The funnies.

Sometimes by Thursday I am all current-evented out. Which is to say, I can’t take any more. As you might expect, this is happening more of late. Fortunately, the New York Times is thinking of people like me, and so on Thursday it is possible to open your paper, discard the bad-news sections unread, and turn directly to Thursday Styles, where daffiness abides.

Today’s enormous cover art was the left-hand photo in this series, which I will describe for those too impatient to click: A model strides scowling down the Milan catwalk, wearing a red cardigan sweater of the sort preferred by your grandmother, accompanied by mud-brown wool short-shorts and “strapped-on leather waders.” Yes, boots that rise to mid-thigh, which must be secured with garters and a belt, like stockings. This outfit was by Miuccia Prada, and reporter Cathy Horyn observes:

What Ms. Prada’s remarkable collection offered was something that has been lost to other values — and that is intimacy, real contact with people’s lives.

Yes! Yes! This is precisely what has been missing from the Italian fashion houses of late — real contact with people’s lives, who are clamoring for some leather waders worn with grandma sweaters.

When I tell people this, they never believe me, but Kirk can back me up: I was once a fashion reporter. A terrible one, granted, but for a couple years in the 1980s I attended New York runway shows and filed reports from Halston’s aerie. (It was always called that — an aerie — and fashion writers are nothing if not followers.) Somewhere in my album is a surreptitious snapshot of Liza Minnelli sitting ringside. I found that despite the twice-a-year trips to New York, and the shoulder-rubbing with Liza, I just couldn’t get into it. The clothes were ridiculous (with some exceptions, like Halston), and it struck me that I simply couldn’t sustain the level of bullshit necessary to do it well, or even correctly. I respect the art and the artists, but when it came time to describe the collections as intimate or overdone or whatever, I was just pulling adjectives out of my ass.

Writing about fashion is a lot like writing about wine. You read these descriptions of chardonnay — “lustful, with strong top notes of apple and ligonberry, and a bang-up finish of nearly astringent balsam and juniper” — and it’s the emperor’s new clothes, it really is.

Something else I noticed: Every single fashion designer, and I mean every single one, dressed in Levi’s and black turtlenecks, or Levi’s and white buttondowns, or Levi’s and T-shirts. Mostly Levi’s 501s. And everyone in New York just dressed in black.

But I still like to read the reports from the runway shows. Because you never know when you’re going to need some leather waders.

Elsewhere in Styles was a mournful account of a vanishing life at the Apthorp, a place whose existence I learned of from Nora Ephron, who wrote a New Yorker essay about her time there. The Apthorp is a sprawling apartment building known for its enormous apartments, most of which have been rent-controlled or rent-stabilized. As I recall, Ephron’s apartment was five bedrooms and more square footage than my house, and she paid something like $2,000 a month, which even then was a tiny fraction of its market price. Lately the building has been snarled in financial problems, but pause for a moment to appreciate “a lone outpost of the kind of bohemian family life that renters could once have there.” How bohemian? The family at the center of the story pays $2,850 for “a 3,300-square-foot four-bedroom with black and green marble fireplaces and several crystal chandeliers, is freshly painted in a shade of white that makes it seem even bigger, reflecting the light that pours in through oversize windows.”

Welcome to reality, folks.

Thus heartened with scorn and schadenfreude, I feel ready to start my day. But first, some quick bloggage:

Thanks to Dexter for reminding me that “Breaking Bad,” yet another of the AMC series, starts its second season Sunday. I wrote about the show last year, just as the first season was wrapping up, just in case you want to, you know, make a few notes.

I haven’t gotten all the way through it yet, but it’s a great read so far: Michael Lewis reports on the financial crisis in Iceland, where speculation has, basically, collapsed the entire economy.

And with that, I run off to the gymnasium to grapple with the medicine ball and Indian clubs. Have a good day.

Posted at 9:48 am in Current events, Popculch |
 

72 responses to “The funnies.”

  1. Dorothy said on March 5, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Forgive me – I wasn’t around yesterday but just have to post a picture of my former next door neighbor’s little girl, Eva (they pronounced it just like Ms. Amurri).

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/truvy57/2577928660/

    Also – at the Virginian Pilot where my daughter works they’ve had two layoffs (or firings, if you want to call them that) in the last few months and she’s survived both. But they also announced furloughs for everyone – 5 days a year they must take off without pay. She loves her work so much but I think she might have to reconsider her future in journalism. At least at a newspaper.

