They were holding his cell.

We had a carjacking here in the Woods last weekend, just a couple blocks from my house. Armed carjacking, very scary — a woman leaves a business and goes to her car, parked on one of the busiest thoroughfares on the east side. Gets in, rolls down the windows to let the heat out, a guy dives through the passenger window and puts a gun to her head. Pushes her out the driver’s door, roars off.

Well, they caught him. This is the sequence: After the carjacking, he heads up to Roseville, and tries to rob a woman in a grocery parking lot. In the scuffle, he drops the keys to the jacked car. Steals a delivery truck, abandons that in a chase, heads into an apartment complex, where he hides in one of the units after breaking in. He changes his clothes, helping himself to some of the tenants’, and escapes on a bicycle.

So how did they catch him? He went back for his clothes. You can see how police grow cynical.

Guy was paroled last week. He’s looking at life now. Ob-la-di, ob-la-da.

Violent crime brings out the distancing in all of us. “Distancing” is what I call the phenomenon we all indulge in from time to time: Something bad happens to somebody else, and we try to figure out why that could never happen to us. I never go into that area after dark. I would have left when they said the hurricane was coming. I would never marry an alcoholic. And so on.

Auto theft in general is so widespread in Detroit that you hear a lot of anecdotal comments on how to avoid it. Don’t drive here, don’t buy Chrysler products before a particular model year, etc. Some people go limp — an acquaintance lives in a loft conversion in a sketchy neighborhood, and never, ever locks her car. It’s rifled from time to time, and someday someone might figure out how to get it started and drive it off, but she prefers that to replacing a window every three months.

And now I give you mine: Be just a little more troublesome and/or less attractive to thieves than the next guy. I’d never own one of those $3,000 road bikes, and don’t mind that my unglamorous hybrid bike is a little dirty. It looks dowdy in most bike racks, which is the way I like it. I also drive a stick shift. Someone might try to jack it, but I’m counting on the widespread lack of manual-transmission skills to deter all but the most determined thieves.

Alan thinks this is crazy, but I recently read on the Facebook page of a well-known crime novelist that she practices the same strategy. Hmpf.

If I’m ever shot to death in a carjacking, I’m sure the last words I’ll hear are, “Bitch, what is this shit?”

So, some bloggage for what looks to be a hot, steamy weekend:

Lance Mannion is on vacation, but of course, writers never go on vacation. Get a dune, you two!

The curse of Waterloo continues. Bret Michaels busted for pot in Deliverance, Indiana.

Got a note from Deb — not Deborah, Deb — last night. She lives in Milwaukee. Sue’s out that way, too. They got six inches of rain last night in about two hours, and she was sending the boys out to bail the window wells, which were full to the brim. Is this the most exciting thing to ever happen in Milwaukee? snarks Gawker. Oh, shut up.

Finally, Tucker Carlson keeps earning his reputation as a lying, double-crossing weasel, over and over again. Ezra Klein provides some backstory.

Time for the Friday get-down. Enjoy your weekend.

Posted at 10:36 am in Current events, Detroit life |

65 responses to “They were holding his cell.”

  1. Crabby said on July 23, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Here’s a pic from Milwaukee

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  2. Mark P. said on July 23, 2010 at 10:51 am

    “He went back for his clothes.”

    I once saw a piece by a guy who was responsible for getting permission from people to show them on “Cops” or something similar. He said he couldn’t figure out why anyone would give permission to show that kind of stupidity until he figured out that criminals ARE stupid.

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  3. harrison said on July 23, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Here’s something that just could be interesting:

    To paraphrase George Constanza: “Worlds are colliding!”

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  4. coozledad said on July 23, 2010 at 11:04 am

    My wife quit locking the doors on her car after someone threw a brick through the window. They got a five-dollar bill out of the glove compartment.
    I lock my doors compulsively from years of suburban conditioning. I shouldn’t have to: I’m either driving a right hand drive Subaru, or a truck that has two gas tanks because it wouldn’t go very far otherwise.

