Odds and ends.

A couple of days on one topic, and the bloggage piles up. So let’s hop to it, shall we? There’s some good stuff here:

First, the Palin family continues to stain the nation’s carpets as young Bristol mama-sees-mama-does herself into a potentially lucrative career as a public speaker. Her fee is said to be somewhere between $15K-$30K, depending on “what she has to do to prepare” to speak on such topics as abstinence claptrap and anti-abortion claptrap. Hey, you know what index cards cost these days? Sorry, that’s editorializing. I’m choosing not to be upset by this, as the sorts of groups who would pay such a fee very likely need to be separated from their money somehow. Also, Bristol needs to start her five-school college education odyssey one of these days, and needs the bucks for tuition. My only regret is, this increases the chances we’ll see her on regular old non fee-paying media. One more reason to confine my media consumption to NPR exclusively.

Also, the don’t-make-fun-of-public-figures’-families rule no longer applies. Not that it stopped anyone, but good lord, when you ask for it like this…

The people who came up with the Bacon Explosion evidently have Google alerts, because I was copied on their e-mail notification that they have sampled the KFC Double Down sandwich, found it lacking, and monkeyed with it. How? By adding a slice of Bacon Explosion, sillypants. Taste test and many photographs here.

I’m a sucker for a certain kind of liberal patriotism, and this story, about the United Nations of Hamtramck High preparing for its senior prom, touched me. DetNews columnist Neal Rubin calls Hamtramck “absurdly diverse,” and it is, more diverse than an after-school special:

“You tell ’em, ‘It’s something seniors do,’ ” says Mohamed Algehaim, 18, the class secretary. He was born here, but his parents are from Yemen, and the part about the tuxedo took some work, too.

“If you’re the first child, it’s harder to get across,” says Emina Alic, 18, the Bosnia-born class president. “If your brothers and sisters already went, your parents tell you you’re going.”

The 200 current seniors had read the memo early on. “There’s competition between classes,” says class historian Sabbir Noor, 17, whose roots go back to Bangladesh…

Throw in the Poles who still live in the old neighborhood, the African Americans who moved there in their own flight from Detroit and the rest of the ethnic fruit salad, and you get a sense of the place.

Moving on, a few couples who will not want to hyphenate their names.

Finally, it can be told: This is the project I’ve been working on since January, the 75th anniversary book for the Detroit Economic Club. It’s a custom-publishing job, i.e., work-for-hire, but it was really interesting and I count myself lucky to have gotten the gig. The DEC is a noontime speaker’s club, but one of the most sought-after podiums in the country, and lemme tell you, they have heard from everyone. (Except the Palin family.) I had full access to their archive at the Detroit Public Library, and it was pretty cool, going through files of correspondence with letters from people like Richard Nixon and Henry Ford II. The story of Detroit in the 20th century was the story of America, and it was fascinating to see who came to town and what they had to say when they got here. It certainly left me with some new ideas about how we learn history.

Anyway, the anniversary celebration starts tonight, I have to write about it for the book, and I need to throw together an outfit that won’t disgrace me in front of the movers and shakers. Both the News and Freep did stories pegged to it.

I also have an early meeting tomorrow morning, so this may have to serve for the week’s blogging. One question I leave you with: Where’s Coozledad? He hasn’t spoken up for a few days. Did he get kicked by a mule?

Posted at 9:43 am in Current events, Detroit life, Uncategorized |

52 responses to “Odds and ends.”

  1. brian stouder said on May 20, 2010 at 10:17 am

    My Cooz theory is that the whole Souder thing is so 20-years-ago as to have made mowing hay more fun to tend to. Aside from that, this article is surprisingly good, regarding Elena Kagan’s days as an ink-stained newsie at Princeton’s school paper


    This is a farewell editor’s note signed by Kagan and other departing Princetonian editors. A few gems: “noble ideals die quickly in a newsroom.” “The camaraderie of a newsroom? You mention that on law school applications.” “So, why bother? Well, as reluctant as we are to admit it, we’ve taken a certain pride in putting out this page over the past year. And we’d like to think that at least a few of you out there were reading. There’s just one more reason: it’s given us a ready excuse not to start our theses.”

    807 chars

  2. Dorothy said on May 20, 2010 at 10:26 am

    If Cooz has a garden, maybe he’s been outside lots lately like we have been. It’s that time of year! And not that I think my absence will leave a gaping hole in the conversations here, but in a week I leave for Missouri so I’ll be away for five days. I’ll have lots of reading to catch up with here at nn.c when I get back on Memorial Day.

