder said on January 22, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Further to Nance’s reference to ignorant-ass racists and snarkicists in general – here’s an interesting Newsweek piece with David Denby, who wrote a book about Snark

    an excerpt:

    This book isn’t an attack on the Internet. But a lot of people have become snoopy busybodies and the vehicle of that is snark. You don’t go on JuicyCampus or other Web sites to solemnly complain, you try to make a joke. Somebody who used to be stuck muttering to himself can now shout out loud.

    He goes on to attack Maureen Dowd, and defend Keith Olbermann (one man’s snark is another’s polished satire) – but interesting nonetheless.

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  7. jeff borden said on January 22, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Hat stores are largely the province of big cities. In Chicago, there’s a marvelous store simply called Hats Plus on Irving Park Road near the Five Points intersection. This is on the Northwest Side –I’m certain there are other shops catering solely to black men and there’s a huge Western store on the near West Side where many Latinos buy their cowboy hats– and draws a mixed race clientele. I’ve bought wool berets for as little as $6 and a fur fedora for $150. My current favorite is a brown fedora by Bailey of Hollywood, which you can crush into a ball and shove into the sleeve of your coat when hanging it up. When you retrieve the crumpled up hat, you just flick your wrist and it returns to its original shape.

    As a Luddite in good standing –and a deeply bald guy whose head gets cold in the winter and sunburned in the summer– I wish we would return to wearing hats, just like I wish we all still wore wristwatches. But those days are over. Places like Hats Plus and the stores in Detroit cater to a very small percentage of the population.

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  8. Rana said on January 22, 2009 at 11:39 am

    jeff borden, I too wish there was more commonplace wearing of hats. Having a high forehead, I am generally flattered by most of them (though I doubt I could carry of the splendor that adorned Ms. Franklin’s head). Unfortunately, except in winter, or at summer weddings, wearing a hat tends to mark you out as One of Those Quirky Women if you’re a glasses-wearing white lady under the age of 70. That goes double if the hat is anything more interesting than a simple watchman’s cap or straw sunhat.

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  9. jeff borden said on January 22, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I hear you. Wearing a hat that isn’t one of those goofy backwards baseball caps does set you apart. It’s considerably different, I’m sure, for women. As a bald guy who cuts what little hair he has left in a buzz cut, there’s no issue of a hat “messing up my hair,” which is why my wife never wears one. The most she’ll do in the winter is wear a coat with a hood.

    That said, it’s kind of fun to be looked at as an eccentric.

    When I teach, I’m always in a suit, shirt and tie and, at least once per semester, I wear a bowtie. (One of my coworkers years ago taught me how to do it.) If you want to be eyed as a real weirdo, you wear a bowtie.

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  10. MichaelG said on January 22, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Yeah but with bowties there’re reasons.

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  11. alex said on January 22, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I’m sure Glen Beck and the like are already saying “See? They had to have the real swearing-in ceremony in private so Obama could put his hand on the Koran.”


    And speaking of church ladies, here’s today’s scolding from Fort Wayne’s best-known white one, Kevin Leininger:

    The uplifted national mood is really getting on that one’s nerves, it appears.

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  12. JGW said on January 22, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Jen – I thought the same thing, that in some way he’s feeding the wingnuts and whack jobs, and the hardcore Christian right, who will now be convinced that this happened so he could take the real oath without a bible. Because he’s a Muslim (I know he is not).

    People here in rural N.E. Indiana took this as the beginning of the end. WOWO’s Pat White show yesterday was all about how the Dems are going to build a gun ownership registry (so they can come get them when it’s time) plus there was a little bit of the Obama wants a world currency so we don’t need paper money, just a chip or barcode.

    These folks always manage to give creedence to the Obama comment on clinging to guns and religon.

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  13. jeff borden said on January 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    MichaelG, Tell that to James Bond, buster. You think 007 wears a clip-on bow tie? I think not!

