Conflicting reports.

I didn’t learn of Natasha Richardson’s skiing accident until late yesterday, which I think is healthy — not the accident, but the fact the news was out in the world for hours before I looked up and saw it. (I was listening to Gretchen Morgenson on “Fresh Air.” Stream here, for the brave. The show’s about AIG, and warning: May cause head injuries from smashing one’s head against the desk. Short version: The bonuses are the least of it.)

Anyway, back to the unfortunate actress. I’ve written before at how the digital gossip network, or “press,” for a better word, is a true throwback to an earlier time in journalism. I’m amused by how they mimic the most breathless prose of the old tabloids — “we can now exclusively reveal…,” “told this reporter in a runway chat at the Golden Globes…,” etc. Now it seems they have another claim to the grand press traditions of the olden days. Get it first, worry about accuracy later.

Scanning the reports via Wesmirch, in the space of 15 minutes I was led to believe we’d be seeing Ms. Richardson tread the boards again after a reasonable recovery interval, no she’s brain dead, no she’s not brain dead, yes she has swelling, no she’s in a medically induced coma, whoops she’s dead, no she’s not, etc.

Latest reports are that she’s brain dead, again, but by now, who would trust anyone? Here’s to leaving family tragedies to the families involved, and typing up a sedate death notice later, based on a press release.

Besides, if you’re reading the news for entertainment, the gossip pages can’t beat the police blotter. Nothing like a drug addict for laffs:

That December morning, acting on a tip that Keith (who is on probation), had been seen using heroin, the probation officer demanded that Keith report to a nearby drug-screening clinic in 20 minutes, prepared to pee in a cup.

Keith knew his own urine wouldn’t pass muster. To leave the clinic without handcuffs, he’d need to cadge some untainted pee from a friend. And of course he’d need a Whizzinator.

You have to laugh at people who can split hairs about the relative purity of a bag of dope, yet somehow believe that giving a urine sample through a dildo will fool a probation officer who deals with junkies all day. The Whizzinator ruse is predicated on the idea that cops are so mortified by the chore of monitoring urine drops that they will look away during the collection process and not see such a lame-ass gambit. Of course, some junkies make it so easy:

Sold on the Internet for about $300, the Original Whizzinator comes in five flesh tones. I tracked Keith down after several law enforcement sources told me he had made the critical mistake of using a Whizzinator designed for a somewhat darker-skinned individual.

A very funny story. Go read.

OK, then. How was your St. Patrick’s Day? Mine was lovely, in the sense that it didn’t snow, and I was able to get out and lift a single glass (work night) of Belgian lager in celebration. Yes, Belgian — our friend John C. was spinning Irish tunes (in the sense that “clicking the trackpad” now substitutes for turntables) at the Cadieux Cafe, our local Belgian bar. They were having corned beef and cabbage, but I opted for a Belgian Dip instead, and relearned the lesson I always manage to forget between trips to the Cadieux — nutmeg is a Belgian cook’s favorite spice. I’m not opposed to nutmeg per se, but believe it belongs in cookies and cakes, not mashed potatoes and roast-beef sandwiches.

Still, the Belgians do have a way with pomme frites, I must say. And while the traditional March 17 beer choice is Guinness, I opted for Stella Artois and go ahead, abuse me for it. I cannot stomach that dark stuff without bringing on the sort of biliousness and farting that prevails in, I’m guessing, the Limbaugh household. It’s not for mixed company.

Once again, another entry approaches the 700-word mark without having a direction, a point or much of anything else to recommend it, other than a Whizzinator. And to think I was looking at my site stats the other day and thinking 1,000 page views a day was a worthy goal to reach for this month. (It pretty routinely bumps around in the 950 range, and if there’s anything we’ve learned from the business community of late, it’s to always be striving.) Alas, it will have to wait for a day when I’m not rewriting memos. And so, with that lame excuse, I turn things over to you guys. You are the wind beneath my wings.

Posted at 10:39 am in Current events |

46 responses to “Conflicting reports.”

  1. Randy said on March 18, 2009 at 10:48 am


    Note for next year – have a Harp lager. Good stuff. Or a Kilkenny.

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Whoops – as i started to log out, i see the new day has begun . . . Gasman, a shout-out to you in the previous post comments, and a down payment on conversation (and a preliminary list for impeachments in the House & Senate).

