A day in Collegeland.

Such a day to travel to Ann Arbor — the air still soft, fall colors at their absolute peak, the oblivious overprivileged students stepping in front of your car and I’m sorry but are you riding that bicycle the wrong way down a one-way street, HEADED DIRECTLY FOR ME?

She was. Swerved at the last minute. I love Ann Arbor, but sometimes I hate the reason Ann Arbor exists — students.

The online training went well. There was a segment on mobile-device info technology that turned up a few rocks for me, although again I had the thought: I hope some good new people have been entering my former industry in the years since I left it, because the people I once knew there simply aren’t up to this. I don’t think very often of my last years in the biz, but it came back to me at one point, when the speaker was discussing disseminating information across multiple platforms; I thought of the knee-jerk suspicion that accompanied every new idea in online journalism back in the day, how the immediate, gut reaction to an employee interested in trying something new was don’t, shouldn’t, can’t. And, of course, bias.

It’s frustrating to work in an environment ruled by fear. I’m sure it’s even worse now.

So I got home, got online and caught up on my Facebook buddies. Several are thinking about getting the H1N1 shot. Another is wondering whether her kids should get it. In every comment thread, there’s an anti-vaccination voice, and the position they take illustrates one of the weirder contradictions of modern life. I recommend Christopher Beam’s piece in Slate last week, about the bizarre right-left alliance against the new flu shot.

I’ve noticed one of the satisfactions the anti-vax position offers its holder, i.e., the ability to endlessly spew data into the air without having to actually consider it. People may have good reasons for not wanting the shot — and yes, “I’m afraid of needles” is a perfectly fine one — but at some level, this argument isn’t an argument at all, but more like birtherism. No matter how often someone says the vaccine is safe, you can always come back with but mercury’s a poison, is it not? “Mercury is a poison” is the “long-form birth certificate” of flu season.

Get the shot or don’t get it, but don’t bleat about mercury toxicity to one who has spent all this week clipping stories from the English-speaking press about this flu. Here’s one from the Daily Telegraph in London:

Doctors have been “unnerved” by the severity of swine flu in some patients and their rapid deterioration into a “life and death situation”, Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer has said.

I don’t like it when doctors are unnerved. I don’t like it when the ones dying are otherwise healthy young people. I’m going after the shot for Kate, but at this rate, it’s looking like the vaccine is already arriving too late to do any real good.

I’m off to my Friday morning meeting. Sorry for the thin effort this week, but we’ll try for better next, eh?

Posted at 8:49 am in Current events |

56 responses to “A day in Collegeland.”

  1. Bryan DeVasher said on October 23, 2009 at 9:11 am

    The swine flu shot is a frequent (read unceasing) topic of morning conversation among some of the parents at our bus stop.

    One parent said yesterday that they were concerned about their kids getting it because “it has killed more people than it has helped.” I have no idea where this father got that information, although the first letters probably are F-O-X.

    One mother, who is a nurse in a cancer ICU unit, says she is concerned because her hospital is “forcing” all of its employees to receive the vaccine. I know that if I had a relative in such a position, with a compromised immune system from fighting the Big C, I would want everyone attending to them to be vaccination for everything from the mumps to Ebola. This mother has talked about this every morning for the past week.

    As for our kids, they will be getting the shot. Especially because yesterday Virginia recorded its first swine-flu death in a person who didn’t have an underlying health problem. I wonder what the parents who just lost their 6-year-old daughter would say about the vaccine.

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  2. Jim said on October 23, 2009 at 9:15 am

    My kids got the first round of the H1N1 shot (mist, actually) yesterday. My wife and I were only able to get the seasonal flu shot and will probably have to wait a month for the H1N1. Stephanie had some reservations about the shot for the kids. But my mind was made up after talking with a friend of mine in the medical field. She said those who get the swine flu this year should consider themselves fortunate, because experts predict the virus will mutate over the next year into an even more virulent type — something akin to the 1917 virus that killed millions. Doctors are stunned by the speed of the swine flu. You can go from feeling fine to near death in a matter of hours. Scary stuff. It was enough to tip the scales for me — the virulence of this flu, especially for children, scares me more than the possible side effects of the vaccine.

