In which I mutter.

It’s well-known that no one can speak or use the English language correctly no more, and I should stop fussin’ about it. I’ve had many teachers in my journey from illiterate neophyte to somewhat competent writer-person, one of them our own Kirk Arnott, who had a way of condemning sloppy usage at the Columbus Dispatch, where we worked together for a time, that struck terror in my soul. There was something about the way he could mutter from the desk all the way to the coffeepot and back that made me want to never, ever be the cause of that muttering.

One of his biggies was the misuse of the legal term garnish, which is what happens when your wages are seized. An order of garnishment is made by a court, and one day you open your paycheck to discover the IRS, or your ex-spouse, or minor children, or some other party has already lopped off a chunk. Kirk insisted that we write “his wages were garnisheed,” pronounced gar-ni-SHAYed, and muttered if anyone wrote “garnished,” because that is what you do with parsley.

Well, times and language changes times change and language changes, and now “garnished” is pretty widely accepted, and even my online dictionary says it’s OK. Nevertheless, when I read a sentence like this…

Carey Torrice’s $622-a-week commission salary is being garnished by an insurance company that claims the couple have failed to make court-ordered restitution payments.

…I cringe. Especially when I’ve already cringed over this:

…a private investigator and actress who gained national attention two years ago for posting scantily clad photos of herself online.

The photos are not scantily clad, although “nude photos” is pretty much how we describe photos depicting nudity, so I guess that’s OK, too. And “photos of herself, scantily clad” sounds strange. Actually, “scantily clad” is one of those stupid cliché phrases you only read in newspapers, anyway. It’s one case where I’d actually advocate for more words, if it paints a more vivid picture in the reader’s mind. In the case of Torrice, I’d write:

Photos of herself in several ridiculous, “sexy” outfits reveal her toned physique and obvious breast implants, including one suggesting a policewoman, if the policewoman were the co-star in a porn film.


Actually, the story is pretty amusing, cringeworthy usage and all, and people will read the shit out of it, if only for the headline:

Did sexy politician, husband stalk her election rival?

Although I take issue with the lead:

It has all of the makings of an old-fashioned mystery — a sexy private investigator, a handgun and a bizarre car accident.

I’m sorry, but try again. An old-fashioned mystery, by my lights, features Sherlock Holmes, a drawing room, or Colonel Mustard in the ballroom with the lead pipe. A sexy private investigator, a handgun and a bizarre car accident belong in the dirty movie described above.

And ouch, dude:

According to a police report obtained by the Free Press, Sprys was driving home at 10:15 p.m. after a board meeting when an acquaintance of the Torrices, another private investigator, appeared to lunge himself into Sprys’ SUV, one witness said.

Lunge himself? Did the whole blue-pencil staff take the buyout? Launch himself, or just lunge into.

As for the story itself, besides being entertaining, my only comment is: Too Macomb County for words. Which is a very Grosse Pointe thing to say, but honestly, people, once you’ve put scantily clad photos of yourself on the internet, all bets are off. Check out the “fun stuff” section, here. Fun fact to know and tell: Besides being a Macomb County commissioner leading a campaign to end euthanasia in the county’s animal shelter, she’s also a foot model.

Someone told me once there’s a gay men’s group in Macomb County that calls itself “the 586s,” for the area code. The gay men in the 248, and even the 313, think this is hilarious.

Well, as you can probably guess, I’m already in my holiday-weekend head, although I’m working on the holiday and the day after. Today, however, I think I’m going to the pool. Any bloggage? Oh, we can probably scare some up:

Mel Gibson, radical Catholic and sinner.

Funniest thing I’ve read today was the Facebook status of one of our commenters, Velvet Goldmine: I’m working on a Bollywood-style TV show about a group of plucky kids trying to start a show choir in India. I call it: Ghee!

Want to watch a sports movie free of sports-movie clichés? Rent “The Damned United.” Great to play in the background at your World Cup parties, too.

Have a great holiday weekend. I’ll be back…at some point.

Posted at 11:23 am in Current events, Detroit life |

42 responses to “In which I mutter.”

  1. LAMary said on July 2, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I’m distracted.

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  2. coozledad said on July 2, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Well,at least we can all breathe a sigh of relief that Mel’s lost his endorsement contract for Brazil nuts.

