On wheels.

I have a new plan for retirement: To live somewhere I can ride my bicycle 365 days a year (366 in leap years). I know this boils down to “a place that is unpleasantly hot for a large chunk of that time,” so the plan needs work. But few things make me happier, I realized yesterday, than saddling up for a quick trip to the butcher three blocks away. If only we hadn’t engineered modern life to do away with much of its moderate exercise; maybe the murder rate would be lower.

Detroit is a town that, like Los Angeles, was built to accommodate the automobile, and friends, it ain’t aging well. Every few months I feel the need to say this again, but it bears repeating: This is one ugly town. Not just the decimated city, but also its suburbs, and it’s at times like this I’m ever so glad we chose the Pointes, because it was platted before walking was seen as a sign of weakness, and at least we have the lake. There’s nothing like rolling out one of the big through avenues like Gratiot, six lanes or so, flowing fast and free because it’s at maybe 50 percent of its carrying capacity even at rush hour, while one ugly storefront after another goes past. How does anyone make a living in vacuum-cleaner repair, you wonder, when just finding your store means you have to buck traffic and hunt out a five-digit address that may or may not be on the building? You can almost mark the point, as you drive out from the core, when the idea of the strip mall took hold — a little more setback in return for easier parking out front, six little shops replaced by three larger anchors, if you can call a chain video store an anchor, plus the inevitable Lee Nails. (When was it decreed that all nail shops be run by Asians? How do these ethnic connections to market sectors get made? Is it the same group that says, “OK, Chaldeans — you got the party stores. Jews? Jewelry for you. Macedonians? I hope you like restaurants.” And so on.)

Urban planners point out the inevitable a lot (perhaps to disguise how often “planning” doesn’t got as, um, planned), and say the trend toward dense urban centers is real and has legs, and the sooner individual municipalities start accommodating it, the better. Walkable, bikeable, parking-out-of-sight — this is the future. Turns out people want to rub elbows with their fellow man, after all, preferably in a farmer’s market. We’ll see. But I sure like my bicycle. In about an hour I’m going out to make my cop-shop rounds on it — it’ll be two hours of mostly riding, covering 12 miles or so, work/workout all in one. This is living.

(It helps that people don’t expect reporters to be much more than sweaty and unpleasant.)

So how was your weekend? Mine was fine. We got the boat in the water on Saturday with no arguments or even much yelling, showing that it only takes a few years of practice to get the our routine down, plus the help of a couple of able souls at the marina. The lake is a foot higher this year, a happy turn of events that’s been in the news quite a bit of late. A new study by the International Joint Commission (a group virtually unknown outside the Great Lakes) says the drastically lower levels of recent years are a natural phenomenon, caused in part by ice jams that scoured the St. Clair River bottom — nature’s dredge, in other words. An interesting theory, but at this point all I care about it how nice it is to have a little more water out there.

And so boating season begins. At least four, effectively five, and as many as six months of sailing lies ahead. In other words, as much winter as I just bitched about. Life really is binary.

Bloggage? Not much, buth this:

One of Justice David Souter’s clerks reveals the man you don’t know in Slate, a man who would rather read by the last two foot-candles of winter light than turn on a lamp. Now I feel bad for having made fun of him:

Why would a man who can understand Grokster read by the window rather than turn on a light? Souter has a characteristic New England thriftiness and a distrust of luxury that verges on the spartan. He can keep a suit for decades, and he gently mocked me and my fellow clerks for wearing overcoats in the winter, claiming that his view was shared by that other great Yankee justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes. Souter is also deeply unpretentious. It would never occur to him that because he is a Supreme Court justice he’s entitled to waste a bit of the taxpayers’ electricity. (He once wrote me a note on a napkin I’d left on my desk rather than using a new sheet of paper.)

Souter’s current position on the left wing of the court owes much more to movement by the court and the country than to any lurch on his part. The current court, after all, has seven Republican appointees and has been on a steady rightward drift since the Reagan years. The Republican Party has, too. I think Souter is indeed in many ways a Republican; it’s just that his sort of Republican no longer really exists.

Remember those? I do. I miss ’em.

OK, off to edit my syllabus and fire up the NewsCycle. Have a great week, all.

ADDED: Because Brian brought it up last week — either here or in an e-mail, I don’t recall — an interview with Lenore Skenazy, who advocates off-leash child-rearing. Interesting.

Posted at 10:07 am in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

91 responses to “On wheels.”

  1. jeff borden said on May 4, 2009 at 10:26 am


    You and your readers might enjoy checking out Walkscore.com, which will tell you where your neighborhood stands on a scale of 1 to 100. My ‘hood, Lincoln Square in Chicago, is rated at 94 and called a “walker’s paradise.” In contrast, my father’s old house in an older suburb of Cleveland tallied a score of 49 and was ranked as “car dependent,” despite its proximity to numerous parks and small lakes.

    I broke out my bike a few weeks ago for a ride to Wrigley Field, more for convenience than pleasure because it was wicked cold. But now that things are warming up, I’m starting each day with a light breakfast and an hour ride up and down the fabulous lakefront. It’s incredibly energizing. It’s also fun to whiz down the bike path while all the southbound traffic on Lake Shore Drive is moving at glacial speed.

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  2. MitchAlbomFan said on May 4, 2009 at 10:29 am

    “Now I feel bad for having made fun of him”

    Well, you also mocked Christopher Buckley based on his parentage, without the six seconds of research it would have taken you to discover he was/is an Obama supporter.

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  3. nancy said on May 4, 2009 at 10:33 am

    No, Dwight, I am mocking you, now: You’re a fucking moron. How anyone could read what I wrote about Chris Buckley and come to that conclusion should pay closer attention.

    (Is it possible, I wonder, that Dwight is allied with the Mediawatch idiots in Fort Wayne? I have rarely seen such obtuseness in basic reading skills.)

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  4. Randy said on May 4, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Nancy, I hear you on the pleasures of cycling for leisure and for utility. When my employer relocated me to the downtown campus five years ago, I decided to try cycling to work in the warmer months. At first it was purely a practical decision, but soon it became one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

    I’ve been lucky to be on a route with slightly wider lanes and relatively low traffic density. But I have enough miles under my belt to feel safe on nearly every street in our city. Last Friday I cycled from work to the downtown library, then to a wine store west of downtown, then to a bar further west for a quick beer with friends, then straight south to home, about nine miles total. I was not much slower than a car commuter, and I had a much easier time finding (free) parking. And I felt great when I arrived home.