  2. Jason T. said on March 5, 2009 at 10:29 am

    > The clothes were ridiculous (with some exceptions, like Halston),
    > and it struck me that I simply couldn’t sustain the level of
    > bullshit necessary to do it well, or even correctly.

    Which is why I gave up a job as TV critic and went back to the news desk.

    I realized it wasn’t for me when the paper decided it needed a weekly — non-ironic — update on “Survivor” and other reality shows, treating them like they were serious news.

    Given a choice, I was happier covering the fire department and the planning commission. At least it seemed like something that actually mattered to real humans.

    So when I say, “You couldn’t pay me to watch ‘The Biggest Loser,'” I really, really mean it.

  3. Kirk said on March 5, 2009 at 10:34 am

    It’s true what she says: Nancy wrote about fashion, and you could tell she just couldn’t take it seriously enough (probably why I read a lot more fashion stuff when she was writing it). But she brought home cool souvenirs and freebies, some of which she shared with my wife.

  4. moe99 said on March 5, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I’ve been following the attorney layoffs at the big firms courtesy of abovethelaw.com and I have to say that despite mark’s claim in the penultimate post of the last thread, these layoffs were not done to reduce income below $250K for the mananging partners. They were done because there is NO work. I have a friend who I used to practice with in private practice and she reports that the real estate investment firm that was a significant client has just closed one of their two office floors. There is NO work right now.

    And, on another topic, the Democratic party is looking for an eye-catching slogan to put on a billboard to let Rush know how much we appreciate him. I think someone here, among the many talented writers, should enter and win:

    http://www.democrats.org/rushbillboard

  5. jeff borden said on March 5, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Aren’t those fashions Nancy is discussing really the equivalent of a “concept car” at an auto show? Something really wild and crazy, but nothing anyone would ever wear in public? I recall as a small boy attending a car show with my dad and sitting in a vehicle dubbed the Futura, I think. The interior was designed to look like a jet fighter cockpit and the wheel was actually a joystick, like the older fighter planes. It stood out among the real cars like a flamingo among pigeons, but I never saw anything even remotely like it on the road. Aren’t these wacky runway fashions similar?

    I’m probably alone in the NN.C community in missing the opportunity to wear a nice suit, a crisply starched shirt and a cool tie. For 15 years at my last job, we were always advised to dress appropriately for meeting a CEO on 15-minutes notice. I found suits I liked by a designer named Albert Nipon and had about a dozen: two vested, two double-breasted, the remainder a mix of two- and three-buttons. (Not all were Nipons.) I haunted a discount clothier called Sym’s (motto: An educated consumer is our best customer), where I found cashmere topcoats for $115 or wool sportscoats for under $100.

    I came to good clothing late in life, but actually enjoyed wearing them. Now, as an officially “underemployed” American who works from his basement, I guess I resemble a New York fashion designer. Jeans and shirt. Shirt and jeans.

    Yawn.

  6. mark said on March 5, 2009 at 11:02 am

    moe-

    I’m hearing the same thing about the firms here, including my old firm which was large, 400+, by midwest standards.

    Big firm work is drying up. Labor, real estate, M&A, environmental, etc. Even business litigation (excepting intellectual property), I’m told.

    Small firm practice hasn’t changed as much. Criminal defense is up, divorce, CHINS and related stuff up a little, bankruptcy (consumer) steady to up. Personal injury steady. Wills and trusts, elder law stuff, down a little.

    I’ve had a former partner admit to me that he is hoarding his work, doing things he previously would have passed down to associates, and cutting his own billable hours to make the cost acceptable to the client. I suspect that’s pretty common in larger firms.

    This economic collapse is going to hit everybody I’m afraid. Good time to be poor. My guilt over the money I squandered in the last 15 years has gone way down. It wasn’t available to be squandered by the captains of finance who steered us into this mess.

    My billboard entry: Rush! Because, well, we’re a little tired of talking about Change.

  7. coozledad said on March 5, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Nancy: When I saw the picture of the woman in the Granmaw sweater, It brought this to mind instantly.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmg4qROe_Lk
    I wonder if they used it for the runway music.

  8. Danny said on March 5, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Dorothy, that little girl is sooooo cute! And that caption cracked me up.

  9. mark said on March 5, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Jeff,

    You’re not alone. I miss it too. My father gave me a lot of rules related to the role of men. Clothing included.

