I was sitting in the midst of Bitches Brew Revisited, one of the opening-night concerts at the Montreal Jazz Festival — excuse me, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal — when it occurred to me why jazz is so popular here: Because French Canadians are basically French, and the French can be reliably counted on to embrace anything most Americans hate. It makes them feel superior. Perhaps they are superior. They’ve certainly got the charming-city thing figured out. “Bitches Brew,” I’m not so sure. There are moments in that record that feel like genius, others more like the emperor’s new clothes. That’s when your mind wanders.

So I’m starting a list: Things the French Love that (Most) Americans Hate. So far: Modern jazz, sweetbreads, politicians with wandering peckers. Let’s leave Jerry Lewis off for now. Dig deeper.

And yes, we had a fine time in Montreal. You are free to disagree with my contention that French Canadians are “basically French.” I’m aware that to a Parisian, a French Canadian is a knuckle-dragging, fur hat-wearing lummox. A former editor of mine was French Canadian on his mother’s side and spoke the language, and told me a story once of riding in a taxi from the Paris airport, chatting up the driver, who complimented him on his graceful usage while simultaneously disparaging those blockhead Canucks who massacre it every day in his taxi, and… Suddenly this is sounding very much like a taxi story, I realize.

Whatever. I did enjoy being immersed in a different language for a few days, because it reminds you both of how very much you know and how very much you don’t know. I pointed out to Kate several times that faking it through a foreign country isn’t so hard, that much of it is non-verbal puzzle-solving and other tricks. The elevator button for the hotel lobby says R instead of L, but it’s nothing you can’t figure out. Besides, it’s so amusing. The Lonely Planet guide said that even in France, stop signs are red, octagonal and say STOP, but in Quebec, they’re red, octagonal and say ARRET. Still, if you know the red octagon part, you can figure out the rest. And it’s fun to speak fake French, and speculate on why it’s the language of diplomacy; my theory is that it sounds much classier to call someone le sac du douche than just a douchebag.

More stories to come as the week wears on. For now, just this one, transitioning into the bloggage: We were questioned closely at the border, entering Canada, about our plans for the week, and whether we were going to stop in Toronto for the G20 conference.

“The G20 is meeting in Toronto?” I asked. “I didn’t know that.”

“I thought, as journalists, you would know about the half billion we’ve spent on security, the anarchist protestors, and all the rest of it,” the guard said.

Shamed! I was shamed. To be sure, the G20 is one of those things I pay attention to when it’s going on, but criminy, buddy, the pregame is sort of the definition of a local story. Nevertheless, once we were in the Globe & Mail circulation area, it was hard to avoid, and coming home Saturday, we stopped for dinner in a suburb of the big T, and watched the violence on live TV. It looked pretty bad, but I’m just going to throw this out there and see what you think:

Police love nothing more than expecting trouble. It gives them a big, big bargaining chip to present to their municipalities, in return for a blank check. When the Ku Klux Klan held a rally in Fort Wayne, the sheriff’s deputies fell out in a long row behind a line of riot shields that were so new you could practically see the stickum where the price tags had been. Riot shields are not normally gear the Allen County Sheriff’s Department uses, and I’m sure that was only the beginning. News that the world’s anarchists are coming to your city is music to a cop’s ears, as it represents huge overtime checks, helmets and gas masks and, for the bullies, a license to swing a club.

Which is not to say they wouldn’t rather be patrolling a pleasant summer day in the park. I’m just saying there’s a time in every job when you’re needed, and that feels good to everyone. I’m not saying I agree with the contentions in this rather paranoid article — short version: that, in need of a reason to use all that new equipment and justify its expense, that the police started their own riot — but it’s interesting to think about. The stuff about the shoes is intriguing.

I don’t know what the total damage in Toronto will be. But if half a billion in advance spending couldn’t stop it, maybe a different approach is called for next time.

Full-on bloggage today:

A story for Pride 2010, via Hank: After 45 years, a wedding. Also, an 89-year-old Stonewall vet sits it out this year.

The Back of Town blog — the “Treme” people — gets some love.

