A Raymond Carver story.

The dead guy frozen in ice was found in the Detroit Public Schools book depository building. I should have picked up on this yesterday, but I was rushed and disorganized as usual, and it wasn’t until later that I remembered: This was the building whose contents and criminal decay were photographed by Jim from Sweet Juniper (and, to be sure, about a million other professional and amateur shooters, urban explorers, blight tourists and various slumming gawkers). He put together one of his typically thoughtful posts about it, which got Boing Boing’d, Fark’d, Metafilter’d and Web 2.0’d to a fare-thee-well, culminating in one photo running in Harper’s Magazine last year.

The post was also featured on some racist websites, used by its proprietors to show what happens when you let “them” run their own school systems, and Jim responded to that with a follow-up post that describes the building and how it got to the state it’s in. It’s pretty long, but it’s probably the best single explanation of how decay happens and why it persists in this city, and it boils down to: It’s complicated.

What’s most important for purposes of looking at the How and Why of the Dead Guy is probably the building’s most recent chapter, when it was sold to Manuel “Matty” Moroun, whose hip-pocket, one-phrase media description is usually “reclusive billionaire.” Moroun owns — yes, owns outright — the Ambassador Bridge across the Detroit River, which carries 70 25 percent of all the freight that moves between the United States and Canada. Some people think a crossing that important should be in the public’s hands — and if you’re thinking this sounds kind of like “Chinatown,” you’re not alone — and efforts have been underway on both sides of the border to bring this monopoly to a halt. Moroun is opposed to this, of course, and has taken steps to preserve his holdings, including buying key real estate parcels near the bridge, one of which is the building where the dead guy was found.

Moroun has no motivation to either demolish the building or even secure it. Like a lot of structures built around that time in this city, it’s solid to a fault. (You did know one of this area’s architectural innovations was the invention of reinforced concrete, didn’t you?) It would cost millions to demolish and he doesn’t need it demolished, and so, writes Jim:

So for seven years, Moroun’s company has held a permit for the demolition of the former Detroit Public Schools book depository, but he has done nothing but neglect the building. …Instead, because this is Detroit, it just sits there. It is left unsecured, open to scrappers, looters, crackheads, graffiti artists, suburban taggers, vandals, prostitutes, and local bloggers.

I imagine it’ll be secured now — at least for a while; the Freep today ran a photo of the perimeter fence being repaired. The Freep, having been beaten on this story, is pushing the city’s defense, which is: We responded to the 911 call and found nothing. Now that Kwame Kilpatrick, beneficiary of much Moroun campaign cash, is gone, city officials are blaming Moroun for the incident, for failing to secure the building. I’m sure this will still be playing out long after the dead guy is or isn’t ID’d and laid to rest in whatever potter’s field the city is currently using.

This is interesting: The News story today doesn’t mention Moroun at all. It, like yesterday’s story, was written by Charlie LeDuff, who also had a coup of sorts late last year, when he lured the reclusive billionaire from under his bridge for his first interview in forever. It was, not surprisingly, a pretty respectful one, and didn’t touch on this issue. (He does mention the building adjacent to the book depository, the infamous Michigan Central Station, which Moroun also owns. He claims he can’t tear that one down, because it’s a historic landmark. No word on whether that applies to the book depository, probably because it doesn’t.)

This is getting complicated. Like most things around here.

Anyway, there are many more links in the ones I’ve already given you. The link to Jim’s follow-up post is to all his depository-tagged posts, including the original. A quick Flickr tag search for “detroit book depository” will take you to hundreds of photos of the place. And for those of you puzzled over the headline for this post, it’s a reference to “So Much Water So Close to Home,” a Raymond Carver short story about the problem posed by a dead body. It was one of the threads in the movie “Short Cuts,” for you film buffs.

So. A little bloggage:

I suspect the maternity wedding dress is nothing new — what else is an empire waist for other than fetal concealment — but still, here’s a story about the latest styles.

And while we’re stealing links from Jezebel…now there’s a talent competition.

Why we have a health-care crisis in this country: Because there are doctors who will implant eight embryos in the uterus of a woman who already has six children. Remember that the next time your insurance premiums go up.

Have a good weekend, all. I hope to.

ADDED: Oops, almost forgot. When the Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at George Bush, Alan said, “You wait. They’re going to put up a statue of that guy.” Not quite, but close. Alan would like you all to know he told you so.

