Halloween tourism.

Halloween went swimmingly. The air was nippy but not too, the leaves crunchy and abundant, and once again, I overbought. I used to buy 10 bags of candy. This year, I bought…I forget how many, but it was way more than 10. I blanched a moment when the total came up on the register, more than $50, but promptly rationalized that money spent making children happy on a candy-centered holiday is worth double karma points.

Many tourists this year. I don’t care at all, not even a little. We’ve now settled into a groove — lawn chair on the porch, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins on the box, wineglass in the hand, magnanimity in the heart. I missed Spriggy this year; he was always my companion on Halloween, watching from the other side of the storm door, barking less as the years went by. I imagine this stabbing in the heart will lessen as the gulf between us widens, but never go away entirely.

I want another dog. But now I have a rabbit. No dogs yet.

(I wonder about the compatibility of cats and bunnies. The one story I heard about them was told to me by one of those guys you meet from time to time; he either sells you pot or fixes your appliances or is your friend’s cousin. Lives out in the country, has a mullet and keeps strange animals as pets — ferrets and snakes and exotic lizards, and somehow they all get along. This guy had a rabbit and a cat, and said they fought exactly once: “That rabbit grabbed that cat with his front feet, and started poundin’ on him with ’em big thumpers in back, man.” The cat left the bunny alone after that.)

The Obamas had a Halloween party, we’re told. I learned this from Google Trends, which had “michelle obama catwoman” high in the mix. She did? Get OUT, I thought, and raced for photos, but she was no sexy kitten, more like a hip suburban mom taking the opportunity to give herself a smoky eye. Well, you could hardly expect her to put on the black rubber suit (links thanks to Jolene) on the steps of the White House, but it does sound as though they made an effort to put on a pretty good Halloween party for the local kiddies. I’m sure the press releases are going out to the perpetual opposition — blah blah wasteful blah blah demonic blah blah recession, etc. I say, hey, Halloween! I’m for it.

Another week begins, and I can hardly get excited about it, except for E-Day, of course. The race known as NY-23 sailed under my radar until only recently, and that’s one to watch. Sarah Palin’s been a player in that one, probably because she believes so strongly in the people’s right to choose their representatives free of outside influence — in fact, a representative free of inside encumbrances, like residency in the district he allegedly represents.

We’ll see how that one turns out; I’m genuinely interested. It won’t be the embarrassment of Alan “What state am I in?” Keyes in Illinois — in fact, would-be Rep. Carpetbagger is polling pretty far out front — but it’ll make election night worth tuning in for.

Around here, it’s all about municipal races, and I am in a foul mood. I am in a slate-wiping mood. I am in a What Michigan Needs is Not YOU mood. Unfortunately, I can’t vote in any of those races. But the one to watch will be Proposal D in Detroit, which is a grassroots effort to make the city council actually representative of the city by changing it from an all-at large body to one elected by district. Instead of the usual crew of idiots, it will be a different crew of perhaps-less-idiotic idiots. That’s about the best the D can hope for, but who knows? Maybe a new crew of idiots will help. All I know is, the line on the campaign mailer that means the least to me right now is the one detailing how many decades of residence one has. Roots are fine, but the grand old traditions — of business, of politics — are part of what got us into this mess. New thinking, stat.

So, some bloggage? Sure.

Hank Stuever had a good weekend, with lots of good pub for “Tinsel.” The best place for an all-links roundup is his own blog, Tonsil. Bonus: His piece on Bravo, the morality-reality channel, in the WashPost this weekend.

Speaking of Sarah, wouldn’t you love to get a robocall from her, urging you to “vote for Sarah’s values?” Which ones would those be, Sarah?

And now it’s time to hop to it, quick like a bunny. Who is probably chewing something as we speak.

Posted at 10:29 am in Current events, Detroit life |

79 responses to “Halloween tourism.”

  1. Peter said on November 2, 2009 at 11:08 am

    My Halloween was somewhat eventful. I had a bowlful of broccoli next to the candy, and when the kids came by I offered the broccoli first. Most kids either screamed or laughed, but one little girl grabbed two stalks and went on her way- I didn’t even get the chance to offer her candy. Ten minutes later a very angry mom shows up at my door – WTF!! kind of @$^% are you to give BROCCOLI out to kids! Thank God she didn’t egg my house or have her husband punch me out.

    That’s it – next year it’s apples!

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  2. jeff borden said on November 2, 2009 at 11:09 am

    A vote for Sarah Palin’s values means quitting every position you obtain without finishing the job; accepting multi-millions of dollars so a ghostwriter can write “my” story; advocating for abstinence education after my teenager got pregnant; shooting wolves from helicopters; smearing anyone who disagrees with me as not a “real American;” ranting about federal government spending and earmarks while leading the state that is No. 1 in collecting federal government dollars and earmarks; never blinking; never accepting responsibility; never reading a newspaper or magazine; embracing creationism; celebrating my mediocrity.

    Did I leave out anything?