The Texas GOP comes out against oral sex. Way to nail down the swing vote, guys.

Susan Ager came out of retirement to write a very long account of her recent brush with endometrial cancer in Sunday’s Free Press. I know the lady had — has — a lot of fans, but I was rarely one of them. She didn’t even rank on the Albom Scale of Irritation, but she could get on my nerves. I can take or leave Sunday’s story — it’s certainly better than most of what they run on that space — but can I just say something? When I was a columnist, I got a certain amount of fan mail, and it wasn’t all from Brian Stouder. But when I published reader letters, I cut that stuff out. If someone wrote me a letter, told me how much they liked my column and then commenced to ask a question about something else, I cut right to the question. So when I read stuff like this…

(The surgeon) smiled at my bedside and said, “You’re meeting me for the first time, but I’ve known you for years through your work.”

…I cringe. What happened to self-effacement? There was a DetNews columnist who did the same thing. When she was off sick, she’d come back and write a column about how sick she’d been, peppered with reader notes about how much they’d missed her beautiful face smiling out of the newspaper. I ask you.

And now I ask you for leave, because, as usual, Monday is a killer.

Posted at 10:11 am in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' |

47 responses to “Reconnaissance.”

  1. Linda said on June 28, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Re: French Canadian. Jacques Pepin had a story in his autobiography about his first encounter with French Canadian in Montreal, when a worker let loose an oath that would have been right at home in Paris…in the 18th century.

    The list of things the French love may include stuff Americans hate, but many of them are American things, like jazz and the left-off Jerry Lewis, and things that Americans like but underappreciated in the home country for a long time, like film noir. Sometimes, it takes the French to bring American culture back to us. And as for loving politicians with wandering peckers…to paraphrase Will Rogers, they never met Kwame Kilpatrick.

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  2. Jen said on June 28, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I’m looking forward to more Montreal stories because my husband and I are going to spend a couple of days there in September! We’re taking a road trip out to visit my sister in New Hampshire for a couple of days, and Montreal is only a 4-hour drive north of her. So if you have any great tips of places to visit …

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  3. MichaelG said on June 28, 2010 at 10:55 am

    The French like mayo on their pommes frites.

    Those Texas Goppers are truly nuts. One point I did agree with is the abolition of red light cameras. I hate those things.

    They mentioned sodomy but I didn’t see anything about oral sex. Are there people who consider oral sex to be sodomy?

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  4. Joe Kobiela said on June 28, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Lets see,
    What the French love and americans hate.
    Surrender, body oder,soccer, smelly cigaretts, hairy armpits on women,snails for food.
    Pilot Joe

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  5. Peter said on June 28, 2010 at 11:13 am

    My french relatives can’t stand the canucks because to them Quebec is like Alaska and the females are all like Our Lady of Wasila (or as my cousins call her, Saraaaah Paleeen).

    In the late ’70’s a Belgian punk rocker poseur named Plastic Bertrand was HUGE in Quebec (He did Ca Plan Pour Moi, which you hear in a Pepsi commercial), and that just about killed his career in France.

    French and English are the languages of diplomacy because their former empires basically covered the whole planet, and what they didn’t cover, like most of South America, wasn’t worth going after.

    Another American/French thing: Tex Avery over Chuck Jones, which I can agree on.

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  6. MarkH said on June 28, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Red light cameras: Thanks for the reminder of something I have to to take care of, MichaelG.

    Last week I got a summons from the city of Memphis showing alledged photo evidence that I ran a red light one recent early morning. Three problems with this: they misread the plate number because they didn’t bother to check the Wyoming plate numbering system (the first two digits are always county numbers). The plate number they pulled is for one of my cars, and the photos clearly show the violating plate as a “truck”, with the scofflaw vehicle as a flatbed Ford. And, I’ve have never been to Memphis, of course.

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  7. LAMary said on June 28, 2010 at 11:37 am

    MichaelG, mayo on fries isn’t bad if it’s garlic mayo. Next time you’re in Burbank/Glendale cross the border into Eagle Rock, go to Oinkster and order the fries. They come with garlic mayo. They are life changing.