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  3. 4dbirds said on October 23, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Yes the nameless ‘toxins’ that hide in vaccines waiting to give us autism. Why otherwise smart people believe things they hear from a friend of a friend or some person on the radio instead of experts trained in the subject matter always amazes me. Do we really want to return to the days of children dying from diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus or even yellow fever?

    Western medicine isn’t perfect but they do a lot of things right. The fact that 99 percent of us never have to worry about our children dying of disease before they’re adults is not magic, it’s because of research and vaccines.

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  4. mark said on October 23, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Better hope that lots of people choose to pass on the vaccine (and that the virus remains relatively non-lethal), since only a fraction of the vaccine that was promised is being delivered. The story doesn’t seem to merit much press coverage, but from what I can glean there are significant manufacturing problems. The promised 120 million doses by October (for the US), which became 20 million doses per week beginning mid-October, has become … who knows?

    It seems that rather than use our political and economic pull to get a little higher priority on the world customer list, we are using this as a good opportunity to demonstrate that America will no longer demand a disproportionate share of a scarce resource. Europe, where most of all vaccines are manufactured due to more favorable product liability laws, is being more parochial in their approach and urging their manufacturers to give the homeland priority service.

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  5. MarkH said on October 23, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Bryan, not sure how you manage to get from having “no idea” where someone got such information, to a probability of Fox as a source. Except may that you are employed at the White House.

    I watch a number of network and cable newscasts, Fox included, and have never heard such idiocy as your parent aquaintance apprently made up. If you can stand a link to FoxNews, you might be surprised at the facts and common sense they provide on this subject, particularly item numbers 3 & 4.


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  6. Jolene said on October 23, 2009 at 10:27 am

    The fact that 99 per­cent of us never have to worry about our chil­dren dying of dis­ease before they’re adults is not magic, it’s because of research and vaccines.

    In my own lifetime, the changes have been huge. When I was a kid, everyone had measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Now, American kids don’t get those diseases. One of my sisters contracted polio just before the vaccine became available. Now, many people don’t even know what polio is.

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  7. Dorothy said on October 23, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Hmph. And I thought Kenyon was the only campus where “over-privileged students” stepped out in front of cars without looking.

    Turns out my co-worker’s son does NOT have H1N1 and neither does she. Still, it put our division into a little state of panic yesterday because of the two expectant mothers here. I figure it’s a matter of time before someone in our group of 40+ employees gets it. Just hope it’s not me. I got my regular flu shot abut 10 days ago, and I’ll get the H1N1 if it’s available.

    Nance I am hopeful that the main people going into, and staying with journalism at newspapers these days are the best and the brightest of the available talent. These youngsters are very technology savvy and are much more open to new ways of doing things than employees a generation older than they are. I think that is the main reason to hope for a future in a new and improved newspaper industry, in whatever form it takes.

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  8. 4dbirds said on October 23, 2009 at 10:39 am

    “When I was a kid, every­one had measles, mumps, and chicken pox.”

    I never had mumps although I grew up before the vaccine. I contracted measles at the age of 20 while in the army. They hospitalized me (along with several others) as measles is a dangerous thing for adults and also to keep us away from the rest of the troops. After the 1918 flu, the military takes these things seriously.

    Because of my military service, I’ve even been vaccinated against anthrax and the plague.

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  9. Linda said on October 23, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I have signed up to get the shot when it’s available to our health department (in Ohio, you can sign up for notification early). One of the nephews already got his, since the health dept. is prioritizing for young people, who seem to have had the worst of it. I’m a lefty, and firmly in the pro-vaccination camp. Nobody has proven ill effects from vaccines in general, except in the case of allergies. Pandemics , on the other hand,have an unhappy track record.

    Since I work with the public, I’m in the vortex of germs, and get all the vaccinations I can get.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on October 23, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Firm believer in vaccines here, and hoping our college son gets over his strep throat soon so he can get the H1N1 vaccine.

