Calm down, Dorothy.

So it seems an assistant attorney general in my very own state has started a personal jihad against the student body president at the University of Michigan. The assistant AG, Andrew Shirvell, blogs as “Concerned Michigan Alumnus,” believes Chris Armstrong is a dangerous radical, and has started a website — Chris Armstrong Watch — to serve as his public platform. There, he posts Perez Hilton-style Photoshopped pictures of Armstrong, screen grabs of Facebook postings between Armstrong and his friends, and other up-to-the-minute evidence of what he believes is wrongdoing, much of it IN CAPS or with the standard antique journo-speak (OUTRAGE ALERT, or BOMBSHELL). He has protested outside Armstrong’s house. Two nights ago, he went on Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN to, essentially, rave that Armstrong is SO DANGEROUS, SO SHAMEFUL to the state’s elite university, that he must be STOPPED.

However, it was difficult to hear what Shirvell was saying, because my Over the Rainbow Home Gaydar Alert System wouldn’t stop wailing. I need to get that checked.

Yes, friends, that’s what this is all about: Chris Armstrong is the first “openly gay,” as they say, student-body president, and Shirvell simply can’t get over this. He is going to flush his career right down the toilet over, essentially, a student-council election at his alma mater.

Although who knows? Michigan’s outgoing attorney general, Mike Cox, went on Cooper’s show last night to defend his staffer (to be sure, one of hundreds) and his right to act like an ass, as well as to wash his hands of handing down any discipline whatsoever. His hands are tied, he said, by this little thing called the First Amendment. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Cox’s performance was sort of smirky. Cox is a smirky guy, something voters saw through last month when they crushed his hopes of being the next governor; he finished third in the primary. His attitude last night was that of a man already cleaning out his office and looking forward to a lucrative spell in the private sector. What could he do, really? he shrugged. As though if his assistant were gay, and were conducting a similar campaign against some young conservative, he wouldn’t have been fired for conduct-unbecoming months ago.

I know something about the First Amendment, and I know something about being the target of a crazy man with a website. And while what Shirvell is writing is certainly protected, I’d say going to Armstrong’s house to wave a sign around crosses a line for someone purporting to represent the people of this state. Unless Cox is gunning for a job with the Thomas More Law Center, it’s a no-brainer. Fire this douche, please.

And just in case you think harassment based on sexual orientation is no biggie, it is. Very sad story at that link. What a couple of monsters, but having presumably been fed a steady diet of riotous teen comedies where guys broadcast other guys’ bedroom activities via webcam, maybe they expected a different outcome.

TEDxDetroit was, contrary to all my fears, a pretty good show, mixing a certain amount of business porn (innovate or die! now playing at a PowerPoint near you!) with inspirational change stories with slam poetry with music with everything else. I’m still cogitating on what was said, and will likely blog on at least some of it in the future. However, I do wonder what it must be like to be a presenter at these things, looking out at your audience:

To be absolutely accurate, I took this just before the first presentation, but the behavior didn’t change much — at any given moment, a large portion of the audience was twittering, e-mailing or doing who-knows-what on their portable devices, and to be sure, this behavior was encouraged, and I did some of it myself. Still. Imagine looking out from the stage and seeing a room full of people, half of whom have their faces lit from below and are paying you only a portion of their attention. This would drive me insane. It’s why I decided, at the last minute, to leave my laptop home. Be here now, I thought. And mostly I was. But not entirely. This is a curse of our age.

And now I have to hit the shower for Thursday office hours. I leave you with an essay by David Byrne, musician and artist, who recently biked around our fair city while in town on a movie project. His observations of Detroit are more accurate and clear-headed than that of many professional journalists. However, I don’t think he needs the day job. Byrne was a surprise guest at a street fair in front of the Detroit newspapers a couple weeks ago, something the publishing company puts on to benefit the United Way. Probably heard the music from his hotel and biked over to see what’s what. Curiosity — it’s a good thing. Then last night, Alan e-mailed me from the office to say he was walking up to the third-floor newsroom when a man walking down stuck out his hand for a shake. It was Jesse Jackson. He must shake hands involuntarily.

