Smile at the Speed Graphic, kid.

Today in Embarrassing Pictures, we again refuse to embarrass the proprietress, instead throwing her husband into the line of fire:

Alan brushes

“These two boys are having fun demonstrating proper tooth brushing” during National Children’s Dental Health Week. “Albert Ramirez, son of Mr. and Mrs. Genaro Ramirez, 810 Nicholas St., looks on from the left while Alan Derringer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Derringer, 405 Northfield Ave., does the brushing.”

Among the oddities of this picture, which I can’t precisely date, other than to say, “Man, when was the last time you saw a kid wearing a wristwatch like that, eh?” Both kids come from intact, Mr. and Mrs. homes. No one objected to having their exact address printed in the newspaper. And when Alan’s mom died, she still lived at 405 Northfield and still had her phone listed under Roger Derringer.

Also note the long-standing Hispanic presence in northwest Ohio (this was in Defiance). I wonder how Mark Krikorian would pronounce Ramirez?

I like the way Albert is “looking on.” Someone is always looking on in old newspaper photos. For newspaper journalists of a certain age, we lived for the day we wouldn’t have to take pictures like this or write their witless captions, and if you were any good at all, sooner or later you beamed up to a bigger paper, which as a rule didn’t run this stuff. And now, here we are decades later, and the buzz is in hyperlocal journalism websites that welcome and solicit pictures like this, and guess who’s writing the captions? Full circle.

My pledge: No one will ever look on in my cutlines. Unless it’s in an ironic, retro way. Because otherwise I will have to start drinking a lot more.

Because it’s Friday, another no-cal bonbon. Thanks, Char, for sending this “hastily made Cleveland tourism video.” As for the punchline, well, yes they are. They just don’t know it yet:

I have to go to a meeting, edit a pile of copy and do some serious writin’ today. You folks take it from here.

Posted at 8:33 am in Friends and family, Same ol' same ol' |

97 responses to “Smile at the Speed Graphic, kid.”

  1. coozledad said on May 29, 2009 at 9:06 am

    That reminds me of having to chew tablets made of red dye #2 and sugar to demonstrate how inefficient my brushing technique was. My first grade teacher, Pandora Gold, was really big on dental hygiene and naps. She’d kick your ass if you didn’t nap.

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  2. John said on May 29, 2009 at 9:21 am

    God, I think I had that same shirt!

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  3. brian stouder said on May 29, 2009 at 9:31 am

    While the Proprietress notes it in passing, the wrist watch immediately struck me!

    When I was a kiddo (probably contemporaneously), the smart/organized/on-it crowd wore watches, and the rest of us did not.

    But even that crowd generally wore those small Timex ones; your SO appears to be wearing a watch that would have rivaled my dad’s Gruen (or whatever).

    Clearly, he was ‘on-it’, even then!

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  4. nancy said on May 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Clearly, as its wearer notes, it was his dad’s hand-me-down Timex.

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  5. jeff borden said on May 29, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I know I’m a dinosaur because I feel pretty much naked without a watch on my wrist. Timepieces always meant something in our family, perhaps because both grandfathers worked for the railroads (maternal — New York Central; fraternal — Chesapeake & Ohio. So, I received watches at 10, 16, high school graduation and college graduation. The value of the timepieces rose with age from Timex to Bulova Caravelle to a Bulova Accutron, which I still wear frequently. (It’s the watch with a tuning-fork inside!!!)

    None of our nieces and nephews give a fig about watches, so God knows what will happen to them as we get older.

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  6. Dorothy said on May 29, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I’m the same way, Jeff. I remember being so enraptured when I opened my first watch on Christmas morning, probably 41 or 42 years ago. I still have the time piece, but the band has been replaced a few times. It just sits in my jewelry box right now. But I’m a watch whore – I have about 15 now. Most are inexpensive ones from Avon. But one particularly has a special meaning to me.

    Five years ago when I was going to go to England and Ireland to meet up with my daughter (who was spending a semester abroad then), my younger brother sent me a check to use for “fun” while there. He said my husband and I had lent him money after he graduated from college, and when he paid it back as frequently as he could, we didn’t charge him interest. I barely remember this fact. Anyway, it made me cry when I read his note and his sweet comments about how much that meant to him. So what did I buy? A beautiful watch in Galway, Ireland. My mother’s father was born in Ireland. It might be the only trip I make there. So this watch carries lots of meaning to me.

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  7. LA Mary said on May 29, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I can’t function without a watch, and I am a watch whore as well. Everything from odd watches from Chinatown to a couple of pretty good ones. I probably have thirty or so watches.
    Also, I could tell that was Alan right away. Kate looks like her dad.

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  8. Danny said on May 29, 2009 at 10:58 am

    One of my friends says that he carried a brief case, for a brief time, in 6th grade, so the watch was probably a given. He got a lot of butt-whoopin’s for standing out even with respect to the “smart/organized/on-it crowd.”

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  9. Danny said on May 29, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Really, Mary? Wow.

    I don’t think I’ve worn a watch for over 15 years. There’s always someone around with one. I guess that’d be you.

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  10. Sue said on May 29, 2009 at 11:06 am

    My first watch was one of those tiny silver things with the black cord band. Considered very classy, bought from a jewelry store. I still have it, minus the cord, and it still works (on a chain around my neck, on the few occasions I wear it). I actually don’t wear a watch, or any other jewelry. Even my wedding ring comes off when I get home. More and more as I get older the extras annoy me. I am going to be one badly dressed old bat, it seems, if I’m not there already.

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  11. Joe Kobiela said on May 29, 2009 at 11:07 am

    No need for a watch. Just check your cell phone.
    I wear a Timex for both running and flying.
    I have to set the second time zone for zulu time, I can never remember what it is in Z time.
    Pilot Joe

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  12. Jen said on May 29, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Hardly anyone in my age group (mid-20s) wears a watch. Nearly everyone just pulls out the cell phone. I don’t think I’ve worn a watch since high school.