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  3. LAMary said on July 2, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Or Brazilian wax jobs.

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  4. coozledad said on July 2, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Does Mel wax his nuts?

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  5. Sue said on July 2, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I was out of the loop yesterday, so sorry if anyone already posted this bit of awesome:

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  6. moe99 said on July 2, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Awesome Sue. I’m going to spread that around.

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  7. Peter said on July 2, 2010 at 11:56 am

    OHHHH, Brazil is out! I’m not looking forward to the weekend, for my dad and his German soccer friends are just going to give me crap on that.

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  8. LAMary said on July 2, 2010 at 11:58 am

    (doing happy clog dance around office)

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  9. Deborah said on July 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Sue, Tea Party Jesus is a stitch. Some people out there are just so clever.

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  10. Jason T. said on July 2, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    On behalf of my generation, I’d like to apologize for Carey Torrice, Kwame Kilpatrick, and all of the other completely empty-headed, useless, inappropriate and unserious 30- to 40-something politicians around.

    And I could add the name of a certain 30-year-old mayor of a certain large Pennsylvania city, who skipped an emergency preparedness briefing to visit a pro football training camp; who left the city during a catastrophic blizzard to go skiing (it was his birthday, after all); and who once used a city-owned police vehicle to tailgate at a Toby Keith concert … but I will not.

    I find it very hard to imagine a young Margaret Chase Smith posting photos of herself in a low-cut Little Bo Peep costume, or a young Harry Truman rolling around Independence, Mo., in a pimped-out Cadillac Escalade with his posse.

    I’m pretty sure the America of “Idiocracy” is much closer than the movie predicted.

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  11. nancy said on July 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Eh, don’t feel bad, Jason. I think the boomers greased the skids for these clowns. Probably starting with Jerry Brown.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on July 2, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Muttering…a recent newspaper article referred to something as “real good”. Then there’s a personal favorite, a local donut shop that proclaims their donuts are “made the old fashion way”. On the sign. Mutter indeed.

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  13. Sue said on July 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    And Lyndon Johnson never did anything over the top or boorish.

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  14. beb said on July 2, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Apparently most of the risque picture of her have been taken down. Or if not, just do not rise to the level of “oy!”

    Still, it has to be embarrassing to have your district represented by someone so obviously a flake.

    Mel Gibson a sinner. That’s a “duh” moment. The real question is whether he still has a career?

    But where’s the extra ‘e’ that would turned garnished into garnisheed?

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  15. Jason T. said on July 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    And Lyn­don John­son never did any­thing over the top or boor­ish.

    Over the top and boorish, I can dig, Sue. Lyndon Johnson’s life could be described as “over the top and boorish.”

    But LBJ acted like an over-the-top boorish adult. Today’s politicians act like over-the-top boorish teenagers. Doesn’t anyone grow up any more?

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  16. Jason T. said on July 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    But where’s the extra ‘e’ that would turned gar­nished into gar­nisheed?

    I found it: “Silent E”

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  17. LAMary said on July 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Off topic, sort of:

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  18. Dexter said on July 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I just watched a Sarah Silverman concert on Sundance. Her pet peeve is women who wax their assholes. She just has hers groomed and styled.
    Hey, I’m just sayin’….
    Is anybody more edgy than Silverman? I’m one jaded person and she had me half-shocked in between laughing crazily over and over.

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  19. ROgirl said on July 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Speaking of bad writing, here’s the winner of the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest:

    For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss–a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.

    There’s more:

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Americans are morally obligated to root for the Ghana Black Stars, fyi.

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  21. MichaelG said on July 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    There’s lotsa moral obligations out there, MMJeff, but rooting for Ghana ain’t one of ’em.

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  22. brian stouder said on July 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Go Ghana!!

    (alternatively: Going!! Going!! GHANA!!)

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  23. prospero said on July 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Jason T says he can’t imag­ine a young Mar­garet Chase Smith post­ing pho­tos of her­self in a low-cut Lit­tle Bo Peep cos­tume, and I have to agree. But, c’mon, give him a break–Rudy Giuliani’s just a gal that likes to have a good time.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on July 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm


    I think Sarah Silverman is hilarious, but man, she cuts to the bone. Larry David is Mr. Rogers in comparison. Plus, anyone who would cut a hilarious video called “I’m Fucking Matt Damon” and then get Matt Damon to star in said video is aces in my book.