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  3. Deborah said on November 2, 2009 at 11:12 am

    With regard to Tinsel: My husband went to a Bob Dylan concert on Thursday night. Dylan announced that he has come out with a Christmas CD. Can you imagine him signing Christmas songs in his old gravelly voice?

    I chose not to go to the concert, partly because of my work schedule and partly because I’m not as much of a fan as my husband. He liked it so much he went back Saturday night.

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  4. coozledad said on November 2, 2009 at 11:13 am

    jeff borden: From the SC board of tourism:Sarah’s values, our values.

    South Carolina’s just a state of mind

    takin off your rust belt, going moonshine blind

    leave your mama and your sister, throw a raincoat on your mister

    South Carolina is bringing the behind.

    We got the Redneck Riviera and the club’s all got Pantera

    You can strop it, you can drop it right on the dance floor

    declare yourself a nation with some public masturbation

    South Carolina is what cotton was made for.

    Leave your kitty and your doggy, just bring your Lincoln loggie

    you’ll have your choice of horses and baby strippers, too

    You can humpter you can pumpter, you can fire on fort Strumpter

    You bring the bag,

    we’ll bring the glue.

    Turn your back on all them ghettos and head for the palmettos

    South Carolina is a callin’ you.

    (spoken) Take off your pants, hang around for awhile.

    Here. Let me loosen up those wetsuits.

    Y’all come back now, y’hear.

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  5. Dorothy said on November 2, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Peter that’s amazing! Apparently that woman has no sense of humor. And doesn’t it say something about the girl, though, that she helped herself to the broccoli without complaining and went on her merry way? She showed more manners than her asshole-ish mother did.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on November 2, 2009 at 11:39 am

    First laugh of the day; thanks, Peter.

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  7. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 11:42 am

    An Andrew Sullivan reader has a longish comment on the NY-23 race. Sounds like the sort of real American place where Sarah Palin finds her fans.

    Heard on TV this AM that the district is likely to be absorbed into the surrounding districts, all of which are more Democratic, after the 2010 census. So, although the national Dems want a Democrat to win now, officeholders in nearby districts would just as soon the Republican win so that there’d be one less incumbent to fight over the smaller number of seats.

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  8. adrianne said on November 2, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    It’s been fun to see the Republicans implode over the NY 23rd Congressional District, backing a conservative moron who DOESN’T EVEN LIVE IN THE DISTRICT over the choice of 11 Republican county chairs in the Great White North of the Empire State. All they’re doing is paving the way for the Democrat to seize control. Rock on, Sarah, Rush, and the others!

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 2, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Jeff, you overlooked her Miss Congeniality win.

    I haven’t found any explanation of how the residency thing works, although the state that elected Bobby Kennedy and Hillary Clinton to the Senate seems to have an essentially open-hearted approach to the subject. Hoffman lives near the edge of a district that is widely known to be up for redistricting immolation in 2010, hence little interest by GOPers, but has all his personal history wrapped up well within the district, so carpet-bagger seems to be a bit excessive a label . . . but how does he actually win? Not will he get the votes, which appears solid, but legally, can he win? Or does NY law not require residency other than in the state? Rudimentary Googling gets me nuttin’.

    UPDATE: yes, and the flautist family values, or at least the tonality.

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  10. jeff borden said on November 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Dang, you’re right Jeff TMMO. I also forgot that I must learn to play the flute, which was her instrument of choice in the talent portion of Miss Alaska.

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  11. LAMary said on November 2, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Love Michelle Obama, but the Catwoman costume looks like a Michael Kors twinset. I understand she couldn’t go for broke, but she could have tried a little harder. I see the grandmas of Valley Girls dressed like that (without the ears) all the time. Add some huge doorknocker earrings and you’re in Encino.

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  12. brian stouder said on November 2, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Rock on, Sarah, Rush, and the others!

    If the national economic news keeps going the way it has been (including today’s stories about Ford making a billion dollars and manufacturing and homesales UP), I think the Beck-heads and Limbaugh’s flying monkeys might just melt – the way the Wicked Witch of the West did, when SHE got hit in the face with cold water.

    When the positive GDP numbers came out last week, the lip-flapper brigade was loudly calling them flatly fraudulant (making them sound frankly flatulent!). Blaming the bad economy on President Obama was always going to be a hard sell to anyone outside the wingnut base, but nonetheless there is a sisyphusian effort by the Hannity/Limbaugh axis of ignorance to do just that.

    Anyway – fivethirtyeight had an interesting article this weekend on NY-23. Bottomline: it’s anyone’s guess what will happen there

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  13. Sue said on November 2, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Must disagree: Ferrets aren’t weird pets (RIP Enzo).
    Forget razor blades, did you check your candy for demons?
    Anyone have any idea what electing a winger in NY23 will accomplish? Is this some kind of blow for freedom, the beginning of something bigger, or is it just going to turn out to be a small enclave of superpatriots, without much impact?

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  14. ROgirl said on November 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Brian, those windbags, blowhards and whiners will just find something else to whip themselves into ecstasies of frothing indignation and overheated rantings. Ooohhhh, that’s scary!