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  8. moe99 said on June 28, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I like mayo on my pommes frites! But only good, homemade mayo.

    I fought the red light cameras, MarkH and got my fine reduced. I was turning right at midnight and there were no cars anywhere else, so made a California stop. The judge had video too, so it was good that i was honest about it all but the ticket was reduced from 124 to 75 so I thought my time well spent.

    Oh, and Krugman is still beating the drum against cuts:

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  9. Deborah said on June 28, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Scary stuff from Krugman “…tens of millions of unemployed workers, many of whom will go jobless for years, and some of whom will never work again.” Thanks for the link Moe. I think he’s right.

    Isn’t there some gruesome Canadian dish that involves gravy and cheese over fries? Didn’t we discuss that here a while back? Poutine or something like that?

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  10. brian stouder said on June 28, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Things the French Love that (Most) Amer­i­cans Hate.

    I don’t know; I’m thinking France is America’s older brother, and that we Americans secretly love what the French love. I confess that I did not know – before reading McCullough’s Panama Canal book called A Path Between the Seas – that there was a massive, decade long French effort, without which there would be NO canal at Panama (America might eventually have built one at Nicaragua); and indeed, the French failure was a free-market effort with private stake holders (who ultimately lost everything), and when Americans eventually took over, it was essentially a socialist (government run) effort!

    The idea of America following the French into a God-foresaken jungle to take over a hurculean (and seemingly hopeless) effort has a familiar ring, eh?

    When the chips were down in the late 1700’s, they were there for us; and when the chips were down in the early 1900’s, we were there for them – and in the meanwhile, they gave us a cool statue* and we traded a few kicks in an early 19th century naval war, but you’ll have that.

    But I do agree with Joe regarding snails. Blech!

    *I didn’t realize, until Casey Kasem told me, that the Canadian who sings American Woman is actually expressing a somewhat bitter opinion about the United States, with the ‘American Woman’ being the Statue of Liberty. Looking further into that, Kasem maybe didn’t have a very strong case, but the story was interesting nonetheless


    When I was a colum­nist, I got a cer­tain amount of fan mail

    I’m betting Madame Telling Tales – who was so refreshingly original, compared to what came before, got three full mail bags per week, unless she happened to have said something that someone could construe as anti-Fort Wayne or anti-Indiana, in which case I’d bet on four mail bags, plus a steady stream (many of which in crayon) over at the Letters to the Editor desk, calling for immediate dismissal, if not tarring and feathering, outright…

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  11. Sue said on June 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Moe, Deborah:
    ‘tens of mil­lions of unem­ployed work­ers, many of whom will go job­less for years, and some of whom will never work again’…
    He forgot to add the end of that sentence, according to many of our current leaders and candidates:
    ‘because they are spoiled and lazy and entitled and don’t want to become hobos and won’t just go away like they’re supposed to, so we’re just going to have to ignore them, like not feeding stray animals’.

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  12. LAMary said on June 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Netherlands just beat Slovakia. Go Orange.

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  13. MRMARK said on June 28, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Missed you last week Nance! Glad to have back on the regular Mon-Fri schedule.

    Here are two photos from recent travels:

    BlueRidge Overlook at Black Rock Mountain State Park, GA

    I-35W Bridge Abstract, Minneapolis, MN (This is the replacement bridge of the one that collapsed into the Mississippi River back in 2007.)

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  14. prospero said on June 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    You could just as easily say Americans hate rock ‘n’ roll, Nancy. They buy Lady Gaga, Glee, Justin Bieber, and that jiggly Brit lady with the bad makeover. And while French jazz fans deify Miles Davis (cooler-than-thou, solipsistic, smoked Disque Bleus), they don’t seem particularly knowledgeable about jazz players that dwarf him. There are a sizable number of American jazz fans, moi aussi, that return often to Giant Steps and A Love Supreme, or to the whack space jams of Sun Ra or brilliant melodicism of Yusef Lateef. Every great tenor player is an American, after all. Most of us like REM, Metallica and Peter Tosh, too.

