And with one breezy-hot day and a few widely scattereds, the heat is banished justlikethat. At least for the next couple of days, we should be able to turn off the A/C and instead listen to the neighbors’ annoying lawn service visits. Fine with me. The first week of August marks the traditional Noticing of the Changing Light for me, which means I’m going to grab at least one fat fashion magazine off a newsstand and start planning my umpteenth fantasy closet.

Fantasy closet is like fantasy football, in which women start with the blank slate of a well-designed empty closet — with lots of attractive, Container Store storage options — and fill it with non-existent clothes we can’t afford but pretend we can. Then we wear them in fantasy-closet dress-up games, perhaps while watching “Project Runway,” in which we are presented with fun outfit ideas like this. (I’m thinking of the topmost one.) “Project Runway” is a genius show, enticing millions of normal-size women to watch novice designers of wildly uneven talent turn out one outfit after another that barely covers one’s ass and, in this case, completely uncovers one’s back. It’s a great fantasy-closet shopping spot, “Project Runway,” because only in fantasies are most women freed of such constrictions as bras and the need to sit down from time to time.

I had about three minutes in my entire life when I could have worn a top like that, which threatens with every step to slip and reveal one’s breasts from either a front or side angle. I was 11 years old.

But, as we’re frequently reminded, runways looks are like concept cars — just an idea. By the time that look finds its way to a store rack, the skirt will be nine inches longer and the top closed on the sides and back, and… it’ll pretty much be an entirely different dress. But that’s OK! Because my fantasy-closet body can totally wear anything at all.

In recent years, I’ve done a lot of my fantasy-closet shopping online or in catalogs. Which is why I’m so thoroughly amused by the website Jezebel, which deserves some sort of fashion Pulitzer for the work they’ve done bringing preposterous photo retouching by fashion retailers to the public’s attention. They made a big splash a few years back with their Redbook cover revelation, but have stayed on the job — along with many others, including the always-amusing Photoshop Disasters.

The current Ann Taylor business is particularly wounding, as Ann is one place that, in general, sells affordable, wearable clothes for a wide range of age and body types. I wore a lot more Ann Taylor when I worked in offices, but I remember it fondly, so knowing they’re playing silly games with extreme photo retouching — removing models’ ribcages seems to be a favorite — really chaps my ass. This isn’t “Project Runway.” I pay real, non-fantasy money for clothes from places like that, and I’d appreciate it if they’d cut that shit out.

I once watched Alan get fitted for a suit, and I was struck by the contrast with shopping for my own clothes. Like nearly everyone, Alan’s body differs from the ideal, and this was treated by the tailor as a simple and utterly unremarkable fact. Take it in here, let it out there, hem it thus, adjust, nip, change, presto, a suit. Whereas women are taught from an early age that their bodies are a collection of “flaws” that must be covered, camouflaged, squeezed in and shaped to fit whatever someone else has decided is this year’s model.

Sooner or later you grow out of this shit, to be sure, but I can’t help but think they’d sell more clothes if they cut it out.

My fantasy closet is shaping up nicely. I bought some fantasy boots, and I’m experimenting with cargo pants and jackets to wear with my non-fantasy scarves. I now own five Hermes scarves; how did that happen? Time to roll out the Joan Holloway all-stars, I think.

So, a lovely weekend awaits. Any bloggage? Not much:

Contrary to popular belief, I cannot read the entire internet every day, and in general I avoid its small stories, for two reasons: a) they’re small; and b) the people who write them have a way of making them seem like Watergate crossed with the Hindenburg explosion (“we can now exclusively reveal…”). But this one, about some clown who’s been writing for Andrew Breitbart on the Shirley Sherrod story, caught my eye, mainly because the clown in question is a Wayne State graduate, although who knows? That could be another part of his inflated resume, along with this amuse-bouche:

A government official once claimed that Dr. Pezzi achieved the highest score ever attained on an IQ test administered nationwide, although Pezzi dismisses this as disingenuous pandering.

Anyway, it appears this genius is practicing medicine somewhere in northern Michigan. Beware, tourists!

Anything else? I got nothin’. Weekend, sweep me into your arms. I’m ready.