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    So if Hoffman, McDonnell, and Christie all win tomorrow, it just means “wingers” run amuck? If i were Deborah (not ours here at NN.C, that is), i’d be offended.

    I actually don’t see a major shift in any one direction, politically, just a mild corrective to the “Obama was the death knell for conservatism” storyline. The “wingnuts a-go-go” is just an attempt to rejuvenate the storyline, like more brains for the zombie. “We’re here, we’ll drink your beer, get over it.”

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  16. jeff borden said on November 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    My take after reading a lot of political blogs on NY-23 is that the Club for Growth-backed candidate will defeat the Democrat. It’s a classic “astroturf” campaign, where huge dollars from outside the district flowed to the Conservative Party candidate while the purity poobahs like Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, Pawlenty and Armey depicted the moderate GOP candidate as a “Republican in name only” to the point where her support collapsed and she could not raise enough money to compete. I’m guessing Hoffman the conservative wins and we get wall-to-wall coverage on the fair and balanced Fox about how this is a complete refutation of Barack Obama while Limbaugh, Beck, et.al. argue this demonstrates the GOP strategy of being as rightwing as possible works. In fact, it will be another nail in the box locking in today’s Republicans as the party of the Old Confederacy and the sparsely populated Plains States. Hoffman is a pawn in a much larger game that more or less ignores the needs of NY-23. The Watertown paper really blasted Armey for suggesting that asking Hoffman what he would do for the district reflected “parochial thinking.” You know, Hoffman isn’t really there to represent the district. He’s there to represent the Club for Growth.

    John Batchelor, a moderate Republican, has a fascinating article up on The Daily Beast, which examines why Republicans are going to be hard-pressed to attract women candidates because of the needs for ideological purity. He’s using Dede Scozzafava as Exhibit A. She was a dependable Republican, but one who is in favor of gay rights and abortion rights.

    The election in NY-23 looks very much like a case of winning a battle, but losing a war. The GOP just keeps marginalizing itself. Electing another hard-right white male won’t help the part broaden its appeal.

    Now, let’s watch what these goons do to Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Texas gubernatorial race. Our Lady of Wasilla has her people backing Rick Perry. Hutchison has Dick Cheney on her side. It should be an bloody and entertaining battle for the ever-shriveling soul of an a rapidly shrinking political party.

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  17. brian stouder said on November 2, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    So if Hoff­man, McDon­nell, and Christie it just means “wingers” run amuck?

    No – but it WILL mean that all drinks (and powders) at limbaugh’s compound will be ‘on the house’, as he loudly proclaims the defeat of “Obama-ism”.

    Rush Limbaugh is, to borrow one of his more clever phrases, “fully invested in defeat”*.

    If the economy does poorly, he delightedly points that out, and blames Obama; if it does well – it’s a sham and a fraud – more “Chicago politics”.

    If the R’s win the statehouse in New Jersey, it will at least be real news, as opposed to, say, if they win in Virginia.

    NY-23 is a sideshow that would draw no one’s attention except for the overt effort by the wingnuttia to make it a demonstration case.

    As such, I hope they lose, but I won’t lose sleep if they win there

    *he used to say that when the D’s were the out-party, and when all of Bush’s bad news seemingly redounded to the D’s benefit. But what he apparently failed to note was that the D’s made policy proposals and THEN won power back, rather than just endlessly carping

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  18. mark said on November 2, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for the remembrance of Spriggy. I’ll bet he loved the Halloween encounters. It’s a long process to enjoying the memory without enduring the sting of the loss. I hope he was watching from above.

    Vote everybody out in Detroit to “change the traditions”? Right. Detroit was done in by traditions. Almost has to be that, since there are few conservatives or angry white men left to blame. And it can’t be excess spending, taxation, entitlement programs, unions, public schools, open immigration, progressive government, etc., because those things lead to peace and prosperity. Unless they are overwhelmed by those nasty traditions.

    The only US Constitution residency requirement for Representatives is that they reside in the state. Several do not reside in their district.

    A win in NY-23, plus governor races in VA and NJ would bode well for conservatives. Only VA is looking like a sure thing. And a trifecta may help kill health care reform by putting a little fear in moderate/Blue Dog democrats. All three electorates voted for Obama. The difference between the Obama percentage in 2008 and that which the democratic candidate gets on Tuesday will be looked at as an imperfect measure of the extent to which either Obama’s popularity has fallen, is not transferrable to other D candidates, or is disconnected from popularity for his policies. Also of interest will be minority turnout, and whether or how much it falls without Obama on the ballot.

    But hey, so long as a large portion of the progressive A Team devotes a bit of each day to Palin watch, all will be well with the revolution. It’s important work.

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  19. kayak woman said on November 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I bet I also spent more than $50 on Halloween candy. I gleefully gave it out by the handful to anybody that came by, whether they were from the neighborhood or not. I may have had a glass beside me too. No dog (or rabbit) here but we used to have a beautiful black guinea pig that often helped with Halloween.