    In our juvenile court offices we have a collection of Whizzinators and home-made simulacra, but not the full five flesh tone set. Give us time . . . as the only other male in an office of 14, i get called over to the front hall to stand in a doorway and “witness” urine tests for our fine young citizens. It is a pleasure to say to them as they start to turn and hand over their specimen jar “Say, do i really look that stupid?” before telling their diversion officer “we’ve got a swapper, and i don’t do searches, so good luck!”

    The usual response is (no, really, they say this), “my friend told me it worked when he got his job last month.” And the response from the diversion officer is usually “Oh? And where does this fine, helpful friend work?”

    The best part of St. Patrick’s Day is that i still have five more Guinnesses left for the rest of the week! Slainte . . .

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  3. nancy said on March 18, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I like the line about how you can hear the little heater-motor running.

    A guy I ran into at one of my high-school reunions said his no-fail strategy was urine from his 4-year-old nephew, in an IV bag strapped to his body to keep warm, the tube glued to the underside of his penis and the stopcock at the base, so one could release it easily, and no one observing from anywhere from below could see what was going on.

    I said, “Very impressive. Why not just stop smoking pot for a while?”

    No need to answer that one.

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  4. Sue said on March 18, 2009 at 11:08 am

    1. At the Town of Erin St. Patrick’s Day parade, biggest crowd ever. Record breaking temperatures and many unemployed people coming out to forget their troubles for awhile. Lots of extremely drunk people and the EMS and police crews were testy and vomit-encrusted by the end of the day. From what I hear green beer comes back up just as green, and stains uniforms permanently. And this being Wisconsin, where the physical tolerance for alcohol is phenomenal, being several times the legal limit does not put you into alcohol poisoning – either that or zombies had infiltrated several miles of County Highway K yesterday.
    2. Speaking of the hysterical entertainment press: sad to see the crowds around the poor octomom as she tried to get the first two kids home. Wonder how they found out about it – a leak? Because I’m sure octo wouldn’t put her babies in harm’s way by looking for publicity.

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  5. del said on March 18, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I spent St. Patrick’s evening in the corktown neighborhood of Detroit (by the old Tiger stadium). Went to the Gaelic League, L.J’s, Slow’s (for barbeque) and finally Nancy Whiskey’s.
    It’s telling, I think, that three 3 of my gainfully employed friends called during the day to play hookey. Did someone say party?
    That part of Detroit is looking awfully grim. At the Gaelic League I pointed to my old house on Wabash Street and the person to whom I was gesturing also pointed to the building behind the alley and said, “there’s where they found that dead guy frozen.” (A photo first viewed by me here on NN.c.) That area, near the old train station, has long been a skid row. Much addiction. I once hosted a party at house (in the late 80’s) and a guest peeked out over the back privacy fence into the alley and saw some guys smoking a crack pipe. He came back and quipped, “Look’s like the party’s out there.”

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  6. Connie said on March 18, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Nancy said “Why not stop smoking pot for a while?”

    Good question. My BFF’s just turned 18 yr old son is doing 60 days at the county jail for failing a drug test while on probation. Random testing was a condition of his original probation. How stupid do you have to be?

    At the same time my friend talks about the amount of court and police personnel, and counselors, and probation officers, who have been involved in her son’s case, and the amount of money the state appears to be spending, all because her kid had enough pot to roll two joints.

    So I have learned that you can probably go to your local sheriff’s web page and search by name for who is in jail, and see charges and the booking photo too. So now I know what all those police cars and ambulances were doing next door a few weeks ago. Neighbor boy, aged 23, charged with domestic violence, assault and battery, and interfering with a 911 call.

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  7. Sue said on March 18, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Nancy, do you get a new page view count if I have your site up and just hit “refresh”? Do page views benefit you somehow, the same as clicking on ads for buckets of revenue?

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  8. Gasman said on March 18, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Good on ya’ for drinking Stella Artois. It is one of my favorite beers. The Belgians know a thing or two about beer. Along with your pommes frites I would recommend moules à la gueuze, or mussels cooked in spontaneously fermented beer. Gueuze is indeed conceived miraculously. Kind of like a brut champagne. Also, thanks for enlightening me to the Whizzinator. Who knew? I may need to drink myself into a coma to get the image of a flatulent Limbaugh out of my brain. Thanks!