Posted at 10:45 am in Same ol' same ol', Television |

55 responses to “Mind-shopping.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 6, 2010 at 10:59 am

    “I got nothin'” has only ten usages — I would have guessed closer to twenty.

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  2. Bob said on August 6, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Veering back to your post of couple of days ago on the Tea Party and Mich primary, I see Indiana Tea Parties have had it with Dick Lugar and are ready to put him in his place in 2012.
    On the surface, clubbing Indiana’s most respected politician looks tactically stupid for a political movement. So is some crafty strategic thinking in play that eludes me — maybe a drive to demonstrate that not even Dick Lugar can afford to accommodate the other side? Or is superficial all there is — is the TP so loosely organized that tantrums are as close as it gets to a platform?

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 6, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Ding! (as to your final question)

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  4. Jeff Borden said on August 6, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Well, I for one believe it is a liberal left-wing socialist communist fascist plot keeping Dr. Kevin Pezzi’s brilliant cure for cancer away from the American people. I’ll wager that Nubian muslim in the White House –who, Glenn Beck tells me, has a deep-seated hatred of white people– is just sitting on this cure so that more conservative honkies will die of cancer.

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  5. LAMary said on August 6, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Rethink the cargo pants.They don’t do most people any favors. Trust.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on August 6, 2010 at 11:57 am

    My fantasy closet has coats with long-enough sleeves. I have never owned a coat that didn’t expose several inches of wrist and arm to the cold. But men can buy shirts in almost any sleeve length, and even their coats come in tall sizes. Why are women expected to buy clothes that will never fit?

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  7. LAMary said on August 6, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Amen, Julie. Even long sleeved blouses with long enough sleeves would be nice. My cuffs are never buttoned because the sleeves are just too short.

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  8. coozledad said on August 6, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    In honor of PDB day, my fantasy closet would have to include a Gregor The Purple Assed Baboon t-shirt.
    I wore one of these when I kicked Kasparov’s (or was it Andropov’s) ass in bong chess, and the women liked it, too.

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  9. Rana said on August 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Add me to the chorus of long-armed women. Add in the recent fashion for “bracelet cuffs” and I despair – when your normal sleeves already look like three-quarter sleeves, lopping an extra six inches off the sleeve of a coat is just adding insult to injury.

    Although I am repeatedly surprised by the way that men’s clothing, so apparently simple, carries all kinds of semiotic information in things like collar shape and number of buttons, I envy men for their sensible clothing industry. For our recent wedding, I ended up ordering a dress online in order to get all the features I wanted, and then took it to a seamstress to fine-tune the fit, a process that took several months. My brother, meanwhile, flew in a week before the wedding. We took him to a Men’s Warehouse on Monday, where they helped him choose a suit, arranged the tailoring, and had it ready by Thursday. It was startling shopping there, from a female perspective, because everything was right there – socks, shoes, ties, belts, shirts, jackets, pants, hats – all neatly coordinated and available to just buy and walk out with. I honestly can’t recall a shopping trip, as a woman looking for equivalent garments, that didn’t require several stores and trying on multiple pieces of clothing, just to find one outfit that fit and looked decent.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on August 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm


    Oh yeah? Well, I totally smoked Kevin Pezzi in the IQ department, scoring a 12,987.

    BTW, can someone here explain to me why an angry, old, sexist, homophobic, racist washed-up Nixon acolyte like Pat Buchanan is still allowed on television? I saw a clip of him arguing the only reason Prop 8 was overturned is because the judge is a homo.

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  11. Jolene said on August 6, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Why are women expected to buy clothes that will never fit?

    Not only that, but, if a woman does find something that that can be altered to fit, she will likely pay more for the alterations than Alan did for the alterations Nance mentioned. At least that’s how it used to be. I haven;t done research on this topic lately, so it could be that the cost pf hemming a pair of pants no longer depend on the gender of the wearer.

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  12. brian stouder said on August 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    the only reason Prop 8 was over­turned is because the judge is a homo.