    He was a maintenance foreman and tool room supervisor. His “uniform” consisted of grey slacks and a white short sleeved shirt, both pressed. My mom worked like crazy to keep those white shirts white despite their 10 hour days in a very hot factory. Clip-on tie (do they even make those anymore?), because it would tear away if caught in machinery rather than dragging him in. Black wing tips (polished) with a steel toe, with little steel shavings forever embedded in the soles from walking the factory floors.

    But he always had a nice suit and made sure his sons did too. He’d wear it to church, or to meet with the banker, or to take my mom out to dinner. He grew up on a farm without much and his father was, for a time, a heavy drinker and gambler. My mother told me that for their first prom together, my father saved and got his first suit- $19.00 in 1946. The Wednesday night before the dance, his father lost it in a poker game. The first significant purchase he made after they married was a really good suit, and he was never again without one.

    He said to never to judge another man by his clothing, but he was equally adamant that no man worth his salt will ever look down upon you because you took the time to put on a suit and polish your shoes. He viewed it as an act of respect toward those around you. I like that idea.

    I think that one of the reasons I like “Mad Men” is the elegance of the way men dressed. All superficial, maybe, but to me it speaks purpose.

  10. alex said on March 5, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I’d do my Rush slogan graphically:

    Pedagogue

    Demophile

  11. LA Mary said on March 5, 2009 at 11:46 am

    My sons, who wear sneakers or running shoes for all but the most formal occasions, are amazed that when I was growing up, every Saturday night we polished shoes. We had a shoeshine box and everyone gathered their loafers and oxfords and whatever and they were polished perfectly. I will forever associate Saturday nights with franks and beans for supper, watching Hootenanny, and polishing shoes.

  12. paddyo' said on March 5, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    When I opened my NYT this a.m. and caught a glimpse of the Style front, all I could think of was: Wow, the recession has even hit runway models … this one looks like a frumpy street person.

    I’ve been waiting for months for the return of “Breaking Bad,” an absolutely remarkable and, for basic cable, BRAVE show to go where it has gone. They gave Brian Cranston the Emmy last time for his acting, but the whole show deserved it, and the writers, especially …

    Interesting, though: Here in the next state and next metro-sized city north of Albuquerque (BB’s domain), there was a remarkably certain-of-itself story in the surviving daily last week (in fact, on the day after the Rocky Mountain News’ finale) that matter-of-factly announced that “Methamphetamine is on its way out in Colorado” …(http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_11805008)

    And I wondered: Can that really be true? Anybody else hearing this in other parts of the land? I mean, I know they’ve locked up all the Sudafed at the drug/grocery stores so the homemade crank cookers can’t get an easy supply, but never underestimate the resourcefulness of druggies.
    (Hey, “BB” even had a nice plot line around that in its first season, too … by the industrial drum full…)

  13. Sue said on March 5, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Mark, thank you for your reply yesterday. One small note of disagreement: I know many people (almost all women, almost all older) who work or worked in small professional offices, vets and dentists and lawyers and doctors. Not a benefit to be had.
    Clothing: Anyone else out there “tactile-y challenged”? I can’t wear wool (too itchy), silk (too cold), tight things (OMG it’s touching me), panty hose (like sealing the lower half of your body in plastic), etc., and I’ve been that way all my life, to the point of tears when I was a kid. And yet… I love shoes. I don’t wear anything but sneakers, of course, but I love shoes.

  14. jeff borden said on March 5, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Mark,

    It it warms the cockles of my cynical heart to read your response. My father was exactly the same way, though he was a non-college graduate management guy in the newspaper business. He had simple rules about things, honed by his youth in the Depression and his hardscrabble career after WWII. You bought wool suits and cotton shirts. You took good care of them and hung your suits in bags to keep them fresh. You polished your shoes once per week and put them in shoe trees when you came home from work. You wore a full windsor knot with a spread collar shirt and half windsor with a pinpoint collar and a four-in-hand with a tab collar.

    I’m not going to get all hung up about something like our clothing in these tough times, but I honestly believe the way you dress affects the way you feel and act. And I wonder if anyone has ever done any research on whether sexual harassment complaints in the workplace rose as formal business attire fell? When you go to work in the same kinds of clothes you wear to the bar or the ballgame, does your internal compass shift a little?

  15. Sue said on March 5, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Jeff, I really don’t think the rise of sexual harassment complaints has as much to do with casual attire as it does with enlightened attitudes and eventual legal protections. Perhaps you don’t remember when it was highly amusing to pinch the secretary’s ass as she walked by. In her proper business clothing. I personally remember a nurse who finally responded to a surgeon’s frequent grabbing by turning around and grabbing back. He was shocked and furious. How dare she. They were both professionally dressed.