    This morning’s commute: sunny, about 48 degrees Fahrenheit, and a crisp tailwind. In other words, a perfect ride.

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  5. Gasman said on May 4, 2009 at 10:37 am

    If it’s good bike riding you’re looking for, New Mexico should be high on your list. The Northern part won’t give you year round riding, but you’d get probably an additional 3 months. If you like skiing, those few weeks that you just can’t ride, you can be on the slopes. Here in Los Alamos I can go from my door to being on the slopes in less than 30 minutes. About the same goes for those in Santa Fe and Albuquerque as well.

    The climate and terrain is such that the pro cycling teams come down here to train in January and February. Lance Armstrong and two of his teammates just raced in the Tour of the Gila in Silver City. For the record, Armstrong’s teammate Levi Leipheimer won and Lance got second.

    The only problem is that the best riding often involves Tour de France caliber climbs. And, our altitude is higher than most of the European climbs. ABQ is a little lower and flatter, but it is beginning to feel more like a big city, albeit on the smaller end of the scale.

    Los Alamos is unusual, I will admit, but we have just about the lowest crime rate in the country and the highest median income. However, the Rio Grande will definitely not float your boat. There is Elephant Butte lake down south, but it would have to live down there and it is about a 4 hour drive. It is also so incredibly lame for boating and you compete with everyone in NM that wants to boat in the desert.

    Don’t cross us off your list just yet.

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  6. Gasman said on May 4, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Just read Dwight’s post; had to comment. Dwight relies on that threadbare conservative standby, the red herring. Not matter what comments you might have made about Buckley, Dwight will ignore them and characterize what you said according to the argument he wants to make. When I read what he wrote about your Buckley comments I scratched my head and then I remembered that it is Dwight we’re talking about.

    He regularly does the same with nearly anything that I write. It is amazing the things his feverish brain concocts.

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  7. brian stouder said on May 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Well, I gotta say, I’m still chuckling over Nance’s slap-down of Dwight; made the morning!

    Skenazy is of course right, but this morning there’s this –


    (which I post, despite thinking that the parents are somehow, some way ‘in’ on this – whether they angered the wrong person or whatever…or maybe I’ve been watching too much Coen brothers lately!)

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  8. Michael said on May 4, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Love the Skenazy link, and think it was in these very pages, a year or more ago that there was a link to statistical research defining the ever shortening radius of unsupervised wandering by children over the last 5 decades. While crime against children remained relatively constant over time.

    The interview was fascinating and got better the deeper it went, is that a sign of good journalism?

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  9. nancy said on May 4, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Brian, the missing-kid story has much to suggest major parental involvement, including this: Threatening young children is a hallmark of the Mexican drug-gang violence we’ve been discussing here off and on. Given that the gangs are now pushing well past the border, this sort of behavior is turning up regularly in Arizona and southern California, and yeah, this sounds pretty fishy. Not long ago, the NYT had a story on a gunman who broke into a house and put his pistol into the mouth of a three-month-old infant in front of the parents to make his point.

    Of course, I could be wrong. As Dwight will be happy to echo!

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  10. LA Mary said on May 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Denver is a good bike town, snowy winters notwithstanding. The snow melts quickly, and you can get 60 degree days in February. The city of Denver is pretty flat, and there are neighborhoods that have bikable shopping and errand destinations.
    My little corner of LA is not sprawly. From my house it’s an easy bike trip to Trader Joe’s, the post office, the bank, the dry cleaner. Eagle Rock, a neighborhood getting more interesting by the day, has all those attributes as well as good restaurants, both old and ethnic and new and hip. Not all of LA was built in 1959 or later.

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  11. jeff borden said on May 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Poor Dwight.

    A shriveled, sour yet silly soul, incapable of accepting the reality of his own insignificance within the withering husk of an even more insignificant political movement. The world has changed, but Dwight cannot cope. He’s one of the yesterday people, poor fellow, and he’s never going to catch up.

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  12. moe99 said on May 4, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Seattle is bike heaven. You can bike almost year round if you don’t mind the rain (ignore our record snowfalls of last winter, I’m hoping they were an aberration). Coming up in July is the STP or Seattle to Portland ride. One of my friends from church (we call ourselves the caffinators because we meet at the local espresso house after service b/c Presbyterian coffee is not very good) is married to one of the guys who started the STP lo, these many years ago, and she’s back training for it again. From what I understand it’s quite the event. You can stay with me when you decide to do it.

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 4, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Dang, i thought life was hexadecimal.

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  14. coozledad said on May 4, 2009 at 11:36 am

    We’ve had some people out to help work on fencing the property, and flattening some land that had been rowed and hilled for tobacco. 25 yards appears to be their cutoff point for walking: any farther, and they will walk 10 yards back to the truck, to pull it up where they’re working. If we decline a ride, They shake their heads at us.
    “Y’all sure like to walk.”
    I keep wanting to tell them it’s not so much that I like walking, but I would like for my heart to continue beating for another thirty years, and I like eating fatty starchy foods. If I warmed the seat on that truck as much as they do,I wouldn’t be able to eat anything but celery and radishes.
    I used to have a job where you drove all day and it was miserable. One of my uncles warned me that I would soon cease to have anything medical science would categorize as an asshole, and judging from the war stories the fellow mail carriers told, it was especially grisly returning to work after your second or third tuck.
    Plus, Miller, from Repo Man, is right, “The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.”

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  15. MichaelG said on May 4, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Davis, CA, about 10 miles down the road, is rated as the #1 bike friendly town in the country, for whatever those rankings are worth. Sacramento works well for biking too. It’s flat and there are plenty of side streets where one can ride parallel to main streets without being exposed to heavy traffic. Also even the main streets have bike lanes. It can get warm here in the summer. All right. Not “can get warm”. It will get warm. Probably even hot.

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  16. Joe Kobiela said on May 4, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Just passing thru, but with the Lake Going back up now being called a natural phenomenon, and Seattle having record snow, along with the late snows in the Dakota’s and the guy that started the weather channel testifying along with thousand of other meteorologist, that our weather is cyclical, can we finally agree that global warming is not a CRISIS. Yes we need to be good stewards of the land but for heavens sakes it was getting a little out of control.
    Ya’ll probably didn’t see it cause it was on Fox’s, but if the Cap and Trade goes thru, uncle Al Gore stands to make Mega bucks. He is playing us all for fools.
    Pilot Joe

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  17. Jim said on May 4, 2009 at 11:58 am

    As long as your sweat glands are in working order, North Florida isn’t bad, and actually cold in the winter. I see a lot of cyclists around and tiny Tallahasse supports a couple of serious bike shops.