Posted at 10:01 am in Current events, Detroit life |

68 responses to “A Raymond Carver story.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 30, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Since i learn so much on this site, it’s good to give back . . . after having my eyeballs seared by the pic of Mr. Ice Block and Socks, it seemed only fair to look at Angelina Jolie’s dress to see what the kerfuffle was (and by the way, what is the deal with Jessica Simpson? she looks marvelous, and i don’t recall having any opinion about her at all before).

    What caught my eye wasn’t the back or the front, but what looked like text, albeit vertical, and since i’m a reader, readers gotta read. Calling on the powers of the internets, and in case anyone else wanted to be able to read Ms. Jolie’s message to the world — wikipedia and three other sites agree on the following, which i hope is correct:

    This tattoo on her left shoulder blade was, just like the tiger tattoo, done by tattoo artist Noo (aka Sompong) Kanhphaiin in a hotel in Pathum Thani, 16 miles north of Bangkok. It is a Buddhist Pali incantation written in Khmer script, the language of Cambodia. It is there to protect her and her adopted Cambodian son Maddox from bad luck.

    Here’s the translation:

    May your enemies run far away from you.
    If you acquire riches, may they remain yours always.
    Your beauty will be that of Apsara.
    Wherever you may go, many will attend, serve and protect you, surrounding you on all sides.

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  2. nancy said on January 30, 2009 at 10:32 am

    My lactation consultant had been a medical missionary in Cambodia. I asked if she spoke Khmer, and she said, “Not really, but I do speak ‘medical Khmer,'” and then rattled off a few phrases, which she translated as “Did you have a bowel movement today? Was it firm or loose? What color was it?”

    I’ve heard many stories of overseas tattoo artists having fun with American ink-seekers. Until I hear from someone who’s a native speaker who can read Angie’s back, I’m withholding judgment.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 30, 2009 at 10:38 am


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  4. MichaelG said on January 30, 2009 at 10:46 am

    There are all these people sporting super cool Chinese writing tatoos and when I see them I wonder if the tattoo says “Shrimp Chou Mein” or “I’m a dumbass gwai lo” or something like that.

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  5. jeff borden said on January 30, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Translations work both ways. I remember a story some years ago about T-shirts popular with Japanese teens that featured nonsensical English phrases.

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  6. brian stouder said on January 30, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Well firstly, I’d never, ever, ever get a tattoo. Hell, it’s all I can do to let Red Cross jam needles into me for pheresis – and in THAT case it’s just two little pricks (so to speak) and then 100 minutes of watching TV (the lady next to me Tuesday had control of the tv, and had the new Get Smart movie in…which actually was pretty good!…not that I could walk out on it)

    But my understanding is that tattoos are much more painful, leaving aside the “art” itself that you are then ‘stuck’ with.

    And this is leaving aside the (admittedly xenophobic) additional fear of getting a tattoo while in Cambodia!

    Good God! – that would almost certainly get me a lifetime deferrment from any more Red Cross donations!

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  7. LA Mary said on January 30, 2009 at 11:04 am

    I was late leaving home this morning because I couldn’t tear myself away from the mother of fourteen story. I know it’s tabloidy and all, but jeez. What doctor would do that? What is the mental state of that mother? And who pays? Kaiser is most often a provider as part of a employee benefit program. Is this a working mother?

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  8. Sue said on January 30, 2009 at 11:07 am

    I was wondering when it would hit the fan re the 8 babies. The first inkling was a relatively low-key article that sorta kinda mentioned that most fertility specialists weren’t doing the litter treatments anymore, citing things like astronomical costs, danger to mother and babies, and ohyeah, the fact that technology has been beyond that for awhile now. Seriously, a delivery team of 40? They probably capped their lifetime limit before the kids were even born, or sometime during the delivery. After that, who takes over the cost? Perhaps they’ll get their own cable show, or a special on Discovery Channel. I have also read for at least a couple of years now stories about communities getting “multiples fatigue” – not coming together when one of these births take place with all the gifts (from free diapers to cars). I wonder what the backlash to this family is going to be. Not too nasty, I hope. There are babies involved, after all.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 30, 2009 at 11:13 am

    The only way i’ll stop hyperventilating over this one is to force it on anyone who’s willing to click it — a Wodehouse 2.0 complaint letter to Richard Branson

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  10. coozledad said on January 30, 2009 at 11:17 am

    One of the members of a band I was in had a personal tattoo artist of sorts: They’d shoot up whatever IV drugs happened to be available in Baltimore (tar process heroin, morphine, Bon Ami) then set to drawing on each other. The results I could see were less than spectacular. They also did amateur piercings. Apparently the pain from the nipple job outlasted the general anesthesia.

