Catching up.

You know how being sick with a subclinical malaise is — you feel fine until, all of a sudden, you feel awful. That’s me today. Let’s see how far fine can take me this morning.

As for my comments about “Winter’s Bone,” I keep coming back to a minor thread of the story — the main character, a 17-year-old girl, and her intention to join the army. The film is the story of this girl, Ree Dolly, and her quest to find her father, dead or alive. Charged with cooking meth, he bailed himself out by putting their house up for part of his bond. Now missing and presumed a fugitive, the family is days away from losing everything. And they don’t have much to lose. The Dolly family — Ree, her mentally ill, nearly catatonic mother and two young siblings — lives at the edge of the edge, in the Missouri Ozarks, in the sort of grinding, rural poverty where a neighbor stopping by with some venison and a few potatoes is the difference between being hungry that night or not. Career options seem to be limited to cooking meth or touring beautiful Fallujah. Ree’s inclination toward the service is covered in only a few lines, but it stuck with me.

She’s certainly qualified, with an interior toughness that you get only after years of the sort of things we see in the movie – poverty, criminal activity, an insular rural culture where women bond with men for the same protection it afforded Neanderthals, then learn to never, ever open their mouths. About anything. I’d hire her to be an army of one. And while I know that the armed service has always been a step into a sort of stability for exactly this level of society, it’s impossible not to think about our current military adventures overseas and think Ree might be no worse off dealing crank.

I was strongly reminded of Annie Proulx’s short story, ‘Tits-up in a Ditch,” two years old but surely in an anthology somewhere by now (and, for you New Yorker subscribers, in the digital edition), another story of just how hard hardscrabble can be.

Anyway, I had a late dissenter in Monday’s thread, calling “Winter’s Bone” a whole lot of wannabe Cormac McCarthy. I see the criticism, but I disagree, or rather, I don’t find wannabe-McCarthy enough of a charge to make it not worth your time. The story is smart about so much, and, like “Frozen River,” has the sense to show far more than it tells, and trust its audience to figure it out. There are some wonderful supporting performances, especially by John Hawkes and Dale Dickey, both of whom could have been cast on bone structure alone, but follow it up by actually climbing inside the skins of their characters. A truly haunting film.

And now I am racked with a coughing spasm. Looks like awful is just around the corner, so let’s get some bloggage out of the way, shall we?

Sarah Palin’s career as an economic policy critic, cut tragically short. Not that anyone would dare to tell her so.

Speaking of Alaska, Anne Applebaum makes a few points:

For whatever the reason, the hypocrisy at the heart of the (Republican) party – and at the heart of American politics – is at its starkest in Alaska. For decades, Alaskans have lived off federal welfare. Taxpayers’ money subsidizes everything from Alaska’s roads and bridges to its myriad programs for Native Americans. Federal funding accounts for one-third of Alaskan jobs. Nevertheless, Alaskans love to think of themselves as the last frontiersmen, the inhabitants of a land “beyond the horizon of urban clutter,” a state with no use for Washington and its wicked ways.


And speaking of monetary policy, as someone who used to host a radio show where I heard from insane Fed-bashers on a regular basis, I was interested to read Bethany McLean’s explainer on how Fed-bashing has gone mainstream, in Slate.

Irresistible headline, funny column: For black men who have considered homicide after watching another Tyler Perry movie. Via Hank.

And because monetary policy isn’t all we’re about here, some pop-cult — JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, via Roy. I see strong correlations with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, i.e., a retro soul band with four white hipsters in the back row, playing in their stingy-brim fedoras, etc., with an ol’ skool African American vocalist out front. If anyone can name a third, I’m calling trendsies. Nevertheless, “Baltimore is the New Brooklyn” is quite the toe-tapper:

Finally, for those who weren’t paying attention in the comments yesterday, a note from MMJeff:

You’ve said it before, but your readers are truly awesome people; yesterday I learned from our LCCH staff that they wanted to know what “Nancy Nall” was or who she was, because through the link on the website we’d gotten a couple of donations that noted your name as the reason for the giving, and also a “Jeff.” A third is inexplicable and distant-ish (New Jersey) and may well fit with the other two.

Anyhow, I told them, and told them I’d thank you “personally” for the venue and the opportunity; I also took the liberty of posting a news story at the thread yesterday with general thanks. Your kind words a few days ago have spurred some help our way, and direct donations are very appreciated by our service coordinators because that big hunk o’ HUD money comes with a million strings on it — we love it, and would close (many of our units, anyhow) without it, but there’s no room for creative problem solving and social worker skills. You fill out the forms, you work the process, you turn the crank and out comes the sausage.