    Getting out our big ideological processor, and mixing that poppycock with the xenophobic impulse in Arizona, I think Melissa Harris-Lacewell expressed a fairly interesting unified theory, last night on Ms Maddow’s show. She pointed out that if, on one hand, you heartlessly favor disenfranchising infants born in the United States (and demonizing their brown mothers), and on the other you favor INSISTING that all other American women who get pregnant – including those who are the victims of rape and incest – MUST have their babies, one possible (visceral, not intellectual) goal is more white babies, and fewer non-white babies. It is only a bonus if the white babies are born into grinding poverty, since in the long term those people will be poorly educated and therefore easier to hoodwink into thinking their skin color is their only ticket to a better life (and therefore that people with other skin colors are necessarily their adversaries).

    In that sort of fever-swamp thinking, unhappy sham marriage (that produces more children) is better than gay marriage, (which mostly won’t)

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  13. Colleen said on August 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    And all of my blouses come with sleeves that are too long….I roll up every single one of them. Apparently, there is no woman who is happy with what’s on the rack!

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  14. LAMary said on August 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Three quarter length sleeves hit me right on the elbow. If it’s a blouse with a buttoned cuff and it’s on my elbow, the button is gone the first time I bend my arm. If the damn thing was three inches longer this would not be a problem.

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  15. brian stouder said on August 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    If the damn thing was three inches longer this would not be a prob­lem.

    If I only had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that…

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  16. Rana said on August 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm


    LAMary – that’s exactly my problem, too. Irritates me to no end. And then, in winter, my wrists freeze.

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  17. LAMary said on August 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm


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  18. judybusy said on August 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Brian #15 hah!

    Thanks for the clip, Mary. I watched it three times and laughed each time.

    Ha! Are any of the women here short? At 5’2″, finding pants that don’t need a $15 hem job is a challenge. I used to shop exclusively at AT because everything came in petites. They went to the stick-boy model of trousers years ago, and I rarely find anything that accomodates my actual waist. I know, I know, I got curves. Silly me.

    I decided not to buy any clothing this year because I have enough and it’s all in good shape. I broke that goal for a pair of AT khakis which fit me–some curvy fit available only at the outlet mall. I nearly fainted with joy. After one washing, the hem basting came undone. I have noticed a decline in their quality over the last few years. 1998 AT never would have had that problem.

    It has been extremely nice (can that state actually exist?) not to be trying on clothes and getting disgusted. FWIW, I somehow have always blamed the clothing designers and not my body, which is just fine, thank you very much.

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  19. Dexter said on August 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I rarely notice the fashion statement the Weather Channel women make, but I was stunned at Maria LaRosa’s dress today. Absolutely gorgeous full length dress.
    This was a couple hours ago…hurry and maybe she’s still on camera.

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  20. Dorothy said on August 6, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Dear fellow tall women (or long-armed women):

    Have you ever shopped at a Tall Girls shop? It’s simply heavenly! There used to be one in Pittsburgh – hell it could still be there as far as I know but I don’t live there anymore. My daughter is 5’11” and we went there when she was in high school as a “treat.” We agreed ahead of time to just shop the sale racks because I knew it would be a pricey place. She found jeans that were actually TOO long for her and she was rapturously happy with that alone. I think she also got a jacket and a blouse or two. Now she and I order things online if we want tall sizes. (JC Penney’s has been my source for long corduroy pants for awhile now.) The sleeve problem has been the bane of my shopping experience since I was about 12.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 6, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Skink just puts an orange rainsuit and shower cap on over everything, and it works for him.

    He’s 6’6″ so he’s got an inch on me, but he doesn’t complain.

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  22. Sue said on August 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Until I look like Heidi Klum and develop an actual interest in fashion, there’s no point in a fantasy closet for me.
    I did however go into a store in my town that just opened up yesterday. Fearless Fashion, it’s called, which would usually be enough for me to know that it’s not my kind of place, since my fashion sense runs to fearful or at least timid. But what the heck, shop local and all that and my stuff is beginning to look a bit frayed, so in I went.
    I found a burgundy shirt with embroidery and four nicely-placed pockets. In the men’s section. For $20. It had a nice tunic-y feel but with sleeves.
    I have learned to look in the men’s section first. Since I like things loose, a men’s small or sometimes even medium gives me long-enough sleeves and waist.

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  23. LAMary said on August 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    The problem I have with men’s shirts is the shoulders. Too wide. I wore men’s shirts in tall sizes as maternity tops during my pregnancies. The usual maternity top was a little too short and to me, that’s not a good look when you’re 8 months pregnant.