    I work at a small town newspaper, and we take photos like that all the time! It’s our bread and butter. Sure, people care a little bit about the rest of the news, but I swear some people just want the police blotter (to see if someone they know got arrested), the obits (to see if someone they know died) and cute pictures of kids.

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  13. jeff borden said on May 29, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I’m a watch whore, too. My most expensive timepiece is a beautiful Bulova Accutron tank watch chronography my wife gave me for our 15th anniversary. Most of mine are $100 or less including a couple of Skagens, a couple of Citizens, three Accutrons and two nice Seikos inherited from my Dad. I can pretty much tell you where, when and why each of these watches were purchased or given. So, every time I glance at the dial, I get a flashback, lol.

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  14. LA Mary said on May 29, 2009 at 11:32 am

    I have a nice Chinatown watch that has a Swissair Jet that jiggles back and forth as the watch ticks. Makes no sense whatsoever.

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  15. LA Mary said on May 29, 2009 at 11:34 am

    “I’ve been on foodstamps and welfare. Did anyone help me out? No!!”

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  16. moe99 said on May 29, 2009 at 11:35 am

    When I left my first law job in 1978 and went to Europe to roam around (and ultimately get an LLM in International Law from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel–but that’s another story), I purchased a 3 month Eurail Pass and thought I would leave all my cares which included my watch, behind. Of course when I got to Europe, I discovered I needed a watch, so I could make my train connections. Went to the cheaper department store in London and purchased a wind up watch, which seems so quaint these days.

    I still wear watches most days, but find that I use my cell phone to check time more than I do my watch.

    Nancy, that Crescent News photo of Alan brings back memories of the time my picture wound up on their pages. I was all of 7 or 8, attending Camp Palmer and they had me kneel down and point to a disc on the shuffleboard court. Pink glasses, buck teeth and a turned up sailor cap. I was mortified but my mother cut it out and saved it.

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  17. coozledad said on May 29, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Our local newspaper has attempted to forbid poetry, even on the obits page, which is the only reason we subscribed to the thing.Therefore, my next letter to the editor is going to be in Iambic pentameter. The bastards have been doing that “tenth amendment” astroturfing without bothering to change much of the text. The publisher just sticks his name on it, along with a photograph which features him wearing a shit-eating grin. He’s always going on about regulations stifling innovation and how one must pick one’s self up by the bootstraps. He inherited the ownership of the paper, and its staunch racist outlook. It’s like a wormhole view into the segregationist South of the early sixties.

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  18. beb said on May 29, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Interesting divide on watches. I’m not a watch whore – I wear a pretty cheap watch – but I, too, feel naked without it. More important than telling time, though is my watch’s day and date function. Wouldn’t know when I am without it. Someday I’m going to have to get one that shows the year as well, since times goes by so much faster as you get old.

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  19. Julie Robinson said on May 29, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Not only do I have a “Nixon’s The One” button, but I also had a Spiro T. Agnew watch. When I graduated from high school my parents took me to the jewelry store downtown and bought me a Seiko, which was pretty fashion forward for 1974. It had a chunky wristband and a dark blue face and looked nothing like the average dainty ladies watch of the time. Since I have large hands and big wristbones most of those didn’t even fit me.

    Both our kids do the cellphone thing too. It seems to work just fine for them.

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  20. Dorothy said on May 29, 2009 at 12:02 pm

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  21. jeff borden said on May 29, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I think watches appeal to an artistic side of the wearer. When made correctly, they are machines that are beautiful to look at but functional, too. Let’s face it. No one needs to drop $10K on a Patek Phillippe or a Vacheron Constantin. A sub-$5 digital will keep time just as well. But some of those watches are just simply gorgeous machines. . .wearing a Patek or a Vach would be like strapping a Monet on your wrist.

    Perhaps this is why when I visited the Museum of Modern Art in NYC for the first time, where you can stroll entire galleries of Picasso’s donated by the Rockefellers, I was entranced by the top floor. It was wear MOMA displayed its beautiful machines: Olivetti typewriters, Frank Lloyd Wright furniture, a Bell bubble-faced helicopter (like from M*A*S*H), a red Bugatti.

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  22. nancy said on May 29, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    One of my friends edits an annual watch magazine. I’m nominating Borden for the watch-whore essay.

    My favorite watch story: A couple I know was coming back to their car from a huge-crowd event — a football game, something like that — and when they arrived, they found a ladies’ Cartier tank lying on the hood. Authentic, used but not abused, broken band. They looked around for someone searching for a watch, didn’t see anyone. Kept it, of course. And that’s how a penniless journalist’s wife got a thousand-dollar watch.

    I like the look of a simple watch worn with a simple bracelet, and I’ve always had two-tone metal-band watches, so I can wear either silver or gold. My favorite bracelet is sterling silver, a gift from my sister, with one of those cool magnet clasps. I wore it for two days with my bombproof Seiko titanium before I figured out why, after years of flawless service, it was losing 10 minutes a day.

    ERASE AND CORRECT: A six thousand-dollar watch. Jeez.

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  23. Sue said on May 29, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    LAMary, I hope the Craig T thing gets picked up everywhere. That kind of idiocy must be celebrated.
    Coozledad, well if you would stop sending in those dirty limericks, they probably wouldn’t have that policy. See if you can get some haiku past them. And I love obit poetry, although not as much as the obit “letters to dead people” that appear in our local paper. Like Heaven gets the Hartford Times Press.