Finally, RIP Tony Curtis. Everybody’s talking about “Some Like it Hot,” but for my money, his best work was as Sidney Falco in “Sweet Smell of Success.” YMMV, but that is one great movie.

Shower-bound. Have a great day.

Posted at 8:47 am in Current events |

64 responses to “Calm down, Dorothy.”

  1. James said on September 30, 2010 at 9:15 am


    That Michigan story pinged my gaydar, too.

    Anyone that concerned with another person’s sexual preference must be, at his heart, uh…conflicted. And by that, I’m guessing that the Assistant DA has a wide stance, if you get my meaning.

    His boss is gutless and wrong. While government can’t restrict free speech, it can restrict hate speech. There has to be a line there, somewhere. That site is an incitement to violence against the student body president, IMHO. Focusing so much hatred and attention on an individual is cyber-targeting, and some misguided helpful Christian wacko is going to get the idea he should do something about that guy, what with his gay agenda and homosexual-spreading ways.

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  2. coozledad said on September 30, 2010 at 9:25 am

    If nothing else, that guy’s a graduate of the Bradley Schlozman school of public speaking. Sheesh, can’t they leave the helium tank at home?

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  3. 4dbirds said on September 30, 2010 at 9:56 am

    While I believe in the rule of law if the parents of the young suicide found those two and ……. well that’s how I feel as a parent. How dare they.

    I loved Tony Curtis in Operation Petticoat. I once heard that Cary Grant insisted that the scenes of the submarine show it moving in only one direction because showing it going all over would confuse the audience. When I watch it, I always forget to see if that’s true.

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  4. alex said on September 30, 2010 at 10:15 am

    I don’t have sound here at the office but to look at him, Shirvell kind of trips my Ben Stein-dar. Which I guess is kind of the same thing.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 30, 2010 at 10:23 am

    I would feel the same way, 4d, if it were my son — but I also know how irritated you get when a new roommate asks you to “vacate until midnight” twice in the first few weeks of school. The lounge sofas get old, fast. There was a fair amount of pranking on guys who repeatedly had women in their rooms, usually led by the displaced roommate. We used mayo and ketchup in manila envelopes under the doors (then stomped from outside) only because we didn’t have webcams — but tape recorders were often discussed. Jumping straight to “hate crime” doesn’t seem supported by the evidence shown so far.

    On the other hand, the Michigan AG thing sure reeks of bias harassment to me, but I’m no lawyer, I just run into them in the hallway.

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  6. Randy said on September 30, 2010 at 10:35 am

    That Sherville guy… wow.

    The only thing worse than a homophobe is a closeted homophobe, but is there any other kind?

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  7. Julie Robinson said on September 30, 2010 at 10:39 am

    “Over the Rainbow Home Gaydar Alert System” That phrase alone is worth the price of admission. Thanks also for the David Byrne link; I remember riding through Detroit in 1971 with amazement at the remnants of the 1968 riots. Now I wonder if there may still be buildings not touched since then.

    On a local note, I’ve been following the crumbling empire of one Don Willis, the Man Who Thought He Could Buy Himself A Mayor.
    His much-touted company has never sold any software, his building is up for sale, he had to shit his private school, and he’s now fighting foreclosure on his pricey house, with two mortgages out for a total of $1.6 million. Thank goodness he still has that charter school rental income.

    Willis made his money selling his first software company to General Dynamics in those heady post-911 days of joy in the hearts of Dick Cheney’s vampire army. Now I picture Willis sobbing as he melts, “oh, what a world, who would have thought you could destroy my beautiful wickedness”.

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  8. MichaelG said on September 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I was driving down Broadway this morning on my way to work when I saw a pick up slow and pull over. The girl working the corner crossed the street toward the truck. She looked small and vulnerable and alone and had to be scared to death. I would never have enough guts to do that kind of job.