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  24. brian stouder said on August 6, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    In my experience, women almost never seem to realize how beautiful they actually always are, even (or especially) on their ‘worst’ day.

    They have all the power, all the time, and hardly ever realize it (think ruby red slippers, here); instead actively turning an ear to the nay-sayers and catty class of people who feed the fears and insecurities that folks have, much as our hate-based right wing approaches the electorate when it’s time to vote.

    ‘Course, all I can go by is my own perception (and indeed, I ain’t refined) – so there’s that.

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  25. prospero said on August 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    The sleeves aren’t long enough? If I go to Men’s Warehouse to buy a suit, I get a perfect 44L jacket. I also get gigantic pants that need 15

    I’ve bought Men’s Warehouse suits for funerals and weddings in. cut out of the pants. Everything else? Things fit. Levis, 33×34, pants in general, since I was a kid Off the rack. . 16-35 shirts. Of course, I never really thought about what fit right. I guess women do. Men buy shirts by armm length and neck size.

    Women will never sign off on neck size. But why? Holy shit who cares?. Sleeve length, Men have been doing this since Shakespeare. If women want a things to be fair in sports, and that is the point, and everything else, Women cannot beat men in any sport if they attempt to play at the same level.

    Isn’t it conceivably some sort of cosmic geometry? Men’s measurements tend to be planar while women are more round (thank Gosd) ? And isn’t that a good thing? I know that’s ridiculous, but I like to think it isn’t. Women come in infinite shapes and sizes. At any moment, many of them are pretty close to perfect. Does somebody think Serena could beat Andy Roddick if you didn’t make up out of bounds? Not in a million years. And Roddick would have to play lefty.

    What happened to Boise last time they played a good team?’ B’dah, b’dah. Wow, they got their ass kicked. humiliated.

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  26. ROgirl said on August 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I’m 5’2″ and am always on the lookout for pants that don’t have to be shortened.

    Last year I found some jeans and khakis in petite at Lands End, which is in the local Sears. I went in recently, couldn’t find any petites, and a clerk told me that they’d gotten rid of the petite sizes. Nordstrom Rack has some petites, but there’s not a lot to choose from. It seems like most stores have cut back on their petites.

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  27. moe99 said on August 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    women’s shirts also cost more to have washed and pressed than men’s do. even if they’re the same cotton button down style.

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  28. Rana said on August 6, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I may have to try out the tall women’s shops – though that may end up being a bit strange, too, because I’m also short-waisted. All my height and length, it seems, are in my limbs, rather like a daddy longlegs!

    Actually my solution has ended up figuring out which clothing manufacturers pattern their clothing according to something resembling my body; I’d say, for example, that probably 75% of what Patagonia makes fits me perfectly – a much better hit rate than any other manufacturer I’ve tried. (Unfortunately, it means I’m SOL for dressy clothes… fortunately I mostly work at home or in casual-friendly workplaces, so that’s not too big a problem.) I also tend to buy lots of something when it works.

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  29. Little Bird said on August 6, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    My fashion nightmare? Jeans. I am curvy, so finding jeans that fit in both the waist and the hips is nigh on impossible. Old Navy had a style that was good, then they discontinued it. They always do. Finding them the right length is difficult at best as well. Too long or too short is the story of my life.

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  30. brian stouder said on August 6, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Women can­not beat men in any sport if they attempt to play at the same level.

    Well, I suppose it depends on how we define the term “sport”.

    I would argue that sport includes successfully operating hurtling machinery, such as race cars and fighter planes. Shirley “don’t call me Cha Cha” Muldowney leaps to mind; and at some point we will see many more women champions in all forms of automotive racing.

    If there is a high-performance fighter jet that needs to be flown at the limit, female pilots have a general advantage in being physically smaller, so that the distance between their hearts and their brains is shorter, so that they can withstand high g-loads better.

    And in a non-mechanized physical challenge, one supposes that a woman’s generally smaller frame might confer an advantage in marathon running, for example.

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  31. Kirk said on August 6, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Women have won pro bowling tournaments against men.

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  32. Rana said on August 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    In ultra marathons, women not only equal men, but frequently best them. This can also be said of sharp-shooting and long-distance swimming and deep-sea diving without equipment.