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  20. hear no evil said on November 2, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    In Grosse Pointe Park, MI a city council challenger candidate with Democratic ties incurred the wrath of the Republican incumbents. So, a race-baiting mailer was just sent out to voters from Lansing showing the challenger with a Detroit City council member who’s African American. Same ol’ GOP!

    One of the Republican incumbents is the son of a Michigan supreme court justice. The justice’s daughter posted this “satirical” piece for Time magazine. At about 2:58 in the video she asks some African American kids if their parents have got enough money for drugs and alcohol. Nice family values, eh?


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  21. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    NY-23 has been Republican for nearly 150 years. It should surprise no one if it remains so. Virginia is bluer than in the past, but still a relatively conservative state. Virginia’s Democratic senators come from the military and business. Its two recent (and popular and successful) Democratic governors have been pro-business moderates. Barbara Boxer would not play week here.

    Creigh Deeds, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has done a terrible job as a candidate, even though he has a long record of being an effective state legislator. Some people just don’t do well on TV. McDonnell, the Republican candidate, comes across as an affable and attractive. He has spoken only of his plans to emphasize job development and improve transportation, but has said nothing about how he will do the former and his plans for the latter have been heavily criticized as infeasible. He has underplayed his social conservativism, even though he has a long record of introducing and supporting socially conservative legislation.

    Nobody should over-interpret the VA election. It is a historically conservative state, and the Democratic candidate ran an ineffective campaign. That is all.

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  22. derwood said on November 2, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    We have 5 cats and the bunny. We don’t let them interact all the time but when we do the cats are generally afraid of Killer. We have 2 that like to go up and sniff him but when he turns around to sniff back they jump up on the couch or chair. Killer will hop right up to them and want to smell them.

    We don’t let the cats in his room, they tend to want to eat his hay and then proceed to barf it up all over the house.


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  23. beb said on November 2, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Today is kind of a weird, special day for me. It was 25 years ago today that I started working for the City of Detroit. I can in, received some orientation, was introoducted to my supervisor, who in turned introduced me to my co-workers, explained my duties and such and at the end of the day said: “Don’t come ni tomorrow.”

    My first thought was: “I’ve been fired already!”

    But no, then as with today ‘tomorrow’ was election day and for Detroit workers a paid holiday. My second thought was “WTF?” I suppose it was so all the people with patronage jobs could go out and do their real job, getting the Machine re-elected. They did a pretty good job because not only was Coleman A. Young major for life, but if illegimate bastard son, Coleman A. Young, Jr (not his birth name) is running and stands a good chnace of winning.

    The problem is that simply replacing the current corrupt city council with new members will only replace one set of bad actors with another set. Much the way that one set of reform candidates after another has been elected to the Detroit Public School Board and yet corrupts just keeps on going there. The only real hope for change for the better is re-writing the city charter for Ward elections. Making each person on the council respondible for a specific patch of the city might actually make them focus on helping the city instead of themselves.

    Election day still seems like a weird holiday for me. I’d much rather have President’s day in February. But I like the idea of a national holiday for voting, perhaps with elections moved to a Sunday and by law all non-essential businessed (That means you, Wal-Mart) closed for the day.

    We stopped participating in Halloween when it seemed that most of the people visiting our house were teen-ages or young adults. Were they trick-or-treating or casing the joint? It was easier to turn off the porch light and not find out.

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  24. Dorothy said on November 2, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Totally OT, but who saw Mad Men last night, and what did you think??

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  25. LAMary said on November 2, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I think I want to see it again because I kept getting interrupted, and whenever I went back to watching something huge had been said or done. Drove me nuts. That whole thing with Henry Francis saying he wants to marry Betty? I think he knows that’s the way to get her full attention. What a romantic thing to say in that time and context.

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  26. Dorothy said on November 2, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    It was a night for huge things to happen, Mary. And did anyone else wonder what the heck was going on with people in coats/gloves/hats in the office in the opening scene? Was that explained or were we just left to conjecture?

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  27. basset said on November 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    We put a bowl of candy on the porch and left… Basset Jr. and I to a movie (the 1922 “Nosferatu” with live accompaniment) and Mrs. Basset to a Halloween party, where we joined her later.

    The movie music was most interesting, a small orchestra of young musicians who compose new scores for old silent films:


    only previous time I’d seen “Nosferatu” was at one of Dennis James’ IU Auditorium shows back in the mid 70s – anyone else remember those?

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 2, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    So THAT’S what Henry did. I got interrupted repeatedly as well — i thought the choice to allude to the Zapruder images by way of the AquaNet campaign, and focus on the less well worn experience of the Oswalt killing, really was interesting, but overall, i had trouble getting deeply into the story. No doubt because of my context more than the script, but i’m still not feeling Don/Dick’s pain the way i think they want me to.