  16. Danny said on March 5, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    You mean it is not acceptable amymore to say:

    “Hey, Jiggles, how about another cup of coffee?”

  17. Kirk said on March 5, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    You mean, “How about another cup of coffee after you go out and use this 10-spot to buy my wife something pretty for her birthday?”

  18. Sue said on March 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Some help here, please?

  19. Dorothy said on March 5, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Mary we still have shoe-shining stuff in a bag in our laundry room. But I think Mike only gets it out when we’re going to a wedding. Our son the probation officer does like to shine his work shoes, too, from time to time. And he’s not quite 24 years old yet.

  20. jeff borden said on March 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Sue,

    You’re undoubtedly correct. My nostalgia for professional business attire should not obscure all the points you made.

    I never had an office, much less a secretary or an assistant, but if I did, I would not ask them to buy my wife’s birthday gift, lol. And Kirk? $10??? I wish!

  21. Dave K. said on March 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    The weekly shoe shining reminds of my dad, born in 1930, 82nd Airborne, gone too soon in 1984. He would get the shoe shine box out every weekend, and it seemed like a privilege, not a chore, to join him. One of the neatest things I remember about him was about shoes. During H.S. football season, every Friday my cleats would be ready for me to take to the game, cleaned and polished. I know Dad did this but I never saw him. Mom always made sure my white game pants were clean and free of grass stains, too. She would complain about it as she scrubbed the stains with a brush on the laundry room floor, but I know she was happy to do it.

    I really was blessed by my parents. Thanks for bringing back those memories today.

  22. Sue said on March 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    And incidentally, boys, my preferred method for dealing with that particular surgeon was to make sure I always had a scalpel in my hand when he was around. We found a way to make our point when we had to, back then.

  23. Kirk said on March 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Back when bosses did that regularly, 10 bucks probably would have covered it. At least I hope that practice has receded that far into the past.

  24. velvet goldmine said on March 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Mark, That story about your father’s dad gambling away his suit is one of the most awful things I’ve ever heard. I know it’s beside the point, but were your parents ever able to go to the dance?

    The pathos in it reminds me (somehow) of a story my mother just told me about getting her first period, which happened to be when she was home alone. Her own mother was at her waitressing job and there were no pads in the house….or, I should say, no “pad system,” because in the 50s it was the washable pad and the belt and the whole nine yards.

    Anyway, she and her family shared a two-family house with her great aunt, so she went to the other part of the house and Aunt Eleanor (who was too old to have a need for her own stock anymore) sent my mother up into the attic. Mom finally unearthed some pads that were not only moth-eaten, but infested with larvae! And she had to brush them off and use them! Can you imagine THAT being your introduction to womandhood?

    I don’t know what that story has to do with anything, but as you can imagine, I needed to shake it out of my head. Your welcome!

  25. velvet goldmine said on March 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    “You’re,” of course. I know there’s an edit button here somewhere, but I swear on my life my elderly Internet version doesn’t see it. It’s older than my great-aunt’s maxi pads.

  26. Colleen said on March 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Sue, I’m the same way. No wool, for sure. Lined or not. It’s prickly. There are some days I change clothes a couple of times before I go to work because it doesn’t “feel” right. I’ve ripped tags out of things a lot…I think whoever invented “tagless” is a genius.

    And watch “Mad Men”. I hear tell from my parents, who were of that age in that era, that the male/female roles are portrayed pretty accurately. We just thought we had to take it back then….

  27. Gasman said on March 5, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Liberal that I am, I lament the lack of professional standards when it comes to attire. I think that we are entirely too informal. But what do I know; for me, a tuxedo is common business attire.

    It’s hard for me to take someone seriously in a business situation if they are wearing flip-flops, a t-shirt, and shorts. It projects the image, “I simply don’t care.”

  28. Kirk said on March 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Gasman, I still have a hard time convincing myself that it’s sometimes OK not to wear a tie when we go to a fancy restaurant.

  29. Dorothy said on March 5, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Oh good God Velvet, I thought I had eradicated the memory of sanitary belts out of my mind forever. What kind of pain in the ass were THEY!?! I am just old enough to have used them for a little while. Major thanks to the person or team who invented the self-stickies. (I am getting just a wee bit of enjoyment out of the idea that this is making the guys ’round these parts really squirm in their seats!)