    However, the situation isn’t “women” versus “men” in these cases – it’s “trained athletes with XX chromosomes who self-selected for excellence in their sport” versus “trained athletes with XY chromosomes who self-selected for excellence in their sport.” In other words, their performance may say something about what individuals with those qualities can or cannot do – but doesn’t necessarily have all that much to say about what the rest of us are capable of.

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  33. prospero said on August 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Sorry Brian. I agree with you on most things, but clutch and accelerator ain’t sports. I think the movie was superb. Heart Like a Wheel, and Bonnie Bedelia is wildly attractive, but that is not sports in anybody’s wildest imagination.

    Now women athletes? That’s a different story. It’s entirely possible to claim Teresa Edwards was better than anybody for a long period of time.
    This whole thing started with Billie Jean playing the doubles court lines and one serve. Venus would smoke Nadal with the same rules. This is all pretty much stupidity. Great women athletes cannot beat great male athletes on level playing fields with actual rules enforced. That is a fact.

    Serena could not get a racket on her good buddy Andy’s serve. That’s kind of a fact. Billie Jean needed the doubles lines and one serve to beat a never-was clown that smoked two packs a day. This argument is idiotic.

    The Champ’s daughter is the absolute greatest female boxer that ever lived, and she couldn’t stand a round with any welterwheights. I’m not saying boxing’s a sport. Driving cars and bowling sure aren’t.

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  34. moe99 said on August 7, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Oh, let’s go back to talking about She Who. More fun.


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  35. prospero said on August 7, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    HP knows how to pick ’em.

    Hurd acknowledged there were “instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP.” Hurd, who is married with two children, will get a $12.2 million severance payment and nearly 350,000 shares of HP stock worth about $16 million at Friday’s closing price. The company also extended the deadline for exercising options to buy up to 775,000 HP shares.

    Why do corporations pay this kind of money to morons that run companies into the ground, and Americans believe governments’s the problem? Californians are about to vote for Carly Fiorina, and she was so atrocious she made this asshole look halfway decent. Just get me one of those jobs. I’ll run the company into the ground and walk away a billionaire.

    The entire idea that government is “bureaucracy” and business isn’t is hilarious, or not, if you aren’t sorta stupid, depending upon whether or not you think stealing your money is funny. It is, most certainly, your money, and they don’t even pay taxes on it. People that buy their groceries from Archer Daniel Midland continue to blame the Gummint for their financial problems, and claim “they” threaten family farms. Really? Who kills family farms? I mean. This is a no-brainer even brain-dead Amurricans ought to be able to figure out. It’s not the estate tax that almost nobody ever pays.

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  36. prospero said on August 7, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    So, I know you Nancy folks aren’t sporty, but how about the truth? Barry Bonds has been tested about a billion times and nobody can say he juiced? Why should he be hounded?

    What scientific basis can anybody purport that anabolic steroids have anything to do with homeruns. That would be zero.

    Home Runs are the result of hand-eye coordination. Upper body strength is negligible. This witch-hunt is fucking stupid.

    Rana, I think the question was about sports. And I really find it disagreeable to disagree with you. Speed? Strength? 100 yds. or meters? Usain wins every time. Stronger, faster, every single time. Guys won all the Ironman Triathlons like that means shit.

    Consider actual sports. Men are better. Who cares? Women are women. Much better. Nice, nice, very nice. It’s written in the Book of Bokonon.

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  37. Rana said on August 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Um, last time I checked, all of the things I mentioned are considered sports. Don’t go moving the goal posts just because my answers don’t mesh with your sense of the world.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 7, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Returning from the Ohio State Fair, I come bearing wisdom — http://porktastic.com — all hail the healing power of bacon.

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  39. brian stouder said on August 7, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    1. Moe – thanks for the Slate link on She Who; it was great, and lead me to another Slate link about the editing of her Facebook friends’ comments (which is comprehensive), and concluded with this:

    Political strategists say that it’s often hard to talk long-shot candidates out of running for office because they have so many friends and hangers-on telling them they deserve to be president. If that’s true, then there’s no political strategist alive who could persuade Sarah Palin not to run for president. She has 2 million Facebook friends telling her otherwise.