    I missed yesterday’s thread comments so I just wanted to add here that as far as Souder’s attractiveness, I would venture to say that there is “someone for everyone” in the world, and the way we all get attracted to other people is a mystery for the ages. Sometimes people just find their way to each other. He’s still a goober, though.

    683 chars

  3. Deborah said on May 20, 2010 at 10:28 am

    The Detroit Economic Club book sounds like an interesting project. I love the research end of projects as much as the actual designing part, in your case writing part. Especially when you get to go to the library. Sometimes I get to do research at the Art Institute. Fun.

    271 chars

  4. Bob Uphues said on May 20, 2010 at 10:34 am

    There was a woman I once ran across whose last name was Liddle and she married a guy whose last name is Bhutt. And, yes, she has a hyphenated last name, Liddle-Bhutt. I shit you not.

    182 chars

  5. alex said on May 20, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Was wondering about cooz myself. You can generally always count on him for some spicy invective when an arch conservative gets skewered by his own sword.

    Speaking of which, I breakfasted at the Leo Cafe, almost literally in the backyard of the old Souder country homestead, where farm folk meet in the morning to discuss what else but Souder. Today’s theme: Well, at least it was with a girl, thank God.

    406 chars

  6. brian stouder said on May 20, 2010 at 11:02 am

    It cer­tainly left me with some new ideas about how we learn his­tory.

    Hah; this pulled my finger!

    Historiography is endlessly interesting, to me; in fact, it is why ‘new’ history books are always getting written and snapped up. One generation disregards this and this and that; and another says ‘wait a minute! what about this and this and that?’

    How we choose to evaluate things, and why, is inextricably part of the story. Gabor Boritt always injects a fair amount of historiography into his Lincoln books, and in his book The Gettysburg Gospel, he points out how in the 1870’s and ’80’s, any number of statues were commissioned and placed all around the country, with the president holding a document – the Emancipation Proclamation. But by the 1890’s and onward, these same statues and monuments were said to show the president holding the Gettysburg Address, which was much preferable to the increasingly troublesome and inconvenient Proclamation, as Reconstruction ended and Jim Crow descended.

    and not for nothing, but this is my one major criticism of Burlingame’s 2000 page magnum opus on Lincoln (and which I expressed directly to him, and which he defends vigorously); he seems to have conciously decided that the older understandings of Lincoln are superior to newer interpretations, giving the whole work an ever-so-slightly stale taste – despite lots (and lots!) of interesting facts and enlightening observations. But once again, we digress!

    1479 chars

  7. crinoidgirl said on May 20, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Oooooooo – congrats on the book! I would have killed to do research on that project (my idea of fun).

    101 chars

  8. brian stouder said on May 20, 2010 at 11:13 am

    But..but…Crinoid – look who you’d have had to kill!

    53 chars

  9. Julie Robinson said on May 20, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Congratulations to the Proprietess! It sounds like a very fun project, and it must be an ego boost to see your name on a book’s title page.

    I’ve mentioned this before but my maiden name was Pigott and after a childhood of teasing I never once thought about hyphenating. I have learned the downside of a common name, however. We routinely get other people’s bill collector calls, and a couple weeks ago our son got a medical bill from a doctor he hadn’t seen.

    Dorothy, how can you stand to go away when your garden needs you so much? It’s been so wet here that most of my planting is still waiting to be done. Is this the trip where you’ll see the Laura Ingalls Wilder home? Enjoy!

    694 chars

  10. crinoidgirl said on May 20, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Oooops, good point, Brian!

    26 chars

  11. moe99 said on May 20, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Brian, my honors thesis was on historiography in college. Have you seen this site?


    116 chars

  12. basset said on May 20, 2010 at 11:22 am

    That hyphenated-names site belongs to, if I remember correctly, the same two-station combine which produced and heavily promoted the “Is Your Betty Ready?” series on their local news awhile back… the topic being trimming, dyeing, fluffing, and various enhancements to the female pubes.

    now that’s news.

    309 chars

  13. Sue said on May 20, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Cooz is silent on his blog, too; nothing since May 13. Given some of the close calls he’s described, plus his faithfulness in providing us with daily laughs with his comments, I’d say it’s time to be concerned. Can you email him, Nancy?
    Congratulations on the book, when will you be speaking there yourself?
    To Nancy’s comments about Bristol, I add TBogg’s:
    “So teenagers should practice abstinence because, if they don’t, they will get paid $30,000 to give speeches about how humping hockey hunks is detrimental to their future.
    Makes sense.
    I think we should all just give up right now and breed Bristol Palin with Luke Russert in an effort to create a super-race of unqualified media creatures who will rule our world.”