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  5. Sue said on July 23, 2010 at 11:10 am

    For awhile we were giving Basset a run for his money, horrible-flooding-wise. The worst I got was a flooded backyard. I heard at 6:30 this morning that the Escalade (the car that was swallowed in the sinkhole) is still running. They’re a little nervous what with oh, electrified stoplights and things near, (as in on top of), the car, sparking occasionally.
    Here’s the silver lining story, though: my daughter (who lives a few blocks from the sinkhole) was on Brady Street with a few friends and one of the friends got a call from her mom – she wasn’t going to try to get into Milwaukee because of all the closed roads, there were two $100 tickets at the will-call window at the theater where ‘Wicked’ was playing, did the friend want to go instead of her mom?
    And that’s how my daughter, who couldn’t get home anyway, spent the evening at the thea-tah, far too casually dressed and watching a play she has wanted to see for years.

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  6. MRMARK said on July 23, 2010 at 11:13 am

    “…I’m count­ing on the wide­spread lack of manual-transmission skills to deter all but the most deter­mined thieves.” So true! Sometimes I wonder if the valets even know how to drive a manual.

    Here’s a great shot of Savannah’s River Street at Night as viewed from across the river at night.

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  7. LAMary said on July 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

    It’s fairly sketchy where I live so my kids have always had boring bikes and we’ve had nothing bad happen. Over a year ago the ex’s dad went into assisted living and among the remarkable collection of expensive unused stuff in his condo were two very expensive bikes. One for road, one for offroad. The bikes now reside with the ex at the Malibu girlfriend’s house, but younger son got it into his head to bring one home to use for biking to school. I vetoed this thinking the bike would be stolen almost immediately and younger son might not come out that situation too well. I was accused of paranoia by younger son. This was on a Friday. Saturday we hear that ultra spoiled brat neighbor kid has had his 3000 dollar bike stolen. He got whacked in the face good and hard in the process, knocked off the bike and left bleeding on the sidewalk. QED.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2010 at 11:18 am

    The problem is that most of the criminals who get caught are pretty frigging dumb. Clever criminals –particularly those who traffic in white collar crime– can go many years without ever having to worry about an arrest, if then.

    The whole issue around Journolist and Tucker Carlson is so high school in nature. Tucker wanted to join the cool kids club. The cool kids said no. Tucker will show them. He never wanted to belong to their stupid club, anyhow. Nyah, nyah, nyah.

    Stories like this are reason number 12,976,697 why I’m glad to be mostly out of the media/news business.

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  9. nancy said on July 23, 2010 at 11:31 am

    GM should make that Escalade incident into a guerrilla commercial. Viral-video the shit out of that. I think it would do more for Caddy sales than all the rappers in Vegas.

    Crabby, that picture reminds me of something. Oh yeah — this.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2010 at 11:42 am

    The ultimate SUV as superbeast has to be in “Lone Wolf McQuade,” a Chuck Norris film where he plays the title character. Somehow, he and the Dodge he drives wind up behind the wheel and buried. But no! Chuck hits the gas and that bad sumbitch roars out of the dirt.

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  11. Sue said on July 23, 2010 at 11:49 am

    What the….? Westboro Baptist Church is going after comic nerds?

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  12. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    The thing I always wonder about regarding those pathetic amoebas from Westboro is this: Who pays their way? How do they get to Washington, D.C., or San Diego, Calif. from their home base? I can’t imagine Westboro having a large enough congregation. . .even in Kansas. . .to generate the kinds of donations it would take to send the whole looney tune family to these far-flung locales.

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  13. Jolene said on July 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    One of my sisters was to fly from San Francisco to Milwaukee this AM, but is at least temporarily stuck there because of flooding at the MKE airport. Not a bad place to be stranded, but the appeal of an extra meal or two in one of SF’s many excellent restaurants is lost on her as she has a personal chef (i.e., her husband, who is an excellent cook) at home.

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  14. basset said on July 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    When the water receded on our street most of the cars that had been left behind had their windows down and trunks open, I would guess due to the water tripping various electrical circuits. One neighbor had a ’67 Mustang go underwater, another a Volvo P1800; no power anything on those. I once fixed the throttle linkage on a P1800 with a bent paper clip.

    The painters are at our place today, we’re picking out carpet, wood floors, and tile tomorrow. Not my favorite way to spend a Saturday, but at least we’ll be in the AC; left work yesterday and the thermometer in the car read 109.

    You could indeed pick worse airports to be stuck in than MKE; never seen a used-book store in an airport except for there.

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  15. moe99 said on July 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    My friend, Anne, has a daughter who is working Comicon for her employer. I’ll be sure to forward that link to her to make her day! Thanks, Sue!

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  16. Julie Robinson said on July 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    NPR is reporting that Daniel Schorr died this morning at the age of 93.

