What fresh hell?

I was having lunch with a friend yesterday, and we were discussing the general mood of the city, the state, the country these days. (Stop the presses: Not good.) It isn’t just the punishing winter, we agreed, which has been tough but well within normal parameters. It’s not just the income loss and belt-tightening, which has most people fretting, scrimping, cutting back and otherwise hunkering down. It’s not just the relentless parade of bad news from every corner, which is always accompanied by such phrases as “worst ever,” “in the 80 years since records have been kept,” and “defying even the grimmest expectations.”

It’s the combination of all of it, which leads to moments like the other day: My friend was picking up his Cadillac after some routine maintenance. He knew there was a timing-chain problem, but it was covered under warranty, and he was expecting a bill of around $50. So he gets to the cashier’s window, and she says, “That’ll be twelve ninety-five.” He goes nuts — what the hell, more than a thousand dollars?!?! And so on. The cashier quailed.

No. That’s $12.95, for the oil filter. But you get the idea — you just expect that when warm weather returns, it’ll be followed by a plague of locusts. The first in the 80 years since records have been kept.

I don’t have much today, or rather, I have too much. I have to get in the shower in seven minutes to make a busy morning schedule, after which I plan to indulge in a little me time — the library, lunch at a place other than my own kitchen, what the hell, maybe even an exploration trip to Hamtramck or the DIA or something. Let’s go crazy.

So this is just an open thread for a cold Friday in February, with an invitation to discuss whatever you like in comments. I may be back, but I probably won’t. Have a good weekend to all, and I’ll see you when I see you.

Posted at 8:43 am in Current events |

112 responses to “What fresh hell?”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 6, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Hey, if i have to connect through either Charlotte or Detroit on a Saturday night to sit for two and a half hours, which terminal is the least grim? I’ll bet someone here knows. The flights get me back to Col’s at the same time, and the cost is the same, so i’m down to which is least awful to sit at for 150 minutes.

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  2. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 9:09 am

    When Pam and I flew to Houston sometime back, we flew from Columbus through Charlotte, thence to Houston; and the return was just the reverse; and BOTH ways, we became snared in Charlotte’s web. (Actually, this was owing to USAir both times, but given that Sully works for them, how far wrong can you go?)

    On the flight out of there for Houston, the plane had a ‘minor’ problem, and we had to circle Charlotte for an hour burning fuel off, before landing and spending lots more time on the ground waiting for a gate, and then for a repair, and then for the completion of paperwork, etc.

    And the flight out of there for the return to Columbus was scheduled for a Monday night, and we saw a brightly lit stadium as we returned from Houston (they had the NFL Monday night game)…and the flight to Columbus was delayed, and delayed again, and then cancelled!

    But leaving that aside, the Charlotte airport (which we became quite familiar with!) is beautiful, and has a wide array of dining/snacking/reading options, and is probably warmer than Detroit

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  3. Jenflex said on February 6, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I’m going to disagree and vote for Detroit, on the basis of the low-cost chair massage that un-knotted the shoulder that had been bothering me for two weeks. $15 for 15 minutes was the best money I have spent in weeks. Terminal A, near the main security entrance.

    Besides, NC is doing better than MI, economically speaking. A layover in Detroit contributes to our dear hostess’ local economy…it’s not quite clicking on a Google ad, but it’s something. And as far as the weather is concerned, you don’t have to go outside…

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  4. coozledad said on February 6, 2009 at 9:28 am

    We’ve got to go to Durham today, so we’re planning to stop in at the Goodwill. Most of the time they’ll have a few Land’s End oxford shirts embroidered with some hideous corporate logo you can pick up for a couple of bucks. Great summer work shirts, once you peel off the collar and hem the tail .
    It’s a pretty good economic barometer. You can count the BMW’s and Lexi at the drop off versus the ones where me and my wife park.
    It’s always good to see the folks with marginal facelifts pawing through the fat jeans.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on February 6, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Jeff, if you mind smoke, you might want to stay away from an airport in the middle of tobacco country.

    We had some good news yesterday, or at least I think it is. With lower property taxes and mortgage interest, we no longer have enough deductions to itemize. We can fill out the 1040A, a first for us. The other good news is that we never adjusted our withholding after I stopped working so it’s looking like a nice refund will be coming our way. We can use it to pay the sales tax increase that came along with property taxes decreasing.

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  6. John said on February 6, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Charlotte. We have been through there 4 times in the past year. Always clean, always pleasant. Rocking chairs. Good eats. But always busy.

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  7. Dorothy said on February 6, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I’d go with Charlotte, Jeff. Especially this time of year so you don’t chance snow in D-town. My mom flew through there a few times when she visited us from Pittsburgh (when we lived in Greenville SC). And I’m fairly sure no smoking is the norm in most large airports these days. It’s pretty much all outside smoking only.

    I am so looking forward to a big melt down this weekend. I much prefer walking the dogs in mud than I do to navigating on ice.

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  8. whitebeard said on February 6, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Jeff, I vote for Detroit for a long layover, nice quick overhead shuttle trains in the Northwest terminal, wonderful shops; it is so great you might want to stay over longer.
    On Charlotte, I spent hours there during bad weather and it did not win any gold stars in my travel notebook. I didn’t notice the smoking, but I did not feel good, maybe it was more than the unpleasant layover.
    My handyman friend did not get a quick sale of his small cottage to avoid foreclosure and a public auction on Saturday, so he will be staying with us a lot longer and is doing some odd jobs around the house, cutting some firewood for the small stove in the old kitchen, which he is cleaning up as a one-room apartment. My wife also says he is a gentleman because he helps carry out the garbage unlike the two other lazy males in the household, me at 71 and our grandson at 13.

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  9. Randy said on February 6, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but some time ago, about two years back, I recall some economists and other “experts” saying that most of the first world’s economies had become so sophisticated that they were virtually recession-proof. A depression would be inconceivable, and downturns would be easily corrected. A few things were obviously overlooked in their assessments.

    Am I out to lunch on this one?

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  10. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 10:48 am

    sounds like one of those “end of history”-type monographs, that probably sounds at least somewhat better if you’re in a loud bar, and only catch every third word.

    Here’s an “am I out to lunch” question for you: WHen did moms start leaving the house in pajamas?

    I’m not talking about 15-19 year olds stylin’ at the mall, but women my age (ie – old enough to know better) driving their kids to school wearing pj’s and a robe! Every morning I take the young folks to the bus stop area (a mile away), and we wait for their bus – and then it arrives and Chloe and I trundle over the heaped up snow mound that divides the parking area from the bus lane*, and every morning I am wonder-struck at the number of women in pajamas who get out into the cold and do the same….wouldn’t that be COLD?! What if the car quits?

    Just wonderin’ how far out of it I am!

    * speaking of bus lanes, Pam tells me that a horrible accident occurred this morning in front of a school in Indianapolis, involving a bus and a now-dead kid. “Developing”…

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  11. Sue said on February 6, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Who knew when I took on a second job two years ago that I was on the cutting edge of the new economy? I’m so proud of my farsighted thinking. My thing right now is that I’m afraid to talk to anyone, moreso even than before the election. People who supported Obama are suddenly very quiet, and everyone else is working him into the conversation at every possible opportunity. Schadenfreude before the schaden, in my opinion.

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  12. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Sue – Our 18-day old Obama administration is now the focus of all the problems that the 8 year Bush admin let go completely wild.

    The one saving grace is – the crash was well and truly in progress when Bush ejected, and the sons of bitches can’t ever change that (we wuz THERE, by thunder! and we saw with our own eyes)

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  13. coozledad said on February 6, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I don’t know, Sue. I think Obama just gave Mitch McConnell and that lot enough rope to hang themselves, and they just did it, unthinkingly, blindly, as is their wont. They just cant help themselves. He’s kicking their fat pink asses on TV today.
    It’s good to have a president who can simply speak a few minutes, and immediately place Howard Fineman in his proper context- a “Where is my next lobster dinner coming from?” pussy-ass concern troll.

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  14. LA Mary said on February 6, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I saw a guy in the DMV last week wearing pajama pants. He wasn’t an old git and he wasn’t 18. Maybe 30? In normal clothing he might have looked ok, but in his PJs in the DMV line, he looked demented.