The $35,000 we raise is small next to our $1.2 million total annual budget, but it represents so much more than that, to the staff and those they can do useful, interesting, and cool things for. A few weeks ago, they bought some nice shoes for a woman who got a good outfit for a job interview, and the service coordinator decided her self-confidence needed some rocking heels with the donated clothes. Federal dollars cannot be used to buy rocking heels, apparently; “local” fundraising can.

Again, thanks! I come for the recipes, not the fundraising (and a little provocation, occasionally), but this was just so unexpected, and so timely. And you may have picked up a few more readers from the Newark OH area in our offices at the Coalition.

This has happened before, with other worthy causes. You guys? You are the best. Srsly.

OK, off to shower and Wayne State, there to spread my germs around campus. Which may well be where they originated, for all I know.

Posted at 9:51 am in Current events, Movies, Popculch |

64 responses to “Catching up.”

  1. John D said on November 10, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I haven’t seen Winter’s Bone yet but did read the book by Daniel Woodrell when it came out. Anyone who’s followed Woodrell’s career might call Cormac McCarthy a pale imitator of Woodrell. His “The Death of Sweet Mister” is so real I dare you to not be moved and disturbed by it. Do yourself a favor and check his previous work out.

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  2. Sue said on November 10, 2010 at 10:49 am

    What got me about Sarah’s speech wasn’t that it was her usual masterful job, but that no one finds it odd that she’s making speeches to organizations like the “Specialty Tools and Fasteners Distributors Association”.
    I know it’s the bucks that count, but myohmy, this strikes me as an end-of-career thing, like when Styx appeared at the Washington County Fair a few years back. This is our next president?
    And speaking of unappreciated Federal largesse, the fallout has already started in what I like to call the “Great Wisconsin Brain Fart of 2010”. The people who elected the Republican Governor and Senator, the candidates who promised to work together to kill the federally-funded rail plan, are angry that the feds are probably going to transfer the funds to a state that wants them. How dare they take it away when Wisconsin can use the money for roads! The Lieutenant Governor said we didn’t need the rail expansion (part of a several-state plan) because she’s a mom and she has a minivan! No folks … it’s funding for rail, there are other states willing to take it, so away it will go. And the people are outraged at the gall of the Feds.

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  3. prospero said on November 10, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I read Anne Applebaum’s columns regularly, because she’s very bright,analytical, exudes reasonability and common sense, and is a fairly elegant writer. What she is most certainly not, by any stretch of imagination, is a liberal. I mean, politically and on policy, she generally comes across more aligned with responsible Republican dinosaurs the party has no use for anymore, like Richard Lugar. So, take a look at some of the vituperative comments. “Knee-jerk” is definitely not for liberals anymore.

    I’ve seen both Winter’s Bone and Frozen River, riveted by both and wouldn’t choose between them (except for a strong favorable bias for Melissa Leo going back to Homicide). Comparing a movie to Cormac McCarthy? I would take that to mean “as interpreted by the Coens, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Woody Harrelson, which is not particularly odious, as comparisons are frequently, but sort of superfluous and silly. How about John Hillcoat’s version of Cormac? Without engrossing performances by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee, this would have been seriously, not mildly, disappointing.

    Anyway, 25 or so years ago, there was another movie that achieved the same sort of fiction verite as these efforts, about life on the marginalized edge of society–At Close Range, with top-of-their-games performances by Sean Penn and Cristopher Walken. If you like Winter’s Bone and Frozen River, it’s worth two hours. (And, it’s got Mary Stuart Masterson.)

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  4. basset said on November 10, 2010 at 11:34 am

    We didn’t grow up “hardscrabble,” but several of my classmates went to the military after high school because that was their only possible path to college. Didn’t follow that route myself, but I did take seven years to get through IU on the take eight hours and work two or three part-time jobs, drop out, and come back plan.

    that Styx reference reminds me of a comment about Creedence Clearwater Revisited:

    “Where are they playing? Anywhere with a Ferris wheel!”

    hey, it’s a paycheck.

    I remember seeing Styx back when John Curulewski was still in the band, it’s been awhile.

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  5. Susan said on November 10, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Winter’s Bone was wonderful. I live in eastern Oklahoma and have visited neighborhoods, homes, and families exactly like the Dollys and their neighbors in the course of my job as a rural public health nurse.

    My maternal grandfather (b. 1895) grew up in the area of SW Missouri where the story takes place and the movie was filmed. He and his siblings all got the heck out of there between 1910 and 1920–it was a tough place to make a go of it back then and it hasn’t really gotten any better in the intervening century.

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  6. nancy said on November 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I guess that’s what I’m struck by — how these places are off the grid and stay off the grid, no matter how much the rest of the country progresses, and how difficult it is to earn a living there, no matter what you do.