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  17. Jolene said on July 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    There’s a interesting piece on The Daily Beast re how Shirley Sherrod handled the media storm that blew up around her. Key sentence:

    Somehow, the former head of rural development in Georgia managed to plant herself in front of the thresher that is the right-wing blogosphere and cable news, and make it stop.


    Jeffrey Goldberg blogged about the idea of a perfect sentence earlier this week. His example, a reference to the Chinese city of Yanji, was:

    The city is among the coldest in China, and dog-meat soup is its culinary specialty.

    His is better than mine, but I liked the sentence re Sherrod as a substantive summary and also liked the idea that a sentence about stopping ends with stop.

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  18. MichaelG said on July 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Been at San Luis Reservoir, Riverside and West Covina the last three days.

    Basset, good to hear of the progress on your house. We’re gonna need pix when you’re done.

    A used bookstore in an airport? Wow.

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  19. MarkH said on July 23, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Here’s CBS News’ own take on Schorr’s passing:

    At our home in the ’60s and ’70s, it was always Cronkite’s CBS news on at 6:30PM. All those unglamorous, terrific reporters, Schorr, Rather, Pierpoint, Ike Pappas, Ed Bradley, Safer, and others, are what got me fired up about getting into the journalism field. I remember Schorr reading Nixon’s enemies list and getting a jolt: “did he just read his own name?”, I thought.

    Does anyone else here remember in 1976 or so, a news segment where Schorr was running down a Washington street after a fleeing CIA director Richard Helms, peppering him with questions about some new CIA scandal, and Helms repeatedly shouting back, “Killer Schorr! Killer Schorr!”? CBS ran it repeatedly for days, it seemed.

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  20. Dorothy said on July 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    The Lance Mannion piece was very nice! Thanks for that.

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  21. Jolene said on July 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Mark, “unglamorous” isn’t how I’d describe Ed Bradley.

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  22. A different Connie said on July 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    The bookstore at the MKE airport is nice, but don’t expect its owner to be Mr. Friendly/Chatty book person!

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  23. MarkH said on July 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Message received, Jolene. I meant when put against 21st century TV reporting, it was all nuts and bolts getting the story back then, especially when some of them were in Vietnam. Bradley went into a whole new world when he started on 60 Minutes. RIP.

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  24. paddyo' said on July 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I second Jolene . . .
    I got to go to Alaska in late February of 1999 to report/write on the 10th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez, and encountered him in the fishing village of Cordova. We were all there, the casual pack of ink-stained wretches, but no TV-blow-drieds in the crowd, just Bradley, with a prominent but tasteful diamond stud in one ear. About a dozen of us met up later for dinner at a local restaurant, and after tramping around Prince William Sound for a week, we were fairly scruffy. Bradley, of course, was not. Even in casual in-the-field dress, he was elegant, gracious and, well yeah, glamorous.

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  25. MarkH said on July 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    At that time, of course he was all that, paddy. Early in his career, not so much, that was my point. But he was always appealing. I’m envious you got to meet Bradley.

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  26. Dexter said on July 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm
    Eric Sevareid educated me and gave me a perspective on the world that I would have missed otherwise.
    Daniel Schorr was in the same league.
    This video is an educational piece in itself…it is Sevareid’s CBS farewell, well worth the few minutes.

    Oh man! What next? Of all the places in the world, Bret Michaels is sucked into the hole that has become Waterloo, Indiana. There’s nothing there except a gas station at the only stoplight in town…a few die-hards from the old days still are alive, but not many. I wonder how many people live there who have no access to a car to get out of there and join civilization for a few hours? Three bars, one of them just a beer bar, a grocery store, and an ice cream custard stand remain, little else…yet, this town continues to be the site of state-wide, national, and even international news stories. I bet the Michaels bust went global, fersure. It is odd , ODD.

    I agree with nance about dirtying-down bikes and cars…I have a couple clunker bikes I jump on if I am going to just run into a store for a second and don’t want to mess with a bike lock. This strategy only backfired one time here over the decades, when I had a bike stolen using this plan.
    The bigger the town, the higher risk of theft, as I reported here before how I had a 6-speed cheap bike stolen from right outside Tiger Stadium in 1996, and that bike had been secured with a special high strength chain which I had personally heat-treated with double-case hardness , and used a Yale super industrial lock…no problem whatsoever for the crooks.
    We have two cars, and mine is an old “dust-buster” composite material Pontiac minivan which requires twisting a key in the door to unlock, so I never lock it. I mean…there is never anything of worth in it. We keep the good car locked 100% of the time of nonoccupancy, out of habit.