    Ten years ago the DH saw the potential for journalism on the internet and had lots of great ideas. They were all cut down because they would have required an upfront investment. I rejoice every day that he changed fields. But I hope that the students who are true believers in journalistic ideals will persist.

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  11. MichaelG said on October 23, 2009 at 10:55 am

    The H1N1 flu vaccine is a flu vaccine just like every other flu vaccine. It is made using the same methods, equipment etc. as every other flu vaccine. The only thing different is the specific strain of flu the manufacturers are aiming for. Every year, sometimes more than once, the vaccine mix is changed to target new strains of flu. H1N1 is just another one, albeit a bad one. The delay in manufacturing the product comes principally from the fact that the H1N1 strain is a slow grower and requires more lab time to make than what we have had before and because the H1N1 flu has come into season now instead of after the first of the year like classic strains. Two things then: There is nothing new or different or weird to make the H1N1 vaccine harmful to folks and there is no secret CDC plot to delay its delivery.

    I’ve always thought that it would be easy to run a university without those damn pesky students around to get in the way.

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  12. LAMary said on October 23, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I think I’m the only one in my office of eight people who will get the H1N1 for my kids and for myself if possible. The rest think it’s a socialist plot or a way for the drug companies to get rich. Everyone who works in the hospital in a patient care role is emphatically offered the shot and I haven’t heard any patient care employees say they wouldn’t get it. That ICU nurse mentioned above sounds like an idiot, sorry. It’s not just that a nurse could pass it along to a critically ill or immunosuppressed patient. What happens if the hospital has to run on seriously reduced staff numbers because of the flu, and we’re overwhelmed with patients because of the flu? As a patient care provider I think you are obligated to get the shot. Something like 94% of the employees here get the seasonal flu shot every year for the same reason. The six percent who turn it down are the ones who think the shot gives you the flu. That would include, yet again, most of the folks in my non patient care office. Five out of eight of us had no health care background when they were hired a year ago. This explains a lot.

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  13. Jen said on October 23, 2009 at 11:16 am

    There’s some kind of nasty upper-respiratory bug running rampant in town, and my husband was sick but it was really mild, so we’re not at all convinced it was swine flu. As soon as I can get my seasonal and H1N1 flu shots, you’d better believe I’ll get them. I’ve never had a problem with a vaccine, and I do NOT want to get sick. Unfortunately, they’re only doing schoolkids with H1N1 right now, and everyone around here is out of seasonal flu vaccine. It kind of makes me a little nervous, actually.

    Our newspaper company has been pretty good about trying to keep up on the technologies and have a good web presence. It’s a learning curve, though, and some people are more stubborn and/or inexperienced than others. I’m loving a lot of the things we’re doing, but sometimes it’s a little bit slow coming. I’ve dived right in, though – I am a moderator on our online forums, I have my own blog that is relatively popular, and I’ve done some video editing for video on our website.

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  14. nancy said on October 23, 2009 at 11:33 am

    It isn’t just keeping up with new technology, but figuring out how to use it in interesting and productive ways. One of the hyperlocal sites I saw not long ago was dealing with a breaking story — wildfires. They had a Twitter feed set up to grab every tweet with a particular fire hashtag, and it made for a remarkable bit of reading. Not every one was useful, some were just jokes, but they were constantly changing and you got a sense of its movement. People were tweeting road closings, or an evacuation order being lifted, etc. It was a little like listening to a police scanner.

    This is the sort of thing most editors would never think of, because they’re so tied to the idea of reporter>story>publication. I’d love to see something like this used to provide *a* window, not the only window, on a large, diffuse event, like a riot. (Or Iranian unrest, to use but one example from the past.)

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  15. moe99 said on October 23, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I go in for my annual mammogram this Saturday, which was reset from earlier this month because so much of the staff was down with the flu (possibly swine flu–I know it made the rounds at UW pediatrics I know).

