Hot and crushed.

Yeesh, what a morning. I decided to take time to absorb the morning newspapers in all their deceased-tree glory, really pay attention and be-here-now and all that, and what did it get me? Behind. That’ll teach me.

And now, since I have about a million edits to do before 1 p.m., let’s toss up some links and let you guys get the party started, eh?

This story flapped around like a dying carp for a few hours yesterday, and I still cannot believe it: The American Spectator calls Shirley Sherrod a liar for saying one of her relatives was lynched. I simply refuse to link to the original material; you can find it elsewhere. But Josh Marshall captures it succinctly:

This one’s really one for the history books under the subheading of right-wing #outragefail, as the young folks might put it. (Writer Jeffrey) Lord starts off vaguely sympathetic and works up into a crescendo of high-dudgeon because Sherrod says her relative was lynched when in fact he was arrested by a sheriff and then beaten to death on the courthouse steps while allegedly resisting arrest even though he remained handcuffed through the fatal beating.

I am shocked, shocked that anyone would think any part of the right wing has racist elements.

Haven’t checked in on Sweet Juniper for a while; apparently he’s been canning and camping and — Jesus Christ, Jim — making a homemade sleeping bag? But there’s always interesting action over there if you check the sidebars. And whaddaya know? This photo is evidently not Photoshopped. But this was the week’s show-stopper for me:

We are the annoying people who come to your kid’s birthday party with homemade presents. It’s okay for now I guess, but in a few years, when your kid wants Legos and we bring hand-sewn madras shorts or something, it’s going to be really embarrassing for our own children.

No, Jim. It’s embarrassing for the other parents at the party who didn’t give, along with the homemade present, a custom photo book of a story featuring the homemade present and the birthday boy and all the rest of it. Damn overachievers.

Do you have Planet Money bookmarked, and do you listen to their podcasts? If not, you should. By the way, when Mitt Romney said “liberal policies” destroyed his family home in Detroit, recently leveled by bulldozers? I think this is a far more likely narrative.

Richard Cohen sort of embarrassed himself today, regarding the Wikileaks doc dump. Mitch Albom sounds a lot like this, too, when he dismisses “internet blogging,” as he did in his own recent cane-shake, at Andrew Breitbart. And Bob Greene is still sitting in a hotel room, still trying to draw grand conclusions from trivial observations. This has been your edition of Print Dinosaurs at Play in the Tar Pits for today.

And I’m off to spin straw into… if not gold, at least something readable. Later.

Posted at 10:58 am in Uncategorized |

46 responses to “Hot and crushed.”

  1. Deborah said on July 27, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I read that Bob Greene piece in the NYT this morning and figured it would end up here. Did you all see Mad Men Sunday night? I missed the season premier because I had to be in Indianpolis Sunday night to make an early morning Monday meeting there. Unfortunately the hotel didn’t have the AMC channel, or I couldn’t figure out how to get it anyway. Then last night at home, I tried to watch the repeat that started at 10 and I couldn’t stay awake. Argh. I remember seeing Peggy’s new hair-do and Don getting “dumped” in an elevator, that’s about it. And next Sunday night I have to go back to Indy. Hopefully I’ll stay at a different hotel.

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  2. Dorothy said on July 27, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Deborah my daughter sent me this article about the current season premiere of Mad Men:

    And as someone who knows her way around the sewing machine, I have to say that sleeping bag project looks pretty cool, and it was admirable the way he waterproofed it. That being said, I wouldn’t have the time these days to try such an ambitious project. I’d ask my co-workers to see if anyone has a sleeping bag and just borrow one. I guess that wouldn’t work for Jim since he’s a stay-at-home dad.

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  3. coozledad said on July 27, 2010 at 11:31 am

    You’d think the Republicans would begin to understand that the whole “white grievance” ressentiment schtick is starting to wear thin, especially since one of their long term political aims is to exponentially increase the ranks of the unemployed, white and black.
    And it’s already clear to most people that Republican whining will never stop: even when the last turd is shaken from the last dress sock.

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  4. nancy said on July 27, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Camping equipment is one of those things that has only improved with time and technology. The line that killed me was “it’s way heavier” than a conventional sleeping bag. I guess you can counterbalance it with your cast-iron skillet.