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  27. Rana said on July 23, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    PDX in Portland, Oregon, has a store that sells used books – it’s a branch of Powells, which is one of the most amazing bookstores, ever.

    I’ve never worried about having my cars stolen after moving from California, just broken into, which has, indeed, happened a couple of times. It’s not so much the theft – there’s never much valuable in them – but the damage the thieves cause in the process – broken window, damaged radio, ruined seats. That’s what makes it expensive.

    I used to stick an old cassette tape with the tape shredded out in the Bug’s player, but I guess that trick doesn’t work now in the age of DVD players. Now I just let the leaves molder on the outside of the Civic and the papers and random junk pile up on the inside. There’s certainly much richer pickings elsewhere, even in this impoverished place. (The irony, of course, is that every time I take it into the shop, the mechanics exclaim over how well-maintained the car is. The surface may look like shit, but I do take care of the innards.)

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  28. Sue said on July 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Best Title Ever:

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  29. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    SheWho and Kate Gosselin together should equal one wit. Those two make Spencer Pratt sound like Albert Einstein.

    I don’t know if this is an apocryphal tale or not, but a friend of mine who worked for years at the San Francisco Chronicle claims to have seen Dan Rather arrive at the scene of a collapsed building in a limousine after the 1989 Bay Area quake. Gunga Dan already had a one-day beard growth and shucked off his sportcoat for a bush jacket before getting ready to do his piece with the wrecked building in the background.

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  30. Dexter said on July 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    In 1987 my friend took delivery of a new Chevrolet Camaro, big engine, all shiny and tricked out, it was a fine machine. He drove us to Tiger Stadium as I read my Freep. A story was there; this very car was now the most-sought after by car thieves, by a wide margin. I didn’t say anything. We paid to park on the lawn of that church, I think it was St. Peter’s, right by the baseball park, and the car was right at the curb, just inches off the service road to the Fisher Freeway entrance, a car ripe for the pickin’s…I fully expected it to be long-gone when we were to leave after the game. Nope. We were lucky. I mean, it was a perfect storm for a thief.
    And holy shit…what a ride it was back home…Tom Waits calls it “freeway flyin'” , and what a fine trip it was. I think we may have topped 120 mph a couple times, and he with a belly full of beer…ooohh..the good old days…how’d we survive?

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  31. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Some right-wing dope named Zach Wamp is running for governor of Tennessee and saying that if Health Care Reform is not repealed, the Volunteer State may have to secede from the union.

    Tennessee would not be the first state I wish would exit the USA. I’d lean more toward Oklahoma or South Carolina myself, but it always makes me chuckle when some dumbass politician starts talking about secession. Aside from the music scene in Memphis, I’m trying to think what the rest of the nation would miss if Tennessee did become a sovereign nation. Dollywood? Gatlinburg??

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  32. Sue said on July 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    If Tennessee secedes, we need to get Basset out of there before they put the fence up.

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  33. Kirk said on July 23, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Norris Lake is pretty nice.

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  34. Sue said on July 23, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Milwaukee storm photos:

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  35. coozledad said on July 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Sue: there isn’t a southern state that could survive a week without the generous and disproportionate federal subsidies that keep them afloat. I’d like to see the feds push a few of them off that cliff and watch their legislatures perish from nosebleed.
    Only half of Tennessee seceded the last time, anyway. Jeff Davis tied up a lot of troops in the eastern part of the state trying to keep them from seceding from the Confederacy.

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  36. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Good point, Sue.

    Actually, I tend to think we are not so much divided by state as by urban vs. non-urban. Even in Texas, W. barely carried the counties containing Dallas and Houston and lost by a large measure in Austin. Jesse Helms never won the city vote in North Carolina, but there were enough non-urbanites to ensure his continued reelection. One of the memes about Obama touted on the right, of course, is that he is a Chicago guy, a highly educated urban sophisticate, not a real American like SheWho and her followers from a small town in Booneyville, USA.

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  37. Dexter said on July 23, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    JBo: any Blago-News?

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  38. Jeff Borden said on July 23, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Not yet, Dexter. The whole city was stunned when Bigmouth Blago, who has been yammering from Day One that he couldn’t wait to defend himself, decided not to testify in his own behalf.

