The people parade.

Jim at Sweet Juniper has a brief but hilarious post about a chapter of parenthood that has passed for me, i.e., the parental experience of the playground. You should not be surprised to learn that it’s different in Detroit than in San Francisco, his last residence. (When an essay turns on the fulcrum, “Then I smelled the weed,” you know we’ve entered a new city.) And yet, in so many ways, it’s the same.

I used to love to take little Kate to Fort Wayne’s various playgrounds, mostly Foster Park and, when we felt like getting the bike trailer out, Kid’s Crossing at Lawton Park. I’d push her in the swing and hope for another kid for her to play with, so I could concentrate on the people-watching and eavesdropping. You never knew what, or who, might turn up.

There was one family whose schedule matched mine for a time; the son took a tennis lesson while his three sisters killed time on the swings. They were nice girls, clad in the unmistakable clothing of the home-schooled Christian — “modest” hemlines, long sleeves, a certain Little-House-on-the-Prairie vibe to the cut and print — but they were lively and sweet, played easily with others, and I always enjoyed watching them. One day they showed up, all three of them wearing some sort of kerchief-type headgear, obviously gleaned from a close reading of that ol’ misogynist, St. Paul, and it was like their mother had tattooed WEIRDO on their foreheads. The other kids kept their distance, and they did the same.

Weekends were different. That’s when you saw the fathers, either because of custody arrangements or just to give mom a break. Fathers relate to their children differently — they hover less, they care a lot less about clean clothing. Once I watched one beam approvingly as his daughter wallowed in an enormous mud puddle, as happily as a pig. Every stitch of clothing she wore was ruined, and her dad kept looking around to beam — that’s my kid, yep — as though he deserved some sort of medal for coolness. As the designated laundress of the family, I withheld my approval. Dirt has its place on a kid, but this was ridiculous.

And there were the fathers who were looking for girlfriends, playing the sensitive-dad card, or maybe something else. One memorable Sunday, a young father commandeered a large portion of the play structure as his personal workout facility. He stripped off his shirt and began hoisting himself around, doing chin-ups and various abdominal moves, punctuating each rep with an ear-shattering ARRRGHHHAHHH that penetrated every corner of the park, the sort of grunt-yell that brands you an asshole even in the gym, much less on the playscape. Everyone glared, but he continued until every muscle was shining and engorged, then looked around for the babes he seemed sure would soon start flocking. I don’t think any did.

A dad tried to pick me up once, as I read Ruth Reichl’s “Tender at the Bone.” “Tender…at…the…BONE. Now, what could THAT be about?” he leered. As though I brought a dirty story to read on the playground. Because I’m such a horny mom. Sheesh.

The full breadth of the human carnival parades before us, every day. It’s a crime not to notice.

No bloggage today, other than Jim, because once again I have to clean myself up and cover three miles by bicycle in, what? Fifteen minutes? Best get movin’! Have a great weekend.

Posted at 9:16 am in Same ol' same ol', Uncategorized |

66 responses to “The people parade.”

  1. judybusy said on April 30, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Ah, another great post to begin the day! The description of the SF parents by Jim reminds me of a former neighbor who had a son raised just like this. She was sooooo proud he was a vegetarian and liberal at age eight. Thing was, he was the rudest, oddest little thing on the block. I also loved that she was a psychologist by training and couldn’t see that he was just identifying with the primary object in his universe. We were glad when they moved away. Mean, I know, but there it is.

    487 chars

  2. Dorothy said on April 30, 2010 at 9:57 am

    When Josh was 3 Mike took him to a Pitt football game one cool October afternoon. He could not get over the amount of gushing done by the female collegians surrounding them. He said “If I knew a 3 year old cutie pie kid would get the babes to swarm me, I’d have borrowed one years ago!”

    288 chars

  3. Deborah said on April 30, 2010 at 10:26 am

    When Little Bird was a kid we went to a few playgrounds that weren’t that close to us, we had to walk about a mile to a school, another one was in Forest Park, this was when we lived in St. Louis. There were never that many parents at either one of those places. Of course the population is denser here in Chicago. We took my husband’s two year old grand daughter to a couple of nearby playgrounds last summer (she’s three now and will be visiting again in July), it was definitely one parent and sometimes two for each child, and in our case two hovering grandparents and the grand child’s mother. There are always way more adults than children in the ones I walk past.

    670 chars

  4. KLG said on April 30, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Indeed. A family close to me has a 9-year-old who has been raised on raw vegetables, fruit salad, and water. He is apparently a total pill in school and never learned what an indoor voice is. The parents can’t seem to grasp that what the skinny little sh*t really needs is peanut butter and jelly, ice cream, the occasional hotdog, pizza once a week, and all the meatloaf and potatoes he will eat. And even a carbonated high fructose corn syrup concoction once in a while.

