Stage fright.

Guys, I have my first meeting with my Wayne State class in a few hours, and of course I have a combination of stage fright and impostor’s syndrome, that feeling that you’re going to ask for everyone’s attention, only to be interrupted by two goons with badges who will come through the door and arrest you on suspicion of being a big ol’ fraud.

In other words, I’m a bit nervous and distracted. Fortunately, there’s some good bloggage in the world.

First up, another absolute gem from the anonymous scribe who writes in the Metro Times under the pseudonym Detroitblogger John, probably because in his day job at the News or Free Press they have him on the better-parenting beat. It’s a story about the attempted rehabilitation of one of the most notorious strip clubs on Eight Mile Road, the All Star Gentleman’s Club:

(The new manager) was a DJ at All Star for years before convincing the owners to pour a quarter-million dollars into its renovation — a gamble to convert a ghetto dive into a glitzy club. They made him general manager.

First thing he did was ban pot smoking in the bar. Then he tore down the VIP wall, turning what was essentially brothel space into a display area with little privacy. Next, he ruthlessly culled the crew of strippers.

“When the bar went upscale, I had to let go of a lot of girls I really care about because they’d gotten on in years, gained 30 to 40 pounds, 33 years old now,” he says. “In the old days you had a little longevity dancing. Now you burn up a girl in a few years.”

Just one of ten thousand gems within. OK, one more:

“Lots of things let you know not to let somebody in,” he says. “Twelve guys wearing white T-shirts with the dead guy on their T-shirt and they just came from his funeral — uh-uh, you’re not coming in here, baby, ’cause I know what happens. They want to grieve, and ‘grieve’ means pouring alcohol on the floor and slapping girls around.”

Highly recommended. Be a mensch and hit the MetTimes site for the traffic, then cruise over to Detroitblog for the extra photos, which are borderline NSFW.

Elsewhere, I have to take back at least some of the mean things I’ve said about Rod Dreher over the years, because he’s how I found part one of a Naples Daily News series on the ongoing train wreck of Ave Maria, Tom Monaghan’s little Catholic outpost down in Florida. It’s a big country and there’s room here for everyone, but talk about things that would make Jesus Christ say, “Jesus Christ,” here’s this:

When Kathy Delaney moved a year and a half ago with her two teenage sons from Maryland to Ave Maria, she believed certain rights remained unalienable.

Elections, she thought, followed the rule she’d known all her life: Her vote counted as much as anyone’s. Delaney could only assume the government of her new town operated the same. …What Delaney didn’t know is that Ave Maria’s founders already had decided how the town northeast of Naples would be ruled. They would have the power to control the town forever. This power, some say, is so great, it might be unconstitutional.

Long story short: Monaghan and his co-developer successfully lobbied the Florida legislature — the members of which would find a lot in common with the tricking strippers at the All Star Gentleman’s Club — into passing them their own little law regarding Ave Maria’s governance:

The law gives Monaghan and Barron Collier Cos. more power than any Florida developer in at least 24 years, power perhaps not seen since the days of the early 20th century land boom. The law makes landowners, not registered voters, the ultimate authority in Ave Maria. The law ensures Monaghan and Barron Collier Cos., as the largest landowners, can control Ave Maria’s government forever.

Or, to put it another way, move to Ave Maria, exit the United States of America. The whole series is here. Years ago, I sent an e-mail to Carl Hiaasen’s Miami Herald address — in other words, I spit down a well — suggesting Monaghan would be a good person to base a character on in one of his novels. However, I don’t think even he could have dreamed up a twist like this.

Oh, look: Sarah Palin has figured out a way to keep herself in the news that doesn’t involve parading her daughter and grandson around the morning talk shows — she’s “writing a book.” God help her editor:

“There’s been so much written about and spoken about in the mainstream media and in the anonymous blogosphere world, that this will be a wonderful, refreshing chance for me to get to tell my story, that a lot of people have asked about, unfiltered,” the Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate said during a brief telephone interview Tuesday with The Associated Press.

Palin’s logorrhea is truly a thing of beauty. Not just written about, but also spoken about. Not just in the mainstream media, but in the anonymous blogosphere world. This won’t just be a chance to tell her story, but a wonderful, refreshing chance (because God knows, this woman really has been forcibly kept from microphones, hasn’t she?) to tell her story, unfiltered.

I suggest her publisher really and truly leave it unfiltered. Give her a microphone and a stenographer and let the story rip. The book will weigh in at 1,200 pages and be so boring no one will get past chapter one.

And now, you must please excuse me, because I have to go obsess over my syllabus and handouts. If you see those goons coming to arrest me, try to distract them.