    Take it from one who has backpacked — lighter is better, and worth the money.

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  5. alex said on July 27, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Leave it to a hack like Bob Greene to miss the real trend in hospitality these days. Look between the mattress and box springs and you’re likely to find all kinds of freebies that the cleaning ladies missed: Flattened blow-up dolls, lingerie, pot, crack, meth and drug paraphernalia. I’ve been hearing it from quite a few road warriors lately.

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  6. coozledad said on July 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

    alex: Don’t forget bedbugs. A lot of hotels are infested with them. My wife just read somewhere that Durham, NC is one of the top places to get them. Used to be my hometown had its own unique strain of gonorrhea (but only at the bus station).

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  7. moe99 said on July 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Remember when Justice Thomas complained of his ‘high tech lynching’ during his confirmation hearings? A master of hyperbole when contrasted to the present example.

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  8. Jolene said on July 27, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    To add to today’s collection of links, here is the almost always brilliant Ta-Nehisi Coates on l’affaire Sherrod. A great piece playing off the oft-mentioned idea of a national “conversation on race,” with a fine sense of history (and our ignorance of it) ending with:

    Talk is overrated. There can be no talk with people who’ve conditioned themselves out of listening. This is the country we’ve made. This is the country we deserve.

    In passing, he links to a fascinating article by Ron Brownstein in The National Journal re demographic trends (in short, lots of old people, 80% white; lots of young people upwards of 40% black and brown), the conflicts that those trends portend, and the investments required to address them. Brief version: If we want to have taxpayers in the future, we need to improve education now. Obvious, I guess, but, as always, it’s the details that make the point compelling.

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  9. nancy said on July 27, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    That T-NC blog is indeed excellent, Jolene. Thanks for posting.

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  10. Bob (Not Greene) said on July 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    What in the hell was that Bob Greene (I repeat, NOT ME!) about? God damn stupid. And can I be officially on the record that Sweet Juniper annoys the hell out of me? Maybe it’s because I’m a city kid, and the thought of sleeping in a sleeping bag (much less one I made with my own two hands) in an actual tent sounds like my idea of torture. But the homemade present thing? God damn, Jack, what world do you live in? Stop it!

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  11. ROgirl said on July 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I’m in a digital photography class and have been learning Photoshop. The roof of that house and the stucco are abnormally pink, indicating to me that some adjustments have been made to the color balance.

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  12. Jeff Borden said on July 27, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Any NN.C. readers down in Kentucky? There’s another hilarious story about Paul Rand and his overall ignorance of his own state. Traveling in the hills near Harlan, Ky., a passenger with Rand asked why he recalled the name of Harlan, site of extraordinarily violent and bloody battles between coalminers and scabs back in the 1930s. But Rand had no knowledge of this. Instead, he mentioned nearby Hazard, Ky. and how it was famous for “The Dukes of Hazard.”

    Can someone this dense really be your next senator?

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  13. Linda said on July 27, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    The continuing smear on Sherrod reminds me of the old saying: when you are in a hole, quit digging. The right mudslingers keep hoping that if they don’t admit they are wrong, nobody else will think they are. Guess what? Everybody already thinks you’re liars. And stupid.

    And Jeff? It depends on who and how many are voting.

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  14. Dave said on July 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    How could Rand Paul not have heard of Harlan? I thought Harlan was nationally well known for the many bloody stories and coal mine strife that have originated there.

    I used to work with a fellow who grew up in Harlan, he had some blood-curdling stories of things he claimed to have seen happen right in town when he was growing up, late 40’s, early 50’s.

    And here I always thought the Duke boys lived in Arkansas.

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  15. Deborah said on July 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Is it just me? I thought the home-made gift thing was charming and wonderful. What could be a better present? Talk about “it’s the thought that counts”… what could be more thoughtful? And if you’ve got the time, why not do it? But then I’m from Pluto (no longer even a planet).

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  16. nancy said on July 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    It was charming and wonderful. I was just thinking how I’d feel if I were handing over the bucket of Legos immediately after the kid opened up the story book starring his new toy and his father. I think I’d go get another drink.