    As a relative newbie to MadMen, i am pulled in by the subtext of “being revealed as not who they think you are.” Like last week’s closing “So, who are you supposed to be?” That’s the subtext of many (most?) men’s lives, and it seems to be more a fear/tension for women today than it was 20 some years ago and more. So does the workplace generate this cultural common angst, or is it even more intrinsic to the culture? I’m hoping the storylines will help me puzzle this question out more . . . in terms of spiritual direction/pastoral counseling, when men open up, this is their A-1 deepest, darkest, cliff in the darkness in front of them, greatest fear.

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  29. nancy said on November 2, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Was the Oswald shooting actually seen live? Did TV have live remote capability back then, or was the film rushed back to the studio? In that case, the anchor would have known it was coming and would have reported the incident already. Am I right? When Pete and Trudy watch, the narration is obviously well after the fact, but Betty appears to be seeing it as it happened.

    Oh. And I hate Henry Francis. He and Betty are made for each other.

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  30. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I have the impression it was shown as it happened, but I don’t know that for sure. Good question.

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  31. Sue said on November 2, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Is this what you’re looking for?

    also this:
    with this quote:
    Millions watched the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald on television. It was the first time in TV history that a murder was captured and shown publicly live, but it was shown live on only one network, NBC.

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  32. LAMary said on November 2, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    It was shown live.

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  33. nancy said on November 2, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I don’t understand how it happened in the days before microwave uplinks and portable video cameras. Unless they had time to set up a makeshift studio arrangement at the DPD. J.C. could answer that question, but he’s touring lovely California right now and likely not reading comments.

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  34. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I found the same thing on Wikipedia, Sue. Their sentence:

    Stepping out from a crowd of reporters and photographers, Ruby fired a snub-nosed Colt Cobra .38 into Oswald’s abdomen during a nationally televised live broadcast.

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  35. LAMary said on November 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    They had shown other scenes from that location. There was no “alleged” used then. Cops were being interviewed at that exact spot on Saturday talking about how they had caught the guy who did it.
    I was ten then, and I remember thinking that nothing was working as it was supposed to work. I vividly remember seeing Oswald being shot.
    My old NYT friend, Gladwin Hill was there when it happened. He had been sent from LA to cover the events in Dallas following the assassination.

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  36. MarkH said on November 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Nancy, the Oswald shooting was live, on national TV. I didn’t see it live, though; at age 12, heard about it on the radio on the way home from church that Sunday.

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  37. Jeff Borden said on November 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm


    And defeating health care reform, which is favored by about 70% of Americans, is the golden issue leading to a conservative renaissance? I’ll take that bet!

    The conservative movement works best as the party out of power. When your entire mantra is that government is bad, how can you be expected to govern well? We just had eight years of the kind of incompetence that will still be stunning historians 100 years hence.

    I love this guy Hoffman. If he wins, only the wingiest of the wingnuts, those who can pass every lunatic litmus test devised by Beck and Limbaugh, by Bachmann and Vitter, will be welcome in the GOP.

    Go, Hoffman, Go!!

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    So, in effect, there was a studio set-up at DPD, and it allowed them to do a perp walk live (probably also a first). I’d never thought about that before.

    Only watched the funeral on TV, so my main visual memory of the whole week was John-John’s salute. He wasn’t much younger than i was at the time, so it was particularly vivid, along with the fact that the boots reversed in the stirrups really grabbed me somehow. And i was and am not a horse person, it just touched such a primal sort of symbolism in my head.

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  39. MarkH said on November 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Tried to edit my last comment, but got cast aside for some reason(?).

    Anyway, Mary, are you referring to Oswald being shot on a Saturday, or something you saw this past Saturday? It happened Sunday, 24 November.

    Nancy, coast to coast live broadcasts were happening semi-regularly by the early ’60s. Uncle Walter at CBS notwithstanding, I remember NBC’s live feeds by Friday evening from Dallas. They would have had plenty of time to set up the cable links by Sunday.

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  40. Jeff Borden said on November 2, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    My recollection of the event is that the Dallas Police Department wanted to show off their police work in the form of L. Harvey Oswald. Had they taken him out through a more private entrance instead of through the throng of reporters and camera folks, Jack Ruby would have been seen long before he pointed his gun at Oswald’s gut.

    We were watching CBS when it happened, so we did not see it live in our house.

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  41. Sue said on November 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    You know, it wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I recognized a creep-factor in Jackie’s having John give that salute. I understand what she was aiming for and recognize that I’m seeing this through a lens jaded by living in reality TV land for too long.
    Still, it creeps me out, this kid having no idea what he’s doing being pushed by his mom like that. She’d be criticized publicly for that these days by at least a portion of the population, widow or not.
    And before everyone gets upset, read above – I understand what she was trying to do, it was a different time, and I’m seeing it from a cynical perspective. But I still don’t like it.

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  42. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Our family went to church at, I think, 9:30 AM, with Sunday school afterward. Meanwhile, my parents would, usually, drive home so that my mother could start dinner. Dad would then come back to pick us up. It was during the interval that we were at Sunday school that Ruby was shot. I remember my dad telling us about it in the car on the way home.