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  15. Joe Kobiela said on February 6, 2009 at 11:15 am

    It would depend on the airline I am flying, I would try to go thru the hub of said airline, your chance of getting another flight will be better if you are in Detroit flying on North West /Delta than on US Air, in Charlotte I would be on US Air if I could. Both places have basically the same amenity’s in there Terminals.
    Pilot Joe

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  16. Sue said on February 6, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Brian, that’s my problem: those who are talking now aren’t making any sense and the idea that this is an inherited problem is not being accepted. Obama PROMISED change, why isn’t it happening RIGHT NOW, if you thought he was so great, hmmm? A coworker was upset that Obama’s inaugural address didn’t cover anything about what he was going to do. I mentioned to him that on inauguration day there was usually an inaugural address, not a policy speech and he just looked at me. He didn’t understand the difference. I’m really, really uncomfortable looking around and seeing people I’ve known for years or all my life, nice people who are my relatives and friends, basically going the Rush Limbaugh I Hope He Fails route. And I can tell, also thinking less of me because of who I voted for. It’s weirder right now for me than before the election.

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  17. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Sue, I know that feeling!! Alex and I traded comments the day after the election – about the light frost that had fallen all across our respective work places.

    I recall having a restrained smile, and hearing much silence, for days and days.

    In the run-up to the election, one fellow always left news articles with highlighted passages on my desk; occasionally I’d seek him out and have a friendly disagreement with him on whatever the “outrage” was.

    Everything stopped ’til this week, and now I get clippings again (this morning’s was about Ginsburg…that Obama is gonna replace her with another LIBrul, doncha’ know?)…and eventually he and I will yap about things.

    Keep an even strain, I say

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  18. beb said on February 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Cooledad, do you say “pussy-ass concern troll.” because Atrios already snapped up “whiney ass titty baby” ? Frankly I like both. Where’s’ my sticky notes pad, gotta write that down.

    I’d like to believe that President Obama is cleverly giving the Republicans enough rope to hang themselves and not, as it appears, trying to achieve bipartisanship at all costs.

    And I am amazed that the people actually elected a man who, even when reading from prepared statements will pause for awkward lengths of time looking for the right word to finish his thoughts. Most politicans can’t bear a moment’s silence. They will open their mouths and let words spew forth until they’ve come close to what they mean. And then wonder how they could have been misquoted.

    Maybe that’s what’s so reassuring about Pres. Obama, even when he talks he’s thoughtful.

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  19. Peter said on February 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Since it’s an open thread, I’d like to vent.

    Did I hear correctly that the other day our former vice president stated that the Obama Administration is being naive about terrorists, that Gitmo was a first class operation staffed by patriotic Americans, that it’s more important to be secure than to read everyone their rights and hold on to legal niceties?

    I was going to continue with a profanity laced tirade, but I’ll just leave it at this: Dick, (and I do mean Dick), we can’t miss you if you don’t leave.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 6, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks for all the wise counsel, particularly Joe’s, which makes a good bit of practical sense.

    I’m in the middle of some seriously Hillary/McCain oriented country, and i’m only hearing weary hopefulness that Obama will pull together a decent team and start a slow, steady marching pace back up the hill, with very little concern that he’s going to take us over a cliff. More that the milling about period has gone on a bit too long, and they’d like to get moving (which is not the same as “so pass whatever Stimulosity Bill that Congress coughs up”).

    Ted Strickland is getting lots of support, enthusiastic (D) to grudging but respectful (R) for having a pretty narrowly focused, specific, two year at a time plan that he’s rolled out and is pulling together support for. No time wasted at all on throwing rocks at Bob Taft, since they could then degenerate into a round-robin of looking at root causes on both sides, so i’d say Gov. Ted is smart on that.

    Not so smart — pushing Lee Fisher over Jennifer Brunner, whom i believe we learned here not long ago is known to Ms. Blogmother of us all. Aside from that, it doesn’t seem to be a smart move for his party in the long haul, but there may be a debt to pay, and i recall the old, old saw that “an honest politician is one who stays bought.” Keeping a promise to a supporter is the core lubricant in politics, so i could understand it, but . . . and Brunner may just run on her own and win, anyhow.

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  21. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    What Peter said!

    And Beb – Bravo!! The Republican faux-jujitsu crowd try and make Obama’s speaking pattern a liability – “Look how stupid he is, when there’s no prompters!” – while at the same time extolling the presidential timber of the MILF who gives them woodies!

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  22. Kirk said on February 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    The “Obama hasn’t fixed the economy in 2 1/2 weeks, therefore he’s a failure” nonsense is disturbing. When the guy I voted for loses, I don’t instantly hope that he fails; I hope that he proves to be presidential and manages not to screw up too many things. (I’ve had plenty of practice; my lifetime record in presidential elections is 3-7.) W hadn’t pissed me off much by 9/11, and I took some comfort from his response until he twisted it into launching an idiotic war on Iraq for no reason. But at least I gave him a chance.

    All this is a symptom of the increasing polarity in this country, which I really find distressing.

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  23. beb said on February 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Great quote from John Cole:
    “I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax.”

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  24. Bill said on February 6, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Since this is an open thread today, here’s an interesting article for you grammarians and copy editors from the Chicago Tribune (source attributed) regarding the mother country’s problems with the lowly apostrophe:

    The lede: On the streets of Birmingham, the queen’s English is now the queens English.

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  25. Kirk said on February 6, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Brit bureaucrats bumble toward Babel

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  26. Dexter said on February 6, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    LAM: It seems the pajama bottom-as-pants phenomenon is competing with the ass-hanging-out-exposing -boxers statement.
    Obama has issued an edict : PULL UP YOUR PANTS !! Yeah, right, Big Man!!
    The first time I saw extreme examples of the boxers thing was in San Jose 13 years ago…back in the midwest , then it was just exposing the band and maybe three inches of boxers.
    Out in San Jose they were already halfway down the buttocks, now they are totally off the buttocks…I wonder how some of these guys keep their pants up at all.
    Pajama bottoms as pants, well, as the deputy said to the sheriff , in No Country for Old Men, when the sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) drank milk from the same bottle as Suger had poured from, “Aw, Sheriff…that’s aggravatin’!”

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  27. Julie Robinson said on February 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Jeff ttmo, you may have already made those reservations, but consider this: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/597/story/518048.html
    A plane hit a deer on the Charlotte runway Wednesday night, killing the deer but leaving no visible damage to the plane itself. An airport official described it as a “freak incident”. Top that, Detroit!

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  28. derwood said on February 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    I’ll take your deer and up it by a moose on the runway in Minot ND.


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  29. Jolene said on February 6, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Peter, the Post has an article today on all the Bushies who have criticized Obama–on everything from the way he dresses to his national security policy. My favorite observations were those of Alberto Gonzalez. I mean, was there ever a less competent senior governmental official. That he thinks anyone would be interested in what he has to say is more than a little surprising.


    In fact, you might want to check out the WaPo web site. Lots of new stories about the stimulus legislation and the politics thereof, as well as info re the latest economic data.

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  30. jeff borden said on February 6, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    And we wonder why the conservative movement is dead? Check out this distinguished list of guests at the upcoming session of the CPAC courtesy of Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic:

    The latest schedule for the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. late February: Possible presidential candidates include Rep. Paul Ryan (WI), speaking Thursday, Rep. Mike Pence (IN), speaking Thursday — he’s invited, not confirmed — Gov. Mike Huckabee, on Thursday, Gov. Sarah Palin, on Thursday — invited, not confirmed, and Rep. John Shadegg (AZ). On Friday, Sen. John Cornyn speaks in the early morning; Newt Gingrich hosts a screening of a movie about Ronald Reagan. Ron Paul and Mitt Romney speak in the afternoon. On Saturday, Rick Santorum begins the day and Gov. Tim Palwenty is an invites speaker. The lovely Ann Coulter speaks at noon. And Rush Limbaugh finishes the conference.

    Aside from Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty, every one of these people is a red-meat neoconservative whose last original idea blossomed in 1981. And in Coulter and Limbaugh –Jack Spratt and his wife in reverse– two of the most hateful bags of pus now polluting our political discourse. And note, also, the time given to Newt to extol a movie about Ronald Reagan, whose last year in office was 21 years ago! Jesus Christ! Is he the only figure the GOP can look to in admiration?