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  17. Sue said on July 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    My cousins made me a custom-made diaper bag when I was pregnant with my first kid. It folded out into a changing pad with removable towels, there were elastic holders for everything, it was like a diaper bag mini-van, it had so many useful bells and whistles.
    That was a great gift made by creative people. My talents, unfortunately, run more toward crocheted toilet-paper-hiding dolls, so I know better than to inflict any gifts that don’t have a tasteful (or at least recognizable) store name on the box.

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  18. LAMary said on July 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I think it would depend on the kid. Some kids would rather have the Legos, I bet. They would go to the toy and the story book later,mayber, but in the moment of the party the Legos might win.

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  19. nancy said on July 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    The book thing is actually pretty easy, if you have a good idea. Jim at SJ uses Shutterfly, but Mac users can also order books through iPhoto. I’ve thought of doing them for special occasions, but as usual, never get around to it. Which only goes to show it’s true what they say: The more precious gift of all is time.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on July 27, 2010 at 3:47 pm


    Most of my family comes from northern Kentucky, across the Ohio from Cincy, so I can’t claim any kind of personal connection with Harlan, but I had read several articles about the bloody coal mine wars over the years. I believe some significant federal legislation is rooted in the bloodbath down in “Bloody Harlan,” but I’m damned if I can remember exactly what.

    I would think a Kentuckian, in general, would have a pretty good idea of the doings in and around Harlan, just as any Illinoisan would know about the Haymarket Square massacre or the infamous Pullman strike.

    The “Dukes of Hazard” reference really takes the cake, though I thought the Duke boys were natives of Georgia.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on July 27, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Our Texas niece made a Shutterfly book sharing family photos for my MIL who has Alzheimer’s, and I have to say, it was pretty impressive. It helped that she’s a good photographer. But Jim’s was not some cheapie thing–it was probably just as expensive as the Legos, not to mention the time and personalization involved. My kids would have cherished such a gift.

    I’ve made baby quilts and beaded jewelry and usually the recipients are stunned (in a good way!) at receiving something handmade. They can’t believe there are people who know how to create anything, when for me, it’s a pleasurable pursuit.

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  22. coozledad said on July 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Hate-Filled Bunny’s Big Book of Hate
    By Happelt Schwerin-Rothschild

    Did you ever see a bunny leaping in the grass
    And try and pick that bunny up?
    What the hell’s up with your ass?!
    That bunny doesn’t like you
    It’s not the way it’s built
    If it had thumbs, it’d knife you
    To the gristlepopping hilt.
    A Bunny’s made of two things
    Meat, and sore distress
    That it cannot disembowel you
    In contemporary dress.
    Long ago the ancients
    treated rabbits with respect
    Their tunics weren’t sufficient
    To protect their pencil necks
    From ire-filled rabbits glistening
    With the froth of morning gore
    The turtleneck reversed this state
    The dungaree, even more.

    There. I’ve ghostwritten a book now. Nancy’s probably got some pictures to go with it.

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  23. Sue said on July 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Cooz has been watching Monty Python again.

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  24. Peter said on July 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I got my first bucket of Legos at 4, and I still have them. I think it’s the main reason I became an architect.

    Maybe I should have gone with the book, especially Cooz’ version.

    Speaking of Legos, they’ve become quite lame. Don’t leave much to the imagination. We were at the Robie House a few weeks ago, and my son checked out the Lego Fallingwater set “it isn’t good enough to be lame”.

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  25. Jolene said on July 27, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    A simple homemade present is a calendar made w/ family photos. One of my cousins used to have them made for her Down syndrome brother, but I think they’d also be good for regular kids, at least those old enough to understand a calendar, but too young to be cynical (might be a narrow window) or grandparents.

    And cooz, I raise an eyebrow in your general direction. Are you as entertaining in person as you are in print?

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  26. Sue said on July 27, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Jolene, I remember seeing a calendar behind the cash register at a mom-and-pop business back in the days when high-tech meant going to a printers’ with your photos and having them do a custom job. The photo for that month was taken in the kitchen, apparently on pig slaughtering day, as they stuffed casings with whatever casing-stuffing attachment you get with your kitchenaid mixer. Honestly, I couldn’t take my eyes off of that photo.