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  18. Peter said on May 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Re: David Souter: You miss those kinds of Republicans? So do I; I AM one of those kind of Republicans. Friends, it’s so lonely out here (how lonely is it?) that I hope Obama wins a second term because maybe (MAYBE) the GOP will get it. Or maybe not.

    Re: Urban planners and bicycles: Wrong. Take it from an architect, ubran planners want bike friendly cities SO bad they’ll look for any shred of affirmation. I hate them with a passion, but those McMansions aren’t going anywhere.

    Re: Dwight: Nancy, was that your inner Tottenberg coming out?

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  19. Hexdecimal said on May 4, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Re: Jeff TMMO – The correct phrase would be “Life is Hexdecimal”.

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  20. jeff borden said on May 4, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Pilot Joe,

    Pay no attention to the founder of The Weather Channel. John Coleman was a weather forecaster in Chicago and Good Morning America. He is neither a scientist nor a meteorologist, but a shrewd enough entrepreneur to see that everyone always talks about the weather. I’m not sure of the details, but he was aced out of any ownership or management position within TWC, which has left him an understandably bitter guy.

    My point is simply that Mr. Coleman is probably far less qualified to speak on global warming than you are given your training as a pilot. Mr. Coleman was a weather personality, period.

    Joe, we can talk all day about what is causing global warming, but to deny its existence is to deny reality. Whether it is man’s activities or a periodic adjustment by Mother Earth, the evidence is there for the naked eye, whether it is the virtually snowless peak of Mount Killamanjaro, or the collapsing glaciers at the North Pole.

    Regarding Al Gore, he’s already very, very, very wealthy. So, he’s going to manipulate cap and trade legislation to get richer? And he’ll do this how? Last time I looked, he was no longer an elected officials or even a lobbyist.

    Why I am not surprised that this brilliant reportage is, so far, limited to Fox News? And why do I suspect it will remain there? My God, between the hyperventilating over the bailout package and the loony talk about a global currency and what kinds of shoes Michelle Obama wears, do they ever find time to actually report news over there?

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  21. Sue said on May 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Are any of you suspicious of Mitch/Dwight? His voice keeps changing, sometimes very wordy (22 words for “dirty mexicans”, etc.) and sometimes short and stupid. I decided last week that Dwight is not legit, that he’s a fictional character, part of a paper called something like: “Trolls in our Midst: Oppositional Implantations in Internet Discourse and Subsequent Commentary Pathways”, being researched by some college students taking turns pissing people off on blogs. Here’s the scenario, minus of course a lot of profanity:

    Student 1 wanders into living room of apartment, past a Guinness poster, a poster of the backside of a plumber with the words “Say no to crack”, and the “college” poster of John Belushi from Animal House. Student 2 is on the floor typing. There is a thick layer of dust on everything except the most recent pizza box.
    Student 1: Breakfast?
    Student 2 pushes the pizza box toward Student 1.
    Student 2: Make us a nutrition shake, will you?
    Student 1 opens a can of Red Bull and one of Ensure and mixes them, divides them and hands Student 2 a glass.
    Student 1: Ok, let’s get to work. Who are you today, conservative or liberal?
    Student 2: It’s my turn to be conservative. I’m Dwight today.
    Student 1: Ooh, he’s a tool. I hate it when I have to be Dwight.
    Student 2: Yeah, but he’s an effective tool. His Response Rating is in the 200’s. But I’ve been thinking about the Response Rating. It needs to be tweaked.
    Student 1: Why?
    Student 2: Well, the formula might not be right. We set up the initial comment and then figure the rating by total number of reply words divided by number of commentors, subtracting the number of times the word “asshole” is used.
    Student 1: Yeah, “asshole” was skewing the numbers for sure.
    Student 2: We need to factor in one more thing, I think. Along with “asshole”, we need to add “Ted Kennedy”.
    Student 1: Wait, are you on…
    Student 2: Yeah, I’m on Nancy Nall.
    Student 1: OH COME ON! I thought we decided not to use that one! Those people can’t shut up. And they keep going off on weird tangents! No wonder Dwight’s Response Rating is so high! … Hey, I thought Dwight got kicked off of that one.
    Student 2: Well yeah but I keep bringing him back with different names. His essential “toolness” does not change.
    Student 1: Hell yeah.
    Student 2: So who are you today?
    Student 1: Jane.
    Student 2: The Hillary-Cougar?
    Student 1: No, that’s Sarah-Palin-Evil-Twin. Jane is the lesbian who tricked a man into getting her pregnant so she could hit him for child support while openly living with her partner.
    Student 2: One of our better creations.
    Student 1: Back to the Response Rating. Where’s our statistics guy?
    Student 2: Is that the guy asleep in the tub? I can’t tell, I just covered him with a blanket.
    Student 1: I hate group projects.

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  22. Gasman said on May 4, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    jeff borden,
    Joe and Dwight are two peas in a pod. Joe trots out the conservative trope of trying to imply that there is actual scientific debate surrounding global warming when there actually is not.

    You’ve seen the tactic on FauxNews; have one person on each side of the issue to illustrate the debate. The problem is, if they were going to represent the actual scientific consensus, they’d have about 99 scientists advocating man made global warming and a single scientist – bought and paid for by big oil – against it.

    They consistently use the same tactics in their advocacy of torture, their xenophobic immigration paranoia, gay marriage, etc., ad nauseam.

    If you recognize you argument is weak you simply change subject or misrepresent your opponent’s position, or stack the deck against all competing arguments by implying your position is more valid than it actually is. An intellectually weak and dishonest approach to debate that Joe and Dwight trot out with tiresome regularity.

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 4, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Oh, let’s just call him a seminar caller and leave it at that.

    Peter, i feel your pain.

    Hexdecimal, noted.

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  24. Hoosier said on May 4, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    moe99 forgot to mention all those ‘Alp-like’ hills in Seattle. The Seattle to Portland, the Ride around the Sound & the Ride around Rainier are for the physically fit, serious riders. However there are some relatively flat bike trails in the area.

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  25. John said on May 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Too funny Sue!