    There has been some reporting that he failed his rehearsals with his attorneys. I would have loved to have seen him on the stand. I think the prosecutors would have carved him up like a Christmas turkey.

    We’re all so sick of him and the damage he has caused. I’m a liberal Democrat and I hate him, but then, I generally dislike the entire party organization in Illinois. The only thing that keeps me voting for Dems is that the Republicans keep nominating dickheads and jerks. I did vote for Jim Edgar –twice– because he was a reasonable Republican. I don’t think they exist any more. Our gubernatorial nominee opposes abortion even in the case of rape and incest. Our senatorial nominee sought the endorsement of SheWho and is a serial liar to boot.

    If you ask me, I think Blago will be convicted. I’m sure there will be years worth of appeals. Just par for the course in Illinois politics.

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  39. deb said on July 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    yes, gawker, please do shut up. it took one of my co-workers four hours to make a 17-minute commute home yesterday. flooding on I-43 forced her make a u-turn and drive the wrong direction on the freeway, not once but twice, in search of higher ground. (others, stuck in the flooded underpasses with the water rising rapidly around them, had to swim away from their cars.) her family spent the next eight hours bailing out their overworked sump pump and moving everything out of the basement. another friend has a burbling spring in her basement. two women were struck by lightning walking home from a restaurant. a suburban high school had 16 inches of water inside; the basketball court looked like a swimming pool, and the boys’ locker room was a sea of floating football helmets. and then there are all the families without power, trying to figure out what to do about the holes in their foundations and the raw sewage in the basement. gawker, let me borrow a sentiment from ashley: fuck you, you fucking fucks.

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  40. Jolene said on July 23, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    cooz, you are right that Tennessee and other Southern states receive a higher proportion of federal dollars (in relation to taxes paid in) than do some of their Northern cousins, but I don’t think many people in those states realize that. They think they are hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, real Americans–much more worthy of the space they take up on the planet than the effete liberals in the Northeast and in big cities throughout the country.

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  41. MichaelG said on July 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    And California gets ravaged, paying far more into the federal coffers than we get back.

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  42. ellent said on July 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I used to be a reporter at a small suburban daily. One summer,there was a crime wave that involved the Mr Tasty Burger in town getting broken into every 3-4 nights and deliberately set fires in fields out in the county during the day. Turns out it was the same guy. Stupid criminal angle of the story: The accused asked the municipal judge to let him go to county jail (since he was facing charges in both) because “they have pie” at the county jail. Stupid victim angle: The Mr Tasty Burger was broken into maybe 6 times. The till takings were stolen each time, and yet the owner never stopped leaving money in the store overnight.

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  43. coozledad said on July 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Michigan and California, if they got some wild hair up their ass, could probably secede and pull it off. Same with New York, New Jersey, Mass. and PA. but that’s just indulging in counterfactual silliness, because they’re truly vested in the United States. Parts of the country, particularly those that weren’t even useful to the South in its brief military incarnation seem outright traitorous to me. Texas, South Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi?

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  44. basset said on July 23, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    The tv commercials this Tennessee campaign season are just vicious. Ad hominem accusations, grotesque cartoons, we have it all – and one of Wamp’s opponents was on local tv tonight saying he doesn’t run attack ads, they’re not attacks, they’re just the truth. We have a couple of memorable billboards on I-40 into downtown – one saying we should vote for, I forget his name, Vijay something, to fight “universal jihad” and another with a drawing of an obese cat sitting in a litter pan and some ranting about our current Congressman’s “liberal policies.” Will get some pics of those.

    Been meaning to take some more house pictures and put them up too, may do that this weekend… have a couple pieces of writing to do, on top of that I’m supposed to be picking out floor coverings with Mrs. B. tomorrow. Go ahead and shoot me now.

    I walked past Ed Bradley in the Nashville airport once and was surprised he wasn’t taller.

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  45. ellent said on July 23, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Kansas was a free state, Cooz.

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

    My daughter is fond of Stupid Criminal shows. One clip showed a bait car that had a hidden camera. The man broke in and started the car up without noticing the stick shift. The poor bastard was dumbfounded. Caught red handed. My first car was a stick so I forget not everyone knows how. I have found out that NO self respecting car thief steals PT Cruisers. I live in the city at 7 Mile and Kelly, and nobody has touched it, even if I forget to lock it. My daughter says it’s because it’s an old people’s car. Young whippersnapper!

