Nice night for a drive.

Saturday night we had a party to attend, the cast/wrap thang for the 48 Hour Film Project International Shootout. The party was basically 10 miles due east west [D’oh! Thanks, Beb] of my house, which means you either take the southerly indirect route via freeway or the northerly indirect route via freeway or the direct route via surface streets on the storied Eight Mile Road. You know which one we took.

Alan drove, leaving me free to soak in the spectacular ugly-loveliness of Detroit’s northern border from the passenger seat. I saw a sign I’d never noticed before: Eastpointe: Gateway to Macomb County, which you may have to live here to fully appreciate. Imagine: Scranton: The Flower of East-Central Pennsylvania, and you’re getting close. Eastpointe changed its name in the ’90s. It used to be East Detroit, and I guess they thought maybe an upgrade would help boost its fortunes. Didn’t work. It’s still the gateway to Macomb County.

But the Eastpointe border is only the beginning of the fun, because soon you’re passing Hot Wheel City, a rim shop with garish neon and a perpetual Open sign in the window. When we passed going home after midnight it was still on, and while I’m not sure you could buy a set of spinners at midnight on a Saturday night, I wouldn’t bet against it. People take automotive accessories seriously here.

Zoom, zoom and you pass two women’s health centers, not quite across the street from one another. I assume they’re abortion clinics, because there’s usually an old woman standing out front, a bloody fetus poster propped on her walker. It seems of a piece with the general scuzziness of Eight Mile, which is anchored by liquor stores, strip clubs and no-tell motels. The abortion clinic is only the last stop on the sad journey.

But that’s not all. The thoroughfare also carries high-tension electric wires down its median strip, and one of them is decorated for the holidays. Srsly. Draped along its exoskeleton is a long rope of white lights, along with a sign from the power company, wishing happy holidays. It’s about as pathetic and ugly as it sounds, but it’s entirely in keeping with the mood of the drive. You can’t help but smile.

Then you’re at the Coliseum, Detroit’s “award-winning gentlemen’s club.” Don’t click that link; the Flash will induce seizures. But if you’re wondering what awards the Coliseum can claim, I’ll lay them out for you: Best Topless Bar 2006 (Real Detroit Weekly), Club World Award “Best Lighting System” (Exotic Dancer magazine) and so on. “No cover for union members,” one of the pop-ups lures, but I don’t know if that’s all the time, or just for the Amber Lynn shows. “Must present proof,” anyway. Solidarity forever!

But it’s not all neon and breast implants. There are dozens of homely office buildings along the way, every other one wearing a For Sale or Lease sign and the distinct whiff of abandonment. Oh, what will become of us? When I moved here the first crazy visionaries were suggesting the city be converted to farms, an idea that sounded preposterous. No more. A series of urban villages surrounded by cropland and an outer ring of affluence — that’s what we’re heading toward.

And suddenly we are upon the Booby Trap, and guess what that is. “LIKE CHEERS, ONLY TOPLESS,” as the sign says. If we are upon the Booby Trap that means the state fairgrounds are not far behind, and it’s time to turn left, which means you get into the right lane. We have a brief squabble over this — it’s not a true Michigan left, but it’s close, and Alan disagrees on how we should execute. I’m right, of course. Left onto Woodward, and we’re practically there.

Woodward — now that’s a book. Don’t have time now.

The party was fun. It’s been a long time since I’ve been introduced to Milla Jovovich’s stand-in, attending as the date of Robert DeNiro’s stand-in. The theme was “now we eat pie,” so I brought three. You know what the secret to great apple pie is? A little lemon zest grated into the filling.

So, bloggage? Maybe:

I’d like to watch the Geminids meteor shower one night this week, but the blanket of gray has descended upon our little Eden, and I’m thinking it’s not going to work. Enjoy, desert dwellers.

Joe Lieberman is a jerk. But you knew that.

Tiger Woods is spending Christmas in Sweden? Nothing like a little Scandinavian bleakness to underline a tragic situation, eh?

Why I can’t take the HuffPo seriously.

Off to take on Monday.

Posted at 10:47 am in Detroit life |
 

70 responses to “Nice night for a drive.”

  1. Jeff Borden said on December 14, 2009 at 10:56 am

    What a country.

    One egotistical creep who cannot exist without being in the spotlight may well prevent millions of Americans from obtaining some form of health insurance. Why? Because he can.

    Whatever happens with health care reform, the first order of business afterward should be to strip Lieberman of every important role he plays in the Democratic caucus. Marginalize the son-of-a-bitch in every way possible and quit pretending he is anything but the selfish bastard he is. Everyone from Obama on down has smooched this creep’s butt and he has delivered nothing but dirty double-crosses in return.

    The story of the scorpion and the frog comes to mind. Joe Lieberman ain’t the frog.

  2. Linda said on December 14, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Smooching a creep’s butt will guarantee that they bite you back. Lieberman should have been stripped of his posts long ago. If he is really acting out of principles, he should be willing to take a hit for them. But I’m betting he’s not.