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  26. moe99 said on May 4, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Hey Hoosier–you’re right, I forgot about the hills. Living here for 28 years will do that to ya. But the Burke Gilman trail is pretty flat and the route around Lake Washington is too. The real ‘Alp-like’ hills are out in the distance–pretty for looking at on days like Saturday past.

    Oh, and the term global warming actually means chaos in weather patterns, so a place like Seattle, famed for its mild winters, can suffer a horrendous winter and it is part of the global warming pattern.

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  27. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Hills are character building. A few weeks of riding in a hilly environment and Nancy’s breath would no longer be rattling in her chest … she’d be in shape or dead. Gawd, that bike video you posted a while back was funny. Some of you were not so kind. Heheh.

    Nance, San Diego has a lot of character building hills. And for 365 riding, all I can say is, most of the triatheletes train here, not Seattle.

    You can work out with me and I’ll get to do most of the talking as I can be quite conversational even on hills {yawn, bicep flexing stretch}.

    You can stay with JC’s sister. And the server.

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  28. paddyo' said on May 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    re: Skenazy and “… a sign of good journalism?” Yes indeed, Michael, and there’s another sign that’s more than 20 years old:

    The Denver Post in 1986 won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service with an investigation that debunked the hysteria (which seems to re-arise about every generation, doesn’t it?) about abducted/missing children. It found that 90-some percent of cases were runaways or kids in custody fights, not snatched-by-strangers, the nightmare scenario that drives the hype …

    Speaking of Denver, I’ll second LA Mary’s endorsement of it as a very good bicycling town, with miles and miles of excellent paths along the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, and leading into the foothills for those in search of huff-and-puff climbs. The tourism slogan always touts it as The Mile High City, but an earlier, less-known title is geographically more descriptive, not to mention easier on bicyclists’ knees (especially mine):
    Queen City of the PLAINS

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  29. JRG said on May 4, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Re Seattle and hills: I lived in Seattle for several years during my misspent youth and had the same reaction that Hoosier did to moe99’s statement re Seattle being a good place to bike. I had a book called Bicycling the Backroads Around Puget Sound, which described possible rides and categorized them as to hilliness. Oddly enough, the authors’ understanding of hilliness didn’t comport w/ the understanding I’d acquired growing up in North Dakota.

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  30. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Hey, I’m happy to hedge my bets on that global warming exists and it’s origin possibly being man-made (though solar activity seems a stronger correlation). It’s good to conserve energy and pollute less. No problem here.

    The problem is with the adherents that use it for political and fiscal gain. Some politicians like keeping the planet in a constant state of triage that only the ever-loving embrace of their particular brand of “leadership” can assuage.

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  31. Dorothy said on May 4, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I think we all agree we are a family (of sorts) here, those of us who hang out at Nancy’s place, and Dwight/whoever he is today/MitchAlbomFan is the cross we all have to bear. The maiden aunt with the faint mustache who has to kiss you each time she sees you, and then lectures you on what a sorry-ass person you turned out to be.

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  32. Jolene said on May 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Whoops! I have both JRG (my real initials) and Jolene (my real name) in that little drop-down window, and sometimes I hit the wrong one. JRG = Jolene

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  33. nancy said on May 4, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    You can talk shit about Dwight all you want, but please be nice to Pilot Joe. He always waves when he passes over Lake St. Clair.

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  34. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Oddly enough, the authors’ understanding of hilliness didn’t comport w/ the understanding I’d acquired growing up in North Dakota.

    Ya, you can witness the curvature of the earth in North Dakota, n’est-ce pas?

    That reminds me of when I first learned to ski as an adult in the “mountains” of Southern California and then went to try my new skills in Park City, Utah. “Hey, why not do a black diamond here in Utah ‘cuz I was doing them all the time at Big Bear?” HA! I fell and slid down most of the hill, not being able to stop, regardless of what position I oriented my body or what extremity I tried to dig in with for braking.

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  35. moe99 said on May 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    An alarmist culture that we live in per Skenazy? I don’t dispute that at all–look at the swine flu pandemic fears these days. But you know who flogs these fears? Our media! It sells. Readership, viewership. And given the kinds of crises we have had in the past 8 years, it takes a fair ratcheting up of the fear factor to hook the public’s interest. So the media have to really flog it these days.

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  36. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Whoops! I have both JRG (my real initials) and Jolene (my real name) in that little drop-down window, and sometimes I hit the wrong one. JRG = Jolene

    Crap, we all liked this “JRG” person better than you, Jolene. Now, we feel duped!

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  37. jeff borden said on May 4, 2009 at 2:35 pm


    Unfortunately, you are quite correct. Scare stories sell and drive ratings. Last week on NBC Nightly News, I saw the most amazing thing: a doctor telling people to chill out about the swine flu. She was pictured riding the subway in NYC, ordering a BBQ pork sandwich from a vendor and a variety of other activities. None of these activities put her at any risk, she reported. Her recommendations were so very commonsensical. Wash your hands a lot. Sneeze into your elbow instead of your hands. Get plenty of rest. And if you do feel poorly, stay the hell at home.

    It was, hands down, the best report I’ve seen on dealing with the flu. BTW, please do not let our Mexican-hating compadre, El Dwighto, hear this, but Mexico is getting some very high marks for its handling of the swine flu situation. A government not exactly known for its efficiency did an excellent job in this case.

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  38. Jolene said on May 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Crap, we all liked this “JRG” person better than you, Jolene. Now, we feel duped!

    Sigh. I’ll try to measure up to JRG’s (and Danny’s) high standards.


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  39. John said on May 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    At first blush, I thought we had picked up another soul from the key North Dakota demographic. But I soon guessed (correctly), that JRG was our own Jolene.

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  40. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    John, “another soul” or “THE other soul.”

    Snort, comedy gold. I kill me.

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  41. LA Mary said on May 4, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    When I lived in Philadelphia I tried to use my bike as my main form of transportation. This ended when, on a cobblestone section of street, my front tire slipped neatly into an old trolley track. It was like hitting the front brake suddenly. Total over the handlebars faceplant. I’m lucky I only got a black eye and a lot of bruises.

