Curse you, Craig.

I’m in the market for a bookcase. I’m always in the market for a bookcase. If you have a bookcase, call me and I’ll at least take a look. In this case, I’m looking for a tradeup — the one piece of furniture that persists “above stairs” in our house from my salad days is an old particleboard p.o.s. bookcase, and I’m ready to be shut of it. I considered painting it — still might, if I can’t find a decent replacement — but would prefer to replace it with something a little nicer. So I’m on Craigslist several times a day, getting reacquainted with my Craigslist luck.

What is Craigslist luck? An example; here is a table Amy Welborn found on her Craigslist (Birmingham, Ala.), for $50:

Look at that thing. It’s gorgeous. Maybe teak? Fifty bucks. Meanwhile, I clickclickclick on linklinklink advertising “bookcase! nice!” and see wrecks that make my particleboard disaster look like vintage Stickley. They’re all asking $80. Or more. And I’d have to drive an hour to find it. Bah.

In all fairness, I have to say all my Craigslist luck hasn’t been bad, but the good stretches were only when I was partnering with someone else. Our filmmaking escapades have all owed a lot to Craigslist, but we must have been piggybacking on someone else’s good luck. I understand people use Craigslist to find jobs; the only writing jobs advertised there are the ones for content farms, where they pay $3 for 400 words. Sex addicts use Craigslist to find so-called casual encounters; if I ever did such a thing, I’d meet an ax murderer.

I do two Craigslist searches when I check — “bookcase” and “grosse pointe.” You never know when someone in your neighborhood will be selling something interesting. And may I just say? Affluent people are the absolute worst to buy secondhand goods from. They think every piece of crap they own is worth a thousand bucks, and all their prices are firm. I saw a woman a couple years ago selling a “brand-new” iPhone for $450. At the time, you could buy one in an Apple store for $400. I sent her an e-mail asking — politely! — what the extra $50 was for. She replied, “Ha ha I already sold it asshole.”

That must have been some case.

Craigslist cut the legs out from under my industry, and now it curses me.

Bloggage? Sure:

For the record, I think the FDA has better things to do than fret about sodium. However, this line from a LGM post on it gave me a smile:

Conservatives have evidently worked themselves into something of an incoherent snit over the FDA’s plans to limit sodium in processed foods. If I understand the anxiety correctly, a cooperative effort between the federal government, industry representatives and public health experts to gradually (and I would imagine quite modestly) reduce sodium levels over a ten-year period is pretty much the sort of thing that Pol Pot did before depopulating the cities and having everyone gouged to death with bamboo.

Hysteria on the right is going around, however; Lance Mannion finds a hilarious essay in Reason and runs with it. Back when past-life exploration was trendy among Shirley Maclaine types, I observed that everyone who claimed an acquaintanceship with prior lives was a princess or Cleopatra or the king of all druids; where were the anonymous serfs and scullery maids? I believe the same affliction exists on the right, too, as Lance points out:

You know, I always thought it was me and my bad habits of stereotyping and making sweeping generalizations about people, but it’s often seemed to me that there is a type of Conservative of the more corporatist and self-congratulatory “libertarian” bent who believes that the only reason he’s not a titan of industry is that America has gone downhill since, oh, about 1876.

This type seems to think that if he were suddenly blown through a wormhole in time and dropped in the Black Hills of the Dakota Territories just after the Civil War with nothing but the clothes on his back and a Swiss Army knife he’d show up back here a year later, rich as Croesus, having dug a gold mine out of the mountainside with his spoon and fork and corkscrew attachments and incidentally having invented the telephone, the electric light bulb, the internal combustion engine, and time travel.

Actually, Lance is on something of a roll of late. Today, the stunt restaurant and why it’s bad.

Something I’ve long believed about television, Gawker speaks out loud: It’s time for TV’s old guard to retire. As someone between the age of Morley Safer and Lisa Ling, I’m of two minds. While I think it’s admirable many of these folks are still swingin’ decades past conventional retirement age, it’s unsettling to turn on “60 Minutes” and see Andy Rooney, still at it at 91. I thought that figure — Rooney’s age — was an outlandish exaggeration on Gawker’s part, but no. He’s really 91. Of course, I never liked Andy Rooney, and the compliment that always made me wince back in my columnizing days was this: “I like your column. It’s sort of a combination of Erma Bombeck and Andy Rooney.” Gee, thanks.

Hey, look — someone just sent me an invitation to a premiere screening of “You Don’t Know Jack” tomorrow night, a little perk of being tangentially connected to the creative community in the location where it was shot. Too bad I can’t go. Working. To afford my HBO, where the film will eventually screen in my living room. Ah, well.

Posted at 10:35 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

44 responses to “Curse you, Craig.”