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  11. brian stouder said on January 30, 2009 at 11:17 am

    nance – I think that FULLY (and not “not quite”!) vindicates Alan’s prediction! And they put the really Big Shoe in front of an orphanage, to boot

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  12. nancy said on January 30, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I guess, Sue, first we have to discuss what sort of family this is, given the mother is single and lives with her parents and, now, 14 children under the age of eight.

    You know what I’d like to see? Some sort of psychological study on something I’ve come to think of as Maternity Insanity. We’ve all seen it — the friend or acquaintance who has one baby and it just flips a switch in her, and she has another after another after another. While there’s nothing pathological about wanting a big family, what seems to be the dividing line for these women is their lust for babies — they seem to lose interest in their kids after they reach a certain age, and they start working on the next one.

    Not surprisingly, these girls tend to turn up in cultures that reward them — rad-trad Catholics, polygamist compounds, crunchy-granola households full of haphazardly dressed toddlers and unflushed toilets, etc. And I’m sure it has a lot to do with hormones and the external attention paid to pregnant women. But I really think it’s a mild mental illness, and I think Mom o’ Eight is a prime example.

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  13. Peter said on January 30, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Re: Chinese Characters – back during the Stone Age when I was in school, the report cards were mailed out wrapped in a a sheet of Chinese characters to obscure the news. I always wondered if the characters were some secret degrading message…

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  14. Colleen said on January 30, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I’m a firm believer in one’s reproductive status or lack thereof being one’s own beeswax. That said, there is something that really bothers me about this mom of 14 thing.

    Re: the maternity wedding dress thing….I wish people would QUIT perpetuating the myth of white dress being a declaration of the status of one’s virginity. It’s supposed to represent joy, not “purity”.

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  15. Sue said on January 30, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Huh, the baby details must have come out after I finished watching this morning’s news; I didn’t know about the family status. My husband guessed it was a second marriage kind of thing, having to have “some of their own”. I wonder if a psychological analysis is generally done as part of the workup for fertility treatments – I used to work with a bariatric surgeon who wouldn’t do a major procedure until the patient had been seen and cleared by a psychologist. His reasoning (and he should know, he’s been doing it for years) is that morbid obesity is such an extremely mixed bag of causative factors that he’d better know what he (the surgeon) was getting into, and have the option of refusing the patient. Why not the same for someone who is willing to go through fertility treatments in a quest for more than six kids?
    Re tattoos, about 3 months ago the owner of a tattoo establishment came into my office to discuss the possibility of opening another office in our city. His face and neck were covered in a spiderweb pattern, and I mean covered, eyelids and everything. Since most people in the US are taught from childhood not to stare at disfigurements, and since the reason for a completely tatooed face is to attract attention to one’s artistry, I was in a bad spot. I had to force myself to look at him, because my brain told me he was injured or deformed, and yet his choice of tattoo placement demanded acknowledgment and appreciation.

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  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 30, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Wedding dresses before Queen Victoria married her Prince Albert (yes, he’s in the can; no, we won’t let him out) were as likely to be russet-brown or cobalt-blue. White was unheard of, but like Christmas trees and painting wrought iron black, once Queen Victoria did it, everyone wanted the same.

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  17. Jolene said on January 30, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Wow, just wow! It’s horrible to think of a physician willing to provide fertility treatment for a single woman who already has six children. What was he thinking? I don’t have anything imaginative to say–just that some people seem to have such poor judgment that they really should not be allowed to make consequential decisions by themselves. Of course, since one of the parties demonstrating such judgment in this situation is the highly educated physician, it’s difficult to know who would have the authority to intervene. Poor kids.