    I enjoyed Tony Curtis in “Ivanhoe”. Great line : “Yonda is the castle of my fadda.”

    Yeah, you gotta wonder about a guy who gets so worked up about what team somebody else plays for. Fire the jerk.

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  9. nancy said on September 30, 2010 at 10:49 am

    The full AC i’view with Shirvell a couple nights ago.

    Damn, I’m going to have to check the batteries on this thing.

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  10. LAMary said on September 30, 2010 at 10:50 am

    I’m stuck on cooz’s image of the Black Panthers being seduced by Ann Coulter. I think I’ll go down to the hospital cafeteria and look at the cream of wheat tub or something to clear my mind.

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  11. Snarkworth said on September 30, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Mike Cox? Don’t suppose he’s related to Mike Hunt.

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  12. David in Chicago said on September 30, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Nancy, Sid Falco is my favorite Tony Curtis performance, too. Apart from it being a wonderful portrait of a desperate man, it’s not easy to hold your own with a monster like Burt Lancaster. Wonderful movie!

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  13. alex said on September 30, 2010 at 11:29 am


    Yeah, I was fairly blown away to read that Willis had recently borrowed another $800K against a house he had already paid way too much for. This is a man who sold a company for $100M not so long ago. What the heck was he doing?

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  14. Hank Stuever said on September 30, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Someone I know, a high-functioning autistic man who would certainly know what he’s talking about in this regard, looked at the Shirvell interview and immediately diagnosed a fellow high-functioning autistic man. It’s what happens, he says, when the rigidity and obsessive behavior fails to find an appropriate outlet.

    That, AND the gaydar.

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  15. nancy said on September 30, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Hank, fascinating opinion by your friend. The line separating us from the abyss is a fine and shifting one, isn’t it?

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  16. Joe Kobiela said on September 30, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I thought operstion pettycoat was a funny movie also, the scene with the pig is a classic. If you really want to laugh, I suggest the great race, if for nothing else, the pie fight.”rum throw more rum.”
    Pilot Joe

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  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 30, 2010 at 11:59 am

    If Cox fired him, what exactly would be the goon’s grounds for complaint? I’m not getting how his hands are tied at all.

    This McDonald’s thing is another case of “curse them all” — it’s what worried me about the Health Care reform plan in the first place, times 3 when it rattles through smaller employers, but I’m not convinced MickeyD’s had no choice. Rana’s earlier critique of him aside, I’m thinking Henry Ford again: don’t you want to keep your employees healthy enough to keep coming back to work, if not well enough to be buying your greasepatties and carbcups?

    Michael, the line is purported to be in but the consensus is that it’s from his turn in “Ali Baba” (see Falworth article). And it mainly comes from a joke Debbie Reynolds made to boot.

    Oh, and then there’s this —

    I would have thought this was The Onion at work, but it’s true, after 92 years.

    So there’s hope for Afghanistan after all.

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  18. Bob (Not Greene) said on September 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Watched as much as I could of that interview with the Asst AG. Crazy. The kid ought to sue the fucker.

    There’s something not right with that guy. From the stilted speaking to the “well Anderson” to the complete obsession to the lengths to which the guy is going — he’s clearly a card short of a full deck. Yet someone thought he’d make a bang-up assistant attorney general.

    By the way the “private citizen” defense is complete BS. If I did anything like this as a “private citizen” in my life as a lowly reporter/editor I’d be canned immediately.

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  19. adrianne said on September 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    And another county heard from — was very heartened last night at my sons’ back to school night to hear a ringing denunciation of the teen tendency to label all that they hate as “gay.” The conservation teacher has at the top of his class handout an alert that he will not tolerate that language in his classroom. Amen!

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  20. James said on September 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    If you’ve heard about the results of the recent Pew survey on religion in America, now you too can take the quiz. I got 14 out of 15.

    I should have got them all, but, heck, I’m an atheist.