    MC5 (greatest Detroit band ever), particularly Wayne Kramer and Sonic Smith, were saturated and steeped in Coltrane, and played Arkestra compositions whole, and live versions of Black to Comm contained wild improvisations with two guitars, drums and bass playing as many different time signatures as the Brubeck Quartet on Rondo a la Turk (which Keith Emerson and the Nice actually stole).

    There are plenty of things Fronch people love and I detest, but neither jazz nor escargot are included. I find it interesting nobody ever sees Sarkozy and Putin in the same place simultaneously, and alleged Gallic rock music is execrable. The most lionized French novelist of the moment is Michel Houellebecq, a bizarre navel-gazer who writes hilariously bad sadist-porn based on his own life, or a life he wishes he had. The country last produced great novelists 100 and more years ago.

    France screwed up Viet Nam before the US did, at practically the same time as their spectacular FUBAR in Algeria. I guess W was trying to even the score.

    Dumbasses have a Minister of culture whose primary job is to keep le mots Americaine from befouling their glorious language. 600thou Amerenglish words to 40thou–Qu’est-ce qu’il y a ? Tu as un grenouille dans la gorge ?

    Mostly it’s attitude that rankles. I’ve been to Paris and the palpable, unwarranted superiority exuded by both Eurotrash hipster ravers and old-time DeGaulle partisans with those obnoxious long pipes, sitting in grimy cafes, on rues en merde, well, that’s obnoxious.

    Pompous-assism aside, American jingoism directed at France, particularly the surrender bidness, well read a history book, George Washington. Anyway, for every arrogant French bastard from Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel to superficial phony Bernard-Henri Levy, there’s a corresponding George Will or Krauthammer. Hell, the US made that drawling neurasthenic, born again war-mongering snot Christoper Hitchens a citizen. (I sort of don’t like the guy.)

    I do love my Bodum, all-recycled plastic French press. And I love it that the French Disease and the English Disease are both syphillis.

    (My French is rudimentary, so forgive my errors. It just seems kinda, you know, simple.)

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  15. paddyo' said on June 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Two MORE words, Prospero: Freedom Fries. Plenty of pompous-assism under the DC dome . . .

    And boy, Nance, that G-20 security bluster takes me back just two summers ago to the Democratic National Convention here in the Mile High City, and the obscene security bells-and-whistles windfall that the Denver PD got for taking care of all those wild-in-the-streets anarchists who tore the city apart, limb by . . .

    Uhh, what? You say, the demonstrators were tame but the cops were bullies?

    Well, OK, not Chicago-in-’68 bullies, no. But I guess when they put on $2.1 million in shiny new riot gear, to go with $1.4 million in fresh new crowd-control barricades, plus $850K in “supplies” for arrests AND a $1 million new wireless video surveillance system AND the $678K mobile command post AND the $200K S.W.A.T.-mobile AND . . . well, gee, with all THOSE new toys, I guess we could forgive them for wanting to go out and play with the stuff — which they did.

    And hey, now they’ve got it all in storage for the next time Coloradans “riot” . . .

    We did see it coming when the Denver cops’ union printed up a bunch of T-shirts in advance of ObamaFest, the ones with the smiling goon in helmet-and-billy-club garb, the one that read:

    “We get up early . . . to BEAT THE CROWDS.”

    Yuk-yuk-yuk . . .

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  16. Julie Robinson said on June 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    We were in Montreal in the late 80’s and stopped at a bank to change money. The teller chatted away effortlessly in French at the same time she was conversing with us in English. To typical second-language-impaired Americans, this was very impressive. My other main memory is flowers everywhere, on any surface or container available. These went a long way towards making the city seem homey and friendly, less like a big city and more like a charming European village.

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  17. MichaelG said on June 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I dunno, Mary. My wife was European and I spent years watching her eat fries with Mayo. I’m not sure I’m up for that. I will say that frying them twice in the Belgian fashion makes for the best fries. Put them in your whatever (I use a large wok) with the oil at 280 for 10 – 12 minutes. Remove and drain. Bring oil up to 375 and fry them again. Takes just a minute or two. Or you can keep them until company is ready and refry them then. Yum.