  30. LA Mary said on March 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I get people showing up for interviews in flip flops, bare midriff tops, tee shirts. It’s amazing. The men in this office don’t have to wear ties but the managers do. Every time someone suggests we have a casual Friday, I object. For one thing, I think of my work clothes as my game face. Also, my wardrobe consists of work clothes and clothes I would wear to clean the kitchen. Not much in between. I guess I could throw the cashmere sweater on over the jeans with the blown out knee, but I don’t think that’s what they mean by work casual.

  31. Kirk said on March 5, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    I’ve never gotten “casual Friday.” If it’s what you should wear to work the rest of the week, what makes Friday any less a business day? I’m not really a fuddy-duddy; I just sound like one.

  32. Joe Kobiela said on March 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Dave K.
    Forgot about the cleats and pants,mom also washed our practice stuff between two a days. I forgot how good it felt to put on clean dry gear when everyone else had wet smelly muddy practice stuff, also the old man always shined our helmets, with pledge or kit car wax, said he could spot us out on the field better. I think you and I are still the only two brothers on separate undefeated football teams in Garrett history.
    As far as sexism goes, the wife wanted to buy a new watch. I asked her why? there is a clock on the kitchen stove.
    Pilot Joe

  33. mark said on March 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    velvet-

    Mom says they went to the dance. Dad wore his school pants and a sport coat borrowed from an uncle, and the tie he bought for the suit. She says it didn’t all come together quite right, but if it made him uncomfortable he never mentioned it and never let it show.

    gasman-

    I’ll bet you look dapper and downright conservative in your tuxedo. I don’t understand why women don’t plan more occasions for men to wear a tux and why men avoid the ones that are planned. It’s a simple uniform and all men look better in a tux.

  34. MichaelG said on March 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Today is Casual Thursday since tomorrow is Furlough Friday. I’m sitting here in my Sacramento aerie wearing Levi’s 501s and a Norm Abram shirt and my $15 running shoes from Big Five.

    I liked those fashion pix to which Nance linked. Especially the cave girl on the right.

  35. Catherine said on March 5, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    All men DO look better in a tux. If I had my way, every dinner party I host would have a dress code of white dinner jackets (cf, Connery, Sean). The problem is they would be all-female events.

  36. jeff borden said on March 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    As someone who owns a tuxedo –and who knows how to tie his bowtie properly– I can only say a hearty amen, Mark. I used to attend at least a half-dozen black tie events when I was working at Crain’s Chicago Business, but now that I am a freelancer, there aren’t a boatload of invitations to such events.

    I’m kind of with LA Mary on what clothing says about people.

    Case in point: A good friend of ours who is a gourmet cook invites six people to dinner. She has spent the better part of Friday and Saturday preparing her dishes and making sure her condo is immaculate. We arrive. Five us us are dressed in decent shoes, slacks, sweater/shirt, etc. One guest arrives in sneakers, sweatpants and sweatshirt with stains. What is this guy saying to the hostess? Thanks for the food but I couldn’t be bothered to put on a clean shirt or even a clean pair of blue jeans? Seriously, the guy looked like he’d just finished cleaning his garage.

    It’s not about dressing to the nines or flashing around your designer labels, etc. It’s about showing a little common courtesy to a host or hostess.

  37. Colleen said on March 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    I dress for comfort myself, but I too wish we had a LITTLE more formality in the world. I JUST started wearing jeans to Mass, and I am SURE I hear the whirring of my grandparents in their graves….

    I look around my college classes, and everyone looks like they just rolled out of bed….at least the clothes do. The hair and the makeup are Just So.

    So how come when talk turns menstrual, every co-ed internet place I’ve ever been mentions how uncomfortable the men must be with period talk? Grow up, boys! 🙂

  38. Jean S said on March 5, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Nancy, you must have missed the Bill Blass shows–I’d be willing to bet serious money that he never wore jeans in public!

  39. nancy said on March 5, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    You’re right, Jean. Bill Blass always wore a very nice suit. A dapper man to the last detail (if you ignored the cigarettes).

  40. MichaelG said on March 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Yeah, Colleen, what’s with all those people who look like they haven’t washed their hair in a month. That’s nasty.

    The period thing never bothered me. Women I’ve lived with have always been pretty matter of fact about it. When going to the store my ex wife would holler at me as I left “and pick up some pampers for me”. She called the whatever brand it was “Pampers”. What else would the person at the store think I was buying the things for if not my wife?