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  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 23, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Curious to hear more, Nancy, about how current newsrooms are reacting to and adjusting into social media. Clergy in the mainline Protestant denominations are enjoying a general AndyRooney-esque reaction of “this stuff is no replacement for TRUE community” and a dismissive sniff at those of us using Blogspot and Facebook and Twitter.

    Then they literally weep as they report their attendance down *another* 20% and the congregation’s giving at a point where paying for the health insurance is about the only pay they have. Fulltime ministry, if you define that as a position which offers compensation that theoretically could support a household with health care, pension credits, and mileage reimbursement, is a vanishing phenomenon. Which means even fewer people serving congregational pulpits who are younger than 50 and have an engagement with technology that isn’t a blind date.

    So fear, anxiety, and knee-jerk distaste for technology — clergy are right up there with most of the news org folk i know. Which i don’t get, since you can have a fine service and plenty of families with pipe organs and hymnals (plenty of folks still want Sunday morning to be a bit of a haven from relentless techno intrusion), but if you try to make the weekdays in between & pastoral care work with just bulletins, newsletters, and phone calls to landline numbers, you’re not going to hold and build a church other than with retirees.

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  17. Jolene said on October 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    The J-school at Columbia University has just issued a big report called The Reconstruction of American Journalism focusing on where the money is to come from for “accountability journalism” (i.e., the kind of journalism that attempts to hold people in power accountable) in the future.

    Len Downie, former managing editor of the WaPo and one of the authors of the report, had an op-ed summarizing the report in the Post this past Sunday. It’s clear from the report that they’ve been looking at activities like GPT, Nancy.

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  18. moe99 said on October 23, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I think Leonard Pitts has a rather good take on the Rush as NFL team owner question:


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  19. Jolene said on October 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Hank, the author of Tinsel and Nancy’s friend-she-has-never-met, posted this video on Facebook last night. It’s too good not to share, especially on a Friday.

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  20. brian stouder said on October 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Say – check out friend-of-nn.c Laura Lippan’s post about her newspaper days and her teachers (good and bad!)


    And, finally, thanks to the Medill instructor who commented on my weight every time he saw me. I hope you stopped that when you returned to the private sector. It’s gray-area, in terms of sexual harassment, but still kind of icky.

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  21. Dorothy said on October 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Wow Jolene – there’s not even a HINT of body fat on those jump-roping girls!

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  22. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm


    Leonard Pitts is a terrific columnist who deserves a far wider audience than he gets. In the august Chicago Tribune, I must endure pinched little legacy conservative columnists like Jonah Goldberg, whose employment is due solely to being the son of Lewinskygate nag Lucianne Goldberg, or the sour and bitter gruel of Charles Krauthammer, as sad and unhappy a lout as writes these days. Pitts is refreshingly non-doctrinaire and mixes a nice writing style with keen insights.

    Ah, well, you know that librul media.

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  23. Jolene said on October 23, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Wow Jolene — there’s not even a HINT of body fat on those jump-roping girls!

    That’s right. They are amazingly fit, which, I suppose, is not surprising given how much energy it must take to practice and perform at that level. And I’m sure it’s great for them in all kinds of other ways too.

    When I was in school, there really wasn’t anything in the way of sports for girls. One of my younger sisters, however, was an excellent basketball player, and the experience of being part of a high-energy, high-morale enterprise was terrific for her. I mean, she was a high-energy, high-morale person all on her own, but being part of the team gave her both an important set of bonds and a place to shine. Just what you need to get through high school!

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  24. Jolene said on October 23, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Jeff, I agree that Krauthammer is really awful lately. I never shared his political views, but, in the past, I found him to be an incisive thinker and a good writer. Now, he is just an old grump.

    He’s on a local political chat show–one of several panelists–and I often wonder how the other panelists put up with him. Not only is he a grump, but he’s supercilious and patronizing as well. I have to resist the impulse to reach into my TV and strangle him.

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  25. basset said on October 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    As long as your “place to shine” isn’t the library…

    I don’t remember either of the rural Southwestern Indiana high schools I went to having girls’ sports at all, but I graduated in 1973.