    Hah!! If she runs, I’ll buy the popcorn; if she wins the nomination, I’ll buy the Champaign; and if she actually wins the presidency, I’ll buy one of those Glen Beck survival kits, and some of G Gordon Liddy’s gold coins, and live out my days “off the grid” in the piney woods.

    2. Prospero – the thing about corporations is that we are told they exist for one reason only, and that’s to make profits for their shareholders. Morality or compassion or community-mindedness simply cannot be expected (let alone mandated) except to the extent that such activity contributes to “goodwill” and (ultimately) the bottomline.

    Yet then we’re told, by five Justices of the Supreme Court, that corporations are in effect persons, with all the rights of unlimited free speech that any citizen would have. They (these “corporate citizens”) can spend all the money they want, for example, on political campaigns.

    And of course it’s not even news anymore when the buffoons who head these things load a dumptruck or two (or three) with cash and leave in “disgrace”, to live out their pampered lives amidst blissful plenty (even after losing half the loot to their spouses)

    Hmmmm. If a corporation’s Free Speech rights are not one of the biggest, brightest, most egregious examples of right-wing judicial activism in American history, then call me Dredd Scott.

    (and as an aside, why can’t tobacco companies immediately file motions to overturn advertising bans on their legal product? They can spend millions to blanket the airwaves in support of whoever they want elected, but not one dime to sell their legal product? Huh?? What??)

    3. Rana – agreed. The point you made which I find arresting and which Prospero should address is the arbitrary and self-selected nature of the “evidence” which exists for Prospero – or anyone else – to utilize enroute to whatever “conclusions” one draws.

    One might also consider that whenever a woman excels too well at an Olympic sport (for example), questions begin to be asked about whether she’s really a woman…!!!

    I bet, amongst the 5 billion human beings on earth, that one could find a woman who could exceed any particular athletic achievement one could point to.

    On the other hand, maybe it could be argued that it would be easier to find men with similar excellence – and then the discussion would be about why this is. And aside from the macro discussion about average body size and strength when comparing men and women (think bell curve here), we would be remiss if we didn’t address societal expectations and demands (and outright prohibitions) that fall upon women’s athletic aspirations and uplift men’s.

    edit: 4. Jeff – great link! I love all things pork, too; and my father-in-law and brother-in-law haul hogs pretty much every day, so it runs in the family (and squeals and snorts)

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  40. prospero said on August 8, 2010 at 2:17 am

    I bet, amongst the 5 bil­lion human beings on earth, that one could find a woman who could exceed any par­tic­u­lar ath­letic achieve­ment one could point to.

    Nope Brian. If somebody could find a woman that could run faster than Usain Bolt or a woman that could play baseball better than Ichiro, or a woman that could throw an oblong ball like Randall Cunningham, they already would have. As far as bowling and stickshifts, being on ESPN2 doesn’t make an activity a sport.

    The only way racing cars is a sport is if the titles are involved, and that’s called sporting, not sports. And women don’t actually win car races. I’ve been put in an argument that nobody can win. If a woman can beat a man at any sport any time, I’m wrong? How’s that work?

    Ultra-marathons have basically as much to do with sports as hotdog eating. Low threshhold for self-punishment. Women win marathons at more than 20 minutes slower average than do men. Bobbi Gibb won the first three Boston Marathon women’s opens. Her best time was 3:21:40, in 1966. Japanese guy won the men’s title that year in 2:17:11. Margaret Okayo, from Kenya, ran the Boston Marathon course in 2hrs., 20 min., 43 seconds, fastest ever, in 2010. Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, also from Kenya, ran it in slightly less than 2:06. Closing the gap? Sure. Right now, the 100 meter men’s world record is just south of 9.58. Women’s that would be FloJo at 10.5, back in the Eighties, and nobody’s come close since.

    Candace Parker’s a great BB player, but she couldn’t play Shaq. That’s silly, on the face of it. Making me out to be some sort of sexist about this is asinine, and it’s a gross disservice to my daughter, who was a better volleyball player in high school than Karch Karai.

    If Dorothy “Dottie” Kamenshek could have hit Bob Feller, she would have played in the majors. Bill Veeck would have signed her. For sure. Diferences in athletic ability don’t demean one gender or another, they’re just differences. Vive la difference (which, in the inimitable wisdom of French, is feminine.).