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  43. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    In fact, Sue, there is film of her teaching him to salute–just as a form of play–earlier, before the assassination. Don’t know what that does for your comfort level, but he had already learned how to be a little soldier.

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  44. Dorothy said on November 2, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    It bothered me just a little that the Draper children were home, but in reality they should have still been at school, when the President’s death was declared by Walter Cronkite. Wikipedia’s timeline says it was approximately 2:40 or 2:45 PM when his death was announced. I think Bobby and Sally would not have been home from school yet. I was 6 and in first grade when it happened, and I remember my teacher (Sister Mary Gabriel) crying in school, and then came home and my mother was crying while she was doing the ironing and had the television on.

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  45. Jeff Borden said on November 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    We were in 7th grade class at St. Rose in Lima, Ohio, when an announcement came over the big sqwauk box at the front of the room that President Kennedy had been assassinated. The entire school building was marched over to the church, where the monsignor said mass and asked for prayers for the Kennedy family and the nation.

    Then, we were sent home.

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  46. Peter said on November 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I was in first grade – the principal came over the PA system saying that Kennedy had been shot and we needed to pray. Later on she came on and said he died because we didn’t pray hard enough!

    check out in-a-gadda-da-oswald – http://www.doctorcosmo.com/oswald among other places…

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  47. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Peter, seriously? Did she really say that?

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  48. Sue said on November 2, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Jeff Borden and Peter: That was the back-in-the-day equivalent of calling in grief counselors.
    Can you imagine what would have happened to all of us if we hadn’t learned to laugh at it?
    Excuse me, I have to break to read a couple of holy cards and say a rosary.

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  49. LAMary said on November 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I was referring to other things on the news from the same site on Saturday. The press and TV were set up at that entrance/exit the day before and there had been national broadcasts from that site on Saturday I think. I know I remember a guy in a white cowboy hat and black glasses saying that Oswald was the killer and he had been caught, and that white cowboy hat guy was speaking from what looked like the same place the shooting happened.

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  50. LAMary said on November 2, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Dallas is on Central Time and the Draper kids were in NY.

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  51. brian stouder said on November 2, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Well, indeed, and not to digress, but this is why I have zero patience with those gun-toting ‘tree of liberty/blood of patriots’ morons of last summer. I remember the “BREAKING NEWS” reports from the same national reporters who had to report the Dallas fiasco, telling us about someone named Squeaky Fromme, and Sarah Moore, and John Hinckley. We have murdered 4 of our 44 presidents, which is a pretty horrible track record anyway – not even counting in that of the remaining 40, we’ve put bullets into two of them, one while in office (President Reagan) and one who was out of office but running again (Teddy Roosevelt), plus numerous other serious attacks.

    If there IS such a thing as “American Exceptionalism” – maybe it ain’t what it’s cracked up to be, eh?

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  52. mark said on November 2, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    jeff b.

    I’d say the poularity of health care reform is subject to some debate. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/september_2009/health_care_reform

    If it were overwhelmingly popular, I’d think the democrats would be happy to let the public know what is being proposed, and would find little need to create never before mentioned/considered/discussed/debated “opt out” provisions during closed door meetings among a handful of pols.

    But, yes, my judgment is that there is large and growing opposition to the increasing size and cost of government, and that fiscal conservatives can do well leading the opposition. Time will tell. And you are right, conservatives like me don’t look to government to create lots of new programs, but to keep government limited and focused. If doing otherwise works, why don’t we immediately triple it’s size, taxes and control, and speed up the process of creating paradise?

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  53. moe99 said on November 2, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    I was in 6th grade when Kennedy was shot. It was Friday, the day before my birthday, and my best friend Beth was spending the night. I remember Mrs. Barto, the principal of Spencer School announcing over the intercom that Kennedy had been shot late in the afternoon and then right before school was out, another announcement that he had died. There were kids there who were gleeful about it, because Kennedy was a Democrat and you still don’t do Democrats well in Defiance, OH.

    Beth still came over to spend the night, but we got up Saturday morning expecting the watch cartoons and it was all co-opted by the event and the aftermath. I don’t really think I got the gravity of the situation until some time afterward. I do remember watching Ruby shoot Oswald on tv.

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  54. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Two articles that caught my attention today–

    A “lessons learned” piece by Alissa Rubin, who has recently left Iraq for Afghanistan NYT’s reporter. A sober and very sad piece.

    A WaPo story by Phil Rucker about Douglas Holtz-Eakin, John McCain’s leading economic advisor during the campaign, is about to lose his health insurance. He is, though, in a somewhat better position than most unemployed Americans.

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  55. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 7:28 pm

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  56. whitebeard said on November 2, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    I was at my desk as wire editor when Kennedy was shot; I had a call from home saying it had happened and was on television and then two minutes later the teletype bulletin bell started ringing four feet away, I didn’t even know the teletype had a bell, I had not heard it before. And the whole news room was stunned and silent.