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  24. Dorothy said on May 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Speaking of dead people, have any of you noticed something very strange about those “legacy” pages where you can leave a note after someone has died? It’s my belief that the notes should be addressed to the surviving family and friends. But so many people put these messages on there for the deceased!! I always think “Do they really think Chuck or Martha can read these now that they’re no longer breathing?!”

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  25. Jolene said on May 29, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Sue, are you sure Heaven doesn’t get the Hartford Times Press? They just might, you know.

    My problem w/ watches is that, because I tend to fiddle and fidget with things, I was always losing them. I had some great watches, both novelty and nice, but I’ve stopped wearing them because they always end up lost in the ether. I take them off, doodle around with them for a while, and then end up leaving them on the restaurant table . . . or wherever.

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  26. coozledad said on May 29, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Sue: I send the dirty limericks using an alias: My alter-ego Junious Kissinger, Henry’s redneck stepbrother. He used to write a lot of letters to Liddy Dole, too.

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  27. Rana said on May 29, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I haven’t worn a watch for a long while. Now that I have the cell it isn’t strictly necessary, and I’ve been cursed both with a taste for chunky watches and little teeny wrists, so whenever I needed to type something I had to take it off or risk aching wrists later. The other advantage of the cell-as-clock is when traveling, as it automatically updates to the local time zone. One learns pretty quickly where all the local clocks are, in any case.

    I still stare at my naked wrist when I wonder what time it is, though.

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  28. del said on May 29, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    My uncle died last month and the Grand Rapids Press had a “guest book” for signature. Unlike Detroit, in GR the guestbook thing drew lots of attention. I thought it was pretty fine altogether.

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  29. coozledad said on May 29, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    del: It does work well. That truly is a fine remembrance.

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  30. Sue said on May 29, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Very nice, del. Around here for some reason cars make fine memorials, at least among the younger ones. Entire memorial texts on back windows and trunk lids. Also bumper stickers. Since I knew a couple of the kids, seeing these is always a little shocking. I saw one miles from home last weekend, for a kid who died two years ago. Perhaps this is the next step from flowers on the roadside.

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  31. del said on May 29, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Yeah, cooz, your newspaper comment upthread applies to the very local rag here too. Nancy would know which inherited publication I’m referencing.

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  32. Guyot said on May 29, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Wow. Laura Lippman suggests I check this blog out, and what’s the very first discussion I come across? Watches. My heart is racing. I can’t call myself a watch whore (my therapist says only empowering name calling), but I am an admitted WIS – Watch Idiot Savant.

    And whoever said a $5 watch keeps time just as well as a Vacheron Constantin is, um, well, wrong. Trust me on this. I could go on ad nauseam about the beauty, aesthetic wonderment and sheer pleasure of wearing a true work of art like a Blancpain or Lange & Sohne on one’s wrist, and how it is sacrilege to wear a battery-powered watch (shudder), but…

    Instead I’ll just quote a person much smarter than myself (there are many of them): “Time is too precious to be kept on a cheap watch.”

    Love the blog.

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  33. nancy said on May 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Welcome to Guyot, who probably has one of those winding boxes they sell in the Robb Report, a half-dozen disembodied velvet wrists turning slowly, slowly, just waiting for you to lead a group by on a tour of your house and say, “Oh, that? That’s my…” — clutches chest — “…I guess you’d call it my tragic flaw.”

    Says at his website he’s a writer, and look, whaddaya know, he has rules, too:

    Paul spent three years writing and producing the CBS drama Judging Amy where he was able to work with the legendary Barbara Hall, as well as Karen Hall—the most nominated female writer in television history—who taught Paul the most important rule of good writing: Don’t ever use the word “nay” in any context. Ever.

    So where do you stand on “ejaculated,” anyway?

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  34. Jolene said on May 29, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Another funny thing that people do when someone dies–besides writing poems to them in newspapers–is give memorial donations to causes and organizations that they support rather than to causes and organizations identified by the family of the deceased.

    My 90-year-old dad died a few weeks ago, and we designated four organizations that reflected his life and interests: a veterans’ organization; a foundation that supports the local school, which all of us attended and for which both he and my mother served on the school board and did lots of other boosterish things; a local nature conservancy that was established in connection with a dam built during a time that Dad was active in water resource management; and an international humanitarian organization called the Heifer Project, which they had supported through their church. So, there were local possibilities, as well as large organizations, and a variety of topics, all of which anyone who knew Dad would clearly recognize as topics that mattered to him.

    For the most part, people who gave donations gave to one of those causes, but sometimes people gave money to, for instance, the humane society, to their own churches in far away states, or, in the case of one of my aunts, to an old folks’ home where she serves on the board but which our family has never had anything to do with.

    Of course, it’s nice that people give donations for any good cause, but I still found it very weird.

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  35. LA Mary said on May 29, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    “I don’t think I’ve worn a watch for over 15 years. There’s always someone around with one. I guess that’d be you.”

    Danny, you should use the Yogi Berra quote.
    some guy:”Hey Yogi, what time is it?”
    Yogi: “you mean now?”

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  36. Dorothy said on May 29, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Guyot I’ll have you know I’m very empowered by being called a watch whore. Tell your therapist!

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  37. brian stouder said on May 29, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Moe’s comment 16 reminded me of the time my picture was in the News-Sentinal (or maybe it was the J-G – but I bet it was N-S) when I was about 12.

    The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department operates activity centers in parks all around the city; you’d go to the park, hang out, play checkers – whatever; a nice way to while away the summer, if you couldn’t make the team in Little League. Toward the end of the summer, one of the Activity Directors came to me and said I’d won a ‘good citizenship’ award at McMillan Park; the upshot was, kids simlarly selected from parks all around the city would board a bus, go to the airport, and get a plane ride to Detroit, eat lunch there, and then fly back.