    East German bioengineeers made women into men, or vice versa, for competition’s sake. Was that a good thing? They swam faster than Mary T. and Shirley Babashoff. Better athletes? No way in the world.

    Men run faster, jump higher and are stronger, in general, than are women. So what? Female lions do all of the hunting. I don’t know how I got dragged into such a ridiculous discussion, but making me out to be some sort of neandathal (and I know that’s not how it’s spelled, that’s the Jimmy Castor spelling) sexist about this is silly, and mildly annoying.

    Racing cars is not sports (and women don’t do very well at this either). Bowling is a hobby Steve Buscemi can participate in with Heart Attack Waiting to Happen John Goodman. Ultra-marathons are bizarre behavior that somebody ought to look into. Track, hoops, softball, swimming, those are all sports at which women excel, against women.

    Gymnastics, my alma mater owns this sport. And A League of Their Own is one of my favorite movies. I’ve swum 200 IM and every other event in a swimming meet, and run half-mile and mile and played football. The current 800 meters women’s record is held by Caster Semenya (RSA) (who some people think is a man). I ran less than one second slower in 1968.

    Brian. Let me know when you find the female Herschel Walker. Probably smarter too. And when a woman runs a mile in less than four minutes. I know she’s out there. I’m not just making things up, and I don’t appreciate being treated like I’ve got something against women. Women cannot compete equally in actual sports against men. So fucking what? Who cares? But it is a fact. The difference is the difference. Denying differences in athletic abilities between genders is pretty much as dumb as denying human generation of climate change. Or claiming steroids make ballplayers hit more homeruns.

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  41. Deborah said on August 8, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Nancy, I made the bean gratin yesterday, it was delicious. It was the main dish so I made it heartier by putting some asiago cheese in it. I also didn’t have any bread crumbs so I used toasted almonds on top. It was a little soupy, the bread crumbs would have helped. The flavor was remarkable. I used shelly beans that I got at the market. I will try it again without the cheese some time. Thanks again for posting the recipe.

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  42. Dexter said on August 8, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I had some Asiago d’Allevo , stravecchio , a while back for the first time. I love that stuff. The first time I tasted the flavor of Asiago was at Subway Sandwich shops, as it was a flavor they had as an option for bread choice.
    This cheese, in stravecchio style, that I had recently was grated over some stuffed pasta shells. Asiago is a very healthy , low fat cheese. I bet Zingerman’s has it and I’m due for a visit there next month, as it has become a recent birthday ritual to take a jaunt to Ann Arbor and poke around.
    This weekend’s US 127 Longest Yard Sale in the World goes right through my town.
    We had to drive on 127 yesterday. Van Wert , Ohio was really taking it seriously; it was massive traffic congestion there. US 127 was a slow-go through the towns. My wife said the sale extends from Michigan to Alabama.

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  43. Rana said on August 8, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    “Actual sports” = “sports that prospero thinks are sports.” Enough said.

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  44. MichaelG said on August 8, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    OK! Winner in the great male vs. female sporting debate wins a date with Tamara or Irina Press. Your choice. One size fits all.

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  45. Jolene said on August 8, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Nancy, I’m curious about your take–or that of other Michiganders–on Gov. Granholm. You’ve said in the past that you’ve been underwhelmed by her performance as guv, but haven’t said what it was that you thought was problematic. To me, it looks like Michigan’s problems are based on years of trends in the auto industry rather than on specific governmental policies. What could she or another governor have done to make things better?

    I ask because I’m generally impressed when I see her on TV, as I just did this AM. On Candy Crowley’s State of the Union show on CNN, she comes across as smart, well-spoken, an effective advocate of Democratic policies. I’m curious to know what she’ll do when her term ends next year.

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  46. Kirk said on August 8, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    “Actual sports” = games that people with balls always win.

    And Barry Bonds was a great baseball player who cheated by using steroids and HGH, which helped him hit a lot more home runs than he would have all by himself.

