It’s good to get away from time to time — visit your buddies, observe the strange ugliness of the Bronze Fonz, swing over to Madison for pitchers on the terrace at the Wisconsin Union. Planned correctly, and with a lot of driving, a good weekend can be as much fun as a weeklong vacation. I’m grateful to all who hosted, cooked, drove and otherwise extended Dairyland hospitality.

The souvenir of the weekend — besides a mild hangover — was one of these, a Himalayan salt plate. I didn’t spend $60 for the big chunk, but I figured for $18, I could take a chance that my disk of pink rock salt might be an interesting addition to my batterie de cuisine. It certainly was an interesting addition to the TSA workers’ Sunday, as it got my bag yanked and hand-searched:

“Do you have ashes in here?” the guard asked.

“No, but I have a disk of Himalayan rock salt,” I said. “It probably has lots of minerals in there, too. Should I unwrap it?” He said I didn’t have to go that far, but he got a chuckle that anyone would buy a chunk of salt to serve food on. Obviously someone who doesn’t watch the Food Network.

Here it is, in case you’re wondering:

Impulse purchases — they’re what make our economy strong.

I’ll be getting away a little later this week, too, taking Kate and three friends for a two-day Cedar Point adventure. We chose this late date on the advice of fellow Michiganders, who swear by the secret week before Labor Day, when Ohio and Indiana kids are back in school and the Mitten rules the peninsula. Short lines for roller coasters, etc. We shall see. I think the only thing we can reasonably hope for is good weather. Fingers crossed.

For the moment, however, it remains stifling. The last few days started wonderfully, with bright blue skies, low humidity and reasonable temperatures, but once again, something happened and the heat settled in on Saturday. I am ready to wear something that doesn’t need to be white and absorbent. I guess I’ll have to wait a while for that.

Can’t have too much summer, I guess. So let’s skip to bloggage:

Because I don’t expect the relatives of exceptional people to be exceptional as a default, I am not surprised to learn that Martin Luther King’s extended family is a little, how you say, daft. But I found this story on Alveda King, Glenn Beck’s new BFF, to be instructive:

Alveda is dismissive of (Coretta Scott King), who died in 2006, saying, “I’ve got his DNA. She doesn’t, she didn’t … Therefore I know something about him. I’m made out of the same stuff.”


(And may I just say, it was wonderful to be [mostly] away from the internet for two days, and thus be spared Beckapalooza? I may throw my laptop away.)

Things you shouldn’t do when you’ve been drinking: Try to climb out on a window ledge on the 22nd floor to take a picture.

Finally, something that frosted my cookies last night and continues to do so: The egg industry says it’s time to say farewell to poached and sunny side up. Because how can they possibly keep 50 million damn chickens healthy? I’m now paying $2.50 a dozen at the farmer’s market I guess, what? Permanently.

Must run — manic Monday.

Posted at 10:49 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

49 responses to “Salty.”

  1. Dorothy said on August 30, 2010 at 11:12 am

    We’ve been buying eggs from a co-worker at Kenyon, or the daughter-in-law of a co-worker, for $2/dozen for two years now and I’ll never go back to Kroger unless I absolutely have to. They taste so much better it’s ridiculous. And I got cranky when Mike asked me to help him for about a half hour outside yesterday afternoon, disproportionately so. I am always a willing helper. But this time it chafed my butt big time. Why? he asked … and my reply: I so did NOT want to sweat outside today!!!! It reached 92 yesterday at our house. My brain is just melting away every time I spend more than 10 minutes outside.

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  2. Connie said on August 30, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I love runny eggs. I’ve noticed in the last year or so that if you order Eggs Benedict in a restaurant the egg will be poached “well”, with no runniness. Kind of defeats the whole point as far as I am concerned.

    My mother’s famous chocolate frosting recipe contains a raw egg. My cousins and I continue to make it any way, so there. Though cousin Katie’s husband refuses to eat it.

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  3. moe99 said on August 30, 2010 at 11:42 am

    England has no problem with salmonella. They don’t require the farmers to vaccinate their chickens for it, but for those who do, they give a big red imprimatur on the egg. Guess which eggs English consumers purchase? 90 percent of the eggs in Britain bear the mark.

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  4. 4dbirds said on August 30, 2010 at 11:49 am

    My research is indicating I may be distantly related to Laura Bush. When it comes to politics, DNA means nothing.