  3. paddyo' said on December 14, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Ditto on Deputy Dawg Lieberman, but may I also just add before the threads wind elsewhere that your 2-minute travelogue of that Saturday night drive through the fringes of Detroit was, to this one-time visitor to Motown, simply — no other word fits — lovely? Thanks for the Monday a.m. grace note there amid the sewage of today’s news . . .

  4. LAMary said on December 14, 2009 at 11:37 am

    He’s not Deputy Dawg, he’s Droopalong. He sounds just like him. Thank Jon Stewart for pointing that out.

  5. coozledad said on December 14, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Lieberman has a whole crop of ass cuddlers ready to jump on his trail of sanctimony and swallow it wherever he goes, whatever he does.I used to think he was just a whore, but that’s being completely unfair to whores. He’s one of those few humans who was given a slipshod afterthought of a face as a stern warning to those who would try to find a shard of compassion in him. I don’t know who he believes his God is, but the only religion I’m familiar with that comes close to having an analog for Joe is the Buddhism of 12th century Japan. In the aftermath of a civil war whose result was mass starvation, they decided the packs of humans caught feasting on famine dead were a sort of ghost, and they imported them into the faith:
    http://tinyurl.com/yd7ce7s

  6. Joe Kobiela said on December 14, 2009 at 11:41 am

    One perk, flying night cargo, I get to see a lot of falling stars. The best usually have a long green tail. I like to think it is a sign from my late parents telling me they are still there in spirit. Gives me a good feeling. Hopefully tonight I’ll be on top with a cloud cover below me and clear sky’s above, makes it extra dark. I’ll let you know.
    Pilot Joe

  7. paddyo' said on December 14, 2009 at 11:45 am

    You’re right, LA Mary, my mistake. And Stewart’s impression is hilarious . . .

  8. ROgirl said on December 14, 2009 at 11:49 am

    The Democrats are Charlie Brown, still believing that this time Lucy will let him kick the football, and Lieberman is Lucy, promising to hold it in place so Charlie Brown can kick it this time, but always pulling the football away again at the last minute.

  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 14, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I’m trying to think what Ingmar Bergman would do with Tiger in Sweden. It would be worth reading subtitles for.

    But would Tiger end up playing chess with anyone in particular?

  10. brian stouder said on December 14, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    We had the exact same experience with the Michigan Left thing, this past summer when we spent a several nights in Dearborn and Holland – right down to me hesitating in the driver’s seat, arguing with Pam’s confident (and ultimately CORRECT!) advice on what to do.

    I’ve never taken Huffington Post seriously simply because of Arianna – who aparently divorced Oleevah and moved off of Green Acres, giving up the Fresh Air in favor of returning to Times Square (no doubt forcing Oliver to liquidate everything to Mr Haney, in order to settle up with her, so she could start her blog, and leave Oliver to slog)

    Lemon zest has been noted

  11. Connie said on December 14, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    In Holland it is called a Detroit left.

  12. beb said on December 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Nancy, tens miles EAST of your house is Canada. You were driving WEST on Eight Mile.

    Eight Mile Rd is everything you described and more. Many years ago I was driving my daughter and a friend to the premiere of the second Harry Potter movie, which wasc beinf held at Southfield, which is at the Northwest end of Detroit. So we’re driving along Eight Mile and our daughter’s friend starts pointing out all the strip clubs along the route. There aren’t as many as Nancy makes it seem, but still its embarassing when eight year olf girls knows the difference between bars and strip clubs.

    The Woman’s clinic on the North is a real clinic, the one on the south is a Catholic scam clinic. It never provides abortions or birth control consueling.

    There’s no Michigan left at Eight Mile and Woodward, you make a normal left turn there. The Michigan Left is an interesting concept born before the advent of center left-turn lanes and staged traffic lights and was used only on divided highways. To turn left you first turned *right* onto the road you wanted to travel on, drove about a hundred yards to a U-turn built into the median, and turned onto the road you wanted to drive on in the direction you wanted to drive. The advantage over allowing a left turn at the intersection is that you can stack up a lot more cars making that turn. Staged traffic lights that give a period for left-turn only travel has negated the need for the Michigan Left.

    Nothing will happen to Lieberman, sadly. Democrats seem incapable to disciplining even the worst back-stabbing two-timers in their caucas.

    People keep saying that Tiger Woods’ fall from grace is the worse for any athlete, ever. And I keep wondering worse that OJ murdering his wife, or Pete Rose gambling on his baseball team? Charley Hustle is still out of the hall of Fame because of his gambling. The difference is that neither Simpson or Rose had anywhere the endorsement deals Woods has. I’ll argue that Woods’ fucking problem is not in itself as serious as Simpsons’ murder accusation. It’s all the corporation with egg on their faces that drives this story.

    • nancy said on December 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks for the directional fix. Slapping my forehead over that one.