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  26. nancy said on October 23, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Eh. I put Leonard Pitts in the Academy of the Overrated. Still better than Goldberg, however. By about a million miles.

    Sometimes I wonder if Krauthammer’s grouchiness isn’t due to his secret fear that the wheel has turned for good this time and left him and his ilk behind. I think by the time you’re his age, you’ve seen enough to know that ideologies and attitudes come in and out of fashion, like hemlines. If you’re convinced you’re right, you’ll either have your day or you won’t, but it won’t last forever. He — and a lot of writers, famous and not-so, that I read these days — seem utterly baffled that it’s all over.

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  27. Sue said on October 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Oh dear me:
    Add that to my WTF Obama Box, filed right next to the FISA vote.
    And dear me some more:
    Couldn’t these yahoos find something more important to finally show some solidarity and backbone on?

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  28. Jolene said on October 23, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    As long as your “place to shine” isn’t the library…

    Was the implication that athletes aren’t smart? The sister in question was valedictorian of her class, sailed through college and a master’s degree in chemical engineering, and is now a VP at an international A&E firm–making more money, I’m sure, than any of us.

    Although I don’t have the citations at my fingertips, I believe there is research indicating that, for girls, academic performance is positively correlated with participation in sports and that such participation predicts professional achievement in adulthood.

    Can’t let anybody talk bad about my baby sister.

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  29. Jeff Borden said on October 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Nance, I completely disagree with your assessment on Leonard Pitts, but that’s life. We all have our faves and our non-faves. Regarding Krauthammer, I think you are right on the money.

    The party is over for the neoconservative movement and they don’t like the fact. Eight years of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice was disaster writ large and for all the huffing and puffing about a GOP resurgence, the Republicans are now a regional party based in the South.

    The demands for ideological purity resonate particularly in NY-23, where a moderate Republican congresswoman is being challenged by a Conservative Party challenger. While some GOP royalty including Newt Gingrich have endorsed the moderate, the loons are out for the conservative guy. Bill Kristol, Sarah Palin, Americans for Prosperity and a wide, wide range of Internet conservatives also are going for the far right candidate. The result? For the first time since before the Civil War, a Democrat has a legitimate chance to be elected up there. Yay Republicans!!

    No one represents the downfall of white male privilege better than paleocon Pat Buchanan, whose lastest screed on World Nut Daily is literally a long, trembling sob that the time when guys like Pat ruled the earth is coming to an end. Oh, boo hoo hoo.

    I’ve always loved the comment by the late Molly Ivins, after Pitchfork Pat gave a rabid, angry speech at the 1992 GOP convention: “It probably sounded better in its original German.”

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  30. moe99 said on October 23, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Sue, I may be totally off base but I blame Rahm Emmanuel for most of Obama’s inexplicably boneheaded moves. Even though Emmanuel’s brother Ari, is also a graduate of my alma mater, I’ve always thought that Rahm back when he was on the Clinton staff and later as a US Rep from Illinois, was always too ready to play patty cake with the corporate lobbyists that did not have the people’s interests at heart. I’m sure Rahm considers himself a pragmatist. I think he’s been terribly corrupted by the system and can’t recognize it in himself.

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  31. Deborah said on October 23, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Those jump ropers were amazing. Great link.

    I like Rahm, not exactly sure why. He does seem like such a pragmatist, but I think that’s a good thing right now. We have to remain calm and take deep breaths while we let some things play out. It hasn’t been that long since they came to power and they inherited an incredible mess.

    As an example, regarding healthcare, I want a public option, I really want universal healthcare but it will take awhile to get the populace to see the way, they have been duped for so long…

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  32. Ricardo said on October 23, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    From about 1955 until 1959, I would go home from elementary school for lunch. On the television, at noon, was Soupy Sales live on Detroit television. Later, he would go to New York and Los Angeles for his live and taped shows, but Detroit had an exclusive in the 50s.

    Being a live show, Soupy had a lot of freedom you hardly see today. I’m sure they had a lot less rehearsal than SNL, and a lot more fun. I miss live shows, especially kids shows. Soupy didn’t have a lot of kids on his show, his set was tiny and limited, but it was all he needed.