    The Republican Party is dangerously close to achieving “Flat Earth Society” status. Does the party have a death wish?

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  31. nancy said on February 6, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    They probably could get Joe the Plumber to plug in the holes if Pence can’t make it.

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  32. Deborah said on February 6, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    On weekend mornings my husband and I have started going to a new coffee place that opened up in the Drake Hotel near where we live (a Lavassa not a Starbucks, I’m sick of Starbucks). Almost everytime we’ve been there someone comes shuffling in wearing pajamas, robe and slippers, sometimes no robe. It’s weird. I mean I get that it’s connected to a hotel and people sleep over in hotels, but still. It’s kind of an upscale hotel at that, so you’d think people who stay there would be more savvy.

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  33. alex said on February 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Ssshhh, Jeff B. Careful or they might get a clue.

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  34. nancy said on February 6, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I peg the PJs-in-the-lobby crowd to when hotels started offering free breakfast. The last time I stayed in such a place, the breakfast room was filled with people who had, quite obviously, just rolled out of bed, in sweats and jammies, loose tank tops and no bra, uncombed hair, scratchin’-the-belly-while-gaping-a-yawn, the whole works. You’d think that simple eyeball observation would tell these folks the Drake is not the Schaumberg Holiday Inn Express, but noooo.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 6, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    And don’t forget we have Steve Forbes coming back . . . . . for BRAAAAIIIIIIIIIINNNNNSSSSS!!!!!! The GOP isn’t dead, we’re Un-dead.

    (Still, Brownback has a point about making sure we’re putting gas in the tank, and not sugar.)

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  36. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Deborah – you gave me a flashback!

    It seems that, more often than not, when we are in a hotel, there is also a soccer team (or softball, or track, or swimteam, or whatever else), and then young folks are up and down the halls all night, in their skivvies – and if there’s a breakfast bar in the morning FUHGETABOUTIT!!

    And indeed, kids are kids – right? It’s their moms and dads that take the cake! For example Pammy wouldn’t leave the house to buy gasoline without doing her hair and makeup, let alone failing to PUT ON STREET CLOTHES!! (and she would kill me if I tried to leave the house looking like a derelict)

    I dunno, but here’s a semi-related thought: have you noticed the beginning of the softening of the coverage of Octuplet Mom? It seems to me that the coverage of the genuinely repulsive details of this woman’s decision-making is getting a noticeable makeover….

    and it cannot hurt that she’s beautiful

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  37. Dexter said on February 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I used to stay at The Blackstone for the dirt-cheap weekend rates…Deborah…is it still in business? The Drake had the great sign, easily visible to LSD motorists, and stood right beside the old Playboy Club(which closed a LONG time ago).
    Another fond memory of long ago Chicago was Mister Kelly’s…saw Mort Sahl there in 1968…oh well…it’s open thread Friday! Yesterday someone commented on a blog that they had just been to The 95th in The Hancock. I guess I was surprised it is still open. It used to get really rotten reviews and my only experience there ended in an argument with the Maitre D’ after we hadn’t gotten our lunch served after an hour and fifteen minutes…we stormed out…but that was long ago, too.

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  38. paddyo' said on February 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Bill —

    Catastrophe for the apostrophe, indeed. Since I wear one on my last name (brought over by my Irish grandfather at the turn of the 20th century), I’m a little touchy on the subject. ‘Tis a noble punctuation mark, and it’s getting dissed all over the place.

    ‘Course, the early computerizing of business-world printing started it, with government mass mailings, credit cards, etc.
    One of my punctuation pet peeves has always been the misuse as a possessive pluralizer on mailboxes all over America: “The Jone’s,” “The Smith’s,” et al.

    And naturally, once we all started getting e-mail addresses, the cyberheads couldn’t be bothered — indeed, apostrophes were verboten.

    How funny, then, that I got mine BACK last year in an unexpected venue: My work e-mail. Yes, apostrophes popping up in e-mail addresses.

    The apostrophe might be comin’ back . . .

    Or, it mightn’t not. O’ well . . .

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  39. Dexter said on February 6, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    brian stouder: Your comment reminded me of a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Chicago about 20 years ago. My buddy and I had left Comiskey Park after a Sox game and decided to explore a few bars. As luck had it, we entered a bar where a rugby team was partying. We must have looked like we fit in because a bartender slammed down a pitcher and two glasses in front of us before we even ordered…no money was being exchanged…we had crashed a private party it appeared.
    Then a strange thing happened…a chant broke out and a contest ensued…rugby dudes in uniform stood on their heads and had a contest as to who could chug a pitcher the fastest. What a mess…beer all over everywhere…wild young people just partying their asses off…that was the craziest damn bar I have ever been to…and when we realized we had crashed a party and tried to leave, we were told to stay and enjoy ourselves..and did we ever!

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  40. Sue said on February 6, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Nancy, do you have something against Schaumburg? It’s one of the snooty NW suburbs, after all (although without most of the cachet and buckets of money of say, Barrington and all its directional satellites, North Barrington, South Barrington, etc. – it’s important to make that distinction.) Unless you’re talking about all those Wisconsin people they bus in to shop at Woodfield, of course; then it’s ok to smirk.

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  41. jeff borden said on February 6, 2009 at 3:34 pm


    The Blackstone Hotel, which was one of the favorite gathering spots of the first Mayor Daley, has been refurbished and renamed as the Hotel Allegro. It had been owned by the Wirtz family –the liquor, real estate, banks and Chicago Blackhawks owners– but I’m not sure if they sold it or not.

    The old Blackstone had gone to seed and was almost sadly shabby before the makeover. Now, it’s much nicer and hipper. The attached Palace Theater also has been refurbished and renamed as the Cadillac Palace Theater.

    The downside, of course, is that the fix-up also meant a steep hike in rates. The old Congress Hotel on South Michigan Avenue is among the last of the older hotels that has resisted major upgrades and is, therefore, still affordable to college kids and Euros. Another relic is the Howard Johnson’s Ohio Inn, though it’s days always seem to be numbered. The Days Inn on Lake Shore Drive facing Lake Michigan, which had astonishingly low room rates, was converted into the very upscale W. several years ago and is now unaffordable to most.

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  42. Gasman said on February 6, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I heard Lamar Alexander on NPR last night intoning his version of the venerable GOP mantra, “We can’t spend our way out of this recession.”

    Say what? According to my online Oxford American Dictionary, a recession is:

    “a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced…”

    Ergo, the opposite would be an increase in trade – SPENDING!!!! – which would indeed lead us out of this recession. Instead, we get a reprise of the greatest economic hits of the last eight years. Isn’t that how we got here in the first place?

    These morons should really get some better talking points, ‘cause their nasty old hand-me-downs are gettin’ mighty threadbare. It is actually somewhat amusing to see the GOP all marching lockstep in formation to the circular firing squad. You have to admire their dedication. I guess if you’re going to hit yourself over the head with a hammer, why not do it with great commitment and bravura?

    Hell, I even heard the GOP presidential really-really-really-wannabe of late, Rudy Giuliani, actually defending the obscene salaries of Wall Street CEOs. His rationale? If they didn’t make ludicrous amounts of money, they couldn’t spend ludicrous amounts of money, thus raising the economic tide, thereby floating all our economic boats. Hey, it’s worked so well over the last eight years, why not a few more?

    The GOP are betting their future that being venomous contrarians is the best tactic. They have adopted Limbaugh’s strategy of cheering for an Obama failure. If Obama – and America – succeed, however, it will mean the political irrelevancy of the GOP will extend to 2010 and likely 2012.

    Our new president has been given the Herculean task of cleaning out our latter day Augean Stables. They are filled to the rafters with failed Republican economic shit, and rather than grabbing shovels and lending a hand, the GOP is now doing their best at adding to the pile. As they angrily squat and grunt, “Tax cuts, tax cuts, only tax cuts will make us stop!” the pile grows ever larger.