      The left at Eight Mile and Woodward is not a true Michigan left, but it’s not normal, either, at least by the rest of the world’s standards. Because Eight Mile is a pretty fast-moving artery, you exit to the right, at the underpass, and then turn left onto Woodward. Traffic engineering around Detroit can be a little whack with eccentricities, but for the most part is pretty good. I might be reacting to the fact that with the city and environs emptying out, most roads are designed for twice the traffic they carry. Sigh.

  13. MarkH said on December 14, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    paddy, LAMary, after Jeff had labeled Lieberman Deputy Dawg some time back, I knew that cartoon character wasn’t correct, but Droop-a-Long still isn’t it, I don’t think. At least by the photo I saw on Google. Lieberman sounds like a little bald character with a big broom mustache I remember as a kid and I can’t seem to find him anywhere on the web. Can’t remember what Droop sounds like anyway, and I missed Stewart’s segment.

  14. Jeff Borden said on December 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Beb,

    Tiger screwed a lot more than those cocktail waitresses. Ratings for golf are going to plummet like a rock. When he was off the tour after his knee surgery, ratings fell almost 40%. Now that he has set an indefinite date for his return to the PGA –if ever– millions of casual fans who tuned in solely to watch the world’s greatest golfer will find other things to occupy their time.

    You are quite correct, of course, that this isn’t in the same league as O.J. Simpson, who literally did get away with murder. This is a matter of a man trashing his carefully cultivated image of perfection, not a gruesome and unspeakable crime. You’re right that the corporations who bet on him big are in a bind, but I would argue that its the immolation of a sports idol who had never made a bad move in his life that is driving the story.

    It’s not just his own life Tiger has trashed. This will have a ripple effect on professional golf overall, equipment sales particularly of his signature Nike line, and lower ratings for the networks carrying golf. I think it’s to say that Elin –who was photographed this weekend sans wedding ring– is not the only one who would like to strangle Tiger

  15. MarkH said on December 14, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    What Jeff B. said, in so many words. The reason this is so huge as to have its own massive news cycle is we are watching the crumbling of no less than an economic power. OJ, Pete Rose, et.al. have nothing on Tiger.

  16. jcburns said on December 14, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Yeah, I was wondering about why you’d take Eight Mile to Ontario. Pick up some canadian gin for my Dad while you’re over there, K? (Oh, and when we visited you this summer we did the run along Eight Mile. Exactly, exactly as you described.)

  17. Holly said on December 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    The last time I was in Detroit was way back when they had the Formula 1 Racing. It’s been a long time. Sounds like it has not changed.

  18. LAMary said on December 14, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    MarkH, I think the guy you’re picturing is Mr. Twiddle from Wally Gator. Or maybe not. I’m still looking.

  19. moe99 said on December 14, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    LA Mary, Mr. Peeble has too much flesh on his face. What about the guy that does the sweeping up at the end of Fractured Fairy Tales?

  20. brian stouder said on December 14, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Well, Sean Hannity looks like either Simon Bar Sinister’s nephew, or else Eddie Munster all grown up

  21. MarkH said on December 14, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Mary, I think moe’s got it. moe, I can’t remember if that guy ever talked, but that’s who I’m thinking of. Good call!!

  22. beb said on December 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Golf is a stupid, boring sport that has, for decades, received an inordinate amount of air time on the networks, despite its lack of a fan base compared to baseball, basketball, football, or hockey. Apparently the Pointy Headed Bosses who run the networks like golf and therefore think everyone should like golf. The fact that ratings plummeted by half when Tiger was sidelined earlier points how just how thin the fan base for golf is. That one man can make or break this event is pathetic. And in the end, this is all that people are talking about. Now how he betrayed his wife and family, not how he was a slave to his appetites, but how he’s become the ruin of golf. It’s all about the loss of money.

  23. LAMary said on December 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    The sweeping guy on Rocky and Bullwinkle wasn’t a Hanna Barbera character, and I’m really sure the mustache guy we’re talking about is. The sweeping guy never spoke. I think the guy we’re looking for is in one of the offshoots of Huckleberry Hound, and there were lots of those. Yakky Doodle, Snagglepuss, Breezy and Sneezy and Magilla Gorilla and more.
    I will email my animation connection in Philly for a consultation.

  24. mark said on December 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Pelosi’s face lift doesn’t look natural. Obviously all of her political positions are wrong.

    When is Obama going to broadcast the health care negotiations on CNN, as promised? The best way to make Lieberman and the republicans look bad is to be transparent anout HCR, and let the people fully understand the wonderful proposals, instead of negotiating in secret and Saturday night votes on bills that are written Friday morning, right?

  25. MarkH said on December 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    You’re right, Mary, Rocky & Bullwinkle are Jay Ward, not H&B. But as I continue to sweep the cobwebs I remember that the Lieberman-like voice was a Jay Ward characterization, maybe not necessarily the little sweeper guy. Definitley not Mr. Peebles that I’m thinking of, though.