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  5. beb said on August 30, 2010 at 11:51 am

    When it comes to offspring who are rather less than their famous progenitor, the son of Bill Graham (I forget his name) is right up there. For the son of a Christian evangelist, and a minister in his own right he’s quite the hater.

    I grew up on runny eggs poached in bacon grease. That 600 farms produce 80% of eggs in America ought to be a sign for concern. You know those hens have got to be stacked up like cordwood. That’s no way to raise any animal. And a sure invitation for infections.

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  6. Peter said on August 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Pardon the heck out of me that I want to buy salmonella free eggs!

    Maybe it’s personal, but when I was a little tot, my mom would make a nice torte for my birthday, and the filling required raw eggs. She hasn’t made it for years since she watched a 60 Minutes report on egg factories; now I bet she won’t eat an egg unless she witnesses the entire event.

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  7. Rana said on August 30, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    What’s bad about those salmonela chickens is that they’re already stuffing the poor birds full of antibiotics in their daily feed, just to ensure that they survive the conditions they endure. Ugh.

    Runny egg whites disgust me – when I finally learned the existence of “over medium” (firm whites, runny yolks) I never looked back. Raw cookie dough, on the other hand, is another matter. I grew up eating it, and I fully intend to continue. But then, we buy our eggs either locally or organic, ideally both.

    I remember figuring out at one point that in some very remote and distant way our family shares some vague genetic heritage with both the Gores and the Bushes. Nearer in, Ulysses S Grant was a cousin of some sort. All of this is pretty much inevitable if your family’s been in the country for a while – small numbers of people to start, so anyone whose family goes back more than a century’s worth of generation’s is going to be connected somehow. It means nothing, other than the luck of historical timing.

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  8. Sue said on August 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I just assume I’m from the disreputable branch of any family that might be brag-worthy.

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  9. prospero said on August 30, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    That woman’s the idiot version of LaToya for the King family.

    Beck antidote.

    More Beck antidotes.

    Pulling out of Chicago about this time of day 42 years ago, bloody, exhausted filthy, unbowed. So, you know, fuck the Tea Party.

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  10. LAMary said on August 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    My ex has Mayflower ancestors who are also the ancestors of Bushes and FDR, so I guess my kids have that political DNA too.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on August 30, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    As a child our eggs came from a neighbor who had grown up as a farmer and still liked to keep hens. Now our daughter has friends living in Chicago who have a coop in their backyard. She says the flavor is incredible. It’s legal there to keep hens but not roosters, due to the cock-a-doodle-doo factor.

    It’s been too darn hot here too. Fortunately we’ve had many ways to keep busy indoors with our son’s show this weekend and daughter preparing for her grand European venture. We put her on the plane tomorrow morning, and she will have her 30th birthday on Friday with friends in Denmark. It will be memorable for her and bittersweet for us.

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  12. Deborah said on August 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Welcome back Nancy. I wish I could find a place to buy fresh eggs besides Whole Foods. I don’t trust any big time operation anymore. We canned 12 lbs of tomatoes yesterday. Got 5 qt jars out of it and one didn’t seal properly. We refrigerated it so now we have to use it within 10 days. Little Bird will find something tasty to make no doubt. Will someone please explain to me how you use those Himalayan rock salt slabs. Do you only use it once? If you put something runny on it, wouldn’t that seep into it and preclude a second or third use. Seems like a lot of salt for a one time deal.

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  13. LAMary said on August 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Deborah, the key is to not put anything runny on it. Serve some green grapes on there. The contrast would be lovely.
    Definitely do not serve runny eggs on it.

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  14. adrianne said on August 30, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Our CSA farm sells eggs from contented chickens. They’re pricier, but worth it. Taste a lot better, too.

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  15. basset said on August 30, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Looks like Jesco may have been right about those “sloppy, slimy aigs”…

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  16. mark said on August 30, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I should probably alert you all that Nicole John was my goddaughter. She was very much loved and is horribly missed.

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  17. Deborah said on August 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I Googled it LA Mary. Here are directions from a website called Saltcave about how to clean it:

    To clean your Himalayan salt block, wipe with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel and remove any remaining food bits. Avoid running your natural salt block under water or submerging in water, as any remaining moisture in the salt slab can cause breakage upon heating. Be sure to let your salt slab dry for at least 24 hours after exposure to any moisture. There is no need to use soap or detergent on your Himalayan salt slab, as it is naturally anti-fungal and anti-microbial. You may
    wish to freshen your salt block with a bit of lemon juice from time to time.