    Of course, as a kid, I didn’t know about the camera men dropping trou and doing anything else they could to get Soupy to crack up on camera, including the naked woman at the doorway. But I did know there was a cork in the wall next to the doorway with a ‘Do Not Touch sign’ and every time Soupy took out the cork to see what was inside he got squirted in the face. Seltzer.

    Then there were the dogs, White Fang, Black Tooth, and Pookie. Pookie came later. They were just puppets manned by the crew, White Fang (the mean one) and Black Tooth were only one furry arm per dog. Dog arms as tall as Soupy’s neck. And undoggly voices, I can still impersonate them.

    There were also offcamera visitors, usually yelling at Soupy, from his doorway, off camera. Most of the time, they would end up hitting Soupy with a shaving cream pie. Soupy also got pies from the direction of the cameras. What kid wouldn’t like Soupy Sales?

    White Fang and Black Tooth taught kids Yin and Yang, they were opposites, one mean and one really sweet, one black and one white, one with a low bark and one with a falsetto.

    Since it was broadcast at noon, Soupy would tell you what was on the menu for the next day (he didn’t go beyond one day) so that you could have Mom make the same thing to eat with Soupy. Every time Jello was brought out, there was a quick,sweeping steel guitar sound effect like a Warner Brother’s cartoon, played while Soupy wiggled the Jello. My mom never made the same thing as Soupy. Back then kids went home at lunch because their mothers were at the house all day.

    After Soupy left town, we didn’t see him so often, but the other kid got to enjoy the experience. Knowing what I know now, I think Detroit was Soupy’s wildest and most legendary shows. Soupy, I’ll miss you, you were an original.

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  33. Kirk said on October 24, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Lunch with Soupy Sales was something I never missed on Saturday (I probably timed it so that I was eating my lunch when it was on). I thought it was hilarious, but I, too, certainly had no idea of what was going on off-camera.

    A friend sent me a YouTube link to something with Soupy, but it had been taken down (“due to terms of use violation”) by the time I got around to checking it. Maybe the naked woman was in it.

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  34. crazycatlady said on October 24, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Soupy was an amazing guy. Rest in peace, Soupy.

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  35. Dexter said on October 24, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Well, we still have Pee Wee, on the comeback trail. He’s 57 now. Gay camp for everybody, that’s Pee Wee to a tee.
    I don’t remember Soupy Sales on Fort Wayne TV, but maybe I just didn’t care for him , or at that time I didn’t dig all the adult entertainment he brought on.
    My pal who was was raised in Jackson Heights , NYC, said it was Soupy who turned him on to jazz. Soupy would bring the likes of Duke Ellington out frequently.
    We did receive Pinky Lee somehow. I don’t remember much about him. We loved Bozo (did the Fort Wayne local studio employ their own Bozo?) . Of course we got all the national kids’ shows.
    Local CBS station WINT, Waterloo, later WANE Ft. Wayne, had Cactus Jack Powell on in the afternoons, and I believe it was he who hosted ‘Dance Date’.
    He had a most unflattering nickname, “Hose Nose”.
    Of course, the most amazing thing was that Waterloo had a TV station. How the hell did that ever happen? And it becomes more surreal to discover that Ronald Reagan rode the NYCentral to Waterloo to use the studio to cut commercials for “20 Mule Team Borax”, and then walk up to Toots Smith’s tavern for a beer and a ham sandwich.

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  36. basset said on October 24, 2009 at 6:01 am

    >>As long as your “place to shine” isn’t the library…

    >Was the impli­ca­tion that ath­letes aren’t smart?

    not at all. what I’m saying is that athletics will get you more attention and privileges, and open more social doors, than academics.

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  37. Jolene said on October 24, 2009 at 9:46 am

    not at all. what I’m say­ing is that ath­let­ics will get you more atten­tion and priv­i­leges, and open more social doors, than academics.