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  14. Kirk said on January 22, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Sorry to backtrack, but now even Betty Rosbottom is going on about brussels sprouts. Tribune Media just moved her latest column, which includes a recipe for sauteed brussels sprouts, apples and bacon.

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  15. Sue said on January 22, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    That Newsweek interview with David Denby was just weird. “…older people are afraid they’re going to be left out of the party” because “snark” is becoming “the universal”? No, dear, snark has gotten many of us through the last several years, because you either laugh or you cry. I didn’t realize that as an oldster I am unable to understand the difference between hate speech and extremely pointed observations intended to have an impact after I stop laughing. He claims to be a journalist and then lumps all activity on the internet into one massive collective unconscious? I didn’t know that NancyNall was no different than JuicyCampus and didn’t realize that apparently I can’t tell the difference between the comment sections of, say, Nancy and Deadspin. And he writes for the New Yorker? You mean the New Yorker that Dorothy Parker helped found after she was fired from another magazine for being too snarky, or whatever the word was back then?

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  16. brian stouder said on January 22, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Alex – if you were able to read that KL article all the way to the end, you’re a better man than me! (and you may well be, in any case!)

    Good God!! If it was worth the candle (and it ain’t) I bet one could find many KL hossannas to the ‘sunny optimism’ that Ronald W Reagan personified and indeed brought forth; how symbolism and positive attitudes can and should radiate from the executive head of our government, etc etc.

    I remember years ago when Ronald Reagan was running for office (probably 1980) – and I was listening to WLW as he visited Cincinnati…and it was described as an overcast day, and when RWR took the stage the clouds parted and the sun shone brightly down upon the orange hair of the Gipper!! – and of course it was all breathlessly and excitedly reported!

    I’m not lyin’! But I will embellish here, and say that I betcha old Eric Serveid (or whoever) pooh-poohed such reactions to Reagan back then…so that Leininger is just hawking the sour grapes, because that’s what the losers in these big contests do

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  17. nancy said on January 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Isn’t today’s KL column just a rewrite of Tuesday’s, more or less? “You’re not so great, Mr. Obama,” and now “He won’t make you happy, America.” He’s like a guy shouting at his wife as she walks out the door for the last time.

    Oh, and having started back to work at that paper at the tail end of ReaganFest, I can testify that the excess was at least as wretched for Ronnie as it was for Obama. Which is not some now-we’re-even thing, but an observation.

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  18. paddyo' said on January 22, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Speaking of “The Hat” . . . .

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  19. Dexter said on January 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Really wanna great hat, eh?

    OUTSTANDING store! It’s a stone’s throw from Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena. (homes of the Indians and Cavs)

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  20. Dexter said on January 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    and…the hat of the century, so far—Senator Ted’s inauguration hat—

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  21. brian stouder said on January 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Well – in the “ain’t nothin’ new here” department, we have Uncle Rush Limbaugh, investing himself in the failure of the President of the United States

    an excerpt:

    I hope he fails.

    Truly spoken like a parasite; except fat-assed Uncle Rush cares less about his country than a tapeworm cares about his host

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  22. MichaelG said on January 22, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Sorry about the bowtie cheap shot, Jeff. Just pandering to the base.

    That KL column is so bad in so many ways I wouldn’t even know where to start.

    I don’t get the Aretha Franklin hat thing. I wouldn’t even have noticed it. Just another old lady with a hat.

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  23. brian stouder said on January 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Just another old lady with a hat.

    Oh, my! All she needs – what she’s got to have – (just a little bit)…is a little respect (just a little bit)

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  24. jeff borden said on January 22, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    No problemo, man. Part of the reason I wear a bowtie once in awhile is narcissism, just because I can. At a time when fewer and fewer and fewer men are wearing any kind of necktie at all, the bowtie stands out even more.

    My wife doesn’t like the look. She think it’s (a) nerdy and (b) shows too much of my shirt. Perhaps I should wear a vest?

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  25. MichaelG said on January 22, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Can you spell that for me, Brian?

    In my case, Jeff, that would be a lot of shirt.