    Very cool stuff really, and it was indeed the first time I ever flew – as presuemably it was for the other kids. So – all that backstory is necessary, in order to get the spectacle of how uproariously my mom and dad laughed – because it was laugh or get upset! – when they opened their newspaper to see a group-shot of all of us with a headline something like “Underpriviledged children go on big adventure” (could be inaccurately remembered, but the word “Underpriveledged” was DEFINITELY in there)

    Somewhere, we still have that clip…

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  38. Danny said on May 29, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    One particular morning Paul and Yun-Fat were standing on the balcony of his apartment discussing Paul’s desire to become a writer. Yun-Fat turned to him and said, “When people in Hong Kong would ask me, ‘How do I become an actor?’ I would tell them the first thing you must do is start acting.” A blazing inferno of epiphany blinded Paul.


    Mary, my favorite Yogi quote (at least it is attributed to him) is his reference to the shadows that would come early in the day in the old Yankee stadium: “It gets late early out there.”

    Brian, hilarious.

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  39. Connie said on May 29, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Brian, I too have a couple of old newspaper clippings of myself at a summer park program. The other girls in the pic were mostly strangers from other schools, but we all ended up buds in HS, which I thought was an odd coincidence.

    Watches? Cheap, use, then toss. I have a large collection of cheap watches which all need batteries. The only sort of expensive watch I ever had disappeared on the day I broke my thumb. I thought I probably lost it in the x ray room, but checked hospital lost and found several times and never found it. Oh, I do have one expensive watch, a petoskey stone watch from Becky Thatcher jewelry design.

    I do have the original Snapple promo watch from back when Snapple was new and hip. Strangers lusted after that watch. Ah, the goodies you get when your BFF works in the marketing dept of a large beverage bottler.

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  40. LA Mary said on May 29, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I have the Nixon/Elvis handshake watch. I think you can still buy it at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda.

    You can!

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  41. Jason T. said on May 29, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I love me some watches, and I’m thirty(mumble) something. (I jokingly told my brother I was “pushing 30” and he said, “Yeah, from the wrong direction.”)

    When I sold a freelance story a few years ago, I used the proceeds to finally buy a decent gold Pulsar analog, which I’m wearing today.

    I also have a windup 17-jewel Gruen that unfortunately needs a new band — this discussion reminded me to go to the jewelry store tomorrow and get one.

    Jeff B., I think the Bulova Accutron was the first electric watch certified by the railroads for use by crew members … until then, railroad employees had to carry 21-jewel (bearings) pocket watches that were accurate in all sorts of terrible conditions.

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  42. beb said on May 29, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I wonder how many Yogism Yogi Berra actually uttered? Or whether he started up late at night thinking up clever isms to drop at his next press conference?

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  43. jeff borden said on May 29, 2009 at 2:47 pm


    Cool info. Thanks. I have my maternal grandfather’s pocket watch, which was certified every three months by the railroad. The interior of the watch is, if anything, more beautiful than the exterior. I honestly had not heard that about Accutrons.

    Mine is circa 1972, a gold/silver model, so it works with any other kind of jewelry. The real collectibles, I’m told, are the see-through Accutrons of the early and mid-1960s. Our physician in Medina, Ohio, wore one and staring at it almost made a trip to his office worthwhile when I was a kid.

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  44. del said on May 29, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I had the Chairman Mao watch. Wind up. Lasted about 2 days.

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  45. Scout said on May 29, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Guyot, I feel compelled to tell you that I was a huge fan of Judging Amy and was heartbroken when it went off the air. I’m glad that you found Nancy’s blog.

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  46. Sue said on May 29, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I’m reading a bio of Yogi right now. It seems he did say most of that stuff, although some quotes have been traced to others (supposedly Dorothy Parker first said “It’s so crowded no one goes there anymore”, so he’s in good company). The thing about many of his quotes is that they are surprisingly clear and intelligent IN CONTEXT. How ’bout that.
    The book is both interesting and slow. Lots of interesting baseball stuff, not a lot of fascinating personal information, unless you want to count that Martha (then-Kostyra) Stewart babysat for his kids and even while he was winning championships he still had to work at a clothing store in the off-season. He comes across as some nice Italian guy who got to play baseball.

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  47. Dexter said on May 29, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    One night Steve Laveille , all-night guy at WBZ-AM 1030 Boston, went on for a couple hours why he hates watches, never wears one, etc.
    He is as obsessed at hating watches as I am at having one attached at all times.
    I sleep with an Ironman Triathalon on my wrist.
    Just yesterday Ronnie Bennington of XM 202, Sirius 197, was ridiculing his staff members for wearing watches. “…ya got a goddam cell phone doncha?!”
    I favor NNc fave (heh heh) Bob Greene who wrote a column once on how his watch quit on him , and he frantically searched for a drugstore to go into and buy the cheapest watch they had to use just until he could find someone to install a battery into his tired watch.
    The same thing happened to me in Columbus. I had a nice watch on my wrist , looked down for the time…PANIC! No watch, as the band must have snapped or the thing flew off my wrist , as I was exiting The Horseshoe in Columbus after the Michigan game one year.
    I met up with my daughter and her bf and had them drive me around a few minutes until I spotted a Big Lots and bought a cheapo watch.
    It’s a damn pain in the ass to remove a cell phone just to check the time, don’t ya think?
    Most memorable watches: a Mickey Mouse watch, bought at Disneyland in Anaheim, which lasted a while until it quit in Vietnam, where I bought a self-winding Seiko, which lasted many years.
    I have many watches, including one each from work and the union…the one from work was my retirement watch and is supposed to be worth $400 bucks.
    I would never PAY that much…I am a confirmed Ironman Triathalon wearer ever since I saw that Bill Clinton wore one in the White House.