    Right you are. Thanks for clarifying. My sister got her first job–a well-paid internship at 3M–in part because the hiring manager was intrigued by the record of participation in high school and college sports on her resume. And her general demeanor–cheerful, energetic, competitive–has helped her excel in a field where most of the people at the top are men.

    We always joke that, if we hadn’t been related, we’d never have met, as we have no overlapping interests or talents. No one would mistake me for either an athlete or engineer.

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  38. basset said on October 24, 2009 at 10:06 am

    me neither, I barely passed high school algebra and didn’t even go to a single ball game all the way through high school, let alone play.

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  39. Danny said on October 24, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I sometimes get mistaken for both…

    I was too young for Soupy, but in Baltimore we has “Professor Kool and his Fun Skool.” I think I posted about it a couple of years back.

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  40. beb said on October 24, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Moe @ 30, I think you’re right that Rahm Emmanuel has been leading Obama’s caving to corporate interests. Only I doubt that he’s been corrupted by the system, I think he dived head first into it planning to become immensely wealthy somewhere along the way. But Obama shares some (a lot) of the blame, first for picking someone like Emmanuel, who was already known for this. But Obama has done little to advance the liberal causes he espoused during the campaign and were the reasons I voted for him. Next time I plan to vote for a LIBERAL!

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  41. Jolene said on October 24, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Next time I plan to vote for a LIBERAL!

    Better make it a very persuasive liberal. If Obama–the charming, articulate, consensus-builder–is having trouble pulling the Conservadems along w/ him, just imagine how hard it will be for someone whose ideas are further to the left.

    That said, it surprises me a little that the White House didn’t take a more creative and vigorous approach to the health care issue–not so much in terms of proposing a specific detailed plan, but in getting way out front w/ a simple, clear explanation of the problems, complete with Perot-like charts and graphs.

    I may be naive, but it seems like the whole enterprise wouldn’t have been, as they say, such a heavy lift if there weren’t so many people who started out so convinced that the US has the best health care system in the world and so oblivious about what its costs and problems are. Organizational change agents talk about creating a “felt need” for change as a requirement for effective reorganization and organizational improvement efforts. Obama may have thought that his election meant greater receptiveness to his idea than he’s experienced.

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  42. brian stouder said on October 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Well, I’m as happy with President Obama as I could ever possibly have been with, say, President Hillary Clinton…and perish the thought of how things would be if we had a (disgraced) President Edwards, let alone an utterly clueless President McCain – with the even-more-clueless, one-heartbeat-away Vice President Palin.

    President Obama staked all his political capital on healthcare reform, and if his efforts were to end in nothing at all, he really would have been a mission-killed* flat failure, just as the one loud-mouthed US Senator said (the “Waterloo” guy)

    A few weeks ago I was ready to be happy with anything that they could reasonably call “reform” onto President Obama’s desk, and NOW – it looks like they really will get a substantive reform bill passed and signed.

    By way of saying, in my advancing old age I value pragmatic and steady over slashing and dogmatic

    *if you read about the Navy (for example), the concept is that an adversary doesn’t have to actually sink a ship – for example, one of our big Nimitz-class aircraft carriers – in order to eliminate it as a threat. If you can, say, knock out it’s catapults – then you’ve eliminated it’s ability to send waves of strike fighters out, and mission-killed it

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  43. Kirk said on October 24, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    All I remember (or think I remember) about Pinky Lee is a guy dancing around in a straw boater and my 7- or 8-year-old brain thinking “This isn’t for me.”

    EDIT: Well, it wasn’t a straw boater. It was just a ridiculous hat.

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  44. 4dbirds said on October 24, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Wasn’t there a Pinky Lee character in a Shirley MacLain movie. One where all her husbands die.

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  45. Kirk said on October 24, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Well, IMDB says they both were in Ocean’s Eleven.

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  46. brian stouder said on October 24, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Say – here’s a CULTURAL ALERT!!! that I learned today.

    The hot hot hot toy for Christmas 2009 is something called….