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  18. Dexter said on January 30, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Remember the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” epi in which Larry David couldn’t fire his Tourette’s Syndrome chef at his new restaurant because the chef was obviously a “survivor”, because Larry had seen the tattoo on his arm?…turned out the “tattoo” was the lottery number the chef had written on his arm after playing the state lottery. When he found out he hadn’t won, he just rubbed it off…now, if all tattoos could be so easily removed…and—have you seen all the tatts Pamela Anderson has? She’s covered in them…Tommy Lee loves ’em, I reckon.

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  19. Kirk said on January 30, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    For what it’s worth, according to exit polling by an outfit called Public Policy Polling, Ohio and Indiana ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in difference of support for Obama between the oldest and youngest voters. In Ohio, polling showed voters under 30 favoring Obama by 55 points and voters over 65 preferring McCain by 11 points, a difference of 66 points. In Indiana, it was +28 for Obama among the young, +24 for McCain among the old, a difference of 52 points. The smallest difference between old and young was 5 points, in Georgia.

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  20. Catherine said on January 30, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    At the other end of the fertility scale, I was once in my OB’s office next to a 40-ish woman who wanted a consult about selective reduction. She’d done IVF and implanted two embryos in an effort to avoid the octuplet scenario. Both embryos “took,” and one divided. Presto, triplets! I don’t think she was all that committed to the idea of parenthood in the first place, let alone triplets. The doctor told her, no way. Interesting how three babies seems like way too many to some people, while 14 sounds like a good idea to others.

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  21. whitebeard said on January 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I had an editor at a Canadian newspaper who thought that GOP stood for Government Opposition Party, the party that was out of power. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? And if President Obama nominates Sen. Gregg to Commerce and the New Hampshire Democrat who is governor names a Democrat to the Senate to make it filibuster-proof, I have a mental image of a herd of elephants linked trunk to tail muttering under their breath about the need for a new image as they head into the political graveyard. The voters have already told the Repugs what they thought of the party image in the mid-term and presidential elections.

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  22. brian stouder said on January 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Well, the new GOP chairman is a black man, and that is an altogether good thing.

    ‘Course, the party is actually run by an oxycontin addict given to sexual tourism in third world areas, who is actively rooting for the worsening of our economic Hard Times….

    Say – here’s an obscenity I just received in my e-mail….or what would YOU call this?:

    I’m confused..

    how can nearly 2 million blacks get into Washington DC in sub zero temps in 1 day when 200,000 couldn’t get out of New Orleans at 85 degrees with four days notice.

    A real knee-slapper, eh?

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  23. jeff borden said on January 30, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Re: the birth of many children. What are your thoughts about that Arkansas clan that now has 18 kids and hubby and wifey say they still want more? I can’t recall their last name, only that the husband is actually called Jim Bob.

    When I was in Catholic school in Ohio, my best friend for awhile was the second-oldest of 12 kids. They all lived in a rambling farmhouse and ate meals in shifts determined by age. I don’t recall either his mom or dad being weird, but even by Catholic standards, where so many of my fellow students came from families of five and six and seven, a dozen was a lot. As a child of mixed parentage –Catholic mom, Methodist dad– I had to make do with just one sister and no brothers.

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  24. LA Mary said on January 30, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I believe you’re talking about the Duggars, Jeff. In the comments section of the Defamer website, some snarky person said, “what that woman has isn’t a uterus; it’s a clown car.” Sadly, this applies to our octomom too.

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  25. Sue said on January 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    When Jim Bob and his wife were on #16 or something, one of the comment sections (CNN or somewhere) had a comment that went something along the lines of “It’s a uterus, not a clown car!” I still laugh when I think of that line. I wouldn’t object to those folks so much if they weren’t so ridiculously fake. Really, come on, everyone looks and acts like they spend Saturday nights watching Lawrence Welk and liking it, and they present themselves as though there is never any discord. I’ve known large families; the undercurrents can be really hostile.
    Edit: LAMary, you beat me to it!

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  26. Hoosier said on January 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Re body art, have you ever seen a 75 year old tattoo on a wrinkly old sorry ass? Not a pretty sight and enough to discourage anyone from getting one!
    Re maternity bridal gowns, why not? Network TV airs shows where first dates end up in bed as normal interactions. Ministers condone big splashy weddings of preggers couples while preaching abstinence & claiming the banned peta commercial as fornicating with broccoli. It’s one or the other, so evangelicals should take take action to display their beliefs or shut up.
    Re octomom. Any doctor considering fertility assistance to a single or married mother of 6 children (aged 7 and under) should be investigated for malpractice.