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  47. coozledad said on July 24, 2010 at 1:16 am

    ellent: Free, but bleeding? Could be a license plate.
    Darling, I’m sorry, but today I was just walking the smallpox cemetery in Danville,VA. Where they buried the “Northern aggressors”
    I’m not singling you out, it just disturbed me.

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  48. John said on July 24, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Jeff B.,

    I know quite a few folks who would miss the product of Lynchburg, TN.

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  49. Dexter said on July 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    DeniceB: I remember when the PT was intro’d in the Detroit papers. It was marketed as a throwback car, taking on the lines of the infamous gangster cars of the 20s and 30s. It was targeted at macho males. Ha!
    Like the New Beetle, it instantly became the darling of women of all ages…to the point that males hated to be seen driving one, generally speaking, of course.
    I shoulda known…the first one I saw was parked at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market in Kerrytown. It had all the seats folded flat and was being used to deliver these beautiful dried flowers. Gangster, tough guy car my ass!
    Maybe the review and previews I read about this car were typed with the author’s tongue firmly in cheek. I honestly can say I have only seen a handful of men driving these cars, and thousands of ladies behind the wheel.
    I fell in love with a car recently. I may buy one someday, maybe not. It’s the wonderful Kia Soul. Of course, I have all these years of UAW experience behind me, so I would probably go instead for the new Ford Fiesta .
    Body: Mexico
    Engine: Brazil. Hardly any USA content in this car at all. What the hell, may as well buy the damn Kia. 🙁

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  50. Dexter said on July 24, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    hey..just curious…at first look, do you love this car or just hate it?

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  51. MichaelG said on July 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    My Ex has a purple PT Cruiser – stick. She puts the dogs in the back, she can carry sacks of feed for the goaties in it and she carries her bazillion dollar Specialized “S-Works” bike in it. Price one of those things. Your eyes will water. She got it used, one year old, in a steal of a deal from a women’s’ pro team out of Athens, GA that had changed sponsors and hence found the Specialized bikes surplus. It had been professionally maintained and was in pristine condition when she got it. It even had new tires, pads, chain, sprockets and cassette, etc. on it, all SRAM. Lucky girl. It was the deal of a lifetime She’ll put a hundred or more miles a week on it so it’s not that big of an extravagance.

    Anyway, back to the PT. I’ve driven it a number of times and it’s a nicer car than I would have expected. I like it. It was cheap and the dealer tossed in three years or 30,000 miles of free service. She likes it a lot and I think the car has been seriously under rated.

    I kind of like the KIA Soul. There are several of them around here. I’ve had a rental Nissan Cube:

    I liked it. It was a fabulous city car with a microscopic turning circle. You can park it in amazingly small spots and it has enough power to get out of its own way. I drove one with the CV tranny. It’s a little disconcerting at first but you get used to it. I might consider one but my biggest doubt about it is it’s maybe too small. I don’t know if you could easily fit a bike into one.

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  52. Joe Kobiela said on July 24, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    We own a pt and the wife loves it. I enjoy driving it myself. Take out the seats and it is huge inside. Seats take about a minute to remove and put back in.Only complaint is mpg, they don’t have it geared right,and you only get 19 town 23-25 highway. Kid # 1 has a pt. loves it Kid #2 wants a Fiesta. Dexter buy a Ford, they took NO goverment money, enough excuse for me.
    Pilot Joe

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  53. Rana said on July 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Dexter – I think it’s somewhat cute, but the wheels bother me. Too spindly looking, with the cut-throughs. Of course, I’m now a pretty diehard Honda girl, so the next car will probably be the Honda equivalent of that.

    A car to avoid on the similar-to-PT-Cruisers front is the HHR. Horrible handling, giant blind spots. I guess that’s the “great” thing about rentals – you get to experience what you’ve been missing, and are glad you’ve been missing it.

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  54. MichaelG said on July 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Hear, hear, Rana. I’ve had a couple of SSRs inflicted on me. They are indeed ugly. The proportions are grotesque. They’re also lousy drivers and you absolutely can’t see out of one.

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  55. Julie Robinson said on July 24, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Dexter, I want a Soul too! So ugly that it’s cute. I also wanted a Scion xB when they first came out, but I don’t like the current version. I’ve been told that both those cars are aimed at the twentysomethings, but they have plenty of appeal to these fiftysomething.