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  42. Joe Kobiela said on May 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks Nance,
    I’m not mean spirited I just have a lot of questions.
    Yea I listen to Bill O, most nights when I fly, but I don’t agree with him 100% but at least he seems to let the opposition speak. May not agree with them but he lets them talk. Al Gore has invested in company’s that stand to make a huge profit out of Global warming. He came out of the presidential race worth around 2,000,000.00 and now his estimated worth is around 100,000,000.00 He is either making rich on this or maybe he got some good tips from Hillery on cattle futures. You might check out last Friday’s edition of O’Rielly for clarification, the report was in the last half hour.
    I bike, run, recycle,and mulch my yard I try to do the best I can not to pollute. Tonight I will fly into a dying sunset at 8,000ft and thank the good Lord for letting me do this. I want to hurt no one and want no one to hurt me. I will fight when I have to to protect my family and country. you can’t label me conservative or Liberal, if you don’t like me I will shed no tears, life is to short to worry about things I can not change. Tonight over Detroit I will wiggle my wings to Nancy.
    signing off,
    Pilot Joe

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  43. Jolene said on May 4, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    John, “another soul” or “THE other soul.”

    Hey now, there are many such souls. If you don’t believe me, check out the suburbs of Phoenix in February.

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  44. Gasman said on May 4, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I live in what is arguably the scientific capital of our nation. You don’t hear any debate hear about global warming being man made. Why? Because some of the scientists here at Los Alamos National Laboratory are some of the same ones that have helped quantify and prove that link.

    I disagree with your assessment that, “The problem is with the adherents that use it for political and fiscal gain.” Who has profited from this scientifically correct portrayal of global warming? What is the financial motive?

    It is laughable to see a financial motive by Al Gore but not by global warming deniers. Add up all of the cash being thrown around in financing ad campaigns and all other forms of propaganda. I would argue that the real money being thrown around has been by the other side. Big oil, natural gas, and coal are spending millions of dollars trying to make everybody believe that Al Gore invented global warming.

    Danny & Joe,
    If in your view a financial motive discounts the credibility of an argument, why are not the man-made global warming deniers even more suspect? Are they not heavily financed by big oil, natural gas, and coal industries? Why would those whoring for big energy be more pure of heart when promulgating their fictional message based wholly upon their financial self interest? It is too convenient to overlook data which does not support your claims.

    I don’t think that either of you have made your point very convincingly.

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  45. Scout said on May 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I’d like to point out that being right about something and also being a wealthy person do not have to be mutually exclusive. Al Gore has devoted his life to the issue of climate change. Funny how the right piles on when a liberal is perceived to have a vested interest, but is strangely silent when Exxon Mobil pays off 1% of scientists to deny the reality that the other 99% have proven.

    Oh and here’s me piling on – Dwight, you’re an asshat and an embarrassment to yourself AND Mitch Albon.

    on edit – I see that Gasman has made the point I was trying to in a more complete and concise way, but I’ll let my comment stand.

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  46. Jolene said on May 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Joe: I have to disagree about O’Reilly letting people he disagrees with talk. I don’t watch his show regularly, but I’ve watched it enough to wonder why such people agree to go on. They seem to mainly be there so that O’Reilly can interrupt them and yell at them.

    I’m not Al Gore’s accountant, but I think a lot of his wealth came from investments in Google, venture capitalism, and the like. I don’t think he’s opposed to making money. He’s just opposed to crapping up the planet.

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  47. mark said on May 4, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Fly safe, Joe.

    Thomas Kuhn wrote a book a few decades ago called “Theories of Scientific Revolution”.
    One of the points made was that a discipline becomes a science when those practicing in the field have agreed upon first principles which must no longer be proven, but are accepted as a point from which less agreed upon matters may be debated.

    That water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen is a simple example. The First Law of Thermodynamics is a more meaningful one. These things are the beginning of instruction for aspiring scientists and the required stuff the rest of us get exposed to.

    Kuhn did not suggest that an area of study becomes a science when its adherents shout loudly “There is no debate” as an excuse for avoiding debate.

    So for all of you in the “There is no debate, only attacks on those who dare to question” crowd, what we be some of the agreed upon first principles of man influenced global warming?

    Earlier, moe wrote: “the term global warming actually means chaos in weather patterns…” Is that universally understood to be true by those learned in the field?

    Danny raises the pertinent point. The truth of thr crises, and it’s magnitude, will be used to legislate behavior, just as the truth of second-hand smoke science is being used to justify greater restrictions on smoking.

    So if all thinking people understand the truth concerning global warming, what are a few of the accepted principles that we all understand? That should be very easy to answer.

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  48. moe99 said on May 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    From wikipedia (because it was the quickest route):

    “Some effects on both the natural environment and human life are, at least in part, already being attributed to global warming. A 2001 report by the IPCC suggests that glacier retreat, ice shelf disruption such as that of the Larsen Ice Shelf, sea level rise, changes in rainfall patterns, and increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events are attributable in part to global warming.[63] Other expected effects include water scarcity in some regions and increased precipitation in others, changes in mountain snowpack, and adverse health effects from warmer temperatures.[64]”


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  49. mark said on May 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Then I guess I would welcome some chaos in my sex life.

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  50. LA Mary said on May 4, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Citing a snowy winter in Seattle as proof that global warming does not exist reminds of something my neighbor said once during a downpour. We had four years of drought, and when it finally rained, he said, “well I guess the water company is going to have to take back those car washing restrictions.”
    One rainstorm doesn’t end a drought, one cold winter does not disprove global warming. The climate is changing. Climate and weather are not the same thing.

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  51. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    So if all thinking people understand the truth concerning global warming, what are a few of the accepted principles that we all understand? That should be very easy to answer.

    Ummm… “Four legs good, two legs bad!” Sorry, free-association-Monday is my excuse.

    Gasman, Big Oil definitely has a stake in this as they are clandestinely funding some of the so-called “skeptics.” But that is not the whole story with the skeptics as I think there are some of them who are genuine and untethered to dubious “research funding” sources. And climatology is a sufficiently young and complex field that it is still difficult to say what is going on and why.

    Wherever this settles out, the scientific debate is currently being subsumed by the political debate and the issue has become a political football of global proportions. And there are vested interests on both sides as the extent to which any political interest is winning in the court of public opinion tends to enhance their ability to stay in power, garner financial support and direct redistribution of wealth. Unfortunately, it is this political aspect that pumps up the rhetoric to a point where it has become anathema for an actual scientist to disagree with the common wisdom.

    We’ve all heard the term “global-warming denier” used in recent years, this, of course, being an allusion to the term “holocaust-denier.” Quite provocative language for something that should be a scientific debate.