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  27. joodyb said on January 30, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    has anyone seen the Duggars? that has got to be the creepiest reality show yet. i had my doubts about the programmers at TLC even before that show came along. my spouse loves loves loves Jon & Kate + 8 though. they have a certain charm. fertility therapy was involved there too but it was overall much more a happy accident/experiment in terror. and they are very very frank about their lives. Duggars, you don’t get that sense. i read a lot between the lines. sourest aspect was the building of the new house, and the multiple industrial dishwashers.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 30, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    You need to Google “quiverfull movement” for some educational reading.

    The allusion is to Psalm 135, i think (edit: ok, 127, verses 3 to 5…sorry). Sorry, gotta run — i’m evenly split between bothered that a fertility doc would do any procedures on a woman with multiple births “under her belt” so to speak (thanks for making an argument for health care rationing), and horrified by how casually Nancy Snyderman and her peeps on NBC/MSNBC are emphasizing that “culling” is the only sensible course, and bragging about “we’ve reduced the unnecessary incidence of triplets and even twins substantially in the last decade.”

    Shivers to both sides on this one. Hard cases, bad law, Holmes, yada yada.

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  29. caliban said on January 30, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    So, you’ve got a story. Run like a bunny. But this seems like a Danny Casolaro kind of story, so take care.

    Raymond Carver? How bout Sherman Alexie? Humm. I’d say TC Boyle and Breece D’Jay Pancake (if that’s his real name) wrote better stories. Harlan Ellison could turn all of them out on a dime. Dashiell Hammett wrote better short stories than novels, and he always wished he was Raymond Chandler. What ever happened to short stories? Is it all the fault of editors at the New Yorker? No plot, no bang for the buck, just ennui?

    Hilton Head island gets it Detroit on. I’m 57, and this is the fourth shooting incident I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. What are the odds. I saw a guy shot to death on Shrewsbury St. in Worcester MA while my future wife and I were walking to the movies. And we were tripping. This one, I was stone sober and almost run over by the Sheriff SUV. Before that, my brother’s dog Spotter was crapping on the lawn of some unhinged J. Walter Thompson account executivve and the rat-bastard shot him in the tail with a pellet gun. My dad confronted the coward and snatched the rifle from his hands and broke it in two.

    The other instance, well, that bullet was aimed at me, and I sure as hell didn’t deserve it, though some of you may beg, nay, clamor, to disagree. It was a dark and stormy night. Not Really. It was snowing a blizzard, and we were trudging through about a foot and a half up Commonwealth Avenue, looking for my stolen Gibson 12string. I threatened with a steak knife. The guitar was unfortunately fucked.

    What Tony Blair and Alicia Silverstoneand President Segway have in common. Clueless. Bonus points: Which one had the brains to treat Elizabeth Hasselbeck like she was trying to be Michelle Malkin and she didn’t exist? When will these media whores get it that you can’t be Ann Coulter without the Adam’s Apple?

    Why the sun will never set on the Brit Press. And what it might be like to be an ex empire. Calling William Boot. Lord Copper on the line.

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  30. Catherine said on January 30, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Re the culling, it seems kind of horrifying to me too. The dr. I mentioned above refused to do the selective reduction on the triplets because risks to all the babies of the procedure were higher than the risks of carrying & birthing triplets. Pretty mathematical approach.

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  31. deb said on January 30, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    nance, just wondering, did you note the google ad for something related to sarah palin (complete with misspelled last name) on your site? eeewww. i didn’t click through. just couldn’t bring myself to go there. this week’s been unpleasant enough already.

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  32. caliban said on January 30, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Math is gorgeous, but I never got it. On the other hand, everything’s math and I get that, McCaskill rules. The bucaneer daptains are robbing everybody. They buy jets and drapes and they don’t give a shit about anybody. This is the Raygun Revolution. The people thatr run things make 300 times what the people make that make things. WWJD? Drive their greedy asses out of the marketplace.

    There’s something to be considered regarding flaming assholes like John Cornyn. Who exactly is the constituency. They despise poor people and they have made more people poor than any group of bastards in US history. They haven’t enriched trhemselves (other than Dickless). So what the fuck is wrong with these people? They hate poor people? They just hate people in general?

    How do the run on this?