    Interesting. I might have to try on of these. I’m a saltaholic.

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  18. moe99 said on August 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss, mark. What a tragedy.

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  19. LAMary said on August 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Very sorry, mark. A good friend went through something similar with a younger sibling and there is no getting over it, just getting past it.

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  20. 4dbirds said on August 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I’m am truly sorry Mark. As the parent of a teenager who walked in front of a car going 50 miles an hour, it doesn’t matter what was ingested, or smoked or what wild thought popped in their minds, the loss of a child is awful. My child lived (with many problems) and I can’t imagine her gone. I wish her parents peace.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on August 30, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    My condolences too. It’s agonizing to watch those you love make choices you know could harm them. She will forever leave a hole in your lives.

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  22. Dorothy said on August 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I’m very sorry for your loss, mark, and for her family. And to have it magnified on a national stage like it is must be more pain than any of us can even guess about.

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  23. Peter said on August 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Mark, I am so sorry for your loss. And I’m also sorry for all of the unwanted media attention this will generate.

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  24. Dexter said on August 30, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    mark…deepest sympathies extended. I read the story in The NY Post and it was so sad.

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  25. Dexter said on August 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    The Food Network displays a recipe for eggnog with this warning:
    “Raw Eggs

    Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.”

    We used to make eggnog with raw eggs during the holiday season. Never again.

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 30, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I’m praying for your peace of mind & that of her family, mark; very sorry to hear the story even without a connection, no matter how virtual. Even more so now — it seems like we lose a 17 or 18 year old every month around here, and it’s hard enough for families who don’t have to deal with media scrutiny.

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  27. Deborah said on August 30, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Mark, how tragic. Sorry to hear that this has happened to someone so close to you. I feel badly for her family, so young with so much ahead of her.

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  28. mark said on August 30, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you moe, mary, 4d, Julie and (in advance) any others with similar sentiments. Prayers for her family will be most welcome from those so inclined.

    I decided early on that it was futile to fight the waves of publicity, no matter how much they frustrate me. But for the fortuity of Nancy choosing Nicole’s story, I would not comment here. Legacies have to be earned and cannot be created by a child’s blog or sensational headlines; Nicole’s legacy is safe and clear in the hearts of the many who actually knew and loved her.

    Perhaps the journalists among us will note that the only source for the wild lifestyle attributed to Nicole is her own internet posting. Or that although she apparently blogged and “facebooked” frequently, the most aggressive news outlets all quote the same half dozen or so entries. Or the incongruity between the claimed life of wealth when her father was a career diplomat, working his way up from a Visa Officer. Adequate pay and increasing perks, yes. Wealth, no. Or that, of the hundreds of pictures of Nicole, there seem to be only two or three that support the “party-girl” image, all of recent (New York) vintage.

    Nicole’s last wild jet-setting adventure was supposedly in Phuket. I was there. Nicole reluctantly went along at the insistence of her parents and the request of her “Uncle Mark”, sharing her parents’ room at a nice but remote beach resort. The photo of her on the beach was taken by her father during a walk they shared. The beach was otherwise empty and the resort had barely 10% occupancy. Off season, further reduced by no-travel advisories. The wildest behavior I observed was a very spirited “Jenga” game with her father. They are both fiercely competitive and quick-witted. As a further improbable in a few days filled with horrible improbables, I have a picture of Nicole and her father at dinner at “Sea, Fire, Salt” where their entrees have just been served on blocks of pink Himalayan salt. The big ones, Nancy.

    No rose-colored glasses here. Nicole made some very foolish decisions and not all of her activities were known to the adults in her life. Nicole seems to have made a decision to create an internet image for herself and stupidly attempted to live up (down) to that image. She paid a horrible price. I think she was on the cusp of leaving behind “childish things” and I ache at the knowledge that she will not have that opportunity.

    When I spoke with her father last Thursday, he was in Virginia, helping his son settle back into college. He was on his way to Wal-Mart to purchase a vacuum cleaner required by the shedding of new carpeting. The prior days were spent accompanying Nicole to NYC and “wedging her into” the tiny accommodations provided by Parsons for incoming freshmen. Weeks earlier, when Parsons asked Nicole to attend a 4 week “techniques” course for new students, her father made the same trip and her mother traveled to New York to help her pack up and return to Bangkok. She survived the 4 weeks without tragic incident and without noted misbehavior. She received rave reviews from her instructor for her talent and for her persistence and determination.