  26. Jeff Borden said on December 14, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Beb,

    You’ll get no argument from me about golf. As a child of the lower middle-class, golf was as alien to our family as lacrosse or squash. Most of my high school buddies who got into golf were the sons of salesmen and corporate representatives, who spent a lot of time on the course. They tended to inherit old sets of clubs and had a father to introduce them to the game and the country club. I never played and, hence, never watch. What I know about Tiger Woods is largely through media osmosis.

    But I think you’re a little dismissive of golf as a spectator sport. Network executives don’t spend billions of dollars on rights fees just because they like a particular sport. They do it because those events draw a different audience than most programs, particularly in the sought-after young male demographic. And it is not solely a game for the upper-middle-class. Many blue-collar unions around Chicago raise money with golf outings that are very well-attended. You’re just as likely to see a Teamster on a public course as a banker.

  27. LAMary said on December 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    I have some of the greatest minds of our generation working on this.

  28. Julie Robinson said on December 14, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    The young male demographic in my house doesn’t watch TV. His screen time is all spent on the computer and video games. Network executives can forget Tiger and worry about that instead.

    Come to think of it, the young female demographic in the family watches TV shows on the computer and movies on the TV.

    And neither of them read a newspaper, despite their Dad working in the industry for close to 30 years.

  29. A. Riley said on December 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    If Michael Jordan had been caught in the same kind of situation when he was playing, would there have been the same kind of hue and cry?

  30. alex said on December 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    If Michael Jor­dan had been caught in the same kind of sit­u­a­tion when he was play­ing, would there have been the same kind of hue and cry?

    No doubt, especially as many of Jordan’s product endorsements were targeted at kids.

  31. paddyo' said on December 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    the reason I said Deputy Dawg was, the character in my mind’s eye and ears was a hound dog, all droopy jowls and saddest-of-sad eyes.

    Or maybe I’m just having one of those reconstructed-but-false memories from a childhood spent in front of an old Airline brand (Montgomery Ward) B&W TV . . .

  32. Jeff Borden said on December 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Alex is right. One of the things that made Jordan such a superb pitchman was his multi-generational appeal.

    And Julie, you’re right. I did an Excel spreadsheet project last year for my communications practice class, which was intended to show the students where they spent their media time. I fully expected print to be out of the running and it was, but I was surprised at how few students watched TV on broadcast. They were all going to Hulu or the network sites and watching their programs whenever they felt like it. Radio is dead and buried to this generation, too. Aside from a couple of journalism majors who listened to NPR frequently, none of my students made a regular habit of listening to the radio.

    There’s a story in the Sun-Times today about how all but one or two of the seven-figure radio jocks in the Chicago market have been let go because of poor ratings. Names that were golden when I arrived here 20 years ago are now unemployed and the firings range across almost all formats.

    As one of those proto-nerds who sat up in bed at night as a little boy with a Motorola table radio trying to dial in faraway clear channel stations, then marking them down in a little notebook, it hurts me almost as much as the total dismissal of print.

  33. Holly said on December 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I wonder how many other sports figures are worried.

  34. Julie Robinson said on December 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Jeff, my young male demographic also doesn’t do radio–he listens to music on Napster, and the young female listens on Pandora, even on her Blackberry.

  35. ROgirl said on December 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I think the sheer quantity of women coming forward tipped what could have been a less damaging story into something with much bigger stakes in terms of the endorsements and the huge amounts of money involved.

  36. Jeff Borden said on December 14, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    L’affaire Tiger is really a tabloid dream. You start with the bizarre accident, three days of stonewalling which encouraged the TMZ’s and National Enquirers to increase their efforts at finding the truth, the inevitable reveal of the first woman, and then the cascade of other names into the public eye. There’s a constant drip, drip, drip of details on a daily basis.

    Nothing likely would have averted this shitstorm, but the smartest thing Tiger could’ve done was to get in front of the story the day after the accident: Admit he had been unfaithful, state his intentions to repair his marriage, take full responsibility and then disappear.

    Instead, while he kept his counsel, one woman after another kept coming forward with details of his dalliances. He was badly served by his advisors. He should’ve been told to cowboy up and admit all this right away. Now, in addition to looking like a cad and a sexual compulsive, he also looks cowardly and weak.

  37. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 14, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Almost all of my experience of the 1968 & 1972 Democratic Nat’l Conventions was on radio. Saw a little TV coverage, but that was mostly of peripheral events, or so it seemed. But i’d go to bed and put the earphone into the Mitsubishi transistor my dad had for Cubs’ games, and listen until midnight.

    I’m not that old, am I?

  38. brian stouder said on December 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    I sort of agree with ROgirl. The thing that I find arresting (so to speak) is – why now? Why did the bimbo eruption at Mount Woodsuvius occur now, and not a year ago, or 5 years ago, or never?

    And of course the answer seems to be that Mrs Tiger took her idiot husband seriously when he made his wedding vows to her.