    I say enough. Bipartisanship is fine if the other side produces ideas which have any merit. However, bipartisanship for its own sake could prove disastrous. We know with absolute certainty that the policies of the Bush years produced catastrophic failure. The scope and magnitude of that pile of dung is only now coming into focus. Do we risk eclipsing the Great Depression by yielding to the GOP?

    Normally, I’d say give the GOP as much rope as they want and let ‘em swing. However, allowing the Republicans their petulant conceits could delay actual progress and push us closer to the brink. It’s time for President Obama to open a really big can o’ whoop-ass on the GOP and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that this last election was a mandate on what the majority of the country wants.

    To the GOP: get the f*$k out of the way.

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  43. alex said on February 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    The Blackstone. Hmmm. I seem to recall several years back that it had been bought by the Moonies or some sort of cult, then it was condemned by the city. Then I seem to recall seeing it being converted to condos. That was many brain cells ago so I don’t swear to it.

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  44. alex said on February 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Jeff B, you’re thinking of the Bismarck, not the Blackstone. The Blackstone’s on Michigan by Columbia College.

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  45. jeff borden said on February 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I’m no Schaumburg basher, but upscale northwestern suburb? I don’t think even the good-natured mayor, Al Larson, would use that phrase.

    The reason Schaumburg is so relentlessly mocked –aside from its unfortunate name, which is so easily converted to Scumburg, Schlockburg, etc.– is because it seems to possess every suburban cliche. The huge mall. . .the faceless office buildings. . .the chain restaurants. . .the line of automobile dealers marching one after the other down Golf Road. . .the warrens of apartment and condo buildings. . .worship of the automobile over the pedestrian.

    It is indeed a very wealthy and successful suburb, but to me an upscale address is something one aspires to. I doubt there are many white collar poobahs who dream of moving to Schaumburg. They want an address in Lake Forest or Winnetka or Wheaton.

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  46. jeff borden said on February 6, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Alex, you are absolutely right. My bad. I was talking about the Bismarck.

    The Blackstone was bought by one of those maharishi guys years ago. He intended to turn into a center for transcendental meditation. I’ve no idea whatever became of it.

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  47. Sue said on February 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Jeff – Blah. Schaumburg is in the NW suburbs, therefore by definition it is snooty. So there. And I speak as a local, being a graduate of the University of Southern Palatine, otherwise known as William Rainey Harper College. Snobs, every one of us.

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  48. nancy said on February 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I have nothing against Schaumberg. Most people staying in a Schaumberg hotel would not be…Schaumbergers? Schaumberians? — whatever.

    I was just looking for a suburb close to a freeway.

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  49. jeff borden said on February 6, 2009 at 3:59 pm


    You win. I’m not getting into it with a distinguished graduate of the University of Southern Palatine. It’s like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

    I live in Lincoln Square, which is decidedly not Lincoln Park, but often is referred to as a cool neighborhood by those obsessed with addresses. We’ve been here 16 years and like it a great deal, but sheesh, we still have more currency exchanges and low-rent insurance offices than we can shake a stick at. How cool is your ‘hood when a small jewelry store goes out of business at Lawrence and Lincoln only to be replaced with a sign promising yet another currency exchange, right across the street from Mattress USA! Yeah, we’re cool, all right.

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  50. Gasman said on February 6, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    It’s all the rage among the GOP to openly question President Obama’s lack of success in fixing the economy within two weeks on the job. “If he’s so great, why do we still have a problem?”

    It reminds me of two little eight year old boys sitting around bragging about the relative merits of their favorite major league baseball players. After a few minutes it became obvious to both boys that Boy A’s player was far superior in nearly every way to the player favored by Boy B. Boy A’s player had better numbers for his batting average, RBIs, HRs, at bats, stolen bases, and nearly every other statistic that mattered.

    Boy B was becoming increasingly frustrated at the unassailable list of reason’s why his player was indeed inferior. He had heard enough. He could not be confused with the facts, for he had already made up his mind.

    Finally, after yet another recitation of Player A’s obvious superiority, Boy B turned to Boy A and asked in exasperation, “Yes, but can he fly?”

    I willing to give President Obama his wings and at least see if he can indeed get this economy off the ground.

    The GOP seems to not so much to want him to fail as to be intent on causing him to fail by engaging in tactics to slow down any recovery proposals.

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  51. Sue said on February 6, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Jeff, since you have conceded defeat, I will fess up: I was a resident of the NW burbs (I lived in Barrington), but in the lower economic echelon – I’ll bet I hid it very well, huh? The fun of that of course is that you can approach life there as an outsider, like speculating with one’s equally rude sister how much a relative spent on clothing (“I’ll bet she’s carrying $2000 on her back right now.” “With or without that tacky jewelry?”) or laughing out loud when someone complains about how often the Jag is in the shop. Now I live in Wisconsin, at the other end of the spectrum, where I have just about the same money as everyone else but am still an outsider because I am not related to anyone.

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  52. Catherine said on February 6, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Back to the PJs for a sec — how about a kindergarten teacher in PJs? The very same one who is a stickler for the children being in dress code? WEV.

    So it’s pouring cats and dogs here in SoCal. I know, hardly weather ‘tall by most of your standards. Anyway, I hustle my kid out the door this morning, expecting the traffic to be terrible (Californians can’t drive in the rain, or merge). Instead it’s smooth sailing! I’m mystified. Then, trusty KPCC reminds me that it’s the first furlough day for state workers (thanks, CA legislature, you bunch of pinheads). Just enough people not going to work to make the freeways move. And my glee turns to bitterness, just like that. A real 2009 moment.

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  53. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    in Wisconsin… where I…am still an outsider because I am not related to anyone

    But if you’re a Packer fan, it’s ALL good!

    edit: Catherine – You got me laughin’! Your juxtaposition of it’s pouring cats and dogs here in SoCal and expecting the traffic to be terrible (Californians can’t drive in the rain, or merge). Instead it’s smooth sailing!

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  54. Sue said on February 6, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    And if you’re a Bears fan… it’s not. At all.

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  55. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Sue – oh my!! I would keep that light under a bushel!

    At the very least, I’d become a dual fan, and learn to appreciate the Packers (sorta like when one ‘learns to appreciate’ beer – which, when you very first ever tasted it, was awful – yes? yes! But eventually, it becomes fun)

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  56. Julie Robinson said on February 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Schaumberg=IKEA=bliss=too much on the Visa

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  57. Sue said on February 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Vikings fans, Packer fans and Bears fans all hate each other, but it wasn’t until I moved to Wisconsin that I understood the really serious nature of the hatred on the part of the Packers fans. They really hate us. I never caught that in IL, it was more dismissive. If you ever see a movie called “The Godfather of Green Bay” there is a scene where a Wisconsin man actually frightens his date when he talks about how much he hates the Bears. The actor got it exactly right. And IKEA is fun, but the linens are so strange! My daughter’s bedspread is about 15 feet long.

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  58. LA Mary said on February 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I like the inexpensive Ikea duvet covers. I don’t care if the dogs sleep on my bed when the cover was 19.99.

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  59. jeff borden said on February 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I’ve never understood pro sports fans who get that zombiefied about their local teams. A punkish teenager in our neighborhood often wears a T-shirt that reads something like, “The millionaire athletes representing my city can beat the millionaire athletes representing your city.”

    How many Packers live in Wisconsin, much less Green Bay?

    The vast majority of pro athletes –and there are significant exceptions– who play for Chicago teams live elsewhere when not playing.

    They’re hired help. One of Jerry Seinfeld’s most accurate comments was about rooting for teams in a time of free agency, when entire lineups are shuffled annually. He said we’re not really rooting for teams, we’re rooting for laundry.

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  60. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Well, if you’re a fan of the White Sox or the Red Sox….

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  61. Sue said on February 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Jeff, I will give this to Packers fans – because Green Bay is so small, the fans do have an intimacy with the players that is probably lacking elsewhere, and the players often return the affection. I have friends who think nothing of meeting the team after a game by driving from the Milwaukee area to Austen Straubel International Airport (it’s not as big as it sounds!), in the Green Bay suburb of Ashwaubenon. Summer camp has its traditions, including having players ride bikes with kids after a training session, when the players were leaving for their cars. Of course that tradition is going by the wayside because parents started showing up to make sure their kids were the ones who got the attention, with predictable results. My beef with Packers fans is that they are so single-mindedly devoted to the team, to the exclusion quite often of any reasonable thought. A Chicago fan literally could not be a dual fan as Brian suggested – no Packer fan would accept that.