    Zhu Zhu Hamsters

    Honestly, I don’t really “get it”, but they blow off the shelves at Toys R Us (et al) at about $10 each (they will limit customers to four!) – although you can spend 3X that and get them on Amazon.

    So, in November you can say you read it on nn.c first

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  47. beb said on October 24, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Attention Jeff (TMMO): Read about a religious scam that had me rolling on the floor. An organization called Eternal Earth Bound Pets is taking contracts to care for the pet of the blessed after they have been Raptured into heaven. For $110 they will hire an atheist to adopt the pets that will be left behind.

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  48. moe99 said on October 24, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    So Mark Sanford gets to wax on about Ayn Rand in Newsweek. wtf?


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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 24, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    From what i understand about the exit criteria for Rapture-ready participants, i’m sure i’d be around to help with pet care for the departed. For instance, i just helped tell spooky stories for a village Hallowe’en party tonight; that alone would make Baby Jesus cry, by their standards.

    Don’t think you’ll be rid of me with no more than a Rapture! It’ll take at least a tribulation or two to wipe my ilk off the map, and away from the kennels.

    (Psst – Mark Sanford: Newsweek is not asking you to write about Rand because they care about your political philosophy. They want to know if you’re actually so obtuse as to . . . ahhhhh, never mind.)

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  50. Dexter said on October 24, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Imus was telling Soupy Sales stories on Friday. Bernard McGuirk said Soupy was a pretentious diva, a perfectionist, who had to have everything just right, or he would take out his rage on everyone around. He was also a clean-freak. Imus and Soupy shared the same studio and Soupy was always bitching at how the studio was left by Imus. So Imus got a bunch of boxes of cereal and dumped them all over everything just before Soupy arrived. Of course, Soupy went nuts. Someone collared Imus and handed him broom and mop and told him to go back and clean it all up. You just know how that went!
    Once the airlines lost Soupy’s bags; Soupy’s address book was lost in them. Soupy was distraught.
    One of Imus’s cohorts started calling Soupy and leaving messages: a movie deal in the works–CALL ME BACK RIGHT AWAY!—-a book deal possibility, a paid appearance on a big variety show…and each time, “you have our number.”
    Whenever Soupy flew anywhere, the goofballs he worked around called the airline to have a wheelchair waiting at the gate. The shenanigans went on and on.

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  51. Dexter said on October 24, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I don’t know, JMMO…telling Halloween tales to little children may be enough to earn eternal damnation…or not.
    Here’s my all time favorite October story:


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  52. moe99 said on October 25, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Nance, The Seattle film critic, Dennis Hartley really liked Where the Wild Things Are too:


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  53. crinoidgirl said on October 25, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Women firefighters kicking ass at Pearl Harbor:


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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 25, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Dexter, i’ll see your Irving (a sweet tale we told with equestrian assistance on the street outside last year!), and raise you a Poe — http://www.online-literature.com/poe/25/ — this is my pick for a “still can raise the hairs on the back of your neck” classic tale.

    UPDATE: So i decided it would be fun to post the link Dexter shared on my FB profile, and the friend who normally snags me to tell stories for the Rec Commission saw it, and posted a link to a shot from last year, when i was out of town, of the young man in “costume” who an hour later rode down Broadway in scenic little Granville, OH

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  55. moe99 said on October 26, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Jeff, your link is not working.

    And on to another subject who can tell me about this overreaching prosecutor from Illinois?


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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 26, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Dang. It’s supposed to be an “anyone can see” version of a link to a FB photo — of our headless horseman from last year. I can click and get it, but apparently not all. Sorry! I’d figure out picasa or something but i must trot right out to learn what another 20% budget cut will look like in juvenile justice. Hope to return tonight to jump into an extensive discussion of “Mad Men.”

    But as for the Illinois prosecutor, isn’t that the state version of a SLAPP litigation? How is it, even if their assertion is true, equivalent to subpoena-ing police procedural materials to identify bias? They call for that material so they can maintain their position against a defense attorney who claims police misconduct; what’s their comparable basis for going after the academic procedural stuff? Nonsense.

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