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 22, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Mmmm, bacon. Is there any dish you can’t improve?

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  27. Jen said on January 22, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    My hubby’s family and I were laughing about Aretha’s hat last night, but I figure she’s the Queen of Soul and she can wear whatever damn hat she wants to and rock it.

    Personally, I’m a big fan of wearing wacky hats in the winter, and I have actually become known around town for my Pirates of the Caribbean winter hat, which actually on eBay here:

    I see it hasn’t been bid on. I like it because it covers my ears well, and also because people notice it. I also have a purple and green yarn hat with a big poofball on top and strings I can tie around my chin or let hang down fashionably.

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  28. Rana said on January 22, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    In the realm of entertaining knit head wear, I offer up the Chicken Viking Hat and the Beard and Mustache Hat.

    Everyone should also check out coozledad’s fine new piece of winter headgear.

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  29. del said on January 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm

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  30. Gasman said on January 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    The main difference that I see between Olbermann & Maddow on the left and the odious cloud of snarkmeisters on the right is a thorough grounding in fact. Like his manner or not, you cannot fault Olbermann for being unacquainted with with the truth. His reports have proven to be highly accurate and often before the same information is addressed in other mainstream press outlets. I suspect that the complaints from the right about Olbermann have more to do with his having the temerity to speak out about our embarrassing ex-president and the annoying habit he has of being more right than not.

    I have heard both Olbermann & Maddow correct their on-air fumbles on multiple occasions. O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Coulter, et al. just extract “facts” from their backsides with scant regard to whether or not they have any relationship to reality. When caught in obvious mistakes, rather than being adults and saying, “oops!” and moving on, they dig in their heels and insist that they were right, that they were taken out of context, and that any attempt to say otherwise is an obvious attack by the liberal media.

    Two cases in point:
    1. O’Reilly put both feet way down his gaping yaw when he stated unequivocally to General Wesley Clark that in WWII, members of the U. S. 82nd Airborne had executed Nazi SS troops at Malmédy, Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. Gen. Clark corrected O’Reilly in a manner that would have allowed O’Reilly to save face, but Billow, bloviating gasbag that he is, wasn’t smart enough to recognize that he should have listened rather than spoken. When debating military history, most people would have at least listened to a decorated retired four star general like Clark. O’Reilly, however, was undaunted by Clark’s superior command of demonstrable fact. He just kept putting his big feet further down his own throat. No, the “Sisyphus of morons” insisted that U.S. troops had indeed mercilessly murdered Nazis at Malmédy.

    The problem with O’Reilly’s version of history is that it was totally wrong. He not only didn’t realize that it was the Nazis that murdered innocent American soldiers, but he then tarnished the honored memories of those victims of Nazi war crimes by branding them criminals themselves. Given multiple opportunities to correct his obvious error, he stubbornly refused. When finally corrected by one of his own viewers, he blatantly lied and in a pathetically ham-fisted attempt to evade responsibility for his egregious error stated that he was actually referring to events after Malmédy, not the Malmédy massacre at all. However, the video record persistently refutes O’Reilly at every turn.


    And what was Fox News’s response? They sanitized the transcripts of O’Reilly’s insulting error and substituted “Normandy” for “ Malmédy.” So much for fair and balanced reporting. O’Reilly keeps them busy at the Ministry of Truth.

    2. Ann Coulter’s ignorant insistence that Canada had sent troops to Viet Nam. She made this patently idiotic remark to respected Canadian journalist Bob McKeown on CBC’s Fifth Estate. When corrected by McKeown, Coulter lacked enough common sense to even consider that she might be wrong. No, this ditz, this goober, this imbecilic Harpy insisted that she knew more about Canadian history than someone that could reasonably be considered more expert on the subject than her. After insisting multiple times that she was right – interestingly, with noticeably decreasing conviction each time – she stated that she would get back to McKeown when she did more research. She didn’t. She also was petty, ungracious, and stupid enough to try and perpetuate the fiasco by going on a more friendly Fox Noise platform and spinning her inaccuracy into unassailable truth. However, like O’Reilly, that pesky video record of her gaff cannot be refuted.