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  48. Dexter said on May 29, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Sue, Yogi was a kid from The Hill in St. Louis.
    The Yankees brought Whitey Ford and Yogi to New York to show them around right after they had signed contracts as kids.
    Yogi told this last year at the All- Star Game.
    “Edward, meet Larry, Larry , meet Edward”.
    They were Ed and Larry as kids, did the NY sportswriters hang “Whitey” and “Yogi” on them?
    I have many fave nicknames for sports stars, here are two:
    BASEBALL: Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky
    BASKETBALL: Daniel “Boobie” Gibson

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  49. alex said on May 29, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Welcome, Guyot, and I second Scout’s sentiments. Was just scrolling down to express them when I saw she beat me to it. And I wasn’t much of a TV-watcher then or now, but I was hooked on that show. These days my only guilty pleasure is “Desperate Housewives,” where one of the former “Amy” cast members showed up a few seasons ago as part of Wisteria Lane’s new gay couple.

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  50. Dexter said on May 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    whoa! My post #47…too many name-drops! Mickey Mouse to President Clinton…I’ll watch that.

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  51. ROgirl said on May 29, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I have a Daimler Chrysler swatch that was given to all employees when the merger (takeover) happened. My father was a retiree. He gave his to me and passed away shortly thereafter.

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  52. Sue said on May 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Damn, lost my comment, now I have to do it over.
    Yogi got his nickname from a friend or coach well before he came to New York. He supposedly looked like a meditating yogi when he was sitting. Whitey got his name from a coach who couldn’t remember his name and called him “Blondie” or “Whitey”. “Whitey” stuck.
    Two favorite nicknames:
    Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown (farm accident)
    Walter “Big Train” Johnson
    I like those old-time deadball pitchers. Interesting men, usually.

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  53. judybusy said on May 29, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I grew up on a farm and the nearby town has a weekly paper. I appeared twice during my growing up. The first featured my brother and I standing in front of corn with the caption “High as an elephant’s ear by the 4th of July?” about the local corn crop. I was about 4. Fast forward 12 years. I’m in some “fashion show” of old bridal clothes, wearing a family friend’s dress circa 1960. I still have both clippings in an old scrapbook.

    I think it’s kinda cool the smalltown papers had this sort of thing. The paper, the Pope County [MN] Tribune, is still publishing.

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  54. brian stouder said on May 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I think it’s kinda cool the smalltown papers had this sort of thing.

    Absolutely! There was a running joke that ALWAYS made my mom (a New Yorker, by birth) laugh, on the old Andy Griffith show.

    If Barney’s name got into the local paper, it was always spelled “Fike”, and always made him mad!

    My kids won’t even get the joke, if they ever watch that show

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  55. moe99 said on May 29, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I truly thought the Sotomayor debate could go no lower. I should know better.

    G. Gordon Liddy: Let’s hope Sotomayor isn’t “menstruating” at key Supreme Court conferences.

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  56. paddyo' said on May 29, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    All right, sports fans:Baseball nicknames? A coupla faves from my LA Dodgers youth:

    Willie “Tree Dog” Davis
    Ron “The Penguin” Cey

    My first time in newsprint (that I can remember) wasn’t until high school, when our annual school play merited a photo in the thin daily Watsonville (CA) Register-Pajaronian (Pajaronian, you say? It’s in the Pajaro Valley). A classmate and I were posed in a scene, and the cutline called it “a play about a crisis of political intrigue in Washington” or some such wording. Anyway, it neglected to mention a kind of important detail: The name of the damned play … (“Seven Days in May”).

    On the other hand, they did manage to spell my name right, apostrophe and all …

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  57. Jean S said on May 29, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I like the Einstein watch. Has a pix of him with his hair doing its thing, and the numbers say 1-ish, 2-ish, etc. Gave it to my brother the math teacher one year.

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  58. jeff borden said on May 29, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    David Halberstam’s books on baseball have always underscored the native intelligence of Yogi, despite his frequent depiction as a goofball. He certainly was not dumb or foolish, just maybe a little unpolished.

    When he was managing, he once famously complained about having to speak to sportwriters after a game. “I make $40,000 a year,” Yogi lamented. “Why do I have to talk to guys making $6,000?”

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  59. Sue said on May 29, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Moe: Well at least he kept it professional and didn’t say “on the rag” or something unacceptable.
    Edit: And I’m heading out right now; anyone thinking I’m serious needs to know that the snark level is high in this comment. No outraged responses, please.

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  60. Danny said on May 29, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Well, well, well… Looks like Robert Gibbs doesn’t think that the reports in the British newspapers are accurate. Or, um, as he puts it…

    “You’re not going to find very many of these newspapers and truth within 25 words of each other”

    And the Brits are not pleased. Nope, not at all.

    Which kinda leaves some around here with the following unpleasant dilemma:

    1. Do we believe the Obama administration, or

    2. Do we believe the reports that the rape and torture occurred.

    Both reactions are axiomatic. Unfortunately, they are mutually exclusive.

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  61. Guyot said on May 29, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks for the Amy props. That’s what the kids say – “props.” Because the kids are idiots.

    Um, where was I? Oh, yes. Nancy, I am a big fan of ejaculated. Wait, what?

    I can see I should un-bookmark this site immediately. Too much Algonquinesque conversation happening, which will become a time sinkhole for me, and yet another excuse not to write.

    What else, what else… oh, Halberstam, one of my favorite writers, fiction or non, sports or not. Simply brilliant. And all this talk of Yogi, but no mention of Boo-Boo or the Ranger. What’s up with that?

    Did I spell nay correctly? Or is that the nay horses make?

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  62. Guyot said on May 29, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Oh. Baseball nicknames.

    Harry “Suitcase” Simpson.

    Why? Played for 17 different teams back in the day.

    And night.

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  63. Kirk said on May 29, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    One of my favorites: Jeffrey “Penitentiary Face” Leonard.