    Months earlier, her father had accompanied her on a 10 day tour of various art schools. She was a gifted artist. He later helped her with applications to five wonderful art schools, while Nicole spent hundreds of hours preparing the dozens of unique pieces of art required for the application process. To my recollection, “jet-setting” Nicole never took a flight of any significance without either her mother or father in the seat next to her.

    I’ve already said more than I probably should, as these really aren’t my matters to disclose or not. Thanks for letting me blow off a little steam, rather than doing so in a less friendly environment.

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  29. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Jesus, Mark. As the parent of three teens and a kid who’s 20, I can only say that I often have these panic-pictures pop into my head, where one of my kids is about to do something really stupid. I have to tell myself to just settle down and dismiss the thoughts, but the fact is there’s nothing you can do as a parent to prevent something like that from happening. There’s an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness. Kids get to be a certain age and you teach them what you can, but the strangest, most godawful things can happen out of nowhere from a momentary laspse in judgment. I feel truly bad for you and Nicole’s parents. I can’t imagine anything worse. It’s just a terrible thing.

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  30. Rana said on August 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    mark, I am so sorry. Thank you for telling us about the Nicole you knew. *hug* if you want one.

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  31. judybusy said on August 30, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Mark, thank you so much for telling us about Nicole. I thought the article snarky and demeaning, and so I truly appreciate this other story. I am so sorry you lost this vibrant young woman.

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  32. nancy said on August 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    That is a very sad story, Mark. I don’t doubt this young woman was a bright star whose life was snuffed too soon. That said, I think it’s getting time for a serious discussion of the alcohol culture among young people. I try to consider my wild years soberly (ha), and while there was drinking aplenty back in the day, I’m alarmed at how widespread this sort of utterly smashed, blackout/puking level of boozing is today. We partied hard, but the idea was to stay upright. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: Some of these stories suggest an Indian-reservation standard of oblivion is pretty routine for lots of kids these days.

    I don’t soft-pedal my own bad behavior when I was this age, but no one I knew had to be hospitalized for alcohol poisoning or hypothermia or any other booze-related injury more serious than a sprained ankle or skinned knee. Whereas three times in the past YEAR I’ve heard stories of people in my circle or extended circle who’ve had tragedies or extremely close brushes with tragedy with their children. I’m not talking drunk driving, either — I mean kids who aspirated vomit, who ended up on dialysis in ERs, and, yes, who fell from windows and outdoor staircases. One woman had her son dumped unconscious on the sidewalk outside a hospital ER entrance (by his fraternity “brothers”), in January, where he laid for hours before he was found. He lived — through one of those funny-that-way miracles, the hypothermia actually slowed his metabolism and the alcohol poisoning.

    I’m always pimping “This American Life,” I know, but this show is a pretty good overview of attitudes these days. A school like Penn State loses one kid a year to booze, and by “lose” I mean “dies.” I’m sure Michigan, State, OSU and others can say the same. That doesn’t factor in the regrettable sex and other, lesser miseries. How did it get this bad? Is this the reality-TV culture filtered down to street level? Who wants to be this loaded?

    You can see this interests me, which is why I linked to that article. How. Awful.

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  33. brian stouder said on August 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Thank you Mark; hopefully it helps at least a little bit to know that the moms and dads and uncles and aunts in the crowd here all felt their hearts beating, as they read your recollection; it has the ring of inescapable truth.

    I went back and clicked the article after what you shared, and it went from the anonymous oddity that it would have been (to me), to an actually painful thing to read.

    We have sparkling daughters, full of life and joy and curiousity; and mischief and emotion and (no doubt) foolishness. So indeed, we will pray for you and yours, and also (to be honest) a prayer of selfish and (we fervently hope) preventive thanks, for ourselves.

    Here’s wishing you and yours strength.

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  34. LAMary said on August 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I had a serious and fairly emotional sit down with younger son last week about choices and judgement and all the things that keep me awake at night. As far as I know there is nothing major going on with him but I can never tell when he is pushing my buttons or is actually contemplating something stupid. I try to tell him how things change in a heartbeat, a serious of binary choices, one goes wrong. One switch is flipped that sends the whole thing crashing down.

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  35. Jean S said on August 30, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    My condolences, Mark. And you’re right, you can’t fight the tidal wave of thoughtless comments and general snarkiness. Fortunately, all of that will die down soon enough.