    731 chars

  14. brian stouder said on May 20, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Moe – thanks for the link; looks like a great site, which I will read more of tonight

    85 chars

  15. Dorothy said on May 20, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Yes Julie this is the Laura Ingalls trip. Laura (my daughter) and I have been sending daily messages to each other through email or on each other’s Facebook pages – like today’s said “ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Sue I don’t know much about Luke Russert, but I do question you putting him in the same sentence as Bristol Palin above. At least Russert went to college and can handle himself in an interview. Granted he got his current job due to his parents’ connections but he’s a beginner – give him a chance to establish himself. He deserves that at least.

    556 chars

  16. coozledad said on May 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Sorry I’ve been out of the loop, but a vengeful god took my computers away last Friday night with a mighty tree-splitting thunderstorm. I was in bed with a fever (eyes shut), and yet I saw the fiery bolt that put an end to my desktop. It was all orangey and left a nice phosphor flash in my brain for about half an hour. I’m typing this from my wife’s client computer, but I should have my own back by this weekend.
    I think I had West Nile Virus last week, but I won’t know for certain until I get my regular internet access back.

    531 chars

  17. nancy said on May 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Given our luck around here of late, that counts as good news. Disregard my e-mail.

    82 chars

  18. Sue said on May 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Dorothy: I think what TBogg’s (not my) comment was referring to is the tendency of big media to hire the children of the in-crowd (be it Washington journalists or politicians) as “special correspondents” or hand them assignments and posts that, in a perfect world, might have gone to correspondents with more experience.

    321 chars

  19. Dorothy said on May 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    OH! I apologize Sue. I had not looked at the link. And I agree. Jenna Bush Hager is a correspondent for the TODAY show as well, and she doesn’t really knock my socks off when I see her do a story. But then I remember that she’s just starting out too, and she should be given a chance at least.

    298 chars

  20. MichaelG said on May 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Brian, I like the way the text the Lincoln statues was supposedly reading changed. Now I guess he would be reading an apology for something or other.

    There’s something about hyphenated names that just reeks of narcissism. I don’t like them. Suppose Nigel Smith-Jones marries Gemma Cholmondeley-Bates and they become Nigel and Gemma Smith-Jones-Cholmondeley-Bates.

    Then suppose their child, Thomas Smith-Jones-Cholmondeley-Bates, marries — well you can see the problem and can see why hyphenating is essentially selfish.

    535 chars

  21. Rana said on May 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Brian – yup. As a genuine, bona fide historian, I can tell you that the bulk of my graduate education was not spent learning “the facts” but rather interpretation and methodology – who said what about those facts, how the facts were determined in the first place, how to add your own interpretations to the mix, and so on.

    I tend to find the hyphenated names a bit silly too, but what can you do in a country where having more than one middle name freaks out most databases, and where increasingly couples have professional identities under their own names? If you want a shared name, it’s either hyphenating, or making up an entirely new one.

    (Personally, I’m leaning towards the “add a second middle name” solution.)

    726 chars

  22. Jenine said on May 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    “Hyphenating is essentially selfish” and also sidesteps the traditional erasure of the woman’s name. Names and naming conventions can change. Yes it’s annoying to deal with change but it’s not hurtful.

    201 chars

  23. Sue said on May 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    An even bigger annoyance is that there’s never a line for “The Great” after your last name when you fill out a form, has anyone noticed that?

    141 chars

  24. Dorothy said on May 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    In my department we have two colleagues who hyphenate their names, and the rest of the college has a lot. Plus there are lots of women who are married but never took their spouse’s name. That’s fine, just confusing and hard to get used to when you grow up and mix with more traditional couples. I often think how much easier it would have been to keep my maiden name because it’s easier to pronounce and spell. Lately I look at it as my opportunity to make the world less afraid to pronounce a Polish surname.

    512 chars

  25. LAMary said on May 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    My maiden name is unusual. Not hard to spell or pronounce but people read it and don’t want to believe it’s my name. That’s why I use the much easier waspy married name.

    169 chars

  26. brian stouder said on May 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Lately I look at it as my oppor­tu­nity to make the world less afraid to pro­nounce a Pol­ish sur­name.