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  57. MarkH said on November 2, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    moe, I had a similar experience in my 6th grade class that day. At about 2:30 PM there was a knock at the classroom door. Two kids, Wayne and Diane, from the neighboring 6th grade class were there and prefaced the announcement with, “Did you hear the good news?!” “They shot Kennedy in Dallas; he’s dead!” Miss Saveikis went next door to confirm with Mr. Rogers (no, not THE Mr. Rogers, but, yes, he was related; this was in Baldwin Township in Pittsburgh). My neighbor, Linda, and I exchanged a “no, it can’t be true” dialog. About 45 seconds later, Miss Saveikis reappeared at the door with an ashen-faced, “it’s true, kids, he’s dead”. No prayer, no religious service, just a hastily prepared assembly to explain what was known, then off to home for the day. That night, my dad brought home copies of the Pgh. Press, extras, no less. Don’t know what became of the newspapers, but on Sunday when we heard the news of Oswald’s shooting, my dad remarked, “well, someone wanted him to shut up”.

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  58. Crabby said on November 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    NBC and CBS local affiliates had live cameras at DPD when Oswald was shot, but only NBC was broadcasting that feed live at the time, CBS switched just after the shooting. ABC had a live camera at the county jail awaiting Oswalds arrival. KRLD (CBS) had 2 mobile trucks (usually used for sports reporting) and had one at each jail. The live cameras were connected to the trucks by BIG cables. Microwave was in use by TV requiring line-of-sight to an antenna at the station but you’d likely only find this capability in big cities as the equipment was very expensive, plus the cameras, cables, lights were cumbersome and quite a production to setup.

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  59. MichaelG said on November 2, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    I saw Oswald killed live. I was going to the U of Ill. in Champaign. My then girlfriend and I ended up spending the whole weekend with friends numbly watching TV. Jeez, the girl’s name was Claudia but I can’t remember the guy’s name. He had a gorgeous Ducati though. Funny the stuff you remember.

    I can’t get fired up about the John John salute. Besides it was like 46 years ago. Things and people were different then although I can imagine the hoots from the Republican noise machine were it to occur today.

    I was out to dinner at a friend’s house Saturday night. Halloween. I got home just after midnight to find that I had been robbed. They took the TVs from the living room and my bedroom, my little shelftop stereo, some bottles of liquor and – get this: four or five flash drives and my back up hard drive and a knife that I had in my desk drawer. They didn’t bother my computer (complete with 22″ monitor) or my expensive bike. I don’t get the theft of the memory. The thumb drives are a few bucks apiece at Target and the back up is less than a hun new. Oh, well.

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  60. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Wow. I’ve never heard a “good news” reaction to JFK’s death. Not then or since. Must have led a more sheltered life than I thought.

    Michael, that sucks. My apartment was robbed once years ago, and I still remember the sick feeling I got as I walked in the door. There were two entrances, but I only used one. So, when I pushed that door open and hit a chair, I knew immediately that things weren’t as I’d left them.

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  61. nancy said on November 2, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    I read not long ago that there were huzzahs and toasts at the Palm Beach country clubs, but no eyewitness accounts.

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  62. Deborah said on November 2, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    As I’ve said here before I grew up in Miami, FL, so EST. I remember it being the end of the school day in the 8th grade, on my way to my last period class that an ashen faced teacher told every kid walking down the hall that the president had been shot. when I arrived in my science class it was only a few minutes before the principal came on the PA and told us all that Kennedy was dead. We were dismissed then and there. So the Draper kids could well have been home, dismissal from Grade school was 2:30 in the lower grades where I went to school.

    I also remember seeing Oswald shot live, but I don’t know how I could have since we always went to church and sunday school, so I must have seen it repeated so many times I’m misremembering it.

    The day Kennedy was shot was the same day my Mom went for her first tests at the hospital to find out what was wrong with her and it would be less than a year later that she died, so those two events are forever connected in my mind. The test results didn’t come till later and they were not good, obviously.

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 2, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Michael, you’ve probably thought of this already, but — identity theft is the best logic behind stealing thumb drives and external drives, in hopes of snagging passwords and/or account numbers. If they took those and not the ‘puter itself, that’s what i’d be sure they’re hoping to find.

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  64. Deborah said on November 2, 2009 at 9:51 pm


    I feel for you about the theft. I’ve had homes broken into and it is the creepiest feeling there is, so violating. While they got some stuff no one was hurt. That’s good. Having had my purse stolen lately, the police told me there is an upswing in that kind of thing in Chicago anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised that home break-ins are on the rise too. People are desperate out there.

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  65. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    A propos of nothing in particular, I thought some in the nn.com community might be interested in a series of posts by James Fallows, my other favorite blogger, about the sort of tech gadgets we are likely to see in the future.

    In particular, the discussion focuses on whether we are headed further down the road to all-in-one integration of technological functions as smartphones now integrate the functionality of phones, cameras, computers, and audio-video storage and playback.

    Fallows always has interesting things to say himself, and this series of posts also incorporates responses from the techno experts among his readers.