  41. Dexter said on March 5, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    paddy’o: Corunna, IN is a town of 254 souls. Last week 15 meth labs were busted there, operating out of two houses, and before that a lab-on-wheels blew up on US 6—they were cooking while driving!
    Auburn Evening Star reported lab busts last week, as did Bryan Times here in NW Ohio.
    I am glad to hear meth is on its way out in Colorado, good riddance!
    For those who choose not to have cable or satellite TV, I can offer you this tidbit: From imdb dot com you can access a great movie , free domain, called “Hatful of Rain”, with Lloyd Nolan, about a young man returned from the Korean Conflict with a major jones for H. I saw it on late-night TV about 44 years ago and I promised myself, as a teen, that if I was ever in a situation where heroin was offered or available, I would never try the first taste.
    Of course, just six years later I was in Viet Nam where heroin was everywhere.
    I never took that first taste. I think this movie is the reason, partly.
    It’s a great movie, btw.

  42. del said on March 5, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    LA Mary, your post at #11 reminded me of this poem:

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/those-winter-sundays/

    only because of the shoe polishing ritual.

  43. nancy said on March 5, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    By the way, Velvet, I’m going to be a long time getting that larvae-crawling sanitary napkin out of my head. Thanks.

  44. caliban said on March 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Fashion reporter? Tres chic.

    Levis bought fashion and presented normal people with the eternal conundrum. The powers that be left me here to deliver, and I chose Wranglers for less cash. Isn’t the idea of fashion kinda strange? You’ve got designer clothes nobody would wear without a shotgun to the cranium.

    I used to work in an office of a world-class architect. Architects are poorly paid, and, in general, they deserve to be. Another story. Anyway, they li8ve by style, they think Barney’s and Mont Blanc pens lend them legitimacy when they hem and haw about responsibility for anything. When it all comes down to it, it’s construction details, how to actually build something, and the feasibility of the materials all of these besotted jackasses are thinking about after they looked at the renderings (the spectacularly attractive pictures of what everybody wanted the project to look like.

    Discussing drugs? US law still says that marijuana is a narcotic. People are sentenced, and many get third strikes, based on this asinine canard. My opinion is that pot is a matter of choice, like the Jack I’,m drinking right now. It doesn’t cause the sort of lung cancer drain on the economy that tobacco does; that’s mostly a function of the tar, etc. in the papers, and nobody’s smoking a pack a day of jointsAnyway, what sort of drug causes Boehner to claim the budget is spwnding when a large part of it is tax cuts for the people that bore the brunt of the wealth upward constriction that W engineered? The GOP line requires willing suspension of common sense.

  45. LA Mary said on March 5, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you for the poem, Del. Where I work, we start every meeting with a “reflection.” It can be religious, since this is a Catholic hospital. More often it’s some icky inspirational goop, in some cases in the form of a downloaded power point presentation with awful synthesizer music. When it’s my turn to do a reflection, I always do a poem so I’m always on the lookout for ones that will fit. I think the one you just posted works.

  46. jeff borden said on March 5, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Caliban,

    I read a book some years ago called “Reefer Madness” that had absolutely nothing to do with the cult film of the same name. The author’s premise was fairly sound. A ginormous federal bureaucracy had been created to enforce Prohibition. When it was repealed, the bureaucracy needed something else to fight and it chose narcotics in general and marijuana in particular.

    As a pot-smoking college kid, my friends and I were convinced that when our generation became more powerful, marijuana would be legalized. We used to joke about how instead of sipping an old-fashioned or a beer before going out to dinner, couples would pass a joint. Wow, were we wrong.

    I suppose the wide streak of Puritanism that still runs through much of America is one reason why we continue to treat this fairly benign buzz with such contempt. And it’s certainly a compelling argument that with all the other problems caused by all the other drugs, legal and illegal –nicotine, alcohol, opiates, prescription– the last thing the country needs is yet another way to get buzzed.

    All I can say is that no stoner ever took a swing at me. No stoner ever puked all over my carpeting. No stoner ever picked a fight with one of my friends or made a complete ass of himself/herself with a member of the opposite sex. No stoner ever blubbered how much they loved me and gave me a bear hug before passing out in my hallway.

    Nope, the worse I recall is some sneaky pothead filching all my Fig Newtons and another one burning a small hole in my couch when a seed popped in his joint.

    One reason marijuana is popular with a lot of overachievers like Michael Phelps is the relatively small toll it takes on the body. No hangovers! And if you’re an aging dude with bad lungs like Willie Nelson, you can use a vaporizer! Whoo hoo.