    As for the impeachment list, I hope that you are referring to the swine in the Senate from both parties that are beholden to AIG. If so, you get the rope, I’ll bring the tree.

    I’ll see your 5 Guinesses with 4 ‘o me own.

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  9. ROgirl said on March 18, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Apart from the whirring of the motor, the other thing that gave the Whizzie away wasn’t the color of the appendage itself, but the dark strap that held the whole contraption in place.

    Most jobs these days require a pee test. I applied for a job that had a hair follicle test, and it entailed going to a clinic and having a nurse cut a fairly big chunk of hair from the back of my head (from underneath so that it didn’t show).

    I’m not a big beer drinker, but Belgian beer ain’t half bad.

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  10. nancy said on March 18, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Sue, I don’t know and it’s not really very important. Google Analytics was crafted specifically to drive me insane, I think. A consistent 1,000 “visits” a day just seemed a benchmark.

    I should probably work on my “absolute uniques,” which rarely top 700 a day. But are enormously flattering, just the same. Who are you people, anyway?

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  11. Sue said on March 18, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Nancy, what’s an absolute unique? And ROGirl, I dislike the whole “how bad do you want this job” process, including the “handing over parts of your body” section AND the authorization you give them to look into your finances. The financial thing bothers me a lot.

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  12. LA Mary said on March 18, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Belgian pommes frites are the best, and Belgian chocolate (Leonidas especially) tops my list. For a country full of people who refuse to learn one more language to communicate with their compadres, they put out some fine things to eat.

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  13. Deborah said on March 18, 2009 at 11:58 am

    The flatulent Limbaugh household image made me ask my husband if Rush has any kids. Does he? I’m guessing not. How sad it would be to have to call him Dad.

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  14. john c said on March 18, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    I thought nothing of your drinking Stella, Nance. Just glad you were there.
    I was a good boy, and packed up my music stuff and headed for the door at about 10:30. So I’m not hungover. But a story in the paper about them – hangovers, I mean – put me in mind of one of my favorite Mike Royko columns. I’m not good at posting links. But if you google “Royko how to cure a hangover” it should come right up, in case anyone needs the advice.

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  15. del said on March 18, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Sue, employers looking into employee finances (and body parts) troubles me too. It reminds me that the legal encyclopedia heading for employment law matters is “Master and Servant.”

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  16. moe99 said on March 18, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    ooh, ooh, LAMary, I am such a fan of Leonidas chocolates! I spent a year as a graduate student in Brussels and I would treat myself to one praline when there was something to celebrate. I liked the white chocolate enrobing a mocha creme with some sort of nut on top. Just absolutely the best.

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  17. ROgirl said on March 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I’ve never had a potential employer look into my finances. That is kind of disturbing. But when times are tough, where do you draw that line?

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  18. beb said on March 18, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    “You are the wind beneath my wings.” — that would be the Guiness speaking.

    “I said, “Very impressive. Why not just stop smoking pot for a while?”” — probably the length of time to flush the pot chemicals out of the body is too long.

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  19. Kirk said on March 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    As a former pot guy who is a close personal friend told me, taking a couple of weeks off in anticipation of a blood test is worth the fresh buzz afforded by falling back off the wagon.

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  20. LA Mary said on March 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    moe, there’s a Leonidas shop in Pasadena. If you get here or I have to go back to Seattle or Renton for anything, you can get a fix of white chocolate.

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  21. LA Mary said on March 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    I don’t know if any of you subject yourselves to the The Real Housewives of New York City. If you do,you should read the weekly recap in Gawker.–the-horrors-of-home-design?skyline=true&s=x

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  22. coozledad said on March 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I never could understand how people manage to work stoned, but I guess it’s just a testament to variations in body chemistry. Virtually every time I smoked pot, the first order of business was to find someplace to hide and curl into the fetal position.
    Quitting cigarettes was much harder.

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  23. James said on March 18, 2009 at 3:04 pm


    Here’s my take on the whole AIG thing. I cranked out that strip after getting pissed off, reading about it in the Sunday NY Times…

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  24. brian stouder said on March 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Further to ‘conflicting reports’ – Pam and I have been following a story here in Fort Wayne about a woman found dead in her car, in the parking lot of a northwest side hotel – where she has been reposing (and decomposing) for the past week.