    476 chars

  5. coozledad said on April 30, 2010 at 10:42 am

    The chest-baring chinups guy was a standard feature of the gym we began to avoid. It was a pit of hail fellow homoerotic fundamentalism, with fat guys throwing weights around. A lot of the screaming was from dumbasses who’d liberated a major muscle group from its corresponding tendons and ligaments.The worst aspect of the place was the sauna where the elderly gathered and threw cold water from the swimming pool on the thermostat until you could smell fifty years of nicotine addiction cooking out of them.
    I quit going after 9/11 brought the unbridled Curtis LeMay out of every lardy cracker in the place, and anyway, the physical ideal I was striving for was out of the reach of anyone my age unless they took up shooting brown heroin.

    741 chars

  6. basset said on April 30, 2010 at 10:55 am

    like most tightly-leashed kids, he’ll probably go completely out of control once he gets out of their sight…

    110 chars

  7. LAMary said on April 30, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I live next to a park and playground so it was a daily thing for us. Most of the other regular kid attendees came with their nannies so I got pretty friendly with them. I knew so much dirt about some of the moms. Boy oh boy. There was one little girl who was allowed, at age four, to order her nanny around. Her nanny was named Ana, and she was from Honduras. She had a twelve year old son who was very gifted at math and was in one of the best public schools in town, which happened to be in our neighborhood. Ana just took the crap from this little bratty girl and her parents who had no problem with it so she could keep her son in the local school on permit since it was near her place of work. I hope her son got into MIT or something. I hope he’s taking good care of his mom now.

    785 chars

  8. moe99 said on April 30, 2010 at 11:01 am

    News was not so good from the ct scans. Neck tumors are quiet but the mediasitnal and lung tumors are growing and I’ve got on in the right lower lobe that I wasn’t aware of, which bumps me into Stage IV.

    So, instead, following Nancy’s lead, I’m concentrating on getting in shape and participating in the Lung Walk this Sunday (paleopeople, crinoidgirl). My team is named DeFeet Lung Cancer and with 14 or so of us there, we hope to put up a good fight. Here’s hoping for good weather.

    564 chars

  9. Sue said on April 30, 2010 at 11:08 am

    What I don’t understand about the standard home-school uniform for girls – identical to their moms in every way, right down to the long hair – is: what’s with the boots? They all wear these ankle boots with their longish skirts and loose, all-covering blouses. It’s not like they need them to do the milking or anything, this is the metro Milwaukee area and while we have lots of farms the farm kids can’t be distinguished by their clothing (unless they’re home-schooled farm kids, an interesting sub-group).
    No one has hit on me for at least ten years, and when it happened I didn’t even realize what was going on. I thought a chatty man just struck up a conversation with me in a parking lot and I didn’t make the connection until I thought later about some of the things he said.
    And if I could say – I think Hattie had the best comment yesterday.

    858 chars

  10. Sue said on April 30, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Oh, Moe…

    10 chars

  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 30, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Walk on, Moe! We’re rolling along with you.

    43 chars

  12. Joe Kobiela said on April 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Had fractional owner pilot tell me a story once about a family he was flying, the mother and teenage daughter got into a argument and the mother told the daughter if she did not behave she would take the daughters Gulfstream privlage away and she would only be able to fly on the Hawker jet. I think they had more money than I do.
    Rush never said he thought the left bombed the oil platform, I heard the statment live. He was talking about how you could come up with that thinking if you though along the conspiracy level, you must have again got your info second hand.
    Moe, never quit fighting the bastard.
    Pilot Joe

    621 chars

  13. Dorothy said on April 30, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Moe I’m thinking of you. Wishing you all the strength you need to get through the next stuff.

    94 chars

  14. MarkH said on April 30, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Thoughts and prayers to you, moe, and continued strength.

    57 chars

  15. alex said on April 30, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Here’s wishing you courage, moe.

    Jttmo–your town’s making a big splash in our local news today. I hear the kids at Licking Valley High are taking their prom offsite because the school won’t let them hump all over each other when they dance.

    244 chars

  16. coozledad said on April 30, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Licking Valley High? Are they the ones with the engorged clitoris as a mascot?

    78 chars

  17. Rana said on April 30, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that, moe.

    Good luck with the Lung Walk – I’ll be thinking of you.

    88 chars

  18. Rana said on April 30, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I think that’s Beaver High, cooz. 😉

    I have to say, one thing I’ve appreciated about teaching at the local branch campus is that most of my students are responsible adults instead of fragile egglings defended by fluttering parents from things like *gasp* responsibility. My parents’ philosophy, as is mine, is that if you don’t manage to turn a child into a self-supporting adult you’ve failed to do your job as a parent. (Obviously, parents with children with disabilities get a pass if they need it.)