    Nonetheless, almost 700,000 Americans are behind bars for pot-related arrests. Any narc will tell you why. They’re easy busts and they’re usually safe busts. (This does not include the big-time growers, who use serious muscle and automatic weapons to defend their product.) At the street level, though, you’re more likely to be dealing with a guy who deals a little hydroponic on the side and probably doesn’t carry a pen knife, much less a gun.

  47. caliban said on March 5, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?.
    I believe in newspapers, and I know for a fact ywitter is guano. Tweet.What sort of dumbassery is people willing to buy? Twitter? Holy shit. Mprpms. Twitter? Seriously. Noobdy is that fucking stupid. Beseone is Tw. Morons. And I’ve just made fun of making fun. Are you dickheads so goddamn dumb you don’t get how stupid this is?

  48. caliban said on March 5, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    How is it these assholes that thought the they could make up dictatorship, How do they get out of the consecynces? These bastards are we kidding, Bushco thught they could eat us all alive. Look you morons. They were trying to to subborn the Constitutiion. You stupid ass W moorons, Xheney wasn’t a terrorist? He is a terrorrist.

  49. caliban said on March 5, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Jeff Borden.

    I haven’t smoked pot in 20 years. I would say you’re a flamer moron. Mitch McConell, well he’s earmard central. The idea that earmarks are bad spending is some osrt of dumbass crashing planes McCain can just eat alive. All of these alleged earmarks could be balanced with that shitheel’s blown away planes. Fuck the bad pilot.

  50. moe99 said on March 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Jeff B, I would wear that slur from C-ban w/ pride. As Michelle Bachman would say “You is da man!” (vbeg)

  51. Dexter said on March 5, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    I had no idea the Book Cadillac project was complete! Like architecture? Look at this, and check out the other video links on the YouTube page.

    http://tinyurl.com/8ly74p

  52. brian stouder said on March 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Caliban has it right when it comes to twittering tweets and cheeky facebooks, or whatever the hell.

    Here’s a current event that bugs me: pundits who ascribe the continuing crash on Wall Street to President Obama. The line is – The Market Is Coldly Rational; Its Revealed Wisdom is Inscrutable and Infallible; Therefore, Clearly, President Obama Is Failing.

    What a load a’ horse shit. “The market” has no rational conscience that can be discerned, day to day; it does not think thoughts or make considered judgements; it has no insuperable wisdom to impart.

    If anything, various market indices (which themselves are arbitrary constructs) show us whether the prevailing mood is more slanted toward greed, or fear. Right now, fear is winning.

    Remember “irrational exuberance”? Back then, the supposedly coldy rational masters of the universe on the trading floors and in the glass towers bought and bought and bought – and had to invent NEW stuff to buy (thinking of these bundled sub-prime mortgage packages) – and this crash is looking a bit more like ‘irrational dejection’ than anything else, to me.

    I’m about two decades away from retirement; this past summer I had begun to consider reducing the amount of pre-tax dollars that I contribute to our 401(k)…but with this crash, I may never be able to buy this low again, and so I cannot see reducing that contribution level.

    One major lesson I take away from this is that all those little “how to” investment booklets (which describe how best to set up your retirement account) were exactly right when it comes to diversity within your portfolio – ESPECIALLY with regard to the amount of risk one might reasonably take, with relation to one’s age.

  53. velvet goldmine said on March 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Dorothy, I, too, was feeling bad for the male squirmers when I brought it up, but then I realized that it would make everyone sick, as Nance pointed out. Do it seemed like a wash.

    I do remember asking my mother what the whole belt contraption felt like — I know modern teen girls always feel like they have a bulls-eye on their crotch when they wear pads, so I can’t imagine the angst the earlier versions would have caused.

    It’s my mother’s opinion that exact anxiety explains the poodle skirt.

  54. moe99 said on March 5, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    It’s that time of the year again and there are new peeps colors to celebrate:

    http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com/

    Although I must say the orange ones taste no different than the yellow peeps.

  55. velvet goldmine said on March 6, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Brian, It’s as ever was. Going back a mere hundred years, P.G. Wodehouse remembered his father’s pension being dependent on the Indian rupe. Wodehouse vividly described the rupee as being something like a spoiled toddler, always throwing fits and such. “Watch the rupee” was the rallying cry in the household, and the bastard ended up putting an end to Wodehouse’s dream of going to Oxford.