    Coming home from Up North a few years ago, we decided to take a back road for a while — a two-laner that ran parallel to I-75. I was struck by how many towns we went through that were covered with yellow ribbons and various other support-the-troops signage and buntings. I was ashamed at how easily I could forget the war was even going on, living in the Detroit suburbs. While there are certainly Grosse Pointe kids serving, there are far, far fewer, proportionally, than there are in places like Roscommon and other little Michigan towns. The light industry is gone, tourism is seasonal and a little town only needs so many pharmacists, doctors and lawyers.

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  7. 4dbirds said on November 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Susan, my parents also. Born and raised in North Central Missouri, they left during WWII and never wanted to go back to make a living. My mother lives there now but as a comfortable pensioner. I looked on and found some of my Dad’s enlistment paperwork. He was 5’9″ and weighed 118 pounds. He said one Christmas the only present he received were some new straps for his hook-on ice skates. The army was freedom for my parents.

    When I joined, it was the family profession.

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  8. A.Riley said on November 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Little towns like the ones along the old highway are tough for any kid who doesn’t have a family business to step into and doesn’t have the money to go to college. Back when I was in that spot, there was lots and lots of scholarship money sloshing around for smart poor kids — no more. Or you could get a job on the assembly line and make some money — that’s not happening either. What’s left? The service.

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  9. A.Riley said on November 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    But anyway. A question for all you midwestern classic rockers out there. There was a band out of Hammond in say ’71, ’72, that had a *hot* horn section and one or two top-forty hits. If I remember right, the band had a one-word name, might have been the surname of a member.

    Ring a bell with anyone?

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  10. Rana said on November 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    One of the very few things I’ve felt sympathy for Sarah Palin on was the way her regional background was mocked (particularly her accent). I’m a Westerner myself, albeit of the suburban coastal variety, and my professional work involves studying and teaching the history of the region. Alaska is the American West on steroids, between the frontier pioneer stuff, the love-hate relationship with the federal government, the reliance on extractive industries like oil, fishing and timber, the significant population of native peoples, and so on. Of course, the irony is that there’s another state that’s also, in other ways, a heightened version of the West, in its later incarnations (diverse population, tourism-based, technology-based, liberal).

    That state would be Hawai’i.

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  11. LAMary said on November 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    A. Riley, I just looked at the Billboard top 100 for 71,72,73 and 74. I didn’t see anything that looked like what you describe but I did notw how many really crappy songs were around in the seventies. Especialy 73 and 74. Some great ones too but please, Clap for the Wolfman? Ugh.

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  12. Linda said on November 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    The only band I can think of that fits that description was Chase, a sort of jazz pop fusion group that had a hit or two, and then in 1974 most the members died in a plane crash. But I found no ties to Hammond, Ind. there.

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  13. alex said on November 10, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    A Riley–


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  14. nancy said on November 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    By the way, this is for Dexter, who I think was wondering who did the theme song for “Boardwalk Empire” — it’s a band called Brian Jonestown Massacre (great name), and the song is called “Straight Up and Down.”

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  15. A.Riley said on November 10, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Chase!!! That was it!!! Thanks!

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  16. adrianne said on November 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Sue, the governor-elect of my blue state, New York, has already appealed to the feds to get that Wisconsin money to the Empire State for high-speed rail. We’ll take it!

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  17. Linda said on November 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I guess he can take Ohio’s money, too, since our governor-elect doesn’t want our high-speed rail money.

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  18. nancy said on November 10, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I believe our governor-elect is similarly disinclined to that crazy talk about fast trains. Open that purse wider, New York.

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  19. Bob (not Greene) said on November 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Speaking of early 1970s music, they probably had these all over the country, but here in Chicago it was a ritual to head down to the local record shop and pick up one of these every week. WLS and WCFL (Super CFL!) were the AM pop music giants back then. Now they are, respectively, the home to Rush Limbaugh and ESPN radio. Boo.

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  20. Sue said on November 10, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I always thought it was interesting that a rock and roll station like WCFL was owned or operated, somehow controlled anyway, by the Chicago Federation of Labor (the ‘CFL’ in WCFL). In the 60’s and 70’s most old time union guys weren’t keen on those hippies and their hippie music.

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  21. LAMary said on November 10, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    We’ll take some of that high speed rail money here in CA. Send it our way.

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  22. John said on November 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Bob NG,

    OMG Thanks for the Hit Parade! I remember that period distinctly and have been trying to recall the song “Sweet Mary” for years now. My Day Has Been Made!