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  18. coozledad said on June 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    The French have always loved “The Jazz-Rock”, God bless ’em.

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  19. adrianne said on June 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Poutine is French Canadian “delicacy” of cheese curds and gravy.

    Now that’s good eatin’!

    Hey, it’s fun to hate France. Let us be!

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  20. LAMary said on June 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Oinkster does fries the Belgian way. Trust. It’s worth the trip out of Burbank.

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  21. Sue said on June 28, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Cheese curds and gravy? We don’t even do that in Wisconsin.
    LAMary, does the in-house Brit do that fries and vinegar thing? That’s just, um, well…

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  22. Colleen said on June 28, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I’m fond of fries in a mayo/ketchup mix. Yum.

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  23. Dorothy said on June 28, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I have never liked catsup. If I have fries I eat them naked. Or better yet – ranch dressing is delicious with fries. I use the “light” version to make me feel less guilty. Or mayo mixed with horseradish is a tasty alternative to blechy catsup.

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  24. brian stouder said on June 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    If I have fries I eat them naked.

    I’ll have to remember that, if Jeff and you and I ever meet at David Davis’s alma mater for lunch(!)

    edit: yet another book I’ve not read – Naked Lunch

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  25. Dexter said on June 28, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    More depth on the Storme Delarverie story:

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  26. Dexter said on June 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    brianstouder: Read the book and then see the movie. And be nice to mugwumps.
    And you’ll never view exterminators the same way, ever, ever.

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  27. LAMary said on June 28, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Dorothy, the Belgian fries at Oinkster are served with garlic mayo with a little bit of horseradish mixed in. The best is a pulled pork sandwich with vinegar Carolina barbecue sauce and a side of fries with garlic/horseradish mayo. They make their own catsup and you can tast the cloves and cider vinegar in it. I generally don’t like catsup much, but this stuff is excellent. Oh, and there’s chipotle catsup too. And house made mustard.

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  28. Jeff Borden said on June 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    I had one bad experience with a surly waiter in Paris over the course of 12 days in that lovely city and, in fairness, he was working a way too large crowd without much help. It was a rare sunny day and we wanted to be out in it, not waiting for food.

    Wherever we’ve traveled, we’ve tried to follow the golden rule. Johanna and I learn at least a few basic phrases in the local. . .mostly please, thank you, sorry, excuse me. . .and have rarely had any trouble. If you smile, speak softly, nod a little. . .someone will come to your aid. Or, as happened to us in the Sixth A. in Paris, you can find an elderly couple who will pantomime how to get to the nearest Metro stop, and you will all laugh and you’ll find your way to the train, each with a new story to share.

    One thing about the whole French surrender business. Didn’t it lose pretty much an entire generation of young men in World War I? The cavalier attitudes Americans take about how Europe goes about dealing with violent conflict are infused with the naivete that comes from never having your country bombed, butchered and occupied. My sense is Europeans know they came close to committing suicide twice in the 20th century and they’ll do just about anything to avoid it again.

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  29. LAMary said on June 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I went on an extended camping trip through rural Quebec province and the more rural French Canadians are not so much like the French in France. You see a lot of cars on blocks in the front yard and bowling seems to be popular. Not much modern jazz going on, but very nice people. The Laurentians are a great place for camping.

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  30. prospero said on June 28, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    “Fries” is not a generic term. If they’re really good fries, putting anything but salt on them is what WB Yeats would call Philistinism.If the fries are from BK, bring your own ketchup or homemade mayo, but the mayo better have some garlic, or chipotles, or some imported chile powder. If they’re from some other fast food place, starvation is imminent, earth is under siege, and you absolutely must eat them, slather those suckers with anything available to make them edible. You’ll need you’re strength.