  1. Sue said on April 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Nancy, you’re only halfway there. Let’s retire the old guard, to be replaced by… Who? Andy Rooney is the worst example of what needs to go, but give me an argument in favor of any new blood besides Rachel Maddow and maybe Anderson Cooper. You can’t get the next generation of old-guard real journalists when the people who are making the decisions on who gets exposure are picking gems like Rick “Iceland is too cold for volcanoes” Sanchez, oh and incidentally filling a lot of air time with viewer emails, which are exactly as profound as you think they’d be. Sure there’s quality waiting in the wings but just sweeping out the oldsters isn’t going to bring it out.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on April 21, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I certainly understand why so many conservative Americans don’t want the government messing with their condiments. Have you seen the size of the people attending the teabagger events? They clearly hit the all you can eat buffet at Golden Corral before decamping to yell at our slender president. Or the waistlines on those men who gathered in Virginia a few days ago to celebrate the Second Amendment by carrying the big, long guns that help assuage their self-loathing at having teeny, tiny little weenies? No wonder they want to carry guns. They sure couldn’t outrun a mugger.

    These people need their calories, dammit!!

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  3. Dorothy said on April 21, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I take it you’re not interested in finding bookshelves at an unfinished furniture store? Where you can see that the wood is wood and not particle board? I know it’s some work to sand and then stain them, but it pays off. This way you get what you pay for. Then again I know price is a driving factor so I wish you luck in finding one (or more) at your price.

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  4. Deborah said on April 21, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Dorothy I just realized your gravatar is a real quilt square, instead of a digital quilt square. Pretty clever.

    No matter what the Obama administration does the the right wingers will find something to scream about (reducing sodium in processed food is wrong?). I honestly think if Obama suddenly declared abortion illegal, they be against it.

    “Rick “Iceland is too cold for volcanoes” Sanchez” – good one Sue.

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  5. nancy said on April 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I must have missed that. Rick Sanchez said Iceland is too cold for volcanos? Iceland IS a volcano. Where does he think all that scalding water comes from? Prehistoric underground boilers stoked by mythical Nordic creatures?

    When I was riding, I used to get a catalog annually from an equestrian-themed travel agency. Most of the trips were pretty typical — foxhunting in England, dressage workshops in the Netherlands, etc. — but there were two I really could kick myself for not taking. One was a trip across the Mongolian steppes on horseback a la Genghis Khan and the Mongol horde, and the other was a circular tour of the Icelandic inland, on native ponies. The Iceland trip in particular was heavily stickered with warnings. You had to be able to withstand about 30 miles a day at a brisk tolt, the ponies’ fast-travel gait, and the lodgings were with local farmers, i.e., bunkhouses. “Expect to be served mutton at least twice a day,” the copy said. I didn’t care. The idea of seeing natural hot springs, geysers and the northern lights far from even meager city lights sounded heavenly. Alas, it became a one-of-these-days thing will likely not ever happen. (I doubt I could tolt for 30 miles anymore.) Regrets, I’ve had a few.

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  6. Sue said on April 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm

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  7. coozledad said on April 21, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    The Mongolian ride sounds cool, too, but I don’t think I could handle the mare’s milk thing. Waverly Root says that’s why they were able to conquer so much territory. They never had to consolidate their supply lines.

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  8. ROgirl said on April 21, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    You know if we let them take our salt away they’ll come after our guns next. It’s a slippery slope, folks.

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  9. beb said on April 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Sue is right that while it would be nice to retire some of the Old Guard of TV reporters, there’s no sense of qualified replacements standing in line. Of course since the Old Guard seems to never plan on retiring there’s no expectation of getting promoted to their choice spots, either.

    But there is, I think, a place to find good reporters — from the same pool that got us the guy that got Rachel Maddow hired. You know, Keith Olbermann, who began life as a sport reporter.

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  10. Joe Kobiela said on April 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Who says that you have to replace the old guard with left wingers like Oberlin and Madow. Mabey its time for some new independent thinkers. Jeff B, any time you want to lace up your kicks, This conservitive will be glad to run with you anytime and any milage right up thru a marathon,and Deb, if G.Bush had cured cancer the left would have found fault with it some where.
    Pilot Joe

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  11. Jeff Borden said on April 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Joe, my friend, I have read about your strenuous runs and acknowledge you are a far healthier specimen than I, who prefers 12-ounce curls with a cold beer. Nor am I saying fat genes are particular to teabaggers given the fact that Michael Moore is large enough to qualify for his own zip code these days. It’s just the astonishing large number of fat asses pictured in the teabagging events. And those open carry guys? Lord. The Daily Show had a field day with a few of them a few days ago, when they sent the young black guy out to hang with the fellows who walk around with their Glocks in a holster. Every one of these guys was a good 250 and we ain’t talking Stone Cold Steve Austin builds, either.