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  23. Dexter said on November 10, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I gotta see this movie pronto. My grandson who was very unhappy living these past few years in Las Vegas with his mom and her second husband has just joined the army. He couldn’t wait to get away from Nevada. He passed his physical in Salt Lake yesterday, flew back to Las Vegas to say goodbye to mom and caught a redeye for Detroit Metro. He’s with his dad in Toledo now until he reports to the army in April.
    His mom is a nurse practitioner and years ago I was an army medic. He signed up to be a medic.
    But I know the whole thing is this: he joined the army to get the hell outta Vegas forever. Know what freaked him out the most? That community of people who live in the sewers a level below Las Vegas streets. I also feel he wanted his experimentation with drugs to take a U-turn. At least he’s clean now.
    MichaelG: 40 years ago today, brother, that old rickety TWA 707 set me down in steamy Vietnam. Forty years? Damn. Gettin’ along, I am! 🙂
    Happy birthday to the US Marine Corp. 235 years old. To my Marine friends, enjoy your cake. You earned it, Marines.

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  24. Sue said on November 10, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    John and BobNG: on the other hand, “Watching Scott Grow”. ***shudder***

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  25. bobolink said on November 10, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    my parents built their first house together and had the bedrooms situated so that the master was in the middle, the better to hear the babies. Not so great when replaced by stereo WLS and WCFL!

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  26. Bob (not Greene) said on November 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I always remembered WCFL to be the “cooler” of the two stations when they were battling it out with WLS for AM pop supremacy. That all ended when WCFL killed the pop format for old-fart music. By then I think I was listening to that strange land known as FM — WXRT in its heyday — and discovered the blues. Aren’t I just fascinating?

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  27. MarkH said on November 10, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Sue @20 — Radio is only about money. It has ever and will ever, be thus. Especially now with all the Clear Channels of the world. Hence, all the homogenized formats of today and the resulting success of satellite. Even a truly independent operator, like Bill Mnich with WMNI in Columbus (last of his kind), would tinker with formats he disliked on his FM station. Even had an all-disco format for most of 1979. I was there as its only ad salesman and made very good money for a very brief time.

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  28. Courtney said on November 10, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    thanks for the movie recommendation – I missed Monday’s post but will go back and read it and the comments – I’ve been eager to watch Winter’s Bone but haven’t yet. I think the line “Just how hard hardscrabble can be” is brilliant.

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  29. Bob (not Greene) said on November 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    MarkH, that was a hard lesson for a young teen like myself to learn back in the day. At one time there was an FM station in Chicago called WDAI, that played rock ‘n’ roll and which was one of my regular stops. Overnight they became “Disco DAI”. Outrage, I tell you, outrage.

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  30. Sue said on November 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    As I recall, for a time ‘The Fox’ was the go-to station for Northwest Suburbanites in the know.

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  31. LAMary said on November 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Off topic. Did someone post this already?

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  32. bobolink said on November 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    we all loved larry lujack, wasn’t he WLS? CFL was definitely for the cooler kids. I just weren’t one … even then!

    I feel the need to edit to inform of intentional grammar-itis, still new here and not confident of the audience.

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  33. MarkH said on November 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    A. Riley and Linda – Further on Bill Chase.

    Quite the musician, really, with a solid big band background, got it honest through his musical family. Worked with Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, others. He and three of his band members died when his chartered plane crashed, oddly, the day Nixon resigned. Here’s his story:

    And, I found this live version of his hit (May 1971), “Get It On”, done in 1974.

    Initially, I had Chase confused with The Ides of March’s “Vehicle”.

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  34. MichaelG said on November 10, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Happy anniv, Dexter. The good plane ride was the one headed back this way. We called the airplane a seven-0-fast. We were young then.

    I remember WLS from High School. Dick Biondi and others whom I forget. I graduated in ’62.

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  35. Sue said on November 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I’m surprised none of this bunch brought up this anniversary:

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  36. brian stouder said on November 10, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    still new here and not con­fi­dent of the audi­ence.

    Bah; you’re doin’ fine!

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  37. Bob (not Greene) said on November 10, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    The Ides! Those guys were from my hometown and Jim Peterik married the girl across the street from us. I went to their “farewell” concert in the Morton West gym back in, what, 1973? Now they play all the time around here at outdoor fests and such. One of their horn players has an upholstery business in one of the towns I cover. Fascinating, I know.

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  38. Catherine said on November 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Loved the Hillary interview, but then I am one of the few who never found her less than charming.

    Has anyone else been reading “A Secret Gift,” by Ted Gup? He’s a former WaPo journalist who discovered a stash of letters written to his grandfather in Canton OH during the Great Depression. The GF had anonomously offered small cash gifts to families or individuals in need, asking only for a letter describing their true circumstances. He responded to 150 of the letter writers with $5 gifts (about $100 in 1933 dollars). The book reproduces a number of the letters, and traces the fates of the letter writers and their families to the present day. It also was the impetus for Gup to find out his grandfather’s true story, as well.