    And I’m going to disagree with you on this one, Nancy–I don’t think this level of alcohol abuse is a new issue. I knew someone who ended up in the hospital w/alcohol poisoning our freshman year in college (1973) and someone else who fell down an air shaft (1975 or so). He survived, as he was so drunk he fell like a rag doll. Needed reconstructive surgery, though.

    God, this is depressing.

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  36. ROgirl said on August 30, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    There probably aren’t many people who haven’t drunk to excess at least a few times in their lives. I’m no exception. But the stories I hear about these days regarding the quantities of alcohol consumed by young people are truly mind boggling. I mean, why get so fucking drunk? Maybe it’s a hangover from the “just say no” era, when drugs became the evil agent in the scenario, so booze became the substitute. I don’t know, it’s hard for me to grasp why for so many getting so wasted is so desirable.

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  37. Deborah said on August 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Drinking in my high school days back in the late sixties happened of course, but I never knew anyone who got hurt from it. I think I would have heard about it if serious injuries occurred, even minor ones. I remember going to a couple of parties where lots of kids were embarrassingly shit faced, it didn’t look much like fun to me. I went to a Lutheran College where things like that were highly discouraged. People still got drunk from time to time, but not outrageously so, and it was few and far between, not a regular occurrence. I agree with Nancy it seems to have escalated beyond all imagining these days. It would be interesting to read some studies about it. If anyone finds any links please post.

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  38. LAMary said on August 30, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I am sure the fact that drinking is legal makes it less troubling to some parents. Personally, I believe effed up is effed up, and I never saw anyone high on weed start a fight.

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  39. coozledad said on August 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    That “drinking adolescence” just segues neatly into the cult of competition, dunnit. It’s possible to be drinking to have a good time and wind up regrettably shitfaced, easy, even. I’ve seen some “adult drinking” however, that had the stink of coercion about it. Particularly some of the parties my wife and I attended when she worked with a software development corporation. Some of the frightfully insecure management types would indulge in little macho games with tequila or some other hard liquor.
    I can’t say that I wasn’t amused by the results of it on some level. It wasn’t haha funny, but it was interesting to watch those petty animosities burst into flower between manager and managed, couples on the road to estrangement, or simply to watch some amusical douche pick up a guitar and start belting out “Aeeemee, watchoo gonna do?” While across the room, someone was sweating alcohol and setting up their own termination,or divorce.
    I always thought Tennessee Williams would have loved to be at some of those, but he’d likely have been too liquored up to take notes.
    I’ve had friends nearly into their forties die in completely avoidable alcohol related incidents. You could safely make the argument that there are some significant social disincentives to adulthood.

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  40. bobolink said on August 30, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    a work friend told me today how disgusted her junior in hs daughter was at the big drink fest that was their football opener. why can’t we get them to realize their brains are still soft till mid 20s and they are screwing it all up! Why did we end up with a society that drink is required? I am so sad. Poor Mark and his and her family. unfortunately, I know several similar stories.

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  41. Dexter said on August 30, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    The late George Cantor of The Detroit News had a daughter at UM who died from a window fall, and I think of that every time a similar story occurs. I have taken three vacations to Daytona Beach and each time a student fell off a balcony to his / her death, prompting the newspaper to pontificate once again.
    I was never one to preach on the evils of alcohol binging and party-hardyin’…it does no good whatsoever. I do like it when building inspectors make it more difficult to fall out of windows and off balconies. Both UM , after Cantor’s death, and the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Daytona took some measures to help drunk kids from dying this way.
    When I was of college age, I was in the army , in a place where the world’s most potent ganja ruled, and 97% pure heroin (which I avoided 100 %) was everywhere, and alcohol was mostly just landing gear, and drunkenness wasn’t cool at all. I was in my mid twenties before my heavy drinking started, when most people that age had outgrown keggers and binge drinking.

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  42. Jen said on August 31, 2010 at 1:00 am

    See, this is why I think alcohol should be legalized for 18+, and parents should do their best to normalize alcohol and model good drinking behavior. The more that it’s some big secret, the more that college-aged kids are going go nuts when they get to school. It was almost always the sheltered ones that were passed out naked in a pool of their own puke in the dorm bathroom.