    Fault Olbermann for his snark, but his content is solid and reliable. The errors of O’Reilly and Coulter are not isolated examples, but rather merely the most odious examples of an obvious and pernicious contempt for truth and journalistic integrity. There is no comparison between liberal snark and conservative lies.

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  31. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Ah, i’m still feeling happy about the service at the National Cathedral yesterday; for a mega-dose of the Hoosier connection that made up for the Hoosier-ated “oaf of office” gaffe, from the Indy Star on Sharon Watkins, the preacher:

    “Watkins, 54, a graduate of Indianapolis’ Shortridge High School and Butler University, is head of the Indianapolis-based Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a denomination with about 700,000 members.

    Using what was at times a highly animated delivery, Watkins quoted Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; the prophet Isaiah and the wisdom of the Cherokee in her roughly 15-minute sermon at the Washington National Cathedral.”

    She makes up for John Roberts, at least for this week! She also quoted Jesus, but i guess they assumed that wasn’t worthy of note given the setting.

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  32. moe99 said on January 22, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Well, it appears that Samuel Alito continues his boycott of all things Obama. As far as I know in addition to boycotting Obama’s visit to the Supreme Court last week, he did not attend the inauguration either. Knows how to hold a grudge, he does.

    Neither Obama or Biden voted to confirm him.

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  33. jeff borden said on January 22, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Ahhhh, poor little Strip Search Sammy. You’d think someone who makes bad law would have thicker skin.

    Too bad he didn’t sit next to Antonin Scalia, who was wearing some very trippy little head gear that would not have looked out of place on the head of Thomas Aquinas. It looked like a little black pillbox. And, my Lord, but someone keep Clarence Thomas away from the Little Debbie snack cakes. The guy is getting ginormous.

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  34. Dexter said on January 22, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Sorry if this comes through as 3 posts…for some reason my last 2 were disregarded.
    Jeff the Mild: Yesterday’s Amazing Grace by D.Min Wintney Phipps was OK, but not in this man’s league:

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  35. mark said on January 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm


    Your talents are wasted. Seriously.

    Those people are entertainers. They make millions by being outrageous and catering to the angry among us. They don’t care what anyone says about them as long as they remain the topic of conversation.

    Arguing their relative merits is like arguing the relative virtue of Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan. With you tube links and citations. Who cares?

    How many hours per day do you spend watching that stuff? Try PBS. Or the Washington Post and the WSJ if you want both sides without all the shouting. But the ideas of Adam Smith and JK Galbraith really aren’t impacted much by the antics of Coulter or Olberman.

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  36. Colleen said on January 22, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Dude. KL is harshing my mellow.

    I couldn’t get through all the finger wagging. Was it Mencken who said something about Puritanism being the fear that someone, somewhere, was happy? Ding ding. We have a winner.

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  37. del said on January 22, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Harshing my mellow? Rich. We have a winner. And gasman, your talents are not wasted. Keep it coming. Seriously, Coulter shouldn’t be likened to any other person Mark. There are varying levels of ego among the pundit class but one can’t simply dismiss their misleading by calling them “entertainers.”

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  38. Bill said on January 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    You’ll love this one, Gasman. An $11 million book deal for Sarah Palin. What a country!

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  39. Catherine said on January 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Normally I’m very much against book burning…

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 22, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Title competition!

    “Out of My Life and (Occasional) Thought”

    “On a Clear Day, I Can See . . . Yeah, Yeah, Russia”

    “Portrait of the Governor As a Young Point Guard”

    “Ten Weeks That Shook My World”

    Go ahead, your turn, anyone!