    I am about halfway through, and I’m so struck by the contrasts between then and now, socially, economically and emotionally. It was definitely a much more stoic and self-disciplined bunch back then. And, the social safety net we now enjoy, for all its holes, really does cushion us all. Personally I find it a call to stop complaining, be grateful, and see that small gifts and gestures can truly have big impacts. If I’m making it sound too self-help-y, it’s not — actually just a fine piece of journalism.

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  39. Mark P. said on November 10, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    LAMary – what the hell is it with republicans? Whether you really like Hillary or Bill or even Barack, you gotta admit they outclass any republican I can think of that was within spitting (Did I hit “p”? I meant “h”.) distance of the White House.

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  40. LAMary said on November 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Mark, they’re all elitists. If Hillary would just start dropping her Gs everything would be cool.
    She seems so relaxed and comfortable with herself in that interview. I think that’s great.

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  41. moe99 said on November 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I was not a Hillary supporter, but I thought that interview was great! She’s someone I’d like to have a beer with.

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  42. Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    The high-speed rail dollars being spurned by the boneheads in Wisconsin and Ohio are most welcome here in Illinois, where Chicago remains a viable if underutilized passenger rail hub. It’s long past time for these big talkers to live with the consequences of their words. And that goes double to the douche bag governor of New Jersey, who killed the largest public infrastructure project in the country when he put the shiv to a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, a project that would have employed 6,000 and created an estimated 40,000 new jobs when it was completed. The current tunnel is nearly 100 years old and carries only two tracks, but Christie apparently sees himself as presidential timber in 2012, so it was important he burnish his asshole credentials for a primary run by killing a public project.

    I’ve never completely understood the Republican love of interstate highways or, conversely, the near universal loathing of rail travel. Maybe it’s because the party draws it greatest strengths from rural and suburban areas, where the car is king? Or, maybe it’s just a good, old GOP “fuck you” to urbanites, since we’re the most likely to use trains?

    The latest episode of SheWho centers on her attacks on a new school initiative in Pennsylvania to cut down on fatty, sugary foods. These guidelines include limiting the numbers of classroom birthday parties and encouraging parents to bring more nutritious treats than the usual cookies, candies, cakes and brownies. Anyone looking at the burgeoning waist lines of American kids recognizes something has to change. Even the Pentagon is talking about overweight youth as a significant national defense issue as so many of these rotund kids cannot pass the basic strength and conditioning drills required of a recruit.

    But ol’ Mama Malaprop is gonna show `em. She’s taking some of here home-baked cookies to Pennsylvania to show the kids the value of laissez-faire government when she makes an appearance there. Atta girl, Snowbilly, atta girl.

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  43. LAMary said on November 10, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I’m sure she’s going to whip up a batch of cookies all by herself. She uses whale blubber instead of butter for her snickerdoodles.
    Regarding Gov. Chris Christie in NJ. He won, or at least Corzine lost, because Corzine’s main issues seemed to be that Christie was fat. Seriously. In NJ, calling someone unfit to be governor because he’s fat is a major mistake. I’m looking forward to Christie’s presidential campaign. Not too fat to govern…

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  44. Jeff Borden said on November 10, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    I was just thinking of the perfect person to write a biography of SheWho. Someone is is just as shallow, just as narcissistic, just as in love with the sepia-toned image of an America that never was, just as willing to trade in pablum and puke for a buck.

    I speak, of course, of Mitch Albom.

    My God, an Albom book on SheWho would reach levels of awfulness so mighty it might tear apart the time-space continuum. But, it would amuse all of us here at NN.C for quite some time, so that’s probably a fair trade.

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  45. coozledad said on November 10, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    LA Mary: I still think “Clap From The Wolfman” would have been a better lyrical conceit.
    I don’t think any musical era is uniformly bad, it’s just the shit that gets promoted.
    The Sarah porn was premature. Before long they’ll be able to get her to star.

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  46. Dorothy said on November 10, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Can I just say that I’ve LOVED “Vehicle” for years and years now?! It’s one of the best songs to play very loudly in the car when I’m in an iffy mood and need a boost. Or if I’m already in a great frame of mind and want to reinforce it.

    And I think Jolene put that Hillary Clinton interview link up yesterday or the day before. She was such a breath of fresh air, I could not stop smiling and laughing along with her and the guys. I hope she runs in 2016.

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  47. MichaelG said on November 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I liked the Hillary interview. She seemed so amazingly accessable.

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  48. Catherine said on November 10, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Jeff B, I really think you’re on to something: Instead of the Bulwer-Lytton writing contest, have a Mitch Albom writing contest. This year’s topic: Sarah Palin. Only problem is finding the judges willing to read the entries…

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  49. Dexter said on November 10, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Sue. I didn’t know any of the doomed, but a lot of the guys were from the Toledo area and that commanded my attention more than a far-off disaster would have.
    I remember all the coverage WJR-AM Detroit and CKLW-AM Windsor, Ontario gave this story. Here is a good clip of the song and a news broadcast by Harry Reasoner.