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  62. del said on February 6, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Back to PJ’s. Don’t know if I mentioned it before but an observer of Ireland’s tanking economy (formerly-known-as The Celtic Tiger) uses an economic barometer he calls the Pajama-Index. The index reflects a direct relationship between the health of the economy and the number of adults who are seen wearing pajamas in public after 11:00 a.m.

    The Seinfeld explanation, however, is that people who wear such clothes, including sweats, in public are announcing to the world that they Give Up and can no longer compete in society.

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  63. jeff borden said on February 6, 2009 at 5:27 pm


    One of the funniest lines ever uttered on that show, which I happily admit watching twice per day, is Jerry eyeing George, who has just arrived in sweatpants and sweatshirt: “So, you’ve finally thrown in the towel.” Or something like that.

    A good friend of mine who has been unemployed for over two years and is more or less subsisting on babysitting jobs and loans from friends and family has admitted her difficulty in getting out of bed, much less out of her PJs. The boredom, the hopelessness and the loneliness that often accompany being out of work can do that to a person.

    And now there are. . .Snuggies. Those half-blanket, half-robe thingies made of soft fleece and sold on cable TV. The Sun-Times had a story on them the other day and showed a guy and his wife lounging in their messy house wearing those things while a guy visiting reclined on their couch in his Snuggie. Now, that has to be one exciting place to go calling. You stop by to visit and your pals are basically wrapped in a blanket.

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  64. Dexter said on February 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    You guys are sharp! Hell I meant The Bismarck, too! They used to run ads in the Trib for low weekend rates…very cheap…we’d sometimes get a group of couples and rent a few rooms , and just do tourist stuff…museums, Ed Debevic’s, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo ( Rick Bayless’s place, side-by-side) …we’d cab it to Lincoln Avenue for a Blues joint…http://www.wisefoolspub.com/

    Those snuggies …the ads are just goddam depressing…the ads sort of portray poor, tired-ass people, too poor for heat, and freezing to death to boot…I dunno…I just feel sad seeing those ads.

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  65. moe99 said on February 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm


    Love the Dorothy Parker quote.

    My first cat was named Dorothy in her honor. Then came Whimbeldon (an abandoned kitten who looked like he had swallowed a tennis ball the first time we fed him), and Thurber who replace Dorothy when she was killed by a car right after we moved to our first owner type house.

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  66. Dexter said on February 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    moe99…I told my brother who has a Masters in Journalism about that bOb guy who wrote that grammar piece you linked to…and now they are emailing heated exchanges back and forth…clobbering each other over the head with cyber cast iron skillets…arguing about English.

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  67. alex said on February 6, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Jeff B, I thought Lincoln Square was cool when it was all vintage shops and the Daily Bar & Grill had its old menu with the pork cutlet (a Hoosier tenderloin served a la Wienner schnitzel with lemons to squeeze on it).

    I heard Biassetti’s at Ashland and Irving is no more, supplanted by some crapola yupscale shit.

    Edit: And Dex, I used to stay at the Bismarck back when I was in college at IU and wanted a weekend on the town. It was cheap, alright. Whores used to stroll the halls.

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  68. brian stouder said on February 6, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Another random thing:

    I HATE ‘keyboards’ that are a-b-c instead of qwerty.

    For Christmas, Pam got me a Garmin – which is a truly funny*, useful, remarkable little device…but when one wants to type in a city or a street name, one is stuck with an a-b-c keyboard which is surprisingly difficult to use! (‘course, I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed in any case, but still…)

    *I find that I will purposely NOT “turn right in 400 feet”, just to hear the slightly exasperated inflection in the voice as the device says “Recalculating” as you drive by the street it wanted you to turn on!

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  69. moe99 said on February 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks Dexter. I guess that’s my job, to spread sweetness and light where ever I go…. vbeg

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  70. Catherine said on February 6, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Brian, “Recalculating,” with that exact inflection, is the new catch phrase in my family. Try setting her to Australian, the accent is great. Couldn’t keep it on Aussie for long here though, she has no idea how to pronounce Spanish street names.

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  71. Deborah said on February 6, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Lot of Chicago talk… I have no idea where the Bismark is but the Blackstone has indeed been gussied up. I had dinner at a new tapas restaurant there last spring, really good food and pretty good atmosphere. The exterior of the Blackstone, its facade on Michigan, looks fabulous now. And I agree Lincoln Square is a cool area, lots of interesting people I know live there.

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  72. Jen said on February 6, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    My husband’s uncle said he thinks Snuggies are like lingerie in reverse — as in, “Whoa! Cover that up!” I love the commercials, especially when they show the family wearing the Snuggies at the football game. Hilarious.

    One of my best high school friends bought a condo in Lincoln Square, and I always love visiting her! There are some pretty good restaurants and bars, and it was a nice place to just walk around and enjoy being in a city. Also, I liked seeing a movie at the Davis Theater, because I am a nut for old movie theaters, even though the floors were at weird angles (it had obviously been divided into more screens than it had been originally built with) and the screen was sort of slanted. I believe we saw “Pan’s Labyrinth” there.

    I’ve also stayed at the Congress Hotel on a weekend trip to Chicago one summer in high school.

    Boy, this thread is making me want to make a trip up there … I haven’t been there in over a year!

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  73. Hoosier said on February 6, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    At last! The Bush legacy has been established! A dress code for the oval office. No mind that he trashed the constitution but by gawd he upheld the dress code.

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  74. Deborah said on February 6, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    One more thing about wearing PJs in public, it’s the “cute” factor. My daughter has these parties with her adult friends, they call them Pajama Breakfasts, everyone wears PJs and they have gourmet food while sipping mimosas and bloody mary’s. These are young professionals in Chicago, stock brokers, lawyers and such. How they arrive at the high-rise locals, being buzzed up by doormen, without feeling ridiculous is beyond me.

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  75. moe99 said on February 6, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Ok, Chicago hotels. For several years, when my four siblings and I were kids growing up in Defiance, our parents would take us on the train to Chicago right after Thanksgiving. We would stay at the Pearson Hotel, which is no more–the fancy downtown shopping center rests on its bones. I had my first English muffin at breakfast at the Pearson. After breakfast we would Christmas shop at Marshall Fields, and gawk at the decorated windows with the moving tableaux, and eventually purchase plenty of Frango mints to take home (who knew that they actually originated from the Seattle Department store Frederick & Nelson? we didn’t that’s for sure).

    Each time we’d go, my folks would take us out for one very nice dinner at a very nice restaurant. I can remember two of them.

    One was at the Kungsholm, a Scandanavian restaurant where I had my first pickled herring at the grand buffet that they served in the evening. And then you went downstairs where they had a puppet show on a small stage and gave performances composed of the music from Broadway shows. We saw “Damn Yankees” that way. There was an older gentleman sitting in front of me with a toupee that fit very badly–it was much too small in the back. But I bet he really liked being able to be a red head late in his life.

    The other dinnner was more spectacular. It was held at the Conrad Hilton and we took a taxi to get there from the Pearson, which was a real event since there were 5 kids and two parents squeezed in to one taxi. s I recall the taxi we took had two seats that popped up from the floor when there were this many people. But we got there without incident and ordered dinner. My younger brother John had some sort of tantrum during dinner and refused to order anything or just ordered an appetizer, can’t remember exactly what happened. That was a rare occasion when one of us would cross the parents. And things were rather tense after that. However, the raison d’etre for going to the Conrad Hilton was revealed after all but the coffee cups and dessert plates were removed. The stage in front of the two tier restaurant drew back and there was an ice rink. With ice skaters skating to music. Just like Holiday on Ice only a much smaller venue. What a nice evening’s entertainment to take the kids to. Until the last act. The orchestra cleared its collective throat and roared into a rousing rendition of “The Stripper” as a woman covered entirely in balloons skated out and the other skaters took to popping those balloons with pins while skating around her. I’m sure in retrospect she must’ve had a body suit on, else the frostbite would’ve been compensable, but it was truly a moment of horror for my parents. 5 children under the age of 16. My brother John put his head on the table, and brother Mark crawled under the table where he stayed until it was over and the lights came back up. I can’t remember what Barbie and Peggy did.