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  52. moe99 said on May 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Danny: Could you please provide names and CVs of genuine skeptics of the global warming phenomenon? It would be nice to get some facts on the ground here, so to speak.

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  53. jeff borden said on May 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Mark Twain:
    “Climate is what we expect. Weather is what we get.”

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  54. Joe Kobiela said on May 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Try going to neindianaweatherblog.blogspot.com. Greg is a meteorologist in Fort Wayne. his last post is on Global warming.
    Just because some one disagrees with you doesn’t make them a bad person.
    Time to aviate.
    Pilot Joe

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  55. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Sure , Moe. I’ll get right on that so that you can then Google some left-leaning website that accuses said skeptical scientist of being a total wanker or some such thing and then you could presumably go back to feeling “okay” about yourself again … All the while ignoring the quite reasonable and moderate statements I have made concerning this issue.

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  56. Gasman said on May 4, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    If you scan my post carefully, you will note that I did not invoke the specter of the holocaust at all. In accusing me of that charge you expose your rather profound ignorance of the subject and my familiarity with it. On both counts, what you did was extremely stupid.

    Are you implying that because the term “holocaust denier” is common, all use of the word “denier” is forever linked to the holocaust? To do so is to cheapen the impact of the Shoah and the millions who died in it. That is something that I did not do, that is something that I will not do.

    The holocaust is a very serious subject for me. Much of my professional and academic existence has been devoted to honoring the experiences and memories of those who perished at the hands of the Nazis. I take great offense at the merest suggestion that I am in any way trying to diminish its seriousness by linking it to any other issue.

    I am especially concerned with the experience of the children who were victims of the concentration camps. My dissertation at the University of North Texas was exclusively on that subject, a chamber orchestra & choir work based upon the poems, prose and artwork of the children in the Terezin concentration camp. I also wrote a solo guitar work based upon the same subject that was commissioned by the Professional Music Teachers of New Mexico and premiered in 2006 at the University of New Mexico. I am currently writing a string quartet which will incorporate much of the same children’s artwork, poetry, and prose. That was commissioned as a faculty grant by the University of New Mexico – Los Alamos. Does this sound like someone who would mock the holocaust as you suggest?

    I have toured the camps. I have met with the survivors. I have lived with their stories and I take them all very seriously.

    Don’t carelessly hurl such serious allegations around. You have no idea of which you speak. I have devoted more than a decade of my life to trying to make sure that we do not forget or minimize the holocaust. In your thoughtless, base, and hurtful accusation toward me, you cheapen the solemnity of the Shoah.

    Damn you and go to hell. Try and be less of an asshole when confronting those who don’t agree with you. This cheap shot backfired in a very big way.

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  57. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Umm, Gasman, what are you talking about? Please scan my post carefully. A little reading comprehension on your part is required. I wasn’t saying that you EVER used that term or even think about it in those terms. I was saying that the term has made it into popular parlance and that it is used as a regular pejorative by those making political hay.

    Furthermore, I was agreeing with your initial assessment of the argument not being convincing. Hence my inclusion of Big Oil’s monetary involvement.

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  58. Dexter said on May 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm


    I nominate the Inverness area of Florida for 12 month cycling…also Bonita Springs. Beware of Florida armadillos in state parks like Myakka River…I damn-nearly hit several armadillos there .

    Seattle and Davis always lead the pack in cycle-city voting, Madison and Chicago, too…but we want hot weather , not Madison winters.

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  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 4, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Gasman, sorry, but using the term “global warming denier,” which is exactly what you said, can be fairly said to push some buttons. Saying “damn you and go to hell” only is trying to avoid accountability for using a loaded term, which is all Danny called you on.

    Said a charter member of http://350.org, but someone who out of respect for the Shoah does not use the term “denier” for even the most mendacious of oil industry apologists. Your rant doesn’t even try to justify why that’s a useful, let alone helpful label. Take a deep breath and let it go.

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  60. Dexter said on May 4, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    but…it’s summer (almost)—-some summer cycling delights:


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  61. Dexter said on May 4, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Anybody else have a huge banner promoting Ann Coulter at the top of the Comments section?

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  62. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Wow, I stand corrected after I saw what Jeff posted. Honestly, I was not referring to Gasman’s reference to “global-warming denier.” I had scanned his post and missed that completely.

    Gas, I was not insinuating that you felt that way. In fact, I did not see that term in your post. I was using it as an argument to detail how politically charged the whole debate has gotten with the actual science taking a back seat.

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  63. Kirk said on May 4, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Yes, that lying, cretinous hag is staring at me, too.

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  64. LA Mary said on May 4, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I’m so old I read denier as Dehn-yer, as in the measurment of sheerness of hosiery. I was wondering what the heck they were talking about. I come from another time in some ways.

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  65. Gasman said on May 4, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Danny & Jeff (tmmo),
    The word denier is not exclusively used in the manner you imply. Jeff, it was Danny, not I that trotted out the loaded term. I would never demean the holocaust by trivializing its use. My vocabulary does contain the word “denier” independent of all references to the holocaust. It was a word. Period. Talk about political correctness. What other words may I not use? An itemized list would be most helpful.

    Danny, you leveled a cheap shot at me and you know it. You don’t debate, you seek to wound people with your words. You ignorantly toss out ad hominem and slurs without regard as to whom you are attacking. You’ve overstepped the bounds of decency and you are not even man enough to admit it.

    You know, the tiresome little prick act grows old very quickly. I think that I am within the bounds of modesty to refer to myself as a holocaust scholar. I’ve devoted more than a decade of my life to that cause. For you to trot out that charge is simply offensive. That is a new gutter sniping low, even by your already abysmal standards.

    That sort of tactic, however, appears to be the only arrow in your rhetorical quiver.

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  66. jeff borden said on May 4, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Wow, I must be lucky. No such portrait of Bony Maroni confronts me when I visit.

    Does anyone pay any attention at all to Ann Coulter these days? And, if so, why?

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  67. MichaelG said on May 4, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Terrific job on Dwight, Sue. You made me laugh.

    Dexter, you’re welcome to try Inverness, CA for biking, although what they advertise is mountain biking. Inverness is in West Marin. Marin is a real hotbed of mountain biking. If you want hot, Sacto and Davis in the summer will fill the bill. Danny is right that San Diego is a wonderful town.