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  27. coozledad said on July 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Jolene: We actually had a rabbit we referred to as Hate-Filled Bunny. She wasn’t really hate-filled, but she was sometimes unpleasant. Her real name was Traveller, after Robert E. Lee’s horse, but pronounced TWAH-VEH-WUH in honor of a commentator on a local NPR affiliate who told excruciatingly sappy Civil War stories with a cruel speech impediment. He also taught history at a nearby university, where I’m sure the students pissed themselves every time he mentioned Wobbut E. Wee.

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  28. Rana said on July 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    In general I like and admire Jim’s do-it-yourself approach to life – he does the sort of stuff I’d like to do, if I had better concentration skills and a workshop. The fox and its book are brilliant!

    But I have to say, that sleeping bag strikes me as a little nuts. The fact that he has to put a blanket over it to stay warm suggests to me that it’s not so much a sleeping bag as a flattened tent, and I have to admit I don’t quite get it.

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  29. Bill White said on July 27, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Mitch Albom’s “cane-shake”! Dang, I’m going to steal that.

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  30. LAMary said on July 27, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I’ve made quilts and crocheted blankets and made lots and lots of sock monkeys. I’ve done drawings and pastel portraits and made twig baskets to hold embroidered bibs.
    Having said that, I still think there are kids who have their heart set on some specific mass produced toy and kids tend to be more in the moment than adults. Charming and thoughtful gifts sometimes don’t get appreciated right away.

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  31. Jeff Borden said on July 27, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    For me, the best homemade gifts are music mixes. I loves ’em like Andrew Breitbart loves gutter slime.

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  32. deb said on July 27, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    cooze, that is my favorite bunny poem of all time. brilliant.

    i thought the homemade-gift idea was charming, too. but it can be really, really hard to get other parents to embrace the less-is-more idea when it comes to their kids’ birthdays. one my kids, then in preschool, was invited to a birthday party at mcdonald’s; the mother stressed repeatedly that she didn’t want anybody buying her kid gifts, and the kid was cool with that. one mother brought not one but multiple gifts. a year later, that same mom had her own kid’s party at a restaurant and invited about 40 people. the kid had so many presents that at one point he had brand-new toys underfoot, which he not only stepped on but broke as he tore into the next pile of presents. i felt sick.

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  33. A. Riley said on July 27, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    My little godson’s parents are good granola urban types, not nearly as twee as Juniper’s daddy, and they have requested “no presents” at more than one of little Griffin’s events. Why is it that I’m the only one who listens? And then I feel like I’ve been publicly outed as a cheapskate and freeloader.

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  34. Dorothy said on July 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    We’re going to a 50th anniversary party soon for my aunt and uncle and the invitation said “no presents” (just your ‘presence’!) but I got them a 5×7 picture frame, and we’re going to bring some of Mike’s homemade pickles, which I’m absolutely positive they will love. I know I’m not the only one bringing a gift because my sister told me what she’s bringing, too.

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  35. dubyabee said on July 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Jeff, this NN.C reader lives in Rand Paul’s hometown. Yes, someone this dense could very well be our next Senator. After all, look who currently holds the seat that Rand Paul is trying to win.

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  36. Jolene said on July 27, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    James Inhofe and Mike Pence have been elected and re-elected. That should make it pretty clear that being a dim bulb is not a disqualifying attribute.

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  37. Dexter said on July 27, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I walked the dog, locked the door, and sat down to dinner, glad a day of total Murphy’s Law domination was over. Before the fork was touched, the phone…my wife’s car’s rear lights were stuck “on”. I went to her workplace and it was too dark to see up under the dash, so I found a mechanic working late and drove there, and it was a “bumper stop”, like a washer , that had disintegrated and disabled the workings of the rear lights. He rigged it to work temporarily until he gets the part from Ford.
    So, natch…finding a mechanic open at 9:30 PM? Murphy was defeated! I stopped at the local mom & pop ice cream stand for a nightcap, an orange sorbet cone. The girl handed it to me and said,”I better give you a cup…it’s really soft.”
    Too late. Splot! All over my shoulder safety belt, all over my shirt, down into my lap, sticky sorbet. Why, Murphy had just taken a coffee break and had come back, his Law all rested up, too.