    Re: the home-school girls with boots – my guess is that they’re about the only children’s shoes available that (a) aren’t sparkly or brightly colored and (b) cover the foot, unless you count moccasins, but those are for hippies, don’t you know.

    756 chars

  19. Julie Robinson said on April 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Maybe the girls’ ankles are considered too sexy and tempting?

    Moe, words are so inadequate, but please know how many of us out here are sending good thoughts and prayers to you.

    180 chars

  20. LAMary said on April 30, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I’m going to put Father Ciccone here on your case, Moe. And Sister Rose, who is about 90 years old and intimidates the crap out of everyone.

    140 chars

  21. beb said on April 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Moe, my thoughts are with you today.

    When our daughter was little there were no playgrounds in our neighborhood. At least none that didn’t look abandoned ten years before, so we went up to Metro Beach which has a very nice “Tot Lot.” One of the things that struck me during those visits was how much foriegn language I’d hear there. My thinking is that most “Americans” don’t go to playgrounds because they have swings in the back yard or video games, etc. It’s the people from other countries where public gatherings are still part of the culture who come to the beach.

    Metro Beach is where I saw the weirdest sort of Muslim “modesty” which was a young girl dressed in long pants and a long sleeve shirt, scarf, and so on, but over her shirt she had tied a bikini top. I thought the point of modesty was to NOT draw attention to a woman’s breasts.

    Back when the Morman polygamists were in the news the wives were interviewed and they all wore those gingham little-house-in-the-prarie dresses. Either their idea of modesty is being influenced by television or, like the Amish, they’re stuck in the past.

    Metro Beach has a lot of nice features so we continue to go there and as a result have seen many changes to the Tot Lot. The tire swing has gone away. The tall swings, outside the lot, for older kids, have been removed. A little Pirate Ship climbing area that had a pole one could slide down has lost it’s five foot high Crow’s nest and pole, and all the wood posts that outlined the ship have been lopped at least a foot closer to the ground. If they sanatized the lot any more it will end up being a flat surface with a foam rubber surface. I realize that merry-go-arounds and jungle Gyms can be dangerous, but that’s what makes them fun for kids. And if you want kids to exercise you’ve got to give them fun things to do.

    Friends of ours travel out of the country every January. When their kids were to young to be left alone, they often ate in shifts, one watching the kids while the other ate. Mary mentions how she was always being asked by men if they could join her. She treated it like a joke but I suspect she found it pretty annoying.

    2169 chars

  22. Deborah said on April 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Thinking about you Moe. Walk on.

    32 chars

  23. kayak woman said on April 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I loved Jim’s playground post. My 25-y/o daughter works in San Francisco at a non-profit that focuses on families with young children. I once accompanied her as she interviewed some playgroup moms about their plans for choosing a pre-school. SF is a wonderful place but my daughter insists that when she’s ready to have a family, she’s going to return to the mid-west. Although if by “mid-west” she means Ann Arbor, she will find quite a few parents at our playgrounds who pretty closely fit the SF parent stereotype (-;

    I miss taking my kids to playgrounds. I even used let them get muddy sometimes. Life is a bit more complicated these days. My 23-y/o daughter managed to choose tomorrow as the day to move out of our house into a summer sublet. One that is maybe six blocks from the U of Michigan stadium. Where Obama is speaking at graduation tomorrow.

    Good luck, Moe!

    883 chars

  24. MichaelG said on April 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    We used to frequent SF playgrounds 25 years or so ago. It wasn’t as bad as Jim portrays it but maybe things have changed. I always figured there was something wrong with a kid who didn’t have a scab on his or her knee. My daughter used to eat green peppers and carrots instead of candy. We never put that on her. It was her own wierdness. She also doesn’t drink. She certainly didn’t get that from me. I’m proud and happy with the way she turned out.

    Licking Valley High? That’s like Oregon State where the womens’ athletic teams are known as the Lady Beavers.

    Hoping for the best, Moe. We’re all with you.

    622 chars

  25. crinoidgirl said on April 30, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Moe, how can I get some $ to you for your walk? Do you take Paypal?

    Nance, please give her my email.

    103 chars

  26. ROgirl said on April 30, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Moe, I’m so sorry. My problems seem so puny-ass and unimportant in comparison.

    On a completely different topic, is there anyone out there who has worked with Flash cs4? I’ve been in a Web Publishing class this semester and had to create a site using Flash (we also did one in Dreamweaver). I managed to put my Flash site together, but I also want to set up a slideshow and have been looking for some adequate and not overly complicated instructions — not an easy request where Flash is concerned.

    500 chars

  27. Sally said on April 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Moe ~ It seems to me that you you’ve been making lemonade out of lemons for quite a while. Wishing you a beautiful Spring and Good Luck with that walk!