    All the “yeah, buts” and “whoevers” aside, the whys and wherefores aside, global warming is real and it’s coming to your house. We’re not talking about radical rises in temps. A couple of three or four degrees will wreak havoc on ice caps and climates. Animals and plants will migrate toward the poles. I’d advise speculators to buy some of that great new wine country coming up in Washington and B.C. Some coastlines will get wet. Changing ocean temps likely will seriously affect the gulf stream. London’s weather will resemble Moscow’s. Sell your Northern European resort properties to finance your Washington vineyards.

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  68. nancy said on May 4, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    What I find amusing is that I start the day saying, “I like to ride my bike,” and we end it fighting over global warming. I’m just the opening act at this joint these days.

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  69. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Gasman, you are funny. I mean, I seriously did not see that you had used that term. I explained that. Frankly, I often just scan your posts because I count the moments of life as too precious to waste on your frequent flights of acrimonious rhetorical fancy. I’m too busy for that.

    Now it seems you are upset because I inadvertently hit close to home, having blessedly missed that little nugget of incendiary verbage in your post.

    Hey, just because the proverbial shoe fits, don’t be mad at me for being right.

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  70. Danny said on May 4, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Hey, Nance, I tried to stay on topic by inviting you to personal training sessions with moi and inviting you to stay with someone else here in San Diego!

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  71. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 4, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    With all due respect to Gasman, we clearly should not speak of gl*%4! w4rm!%g because it apparently algorithmically evokes the ad banner of (gulp) She Who Must Not Be Named.

    No, really, don’t feed that troll.

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  72. LA Mary said on May 4, 2009 at 6:51 pm


    Off topic.

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  73. jeff borden said on May 4, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    LA Mary,

    But worth the read. Sheeeesh, we need some fresh blood in the punditry corps.

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  74. basset said on May 4, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I live about two miles from the Natchez Trace, a very long, very skinny national park along much the same lines as the Blue Ridge Parkway – a scenic road and a little land along each side. Very popular cycling route if you’re one of those hunched over and real serious spandex-pants types, but they are not always real tolerant of the rest of us; the next time I hear “outa the way, fatass!” they better not stop, that’s all I can say.

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  75. Jean S said on May 4, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    back to the opening act … Nance, you know you need to visit Portland. Yes, it’s raining right now–but that’s how we weed out the riffraff.

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  76. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 4, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Cleveland has a wonderful Towpath Trail from Canton to the Lake and back, and it only snows and sleets and freezing rains and thunder hails for six, maybe seven months of the year. Of course, there’s cold fronts and severe flooding those other five, but the autumn at Blackwater Falls is beautiful . . . as long as it doesn’t start snowing too soon in October.

    But the cycling is really good.

    If you want to go south, here in Licking County, Ohio we’ve got a wonderful rails to trails system that goes thirty miles east to west and soon will run south almost ten to US 40. Winter is five months here, tops.

    You wanted nine, ten months of spring and summer, didn’t you? Ah, try Arkansas. And i second the Natchez Trace, although i’ve never actually been there — it’s on my list, and NPS friends speak highly of it (Nevada Barr wrote a couple fun mysteries based on it).

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  77. coozledad said on May 4, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    LA Mary: Sheesh,the coffee achiever lifestyle finally caught up with old Bowie…Sorry. That’s the grizzled look of three packs of Winstons daily and more cocktails than weenies on the Richard Cohen cavalcade.

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  78. brian stouder said on May 4, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Basset – my lovely wife and I went to Nashville for our honeymoon, many moons ago, and I talked her into motoring down the Natchez Trace parkway, so as to visit the Shiloh battlefield.

    It was a very lovely drive, but when you get to Shiloh, you are exactly nowhere; a very well preserved and beautiful spot, on the banks of the Tennessee River; one can imagine the Indiana boys down there, pushed back to Pittsburg Landing and with their backs to the river, feeling about as far from home as a soldier in Iraq in 2009 might.

    Anyway, we spent the night at a small hotel in Corinth, Mississippi (from whence Albert Sydney Johnson came, when he sent his army crashing into US Grant’s), and the place was re-tarring their roof…the oppressive petroleum aroma from that was a mood dampener, even for newly-weds. But that jaunt is still a source for laughs down to the present day…

    PS – another marvelous parkway is the one that runs between Williamsburg and Yorktown; and when you get to Yorktown you get a beautiful view of the Chesapeake Bay

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  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 4, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Brian — i’ve been in three different archives on three different rabbit chases through the mysteries and wonders of the 19th century in America, and stumbled across letters from poor Lew Wallace, asking yet another officer who had been at Shiloh to defend his good name. Writing “Ben Hur” wasn’t enough to take the taste out of his mouth of blame and ashes . . . and even Grant on his deathbed could only offer half-hearted absolution, but a full throated affirmation of his stand at Monocacy.

    Wallace never stopped looking for vindication, to the end of his life, and i’ve read enough of his side of the story to want to go to Pittsburg Landing someday and ride down the backroads myself, as Wallace must have hundreds and thousands of times in his memory.

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  80. beb said on May 4, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    You know, I thought Nancy was talking about living someplace where she could ride her bike to do shopping year-round, not necessarily a place with great trails for biking.

    I visited a friend in Toronto many years ago. His house was like 3 feet from his neighbor on one side and 8 feet on the other. The wider distance was for a joint driveway for two houses to garages in back of the house. Two blocks down the street was a thoroughfare with lots of retail shopping — grocery stores, etc. It was an incredibly livable space.

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  81. brian stouder said on May 4, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Shiloh is beautiful, and very remote. One can only wonder at how well the rebs did in their 1st-day attack.

    One cannot help but admire Grant’s wheel-to-wheel convex gun line just before the bluffs (still there, near the present day NPS Vistor Center), and Don Carlos Buell’s timely arrival from across the river that night, so as to turn the tables on the rebs on the second day (what was Grant’s comment to Sherman after the horrendous First Day fight? – something like “Not beaten by a damned sight” and/or “We’ll lick ’em tomorrow”)

    But Prentiss’s doomed, grand and terrible stand during the worst of the Confederate attack on the first day – at a spot that became known as the ‘hornet’s nest’ – until he finally was cut-off and surrounded, and had to surrender…I never understood Grant’s antipathy for Prentiss. That guy – as much as US Grant, I think, ultimately saved the Union army’s bacon that day in south western Tennessee. And yet he gets the back of Grant’s hand in Grant’s memoirs, and history treats him rather badly, I think.