    Here’s an article that identified her – but has precious little else to say –

    so then Pam (who is really quite clever about such things) ran her name through Google, and came up with these warrants for her arrest – and it raised a question:

    Wanted For: Allen County Warrant # 09-02961

    Body Attachment

    Body attachment?


    Sounds like a zombie story, to me!

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  25. alex said on March 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Body attachment means that you’re subject to arrest if you fail to pay up on a judgment against you in small claims court. If I recall, the plaintiff has to expressly request it and the judge has discretion whether to grant it. Landlords typically request body attachment.

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  26. Hexdecimal said on March 18, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Body Attachment Law & Legal Definition

    A writ of body attachment is a process issued by the court directing the authorities to bring a person who has been found in civil contempt before the court. The process may also be called an order of commitment for civil contempt or a warrant for civil arrest.

    A writ of body attachment may be ordered, for example, when a witness fails to appear in response to a subpoena. It is often issued after a court-ordered fine or forfeiture has not been paid. Body attachments may be issued in contempt, civil, or criminal proceedings.


    Hex (just one of the many daily lurkers…)

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  27. brian stouder said on March 18, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Ahhh! The coercive cousin of habeus corpus; grab-the-corpus.

    Any day I learn something new is a good day…and I have lots (and lots) of those!

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  28. Jolene said on March 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Another new term for the week is “bill of attainder”. I’d heard it before, but couldn’t remember what it meant. Thanks to the discussion of taxing the AIG bonuses, I now know.

    Amazing how educational this financial crisis has been. I don’t know that I’ll ever be quizzed on what a credit-default swap is, but, if I am, I’m prepared.

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  29. jeff borden said on March 18, 2009 at 5:08 pm


    Rush Limbaugh is childless. He has been married three times, but has never brought a Lil’ Rush into this world. Given how often kids turn out to be very different from their parents, perhaps El Rushbo’s child would’ve been a leftwinger, eh?

    Anyhow, there apparently will never be a Rush Hudson Limbaugh IV.

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  30. Sue said on March 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Hex, you need to keep commenting just because of your outstanding name.

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  31. alex said on March 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Given how often kids turn out to be very different from their parents, perhaps El Rushbo’s child would’ve been a leftwinger, eh?

    Or a Dominican. If his consorts are postpubescent and female, anyhow.

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  32. jeff borden said on March 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Alex, you are a baaaaaaad man, lol.

    You know darned well that El Rushbo was only visiting the cigar-making factories in the Dominican. Those Viagra pills, written on someone else’s prescription, were clearly planted by a liberal customs official looking to embarass the favorite son of Cape Girardeau, Mo. Rush is a “great man,” according to no less a personage than Dick Cheney, who proclaimed him so on CNN last weekend. A great man would not be diddling hookers in Third World countries, Alex.

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  33. jeff borden said on March 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    IRONY IS DEAD, #76545357357464548405

    Actual headline at The Daily Beast:

    How Jon Stewart Became an Insufferable Prig by Tucker Carlson

    Mother of God, the ultimate in smug priggishness is casting aspersions on the man who bitched-slapped him silly four long years ago on “Crossfire.” Like the elephant, Tucker Carlson never forgets!

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  34. Kirk said on March 18, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    CNN is reporting that Sen. Chris Dodd, bloated whore politician — and a Democrat — added the loophole language to the bailout bill that allowed the AIG bonuses, at the request of Obama’s Treasury Dept. Dodd received more money than even George W. Bush from AIG and its bosses over the past 20 years, and is the kind of pig who has been in government way too long.

    Add: Supposedly, administration feared lawsuits unless language preserving the bonuses was inserted. Dodd lied about it Tuesday.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Lawsuits? — so what? — ain’t that what we pay a Solicitor General to fight?

    Actually, much as i may not care for Dodd, i suspect that his defense will be, the upshot would have been, in my fantasy alternate reality where Dodd and Geithner and Holder say “g’wan, make my day, sue us for blocking your flippin’ bonus,” a final judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, hence a doubled payment by the Gov’mint to the swine (that would be the AIG swine, not Mr. Limbaugh).