    151 chars

  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    As I fear I’ve noted too many times here, the local folk no longer hear the humor nor get the joke, even when the Licking County Eager Beavers ladies’ club meets at Licking Baptist Church on Beaver Run Road (that used to be in the paper one Friday a month, and was a major coffee-spew hazard for me, a non-native).

    Licking Valley is the “get me out of the semi-urban school district of Newark” area just east of town, rural-‘burban in what a pastor friend of mine calls an enclave of “privatizing my utopia” on 4.5 acre ranchettes, complete with cervical fracture inducing ATV/4-wheelers and a large underutilized pole barn behind the house. They oscillate between hedonism and puritanism in the most interesting ways, the “grinding” debate at prom being the most recent form of the friction. The principal, whose dad is a friend of mine (we’re both on the county child abuse task force), is very much grinding between a rock and a hard place, but now a few hundred kids are renting a hall that is actually one block over from where I sit. Tomorrow night will be an interesting if unedifying spectacle.

    The main problem is that the seniors, bless their hearts, keep saying “but this is *our* prom,” and the principal has to find creative ways to keep saying “not when it’s on school property, officially chaperoned by the school, and on our calendar, and I can’t hardly get a levy passed as it is.” So I suspect it will be a half-and-half turnout at the “official” and the “Let’s Get Wild” proms, which will go fine this year, given the scrutiny. It’s where this goes another couple years down the pike that I think could get ugly.

    But we are still on the fence here in Licking County about the constitutional right of minors to rub their semi-clothed bodies against each other as they see fit while on school property. Meanwhile, don’t make jokes about Licking Valley High. Really. They don’t get it, willfully so.

    Waiting for updates from the euphoniously named Allen County War Memorial Coliseum next to the apple strewn grave of Johnathan Chapman, noted peacemaker. What would Johnny Appleseed think of Vera Bradley, I wonder? Told a friend of mine gone up there to do battle that she has to cross the parking lot and soak in the apple-scented grassy knoll overlooking the St. Joseph River — it’ll help one to recover from the carnage I envision within.

    2380 chars

  29. Jean S said on April 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    oy veh, Moe….

    15 chars

  30. moe99 said on April 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Crinoid girl the donation site for DeFeet Lung Cancer is

    I am pleased to report that my team is in the tops for donors, beating even corporate ones. It probably doesn’t hurt that this walk appears to be one that is in its infancy. But we’ll take the kudos wherever we can get ’em.

    Nancy, tell Alan that my brother, Mark, his former classmate at Spencer Elementary School in Defiance, is helping me out here. There was a trial done at UCLA two years ago that showed Celebrex used in conjunction with Tarceva increased the potency of the Tarceva. So if my oncologist turns me down, we’re going guerrilla. What is there to lose at this point?

    748 chars

  31. judybusy said on April 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Kudos to you, moe, for walking. I hope treatment kicks some a** for you!

    72 chars

  32. 4dbirds said on April 30, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I am so sorry Moe. I remember when my daughter had cancer and our lives revolved around scans and blood counts. It simply sucks. I’m pulling for you.

    Cur­tis LeMay? I haven’t heard his name in years. What a character.

    226 chars

  33. Julie Robinson said on April 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Traffic is fairly smooth around the Vera Bradley sale. Our son is heading in for a shift waiting tables across the street; we’ll see if the ladies are good tippers.

    Nance, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed True Confections. It’s wickedly funny and pulled me right in. Thanks for recommending it. It’s so much fun to find an author you didn’t know before. I’ve just checked out Weber’s first book, Objects in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear. Book report to follow.

    481 chars

  34. Sue said on April 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I enjoyed True Confections too, with one minor complaint: I dislike it when an author inserts chunks of opinion disguised as the narrator’s voice, unless it’s smoother than some of what was in this book. The narrator going into a lengthy speech about her dislike of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory worked in a book about a candy factory owner; the couple of times the narrator got going about George Bush felt too soap-boxy. Other than that I liked the way the book kept me off-balance – was she a victim or was there a lot to read between the lines? That aspect was very well done. I read it last weekend and had to go out for some candy (Red Vines), and now I want to try Green and Black chocolate (white).