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  50. Dexter said on November 10, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    So what does one do when his cell is down all day, he finally get the Sprint operator, the operator says the problem is fixed, and calls him back to verify that fact, and as soon as he hangs up, the phone can’t even retrieve voicemail?
    This is twice this year. I thought I could get away from having a land line, but this will not do. Back to the stone age. This sucks.
    Veterans Day tomorrow.–clevel.jpg

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  51. prospero said on November 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Early ’70s? How about pure Motor City? I suppose the difference these days is the UMC talks a good game and sits out elections. Stand -up citizens.

    I know y’all are agnostic on sports, but when the NCAA announces that Cam Newton and his family may have solicited six figures, but unless they got payment or payment in kind, it’s not a violation of NCAA rules? In what universe?. Earlier this season, they made some marginal nobody agent wannabe whose name nobody knows into the focal point in the horrendous violation of AJ Green, and his civil rights, the actual best player in college football, because AJ sold this jamoch a jersey he wore in a bowl game that unquestionably belonged to AJ. Suspended the player for four games and destroyed Georgia’s season.

    Meantime, a bunch of players from Miami, South Carolina, and Alabama got one game suspensions for accepting plane tickets and hotel vouchers to attend a party in South Beach. One game suspended. Is this remotely fair? Georgia once lost scholarships because a football assistant gave a ride to a gymnast coming back to Athens from her mom’s funeral. Sports aside, firness in play how in the GD worlI went to Georgia, transferred from oly Cross when Saders wouldn’t let me take any more English Courses. So I went to UGA and it turned out to be a very good school.

    Registration. First I went to the English Department. They wanted me to take prereqs like classics in translation. I read them in the original in HSAny of you read Greek and Latin? So I walked away and went to the JSchool table. 7:30 am newswriting class, Selectrics. Details described 15 minutes to file after asking questioned. Brutal, effective, rip the paper out of the typewriter. I absolutely loved this Guy was owner of an eceptionally successful weekly, but he was a reporte. Had a guy named Charley Kopp for copy editingand editorialsd some other classes. This equates to some disadvantaged kid getting a grand for a jersey that belonged to him? So how does that not amount to heinous? Florida, MSU and Auburn are in to this up to their asses.

    I never became a reporter, since school. This isn’t sports. But I’d stand by my school, and the Grady School is as good as you good as as you get.
    This transcends sports. Selling personal property on EBay is a more serious offense than extortion or soliciting what amounts to blackmail, a bribe, or whatever?

    Lot’s of you played sports. I was very good at diving and track and swimming. Reasonably good at football. Extremely good in the field at track but I couldn’t hit to save my lifebaseball, but I couldn’t hit to save my life. It’s seriously unfortunate that we’re all supposed to decide its not really acceptable to have been good at sports. My broyjrt Chis was good enough coming from Princeton was good enough to try out, but he d. another brother ecided to be a corporate lawyer.
    Meantime, Nother brother wound up in a very bad accident and I was there. He had a laceration in the middle of his skull. I applied direct pressure with a brand new suede jacket. I’d already lost one brother to leukemia. I was fucked if I’d lose another. Direct pressure.

    I’ve been in several situations where it seemed like lives depended. Pulled a couple of drowning bastards out of drowning. You just kind of do what needs to be done. I once pulled a guy out of a ickup when he looked like a goner, and I kept people that thought thety knew better away from the guy. They would have left him paraplegic.

    I don’t know, I knew he needed to be gotten out of a potentially flammable situation

    It left alone. The guy had 30 or forty brewskis and tipped his truck over. Kinda deserved, and he was a mysoginist jerk that had mistreated a friend of mine. But I saved his life, I’m pretty sure. He had all of the proceeds from a drink and drown in his sideways cab. Cash all over the place. $20s and $50s.

    You’re discussion about backroads and poverty? When I was a little kid, my dad took a job doing pediatrics for a hospital in Appalachia. My parents were unreconstructed liberals. You all like to make fun of Catholics. In the 60’s and 70’s most American Catholics believed in commonweal. So, you/ve really missed the entire thing. During that time, American Catholics were talking about CFM. How Christianity meant watching out for everybody. Everybody. Fucking over East Jerusalem? How do these despicable assholes get away with this. You can say what you like Bibi, but there is international law and you are a despicable lying piece of shit.