    Well, for the record, my German(?) surname “Stouder” rhymes with lewder or cruder; whereas my soon-to-be-former representative in Congress pronouces “Souder” so as to rhyme with louder or prouder (or chowder or pouter). Just sayin’

    350 chars

  27. Colleen said on May 20, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I kept my name rather than changing or hyphenating. I decided to stick with the name I’d been explaining and spelling for 35 years already, rather than switch to a NEW name to explain and spell. Now, if husband’s name was something like Martin or Taylor or something, I might have gone ahead with the change….but Brelsford didn’t seem to be a step up from Condron….

    371 chars

  28. Julie Robinson said on May 20, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Colleen, it would have been a more difficult decision for me if I’d stuck around my hometown, as the name was known quite well there since Dad was the news and sports guy at the one and only radio station. And, Robinson DID seem to be a step up from Pigott.

    258 chars

  29. Linda said on May 20, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    MichaelG: Let me add: think how selfish those people in Spanish-speaking countries are–they often pile on the names of all sorts of ancestors, and pick the ones they like best.

    179 chars

  30. LAMary said on May 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I like the Icelandic say. I would be Mary Garrettsdottir and my brothers would be Garrettsons.

    95 chars

  31. Scout said on May 20, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    This reminds me of some old friends of mine, Dan and Nancy Good. Her maiden name was Horney. The newspaper announcement was, you guessed it, Good and Horney. True story.

    I’m glad Coozledad hadn’t fallen off a roof or been kidnapped by the hillbillies next door. Bummer about the computer, though.

    302 chars

  32. Dave K. said on May 20, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    My oldest daughter took a creative approach to combining names when she was married. She wanted to keep her last name identity as she is a career Army officer and many people knew her professionally as “Captain Kobiela”. However, she wanted to share her husband’s name, and didn’t like hyphenating either. Her solution was to legally change her middle from “Michelle” to “Kobiela”. Now, her uniform carries her and her husband’s common last name, but all correspondence is identified by her full name “MAJ Ann Kobiela K—.

    527 chars

  33. Dexter said on May 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm


    This is the defunct Detroit institution I would like to have a detailed history of, the conversations, the fights, the laughs.

    218 chars

  34. Little Bird said on May 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I have an insanely hard to pronounce last name, at least, it looks nothing like it sounds. I’m told that, at one time, it had an umlaut. Over an “o”. The umlaut is gone and an “e” was added next to that “o”. NO ONE can look at it and say it. Unless they are of VERY german heritage.
    I look forward to one day getting rid of it.

    335 chars

  35. Deborah said on May 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    When I divorced I didn’t want to keep my married name and I didn’t want to go back to my maiden name, because I felt I had become a new person. So I changed my name legally to a name that has the same ethnic background as my maiden name, it’s very close to it, But I kept my married name initial – B. Then when I remarried I figured I went through so much trouble to change my name that I wasn’t about to change it again, plus my husband’s name has a lot of Bs and Rs in it and it just didn’t sound right with Deborah, so I kept my chosen name. This was all perfectly fine with my husband. He thinks it’s weird that his ex kept her married name when they divorced. She even kept it after she remarried.

    edit: I see that Little Bird explained one of the reasons I didn’t want to keep my married name (my ex’s). It is very hard to pronounce and you always have to correct people.

    882 chars

  36. LAMary said on May 20, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Speaking of names that are pronounced in a way other than the way they look: Cholmondeley, cited by MichaelG earlier, is pronounced Chumley.

    140 chars

  37. James Moehrke said on May 20, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    My last name is like Little Bird’s; it used to have an umlaut, too. Now it has that same ‘oe’ combo. It has always been easy to tell when a telemarketer is calling since they can’t pronounce it. We just say that there’s no one here with that name…

    249 chars

  38. Deborah said on May 20, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Off topic. I had a WalMart People experience today at the WM in Espanola, NM, the armpit of New Mexico. I usually don’t shop at WM but we had very little time to purchase some makings for a dinner we are going to tonight at a neighbor’s place in Abiquiu, no time to drive all the way to Santa Fe. There was a woman in line ahead of me at WM who was buying 2 ginormous bottles of Listerine. She had a moustache (Nancy why is moustache showing up here as misspelled?) and very weird tangly hair. I kept thinking that she was probably going to go home and drink that stuff. Sad.

    575 chars

  39. LAMary said on May 20, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    If you get drunk on Listerine people won’t think you’re an alky. They just think you have great oral hygeine. There’s an upside to everything.

    142 chars

  40. MichaelG said on May 20, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Jeez, Two Buck Chuck (still $1.95 here in SacTown) has to be cheaper than Listerine.

    The Brits do some strange things, Mary. You must know, having one in house. Beaulieu is pronounced “Bewley”. Or maybe they think we do some strange things.