    715 chars

  35. Dexter said on April 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I am still a denizen of city parks, a quarter century after my daughter enjoyed our visits. She really enjoyed the swingsets, the teeter-totter and the Tornado Slide. Especially the tornado slide. A half hour mimimum . She loved that thing. After a few years she didn’t want to go any more, but I took the dogs every day, and I still do. Every day, I walk our last remaining dog twice a day, two different parks. We also have a fantastic almost-interlocking paved path system to cycle on. Gone are my days of bravado, when I believed all the words in Bicycling Magazine, urging us cyclists to take to the roads and streets like we belonged there, commanding turn lanes, just like a CAR, goddammitt!
    Right. I never could win that war here…even though we cyclists are greater in number, only the spandies on the $8,000 bikes , in groups, take charge of the roads and make the car drivers squirm. I prefer just to ride quiet side streets and especially the pathways that are so prevalent here. The best thing I ever read in Bicycling Magazine was how we are “urban deer”. That meant something to me, and to me it meant survival.
    For comparison here, sometimes we would drive up to Ann Arbor with the kids. They built one of those instant playgrounds, lots of cool stuff to play and climb on, near Fuller Park pool, on Fuller Drive , and the parents acted just the same as here in my little home town. However, we didn’t have the “Hands on Museum” , and Ann Arbor did. Man, that’s a long time ago… that museum was at 220 E. Ann St. (had to look it up)
    Ann Arbor has these broad paths by the Huron River and I was chatting with some fellow cyclists one day (once in a while I’d drive to Ann Arbor to ride my bike around) . They said they had devised a way to safely cycle to Ypsilanti and were headed there right away. I was out of time, so another adventure lost . I should have taken that ride.

    1946 chars

  36. Dexter said on April 30, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    …and don’t forget Treme this Sunday.

    102 chars

  37. nancy said on April 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    And I’m reading Weber’s “Triangle,” a totally different vibe from “True Confections, but I’m enjoying it just as much. I’ll probably change the Nightstand this weekend.

    168 chars

  38. brian stouder said on April 30, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    So if my oncol­o­gist turns me down, we’re going guer­rilla.

    Moe, forget guerrillas; it sounds to me like you’re contemplating GOING ROGUE!! Here’s wishing you and yours all the best Hopey-Changey stuff in the world!

    The young folks and I jump in the car and head for the park several times a week; you never know which one they’ll decide they want to visit. Nance mentioned Kids Crossing at Lawton (we call that one “the wooden park”, for its extensive wooden play structures), and we were there just last evening. It is close by the skate-board park, so the drive in (on 4th street, I believe) always features an interesting cross section of youthful skateboarders and wannabes and the people they’re trying to impress.

    Sometimes we’ll park near there, and walk down to the Old Fort, and cross the river and go into Headwaters Park (the day I got to see then-Senator Obama, I parked in that same spot and walked to Headwaters, where he and his lovely family had the campaign stop Sunday picnic).

    Last week when we were at Lawton, I saw a homeless man pushing his shopping cart full of stuff, in the parking lot. He approached a porta-potty, and knocked on the door – and, finding it empty, he opened the door, and somehow pulled his cart into the structure while he attended to business. I would have guessed that that couldn’t be done.

    Another favorite is the “castle park” (I think it’s called Indian Trails; it’s out on Aboite Center Rd, near the Y and Homestead High School). It, too has an extensive wooden play structure, much of which looks like a castle.

    We used to go to Hamilton Park as often as not, but the folks there tend to be teenagers intent on blurting every cussword they know, in every paragraph they speak.

    Occasionally when we’re going to Grandma’s, then Foster is the pick.

    One memorable Memorial Day, we loaded the whole family and did a picnic at Franke Park, which is right by an extensive woods, and has some expansive open green space. Pam and I had noted a particularly amorous couple near the tree-line, and then of course, they apparently began engaging in intercourse, in the park.

    Made me wonder if they actually came up with that plan for their Memorial Day, in advance. “Hey honey, I have an idea! Let’s grab the frisbee and the grill, and the weenies and the buns, and head to the park and just go wild, eh?”

    2407 chars

  39. LAMary said on April 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Julie, in my experience ladies are not good tippers. When I tended bar at a hotel in Golden,Colorado, I could count on tables of women only to 1)all order different creamy blender drinks. I only had one blender so I had to clean it out between each drink 2) clean out their handbags at the table, leaving used tissues, gum wrappers, receipts etc.3)leave a shitty tip. Maybe a dollar on a twenty dollar tab. In small change.
    Guys would tip a buck on a two dollar beer. Note, these were generally ladies over 35 who were not serious drinkers. Usually it looked like they had all gone shopping or to the movies or something together and decided to stop in for a grasshopper or some such dreck.