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  21. Deborah said on September 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I just read the link about the kid who killed himself. Really sad, how could you not think it was horrendous to film the guy and broadcast it on the internet? That was way more than a “prank”. Those students deserve to spend some time in jail to think about the consequences of what they did. I realize they’re young, but that was way beyond cruel.

    Maybe I missed a link somewhere, but what are you talking about Jeff (tmmo) regarding McDonalds and healthcare?

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  22. nancy said on September 30, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    James, which question did you miss? I just scored 100 percent, and found it appallingly easy.

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  23. nancy said on September 30, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Has anyone considered that all these moves by companies to alter/restrict/retract health care, moves they are blaming on Obama, are simply opportunistic moves that they’ve found a convenient scapegoat for? I mean, did anyone think their rates would stay FLAT this year, contrary to, oh, every other year of the last 30? Please.

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  24. John said on September 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Me too (15/15) Nancy. But then again, staying current with world events require more than a passing knowledge of the world’s religions.

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  25. 4dbirds said on September 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    And did you see the ‘health care insurance’ Mickey Ds is offering? Their best policy has an annual limit of 10K. One sick kid will use that up in nothing flat. I can’t believe the new health care law is so onerous that Mickey Ds will have to stop offering that piece of crap. I’m with Nancy, they are looking for any excuse to drop it. We need a public paid national plan. Medicare for all is what I say.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on September 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    James, atheists scored higher on the poll than most who claim faith. Regular church attendance and education level didn’t help much either. As a religious studies major all 15 were easy, but if you didn’t know much about world religions you might have problems.

    Alex, from what I’ve heard Don Willis was the sole bankroll of his now-defunct private school for what–five years or so. And I don’t think Matt Kelty has paid his loans either. With Parkview moving north Forest Park Boulevard homes will plummet in value. Fortunately he has his charter school rent scam working, so he can continue to destroy FWCS.

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  27. JayZ(the original) said on September 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    James, the atheists/agnostics scored better than any of the Christian groups.

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  28. 4dbirds said on September 30, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    14 out of 15 and I’m an athiest too. Didn’t know Nirvana.

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  29. Jolene said on September 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I had the same question re Jeff’s comment, Deborah. Did I miss an earlier conversation?

    I got 14/15 on the Pew poll too. Missed the question re Nirvana, as I wasn’t exactly clear on Hindu vs. Buddhist views of suffering, but, yeah, it was easy, and I should have gotten that one right too.

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  30. Jeff Borden said on September 30, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I also scored 100%, but will admit I guessed at a couple of them. Maybe I should play the lottery?

    The story of that unfortunate young man at Rutgers broke my heart. I’m sure the pranksters never thought he would leap from the George Washington Bridge as a result of their actions, but still. . .it is so deeply creepy to take that much interest in the sexual activity of another student. So, one life ended and two others damaged very badly, not to mention the collateral damage to family and friends of all involved and the stain on Rutgers itself.

    I don’t know what appropriate punishment there is for the perpetrators. Maybe they should be required to work in suicide prevention for a few thousand hours?

    Meanwhile, the Chicago dailies are buzzing that Rahm Emmanuel will sashay back into town to run for mayor with an announcement expected Friday followed by a neighborhood “listening tour.” I am happy to see him leave the White House –I don’t think he did a good job for President Obama and his programs– but not at all thrilled by his entrance into the race. It may also hurt Obama if a consensus black candidate emerges. He’ll be in a tough place when it’s time for endorsements.

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  31. Jolene said on September 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I thought it was a big mistake for Obama to say, over and over, that, if people liked their insurance, they could keep it. He should have been stressing the ever-increasing rates and the rising deductibles and co-pays, so that people would realize the precariousness of their circumstances and the need to begin building a broad-scale public system.

    We are going to be arguing over healthcare for years to come, and we need straight talk about where the costs are and how we can address them.

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  32. Bob (Not Greene) said on September 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    14 out of 15. It was the “when does Sabbath ‘begin’?” question. Reading is a skill.