    But it was an evening that I will never forget. Though I have no idea if the food was any good or not.

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  76. Gasman said on February 6, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Yet another blow to the ebbing reputation of Saint Sarah:


    Oh ye of the GOP, please, please, PLEASE make her your party’s nominee in 2012!

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  77. basset said on February 6, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    last time I’ve been in the Charlotte airport was in… let’s see, 1981, or maybe 82, on Piedmont carrying a basset hound puppy. On Piedmont. We were living in Jackson, Mississippi, and got the pup from a breeder in Vicksburg, Michigan, near Kalamazoo; I had one of those take the later flight because this one’s full and we’ll give you another ticket deals, so in order to do the whole thing in one day the route went… for some reason this is burned into my brain:

    Start at 4 am in Portage, Michigan, which is basically Kalamazoo.

    Drive an hour to the Grand Rapids airport.

    Stand at the ticket counter three-quarters asleep and become aware that the pup has escaped when you hear a chorus of “Awwww! Look! Ain’t he cuuuuute!” behind you.

    Get on the plane, put the dog carrier under your seat.

    Fly to Dayton, Ohio. Change planes.

    Fly to Washington, DC. Change planes.

    Fly to Charlotte. Change planes.

    Fly to Nashville. Stay on the plane.

    Fly to Memphis.

    Get off.

    Drive 3 1/2 hours to Jackson.

    I was gonna say “collapse” at this point, but I was young and strong and could handle it. We named the dog Eudora, and later ran across more than one Mississippian who thought we had done it as a deliberate insult to Eudora Welty. Which we didn’t… if we’d had that in mind we would have gotten a rat or a spider or something and named it Theodore.

    Now, totally different topic: where does that “what fresh hell” line come from? Some movie, I suppose, but I am not nearly modern enough to recognize it.

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  78. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 6, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Dorothy Parker, hung over. She said it, that’s all you need know.

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  79. Dave K. said on February 6, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    I’ll be careful with my Chicago stories tonight because Jen may still be watching and I don’t want to disclose any old stories about her dad, and get him in trouble, but….Dexter, I think you probably strolled into a “South Side Irish” rugby party that fateful Saturday afternoon. What do you think, Joe? Between parties and matches with the Irish, Lincoln Park RFC, WestSide Condors, and of course the Chicago Lions, (who were the strongest club side we ever played but partied like pussies compared to the other Chicago clubs), it’s kind of hard to remember details. I do recall the chugging of pitchers of beer, the “Elephant Train”, “Pig-on-a-Platter”, and “Greyhound Races”. Good times! Maybe Joe can fill in some of the blanks?

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  80. Joe Kobiela said on February 6, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Who Me?
    I do remember singing a song about John Wayne Gasey, the former circus clown.Did you know his clown name was POGO.
    South Side Irish, great guys,tough steel workers, Lincoln park had the Sausage man and a great bar owned by a former N.D.Heisman trophy winner. Might have stepped out back for a bit of a chunder at that one.I do remember drinking a few old styles up that way. The deer in Charlotte is cool but there is a full time notem for Detroit to be aware of coyote’s on the airfield at all times
    Ground Temp is 33 the air temp at 3000ft tonight was 50 with a 50mph wind blowing, if that sinks down tonight, most of the snow will be gone by Monday. The air temp at 8000 in Mich was around 35.
    Pilot and ex Rugger,

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  81. basset said on February 6, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    >>that’s all you need know.

    pretty weak effort there. even I can condescend better than that.

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  82. MichaelG said on February 6, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Pilot Joe, I once wanted to leave San Carlos airport (just south of SFO) in my Citabria. The tower cleared me for take off and threw in a warning about wake turbulence. I looked at the big blue sky, saw nothing and before I could key the mike with my query, the tower was back “ That buzzard. He’s huge.” San Carlos is not real busy.

    I slept in this AM. My first fur-low day. Slept under my IKEA down comforter and cover. Nice.

    Yesterday I went down to the San Luis Reservoir (find it on any map site at the intersection of I-5 and 152) to inspect a spill clean up site. Bad enough but none got into the water. The reservoir is LOW. The water is about 40 feet above the intake which is zilch. San Luis feeds into the Calif Aqueduct. The water goes south to Ellay. We’re looking at serious long term water problems. God, I feel like Dr. Doom.

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  83. Dave K. said on February 6, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    “The Ballad of John Wayne Gacy”, (sung, with gusto, to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic)

    (chorus only…this is a PG-13 joint)

    “Glory, glory John Wayne Gacy,
    There’s no room in his crawl-spacey.
    ‘Cause the tenants in his crawl space
    Are lined up against the wall, and
    They never go out on Saturday night,
    They never go out at all!”

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  84. moe99 said on February 6, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Dorothy Parker, hung over, was far more witty than 99 3/4% of the rest of the country.

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  85. joodyb said on February 7, 2009 at 12:37 am

    here’s an amen, gasman. poor john thune. nora odonnell ripped him and his sorry-a55 talking points a new one today. good times. these people are just wanker robots. pathetic.

    jttmo, i have to tell you, i haven’t been in charlotte in longer than i care to say, but i find detroit airport delightful. i’m not there often enough to get bored with the pretty store windows and the cool overhead train. this is presuming of course that the upscale shops have not fled the premises. i was laid over there for 5 hours two years ago and didn’t even care.

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  86. alex said on February 7, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Dorothy Parker, lucky bitch. She scarcely worked a day of her life and her words won’t quit. Read a good biography of her back in the ’80s when she enjoyed a renaissance as a gay icon.

    She started out as a theater critic with no training, just her gut instincts and a wicked tongue.

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  87. caliban said on February 7, 2009 at 2:00 am

    Someday, somebofy will discover the secret life of Dorothy Parker, and we;ll all be impoverished by that bitch Simon Cowell’s flatulence of the subject of a great dame’s life. Women that think for themselves can’t buy a break.

    Now supposedly, Selma Hayek was touring African refugee camps, came upon a starving child, was lactating, and fed the keedo. Now, who knows if this really happened, but if it did, so what. Seems fairly normal to me. Many cultural ramifications, I suppose, the least credible a bunch of salivating bastards making jokes about awesome teats.

    This is how nannies and mammies used to operate, and it’s obviously a good thing. Turning it into titillation is the work of the anti-press. My mom did this same thing for a child whose mother was incapacitated because she’d been denied care after delivering, in a whites only hospital in Little Rock. She’d had practice, with me and my brother, and she didn’t have any hollywood bona fides nor Hollywood boobs. She saw a need and was able to fulfill it.

    This is the sort of small thing that makes every one of us better. Seems to me that even considering race when contemplating behavior is unchristian and counter-productive. In the Fifties, my mother was risking anathema, but I’m sure that never crossed her mind. Child in need, say no more.

    This is universal. My dad never picked up a gun but what the army made him. He was medcal corps as a doctor and the closest he dame to combat was a sniper blowing te head off a cobra that was dangerously close to hin on his way to Mass one morning in the Philippines. He also faced down redneck sheriffs protecting whites only in the hospital where the child my mom suckled was delivered.

    o now we’ve got idiot reprobates like Vitter and McConnell talking about tax breads and trickle down. Tax breaks and liessez faire for rich people caused the current state of affairs. If the CEO class got away with all of the cash in the first place, how the fuck is giving tax cuts to pirates a stimulus plam?

    This doesn’t seem like rocket science, but Keynes fot the Nobel and David Stockton is a disgraced remnant of Morning in America. If you give the money to rich people and let them hide it away, deflation digs it’s own hole and the money dissapears. If you spend it on public works, people can afford to feed themselves, and buy stuff, and pay taxes, And vote.

    Golden parachutes don’t trickle down. They enrich perpetrators. We’re supposed to think that caps on CRO level pay and obscene bonuses will somehow retard the migration of ‘talent’ into financial arenas. What talent is that? Digging deeper holes? Golden parachete? Lay off a few thousand workers and bail with millions.