    Really, bulldozing in East Jerusalem isn’t breaking the law? It’s international law you assholes, and you are Kiss my ass. Unrecalcitramt criminals. Not your territory and claiming it is is grotesque racism. Defy international law? Why? You are more equal than others? You are treating a group of people in a mote biased fashion than you’ve ever been treated. If it’s not apharteid, how would you characterize it? How would the JDL characterize the murder of Rachek Corrie, Outright murder. They ran her over on purpose, because she pissed them off, because everything they do is just fucking illegal. Who do they think they are? Every action by the IMDF, they murder people. They sure as shit don’t give the slightest consideration to international law. Bibi wants to talk about Jerusalem? He is a flaming liar. Settlementsin Eastern Jerusalem? He is just liang his ass off.

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  52. Deborah said on November 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Can I just say that even though I have nothing to add to the discourse today, the original post by Nancy and the comments have been delightful as usual.

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  53. joodyb said on November 10, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    WCFL was always the cooler station. WLS was strictly top 40 in the true sense of what that meant in the 60s. WCFL had Barney Pip and Ron Britten, the latter of “Subterranean Circus” fame. Jim Runyon was the narrator of the beloved “Chickenman” series, broadcast daily (i think at lunchtime and again at night) on CFL. Subterranean Circus was a Sunday night show that broadcast everything new and “underground” at the time: I first heard John Mayall and Cream and Small Faces there. And then later they followed with the King Biscuit Flour Hour and Dr. Demento. It was a cultural motherlode.

    In re those odd-grouping retro bands, Bruno Mars is doing a sort of alternate universe Little Anthony and the Imperials thing.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Don’t know about CFL being cooler — they were edgier. WLS had Lujack, and John “Records truly is my middle name” Landecker, and Bob Sirott: plenty of cool in a 70’s sort of way.

    When I could, I’d go up to Chicago and walk from the South Shore/IC station up Michigan Avenue to the Stone Container Building, “high atop the downtown Burger King,” and stand in the outer lobby to watch the WLS staff (9th floor? can’t recall) work the microphones. Once in a very great while they’d invite us in to briefly meet the talent and watch them run the board.

    CFL was in Marina City, and I don’t think you could get as close to the on-air studios as WLS would let you.

    Actually, the Thanksgiving/Christmas season always makes me think of Frazier Thomas, Family Classics, and “Hardrock, Cocoa, and Joe” on Garfield Goose, which we’d watch even as we were getting too old to admit to watching that, or Ray Rayner, let alone Bozo. And when Frazier would film his family vacation “In Search of King Arthur” over around England, with the commercial breaks showing a steadily shrinking candle . . . Thomas made an Arthurian of me for the rest of my life.

    Lujack was just a voice in the darkness that from time to time I still hear as I fall asleep decades later.

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  55. alex said on November 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm


    I long for the Catholics of my youth. Unreconstructed liberals all. They even made the UUs and Brethren look like today’s gyrating Pentecostals.

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  56. brian stouder said on November 10, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I’ll watch bleak movies when I tumble into them (any number of them turn up on IFC, and I get hooked in), but I generally won’t intentionally pick one out and watch it.

    Speaking of which, two weeks ago my son and I finally watched Hurt Locker. The movie stayed with me for quite awhile; and just as it was fading, the toner-bomb scare came up – and what did we see on the news, but a person in one of those full-body armored suits just as shown in the movie.

    And Speaking of Hurt Locker, Dexter and all vets – sincerely – thank you. All I have ever done for my country is pay taxes. Women and men like you – who staked all you had or ever would have – you people are the bedrock and the steel of the United States.

    When Dorothy said: one of the best songs to play very loudly in the car when I’m in an iffy mood and need a boost

    the first thing I thought of was Pearl Jam’s Evenflow, or Drifting, or Alive, or even their re-make of Last Kiss, or Black, or Rearview Mirror, or….or the Police and Roxanne (etc etc).

    Or for something from this century, Florence and the Machine just puts me away!

    Last non-sequitur: just got back from Andrew Ross Sorkin’s lecture on our late financial crash, and his book Too Big to Fail. Extremely short synopsis: the talk was surprisingly (to me) well-attended, and was very snappy and informative*. I’m going to add his book’s title to my Christmas list.

    *fun fact for the next time you hear someone grouse about the ‘failed’ stimulus/TARP/bailout. Our current unemployment rate = a bit less than 10%. The best estimate of what our unemplyment rate would be, had their been NO bailout/TARP/stimulus? Approximately 26%. I didn’t know that.

    Sorkin pointed out that in that week in September 2008 when this all came to pass, and Lehman crashed – if no action had been taken Goldman Sachs would have gone down the same week. After Goldman, other major banks would have followed, including (before the end of that week) General Electric. Why GE? Because half that company – which manufactures all manner of things from jet engines to refrigerators – half that company is an investment bank(!)