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  33. beb said on January 30, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    So the reason nothing’s ever been done about the Michigan Central building is because this guy Moroun just wants to tie up the land so nobody else can build a bridge next to his. I’ve always loved the train station. The exterior is beautiful. I’ve never seen the inside so have always heard that it, too, was beautiful. The building is huge. I’m told thst the top five floors were never finished because they couldn’t find tenants. While the building has undoubtedly been stripped of all its plumbing and electrical wiring, I suppose it is still structurally sound. It someone wanted to renovate it they would want to replace all the wiring and plumbing anyway — it bring it up to modern standards, so I don’t think it’s stripped condition is a serious complication. It seems to be that it would be a great building to convert into mixed lofts and retail. The train station is surrounded by a lot of open, paved ground which could be converted into a park.

    I think I saw a note on one of the blogs that the Iraqi government has ordered the shoe statue removed. I wonder whose idea that way?

    I heard that Detroit’d mayor is proposing to balance the city’s budget with a 10% cut in worker’s wagers. As a city worker it’s a bit hard to get behind this idea since in the 20 years I’ve been with the city, contracts have included cuts in hours, twice, give back and year and after of no increases. Since city workers don’t get cost of living adjustments, that means that city wages have been declining for twenty years. The only time workers ever got three years of modest increases was the last time that Coleman ran for Mayor. I guess he didn’t want any labor unrest during an election. But that was the only time wages kept up with inflation.

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  34. CrazyCatLady-Mrs.Beb said on January 31, 2009 at 12:14 am

    Heard from someone who can read Japanese Kanji Tattoos. Rarely do the translations mean what the tattoo shop says it does. For all we know people could be walking around with ‘Asshole’ or ‘Stupid One’ permanently seared into their naive flesh. And as for that California woman with 8 newborns I feel sorry for those kids. No Dad in the picture, just Gramma and Grampa and a great big hospital bill to strain California’s bankrupt Medi-Cal system. I pity the kids.

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  35. CrazyCatLady-Mrs.Beb said on January 31, 2009 at 12:17 am

    As a resident of Detroit and the wife of a city employee, I hate to see 10% taken out of our budget. Times are hard, but our utilities, grocery and other bills aren’t going down 10%. Here we go again…

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  36. Dexter said on January 31, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Got bacon? Better hurry! It’s all the rage!

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  37. MaryRC said on January 31, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Jon & Kate + 8 do have charm but it’s hard not to think that the two older twin girls, who are about 8 or 9, aren’t getting the attention they need. They seem to feel they have to compete with the six younger children and can act like little divas at times. It can’t be easy growing up in a reality show, but Jon and Kate make it clear that they need the money that the show provides.

    joodby, you’re right about the Duggars, there’s something grim about them. At least Kate only had to get pregnant twice but Mrs. Jim Bob has been pregnant for more than half her married life. Married 24 years, 18 kids — that’s 13 and a half years that she has spent being pregnant.

    Does anyone remember the McCaughey septuplets? They’d be about 10 or 11 now. They were featured on the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal every year for years. Like Jon and Kate, the McCaugheys had fertility treatments and refused selective reduction. The two youngest children have cerebral palsy. There was something uncomfortable about the way that LHJ’s writers would gloss over the children’s health problems, using euphemisms like (as I recall) “[youngest child] moves at his own pace” when in fact he couldn’t walk at all. Kind of took away from the “miracle” of it all, I suppose.

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  38. Dexter said on January 31, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Johnnie Redding was not homeless at all, says his 59 year-old brother. “He had too many places he could live…”

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  39. Hoosier said on January 31, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Heroic tale of a 4 yo. Warms the cockles of your heart (what ever those are)


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  40. beb said on January 31, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I read a mystery a year or two ago, author and titlenow forgotten, which is ashame because I liked the book and would like to read another by that guy. The story centered around a tattoo artist who was using characters from a chinese menu and making up fancyful translations of what they mean.

    The mystery was in the same vein as Carl Haissen, even set in Florida.

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  41. MichaelG said on January 31, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    The pay cuts and lay offs hitting nn.c’ers lend a nice perspective to the sight of the Wall Streeters paying themselves huge bonuses from the billion dollar bailouts that the gov’t is giving the people who stole the original money in the first place. It’s the American way: Welfare for the rich and free enterprise for the poor.