Posted at 9:20 am in Current events, Detroit life |

40 responses to “Stage fright.”

  1. Jason T. said on May 13, 2009 at 9:37 am

    First? I feel like I need to do my endzone dance!

    Good luck, Nance. I remember when I was a kid, there was an episode of “The Brady Bunch” where someone (Greg?) had to give a speech. Mr. Brady told him to imagine the audience was in its underwear.

    Depending on your audience, that may be more distracting/nauseating than helpful. Worse yet, you may start imagining the Brady Bunch in its underwear.

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  2. Dorothy said on May 13, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Wish I could be a little fly on the wall in your classroom, Nance. I’m sure you’ll be fine. After it’s done you’ll wonder what you were so nervous about! Have fun (or rather, I hope you HAD fun, since you’ll be reading this after you are done.)

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  3. John said on May 13, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Good luck too! Take Ross Geller’s advice and speak in a fake English accent!

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  4. Tori said on May 13, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Not to be a total sycophant, but I would love to be in on one of your lectures. You’ll do just fine today.

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  5. jeff borden said on May 13, 2009 at 10:23 am


    You’ll do fine. I walked into my first class at Loyola with the kind of adrenaline buzz associated with a championship game, but it turned out great and now I’m hooked to the point of looking for a grad school so I can get qualified to teach at the university level.

    Don’t know the culture at Wayne State, but students these days are absolutely obsessed with grades. They will parse them to the thousandth decimal point. I strongly recommend you go with a numerical grading system so that you can avoid the dust-ups that come from discussing whether a paper was an A- or a B+. I had to learn this less the hard way. When you rely on numbers as scores, you can look them right in the eye and say, nope, you didn’t get a good enough score for that A-.


    Last night I was reminded of why I love Jon Stewart. He did an absolutely brutal takedown on those mocking Miss California Carrie Prejean –it made me squirm thinking about some of my comments– and blasted the slithery answers Nancy Pelosi has been giving about her knowledge of torture briefings. He is clearly a liberal/progressive, but Stewart goes where the hypocrisy lies and is more than happy to whack liberals when they act stupidly.

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  6. del said on May 13, 2009 at 11:02 am

    The reason your class will be well served to listen to you, Nancy, is that, simply: You are a person who has Something to Say.

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  7. Peter said on May 13, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Sarah Palin – Nancy, I think that’s a great idea. Let her speak into a mic for a few days and then transcribe and publish. It will be compared to Ulysses, only not in a good way.

    Maureen Dowd’s can be hit or miss, but she does a proper smackdown on Cheney today. That’s one of the problems with the GOP; people like John Cain don’t realize how toxic they are because they look at Cheney and figure that they’re not as loopy as him.

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  8. Sue said on May 13, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Nancy, here’s how you get through the first few classes: imagine your students are us. You’ll be putting them in their place in no time, and yet they’ll keep offering opinions anyway. Should be energetic and interesting. One suggestion: kick Dwight out during the first class, ok?
    Another suggestion: live blogging. We’ll help you!

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  9. Rana said on May 13, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Don’t be afraid of the students – you hold the gradebook, and whether or not it feels like it, you do know more than they do. Sometimes there will be moments when you don’t know a specific thing, but, trust me, you still know more than they do.

    I also wouldn’t sweat which grade system you use. If you go with a points based system, they will debate with you over why it got a 77 instead of a 78; if you write C on their paper, they will ask why it is not a C+, and so on. Plus numbers are a lot more fuzzy than they look, unless you are doing multiple choice exams. The main thing is to be consistent, across the duration of the class and for each student – and that’s pretty easy to do. It also gives you two of the most powerful persuasive arguments:

    (1) It wouldn’t be fair to the other students to give you special treatment; and (2) I’m sorry, those are the rules. You knew what they were at the beginning of class.

    The other useful thing to know? You won’t please everyone. There will always be some students who are in the class because they have to be, and they will be either quietly bored and apathetic, or loudly bored and disruptive. Squash the loudly bored as soon as possible, and don’t worry too much about the quietly bored. If you get 75% engagement, you’re doing great. 🙂

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  10. MitchAlbomRules said on May 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    shame shame shame.

    NANCE ON EDIT: Oh, now what?

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  11. Laurie said on May 13, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    OT, lead in today’s Onion: “Detroit Mayor Throws First Brick in Glass-Breaking Ceremony for New Slum”

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  12. jeff borden said on May 13, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    What could possibly have Dwight’s shorts in a bunch today? The Cheney Family Torture Tour? The Charlie Crist Senate announcement? Shot down for a date for the 1,896,765th time? The possibilities are endlessly boring. . .just like Dwight.