    692 chars

  40. Deborah said on April 30, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    If were talking about what we are reading… I’m in the middle of a biography about Hunter S. Thompson, written by William McKeen, a former journalist who teaches at the U of Florida. He is the father of a woman I work with, she loaned me her copy. Somehow it came up in a conversation that I had been quite a fan of HST and Tom Wolfe (before he started writing novels) and she mentioned that her dad had written two biographies of HST and one of Wolfe, not to mention Bob Dylan. I liked all that Gonzo journalism. I’d be curious to know what the journo types here think about all that? HST another creative type who killed himself (not unlike Cobain). I’m also reading a sort of graphic novel called Vas, hard to explain but designed by a guy who teaches at the Art Institute in Chicago. I also am still reading Ebert’s book on Scorsese. My husband read it first, then we bought all of the Scorsese DVD’s and I’m reading the Ebert book as we watch the films one by one. What nerds we are. We’re going to Abiquiu, New Mexico for a week mid May so I ordered some books through the nnc kick back lounge for the trip – Tinsel, Confections and Spoon Fed.

    edit: I mean True Confections

    1183 chars

  41. Kirk said on April 30, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    I found much of Hunter Thompson’s stuff hugely entertaining, though I was never quite sure how much of it to believe. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 was a riot. I wouldn’t miss his stuff in Rolling Stone.

    The stuff he was doing on ESPN’s website in his last years was pretty awful.

    297 chars

  42. coozledad said on April 30, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Sue: We order the Green and Black chocolate from UNFI, and I can vouch for the 85% dark. They also make a nice chocolate ice cream.
    I don’t use white chocolate much, except as a base for ganache, and I haven’t tried theirs, but you’re probably not going to be disappointed.

    275 chars

  43. brian stouder said on April 30, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    So, I made one of my semi-regular stops over at, what with the big UK election coming, and the interesting Florida Senate race and so on.

    In following one of Nate’s links (about the Fla race) I tripped across this article titled “So you want to date a stripper, eh?” – which was worth a laugh or two

    an excerpt:

    Saviors. These are nice guys who watch too much PBS, and attend too many Jewel concerts. They seem terrific at first, attentive to my every need, encouraging me to explore my hidden talents. Then it dawns on me. I’m a renovation project. These guys are attempting to rescue me from my hellish existence. Here’s the problem. I enjoy my hellish existence. And here I thought they wanted to be saved from their pedestrian, humdrum lives.

    I don’t quite understand The Daily Caller’s schtick, but the fivethirtyeight-linked piece was incisive; and if we’re talking about who leads who in the polls, why not who leans on or leads on (schmucks) with poles, too?

    1106 chars

  44. MichaelG said on April 30, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    LAMary, you forgot about the separate checks.

    45 chars

  45. Denice B. said on May 1, 2010 at 12:29 am

    When I was a child growing up in Detroit(1960’s), there were many well maintained parks in the city. Some had swings and tennis courts. Some had baseball diamonds and Basketball hoops. There were swimming pools and recreation centers for kids to hang out. As i got older, the parks were abandoned, closed and just plain neglected. I was so sad that my daughter wouldn’t have what I did. But we had Belle Isle and Metro Beach. I can still remember Sarah and her dad, walking on the shore, Dad slightly stooped to reach her little hand.

    534 chars

  46. Dexter said on May 1, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Hell’s Angels was written in 1966. HST captured their spirit and put it in a book. I read that, and then every other Thompson book I could get, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was so good …I loved it so much. Then I read “Curse of Lono” and all his coverage of the campaigns. The 1972 story was his signature campaign work.

    Tipping: I once won a contest and the prize was an invitation for me +3 to a very nice catered picnic in a private area at old Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox. Oh man, what a feed! Great ribs and about 30 sides, free soda and beer. I took my wife and son-in-law and another guy, who was really happy to see the free keg. The hosts were the radio station who carried the games, and they had hired bartenders , who had a big tip jar , imposible to ignore. I had a few beers, and I stuck a single in the jar for each brew. This other guy with us was such a cheap bastard he was ignoring the great picnic food and guzzling one beer after another.
    Hey, at one point I was a room service waiter and a bell hop in a hotel…I know what tips mean to service people, and finally I told the deadbeat to kick a dollar to the tip jar. He blew up at me and said damned if he would, he’d been paying rip-off beer prices at that park for years and “today is my day to get some of that back!”
    Clueless bastard…last I heard he was drinking himself into a daily stupor, all these years later. I hate cheap bastards.

    1457 chars

  47. basset said on May 1, 2010 at 1:35 am

    As a former “journo type,” I’d say the two “Fear and Loathing” books were Thompson’s high point, after that he slid downhill pretty quickly with occasional regressions to his old form… first one that comes to mind is his Super Bowl stories in Rolling Stone.

    I used to have a complete collection of Thompson, ended up eBaying it all at once.

    347 chars

  48. Dexter said on May 1, 2010 at 1:51 am

    basset…nice, complete collection of HST. I think I have the complete Kerouac, all in paperback, and they ain’t for sale. My fave Kerouac is ‘Maggie Cassidy’.
    I love that book; it helps me remember how it felt to be young once.
    I have never met anyone who has ‘Maggie Cassidy’ for their favorite Kerouac novel. Oh well, I know it’s great.