    In 1960, captains of industry made 30 times what the rank and file brought home. In 2002, it was 300x. That’s Morning in America, and that’s trickle down, and people are so fucking srupid, they don’t think it’s sad that the GOP is taking advice from Samuel Wursenwhatever’s imlicensed plumber’s crack.

    For eight years, there was a dry drunk turd that didn;t have the brains to wake up when Batney pissed on his head agter he was rendered helpless by a pretzel. In all that time, he was consciously or unconsciously doing the vile work that Dickless started way backl when he sanctioned murdering ArchVishop Romero.

    Raping and murdering Maryknoll nuns? asua;ties og wat from Mr’ ‘Better Things to Do’, while Kerry was saving lives and these assholes were already plotting against him.

    It’s fascinating about what Kerry uncovered. Ollie North was a hero? In what universe? What you’ve been kept safe from: Waclps that thought they could infiltrate Fort Hood delivering pixxa; dipshits in Miami, that wanted some combat boots and some cash; guys that thought they could drop a lighter in a cistern 60 miles away and light up La Guatdia, My favorite: The guy that was goimg to tale dowm the Brooklyn Bridge in broad daylight with an acetylene torch.

    Then again, in August of 2001, the Presidential Daily Brief said Bin Laden likely to hijack planes, but why would anybody take that seriously. This isn’t made up. That’s what they told him. Hair on fire. Two posibilities: dumb as fuck, or saw this as a great rallyung point for trashing the Constitution. One way or another, Grpver Norquist, who hates the United States more than amubpcy that ever lived and ought to be hunted down, well loook, Norquist is insane. He needs to be shrumk small enough he could be drownedd with every memory of R. Raygun,

    Ome day, the Swift Boat shit will come back to haunt these assholes. There’s still evidence far bavl as Chilean assassinations, and there’s no statutete of limitations. Kerry proved BCCI was the favorite bank of both terrorists and rhw Raygun Mafia. Dickless and Rummy.. dreat American freedom foghters.

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  88. Dexter said on February 7, 2009 at 2:07 am

    MichaelG: I used to drive out from Monterey and swim in the San Luis Reservoir. This was 39 years ago, and it was so huge, I had no idea until I saw it. I worked strange hours and sometimes I was off-duty and my friends were on-duty, so I’d drive there myself and swim, and I would be the only soul there. The only car, all alone. Very strange for any place in Cal. I posted before about how I swam in the San Joaquin River once…it was a hot day but the memory makes me remember how ignorant I was about pesticides .
    Now I am reading all I can about The Salton Sea. I watched SerieDelCaribe (Latin World Series of baseball) the past few days (Venezuela won) and it was played in Mexicali, Mexico.
    I looked it up…just south of The Salton Sea. I disregarded it until I read Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild”, Alex Supertramp came near The Salton Sea and I then realized I had never really cared a thing about it…now I am curious about it…do you know any good sites to visit online , or should I just poke around Google?

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  89. Dexter said on February 7, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Brooks was here. ( james whitmore, r.i.p.)87 years old, Malibu, California, lung cancer….

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  90. caliban said on February 7, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Dexter, there is no such thing as that river but that it was stolen from Colorado. There’d be no SoCal if somebody nutted up and blew the Glen Canyon Dam. Hayduke Lives.

    And while all y’all are feeling good about yourselves, consider what Alan Price and Mick Travis came to realize:

    When there’s a bluebird singing by your window pane
    And the sun shines bright all day through
    Don’t forget boy
    Look over your shoulder
    ‘Cause there’s always someone coming after you (la la la la)

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  91. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 7, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Bass, no condescension meant, i was just trying to channel la Parker — she answered the phone or replied to a waiter or apparently said to bellmen indiscriminately “what fresh hell is this,” the point being i don’t think there is a print source. She didn’t use it in print, i think, but as soon as i say that, i’ll be wrong.

    Dexter, i suspect you would enjoy “The Man From the Cave,” which admittedly doesn’t take place entirely next to the Salton Sea, but a couple of critical sections do. It was written by Colin Fletcher in ’81 (he died just about a year ago), and is his own story of discovering a cave in the desert south of Las Vegas, writing an article for a newspaper magazine section in LA about it, and what happened as he tried to figure out who the guy was who left a bunch of stuff in a desolate place where he had apparently lived for a season or two.

    You end up in a wonderful series of scenes, including some dramatic moments in the Salton Sea area then and now. The book is findable thru abebooks or amazon.com’s used books; i got a nice hardback of it a few years ago after having loaned out my pb copy three or four times and finally not getting it back (no, you can’t have my copy now!).

    Anyone — if you didn’t read/know of Amy Welborn, skip on; if you did, there is a PayPal set up for her and the kids at http://www.faithandfamilylive.com/blog/collection_for_amy_welborn/

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  92. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 7, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Dexter, you did find this one?

    http://saltonseachronicles.blogspot.com/ Lileks.com had pics of a vast motel sign then and now, but i can’t find it, just ran across his link to that site . . .

    Or you can click this, and say good bye to Saturday —


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  93. del said on February 7, 2009 at 10:10 am

    I had a hard time reading caliban’s 2:00 a.m. post with the typos. But that made it that much funnier when I stumbled upon his line – evidently about G.W.B – “rendered helpless by a pretzel.”

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  94. basset said on February 7, 2009 at 10:13 am

    even though I went to a rural public high school and a state university… I know who Dorothy Parker was, just didn’t recognize that particular quote.

    Gacy songs… I remember a fragment of one to the tune of “Another Brick in the Wall”…

    “…all in all, it’s just another – kid in the crawl…”

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  95. moe99 said on February 7, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Ready for summer? Heard from an acquaintance in Melbourne, Australia that the temperature there has hit an all time high: 115 F. And they’re going through a bad spate of wildlfires too. Climate change means these sorts of extremes.

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  96. Deborah said on February 7, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Brian, last night I saw a clip of the octomom being interviewed on the teevee (as Atrios says). While you may think she looks hot I was bowled over by the obvious amount of facial plastic surgery she’s had (nose and lips for sure). This is a woman with a lot of problems turning to the miracle of modern medicine/science for the answers. And where in the world does the money come from? A friend had embryo harvesting and implantation that cost $20,000 a few years back, and I don’t think it was covered by insurance. Did this woman have a job and if so imagine childcare costs for her 6 previous children. Either she had an amazing alimony settlement or she’s an only child princess being pampered by mommy and daddy. OK, no more from me on that subject.

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  97. brian stouder said on February 7, 2009 at 11:26 am

    moe99 , I nominate this passage of yours –

    The orchestra cleared its collective throat and roared into a rousing rendition of “The Stripper” as a woman covered entirely in balloons skated out and the other skaters took to popping those balloons with pins while skating around her. I’m sure in retrospect she must’ve had a body suit on, else the frostbite would’ve been compensable, but it was truly a moment of horror for my parents.

    as the funniest and most intriguing thing on the thread! (I’d love to eat at that restaurant) Almost reminds me of the scene from The Right Stuff where the feather dancer flits around the stage and you catch a glimpse of her flesh here and there, while (elsewhere) Yeager climbs and climbs into the noontime sky at Edwards AFB (in some hot fighter or other) and catches a glimpse of the stars in space, before killing his oxygen-deprived engines and spiraling back to earth!



    If I was her, frsotbite would be less a worry than accupuncture (or INaccupuncture!)

    Anyway – that was a great story. We’ve done Chi-town a time or two or three; but my first impresssion of Chicago came when I was 18 and had a full head of hair. Mrs Headings (RIP) Honors World History Class from South Side High School (all 10 of us) did a class trip to Chicago to see the King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum. We spent a night in a college dorm (don’t ask me where) and visited the other major museums, and the Sears Tower….plus a world class Italian restaurant….and Mrs Headings (I kid you not) said “Try the veal” – which I did – and it was beyond excellent!

    Looking back, one can only imagine how she pulled that trip off (she was the kindest, most mild-mannered person you can imagine. I remember that, in those days, she was recently divorced, and occasionally referred to “my former husband” as she showed s pictures from their travels around the world.