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  64. Danny said on May 29, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Moe and Alex, just to beat a dead horse that you think is still alive (namely, that you were right about anything in yesterday’s thread), even the White House thinks that Sotomayor’s choice of words was poor.

    And that was the point, but you’d have none of it.

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  65. Dexter said on May 29, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Anybody who loves old time base-ball (yep, that’s how it was spelled a hundred years ago) should get (the late) Larry Ritter’s “The Glory of Their Times”, and the book-on-tape is the best; hearing those oldtimers talk is priceless. My faves in that book are Wahoo Sam Crawford and Hans Lobert, both great story tellers.
    The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter, Fred Snodgrass, Sam Crawford, and Hans Lobert (Audio Cassette – April 1, 1998) – Audiobook
    12 Used & new from $4.69 (AMAZON)

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  66. Deborah said on May 29, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    My first watch was a birthday present from my parents when I turned 7. It was 1957 and my sunday school class was on TV that day in Miami, Florida where I grew up. The teacher asked a question on air and I proudly raised my hand to answer. The watch on my skinny, skinny raised arm slid down past my elbow and ended up almost on my shoulder. My parents and sister watching at home said they howled with laughter. Oh and exiting the TV studio we saw Larry King, he was old then.

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  67. moe99 said on May 29, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Then I expect you’re down on Sammy Alito and Clarence Thomas because they said remarkably similar things in their run ups to being confirmed. Right???

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  68. Kirk said on May 29, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    “The Glory of Their Times” is truly a gem. And actually, it was “base ball.”

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  69. LA Mary said on May 29, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    My first watch was a Cinderella watch I got for my birthday in the first grade.

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  70. Kirk said on May 29, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    My first watch was a Timex that I got in the first grade. I found having something like that on my wrist so annoying that, after about three days, I ditched it and haven’t worn a timepiece since.

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  71. Dorothy said on May 29, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Algonquinesque? That one is throwing me for a loop. I think I need to sleep on that one.

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  72. coozledad said on May 29, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Moe: Their party is not waving, but drowning. Now that they’re down to a rump of Mormons and neosecessionist zealots who believe in witchcraft and spontaneous generation, we can look ahead to more of them engaging in mass slayings. It almost makes you miss the days when they were wrapping themselves in the flag and shouting that we needed to leave, instead of wiping their asses* on it and stalking off muttering about their irreplaceable contributions and Lord how we’re going to miss them. What remains to be seen is whether the Democrats will absorb all of the Eisenhower Republicans, or if the latter group will be content to mudwrestle with snake handlers and torture pervs until their offspring are indistinguishable from Lynndie England and Charles Graner.
    Given the way they’ve been elbowing each other to see who can appear more savagely pig-ignorant, I think a viable second party is not in the works for the Republicans.

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  73. moe99 said on May 29, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Dorothy Parker, James Thurber, Robert Benchley and other writers for the New Yorker in the 30’s used to hang out at the Algonquin Hotel, where they would slice each other to ribbons with their wit.

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  74. joodyb said on May 29, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    LAMary, there is a comment in that Craig T. Defamer item that nearly made me have an accident at my desk. STILL having the church-pew giggle fits from it.

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  75. beb said on May 29, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    And G. Gordon Liddy wins the “Worst Person in the World” award. I was sure Keith would be allowed to say “menstruate” on cable television.

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  76. MarkH said on May 30, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Hey, did everyone here a NN.C rush over to IMDB right after Paul Guyot showed up here to check out his bio? It shows his popularity on the site up 216% this week. It HAS to all be just Friday. BTW, just look at that CV: writing, producing and all kinds of stand-in work(??). INCLUDING that Madonna stinker (aren’t they all?), “Body of Evidence”. Hey, Paul, that stand-in work didn’t include filling in for Willem Dafoe, did it? (ahem) Forget Madonna. I’m envious of anyone who gets to spend time with Julianne Moore. ANY time. Anywhere. Anyhow.

    The wife and I were big Amy fans as well. Great story lines and acting, by Brennamen, as well as Tyne Daly, Richard Crenna, others. I’m wondering if Paul wrote the episode where O’Reilly showed up, playing himself, chastising a Judge Amy ruling on The Factor (“Do you sleep at night, Judge? I’d like to know how.”).

    Watch talk: I always were a wristwatch, feel naked without one, so that makes me old, I know. I wore a Citizen analog/digital combo for 15 years, a 40th b-day gift from my sisters. I took a bad fall two years ago and smashed it good. Unrepairable. Also a long time ago, I had my great Uncle Harry’s railroad conductor pocket watch, made in 1912. I took it to a jeweler in Lancaster, Ohio for a cleaning and minor repair and never got it back. They claim they lost it or something. Heartbreaking, as it worked well and was beautiful.

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  77. Sue said on May 30, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Dexter: Thanks for the recommendation; always on the lookout for info about old baseball players.
    And… I believe it was base ball (no hyphen) when Jane Austen mentioned it, although who knows with all the different editions and mistakes over the centuries:

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  78. Colleen said on May 30, 2009 at 10:50 am

    First watch was a big deal..a Timex…..4th grade, maybe? I promptly overwound it. And the next one…..

    I don’t wear one now, but most of the time at work there are 3 to 4 timekeeping devices within eyeshot, so it’s not really necessary.

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  79. moe99 said on May 30, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Here’s a dissection of the opinions in which Sotomayor was one of the judges. This is the kind of analysis that should be employed in discussions as to whether she’s a good candidate for the Supreme Court.

    “So Judge Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1.”