    People: Lance Armstrong and Anna Hansen are pregnant. I just went to various sites and the thought is that Max (his son born in 2009) and this new baby were not conceived with frozen sperm at all, that Armstrong’s sperm levels have gotten stronger, that these last two kids were conceived au naturel. Amazin’.

    717 chars

  49. alex said on May 1, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Off topic, but hey everyone, I just discovered a giant raptor nest of some sort at the top of a very tall tree on my property. This might explain the avian carnage on the ground lately. Something also dropped a half-eaten catfish near my veg garden.

    250 chars

  50. brian stouder said on May 1, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Well Alex, it sounds like the new addition to your neighborhood is being down-right neighborly. The fish guts fertilizer raptor-gift is an excellent addition for your vegetable garden

    183 chars

  51. LAMary said on May 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    You’re right Michael. Always seperate checks.
    Alex, I’m thinking you’ve got Rodan in your yard.

    96 chars

  52. Julie Robinson said on May 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Matt said tips were pretty good last night, but maybe that was just because they were so busy. My tipping habits were enlightened by reading Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. Until that I was blissfully unaware how little servers get paid. Ehrenreich has lost me with her most recent books, but that one should serve as a wake-up call to middle class America.

    368 chars

  53. MichaelG said on May 1, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Spot on, Dexter. I travel a lot and am a member of all the hotel chains’ club deals. They often pass out drink tickets on check in. The bartender isn’t part of that. He works just as hard whether the drink is free or not. I always tip.

    240 chars

  54. Deborah said on May 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I learned about tipping when Little Bird had jobs as a waitress and bar tender. I always over tip cab drivers too because Little Bird has read me the riot act about it.

    168 chars

  55. cosmo panzini said on May 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Good luck to you Moe.

    21 chars

  56. prospero said on May 1, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I know y’all have reached the Nancy weekend where nothing is supposed to be taken seriously. “Rush never said he thought the left bombed the oil plat­form” This is incredibly, stupendously, disingenuous.

    Rush is aware that he doesn’t need to say he believes anything, his listeners are programmed to believe anything that passes those grotesque blubbery lips must be true. Fascinating question about Limbaugh, does he believe a word he says or is so venal that it’s all scripted and calibrated to maximize his obscene profits? There’s William Buckley style sophism, where he expects with style to be called on it, and there’s venal sophism where the perpetrator couldn’t care less about the damage he does.

    Once upon a time there were people like Bill Buckley that knew haw to write English. Presented arguments and didn’t just make shit up and expect expect zombie ditto=heads to spout it. Buckley was full of shit and prpbably knew it, but he was a decent and sometimes superb writer.

    Wasn’t a playground, but years ago my daughter’ mom and I had split up through every fault of my own. Our glorious child and I were on the beach at Hilton Head, and Emily and another little girl took to each other. Other kid’s mom was fairly gorgeous and we struck up a conversation as the kids were building moats and towers, with drizzl. I was enchanted with the scenario.

    I was liking the direction this seemed to be taking, when the other kid asked Em if she’d watched Smurfs that morning. Cold as ice, my beloved daughter, too smart and with a ridicuously adult vocabulary beyond her years, said “Smurfs are infantile”.”

    To this day, I’ve no idea how my five-year old developed this opinion, or where in the world she got the words to express it. Emily’s mom and I weren’t doing flashcards or treating her like a little adult savant. Matter of fact, honestly, I wasn’t acting like one of Nancy’s lecherous exhibitionist weekend Dads. I was standing on the beach with a woman I found attractive and interesting.

    I actually always admired how the cartoon’s writers had established “Smurf” as a stand-in for fuck as an all purpose word that could serve as every single part of American English speech.

    Anyway, Emily’s playmate appeared humiliated and hurt, and I felt terrible for the kid. Of course, I couldn’t ask her mom to dinner after she looked at me like I must be some sort of Svengali., or something. We saw them again several times over the next few days, but they avoided us. I wanted to figure out a way to explain to Em how she’d been cruel, but eventually decided she’d had no cruel intentions.

    Playground dynamics have many levels. I was stunned watching my own daughter display no tact. I mean, if you meet somebody at a wedding that thinks it’s the height of hilarity for the band at a wedding reception to open with “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw”, do you tell them they’re trailer trash? No, I don’t suppose you do. But maybe kids don’t blurt, they just say exactly what they mean.

    These days, Emily is making seriously good money rehabbing people from devastating closed-head injuries. I’ve never asked, but I don’t suppose she remembers her callous behavior when she was five years old. She does something for a living that’s incredibly difficult (and she finds it rewarding). Of course, thanks to thirty years of the spectacularly predatory student loan regime, where basically banks made profits for absolutely nothing, our extended family will be paying for her qualification to do commonweal good and save everybody cash at the same time.