    Jeez, I don’t mean to sound whiney or bitter it just sort of comes out that way.

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  42. MichaelG said on January 31, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I don’t think blame for the octuplets debacle should go to the mom. Given my strong background in the head sciences, my considered professional opinion is that she’s crazy as a shit house rat. Besides, she has enough problems as it is. Blame goes to whomever provided her with the impregnation services. Kaiser has made it clear it wasn’t them. No reputable operation would implant eight embryos in any woman. No reputable operation would implant any embryos at all in a single jobless woman with proven fertility and six existing children without at the very least some serious psychological evaluation. What we have here is something that is certainly stupid and irresponsible on the part of the provider, very arguably unethical and very close to malpractice given the unfortunate health consequences suffered by many children of extreme multiple births. I wonder who paid for the clinic. This stuff isn’t cheap. Kaiser and the State and the County and whomever is paying for the end results should go after the clinic Ms. Suleman was visiting. I also don’t think you can criticize Kaiser for having so many staff members dedicated to ensuring a healthy outcome for all concerned. An over response to a situation like this is preferable to a too casual response. Past experience has showcased an outpouring of help in the shape of goods and money for parents of extreme multiple births. Ain’t gonna happen here. Given the amazing circumstances and the mother’s Islamic sounding name she’ll be lucky some asshole doesn’t burn her existing house down.

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  43. MaryRC said on January 31, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    The story centered around a tattoo artist who was using characters from a chinese menu and making up fancyful translations of what they mean.

    Michael McClelland? Tattoo Blues?

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  44. moe99 said on January 31, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Well, I’m all bummed out that the most recent Battlestar Galactica episode had a “to be continued” sign at the end. It left me on the edge of my seat. The writers and directors are not afraid to kill good characters, so there really is uncertainty in this. It also didn’t help that I watched it at the home of some friends who have a very large tv with a great sound system. Good thing I don’t.

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  45. beb said on January 31, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    That’s the book. Thanks.

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  46. Deborah said on January 31, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    This whole octuplet incident is puzzling isn’t it? Now there seems to be an Iraq connection from what I’ve heard on the news/internets. Weird. What’s going on here? Does anyone know?

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 31, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Grandpa is a private contractor for USAID (maybe, not clear), about to go back. Translator or something, but he’s not saying.

    True about much around this story. Very, very strange. But the term “selective reduction” still gives me the creeps.

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 31, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Sorry, Deborah, busy evening — http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-octuplets30-2009jan30,0,6314319.story?track=ntothtml

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  49. Dexter said on January 31, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Obama’s so LAME ! Whassdis all about he is against the dudes wearin’ their pants so their asses stick out covered only in boxers? That’s so COOL!

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  50. Dexter said on January 31, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    hey…did this human being REALLY lose THAT much weight?(Hotel Chelsea blog photo)

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  51. Dexter said on February 1, 2009 at 1:16 am

    shoe tribute was removed Jan. 30….

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  52. Dexter said on February 1, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Mitch blows commode definition:

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Apparently, Mitch does not read NN.C. Someone may want to suggest that to him. He could learn lots!

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  54. Gasman said on February 1, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Re: the Hotel Chelsea blog photo. Naw, he didn’t loose that much weight. That’s just a pair of Rush Limbaugh’s undies. The wind must of caught that mainsail-like bolt of cloth and carried all the way from the Dark Lord’s Florida lair. You could jump out of a plane with that much fabric.

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  55. Bill said on February 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Here’s an article on the “Alfalfa Club” dinner in D.C. last night. Best lines : “Cheney hurt himself moving: Didn’t know water-boards are so heavy, and times are tough… can’t even sell an Illinois Senate seat.”


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  56. moe99 said on February 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Our “liberal” media at work:


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  57. Deborah said on February 1, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I’m a literary groupie, so once a few years back on an east coast driving trip I made arrangements to spend the night at the Hotel Chelsea in NY where the likes of Dylan Thomas and Paul Bowles lived. Wow, it was a total flop house. The pillows on the bed in our room had hairs on them. I insisted that housekeeping come in and replace the bedding. I also went out and bought cleansers to clean the bathroom and scrubbed it myself. It was just filthy. I love the stories about the place, but the reality is something else indeed.