    I had a lot of family members and parents’ friends who drank around me while I was growing up, and some of them probably had a bit too much, but I never saw anybody do anything stupid. My parents also were absolutely diligent to make sure we knew the effects of alcohol, both good and bad. It probably didn’t hurt that my dad also had a LOT of stories of drinking in his younger days that he shared with my sister and me. He spoke fondly of some pretty great parties, but also made sure to let us know the bad things that happened – getting sick, having horrible hangovers, a friend falling out of a window (he wasn’t hurt because he was so drunk he didn’t notice until he hit the ground, like Jean S was talking about). My sister and I knew going into college the pros and cons of drinking alcohol, and were able to make (and still are able to make) good decisions about alcohol consumption. I have absolutely gotten tipsy, even drunk a couple of times, but thanks to the unflinching discussions about alcohol I have been able to keep myself safe. All you parents out there, talk to your kids, and be honest. Talk about your own experiences, and the experiences of your friends and acquaintances. Knowing that you are real people who have made these decisions really, really helps. (That also applies to sex, marriage, and just about any other topic you want to talk to your children about.) It’s not 100% foolproof … some people are more likely to go out and make their own mistakes … but you should be able to make an impression.

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  43. Julie Robinson said on August 31, 2010 at 7:48 am

    “their brains are still soft till mid 20’s”

    As further evidence, may I present exhibit one, a 23 year male who lives in our household. Said male was having a beer with dinner last night and a discussion started on this issue (not by me!). Said male stated that he “just knows” when he has had too much to drink by “the way he feels” and that he “doesn’t lose muscle control”. Upon cross-examination, he revealed that he limits himself to one drink per hour and eats if food is available. And that he spends the night if he doesn’t feel he can drive.

    You may guess that said male’s mother was hardly comforted.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 31, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Putting the drinking age at the midpoint of most people’s college career, even as we’re trying to make college a norm for everyone 18-22, is a brilliantly calculated, precisely calibrated strategy to encourage binge drinking & covert consumption.

    Or it’s just stupid. I’m with Jen.

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  45. Dorothy said on August 31, 2010 at 9:46 am

    On the 21st Mike and I left our house at 6 AM to head to Pittsburgh for the weekend. About 10 miles from our house we found ourselves behind a black car that was weaving all over the road, going left of center. At first we thought this guy was just trying to avoid deer at that time of the morning, but eventually it became clear that he was impaired in some way. Sleepy? Perhaps, but I did call 9-1-1 when he almost veered into an oncoming car in the other lane. These was a back country road, only two lanes wide. Eventually he stayed fairly straight in the lane in front of us in a passing zone and Mike zipped past him as fast as he could to avoid him veering into our truck. As we passed I looked over and saw the kid (and two friends who looked like they were passed out in the back seat) had his teeth on the steering wheel and only one hand on the wheel. I never did see him get stopped and eventually we pulled off to buy gas while he continued on his way. I prayed the whole time that he made it to his destination safely and no one in his path was hurt or killed. I might have expected seeing someone drive like that at midnight or 2 AM, but at 6 AM? The mind boggles.

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  46. nancy said on August 31, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Yesterday I saw a police report of a girl who drove into a light pole. She was under 21, behind the wheel of a Yukon at .16 and a bag of pot in her purse. And guess what she was doing when she crashed? Texting her ex-boyfriend. I think she was quoted in the report: “I was texting my ex-boyfriend, and the next thing I knew, I’d hit a light pole.”

    This was 3:25 a.m., which is my sole comfort. A few weeks ago, it was a lawyer’s wife at .26, weaving curb to curb on a road that passes a high school. At 4 in the afternoon.

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  47. Bob (Not Greene) said on August 31, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I’ve had a couple of DUI crash fatalities to cover in the past few years. Both repeat DUI offenders. Only one appeared remorseful (kind a sad sack, actually). The other guy was plotting to flee the country while on the phone with his wife in the PD lockup. He was speaking Spanish. Unfortunately for him, there was a cop in the room who spoke Spanish, so the judge set the bail high. In both cases, the lives of the survivors were changed forever. You hear the victim pact statements in court and you just want to start sobbing.

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  48. Jenflex said on August 31, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Jen @42: couldn’t agree more…I’ll even go further: let ’em drink at 16, but not drive til 18.

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  49. joodyb said on August 31, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    My lone solace is that my 24-year-old doesn’t drive, has never had a license.
    Of course, you can get hit real hard on a bike, too.
    I am so, so sorry, Mark.

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