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  41. brian stouder said on January 22, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Nobody Doesn’t Like Sarah Louise

    Forget Bailouts; Where’s Palin

    Or, utilizing the Sarah Palin name generator, which I first saw hereabouts, thanks to Sarah’s biggest supporter at nn.c (jtmmo), and putting “Sarah Palin’s America” into it, we get (and I’m not kidding)

    Smoke Strapon Palin

    I tried it again, without the apostrophe (on “Palin’s”) and got

    Nixon Hailfire Palin

    and then, I went back to the no-apostrophe version to see if it is s imply a random generator, and got

    Steam Fangs Palin.

    I think I’d name the book Steam Fangs….it just sounds good to me – and might snare the Twilight crowd! You betcha!

    PS – I saw a recent photograph of Palin where she has her hair OUT of her eyes; instead of the bangs that bounce when she blinks, her hair looked teased and starched above her forehead…and the effect was somewhat scarey. I guess I understand the bouncey bangs, now

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  42. beb said on January 22, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Mark, the problem with O’Reilly and Coulter is that while they act like entertainers throwing out flamebait 24/7, they market themselves as serious pundit. And are taken as Very Serious People by the media. If Dennis Miller or Larry the Cable Guy said the things they say, no one would care because no one takes them seriously.

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  43. joodyb said on January 22, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    the ghost-writing throw-down of the new millennium. what price? seriously. i nominate Jonathan Franzen.

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  44. basset said on January 22, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Meanwhile… Nashville just voted down an “English only” ordinance, 57 percent to 43.

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  45. joodyb said on January 22, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    wow! even that close, it’s good news. did you hear those odious campaign spots? eeeesh.

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  46. basset said on January 22, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    sure did… the bill’s sponsor told channel 17 tonight that… forget his exact words, but essentially he said he got what he wanted because The People were able to vote on it.


    so you’re somewhere in the Nashville media market, joodyb?

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  47. joodyb said on January 22, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    no! i just heard the ads in a story today on MPR, i think it was. i couldn’t believe my ears. the comparisons to NYC. i think it was on Day to Day. reporter was talking about how the influx of immigrants has polarized community somewhat. the guy who was pushing the ordinance was fluent in Japanese! but thought all the laws should be in English, hence… weird slice of life story.

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  48. Gasman said on January 22, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    I don’t have cable, so I don’t watch them at all. I stumbled on those links via other sources. I’ll bet they consider themselves journalists, or at least editorial pundits. They certainly market themselves as saying something incredibly important.

    Our Little Miss Sarah is very ambitious, however, she should really try reading a book before she writes one.

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  49. joodyb said on January 23, 2009 at 12:21 am

    it’s ok, gasman, she won’t be writing it. maybe jonah goldberg would be a better ghostwriter than franzen.

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  50. Gasman said on January 23, 2009 at 12:23 am

    She probably won’t being reading one either. Oh, I forgot. She reads them all.

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  51. Hoosier said on January 23, 2009 at 12:26 am

    True Tails of the Moose Huntin’ Govenor; How to Shoot A Moose, Bounce a Baby on Your Knee and Run the Government at the Same Time; How to Make the Most of Your 15 Minutes of Fame; Saint Sarah’s Parenting Mannual and Government Handbook; Sarah’s Right Thinking – Far Right; whatever the title, I’m not buyin’ it.

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  52. joodyb said on January 23, 2009 at 12:44 am

    poor jonathan franzen. i am on drugs and of course meaning to refer to james frey. it’s a monogram thing.

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  53. Dexter said on January 23, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Going back a day or so to Netflix…I believe Netflix is the real “true believer” service that turns friends and co-workers into bigger pains-in-the-neck than the worst zealots.
    “Oh Dexter, you haven’t tried it?” Dex! Just click on the line and get a free trial! What do you have to lose? ” It’s SO much better than paying for premium cable”, says an old, dear friend.
    But I DON’T WANT IT !!
    I prefer to check out the diverse programming on Sundance and IFC. Of course HBO is only great on Sunday nights, STARZ and all the Encore stations offer slim pickin'(s) with all the old movies, but TCM offers many films I have never seen, after many years of watching that channel.
    I watch a lot of Chinese movies, many others with subtitles for the French language…subtitles are fine with me.
    I have a friend who will not order any movie unless Leonard Maltin OKs it, or Ebert raves about it. I like to be surprised, and Sundance just will not show any lousy movies.