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  80. Danny said on May 30, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Yeah and if we’d been discussing her fitness for candidacy, you’d be right. Instead, Nancy started talking about conservative columnist’s trouble with pronouncing her name (a stupid and mildly racist column, to be sure) and that led me to point out that Sotomayor had her own troubles with racist sounding speech (which was much more overt)…

    And that led Alex and you to ignore my reasonable statement altogether, in favor of circling the “spelling bee” and “context” wagons, respectfully…

    And then President Obama and Robert Gibbs agreed with me, making you two look dumb(er)…

    And that led to you to continue to ignore the “poor choice of words” and now to tut-tutting us all into how discussion should go around here when it is about someone whom you support.

    So, I’m not against her going to the Supreme Court. She seems fairly moderate and it should be an even exchange with respect to replacing Souter. I look forward to a fuller discussion on her decisions in the following months. And I’m sure she’ll be recanting on her “poor word choices” in 2001.

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  81. Danny said on May 30, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    You know, I’ve been thinking a little bit about the personality dynamics around this place. In the past, Nancy has described it as a bar, but the analogy that works better for me is that of a very large family of brothers and sisters. God knows we bicker like it often enough. Further to the analogy, there are some siblings, the bigger brothers and sisters who have moved out and have there own places. They typically do not deign to argue with the rest of us because they’re more mature, have their own lives, etc.

    Among the older, out-of-the house siblings, Nancy is, of course, preeminent. She is the one whose apartment we go over to after school and who watches us until mom and dad (whoever they are) get home. Nancy gives us treats, stands in the gap for the parents and kinda has her act together.

    Oh, and she has a live-in boyfriend, Alan, who we rarely see, but who has this creepy fetish that all of the slots on the light-switch panel screws are oriented vertically.

    Other older siblings: Ashley Morris (RIP), Dorothy, Mary, Jeff (tmmo), Jeff Borden, Kirk, Del, Brian, Dexter, Basset, Joe, Caliban … hmmm … maybe a few others.

    All of the older siblings are cool and have very good record collections and great pads to hang out at. They also let us drink beer and bum smokes and won’t tell mom and dad. Brian has a huge Playboy collection.

    Then there are the rest of us, who live at home and have to share the bathroom and the cramped quarters. Moe, Alex, Rana, Catherine, Scout, Linda, Colleen, JC, Connie, Cooz, Sue, Gas, me and many other whom I’m forgetting. Now, I’m odd man out with the live-at-home siblings. Kind of like the Alex Keaton of the bunch. I hate that I’m always right (but someone has to do it and I’m not one to shirk responsibility … Hehe). Also I have a very respectable record collection, rivaling some of the older siblings and I like sports.

    Now Alex, Rana, Moe, Cooz and JC think they are cool because they are going through their wearing-black-turtle-necks, smoking clove cigarettes, drinking lattes phase. They also claim they love spoken word poetry, but they just say that to act all cool and stuff.

    Now, I’m going for a swim. Alex, you better not touch any of my records, nerd.

    Oh, and JC, the website is still fubar. Fix it you little geek or you know the noogie-patrol is coming to a head near you!

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  82. brian stouder said on May 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    …and that led me to point out that Sotomayor had her own troubles with racist sounding speech (which was much more overt)…

    More overtly ridiculous than the “why should we have to abide public officials who have foreign-sounding names?” article??

    Sorry Danny – I don’t subscribe to that point of view.

    Here’s a genuine thought experiment. Read this:

    and then tell me if a reasonable person might reasonably conclude that this judge’s speech was “overtly” racist.

    Hell – tell me if an UNreasonable person can really make a case (that any reasonable person could reasonably accept) that this speech was “overtly racist”.

    Honestly, truly – I believe this judge is being praised by the feint damnation that seems to be all the opposition can muster

    edit: and someone keeps messing with my Playboy collection, too!

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  83. Guyot said on May 30, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Brian, if you have the August ’75 issue, I’d like to borrow it… you know, um, just for the short story by John Updike. Yeah.

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  84. Danny said on May 30, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Guyot, what’s that like the Barbi Benton issue? Or Blaze Starr?

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  85. moe99 said on May 30, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Danny, If I agreed with Obama and Gibbs all the time, I’d be nothing better than a toady. As it is I think they made a mistake apologizing for something that they did not have to apologize for, particularly if you read the entire speech, that Brian has so conveniently posted for us. You do not have to give in to the overt racism that is present in the criticisms of Judge Sotomayor, but for some reason they found it necessary to do so.
    Sets a damn bad precedent, as it emboldens and empowers the aholes. Maybe Obama has a long term view that I am not privy to and this fits in with it, but for me, he’s goofed by even acknowledging these stupid, non substantive criticisms.

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  86. Sue said on May 30, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I don’t know about the others, but you have got Cooz so completely wrong that I think it throws the whole theory out the window. Black turtle neck? Really.
    However, if your theory is correct:
    1. As usual, I’m home on a Saturday night; and
    2. You forgot that creepy kid next door, Dwight.

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  87. Dexter said on May 30, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Sue: You and Kirk are correct, and so am I. Yes, in print editions it was frequently base ball…I have see that many times.
    I was actually referring to a poster I once found online AND GODDAMNED IF I CAN FIND IT NOW!! that showed a poster promoting Charles Comiskey’s new BASE-BALL PALACE OF THE WORLD. I would say “look it up!” , but that may yield no results.
    I have some coffee table books, I’ll check those,maybe that’s where I saw it.
    Sometimes I go hyphen-crazy anyway…I blame only The New Yorker , which employs different rules…I also spell a word like “cancelled” with the two l letters, while most of society frowns on such spellings.
    Today I attended the graduation ceremony at Howe Military School. My grandson graduated.
    I am linking a short article about the speaker.
    This remarkable lady knocked us flat…her story is astounding.
    Even though she is a repugg…so what? That was all part of her plan to become an Ambassador of the United States.