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  13. brian stouder said on May 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    My guess on Dwight’s “shame” incantation: the clever “Stage fright” title of today’s entry, coupled with that excellent link to the article about the energetic general manager of the reborn, upscale strip-club.

    Either that, or maybe he’s the guy the article refers to, who licks his fingers and wants to put them into the girls’ ears, maybe?

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  14. basset said on May 13, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Impostor’s syndrome? And here I thought it was just me… good to know there’s a name for it.

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  15. coozledad said on May 13, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    I thought Dwight was just regaling us with his hilarious Jim Neighbors routine.
    EDIT:Nabors, dammit. You’d think watching all those Gomer Pyle reruns would have etched the proper spelling in my brain.

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  16. Bob said on May 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Can’t wait to see you light up “Rate My Professor.” You’re a natural and should be settled in by the third class meeting. My favorite comment in the professor ratings was about one of my high-school pals who teaches engineering now. A student wrote that he’s “the kind of guy I’d like to have backing me up in a bar fight.” He must bring unrivaled gusto to microprocessor design.

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  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 13, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Sha-zayam, sha-zayam, sha-zaym!

    Now we have to figure out which students are twittering from their cell phones in Nancy’s class. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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  18. nancy said on May 13, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for all the advice from the other teachers. I need to correct a few assumptions: This is an independent-study class, which means my lectures will be few and far between. The students are working as reporters for GPT.c, which is set up as a 501C.3 to benefit the WSU j-program. I’ll be their editor. But the course is Online Journalism, and I have to teach them something to distinguish it from basic newswriting, so we’ll have some ad-hoc meetings to talk about video, podcasting, etc. At which, I suppose I will lecture. I’ll try the underwear thing.

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  19. LA Mary said on May 13, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    They’re twittering, “is this the Nancy Nall who busted Tim Goeglin?”

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  20. Sue said on May 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Come on, people. Jesse Ventura says he can get Dick Cheney to confess to the Sharon Tate murders, Lt. Daniel Choi is publicly challenging Obama on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and the best you can do is fret about Dwight? It’s a busy argument-inducing news feature day. Pick up the pace, please.

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  21. jdg said on May 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I have been trying to get in touch with detroitblogger john for over a year. he is a very cautious character, and he DEFINITELY has an alter ego in some mainstream media outlet (I’ve been told by a dubious source that it’s Crains).

    DBJ honestly cares and loves this city and its people, treating both with respect and dignity. What an asset to the MT.

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  22. nancy said on May 13, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    jdg — I know someone who claims to know him, and says it’s the Freep. But yes, it’s certainly one of the ink-on-paper outlets. He has a prose style that’s straight newspaper all the way.

    Sigh. At one glorious time in this city, and many others, a story like that would have led the Features front. Then the bean-counters took over, and it’s been downhill ever since.

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  23. moe99 said on May 13, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Gotta say Obama reversing himself on the torture photos the day after Liz and Dick Cheney did a full court press on them, looks like he is bowing to Republican pressure. Not. too. smart.

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    It’s Mitch Albom!

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  25. Hattie said on May 13, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Don’t worry. They will love you!

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  26. Dorothy said on May 13, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    This is my favorite part of the Metro Times article:

    “The thing about entertainers is they’re spoiled,” he says. “A girl will make a grand in a night. You know what happens the next day? Three-hundred dollars in hair and a trip to the mall. I tell them put that shit away because tomorrow night you might not make $10. They don’t listen.”

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 13, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    No different than sailors on liberty or new MBAs at their first job. (Well, maybe not on their hair.)

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  28. coozledad said on May 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    More fraternity pranks that were not, repeat, were not authorized by the adults who were in charge for eight years, or they were because they kept America safe from more Saudi hijackers, or the telephone messages were garbled, or it was just a really fucked up case of Chinese whispers. Ask Lindsey Graham. When he’s talking to Cokie, we don’t do this.
    When he’s talking to the American legion, we do, and it helps the boys and girls let off a little steam.
    It does look like fun. Why, I think I’ll walk out to the shop and gouge some nickel sized holes out of my buttocks with a metal rod right this very minute.
    Fucking monsters.

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  29. Catherine said on May 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Holy shit, c’dad, I couldn’t make it past the third slide. Seems like it doesn’t matter what the administration decides about “their” images, the truth will out.

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  30. LA Mary said on May 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    It’s really difficult to look at those photos.

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  31. moe99 said on May 13, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    It’s unfortunate that Obama caved. Now the Repubs will think they have him under their control. Until this sordid mess is fully aired and dealt with in a responsible manner (including prosecutions where necessary)it will be growing like a chancre under our national skin and feeding off of our fears and hatreds.