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  38. Denice B. said on July 28, 2010 at 1:20 am

    The new Think Geek catalog features a new TaunTaun sleeping bag. The Star Wars critter that smells worse on the inside than it does on the outside, but provides warmth in the blizzards of Detroit.

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  39. Denice B. said on July 28, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Hey Coozledad–Is that from Sarah Palin’s ‘Book For Teens’? With pictures for coloring? (It’s for s-l-o-w teens…)

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  40. coozledad said on July 28, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Denice B.: You got me wondering how Sarah Palin would pronounce “doggerel”. Probably “Doug-Girl.” Sounds like one of their kid’s names.

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  41. brian stouder said on July 28, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Jolene, true! I think Mike Pence’s whole career turns on the fact that he’s from Indiana and looks like Bob Knight.

    edit: Dexter, along with City Hall, you can never fight Murphy’s Law

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  42. brian stouder said on July 28, 2010 at 9:42 am

    SO, what’s this? It appears on the main page, below the “rain today” rubric.

    This is one of the most compelling article I ever studied in a long time, I’m talking about this part of your post “… shortly before he died last sum

    Just wondering

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  43. nancy said on July 28, 2010 at 9:51 am

    When I can’t think of anything to put there, I grab a spam comment from the file. They’re frequently written in such hilarious broken English, they work as humor.

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  44. brian stouder said on July 28, 2010 at 10:30 am


    Well, I went into my junkmail receptical (the new MS Outlook email deal is pretty cool, even if the in-crowd has always had all this stuff) and grabbed this freshly received bit of tripe, and highlighted the parts that might qualify for a Rain Today snippet:

    I am Mr. Abdel Rahman Farid, I working in Economic Development and Foreign Contract payment Operations Department, in the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI). My aim of writing you is to seek for your kindness assistance to allow me quickly transfer the sum of US$15.million dollars, into your account. It will interest you to know how this huge sum amount of funds came about. About two days before the United State and British, bombing began, the late president Saddam Hussein, ordered his youngest son, Late Qusay, to remove the sum of US$1.billion (640 million BRITISH POUNDS) from the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) The cash which was loaded into three lorries. [gotta love the word “lorries”, eh?]

    That memorable day Late Qusay and a senior aide to the late president Saddam Hussein delivered the instruction in person to the bank’s governor of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI). And the money was removed without proper official documentations. The money was not debited. It was just remove from the foreign reserve vault. This illegal withdrawer created opportunity for our staffs working in the foreign payments department. We hastingly remove from the vault the sum of US$75.million, which we shared among ourselves working in the department, five in number.

    My share is US$15.million Dollars, the deal which was absolutely successfully, I am now seeking your help to allow me transferred the funds into your bank account for investment in your country.I have agreed to offer you 25% of the funds for your assistance, 75% will be kept for your bank account for me till my arrival to your country for investment with you as my partner.
    This transaction is risk free since it is assumed; the late president Saddam Hussein was responsible for removing the funds.

    I have formalized every necessary arrangement to transaction this fund into your bank account. What I needed now is your “TRUST” HONESTY and TRANSPARENCY”. Please I need conviction [note to editor: don’t use the word “conviction” when working a mark] and assurance of TRUST from you. I hope you can see the reasons for this deal, it involves a huge sum of money and I have not deal with you in anyway before. If I am convinced with your declaration of interest in this deal, then I will tell you the procedures to follow with other vital information.
    For the security of this transaction, I do hereby implore you to treat and maintain it with the absolute confidentiality and secrecy it requires to avoid exposing our intentions, there by jeopardizing this project.

    Thanks and remain blessed.
    Looking forward to your urgent response.

    Mr. Abdel Rahman Farid

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  45. MichaelG said on July 28, 2010 at 10:42 am

    So Brian, when you get your 25% of the 15 Mil, which is 3.75 Mil, you’re buying lunch. Let us know.

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  46. brian stouder said on July 28, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Michael, I’ll have you flown in for the occasion!

    Thanks, and remain blessed –


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