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  12. coozledad said on April 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Well he certainly killed a shitload of people before they could develop cancer.

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  13. Dorothy said on April 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Deborah my gravatar is actually a quilt I made last year for a co-worker. It’s a baby quilt, made to match the furnishings she chose for the baby’s room. She turned out to be a girl (they didn’t find out until she was born, which is my preferred way to have a baby doncha know). I thought it would be cool to do a little “play” on the gravatars that Mr. Burns has designed for nn.c

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  14. Jeff Borden said on April 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Note to Joe:

    I will despise George W. Bush and his crooked, incompetent and unlawful administration until I draw my last breath. The damage these jerks did to our country will take a generation or two to repair.

    That said, I have never been bashful about saying that even W., the worst of our presidents, did some decent things. His administration was very diverse, though Condoleeza Rice, Alberto Gonzalez and John Yoo turned out to be utter failures. His heart was in the right place on immigration, too. No Child Left Behind is not working out, but it was at least an effort to bring some accountability to our public schools, even if the unintended consequences turned out to be teaching to the test. He was incredibly gracious about Obama, noting what a beautiful sight it would be to see he and his family in the White House. He has acted honorably since leaving office, too.

    At base, I’ll always think of W. as someone who was manipulated by others, notably that fucking bastard Cheney, who by all rights should be in solitary confinement awaiting a war crimes trial.

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  15. Julie Robinson said on April 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    One word: IKEA. They have particle board but also wood. If you go with Billys, you can also buy some nice glass doors.

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  16. MRMARK said on April 21, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I have sold a ton of good used furniture and electronics on CL (Atlanta) and I have some met some really nice people. Not one was an axe murderer…nor am I. A couple have even written nice emails once they got the item into their home.

    My Picture of the Day: Red Azaleas at Smith Plantation (Roswell, GA)

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  17. Bob (not Greene) said on April 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Don’t sugar coat it Jeff B., give it to us straight!

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  18. Peter said on April 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Pilot Joe, my son wants to become Pilot Mike, and he’s going to his first college open house on Saturday (Southern Illinois, home of the Salukis), courtesy of United.

    Any advice you care to share?

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  19. alex said on April 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Dorothy, your gravatar’s showing up on my screen as a head shot with sunglasses and some lovely body of water in the background. That’s a quilt?

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  20. Joe Kobiela said on April 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Tell him to get a b.a. in any subject if he wants to fly for the airlines, they look for education. Get a job working the line at a local fbo. Getting a job in this business is a lot who you know,and he can make alot of contacts working the line. Become a flight instructor and start building hours,then beg borrow or steal all the multi-engine and turbine time he can get. Hop along on charters and fly the empty legs,ect,ect. Never pay to work, building hours,and realise that the days of making 100,000 plus a year are about gone. And if anyone tells him he shouldn’t get into this, tell them to F.O. and keep working on his dream. I didn’t and it took me to age 49 before I could tell Dana corp, see ya. One other Thing, tell him to go to Purdue!!!!
    Blue Sky’s and Tail winds to him.
    Pilot Joe

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  21. crinoidgirl said on April 21, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    OTOH, alex, I see a (real-life) quilt. hmmm

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  22. judybusy said on April 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Dorothy, I see cute puppies. For real.

    Mr. Mark, thanks for sharing the photo–really nicely done!

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  23. Beryl Ament said on April 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Marianne Frost ( recently wrote about her experience furnishing her new apartment from Craigslist:
    “And then tonight I was perusing craigslist and someone advertised “1 night stand and dresser.” I wrote to them and asked them how much for a one-night stand. I really did. I wonder if I’ll get a response. I hope they laughed and I don’t get a knock on my door by someone in uniform accusing me of inappropriate behavior. Maybe I’ll even meet the love of my life.”
    Hope springs eternal.

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  24. alex said on April 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I’m serious re: Dorothy’s gravatar. It’s a picture (presumably) of Dorothy. Why would it come up differently on different machines?

    I uploaded multiple pix to the gravatar site but only the initial one appears, even though I made multiple attempts to change it. Not sure what’s up with that.

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  25. Little Bird said on April 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    A note on the avatars. If it seems that everyone is seeing a different one than you are, clear your cache and refresh your page. It should clear things up. If not, I have no idea what’s up.
    I’m still laughing about the “Iceland’s too cold for volcanos” thing, this may be my new sarcastic comment.

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  26. Rana said on April 21, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Re: bookcases – I’m rather fond of the folding ones from Target, which you can order online and have sent to your door. However, watch out for quality control – some of the overseas plants that make them do a great job, and some… do not.

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  27. Dexter said on April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    You never know what you might find when shopping for used or antique furniture.
    My Chicago brother found a dresser at a garage sale a couple years ago. After he paid for it the owner told him the dresser used to belong to Roger Ebert.
    I forget how she got it, but I think she babysat the child Ebert and was gifted the dresser at some point.
    My brother uses it in their spare room now.