    I’d really like to see Pres. Obama come up with a third way solution, like “Hey guys, here’s the fund to help the unemployed where you can cash out that bonus check, and we will give full credit and honor to anyone who exercises their legal right to draw their bonus check and then does the right thing with it.”

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  36. Gasman said on March 18, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    I read the bit about the administration fearing lawsuits, but it just doesn’t add up. If we are giving them money, we could have just as easily made them sign a release relinquishing their right to sue. Not only did there appear to be no strings attached, but Dodd’s actions appear to be designed solely to protect those poor victimized schlubs at AIG. I basically thought Dodd was better than this indicates. He’s got a bunch of ‘splainin’ to do.

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  37. Jolene said on March 18, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    I’m confused. Dodd was just on MSNBC saying that he’d put language into the bill (the TARP bill? the stimulus bill? Not sure.) that would have prevented this problem, but it was taken out. He was vague about who took it out.

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  38. Jolene said on March 18, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    OK, I did a little googling and figured out Dodd’s role. It sounds, though, more like he is taking the fall for the administration than like he is the villain himself.

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  39. Linda said on March 18, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    “I basically thought Dodd was better than this indicates. He’s got a bunch of ’splainin’ to do.”

    Dodd has been carrying water for the insurance industry (many HQ’d in his state) for years, and has been a good friend of the financial industry, including hedge funds, for a long time:

    So this is not really all that out of character. Remember, lots of the Wall Street bankers have their families and homes in CT.

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  40. del said on March 18, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Jolene, another legal term of interest in the AIG matter is the Contracts Clause of the Constitution. It basically prevents Congress from passing laws retroactively impairing a private party’s existing contract rights.

    Jeff Borden, agreed about kids differing from their folks in political matters. In 2000 the singer Patti Smith appeared on CNN advocating on behalf of Ralph Nader and at about that time her son Jackson was working the counter at my St. Clair Shores coffee house haunt. He was a fan of . . . drum roll . . . Rush Limbaugh.

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  41. Gasman said on March 18, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Natasha Richardson died from her injuries. For what it’s worth, some of the bloggers appeared to have gotten it right. She was injured far more severely than was publicly known. I don’t like it when people younger than I am die from a seemingly unimportant fall. I feel for her kids.

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  42. basset said on March 18, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    No disrespect to the dead, but I have to say I’d never heard of Natasha Richardson until I saw her death notice on just now. Reminded me of another looked-OK-but-really-wasn’t head-injury death… race driver Mark Donohue, who crashed a Formula 1 car in Austria, was up walking and talking soon afterward, then collapsed the next day and died on the way to the hospital.

    About kids and their parents’ politics… I voted for Frank McCloskey and Barack Obama, my dad voted for John Myers (repeatedly) and Curtis LeMay. My son called me election night all proud because he and his buddies made so much noise celebrating Obama’s win that they got thrown out of the hotel meeting room they’d rented to watch the returns…

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  43. Dexter said on March 18, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    basset: Never heard of her except I knew she was Vanessa Redgrave’s daughter. So she was revered on both sides of The Atlantic for stage roles, I see… too bad for me, I live too far from New York to see many Broadway plays, as I have only seen one my entire sheltered life. ( San Francisco and Chicago playhouses don’t count if you are a Redgrave.)

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  44. jcburns said on March 18, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Natasha Richardson was particularly amazing in The Handmaid’s Tale. Her death seems like another sad chord in a song that seems to be playing faintly across the countryside.

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  45. Danny said on March 19, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Umm, JC, you obviously haven’t been reading enough Mad Magazine of late.

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  46. John Dietrich said on March 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I would like to know why Rush Limbaugh is childless. Is it not the mark of a man to have a wife and kids?( according to most of his Neanderthal followers)
    Maybe there is more here than meets the eye. Three wives. Three divorces. Tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars, and no children. Has anyone ever asked him?
    Is he a dud? Is he too selfish to want kids? Were the wives just to be “seen with”, if ya get my drift?
    I can’t think of any man worth his salt who would not want to have his own kids, if he had that kind of money.
    Kids are fun, funny, infuriating, and adorable. They are also the future.
    Hey, Rush. What’s your excuse? Don’t bother asking his ex-wives. They were paid off plenty to not talk about Tubby. Well, el Rushbo? I’m guessing Dudsville, USA.

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