    Maybe adults act like self-aggrandizing jerks at playgrounds. Maybe they feel a need to assure themselves they’re doing the best they can rearing chidren. . I’d have to say, Nancy, whatever goes on at playgrounds, adults are superficial and mildly interesting compared with the primal interractions of the kids. String theory? Butterflies? Nah, little kids.

    Fortunately, we’re talking about humans, right, or it could be Brazaaville Beach. Molding your children with foreign languages and targeted education is bizarre, pointless and dangerous.

    4138 chars

  57. brian stouder said on May 1, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Pros – my guess is, your daughter heard her mom say that, and accepted that judgement.

    Aside from that – watching the young folks interact and play with others IS indeed marvelous. Once they get to about 13 or so, though – it seems that their guard is up, and their reserve comes into bloom. Or at least, that’s been our experience so far, with our son. (the girls orbit around the whole play area and take everyone’s measure)

    429 chars

  58. del said on May 2, 2010 at 12:49 am

    It’s late. Busy project. Couple of beers to unwind and end the evening by catching up on the thread. Random thoughts.

    Brian Stouder is good energy.

    “Smurfs are infantile” made me laugh so hard that I nearly woke my daughter sleeping nearby.

    And my thoughts have been turning to Moe at so many unexpected times during the past couple of days.

    353 chars

  59. Deborah said on May 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Amen del.

    9 chars

  60. basset said on May 2, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Once again, a totally different topic late in the thread… you may have noticed Nashville flooding in the news today, the Bassets were right in the middle of it. Posting this from a borrowed computer on higher ground, here are some pics:

    395 and 404 show our house with about three feet of water running through it. We got out in time – I got a page late yesterday warning me to stand by for a shift in the emergency operations center, noticed what the river (35 yards behind our house) was doing, gathered Mrs. B., the family photos, her jewel box and some other unreplaceables, and took off about five this morning. We’ll be OK, water is already starting to go back down… maybe, if we don’t get too much flow from upstream.

    Google “Harpeth River” and “flood” for more… we’ll be out of touch for awhile.

    864 chars

  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 2, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Oh, Bassett — so sorry for you, but glad you had the notice enough to save some treasures. From clergy friends on Facebook, it sounds like most of Nashville must be floating or sinking.

    187 chars

  62. Dexter said on May 3, 2010 at 3:31 am

    For all fans and friends of the late nn.c fave Ashley Morris, do not miss the latest Treme episode. It’s the true tribute to the Ashley part of the composite character “Creighton”. Just watch, you’ll instantly know what I am talking about.

    239 chars

  63. brian stouder said on May 3, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Basset – wow. With all the challenges that you and yours were already facing, and then this – the old saying “It never rains, and then it pours” is all too true. Here’s hoping that, at the very least, your insurance covers everything and makes things right again.

    263 chars

  64. Dorothy said on May 3, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Oh basset – and just after Mrs. B. had surgery, correct? I hope you are both dry and safe somewhere. If I lived near there I’d be happy to offer you a place to stay. The longer I hang around here, the more I feel like you are all family.

    del thank you for what you said so succinctly about brian stouder. His energy is palpable here every single day!

    358 chars

  65. Deborah said on May 3, 2010 at 9:57 am

    For Basset (substitute Memphis to Nashville):

    Rising High Water Blues
    by Blind Lemon Jefferson
    recording of May 1927, Chicago, Illinois
    from Blind Lemon Jefferson (Ace CDCH 399) & Blind Lemon Jefferson, Vol. 2 (Document 5018) & Blind Lemon Jefferson (Milestone 47022) & Best of Blind Lemon Jefferson (Wolf 16), copyright notice

    Backwater rising, Southern peoples can’t make no time
    I said, backwater rising, Southern peoples can’t make no time
    And I can’t get no hearing from that Memphis girl of mine

    Water in Arkansas, people screaming in Tennessee
    Oh, people screaming in Tennessee
    If I don’t leave Memphis, backwater spill all over poor me

    People, since its raining, it has been for nights and days
    People, since its raining, has been for nights and days
    Thousands people stands on the hill, looking down were they used to stay

    Children stand there screaming: mama, we ain’t got no home
    Oh, mama we ain’t got no home
    Papa says to the children, “Backwater left us all alone”

    Backwater rising, come in my windows and door
    The backwater rising, come in my windows and door
    I leave with a prayer in my heart, backwater won’t rise no more

    1180 chars

  66. brian stouder said on May 3, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Del and Dorothy – thanks! It is reassuring to know that I’m not YET that old guy who sits in the cheap seats, muttering to himself. ‘Course, Nance’s consistently marvelous blog has an energy all its own, much like a seat warmer up here in the nose-bleed section of her stadium.

    277 chars