    But when I was riding with her on Lake Shore Avenue, I couldn’t help but laugh as she cussed the other crazy motorists like a sailor!

    edit: Deborah – I caught her interview with NBC’s Anne Curry and noticed the lips. But the money quote – the MONEY! – made me laugh out loud!! IN the intro to the interview, Ann reported that Octomom won a $165,000 settlement in a lawsuit. She was wrongfully injured in a – are you ready? – riot in an insane asylum!

    But – she wasn’t an inmate, she was an employee…!!

    (if this was in a novel, one would say “Ah, c’mon!”)

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  98. brian stouder said on February 7, 2009 at 11:33 am

    One can click on the NBC/Curry interview with Octomom at this site –


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  99. nancy said on February 7, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I hadn’t paid close attention to her photo beyond noting her general appearance and, er, hotness, but in videos it’s very clear — she’s had her nose done and her lips inflated like balloons. This woman is, indeed, a nutcase. The new “get” has to be her doctor, and once again, I’ll say I’m sure he lives south of the border.

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  100. beb said on February 7, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Expanding on nwhat BrianS/ said about Octomom. As a result of those injuries she have been in a state of depression for some time. Which would explain her obsessive need for children and horrendously bad judgment in matters of children. The woman is not in her right mind. And the doctor who ignored her obvious problem is going to be in a world of trouble because of it.

    Meanwhile I wish that Jeff (The Mild Mannered One) would form his own party of reality-based conservatives so that when I call the Republicans in Congress syphilitic morons and traitors to this nation I won’t in any way impugn Jeff’s integrity and morals. God! Those people will do want this country to fail.

    In a lighter note we will be going out to see Pink Panther 2, which has so-so reviews but any film with Steve Marton vs John Cleeves for craziest person can’t be all bad.

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  101. LA Mary said on February 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I think the GPS voice should be the voice that character on Little Britain who says, “computer says no.”

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  102. MichaelG said on February 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I’m not particularly critical of scenery. Just about everything looks good to me but the Salton Sea area is one of the most desolate, ugly spots I’ve ever seen.

    The San Luis Reservoir is a very hot spot for wind surfers. The water is smooth as glass, there are miles to run and the wind is high. They really haul ass.

    Our friend Nadia (she’s not plug ugly but I don’t see hot – maybe the plastic surgery is at fault) has what have been described as “trout lips”. So she plans to start school in the fall and plans to drop 14 kids, eight of them infants with special needs, on the school day care center. Um hmm. She also wants a master’s in counseling. Oh yeah. She’s qualified. Her orientation is the Me, Me, Me school of thought.

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  103. Dexter said on February 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    moe99: My friend near Melbourne writes:
    “…just to let you know that I am ok here..getting on with life…there’s been what we could only describe as an open oven on full heat around Melbourne and other areas for the past week,a lot of people are homeless because they have lost everything with raging fires and a lot of deaths also..here where I am the temperatures have been on between 40 and 43c but yesterday it reared its ugly head too high and gave us a massive dose of 45c which I believe is around 113F; you just could not breath.
    Then we had a power cut and I headed straight for the supermarket in the car with my grandson and sat in there ’til the power was back on.
    I have lost all my garden including the veggie patch which has all shrivelled up to nothing and will be debating as to will I start afresh or not bother with a garden; over the years I put in a lot of effort to get it where I wanted it to be and it’s gone in a heartbeat.
    At least as I said I am ok.
    The chickens all survived— God only knows how; thank Goodness I put out stacks of bowls of water for them.”

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  104. Deborah said on February 7, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I second what Michael G says about the Salton Sea area. Ugly. And smelly too. I will never again eat the fish tilapia after reading that most of it sold in the US comes from the Salton Sea. It is a great place to bird watch though if you’re in to that. I spent a hideous thanksgiving once in a place called Niland, CA not far from the SS, too long of a story to relate here, trust me it was awful.

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  105. caliban said on February 7, 2009 at 6:15 pm


    There’s beauty yet in the , to this day, and no matter whats been done to it in the interest of corporate avarice. Maybe it’s stark, but it’s beautiful. Beauty wasn’t on the minds of the despoilers. Cash was. Sort of like the despoilers of the Constitution that stole two elections, and if you don’t think the second one was stolen, canvass Cuyahoga County. What I wonder is what possessed these people. Money and greed, sure, but that can’t explain this sort of behavior fully. The Screwtape Letters comes immediately to mind.

    Political liberals are saddled with the epithet ‘knee-jerk’. I’d say that’s bullshit. The bunch of bastards that want to make government dsmall enough to drown it in a bathtub would seemingly like to reduce humanity and natural environment to toxicity. This is knee-jerk abd slavish worshipping of Mammon, while claiming fraudulently to be Christian.

    On another subject, but it’s the same old thing, how is spending on schools and creating jobs at the same time pork barrel? Thank you Senator Demented (my Senator, along with schizophrenic Lindsay Graham, and I’m so embarrassed we elect sanctimonious, know-nothing hypocritical morons in SC) for worrying so much about the un-Christian schools. The damage done to Christian principles by self-proclaimed Christians is incalculable, but they’re protecting the pissing territory of such notable Christian entrepreneurs as G. Gordo and Ultimate Freedom Fighter Ollie North. Employ the rod and scar the children forever.


    In the inane history of knee-jerk denial of facts accumulated by unbiased scientists, global warming denial is right up there with Holocaust deniers. The overwhelming consensus and solid findings are somehow questionable because they aren’t 99.44/100 pure? Even Bjorn Lomborg admits to reality. When facts are denied and distorted, politics raises it’s hideous head, and when that happens, follow the money.

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  106. caliban said on February 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Here’s the Salton Sea photos I wanted y’all to look at. Looks like Mad Max.

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  107. Dexter said on February 7, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Deborah, I had never heard of Niland before I read “Into the Wild”. Of course that was another stopover for Alexander Supertramp , and the story was so fascinating I read all I could about the place and watched all the YouTubes about it.
    Of course everything focusses on Slab City and “God’s Mountain” and how the authorities shut down the springs there. I feel a calling towards the place! Please talk me out of it! We’ll be heading to Las Vegas come Spring for granddaughter’s hs graduation, and I have it in my head to drive over to Slab City, even though by June it’ll be hot as holy hell.

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  108. nancy said on February 7, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    It looks like the Detroit of waterfront recreation, for sure.

    How can tilapia live in the Salton Sea? I though the salinity exceeded the Pacific to such a degree that no fish could live there.

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  109. Deborah said on February 7, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Dexter, I’ve seen Slab City and met the guy who is responsible for God’s Mountain. That’s the best of Niland it goes down hill from there. My step daughter and her inlaws have been visiting the environs for decades every Thanksgiving, They bring all their vehicle “toys”, RVs, ATVs, dune buggies, dirt bikes, you name it. It’s 24/7 noise, exhaust fumes and dust. Not my cup of tea. All they do is drive around the dunes, shoot fireworks, get drunk around the bonfire and tell fart jokes. I will never go back. My husband goes every year because he loves his daughter but it’s misery for him. What fresh hell, indeed.

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  110. MichaelG said on February 7, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    As you wrote, Caliban, some people see beauty in a comma. I’m guessing you mean that nature is beautiful wherever. Truly said, but some places are more or less beautiful than others, at least in the eye of this beholder. I’ve seen that failed development you link to and the reality is much worse than the photos. I’m with Deborah. Nothing to do there other than get drunk, tell fart jokes and wait until you can leave. Bring plenty of booze because it’s a long way to the store.

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  111. caliban said on February 7, 2009 at 11:59 pm


    I get it. But blasted and scarred and altered irrevocably, there’s innate beauty. I like tooling Lake Powell on a big houseboat, but I’d blow the dam at Page if I thought I wouldn’t get arrested. I’d also like to sit on a hill with a Mossberg over-under and pick off snowmowbiles. Of course (beautiful and well-placed), those are just thought dreams. I think those photos show the desolation and the damage, and somebody ought to be made to pay.

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  112. LA Mary said on February 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    I will never eat tilapia after seeing an episode of Dirty Jobs that featured fish farms in the SS area. They raise a sort of hybrid striped bass in manmade ponds, then they put tilapia in the pond to eat the striped bass’s poop and clean out the pond. No tilapia for me, thank you. I’m really sticking with cold water, deep water fish these days. No desert raised poop eater fish.

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