    Our dear U.S. market, on the other hand, always strikes me as a maiden aunt type, who calls for the smelling salts at the slightest excitement. No balls, is what I’m saying.

  56. Dexter said on March 6, 2009 at 12:29 am

    My dad: “Those Beatles…look at that damn long hair!”
    Wife’s dad: “They should have sunk the boat those bastards came over in!” (OK…he knew they landed at JFK …it was his expression.)
    Caliban: “…I know for a fact ywitter is guano. Tweet.What sort of dumbassery is people willing to buy? Twitter? Holy shit. Mprpms. Twitter? Seriously. Noobdy is that fucking stupid. Beseone is Tw. Morons. And I’ve just made fun of making fun. Are you dickheads so goddamn dumb you don’t get how stupid this is?”

    I blog at CQ Politics on Craig Crawford’s threads; he started a Facebook page for the regulars who post on his threads, and a lot of us joined Facebook and it’s fun and a great way to stay in touch with people, share links, comment, meet other people to yak with…and Twitter? I saw it here first, Nance Twitters…and when a couple friends started, I joined. It’s a blast, for sure. Some phony identities, most seem OK…celebs like Ana Marie Cox document their every move when they’re out on the job…it’s fascinating.
    It’s also EASY . Very simple, clean and slick.
    But when email appeared, people said “What’s wrong with these lazy bastards…can’t they walk to the Post Office and buy a stamp?”

  57. Dexter said on March 6, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Brian Williams at NBC News has issued a plea to all to send in stories of random acts of kindness for a new segment on Nightly News. Do you know anyone who is a kind person , giving of themselves tirelessly, for example? Send it in!

    http://tinyurl.com/cyo55j

  58. Dexter said on March 6, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Here’s the Tiny url site…a welcome thing, indeed!

    http://tinyurl.com/create.php

  59. mouse said on March 6, 2009 at 1:41 am

    FYI Dexter–Bob Reading passed the other day in the Fort at the young age of 56.Bob grew some of the finest smoke in the fields around Ashley that money could buy!Did you know any of the world famous Reading bros.

  60. mouse said on March 6, 2009 at 1:57 am

    FYI Dexter–Bob Reading passed the other day in the Fort at the young age of 56.Bob grew some of the finest smoke in the fields around Ashley that money could buy!Did you know any of the world famous Reading bros.?

  61. Dexter said on March 6, 2009 at 2:10 am

    mouse…sure did…I knew Jack way back when, I know Neal and his wife but haven’t spoken to Neal for three years—haven’t seen him. Bob…I can’t recall him….they had an uncle who played for the Detroit Tigers in the early 1960s.
    Neal’s dad would take little Neal to the clubhouse where the players would tease the hell out of Neal…Neal always hated baseball in general ever since then!
    Anyway, Nancy will give us hell for using her blog for this kind of stuff…email me at coold1949 at aol dot com

  62. Colleen said on March 6, 2009 at 7:50 am

    RE: Twitter. I’m on it, but I don’t GET it. And I’m usually an early adopter of techno stuff. I will admit, I’m loving facebook more and more though.

  63. jeff borden said on March 6, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Caliban,

    WTF?

    Love,

    Me

  64. Dorothy said on March 6, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Kirk: It’s time to think about putting in a patio or a front walkway at our house. Do you still have those left over blocks/stones? Can you email me pictures and name your price? Nancy has my email address. (ps to Jeff Borden – that cracked me up!)

  65. del said on March 6, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Yes Jeff B, my thoughts too.

  66. Kirk said on March 6, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Dorothy,
    My apologies for not getting that done. My wife had some notion about making use of those, but I think it has passed. I will clear that up this weekend and proceed accordingly.

    Borden,
    I’ve known you a long time, but I never thought that.

  67. Dorothy said on March 6, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Kirk I’m okay with it if she still wants to use them. No biggie.

  68. LA Mary said on March 6, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    After some of the comments above, I’m thinking Dorothy and Kirk are talking in code about a drug deal.

  69. Danny said on March 6, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    The “Nall” connection!

    I knew it…

    Good work, Mary.

  70. LA Mary said on March 6, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Book’em Danno.

  71. basset said on March 7, 2009 at 8:59 am

    back to the pads for a minute…

    how about some absorbent cloth devices both genders can use:

    http://living.wallypop.net/wipes.html

  72. LA Mary said on March 7, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I was a cloth diaper mom all the way, but the wipes seem a bit much. A lot much.