    Wallace – meh! A non-factor (for whatever reason) at the first day’s near-run fight at Shiloh. He turns up as a member of the panel of judges at the military tribunal that tried, convicted, and condemned to death the conspirators in the assassination of the president (a process that took all of 6 weeks, from beginning to bitter end!) – and one learns in American Brutus that Wallace spent a lot of his time at that proceeding (with ultimate success) lobbying JAG Holt for appointment to another military tribunal – this one being the one which tried the commandant of the CSA prison camp at Andersonville, Henry Wirz – who was also convicted and executed.

    A few years ago, when the young folks and I were coming back north from Mickey Mouse land, I prevailed upon them to stop at Andersonville, Georgia, and I’ve never been to a more heartbreaking National Cemetary and memorial site. They have a relatively new national museum there, dedicated to the American prisonsers of war from all our wars, and I’ll never forget how many men – older and younger – that I saw crying in that place.

    But you go to the actual town of Andersonville, and right in the center of the town, literally in the middle of Main street – is an obelisk and memorial to the “misunderstood” martyr, Henry Wirz! I got out of the car and stood staring at that thing for a long several moments

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  82. CrazyCatLady said on May 5, 2009 at 1:08 am

    We have lived in this house on the far east side of Detroit for over 20 years. This neighborhood at one time was walkable. There was a 7-11 and a Baskin Robbins within 4 blocks of our home. I took almost daily walks with my baby in her stroller. And there even was a cool bookstore too. Then, the name stores moved out and the bookstore was gone. I felt the hood changing and have felt less safe on the street to take walks anywhere around here. There have been break-ins here. Car thefts and roving groups of teenagers. My elderly neighbor next door was carjacked during broad daylight while I watched helplessly from my dining room. There are now,for the first time ever, boarded up homes on my block/street. I’m scared and my world seems to be shrinking. But I know we can’t go anywhere else. So we just muddle along and try to take care of ourselves. And be cautious.

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  83. Dexter said on May 5, 2009 at 1:27 am

    brian: I posted this about a year ago but it has come full-circle, I guess…Fort Wayne men as well as DeKalb County men fought at Shiloh under Buell, and my great , great uncle Joshua Eberly is the same man mentioned in this story; he died at Chickamauga, September 19, 1863, age 24 years.


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  84. Dexter said on May 5, 2009 at 1:29 am

    crazycatlady: Be safe.

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  85. Dexter said on May 5, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Blagojevich ruled the state from his home, refusing to govern from either his Chicago offices or Springfield. His staff had to force him to leave home for mandatory appearances.
    He was being urged by staff and loved ones to seek psychiatric help in the months before his fall. His brash narcissism was allegedly a cover up for helplessness and low self-esteem.
    This was a report I heard on WBBM Newsradio 780, Chicago…..

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  86. brian stouder said on May 5, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Dex – it always used to amaze me that you could go to any of the big ACW battlefields, and see large “Indiana” memorials on the Union side of the field. I once read a melancholy little book about an Indiana regiment raised out of the Indianapolis area, written by a non-professional historian, and you could see that the author really did do the homework of painstakingly going over the muster records and so on; as was generally true, the arc of the story was that the regiment went east, went into camp, drilled and drilled, and lost about half their numbers to sickness before they ever went into a battle.

    Another fine book is one about the son of the fellow who started Butler University (Ovid Butler’s son, whose first name escapes me); dad kept all the letters they exchanged, and it makes for fascinating reading. The kiddo ends up in the new Signal Corps and fights all through the west, including at Chickamauga, and comes home to live to old age, running the university in Indianapolis into the 20th century.

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  87. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 5, 2009 at 8:57 am

    JeffB — liked the walkscore.com website in principle, but i did my house and most of my family, and the data misses quite a bit. We have a twenty year old bike path right across the street from our house that’s not listed, and a half mile down the road it links over a couple blocks to the county rail-trail network that’s twelve years old, giving us bike connection with a grocery store that’s thirty plus years old . . . none of which showed up on the map.

    So i like the idea, but their database is more than a bit skewed.

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  88. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 5, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Brian — the book was the awkwardly named “Affectionately Yours” and the son’s name was Scot. Ovid was a leading light in the early days of my denomination, taking a much stronger anti-slavery/abolitionist stance than the founders would have, trying to keep the southern congregations in the fold (who later morphed into the non-instrumental/a capella Churches of Christ).

    Great set of letters for reading, under whatever title.

    My dad’s Civil War heritage society is currently on a kick of going around Indiana, now that they’ve re-registered most of the GAR monuments to protect the cannons and such from auctioneers and greedy township trustees, putting up markers for the “last Civil War soldier” in each area, since the GAR records are remarkably clear on that score. And they still place markers for unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers wherever possible, but the last thirty years they’ve pretty much gotten the job done, at least as far as knowable unmarked gravesites go.


    This is the group that also took care of the last three Civil War widows, all of whom died in the last few years (do the math; it’s an “ewwww,” but i’m told they were fascinating and feisty old ladies in their eighties and nineties), and always invite to their events “True Sons (and daughters, occasionally)” who are the elderly sons of Civil War vets — you’d be amazed how many there still are. And spry!

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  89. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 5, 2009 at 9:19 am

    For those still interested in this odd concept of children of Civil War vets still among us:



    (sorry for the link slop, rushing out the door)

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  90. brian stouder said on May 5, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Jeff – yes! And the author of “Affectionately Yours” was also a direct relative of Ovid Butler’s (great grand daughter, or some such) and she gave a lively talk on her book at the late Ft Wayne Lincoln Museum, so I have a signed copy on the shelf. Since then, we took the opportunity while in Indy to search out and visit the Butler home, which was walking distance to the university back in the day; it is in an ornate old neighborhood which is now hemmed in by elevated expressways.

    LA Mary – that Slate slap-shot into Cokie Roberts’ grill was just no fair at all! (Funny! – but unfair!!)

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  91. basset said on May 5, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Nashville is a great place to pursue CW history – used to work with a guy who moved down here from Detroit because he was so into it, started researching a book on the CW army unit from his wife’s home town in East Tennessee, and found that not only had they participated in the Battle of Nashville, they’d camped right about where his house was.

    letters… I would recommend “We All Must Dye Sooner or Later,” the collected letters of the Alford brothers from Daviess County:


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