    She could have confronted him in an ice-cold, business-is-business manner, and named her terms – but instead (and this is where the story gets its juice) her reaction was (apparently) hotly passionate. Not condoning domestic violence here, but her very un-quiet, un-Tiger response to his flouting of their marriage really points to how much he’s REALLY losing, aside from his image (not to mention his reputation).

    By way of saying, it reminds me of one of our commenters here, who I bet could honestly state that no amount of money could ever make any of this sort of stuff any easier to accept. It was genuinely unacceptable to her, and she had no price that Tiger could simply pay

    Edit: Jeff – I can state that in 1974 and 1975, if I didn’t hear EVERY Cincinnati Reds game on the radio (WLW – Marty & Joe), I didn’t miss more than a very few. I know this because it was BEFORE I was 16, and therefore before I got a job at a supermarket.

    It was to the point that if I watched a game on TV (back then NBC had a Game of the Week on Saturday with Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubec, or Curt Gowdy), I’d turn down the sound on the tv and play the radio for the narrative.

    But many was the evening, if the Reds were on a West Coast swing, that I’d have the am radio on when I was in bed

  39. Jeff Borden said on December 14, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    TMMO,

    You are not THAT old, but no one does that anymore. Living in Lima, Ohio, I could easily get most of the 50,000-watt clear channel stations in the Midwest including WOWO in Fort Wayne, WJR in Detroit and the always fabulous CKLW in Windsor, but the fun was on those evenings when atmospheric conditions allowed for some kind of weird signal bounce. On those night, I could tune in all the big three AM’s in New York, WBZ in Boston, WHO in Des Moines, and sometimes a station out of Maine whose call letters I can’t recall.

    I continue to love radio, but it usually doesn’t love me back. Since we began subscribing to satellite radio, the terrestrial stations are simply less attractive except for live sporting events. There are no personalities in the Chicago radio market who make me laugh. . .and not many who make me think. Whatever else you can say about Howard Stern –and some of his bits were truly appalling– I almost always laughed in spite of myself when his show aired on broadcast radio.

  40. Jeff Borden said on December 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Brian,

    The answer to your question is the National Enquirer. The issue on the newsstands the night of his collision had details about his fling with Other Woman No. 1. Once that kind of story breaks, all the other lasses who have shared some pillow time tend to go public. The one who really clocked Tiger was the L.A. cocktail waitress, who had both e-mails and a plaintive plea by Tiger on her voice mail begging her to take his name off her phone.

    The tabloids play by an entirely different set of rules. They are more than happy to pay cash money for good tips and evidence. Or, they may choose to withhold information on one celebrity in exchange for gossip that celebrity can share on another famous person.

    I was at a party in L.A. years ago and chatted with a guy who worked with many film and TV celebrities. He had been drinking quite a bit and his lips were loose. He said his publication ran one photo feature per year about a very gay actor that showed him cavorting with beautiful women. Often, these stories had the underlying theme of “Why Joe Dokes Hasn’t Found His Dream Girl and Why He Keeps Looking.” In exchange for pushing the image of this actor as a macho dude, he shared tidbits and gossip about his fellow celebs on the sly.

    If I were a betting man, I’d wager someone in Uchitel’s (spelling??) circle knew about her fling with Tiger and saw a chance to cash in. If this person had photos, it could be a really nice payday.

  41. ROgirl said on December 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Tiger played a very dangerous game and got away with it for a long time. How many others are out there just one revelation away from a fall?

  42. Rana said on December 14, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I think Lieberman reminds me of Droopy, who I always found annoying as a kid.

    What impresses me about the Tiger fooferah is how quickly the tabloids have pounced on it. In the supermarket today, there was one tabloid with the requisite Brad-Jennifer-Angelina triangle story (I suspect that all three individuals just roll their eyes at these stories, at this point – for some reason, the tabloid media just can’t let it go…) and all the rest were different takes on the Tiger-mistress-betrayed wife story.

  43. Holly said on December 14, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I remember being in grade school. Cleaning up the kitchen at night and having the radio on. It was only AM. Our radio did not have FM stations that you could get in. It was one of those clock radios. I also remember only being able to get on TV 2-5-7 and 9. When I have talked about how it was when I was young, my kids tell me that it must have been hard. I get this look and the comments of ” You didn’t have Dish”. They think I’m old. I was born in 1957. It does not help that when a Brady Bunch episode comes on, within 5 seconds I can tell them what it is about. I was a big Brady Bunch fan. Now my kids will watch The Brady Bunch just to make fun of the style back then. I’m going to stop now. I’m upsetting myself. I guess maybe I am old.

  44. brian stouder said on December 14, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Jeff – a great point; National Enquirer was on this before Escalade-gate (or Esclade/tree/fireplug -missed- the-gate), and could be said to have precipitated it.

    I would only argue that Enquirer’s story hadn’t put a ripple on my consciousness – and I bet not on many others, either. Elin could have closed ranks, gotten paid, and the bimbo eruption maybe would have been a few rumbles and then quiet.