    We just watched Inception (matinee price is now $7) and it delivered. But it’s looong, so for other fiftysomethings, visit the restroom on the way in.

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  56. basset said on July 24, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Agree with you on the rentals, Rana – that’s how we got interested in Subarus, had one out in Oregon summer before last. Have an Outback now, made in Indiana, has done fine so far… made it up a two-track to the top of a ridge on our deer lease with 450 pounds of corn and salt in the back, have only hauled one dead buck in it but I aim to improve on that this fall.

    Assuming, of course, that I don’t go leap off a tall building to avoid dealing with this carpet and flooring and tile and furniture and appliances and so on and so forth. Anyone have an opinion on laminated wood flooring vs. real wood? How about tile on the kitchen floor vs. wood?

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  57. Dexter said on July 24, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    basset…my brother installed tile in his kitchen last year, after he had real wood flooring installed in some other rooms…I’ll send him an email and maybe he’ll get back to me Monday, he’s in Milwaukee tonight visiting his two bruising grandsons, who are visiting friends there with their mom.

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  58. Julie Robinson said on July 24, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Basset, we put laminate in our kitchen and like it, in fact we later put it in a couple of other rooms. I wish we’d done the whole house instead of carpeting other rooms because the carpet has not held up well. The laminate price is right and installation much easier than wood. I’m not personally a fan of tile although I know many prefer it. Anything that falls on it will break and it’s hard on the feet too. Oh, and it’s hard to clean.

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  59. basset said on July 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Mrs. B. just read those last two comments and said, “Well, I guess we better get laminate.” Does it look like wood? We’re mainly trying to bump up the resale value, if we don’t get a county/FEMA flood buyout we’re going to have to unload this place sooner or later.

    Me, I just want to be done with it. Went by the house this afternoon, a painter was there spraying the trim… I have had some godawful jobs in my time but spray-painting in a sealed room in 100-degree heat would be right up there with the worst of them.

    Dexter, last time I was in Milwaukee we rented the fairgrounds race track and spent four days shooting video of 60s and 70s muscle cars provided by a collector-car dealer over by the lake somewhere, all I remember is that he was near the old Nash plant. he and his employees drove the cars through Milwaukee traffic to the track – they asked me if I wanted to drive an Olds 4-4-2 worth about 150 large back to the shop, no way was I gonna take responsibility for that.

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 25, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Jeff B., re: Westboro “Baptist” “Church” — you’ll be unsurprised to learn that this odd tiny authoritarian cult is largely made up of family, lots of adult kids of Phelps whose spouses and occasionally in-laws are “members” of his “church.” Those who have tried to figure out their finances, thinking there’s some weird right wing foundation or byzantine lefty cause paying their airfreight have all agreed: Fred does what authoritarian loons have done for years, which is send out the women to work while the men loll about doing eisegesis on Old Testament texts, and gather up the pay checks to buy plane tickets while publicly decrying things like working mothers.

    Been gone into the federal “Quiet Zone” in the Alleghenies between Green Bank and Sugar Grove (NSF and NSA) at Scout camp the last eight days, and heading into DC to commune with the various Smithsonians for the next seven. If you ever get up into the Pocahontas County WV area, make sure to tune to 1370 AM, Allegheny Mountain Radio. Great bluegrass, folk, and Swap Shop broadcasting, intermixed with NPR and WVPB updates. You can call and let them know your goats got out and ask for help to herd them back, too. Then listen to Flatt and Scruggs.

    RIP, Dan Schorr, you enemy of Nixon you! Talk again to y’all in August . . .

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  61. Dexter said on July 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, Denis Menchov: Felicitations à vous de votre succés en finisant Le Tour de France, 1,2,3. C’est au revoir et pas adieu.

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  62. Deborah said on July 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    On my way shortly to go to Indianapolis for a business trip. I hope the weather is as good there as it is in Chicago today. The low was 64 this morning and the high is supposed to only reach 81. Heavenly. Great sleeping with the windows open weather, much less humid.

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  63. crinoidgirl said on July 25, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Re: flooring, I’ve heard good things about Bellawood.

    Jane Austen’s “Fight Club”:

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  64. crinoidgirl said on July 25, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Oh, and Deborah, the weather finally broke here in the Motor City, too. Thank god.

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  65. moe99 said on July 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    I will be in Defiance this coming weekend for my 40th high school reunion. Anyone nearby?

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