    Denigrating ketchup is moronic. Back in ’04, Swiftboat types tried to dump on John Kerry (you know, the candidate that commanded a boat in the riverine, fought and took bullets to save friends and crewmembers from certain painful death, you know, John Kerry; while his opponent got the “guarding Tejas from Mexico” gig and couldn’t show up for duty in Texas or ‘Bama because he had previous commitments to coke) because his wife’s company had production plants in India? People really like ketchup in India.

    I’ve lived to be 59 last Thursday preferring ketchup to mustard on hot dogs. I decided on this when I was about eight. About the same time I knew for a fact that Cervantes beat Walter Scott all to hell, and Wilt could score 100 and never live in the same rarefied air as Bill Russell.

    I’ll eat a hotdog with Gulden’s at Fenway, and enjoy it immensely because I’ve got a Gansett, a dog, and a preternaturally gorgeous stadium in front of me, and a perfect sport.

    You don’t have to be a good hitter to be a good baseball player, and you don’t have to know Wordsworth or AE Housman to understand sports mimics war,is forever it’s superior because nobody dies, and that war corrupts sporting competition while it destroys its Participants and their treasuries.

    In sports, there is always room to come back and play again tomorrow. War? Good luck. Anybody following Nancy that thinks war is better than a slamdown? Y’all seem to think being talented at at a sport means some sort of moron.

    Wh0’s on the other end

    You’ve got Auden. Idealogue and brilliant formal poet. Auden criticized Housman as somebody that ‘Kept tears like dirty postcards in a drawer’. Yeah? I suppose he meant his compatriot wasn’t tough enough. Pardon me if I’ve misinterpreted Donnish Brit poets gay society back then,

    But seriously, or Syrianlly as a friend of mine that thought he could beat me at Scrabble once said minutes before he projectile vomited several Coney’s in his dorm room once said. Hibachis and gas grills aside. First, you have to grill or broil them yourself. Second, good dogs, like Sabrett’s or Nathan’s or Hebrew National, they’re good with nothing if broiled in your oven or grilled, can be adorned with whatever suits your preference. We belive in loading those suckers up with everything available and washing them down with Yuenglings, which might not be better than Sam, but it’s a personal preference.

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  31. Deborah said on June 28, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Naked Lunch, an interesting book and a good movie.

    I’ve only traveled in France with my husband who speaks pretty good French. But I’m language impaired, so one time I went off on my own in Paris to take a solitary walk. Most people I encountered who spoke to me thought I was Scandinavian, which was fine with me. I didn’t open my mouth, just smiled and let them think it.

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  32. prospero said on June 28, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Jeff, I’ll be gotdammed. There is so much at play. Read Panama by somebody in the 20th Century that has a clue. Thomas McGuane.

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  33. del said on June 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    “But seri­ously, or Syr­i­an­lly as a friend of mine that thought he could beat me at Scrab­ble once said min­utes before he pro­jec­tile vom­ited sev­eral Coney’s in his dorm room.” Prospero, that, was, funny. Happy birthday.

    Things the French love that Americans disdain? How about dignity and courtliness? That would simultaneously explain the French adoration of Jerry Lewis and our election of George W. Bush as president of “the United States of Uhhhmerica.”

    I was once the Ugly American in Paris. Made a scene at a Metro station with an attendant who was feigning ignorance about calculating correct change at the ticket window. But it was righteous indignation. It belies my low bearing (and Americaness) to concede that, as I gazed at the Metro passengers in line behind me, I thought, “yes, I am bigger than these people.”

    On another occasion I realized that the soft guttural French cooings of some of les jeune femmes was very alluring. But being the ugly American and general rascal I am it was wrong of me to undermine a male American friend’s conversation with them by warning them, “je crois qu’il t’aime.”

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  34. brian stouder said on June 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Prospero – Happy Birthday to you!

    Y’know, I haven’t taken in a Major League baseball game in years and years – but I’ll have to go back. Although I will say, if they bring in Instant Replay, it will make me frown.

    There is a huge amount of indispensible wisdom and truth in allowing for people (in this case, umpires) who are trying their best, to fail; and then all have to simply live with the result, come what may.