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  28. alex said on April 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Now on my computer at home I’m seeing Dorothy’s quilt.

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  29. Kirk said on April 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I just see Dorothy, and I know it’s her because I met her once.

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  30. ac jones said on April 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Re #14 Mr. Borden—“to see he and his family in the White House”? That’s a construct even your much maligned George W. wouldn’t have put together. You’re right about his gracious ways since leaving office, though.

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  31. Jeff Borden said on April 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm


    Yeah, I heard the screams of that tortured syntax even as I hit the send button.

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  32. MichaelG said on April 21, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Peter, lots of pilots have made the move from the Air Force to the airlines. I don’t know how things are today, but that’s an alternative worth exploring. Flying C-17s isn’t a bad life.

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  33. Dorothy said on April 21, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Well I am surprised by all the different Dorothy gravatar sightings here. I have changed them a couple of times – I started with the Florida picture, taken in February, then changed it to the pups Augie and Husky. But I think I’m sticking with the quilt picture for now. Until I win the lottery. Then I might just show a picture of me sitting on a big old pile ‘o money.

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  34. moe99 said on April 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Sitting in Ohare for 4 hrs waiting to fly to Lexington to see mom (86) because she can’t travel and I can. This is the closest, physically, I am with the majority here, until I return in July to attend my 40th class reunion at Defiance High School.

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  35. Deborah said on April 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Moe, look east towards the lake as you fly out of Ohare. That’s me waving frantically.

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  36. Joe Kobiela said on April 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    this is why people charter for business, you can’t afford to have people sit for 4hr to take a 45min flight. I hope you get to Lex.
    Pilot Joe

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  37. brian stouder said on April 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    You know, I cannot decide how to take that Gawker article on the Old Guard and retirement.

    I kept waiting for them to mention Walter Cronkite, and they didn’t. But the closing paragraph was this:

    If only everyone else would follow her [Barbara Walters’ graceful exit from prime time] lead. We’re not saying there should be a mandatory retirement age for news anchors, but after dealing with so many breaking stories, late election nights, public criticism, and personal scandals, you would think that that they had their fill of working. You’d think they might be tired. They haven’t, it seems, but the audience sure seems to be tired of watching them.

    I almost think that that reference to “mandatory retirement” was a nod Uncle Wally’s way…because I remember the oddness when CBS forced him to retire, and paid him large money to keep him off other network’s air. It struck me as odd then, and all the more odd now – that a person with such a formidably large audience would be pushed out the door that way, and remain very well paid to STAY off the airwaves, since (no doubt) that audience would have followed him onto any other network.

    By way of saying – if an attractive brunette with an unbuttoned blouse and a stentorian voice has what it takes to read the news to me, so does someone a half century older, who’s already seen everything that can possibly ever happen (and who can tell you which son of a bitch did it last time)

    moe – a sentence I never thought I’d write: you make taking a trip to Defiance, Ohio sound like a thing to add to the list!

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  38. Dexter said on April 21, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    It seems the airlines are always in a state of turmoil. My daughter’s S.O. is a NetJets captain. He has had F.O.s in his plane with many more hours in the sky than he; sometimes former airline pilots who used to fly the overseas routes, even. Seniority rules, in some cases, and our guy is about in the middle of the NetJets seniority list. A lot of the really experienced United and US Air pilots who were laid off hired in with NetJets, only to be laid off there last year, too. It’s a really tough gig, but good work if you can get it. Pays well.
    Raytheon Hawker

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 21, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    You can have my salt shaker when you pry it from my cold, dead, mildly edemic fingers.

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  40. basset said on April 22, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Peter, you might look at Middle Tennessee State too… reputable flight program, half an hour from Nashville.

    Not much on Craigslist and don’t use eBay at all any more but I do try for yard sale luck every once in awhile. best catch so far was an old fishing reel (original made-in-France Mitchell 300) brand new in the box for $3, turned it on eBay for $105 if I remember right.

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  41. Denice B. said on April 22, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Interesting side note, Nancy. Craig Newmark of Craigslist lived in Detroit for 15 years before he moved to California and created Craigslist. He ran around with our circle of friends here. Back in the day he worked for IBM.

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  42. Jolene said on April 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Peter: If your son is willing to shift his geographic preferences, he should consider the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota.

    Like a lot of small and medum-sized schools, it picked an unusual area of specialization and built around it. Has many alumni employed as pilots and aviation management. One of my brother’s friends went on to specialize in aviation law.

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  43. alex said on April 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Jtmmo @ 39–


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  44. MarkH said on April 22, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Embrey-Riddle always gets high marks as well, Pete:

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