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  54. basset said on January 23, 2009 at 9:08 am

    back to “English Only” for a minute…

    the city councilman who was pushing it does indeed speak Japanese and says that had a lot to do with his English Only stance. he was a naval officer stationed there, married a Japanese woman and had to learn the language.

    lots about the vote and the aftermath at today.

    we have a larger international community here than you might expect – when I was working for the school district a couple years ago we had kids with close to ninety different native languages, if anything that’s gone up since then.

    Spanish-speakers are the largest single language group; we also have more Kurdish immigrants here than any other US city and lots of Vietnamese, Cambodians, and various Africans.

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  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 23, 2009 at 9:31 am

    English Only folk really do come in two varieties, one of which you can talk to, and the other . . . the latter are nativist, xenophobic, unhappy that Taco Bell is popular little demagogues. The former often are multiethnic themselves, and have some sincere concerns about translating so much in public life that you are encouraging people to make choices that harshly limit their futures. Those folk have taught me not to be too dismissive of English Only activitists, but you’ve got to cautiously feel out which kind is approaching you.

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  56. nancy said on January 23, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I’ve always though English-only campaigns are the world’s biggest waste of time. Generation after generation after generation of American immigrants have shown that the original arrivals may or may not learn English, but their kids always do, so who cares? I just fail to see how “press 2 for Spanish” is a threat to the republic. We absorbed Italians, Germans, Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese and many others with no problem — why is it a problem now?

    When we returned to the Fort from A2, we had to get a new land-line phone number, and we got a lot of wrong numbers from Spanish-speaking people. The routine was always the same: Ring. Hello? (Something in Spanish.) No comprende. Momentito. And then a child’s voice, speaking perfect English, asking for Juan or Jose or Mariselas, and I’d tell the kid he had the wrong number.

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  57. Connie said on January 23, 2009 at 10:15 am

    We see those kids translating for parents quite regularly in the library.

    Today Day to Day on NPR will have a story about public library use in bad economic times. My neighboring director, Linda Yoder, of Nappanee was interviewed. I call Linda the best library director in the state.

    Libraries in Elkhart County have been completely and totally overwhelmed by the Workforce requirement that those receiving unemployment benefits must check in online once a week. My branches have long lines of people waiting for Sunday openings – the first day of the filing week, when Workforce offices are of course all closed.

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  58. Dave K. said on January 23, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Connie, You must be mistaken about the unemployment situation. I received many mailings from Mitch Daniels’ people during the campaign, and even read front page newspaper articles, (with pictures!), telling me that Our Friend Mitch had hoisted the State of Indiana on his own mighty shoulders and created more new jobs than any state in the Union! Please check your sources and get back with us. Thank you.

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  59. Connie said on January 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Dave, Mitch is stopping in town today to visit our totally overwhelmed workforce office. A TV news reporter called me this a.m. to follow up on a story they did Sunday about the mob scene at the branch library. He told me he would ask a question incorporating my biggest complaint: Why is the first day of the unemployment filing week the one day that no Workforce offices are open.

    Not my man.

    Elkhart County has the highest unemployment rate in the state, and one of the TEN HIGHEST IN THE COUNTRY.

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  60. basset said on January 23, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Meanwhile, local talk radio here in Nashville is following up on the English First vote by encouraging their audience to call the mayor’s office speaking only a foreign language, record the call, and sooner or later it just might be on the radio.

    I may not have mentioned that there was a second question at stake in this (expensive, special) election – right now it takes signatures from ten percent of registered voters to put something to a referendum. The English First folks wanted to cut that to one percent and prevent the combined city/county council from altering the result of such a vote for two years.

    the spin on that, of course, being that it would give The People More Control Over Their Bloated and Unreasonable Government…

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