    After GE’s crash – had it been allowed to come to pass – lots and lots more dominoes were wobbling and ready to fall. The largest franchisee within the McDonald’s empire – comprising hundreds of stores – came within days of being unable to meet payroll. Can you imagine McD’s shuttering hundreds of stores? – We were within days of that coming to pass – because of the specter of major bank failures. More of the striped-suited guys in the glass towers might have lost their jobs, but so would the ladies and gentlemen who flip hamburgers; a jarring bit of news, I thought.

    26% unemployment would have thrown a large Winter’s Bone right into the gears, everywhere.

    But we digress!

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  57. Joe Kobiela said on November 10, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Boogie check, boogie check,oh ah. Animal stories with little tommy, and Gary Burbank on cklw,good times. Buffalo ny last night providence ri tonight and some where around philly Tomorrow, Pilot Joe’s east coast tour.
    Pilot Joe

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  58. Jolene said on November 11, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Thanks for the report on the ARS talk, Brian. I see him on Morning Joe, and he seems very bright. The figures you cite are astounding and, frankly, depressing–not only because they indicate how totally f’ed up things were but also because they reveal the intellectual dishonesty (or, at best, ignorance) about what was done to counter crash.

    Combined with John Boehner’s exaltation of our overly expensive, poorly performing healthcare system, and the Republican opposition to TARP and other anti-recessionary measures constitutes an unforgivable level of counterfactual demagoguery. This really is making me crazy. You’d think people in high places would feel some opposition to tell the truth, but it doesn’t seem so.

    As I’m sure he told you, the ARS book is being made into an HBO movie with what looks like an impressive cast. To be released sometime next year.

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  59. Dexter said on November 11, 2010 at 12:58 am

    Thanks brian, and I yield all veterans accolades to MichaelG who served twice as long or more in Vietnam as I did on my one tour. And to all the other vets or relatives of veterans here at nn.c, I tip my garrison cap to you with thanks.
    The women who stayed home had it really tough, some with kids, some home and lonely, waiting and worrying. That is tough.

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  60. DEdelstein said on November 11, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Apart from Blood Meridian, a (difficult) masterpiece, Cormac McCarthy’s novels don’t–in my view–live up to the hype, and I like Daniel Woodrell’s “Ozark noirs” a hell of a lot more. (I think Winter’s Bone is the best movie of the year, for what it’s worth.) As for NN’s comments about Ree wanting to join the army, she’s dead on. That brief scene reminded me of Joe Bageant’s excellent book, Deer Hunting with Jesus and its long chapter on the Scots-Irish settlers of Virginia, West Virginia, and the Ozarks–the people Lindy England came from. Ol’ Lindy has been demonized by Cheney-Rumsfeld types eager to perpetuate the “few bad apples” myth, and I have come to think of her as less-bright kin to Ree Dolly, an unformed girl from a culture of violence in a culture of more violence who fell under the sway of a slimeball who promised to give her a better life.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 11, 2010 at 7:02 am

    If’en yer curious about Mr. Edelstein’s recommendation, this’ns the way to order it right proper for the proprietress’ benefit:

    (Good book.)

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  62. John said on November 11, 2010 at 7:48 am

    I grew up in southwest Virginia and spent my teenaged years listening to WCFL every night. They were so much cooler than any local station who thought Elvis was still edgy.

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  63. brian stouder said on November 11, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Jolene – ARS talked about the movie a little, at the outset, and everyone was suitably impressed. Somewhere in the discussion, he mentioned something that intrigued me. When he first got his book contract, they wanted 90,000 words – which worried him. He wanted to negotiate that down to 50 or 60 thousand words. As it turned out, his book came in at 180,000 words. What fascinated me was this (surprisingly basic) concept – which has come up a time or two here, amongst the professional writers, about the almighty word count.

    Aside from that, another interesting thing he related was that the head of Lehman Brothers –(whose name I will probably inaccurately report here) Dick Wold(?) – held stock in Lehman worth more than a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000), and in the crash and subsequent dissolution of his firm, he rode that all the way down to $56,000; Sorkin pointed out that clearly, this guy had “skin in the game”. But then he made a larger point – about how the fellow had paid himself hundreds of millions of dollars over the years, and was still personally quite comfortable.

    His loss of a billion dollars was more of “the cherry on top” than his basic stake.

    Sorkin asked the rhetorical question – even if you regulate for the excesses of greed and all the rest, how do you regulate pride? It was an altogether enlightening evening, and I look forward to reading his book, and catching the movie (when it hits the redbox!)

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  64. joodyb said on November 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Joe, Gary’s got a book out. He finished out his career in Cincinnati. WikiP sez his Earl Pitts commentaries are still out there in radio syndication.

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