    But the 2:30 in the morning crashed car and golf-clubbing of the safety glass put it firmly into the much-maligned Main Stream Media, where we all saw it, and (like balloon boy) wondered where it was going to conclude.

    As an aside, one thing that keeps coming back to me as I get to be an old man is the running joke in the movie Men in Black, wherein the one newspaper that ALWAYS has the truth in it is the National Enquirer!

  45. LAMary said on December 14, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I love radio and I listen to a lot more radio than I watch television. The NPR stations here have good music or plays quite often. We have Harry Shearer live. I remember listening to AM radio as a kid, Cousin Brucie and Murray the K and Dan Ingraham, and Jean Shepherd at night on WOR. One summer my brother brought home an FM radio, and I remember sitting on the porch on a rainy summer night, hearing Light My Fire for the first time.

  46. brian stouder said on December 14, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Break on Through to the Other Side.

    (Light My Fire always reminds me of Buicks)

  47. Dave said on December 14, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    I got my first transistor radio, with an earpiece and all, when I was eleven and in the sixth grade. I thought it was the greatest thing and I’d sneak it into my bed at night and search for stations, and kept track of what and where they were, much as Jeff Borden did. I remember a girl in my sixth grade class named Helen Rayburn, sneaking her radio into class and running the earpiece wire up through her clothing, hiding it with her hair, and listening to the radio in class all day long. No idea how Helen’s life turned out by her blatant disregard for education in the sixth grade.

    We couldn’t quite get CKLW east of Columbus where I grew up but heard it in the summertime on trips north and I could get KYW in Cleveland, which was w-a-a-y cooler than listening to WCOL, they had a disc jockey named Jerry G who actually had met The Beatles. And, they played all the top British songs every Sunday night. KYW eventually became WKYC.

    I loved that radio stuff and now, blah, blah, blah.

    Holly, you think YOU’RE old.

  48. Holly said on December 14, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Dave, I guess you are as old as you feel. I work at a nursing home. I love to talk to the residents. If anyone gets some free time, go to a nursing home, visit with the people that live there. Listen to what they tell you. It is history. It is the past. I talk about a radio with only AM. They have much more to tell you that they did not have. I can tell you that they were happy not having all the crap we have today.

  49. beb said on December 14, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Jeff (TMMO) anyone who can remember the ’68 convention is automatically “old,” actually being there puts ypu up there with Methuselah (LOL). ’68 was the first election I could vote in, and started a long string if elections where my guy lost. Nixon, Reagun, Bush I and Bush II, no wonder our country is in the toilet….

    Have they rescheduled that drill and fill thing yet? Hope it goes well for you.

  50. Kirk said on December 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I had one of those teeny transistor radios that would fit in a shirt pocket. I remember listening to it in bed as Van Patrick called the fight in which Muhammad Ali (he was Cassius Clay then) won the heavyweight title for the first time.

    And WLS out of Chicago was a great AM station, playing Beatles and Rolling Stones songs that hadn’t been released in the U.S. yet.

  51. Holly said on December 14, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    I was looking at my Christmas decorations. Crap, my dog ate baby Jesus.

  52. LAMary said on December 14, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Listening to boxing was great, so atmospheric. I still like listening to baseball on the radio while I’m cleaning or washing the car or something.

  53. Kirk said on December 14, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Amen to baseball on the radio.

  54. LAMary said on December 14, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    I’m picturing Tiger spending Christmas in Sweden in this house on an island off the coast near Stockholm as a particularly stark Ingmar Bergman sort of winter holiday. Not a lot of talking. Just clock sounds and bluish northern light.

  55. brian stouder said on December 14, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    What was the place that Marty always hawked – the 580 Gift Shop? Some such; after hearing the place being positively referred to hundreds (and hundreds) of times, it was a genuine anti-climax to walk into the place.

    My goodness, come to think of it, does Riverfront Stadium even exist anymore? They built a new one, I know – is it on the site of the old one, or adjacent?

    I remember some buddies of mine and I rolling down to Cincy for a Saturday game and then a Sunday double header. We spent the night in Covington, Kentucky, and walked across that long iron bridge over the Ohio River (somewhat unsettling, that)

    And of course, when watching the game, one would have the radio on. It was somewhat dreamy to look across the stadium (using one’s binoculars) and actually see Marty and Joe over there, doing their thing.

    On one hand, it was sort of anti-climactic (their digs looked pretty modest, and with a cloth banner out front that said “WLW”); on the other hand – I recall feeling a sort of palable sense of awe; maybe akin to what a Muslim feels when visiting Mecca

  56. Kirk said on December 14, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Yes, the 580 shop was the club’s official souvenir store, so named because it was at 580 Walnut St., I think. And you’re right. Went in, looked around and exited pretty quickly.

    As for Covington, you didn’t stop over at the Brass Ass in Newport, did you?

    Riverfront Stadium came down several years ago when they built the new ballpark.

    I treasure that I was able to see about 20 games in each of the ’75 and ’76 seasons, when the Big Red Machine was at its peak.