    I remember, a long time ago, reading an umpire say that he went by sound as much as sight; if he heard the ball hit the glove and then the runner’s shoe hit the bag (distinctive sounds, those), then “OUT!!”; and vice versa.

    But in the blown call which ended a perfect game this year, the first baseman barely caught the ball; it was a snow-cone catch; and I remembered that story from the umpire who relied on his ears; and it made sense.

    edit: Dexter, that was an interesting youtube.

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  35. coozledad said on June 28, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Borden: The thing the righties are reluctant to mention about France when they go on the “surrender monkeys” tirade is that only the commies kept fighting.(Same with Japanese occupied China) It was the religious right (Action Francaise) whacked out on ultramontanism and the the anti-semitic lectures of Count Gobineau that ultimately rolled over for the invaders. Just like they will here, or anywhere else; natural asscrawlers to religious authoritarianism that they are, and always will be.
    And it was Dick Nixon and Henry Kissinger who ultimately signed the papers that underlined what the French had already learned about Vietnam.

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  36. beb said on June 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    MichaelG @3. Sodomy is “unnatural sexual acts” which could mean oral, anal or beastiatic sex.

    Avedon Carol has written many times that in most riots it was the police that rioted first. I believe her. Once the police were given tasers they went overboard with them. Give them riot gear and they’re going to start cracking heads because they can.

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  37. Denice B. said on June 29, 2010 at 12:40 am

    I love the home cut fresh french fries at ‘Scotty Simpson’s Fish and Chips’ in Detroit. They make their own Tartar sauce and I use that to dip my fries. Delicious! They make home-made light slaw (no mayo) and fresh pies. And their fish is fried with a Tempura type puffy crispy coat. My mom and dad took us when we were kids, and me and my sisters took our kids. 60 years of good eats. <3

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  38. Dexter said on June 29, 2010 at 1:22 am

    It’s almost July and both the Cincinnati Redlegs and the Detroit Tigers are in first place. Unreal.

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  39. Dexter said on June 29, 2010 at 1:47 am

    prospero, a couple facts about the March night in Hershey, PA, where Wilt scored 100 points. Wilt wasn’t so poor a foul-shooter in 1962, and he made 28 of 32 attempts that night, and he made 36 field goals. This was way before he switched to the fade-away jumpers he favored when with the 76ers.
    In 1962, Wilt played for the Phila (that’s what the jerseys had written on them) Warriors. He had guys like Paul Arizin as teammates, not household names even then. So Wilt took advantage of the rules of the time, and of his 36 field goals, many were simply re-directed shots by Arizin et al. He was allowed to grab or tip any shot by his teammates into the hoop. All he had to do was barely touch the ball and the field goal would be credited to Wilt. Any basketball rolling or dancing on the rim was golden for Wilt as he just tapped it in…no such thing as offensive goal-tending.
    Some accounts by eyewitnesses have Wilt picking shots by his teammates right out of the extended cylinder about the hoop and slamming them home. Alas, the game has no record as taping hadn’t been used yet for all games.

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  40. prospero said on June 29, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Thanks, Brian. I don’t feel old. And I’d say somebody with your sensibilities ought to go to Fenway or Dodger Stadium for the love of the grass and grown men playing a kid’s game exceptionally well. It’s a knockout. You’d like it.

    My brother was a consummate athlete, sprinter, diver, DBack, running back, and, I was good at all of those, but not as good. But he was a rightfielder and I played center. Baseball’s got five talents and almost nobody has all of them. I could catch anything, and wing the ball back to the infield. Couldn’t hit for dick.

    To this day, we don’t agree on much, and politics the least of the tinderboxes available to us. He has John Bonham, and I’ll swear Keith moon kicks his ass. (Even when I know both guys are incomparable.) For my money these last two decades, Georgia Hubley is better than everybody else, including Charley Watts, who will still be great when he’s 98 or so. But Syrianly, y’all don’t know who Georgia Hubley is, and you never heard of Alan Dawson.