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  25. Bob (Not Greene) said on July 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Oh, man. Ghana misses a penalty kick at the end of overtime and then loses in a shootout. I’d hate to be the guy who missed that one! By the way, I love the Guardian’s online play by play. Almost as fun as watching the game.

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  26. prospero said on July 2, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Was there ever a finer song ever written? I know y’all all have a candidate. But you have to admit this is gorgeous. So Pete Quaiffe died, and he was a terrific bass player and tried to keep Ray and Dave from knifing each other. Played incredibly inventive bass lines.

    The difference between the Kinks and the Beatles and the Stones. Kinks never resorted to filler. Ray and Dave meant every single song. And every one was excellent.

    Is Mr. Kite as good a song as Death of a Clown? In what universe?

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  27. coozledad said on July 2, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Here’s a couple of songs with a strong Kinks vibe.
    And the Kinks doing Pet sounds

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  28. prospero said on July 2, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Didn’t there used to be a ridiculous numgbe of great female rock singers that didn’t require autotune? All those Brits like Annie Haslam, and the exquisite Irish Maddy Prior? So why does anybody listen to some poseur like Lady Gaga? Could Madonna sing as well as Cyndi Lauper? Could she write a song as good as Time After Time Nope. Not in a million years.

    So female singers? Maria Mckee, Grace Potter, Exene, Bonnie Raitt. Anne Wilson. Chryssie Hynde, Joni Mitchell, who do y’all think is a wonderful female rock singer? Only six or seven of them match Plant. Chryssie Hynde is sui generis. Her voice is incomparable, and she’s tougher than bikers. In fact, she’d tak their names and crush their balls.

    For a long time, I didn’t think female singers were worthy of rock. What a dumbass. Those names I just mentioned, well. Polly fucking harvey. The incredibly gorgeous Aimee Mann. You can’t sing any better than that. Unless you’re Grace Potter. You can’t sing better than that. She is so good it’s a joke.

    Whatever anybody says.

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  29. coozledad said on July 2, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Prospero: Catherine O’Hara’s little sister:

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  30. moe99 said on July 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    you left one out, prospero: Grace Slick.

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  31. basset said on July 3, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Annie Haslam… (sigh)

    saw Renaissance at the Indiana Theater in Indy about 1977 or so. some lives-alone-type guy jumped onstage and gave her a bouquet, followed by that palms-together bow.

    I have pictures, I can prove it wasn’t me.

    (extended dreamy gaze into the middle distance)

    I understand she lives in Pennsylvania now and does animal rescue.

    and I used to work with Aimee Mann’s brother, he was a tv reporter in Nashville awhile back.

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  32. Dexter said on July 3, 2010 at 12:23 am

    prospero: THANK YOU for posting the like to Glastonbury. What a moving tribute to Mr. Quaife. I have been a Kinks fan since the first album, but this video tribute was so moving…I am just stunned. It is beautiful. Thanks so much…I would have missed it.

    One of my fave Kinks tunes…I played this record until the grooves wore out.

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  33. Denice B. said on July 3, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I get distracted easily….Oh, Look! A kitty!

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  34. Dexter said on July 3, 2010 at 12:55 am

    I always wondered if Lennon and McCartney were greatly influenced by this song
    when they wrote “A Day In the Life”. That song is a great example of how Lennon and McCartney collaborated, fitting verses together that were penned alone by each one of the duo. I never researched it, I just had it in my gut that Ray Davies’ “Well Respected Man” must have influenced this great Beatles song.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 3, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Azure d’Or, he geeked along with Basset. Hadn’t thought about Annie Haslam in . . . what? Oh, nothing, hon.

    And I see that the Wizards of the Coast, owners of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, is offering a contest to reunite people who gamed together back to the next GenCon. The 80s revival was bad enough, but why does it seem as if the 70s keep trying to pull a zombie act on me?

    Great tagline for the promotion, though: “Never split the party.” Yeah, that was what we all knew, but we kept doing it all the same. You see, I had a sword of unmaking, and with that, you could . . . oh, never mind.