    I used to know a couple named Janet Jones and John Jones. They were not married but had lived together for years. Both were born “Jones”. When they bought a house the bank never blinked or asked about their marital status.

    475 chars

  41. Julie Robinson said on May 20, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Those crazy Brits like to condense every long word down to two syllables. Wasn’t that a staple of Monty Python? Plus, there’s that whole “clerk” becoming “clark”, “derby” is “darby”, etc. But I’d rather hear an English or Irish accent than any other.

    253 chars

  42. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 20, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    The Espanola WalMart — I used to have a hat that lasted me twenty years of outdoor work in the summer from there. My guess is that it’s likely she had a visiting hour at the jail coming up as imbibing it herself.

    I heard Marsha Mason is having trouble selling her home in Abiquiu down by the Chama . . . unless she’s coming down into the five figures, I won’t be a neighbor soon.

    384 chars

  43. moe99 said on May 20, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Well, ever since the publication of Twilight, my last name has gotten way better known. I’m told it is as common in Ireland as Smith is here, but before the book, everyone thought I was Jewish and my last name was Cohen…

    230 chars

  44. Holly said on May 20, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    I am glad my husbands last name was not Wood.

    45 chars

  45. Jen said on May 20, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Uncle Dave, I didn’t know that about Ann! If I’d known that when I got married, I might have done that. That’s a pretty great idea! I opted to take my husband’s last name legally, and hyphenate professionally, because I had already started my career with my maiden name. I toyed with just keeping my maiden name as my professional name, but I was reporting in our hometown and a bunch of people know my in-laws, so having his recognizable last name and my recognizable maiden name made it easier to get people to talk to me in interviews.

    (By the way, not to toot my own horn, but I saw “was reporting” because I am now working as the night editor at the newspaper company where I work. It was the worst way to get a promotion – the former night editor, a well-loved, longtime, and relatively young man died – but I’ll take what I can get.)

    843 chars

  46. Deborah said on May 21, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Jeff (tmmo), Yes I had heard that about Marsha Mason’s problems selling, her herb farm is not far from our land. She was selling products (soaps etc) with the brand name “Resting on the River” or something like that. Shirley McLain has 9,000 acres for sale just on the other side of Sierra Negra from us. I don’t know the status of that deal either. At one time we bought some of the only land available around here. We have 100 acres, paltry compared to Shirley.

    463 chars

  47. jerry said on May 21, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Julie, speaking as a Brit I’d agree we have some curious pronunciations but I don’t think “derby” became “darby” – I suspect we were saying “darby” before you were saying “durby”!

    And if you think cholmondely is bad just try featherstonehaugh!

    246 chars

  48. alex said on May 21, 2010 at 7:16 am

    I recall, when visiting Santa Fe back in the 1990s, that there was a big controversy at the time about Shirley MacLaine’s plans to build a compound overlooking the city. The locals felt it would despoil the scenery and fought tooth and nail not to let her build it and I think they finally prevailed. So she went and desecrated Abiquiu instead, eh? Does her place have giant phony crop circles and a landing strip for alien spacecraft? I think those were among the things the Santa Feans found objectionable, as well as plans for a garish house with unsuitable architecture. (In Santa Fe, as I understand it, new structures must be harmonious with the historic structures there.)

    679 chars

  49. brian stouder said on May 21, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I’ve never been further southwest than Houston, which (no doubt) probably provides no clue at all, about the NM vibe.

    In other news, my lovely wife is conducting a full-scale garage sale this weekend (along with the rest of the neighborhood), which means I will be in exile, somewhere. She never likes me to man the sale, because if anybody makes me any offer for anything, I say “SOLD!”, whereas she, being a country girl, dickers and dickers, and tries to get her best price.

    I think that’s silly, when the mission is to let other people cart off our flotsam and impedimenta – and we get cash(!) – and she insists she will not be taken.

    Maybe I’ll head for the zoo…

    679 chars

  50. Julie Robinson said on May 21, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Good point, Jerry! The accent is so charming, I really don’t care if I don’t always catch the meaning.

    Brian, I’m with you on garage sales, except I’d exile myself. They just don’t seem worth the amount of work. Our school has a huge sale during the Three Rivers Festival and I used to work the cashier table. The idea of counting out 20 or 30 items had no appeal, so I’d just look at the armfuls and ask for 5 or 10 bucks. Maybe some people got really good deals, but when you are faced with a gym full of stuff and a long line, you gotta move the merchandise.

    569 chars

  51. Jenine said on May 21, 2010 at 10:33 am

    0 chars