    There’s no conclusion, of course, but there are lots of interesting speculations, and, since more of us are writers than are engineers, I should say that it’s all in everyday (well, polished everyday) English. The link above is to the most recent post, with links to previous posts therein.

    I regard myself as being among the fairly technologically adept–that is, at the low end of the high end–and I like to try to keep myself more or less at that level so as to avoid total reliance on 11-year-olds in the future.

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  66. Jolene said on November 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    And just one more thing: a great observation re tomorrow’s elections. Based on what I’ve read and heard, this characterization, by Joshua Green at The Atlantic, seems about right.

    So let’s take a deep breath and remember to view Tuesday night’s elections for what they really are: A landslide (Virginia), a circus (New York), and a Lions-vs.-Rams battle of bottom-dwellers between two of New Jersey’s least popular politicians.

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 2, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Lions vs. Rams — that was mean. Apt, but mean.

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  68. Dorothy said on November 2, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Yes Mary I was aware of the CST/EST time difference. See the reference to the timing here at Wikipedia – it’s where I verified my info when I made my comment at 44 above:


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  69. basset said on November 2, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    let’s try again, six hours later… how was your Halloween?

    (standing by myself and watching yet another thread vanish into the distance)

    We put a bowl of candy on the porch and left… Bas­set Jr. and I to a movie (the 1922 “Nos­fer­atu” with live accom­pa­ni­ment) and Mrs. Bas­set to a Hal­loween party, where we joined her later.

    The movie music was most inter­est­ing, a small orches­tra of young musi­cians who com­pose new scores for old silent films:


    only pre­vi­ous time I’d seen “Nos­fer­atu” was at one of Den­nis James’ IU Audi­to­rium shows back in the mid 70s — any­one else remem­ber those?

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  70. alex said on November 3, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I saw Nosferatu at IU, but I don’t remember jack about it. I think it was in a comp lit class.

    As for my Halloween, yes I did a full drag rendition of Sarah Palin.

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  71. crazycatlady said on November 3, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Nosferatu was on Turner Classic Movies last week. It had a bit of creep factor for the time. Loved it. Sarah and I went to see the silent 1922 Phantom of the Opera with live music by Alloy Orchestra at the Detroit Film Theater. She was 16 and loved it. She knew the Musical version but appreciated the silent version too. The music by Alloy Orchestra was heavy on percussion and used chimes, bells, drums to accentuate the drama. Beautiful. –>Detroit City Council. What can I say? You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy! They care only for power, as does the school board. I am voting for Districts for sure. It can’t get worse, can it?

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  72. Jean S said on November 3, 2009 at 1:28 am

    also put the bowl of candy on the front steps and hightailed it to the neighbors across the street….we have a friendly pumpkin-carving contest with them every year. I think we each ended up with about 32 pumpkins.

    Also watched Orygun beat the pants off of USC (yes!! go Ducks!!) and followed that with the Charlie Brown “great pumpkin” special. In high-def. The colors are wild–lots of purple, especially.

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  73. joodyb said on November 3, 2009 at 1:42 am

    speaking of threads that frayed: representin’ for the ‘don’t mess with the rabbit’ crowd. sure, that bunny whupped cats, and just as described. everyone got to have soft furry critters but me. my dad or my uncle or someone was always trying to explain that you can’t turn the rabbit’s backside toward your person. someone finally let me attempt to hold one, and of course everything i’d been told flew right out of my brain. i had the scratch marks from those hindquarters on my abdomen for at least a year. their body mass is very unwieldy, and rabbits have nothing to recommend them physiologically save those ridiculously powerful thighs.

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  74. Dexter said on November 3, 2009 at 2:29 am

    I had just returned from church that day and turned the Motorola black & white TV on. it took about 45 seconds to “warm up”. As soon as the picture became clear, there came Lee Harvey Oswald , and there went a man with a hat, and then I remember “Oswald’s been shot!”
    Just two months before, four little girls, a couple my exact age, were blown up in Birmingham. Two days prior,the President had been shot dead in Dallas. And then I witnessed a live murder. And I never went to church again for 29 years.

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  75. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 3, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Nosferatu makes a guest cameo at the end of one of my/myson’s favorite SpongeBob episodes.

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  76. mark said on November 3, 2009 at 10:52 am

    “Characterizations” of the meaning of the results of elections that haven’t yet occurred isn’t analysis, it’s providing advance talking points for the faithful. The actual outcomes, margins of victory, voter turn-out, exit-polling concerning issues and independents, etc. are kind of important to determining the meaning of the elections.

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  77. Scout said on November 3, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks Mark, you’re always reliable for the right wing point of view on pretty much everything! Kind of a crib sheet for the rest of us.

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  78. LAMary said on November 3, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Alex, we want photos. I’ll send you this crisp five dollar bill for photos. (I’m waving a crispy fiver at the monitor)

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  79. alex said on November 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm


    Don’t want to make to many demands on Nance, but she said she might be able to facilitate some sharing.

    (Amazed I didn’t get a few fivers or even greater denominations tucked into my fabulous boobs, btw.)

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