Kate got a snow day today. I’m flabbergasted. The superintendent here is notorious for never closing school; you look at those “you know you’re from Grosse Pointe if” things on Facebook and they all say, “…you hate Suzanne Klein because you never got a snow day.” From where I sit, it looks as though we got five or six inches, remarkable only because it’s taken this long to arrive. And they cancelled school. This is surely a sign of the apocalypse.
Frankly I don’t blame her for being a hard case. All schools are local here. There are no buses. And half the student body has at least one parent who drives a hulking SUV that could scale Mt. McKinley (at least, that’s what the commercials imply). Plus, duh, it’s Michigan. I tell her she doesn’t want the Fort Wayne model, which was to cancel or delay schools at the first sign of a cloud crossing the sky, which makes all the kiddies happy until the end of the year rolls around, and the days have to be made up. Knowing what happens around here at year’s end — in which learning basically ceases after Memorial Day, replaced with a round of picnics, parties and in-class movies — I wonder why state legislators even bother fussing about this stuff.
So, anyway, snow day. I made chili last night. Used my own chuck (ground by moi), added a basket of corn muffins. There are lots of leftovers. Stop by.
Which reminds me of a story someone once told me: A couple of his acquaintance gone to see Branford Marsalis perform in (I think) Bloomington, Ind., and as they were leaving, walked past the stage entrance, where Marsalis was hanging around, talking to the fans. Little by little the crowd dwindled until it was Marsalis and this couple, and he said, “So, what’s a good place to eat around here?” They suggested a few places, and then the man added, “My wife made a pot of chili before we left. It should be pretty good by now. You’re welcome to join us.” Marsalis said OK, that sounded good, and they drove him home with them, and then back to the tour bus. I’m not sure what to make of this story, other than a) the Marsalises are jes’ plain folks; and b) one should never underestimate a touring musician’s longing for home cooking. I think it’s probably a little of both.
Does Branford’s more famous brother still do his great radio show? I forget the name of it, but it should have been called “Master Class with Wynton Marsalis.” I would catch it on Columbus’ public-radio station when I was traveling there often on Friday evenings. It was a really engaging lecture with lots of records, aimed at that precise point where a trained musician would learn something new from it, but an untrained listener could easily follow it, too. He’d tell you why Thelonious Monk was important, play a record, explain why he was a great composer, play a record, drill down into particularly engaging key changes, play a record, etc. By the end of the hour you felt a) entertained; and b) smarter. That’s a hard line to walk.
Add me to the I Hate Facebook club. If it weren’t for the fact many people consider FB my de facto e-mail account, I’d drop it entirely. They’ve retooled it yet again, and it’s the usual train wreck — reload your home page three times, and you’ll get three different news feeds, and one of them will be from two days ago. I think what they’re struggling with is success. I now have nearly 300 “friends,” many of whom I couldn’t identify in a police lineup, but are still pretty good FB players, in that they post good links and can be funny in a status-update line. Other people are far better friends in real life — my best friends, in fact — but lousy on FB, and somewhere there’s an algorithm that will let you sort them out, but Facebook hasn’t figured it out yet. What I need to do is sit down with all my 300 and do a great big cull. I did a targeted one over the weekend and friends? It felt good.
Bloggage? Oh, not very much:
I thought this Henry Paulson book excerpt from over the weekend was remarkable in the story it told about John McCain’s spectacularly dumb move in fall 2008, but the intro was one of those “huh?” moments:
With the stock market in freefall and the country headed for a crippling economic recession, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson proposed the $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan to Congress on Friday, Sept. 19, 2008. By the following Monday, the Troubled Asset Relief Program was meeting resistance on all sides. Mr. Paulson’s next few days, marked by little sleep and no exercise, were frantic with meetings and private phone calls on behalf of the legislation.
I know many, many people who consider a daily workout necessary to remain on top of their game, mentally. I know I feel better when I exercise than when I don’t. It’s also the first thing to fall off the schedule when I get busy. I think it’s remarkable that the editor of this piece, in sketching out the condition of Henry Paulson during a truly scary stretch in his work history, would single out the fact it cost him his workout. If I’d learned that he still made time for the treadmill while the world’s financial system was teetering on the brink, I’d be pissed. Thoughts?
First Toyota, now a Honda recall? The Detroit auto executives must feel like a boxer on the mat at 7 on a 10-count, looking up through the blood and sweat to see their opponent suddenly suffer chest pains.
Betty White’s Super Bowl ad is giving her a little career lift. Ha ha. It’s funny to see the old-bag veterans of Mary Tyler Moore’s show get a second, third or maybe fifteenth wind. Cloris Leachman was all over Comedy Central for a while, working blue-blue-blue at some roast a while back. She called up some young hunk and planted a soul kiss on him, and don’t think that didn’t rock the house. There’s nothing funnier than a horny old lady, as Betty already knows from having chased Lou Grant back in the day.
And with that, I think I’m out of here. Happy snow day, all.