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  33. LAMary said on September 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    15 out of 15 for me.

    I don’t care if they prankster thought that kid wouldn’t jump off the bridge. They should have thought the prank was stupid and obnoxious. I sound like some old crank but I find junk shows like Punk’d and Jackass that make horrible behavior funny really offensive. While terrible outcomes aren’t shown on the TV show, they do happen in real life and the idiots who imitated something they saw on TV babble that they never thought it would go this far or whatever, someone is dead or seriously hurt.

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  34. Dorothy said on September 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I got number 11 wrong and am kicking myself for that. It was the one about whether a teacher can read from a Bible as an example of literature.

    Clicking on my bookmark for this website and then seeing the title of today’s entry was just a little bit of a shock. We were on vacation for five days and got back late Monday, and I’ve been really busy at work so I haven’t seen much of nn.c for a week. And during that week our son moved out of his girlfriend’s place after spending just four weeks there, and moved in with us. We are all stunned, particularly Megan, because we thought they were destined for marriage after dating for 17 months. (Marriage in a year or more, not sooner than that.) So Nancy’s admonishment to “Calm Down, Dorothy” felt like she was looking in my kitchen window for the last several days.

    He signed a lease on a new apartment and expects to move in next weekend. I’m hoping he’s only temporarily lost his mind and will find his way back to Megan eventually. She owns her own house, is a high school Spanish teacher, an avid reader, lovely to look at and laughs at all of our dumb jokes – she’s the complete package and I fear Josh has done a very stupid thing by telling her he needs to move on.

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  35. Jason T. said on September 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I wrote a letter yesterday to AG Cox, copied it to Gov. Granholm, and I am considering sending copies to the Michigan tourism office and the economic development council, to wit:

    Dear Attorney General Cox:

    I have been reading, with increasing dismay, about Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell and his unconscionable attack on a student at the University of Michigan.

    Mr. Shirvell needs to be fired or otherwise removed from duty. He is not worthy of representing the criminal justice system in the State of Michigan, and is doing immeasurable harm to respect for the laws of the State of Michigan, and to the reputation of the State of Michigan itself.

    Attorney Shirvell isn’t just a random Internet crank. He’s a law-enforcement officer with significant authority, sworn to uphold the laws of the State of Michigan. Whether he’s blogging on his personal time isn’t the point, just as it wouldn’t matter if he were a police officer who threatened people although he was off-duty.

    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has an “official oppression” statute which makes it a second-degree misdemeanor for a law-enforcement officer, in the performance of his or her duties, to subject someone “to arrest, detention, search, seizure, mistreatment, dispossession, assessment, lien or other infringement of personal or property rights; or (2) denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power or immunity.”

    I have no idea if Michigan has a similar law, but I have to assume you do. I do know that if Mr. Shirvell were harassing someone in Pennsylvania as he’s harassing this young man at the U of M, an excellent case could be made that Mr. Shirvell is acting under the color of official authority and both mistreating the victim, and trying to impede his right to education at the U of M.

    Very truly yours,

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  36. paddyo' said on September 30, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    What Jolene @ 31 said . . .

    15 of 15 for this former Roman Catholic seminarian (age 14-19), but I haven’t been a “practicing Catholic” (“How come you guys are always practicing? When’s it for real?”) since the Carter administration.

    But really, none of this stuff (except maybe the questions about commandments and that longsuffering Bible character) has much, if anything, to do with religiosity or religious background. It’s just, well, basic information an informed citizen in a pluralistic society ought to know.

    Oh, wait, I forgot — we seem these days to be pluralistic about religion in name only. Any basic info among rank-and-file Americans about beliefs other than Christian is . . . well . . . so, ohmigod, FOREIGN. Get thee behind me, all you non-Christian Satans!