    My brother insists Wilt was better than Bill Russell, because he thought so when we were little, and he’s got to be smart enough now to know that’s ridiculous. He will not give in.

    We used to play cutthroat whiffleball games, batting and pitching lefty and righty, with the previous day’s Dodgers and Yankees boxscore lineups. We actually wrote down scoring sheets and kept them in a notebook. Competition knows no bounds.

    I was in riots at Grant Park in 1968, and in Ann Arbor in the same year I was nearly trampled by mounted police. I’ve certainly felt my life threatened by police, at times in more personal and way more threatening situations. I wouldn’t trust a cop if I was related to him.

    I’ve had run-ins with cops in scarier situations and felt glad to emerge alive. One time on Comm Ave. (Boston, right), I was holding up my brother while he puked in some hedges. I nudged those cops until they were annoyed enough with me to leave Chris alone. Spent the night in the Charles Street Jail when these old farts that arrested me were better acquainted with Jim Beam than I was.

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  41. prospero said on June 29, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Dex, Wilt was awesome. He just was incapable of matching Russ, in any fashion, on the court .

    In anything but sexual partners penetrated, apparently. But championships? Hell, some poseur that reaches in, fouls the crap out of everybody and gets away with it, and walks with the ball at will can act like a little girl and kiss the trophy with fake tears running down his cheeks. OMG, that’s Jordan. And he knew for a fact he fouled the crap out of Byron Russell and would never have got the shot off otherwise. Jordan thinks this all funny.

    Michael Jordan cheated, and he knows it. If you ever competed in anything, you’d find this repulsive. Larry, Magic and J beat people on the straight-up. Jordan is not in their league by any stretch of David Stern’s imagination. And if that dumbass thinks Michael saved his ass, there was no league without Doc, Magic and Larry. They didn’t need their own rules. Just played hoops.

    But Republicans buy shoes too. Taking extreme assholism to another level. I’ve got to believe he’s got Hitchens on speed-dial. Two people so convinced they’re the center of the universe must be talking.

    I know y’all don’t care about sports. Michael Jordan is like Darryl Issa, but apparently never stole a car or burned a building for profit. He just cheats like a mofo and benefits from it. There ya go. Knew they had something in common. Sarah-kind of people. Mendacity-plutocracy. Drill, baby. Drill.

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  42. basset said on June 29, 2010 at 8:08 am

    if I had played basketball in high school I would have played against Larry Bird… our schools’ teams were in the same conference and may still be, I dunno. never even went to any games, though, spent way too much time in the library and the art room.

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  43. brian stouder said on June 29, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Basset – how’s things? Reconstruction continues apace?

    To me, reading in your own living room, or weed-whipping the edges of your own yard can be as pleasant as watching the passersby on the most pleasant avenue, anywhere.

    Here’s hoping that you have a move-in date fast approaching; and that your family is doing well

    edit: and in an unrelated note (Seargent Schultz mode ON); if the Propietress becomes entangled with the now collapsing Russian spy ring, I would just like to state for the record (and for any black helicopter guy reading the blog) that I know NOTHING! NOTHING!! (Seargent Schultz mode OFF)

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  44. MarkH said on June 29, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Dexter @38 — Unreal, yes; yet wonderful, no? Cicninnati has lasted longer in this position than in recent seasons so there is hope. My buddies in the Queen City will believe it when they see it if the Reds are still there in Sept. Still hate to see the Pirates sucking hind tit, though. My family moved from Pgh. to Cincy when I was 13, so my loyalties are divided. My dad made sure I spent more time at Crosley Field than at Forbes field, though, and it was wonderful. The promotion meant he was home more often. Rockies stadium reminds me so much of Crosley; has that old time ball park feel.

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  45. basset said on June 29, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for asking, Brian… we’re making good progress, on track for the scheduled mid-September move-in. wiring passed inspection Friday, windows and doors are going in this week, and I finally bought a pressure washer so I can clean up the still-working grill and do a July 4 cookout on our trashed and wobbly deck.

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  46. brian stouder said on June 29, 2010 at 11:18 am


    That sounds like a GREAT 4th of July

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