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  88. coozledad said on May 31, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    If you knew a murderous Christianist terrorist was about to kill in the name of “life”, would you take the thumbscrews to his brethren to get them to cough his lowlife ass up like a fucking hairball, or would you just write it off as one of the sad facts of existence: you can’t civilize reptilian god-botherers.
    All we need to do is throw a little water on a few zealots’ faces. No one will be the worse for wear.
    Good thing we haven’t closed Gitmo.

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  89. Danny said on May 31, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Tell you what, Coozledad: I’ll go get waterboarded and you go get late-term aborted by having your skull crushed and brains sucked out and we’ll see who feels better at the end of the day. Deal?

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  90. coozledad said on May 31, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Feeling a little let down by your peers, Danny? I hope so. Otherwise you’d catch the goddamn barn-door sarcasm I was swinging there.
    For the record-torture is just the pastime of twisted little shits, and only serves to gratify the misguided sexual impulses of freaks. and while I sometimes waver on the ridiculous appropriation of the right to kill by states, once I calm down I can find it in my heart to merely hope the people who have tried to turn my country into a fundamentalist shooting range rot alone and despised in a clean, modern hellhole of a fucking jail for the remainder of their trash-ass useless lives.

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  91. coozledad said on May 31, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    And another damn thing. I don’t have the slightest memory of being in my mama’s pussy. Perhaps you remember your mama’s. That would mean A) You have a fantastic memory. Congratulations. Or B)…That’s some sickass shit.

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  92. Rana said on May 31, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I admit to wearing a few black turtlenecks back in the day, but clove cigarettes? Those things are damn nasty!

    No, I was never one of those beatnik too-cool-for-school types. When you start with a skinny brown-haired kid growing up in blonde California with glasses and braces, a beret-wearing coffeeshop poet isn’t quite what results. Nerd with a side order of hippie grunge would be more accurate.

    We did have some of those clove-smoking folks at my college – but my friends and I thought they were silly. While they were posing for each other in the Student Union, we were playing Scrabble in Russian, visiting hot springs and Powell’s Books, and torturing our brains with hours of homework. Compared to some of our peers, we were remarkably boring.

    But then, accuracy’s never been your strongest suit, has it, Danny?

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  93. JPK said on May 31, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    An interesting true-life anecdote on the reality of “late-term abortion” generally, and Tiller specifically. WWJD?

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  94. brian stouder said on May 31, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    playing Scrabble in Russian

    You know, I LOVE Scrabble – in English!

    Because of the association of Scrabble and our youthful pasts, this reference immediately reminded me of the afternoon of March 30, 1981.

    I was playing Scrabble against my girlfriend’s mom. We were in the dining room, with a Deluxe game (with the plastic game board with a grid, so that the letters stayed put – all mounted on a turntable).

    She was a tremendous player, and almost impossible to beat – and I even remember that in this particular game I used an ‘S’ to spell the world ‘swirl’, and also pluralize some other word, and the ‘w’ got a nice letter bonus. I was scoring enough points on Donna that I’d have a chance to end with a good score, or even – dare to think it! – possibly threaten to beat her!

    …and at some point the gf’s younger sister emerged from the basement to say that her soap operas were all interrupted.

    This caused Donna and I to look up from our game, and ask why – whereupon she said something like – ‘something about some nut shooting at the president’ – causing the game to immediately end, while we headed for the TV (and at the same time, the younger sister got upbraided by mom, for not coming to tell us about this more quickly!).

    It wasn’t long before we saw the live broadcast of Alexander Haig, covered in flop-sweat and with shifty eyes, assert that he was ‘in control’, since he was third in line after the president and vice president (who was on an airplane somewhere); which brought me to my feet, vocally ejaculating my disagreement with the sweaty image on the TV!

    As the Wicked Witch of the West said – ‘What a world, what a world!’

    PS – Dorothy, I will now root for the Penguins to win a game

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  95. Dexter said on June 1, 2009 at 1:38 am

    BREAKING BAD SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Walter White had a nasty hunk of tumor removed, Jesse is in rehab, and we were treated to spectacular fireworks at season’s end in “Breaking Bad”. Vince Gilligan spells out this season’s mysteries here.

    It took me a few days to comment, but yes I read that scary, creepy New Yorker story on FL Burmese pythons…the wildlife guy tagged one, tracked it, said he “knows I am standing almost on top of it, but it’s blended in so well I can’t see it.” I believe the story stated the damn things are all over FL now—they have found them in Tallahassee! So from The Everglades to Georgia, snakes are all over the place.
    I emailed my friend at Cape Coral,FL, too, when I read of the horrible Nile Monitor Lizards that have been spotted in increasing numbers there.
    She said one perches menacingly on a concrete parking lot high curb, just watching folks enter and leave her fave restaurant. She said they are very scary and creepy,and they will eat every cat and dog left alone for a second.
    Regarding Alan’s address routinely added to his boyhood-era story, I thought about how easy it is to find a lot of people via ZABA search. I located my old baseball coach from 1968 using it. He’s 88 now, still kickin’, still exercising rigorously as he always did.
    Brian…I will counter your Pens cheers with more hollerin’ for the Red Wings.
    Zetterberg makes many millions, does not score, but he has effectively shut down Crosby,earning every dime . BTW, Brian, I see where the Komets play in the International League? I remember when the IHL went big-time and kicked the Komets out, and the Ks went to the UHL…but I see they won the Turner Cup again. How did they come to be back in the IHL?

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  96. brian stouder said on June 1, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Dex – no idea! The U went bust, I know that; but hockey has never pulled me in. I was flipping channels and came across the Red Wings, and stopped. And within two minutes, I saw them score goal #3, and then went on, with a smile on my face

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  97. alex said on June 1, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Well, Danny, your posts above are a little different than the usual, but they sure go a long way toward explaining the childishness of your world view, not to mention your behavior generally.

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