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  37. Peter said on September 30, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Dorothy, I got no. 11 wrong as well – I thought they repeated question no . 10 – the wording’s similar, and I thought that perhaps they repeated the question because I didn’t respond properly. And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Jeff, don’t worry about Rahm. This is all playing into my theory that Oprah will be the next mayor.

    And for Mr. Shirvell – girl, you just have to chill! Maybe you need an intervention from a neutral source – say Bravo. (Come to think of it, Real Housewives of Ann Arbor would be one interesting show).

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  38. Julie Robinson said on September 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Dorothy, I almost asked about you earlier, because it seemed like a while since you’d been around. Glad you had a vacation before facing that. Just no ‘splaining the things our kids do, is there?

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  39. MarkH said on September 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    “Sweet Smell of Success” is definitely best of the Curtis films, his best performance as well. He made three films with Lancaster.

    But don’t forget “The Defiant Ones” (he insisted Poitier get equal billing in ’58), “The Boston Strangler”, a little gem from ’57 called “The Midnight Story”, and ok, “Spartacus”. “The Outsider” could have been a much better film without his reckless miscasting as Native American Ira Hayes. “Johnny Dark” was a guilty pleasure only because of the ’50s race cars.

    Oh, and Jeff(tmmo) and MichaelG, the film with the immortal “father’s castle” line is “The Prince Who Was A Thief”, 1951. Robert Taylor was Ivanhoe.

    “Some Like It Hot” was great, of course, but nothing without Lemmon, Monroe and Joe E. Brown.

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  40. MarkH said on September 30, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    14 of 15 on the test here, too. Missed the Jewish sabbath. Oy.

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  41. LAMary said on September 30, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Equal to that Tony Curtis quote is Virginia Mayo in King Richard and the Crusaders saying, ” War war war. That’s all you think about, Dickie Plantagenet.”

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  42. Bob (Not Greene) said on September 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    By the way, an example of “The Sweet Smell of Success” awesomeness.

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  43. James said on September 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm


    The quiz question I screwed up was the Jewish sabbath. I knew it was sunset on Friday, but marked Saturday for some reason. What can I say. I’m a bad Jew.

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  44. MichaelG said on September 30, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Fifteen for this recovering Catholic.

    It’s been a long time since I saw “Ivanhoe” or “Black Shield”. I wonder how I came to believe in the castle line. Funny how the mind works.

    I was unable to see the Shervill clip. Our lovely IT people dropped a large wet blanket of a filter over our internet access. Now there’s all kinds of stuff that we can’t access. It seems random. I don’t know how they choose what to block. I sure they think they have a system. It’s a pain in the patoot.

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  45. Dorothy said on September 30, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Why have I never seen “The Sweet Smell of Success”!?!? Thanks for the clip, Bob – I’ll be watching for it on TCM soon.

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  46. Pam said on September 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Well, I didn’t do as well as the rest of you. I got 13 out of 15 in the religion survey, missed the Jewish Sabbath and the last one about the First something or other that I never heard of. I saw that Shirvell idiot on Anderson Cooper. There is something really wrong with him – autistic, definitely, definitely! Probably gay himself – oh, for sure! He needs to be fired. Jason, keep writing those letters!

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  47. 4dbirds said on September 30, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I feel for you Dorothy. Our son and his wife are separated and headed for divorce. I adore her and hope I can stay her friend.

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  48. Rana said on September 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    15/15 from this UU pantheist.

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  49. Bob (Not Greene) said on September 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Dorothy, you HAVE to see that movie. It is only spectacular. Also, it gives you a look at 52nd Street in New York at its very end as Swing Street. It was a sorry end, to be sure. Burt Lancaster is stunningly good, and Tony Curtis? I don’t think he ever did anything better.

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  50. MarkH said on September 30, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    So sorry to hear, Dorothy. I guess this means that Josh’s house deal is a no/go?

    You’ll enjoy “…Success”. Very dark; it will suck you right in. EDIT: As BobNG (and Nancy) said.