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  36. DEdelstein said on July 3, 2010 at 1:48 am

    sounds like an “old-fashioned mystery” to me–typical film noir fodder. Sherlock Holmes was what your parents thought of as old-fashioned. Kids today would regard anything from the late forties and fifties with Robert Mitchum as antediluvian.

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  37. prospero said on July 3, 2010 at 4:15 am

    Cooz. The Kinks are Ray and Dave, and Pete Quaiffe and Mick Avory. They were so good it was ridiculous. There’s actually no such thing as a better band. Somebody ever make a song as good as You Really Got Me? As we say in North Georgia. Not Hardly. Listen to the bass introducing Waterloo. Inrecidbly beautiful.

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  38. Mindy said on July 3, 2010 at 6:59 am

    David Mitchell got on his soapbox about the commonly misused “I could care less.” If the sound of that makes your hair hurt like it does mine, this is worth three and a half minutes of your day.

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  39. prospero said on July 3, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Dexter, I think this is the crescendo ending John and Paul might have been borrowing. “On the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar.” Damn.

    And this was actually the song Pete Quaife liked best.

    This is a favorite of mine, because the guitar solo is stunning and sublime. It put’s Dave in Peter Green territory. (And who are those Fleetwood Mac poseurs that made all that cash?) You know, when Fleetwood Mac was a great band.

    Anyway, the horns are off the charts. (Pun intended.) The backup singing and sha-la-las are perfect Beach Boys sans that consummate transcendental asshole Mike Love.

    This is another personal favorite, and you really should click on this one if you like the Kinks. Ray is Ray at his best and so is Dave. Instead of that revolting, maudlin James Stewart movie every Christmas. Infinite Joke.

    And of course, Ray had a kid with Chrissie Hynde and she dumped him for the empty haircut in Simple Minds. What was she thinking?

    This is another personal favorite, and you really should click on this one if you like the Kinks. Ray is Ray at his best and so is Dave.

    And this is so wonderful there’s practically no way to describe it. And, please click this one. It is worthwhile. I think Ray Davies is the best songwriter since George and Ira. I think Dave “Death of a Clown” Davies is right up there. One of my brothers rhinks they’re the best, and if you listen to Muswell Hillbillies, it’s hard to disagree. I think it’s actually better than Village Green. One way or another, the Davies boys are fairly easily as good as the Beatles, maybe better, but most people aren’t ever going to say so.

    Rolling Stones are another matter. Their best songs aren’t the ones that made them famous. Standing in the Shadows. Moonlight Mileis the best song they ever made. “I am sleeping under strange, strange skies.” and “my dreams is fading down the railway line”, that’s almost as good as “If I ventured in the slipstream, between the viaducts or your dreams.”

    But really, if you tell the mother of your kid, that used to be your lover and left you for that Simple Minds simple mind “you’ll find better things” and wish her “bluer skies”, I guess you’re a pretty good guy. I think what always made the Kinks different ant better than their Brit counterparts is that they always took everything personally. Paul and John may have thought “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” But they didn’t do a song about it.

    I’m personally invested in the idea that Ray and Dave can put an end to the soap opera. I’ve got a brother I’d put a fork in over french fries, and I’d rather we got along. Aside from that. Incredibly brilliant band. And a guy that acctually understands the way things are going.
    Oklahoma, USA.

    All life we work, but work is a bore. If life’s for working, what’s living for?

    About that private eye bidness? I’d say James D. handed over the thing to Robicheaux and Walter Mosley.

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    • nancy said on July 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm

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  40. prospero said on July 3, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    If you write a line in a song that says “I am just living to be dying by your side” and follow it up with “my dreams is fadin’ down the railway lines”, even if you’re the fucking Rolling Stones you’re probably pretty serious about something, involving art or terrism. Or you think you’re Rimbaud,or Nancy Nall, or something.

    Stones are into the conspiracy. They’re whack participators

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  41. baldheadeddork said on July 5, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Good to know I’m among people who will understand why, should ever meet Carly Simon, the one thing I want to ask is if Mick Jagger really owned a race horse name “Naturally”.

    Grumble, grumble…

    Prospero, thanks for posting that video. The Kinks are the only band I can think of from the sixties that can be called underrated.

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