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  47. Deborah said on August 8, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    We drove out to Ragsdale this morning with a friend who designed a cabin/studio there. He teaches at IIT where my husband also teaches a graduate level architecture studio. Ragsdale is a residence for artists (writers and visual artist) located in Lake Forest, IL. It’s a bucolic, lovely, retreat with studios and rooms for people to work on their literary/artistic projects. Grants are allocated depending on type of “art”, various lengths of stay are determined by the board that runs the place. The cabin our friend and his students designed and built was delightful, with lots of north light. We went mainly to look at a composting toilet they had installed because a regular toilet wasn’t possible. We are looking into it for our future house in New Mexico. It was extremely impressive, not the least bit smelly (which I have to admit I was expecting) for all practical purposes looks like a regular toilet. Not to mention that the by product is useful and the cost is miniscule when compared to a septic field. Very thought provoking.

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  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 8, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Steroids help well-trained athletes gain another 3 to 5% performance. A guy who hits 345 foot dingers in a 350 left field gets lots of outs, the same guy who jumps to 360 feet per solid contact becomes a home run king. Steroids are largely screened out of major league ball, and suddenly no-hitters become common? I think both hitters and pitchers have spent the last twenty years refining their weight room technique, after decades of coaches saying weight training impaired ballplaying ability, and some added juice to that program for the extra 3-5%, which in the majors is the difference between a cut 225 batting shortstop and an All Star 343 average first baseman.

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  49. Kirk said on August 8, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    This season’s no-hitters are more of a statistical anomaly than a reflection of the crackdown on steroids. More indicative is that the current home run leaders are hitting them at a rate that will land them in the 40s by the end of the season, rather than the 60- and 70-homer seasons put up by the juiced-up Bonds, McGwire and Sosa.

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  50. Dexter said on August 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Kirk…didja see Joey Votto’s blast to left at Wrigley today? Votto has Pujols-like numbers and should be MVP. I have taken to watching the Reds instead of the Tigers lately, and the Reds are the most exciting team out of that town in 20 years. They are playing superb defense and these young Reds are hitting again, and veteran Gomes is having a career year , and with additions Mike Leake and Travis Wood to the staff and pitching like veterans, why…this might be the year.

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  51. Kirk said on August 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Yes, that was a beauty. Votto indeed is an MVP-caliber guy. As a nearly life-long Reds fan, I’m really enjoying this season (and it was great to see a bunch of Reds fans infiltrating Wrigley Field). Jocketty has made some great moves, and I wonder what he has up his sleeve between now and the end of the season. Huge series starts tomorrow.

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  52. Dorothy said on August 8, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Prospero what kind of pill did YOU swallow to think that Bonds did not take steroids?! Have you seen pictures of him over the last 24 years or so??


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  53. basset said on August 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    So… how boring are we? Mrs. B., B. Jr. and I finally decided we needed a couple of days’ break from dealing with work and flood issues, so we headed out of town for the weekend to…


    And Jasper.

    Saw a baseball game played under 1863 rules, no gloves, umpire to one side of the plate… other attractions included Jasper Strassenfest, way too much German food and beer, visit to an Indian relic show and the mounds along the Ohio, happened up on the Friends of the Library book sale and got some interesting stuff there, picked up and handled a genuine Panzerfaust at the gun and knife show, ate my first pork brain sandwich, no email, no net access. How terribly pedestrian – I even bought a camo cap with IU logo at Wal-Mart, I now have two. Missed Volksfest in Evansville, it’s over-21 after 5 pm and Jr. is a few months short.

    Meanwhile, none of us have yet set foot in the downtown symphony hall Nashville is so proud of. Guess we’re just not sufficiently urbane to know what we’re supposed to like.

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  54. Kirk said on August 8, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I’d be up for a review of the pork brain sandwich. How was it fixed? I’ve tasted buffalo testicles, but never have knowingly consumed brain.

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  55. basset said on August 9, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Looked like the brains were mixed with milk and flour to form a batter, then fried in a big wad. Didn’t taste like much of anything, bland in flavor and texture… I like pork tenderloins a lot better. That same sandwich at that same restaurant, however, did make health.com’s unhealthy foods list:


    We had what Bill Monroe would have called a “powerful dinner” at Schnitzelbank German restaurant in Jasper. Gotta love a place with thirty-ounce beer mugs and two kinds of cabbage on the buffet.

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