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  58. moe99 said on February 1, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    more news from Detroit and the freep:


    family terrorized by Detroit police for two hours in mistaken drug raid.

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  59. basset said on February 1, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    if I was going to stay in a specific hotel out of appreciation for its contributions to our cultural history, I suppose it’d be one of these:


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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    OK, that was the best halftime show on the Superbowl i’ve ever seen, and i think i’ve seen ’em all. Bruuuuuuuuuuuce . . . .

    (btw, Deborah, i drove by the Chelsea in ’93, and that was enough for me — you’ve brave, even with a bucket of cleaning supplies in hand.)

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  61. nancy said on February 1, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Too bad he he was upstaged by the last play before the half.

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  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Nah, they complemented each other. (And a Kent State alum, didja notice?)

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  63. MichaelG said on February 1, 2009 at 10:10 pm


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  64. Joe Kobiela said on February 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Who liked what commercials??
    I liked the one for pedigree dog food.
    Pilot Joe

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  65. brian stouder said on February 1, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Best: The Coke commerical where the guy falls asleep and the bugs hijack his bottle.

    Worst: The ‘it’s time to change jobs’ one which was repetitive, uninventive, out of tune with the times, and therefore ineffective.

    I WAS taken by the car ads where if “you lose your income source” within a year, they’ll take the car back without crashing your credit rating.

    I was for the Cardinals all the way; a good game, although the officials were pretty mercilous

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  66. Dave K. said on February 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I thought it was interesting that Audi, Toyota, and Hyundai all had commercials, even though they lost money in 2008. Of course the US automakers wouldn’t dare spend anything on advertising, mid-bailout. Yes, Pedigree’s “Maybe you should get a dog…” was pretty funny. I especially liked the grandma in the back seat with a warthog, “How do you think I’m doing?!!”.

    Edit: The Coke “Bugs” commercial was really well made and in the spirit of classic Super Bowl commercials. I wonder who produced that and what it cost?

    Before the game I said that I wanted the Steelers to win, then I caught myself cheering for the Cards. 1) AZ defense was super, until the last 2:37. 2) #11 is one fast SOB! 3) And #10 Santonio stole the spotlight. 4) James Harrison won the game with his interception return, but he should have been ejected on the punt play he was flagged for. 5) Brian, I agree that the refs were merciless?

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Could the GoDaddy ads get any unironically worse? Or is there a metairony here i’m missing?

    The ad material in general was pretty lame, and i still miss the once-annual Master Lock getting shot. The Bugs/Coke ad was cool, and i think the Audi ad was making an in-joke about Grand Theft Autos successive versions, but i only know that stuff second hand, so maybe i’m missing something.

    The Boss was tremendous, but can you imagine the stadium and national reax when they finally wise up and tap Jimmy Buffet for halftime? I mean, c’mon . . . it will be the ultimate national sing-along.

    Along with “Best,” a very subjective measure, i’d have to say that objectively, Bruce was having more fun *being* the Superbowl halftime show than anyone i’ve ever seen. His obvious delight in being there and doing the show was enjoyable even to folks who aren’t ‘steen fans, as my living room proved. It was just fun seeing how much fun he and the E-Streeters were having, and i don’t recall anyone, even U2, looking that happy and thankful to be in the middle of the field.

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  68. Dexter said on February 2, 2009 at 12:36 am

    My best laugh was the Cheetos comm in which the annoying cell-talker was “sic’d” on by the birds.
    I stayed a few nights at The Chelsea Hotel in the 1980’s and it was fine, but I knew what to expect. Close-by were a deli, a jazz club, and a subway stop, and an OTB parlor. By NYC standards it was cheap, just $85 a night , but maybe Stanley Bard just took pity on us and gave us a good rate. Now the Bards are out and the hotel is in constant turmoil , with residents and management at war. It’s been quite a turbulent past few months, with the resignation recently of the new manager, and more urgent calls to bring Stanley Bard back….
    Last night was special for me as I am a long-time Springsteen fan , and concert-goer. Of course both dogs had to go out so I only saw a little of the halftime show and I will watch the recording later today.
    The commish was wrong…as good as the finish was, it did not top last year’s finish.
    I swear, if I didn’t know better, I would have said the fix was in on that last play of the first half. SOMEBODY should have stopped him! I mean that wasn’t a player with Stevie Breaston-like speed returning that interception.

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