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  51. Jeff Borden said on September 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Great dialogue throughout “Sweet Smell of Success.” When we were both still smoking cigarettes, my wife would put a cigarette in her mouth and repeat the J.J. Hunsecker line: “Match me, Sidney.” I preferred J.J.’s assessment of the Falco character: “You’re a cookie full of arsenic.”

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  52. brian stouder said on September 30, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Well, today at about 10:15 am, an Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) inspector blew in the door at my workplace, and the receptionist summoned me, since I’m on the Safety Committee.

    Four and a half uninterrupted hours later, we were finished with our front-to-back safety inspection of the facility*. I must be getting old, because my legs were complaining a little, and my lower back said “hello” when I got in the car (at about 3:15) to go grab a bite to eat.

    Anyway, I just took the religion quizz, and I scored an 11 – or 73%, or a 2.0, or a flat C.

    What the hell, eh?

    *At the risk of jinxing it, I think things went well. Honestly, it took me a few minutes to decide whether I thought the guy was genuinely an IOSHA inspector, or just a foot-in-the-door salesman. We have never had such an inspector come around before, although our own safety committee has worked for years to implement comprehensive safety training and awareness.

    And indeed, it was interesting, as we went all around the warehouses and manufacturing areas, to see how people craned their necks and fixed their gaze, as “the word” spread, and the fellow with the IOSHA emblem enblazoned on his polo shirt came toward their areas.

    It represented…something, in microcosm (I think).

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  53. brian stouder said on September 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Coozledad ALERT!! Coozledad ALERT!!

    Here’s one fired-up United States postal Service mail carrier.

    …neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed

    (This happened to a mail carrier today in Fort Wayne; she’s fine, and believes that most of the mail made it out)

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  54. beb said on September 30, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Jeff UMMO @17 : The think to remember is that Mike Cox is a Republican playa. He’s not going to cross the party by firing a gay-hater. If he could harass gays himself, he would. Cox has confressed to having an affair, and after finding nothing to see in the allegations that disgraced ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had had a loud party at the mayoral mansion that ended with his wife beating up a stripper (who later was murdered) it turns out witnesses placed Cox AT the party.

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  55. Dorothy said on September 30, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Mark – yes the house deal fell through back in August. The bank just dragged it’s feet (can a bank do that?!) and eventually they got a higher offer and Josh’s offer expired. They continued to look at other places, but he had to move out of his apartment at the end of August because the landlord rented it to someone else. So he moved in with Meg, and apparently that’s when Josh started to question his desire to get married. You all might recall that three years ago his then-fiance broke up with him because she was unhappy in Columbus and missed her family in Cincinnati. We loved her too, until we heard she got drunk and slept with a virtual stranger three days after she broke up with Josh, so that made it easier to dislike her pretty quickly (after we got over the shock). I’m trying not to dwell on it too much – life goes on. I just hope Meg is okay. I know this pretty much blindsided her.

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  56. Dorothy said on September 30, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    And by the way, Tony Curtis’s obit in the NYTimes says he never spoke that line about “yonda etc” in a movie:

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  57. brian stouder said on September 30, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Dorothy, Pam and I are still tick-tick-ticking up the first big hill of the emotional roller coaster ride that is unfolding for our 15 year old son and 12 (going on 22) year old daughter. I know things will change radically, all too soon. Keep an even strain, and please pass along any insights that come your way.

    Jeff tmmo, great article. But the last couple sentences are totally politically incorrect; the flying monkeys of the rightwing airwaves will ALL tell you that “Keynsian economics” is a sham and a fraud and a flat failure; JM Keynes didn’t know dick, doncha know?

    The principal representative of the British Treasury at the Paris Peace Conference, John Maynard Keynes, resigned in June 1919 in protest at the scale of the demands. “Germany will not be able to formulate correct policy if it cannot finance itself,’ he warned. When the Wall Street Crash came in 1929, the Weimar Republic spiralled into debt. Four years later, Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany.