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  32. mark said on May 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Yes, moe, he’s a GOP puppet now. During the big telephone conference today, though, there was no consensus on how to use this power. Half wanted to order him to immediately appoint John Yoo to the SC vacancy. Half thought the power should be tested first by ordering him to tell Michele he never really liked her meatloaf.

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  33. Rana said on May 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Nancy, if it’s an independent study situation like you describe, you may never need to lecture your class at all, at least not in the formal sense. If it works anything like the upper-level seminars I’ve taught, “lecture” is more informal. A student would raise a question, or I’d realize that there was a basic concept that was still eluding them, or I’d noticed in a previous class that it was time to bring up a certain bit of background that wouldn’t have made sense earlier, and then I’d just talk about it, sometimes with the help of the board, sometimes not. The whole “stand before the class and speak with the assistance of visual aids” structure of a formal lecture is really more useful in a large class that has to get through a ton of material, or in a class where you are learning the material one step ahead of the students and need that crutch. In a smaller class where you know the material already, and where a good chunk of it is presented in response to specific issues or student needs or interests, you may be better off in a less structured mode.

    It’s rather like posting on your blog and responding to the comments, actually!

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  34. Rana said on May 13, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Dorothy – arguably the work done on those “entertainers'” hair could be considered a business expense, no?

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  35. moe99 said on May 13, 2009 at 7:29 pm


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  36. joodyb said on May 13, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    somebody got to somebody:

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  37. beb said on May 13, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    moe99 said on May 13th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Gotta say Obama reversing himself on the torture photos the day after Liz and Dick Cheney did a full court press on them, looks like he is bowing to Republican pressure. Not. too. smart.

    Obama walked into quicksand when he decided to “win” in Afghanistan. As with Iraq, there is no definition of “winning.” And the US is fighting a internal insurgency. If history has taught us anything it is that a foreign power can’t beat an insurgency. Right now Obama has a big issue – the accidental murder of a hundred civilians through an air strike. He quickly fired the general in charge at the time. And he doesn’t want to release these inflammatory pictures NOW, when anti-American feelings are so high there. Only it doesn’t matter. As an occupying force the US will always be hated, whether or not these pictures are released.

    Of course it could be that Obama doesn’t want to release these pictures because then people will demand a full investigation into prisoner abuse, and can only lead to war crime trials for Bush and Cheney. Since Obama clearly does not want to be responsible for trying the previous administration he may feel that suppressing these pictures is he only way out. But that makes him an accessory to their crimes….

    Frankly in light of the above, I’d much rather talk about Nancy’s first day as a teacher. It’s much less depressing.

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  38. Danny said on May 14, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Word at the water cooler at work is that somebody got caught having relations of a sort in a conference room. I really hope they clean those tables.

    Very busy couple of days for me, but hopefully we’ll get the long and short of this story. We really need to get to the bottom.

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  39. coozledad said on May 14, 2009 at 8:11 am

    The Iraqis already know what went on at Abu Ghraib. I talked with a guy who was a guard there who said Cheney’s KBR boondoggle couldn’t even keep the floodlights on, so there were regular escapes; and after the escapes-
    Pinpoint mortar attacks.
    When story and pictures broke here, the sweep of the insurgency had already picked up. The Iraqis had already gotten the word Saddam had been replaced with Saddam.
    The US servicemen and women who died during that phase of the war were just more folks taking the heat for Junior’s incompetence.The best light the Bush Administration can hope to be viewed in, is they were in over their heads, they refused to listen to career soldiers, they embraced torture in a panicked effort to provide justification for their war, and they condemned every future American POW to a hell on earth.
    Thirty percent of the people in this country believe these guys were acting in our interests, and doing a hell of a job at it. That the way you win wars is to duplicate the successes of the Imperial Japanese Army in Manchuria: You roll prisoners around in shit, and jab at them with sticks like a bunch of reform school sociopaths on meth. Now we’ll get the bend-over-backwards-to-suck-your-own-dick justifications from the usual parade of losers who framed the whole setup for the war.

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  40. jeff borden said on May 14, 2009 at 10:21 am


    What is truly amazing to me is how quickly torture evolved into a partisan issue. When in God’s name did conservatism equate with torture? It’s not just the Dark Lord Cheney, but the elves like Lindsey Graham who are staking their movement and their party to this abhorrent behavior.

    I’m damned, damned, damned disappointed by President Obama’s decision to fight the release of these photos. I’m even more disappointed by the sizable number of Americans who say in polls they would support torture. It’s not a majority, but the numbers are still quite high.

    What kind of nation have we become?

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