  57. Rana said on December 14, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Holly, the wonderfulness of your last comment is an example of the large part of why I keep coming back here.

  58. Dexter said on December 14, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Kirk,I caught a baseball during batting practice before the Saturday game of the 1975 Reds / Pirates game. I went down from my “red seat” and walked down into that section just over the fence in right field. I wormed in with a group that an usher was seating. Within two minutes Ken Griffey hit one right to me , which I snagged barehanded. Easy peasy…and back to my seat way up there in those damn red seats. I still have about 20 baseballs I caught at various ballparks, always practice baseballs, never a live action baseball. I kept them all, except for the harvest we got one night in Chicago…we were early and we got six baseballs between 3 of us. I kept one of them and we played ball with the rest. I got eight baseballs at a Texas Rangers spring training practice…I was supposed to toss them back because I was shagging across the fence at a remote field at the training facility, but I kept a few for myself.
    ~~~
    Some may recall my story I wrote here about The Phoenix Bar, the defunct watering hole on 9th Street in Cincinnati that had a urination trough angling down into a drain that was used years ago to keep men at the bar buying drinks and not wasting time peeing. I got to tell that story on XM 202 Sirius 197 on The Ron and Fez Show last week. The topic was pee-shyness, a malady some men apparently have that prevents them from urinating at common troughs or even individual urinals if another man is in the room. Oh well. I had a buddy from St. Louis who liked to tell how he had gotten a bit drunk and pissed under the arch as it was nearing completion many years ago. I don’t have any colorful stories of public urination . One of the producers on XM 202 tells how he got wasted and had to go and peed on a building in NYC in the middle of the night. Bad call. He had gone right on the Israeli embassy building…arrested, yes.
    ~~~ My first radio: A Crosley table model, red, in 1962, AM only. A birthday present. Baseball games galore. CKLW and WLS a lot.

  59. Kirk said on December 15, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Only balls I ever snagged were both on about the 12th hop at Columbus Clippers games. One night, a foul pop was coming down right at me in old Cooper Stadium and I managed to boot it in front of everyone.

  60. Dexter said on December 15, 2009 at 12:31 am

    It’s a bit odd that I never came close to getting a baseball at Toledo Mud Hens games at Lucas County Rec Center. Some early April games, I had the entire left field grandstands to myself. There may have been fifty fans, all bunched around home plate area, and I sat out there many a night all by myself or nearly by myself, and never did a ball come there. The closest I ever got to getting a game ball was once in Cleveland when I left my seat to take our kid potty and a ball flew up there and bounced off my seat, but my wife had just ducked, and another time in Cleveland on the home run porch, I almost caught a John Valentin
    homer…missed it by six inches…couldn’t reach it. And…what do Larry David and I have in common? Nothing, but his fave Yankee was #25, Joe Pepitone, and my first baseball I got in a big league park was hit by Pepitone…September 12, 1965…of course I still have it.
    Any ND football fans out there? You can Tweet with the new coach.
    It’s CoachBrianKelly on Twitter.

  61. Denice B. said on December 15, 2009 at 12:34 am

    The Coliseum. A high class strip joint. Interesting building. It has classic Egyptian forms on the building and an Isis-like goddess on the signage. Don’t suppose those rocket scientists realize that The Coliseum was NOT Egyptian. How well you know 8 Mile. The Women’s Clinics. The ‘Usual Gang of Old Folks’ guard the doors ready to pass out rosaries scoldings for free. Hot Wheel City. Spinners make me get motion sickness. lol I work in a nursing home too. The stories I hear are amazing. The vets tell me stories about the war, and their important jobs they did. One guy was a diver who repaired carriers under water. Another was a driver of fuel tankers to the troops. He was an African American and he had talked about how he was treated–he said they treated him good. Living history lessons.

  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 15, 2009 at 12:41 am

    WLS, the Big 89, stuck with music, top 40; the political coverage was on WBBM, whose catchphrase i don’t recall, but it was in the 1080-ish neighborhood. Now WLS is all talkradio glurdge.

    Surgery Thursday am, Deus volent. My bp is 120/86 today, and it just has to stay there for me to catch a ride on the sinu-cranial express . . .

    Back when the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings happened, summer 1994, i went around on my usual pastoral rounds of nursing homes, as Holly suggested, and asked for their recollections of when they heard and what they felt. One lady was Dutch, and riding a trolley in Amsterdam when she heard, and told me her thought was “not yet, but soon, the war will be over.” She was in the Resistance, and lost most of her brothers in war. Another man explained he was in Texas, at Fort Sam Houston, and he wondered if he would make it into Europe before it was all over — he did, and wished he hadn’t. Then the fellow in an adjoining bed, not a member, but someone who was glad we offered him communion when i or the elders came thru, spoke up, to say he was “driving” a LST-Mark 2 across the Pacific when word of D-Day came over the radio.