    Edit: as I sit here playing free cell (badly) and with the city and county police radio streaming over the internet, I just heard a radio call I’ve never heard before. The call – for which there was no code, is that there is a horse and buggy proceeding down the road, with no driver…

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  58. Deborah said on September 30, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Some of you folks have commented about your off-spring’s breaking up with their significant-other/spouse and you are going through pain because of it, please allow me to offer another perspective: When I left my first marriage my right wing family sided with my right wing ex and very clearly let me know it. I know your circumstances are varied and different but I was devastated that my family abandoned me, they had no idea what the details of my life were like because I hid it from them out of shame and embarrassment. You can’t always know why your kids do what they do, but they are experiencing their lives first hand, and you are not. Let them know you love them and support them as I’m sure you do. I went through hell, one of the reasons my hair turned white so early, I’m convinced.

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  59. Kirk said on September 30, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    And getting divorced after about 20 years of marriage to her first husband was the best thing that ever happened to my sister, now remarried about 12 years and happier than ever.

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  60. Deborah said on September 30, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Kirk, I can so relate to that, I was married for 15 years before I called it quits. My current husband and I celebrated our 10th last week and we were together for 10 years before that. So things can get better and do work out.

    edit: by current I mean second, it sounds like I have a whole passel of them.

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  61. MarkH said on October 1, 2010 at 12:36 am

    OK. So after Dorothy’s admonishment, I tore into this “what Tony Curtis said in whatever movie” thing.

    Most internet bios of Curtis claim he never said the line in question, as Dorothy found in the NYT. And certainly not in the movie I mentioned to Jeff and MichaelG, “The Prince Who Was a Thief”. But it has been variously attributed to him in that film, as well as “The Black Shield of Falworth”, and “Son of Ali Baba”. However, while not those exact words, it was in the latter film that he did say the following: “This is the palace of my father and yonder lies the valley of the Sun”. And yes, all in his Brooklyn/Bronx/whatever accent. Wiki summarizes it here:

    Youtube has only this four minute clip of Ali Baba without the famous line. But it will give you an idea of how Curtis spoke before speech lessons, with a complete whitebread cast playing arabs. A bit painful to watch with all the bad acting, but a hoot if you can stick with it.

    Aren’t you thrilled to know all this?

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  62. Dexter said on October 1, 2010 at 12:41 am

    My fave Curtis film is “The Vikings”, an independent film from the 1950s. Netflix has it, I saw it first-run in 1958 or thereabouts.
    And I will be damned all to hell! I aced the religion test, almost stumbling on the Jonathan Edwards question, but I made it through 100%.
    I was reared as a Methodist, became a teenage atheist, turned back to Christ in 1993, and now I am coasting along with a private concept of a higher power.
    That test was simple, but definitely was as high as I go on technical details of world religion.
    I did get a spiritual rush every time I visited this Buddha when I was in Vietnam. This is what we affectionately called “The Big Buddha”. It was built in 1963 to commemorate the immolated monks and one nun who also burned herself to death in Saigon protesting the US war involvement.

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  63. Dexter said on October 1, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Thanks for linking David Byrne’s essay, which linked me to “Requiem for Detroit” on YouTube. Damn. That’s some good production there in those video segments.

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  64. Dorothy said on October 1, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Believe me, Deborah, I am not siding with one over another in this situation. We are very supportive to our son, and he’s staying here with very few questions asked. He is sharing only a little bit about the emotions he’s experienced in the last month and i can only speculate that much of it reminded him of what he went through three years ago when he and his fiance were living together and then broke up. He’s a smart, funny kid and I love him fiercely and I trust him, too. It’s just going to be difficult to let go of Megan, whom we were just crazy about. She was already like another daughter. I know time will be a great boon to our feelings and I’m reminding myself of that over and over.

    I know it’s important to acknowledge his feelings and his situation, but I can’t deny my own feelings as well or push them away and pretend they don’t exist. That would be terribly unhealthy. I’m pretty sure I’m close to a balance of some sort but it’s been a tough week for sure.

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