    He and the crew all agreed — landing in Europe? At least you knew you had Paris in front of you instead of miles of jungle and the opposite shore between you and Tokyo. “But they had guts to land in front of Rommel, you had to give ’em that.”

    After worship that Sunday, no one got out of church too quickly. One lady told me she was riveting B-26 wings in Burbank when she heard about D-Day; another that she was delivering a calf since the menfolk were all off in the service. Two men were on ships off of Espiritu Santo, and didn’t even know they had served so close to each other 50 years before until that very day.

    Yeah, go sit at a nursing home some afternoon and start a conversation. It’ll be like combat — 95% tedium, but 5% of life changing detonation right in your lap. I still think about the Dutch lady in a West Virginia nursing home, talking about being a young bride crying on an Amsterdam trolley car, thinking about American boys in the surf off of Normandy, crying herself 50 years later.

  63. MarkH said on December 15, 2009 at 1:26 am

    LAMary, I think I got it.

    The character Stewart pointed out was Droopy, an early Tex Avery cartoon dog, not Droopalong, a protege to Ricochet Rabbit, the 60s Hanna-Barbera character. Droopy and Droopalong sounded nothing alike. Don Messick, an H-B voice staple, did the early Droopy voice, heard here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghG0lWxRABM

    While this is the voice I was thinking of, I remember a little broom-mustacheoed guy with it, too, possibly another minor H-B character. In any event, Lieberman sounds just like Droopy. Watch that clip for a couple of minutes to get the full effect.

    EDIT: Wiki has the bio, complete with a shout out to Stewart for the Lieberman connection:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droopy

    EDIT (2): Lieberman even bears a physical resemblance to ole Droop; kinda jowly.

  64. jcburns said on December 15, 2009 at 2:01 am

    My winter driving, AM-listening nostalgia centers around “The Spirit of New England, WBZ Boston, Group W, Westinghouse Broadcasting.” A good 70s-era top of the hour ID can still give me chills.

  65. Dave K. said on December 15, 2009 at 3:06 am

    I don’t remember how old I was, 4th or 5th grade maybe, when I got a crystal radio set for Christmas. My dad strung antenna wire up in the attic and I could listen to the Ft.Wayne Komets and Bob Chase on the single earpiece in bed. JC’s reference to “Group W, Westinghouse Broadcasting”, jogged that memory, as I listened to the K’s on WOWO, “The 50,000 Watt Voice of the Big Business of Farming”.

    I never caught a Major League baseball either, but in 7th grade my Uncle Jack, a railroad engineer on the B&O, took me and my cousin Mike to Chicago for a White Sox vs. Yankees twilight double-header. Uncle Jack wouldn’t let us take our ball gloves to Comiskey Park because “them little nigger kids will grab ’em and you’ll never see them again”. If he hadn’t been so cautious (and racist!), I’m sure we would have caught homerun balls from Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Ted Kluzewski, (whose homer set off the Comiskey fireworks). All three homers landed close enough that the guys who did catch them passed them over to us so we could hold a real Major League ball.

    I don’t know if that was the record-setting seasons for Maris. Probably was 1964. Wow, maybe I’m old too! And I still don’t understand how that crystal radio worked. No batteries or electricity, it just pulled the radio waves out of “thin air”, so to speak. I think that was a better present than Wii, Playstation or whatever else we didn’t know we were missing.

  66. John said on December 15, 2009 at 8:07 am

    WCFL was my night time station. But WBZ, WWVA, WOWO, WLS, WLW, and KDKA were all easy to tune to.

  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 15, 2009 at 8:36 am

    “WCFL, the voice . . . of Labor!”*

    I’d get a chill every time i’d bring in WCBS out of New York. KDKA was cool to get in the Chicago area, but to listen to a person sitting in a booth in the Empire State Building, that was cool.

    They probably were actually in an office flat in Fort Lee, NJ.

    *I used to know all these — WCFL, Chicago Federation of Labor; WLS, World’s largest store (Fields); WGN, World’s Greatest Newspaper (Tribune). Did WLW or WOWO have acronyms behind them?

  68. alex said on December 15, 2009 at 9:19 am

    WOWO: Whacked Out Whites Only.

    (That describes it today. Not sure what it signified originally.)

  69. basset said on December 15, 2009 at 11:59 am

    WLS did indeed do news back in the day. Two words… Lyle Dean. WBBM is at 780.

    We used to listen to WLS on the school bus in the mornings, and WAKY from Louisville going home in the afternoons.

    The radio “sounder” I miss most was from Indianapolis:

    massive explosion and on comes the voice of doom… “Radio Indiana… WIBC!”

    Some more call letters, just a few from memory:

    WSM, Nashville – We Shield Millions (owned by an insurance company)

    WLAC, Nashville – We’re Life and Casualty (another insurance company)

    WSB, Atlanta – Welcome South, Brother

    WIS, Columbia, SC – Wonderful Iodine State

    WOC, Davenport, Iowa – World of Chiropractic (owned by a college of chiropractic)

    there’s a long list of these online somewhere.