Starbucks cracker barrel.

I had 30 minutes to spare yesterday in between errands and picking up Kate from school. That’s pretty much the perfect slice of time, if you ask me — not enough to squeeze one last chore in, but plenty of time to drink an eggnog latte at Starbucks and play Angry Birds on the iPhone while eavesdropping on a trio of geezers at the next table. I love eavesdropping, and I love geezers. None of them had iPhones, for one thing, which meant their attention was 100 percent on one another. For another, they were difficult to slot politically and didn’t hate the president, although one had recently been acquainted with the concept of the body man and marveled over it at some length:

“He has one guy whose job it is to carry all his stuff. His handkerchief, his cigarettes, whatever.”

“He’s not still smoking, is he?”

“I’m pretty sure he is, yeah. Guy carries his cigarettes and a lighter. He also plays basketball with the president whenever he’s asked. Now that’s a job.”

They also discussed the proliferation of crappy — i.e., benefit-free — jobs in recent years, and suggested it wasn’t good for the region as a whole, all those people not making enough and still having to pay their own medical bills and/or insurance. They discussed Alan Trammell, who had just passed through with his agent. And then they switched to Donald Trump, whom all agreed would be an excellent choice to rebuild New Orleans. I concentrated extra-hard on Angry Birds and reminded myself that eavesdropping is its own reward. I tried to imagine a New Orleans by Donald Trump’s design team. Then I tried to remember if I’ve ever seen a picture of him smiling, as he seems to have trademarked the Trump Scowl, which he wears 24/7 — it’s his brand. MogulFace. I couldn’t remember, but, as always, Professor Google could. Good lord, how many swirls is that combover making these days?

And then the latte was gone, I’d advanced several levels in Angry Birds and it was time to pick up the kid. A big night last night — the holiday instrumental-music concert. As always, my own personal rule of seating prevailed, i.e., whichever seat I choose, my child will be as far away as possible, foiling photo ops. Behold:

I’m so glad her hair is purple — otherwise I could never pick her out.

“Mission: Impossible” came off pretty well, although she said the teacher told her at their final practice that they would “suck.”

“Did he use that word?”

“No. But that was the idea.”

They didn’t suck, but they could have been a tetch tighter. Although, for sure, in seven rehearsals you can’t expect miracles from middle-schoolers. And the bassist wasn’t part of the problem, so, whew.

Ready for bloggage? Sure, and we’ve got some good stuff, too:

Hank Stuever, the Washington Post Style writer too tempestuous to tame! Bigfooted by none other than Oprah! I honestly don’t know what she feared from Hank, who is as upbeat and sunny as SpongeBob SquarePants. Maybe she feared his gay would rub off on her because she totally is not. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

How fair-and-balanced Fox spun the health-care debate, all the while remaining fair and balanced: Just add “government” and serve!

Do you know how to speak Hoosier? I don’t, but I got some valuable tips from this series:

Part two, part three, part four.

Indiana is the only place I’ve ever heard a college-educated person ask if “that guy was one of your guys’s guys.” And now, if you’ll excuse me, that rabbit needs caught and I’m off to drink some pop.

Posted at 10:35 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

129 responses to “Starbucks cracker barrel.”

  1. coozledad said on December 9, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I didn’t know that Oprah’s soundstage was where they warehoused the corpses from The Eastland Disaster for identification:

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  2. ROgirl said on December 9, 2010 at 10:55 am

    “I’m pretty sure he is, yeah. Guy carries his cigarettes and a lighter. He also plays basketball with the president whenever he’s asked. Now that’s a job.”

    That has an Elmore Leonard vibe to it.

    When I read the article about Oprah and the dog farted, I naturally asked myself how she knew it was the dog.

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  3. Jeff Borden said on December 9, 2010 at 11:00 am


    The Eastland remains the greatest domestic maritime disaster in American history. And, yes, periodically the National Enquirer or some other tabloid will dredge up the ol’ haunted studio story, though I would guess the ghosts ought to be far more afraid of Oprah than vice-versa. You don’t mess with the queen.

    When I profiled Oprah for the 20th anniversary edition of Crain’s Chicago Business, I decided I wanted to be reincarnated as one of her dogs. She had matching cocker spaniels –Sophie and Solomon– who had the run of the entire studio complex and sat in the office at her feet while we talked. They had hit the canine lottery.

    Regarding the hardly surprising news about Fox, I’m specifically including the way words are twisted by demagogues in my public speaking class. I’ve tended to focus on phrases like “right-sizing” in the business world and, of course, the “death panels” in politics. Now, thanks to this link, I can include the latest abomination from Fox.

    I wish the left would start referring to the tax cuts for the wealthy as the Kardashian Wealth Continuation Act or the Paris Hilton Relief Act or somesuch. We need to put a public face on the GOP’s continuing fellatio of its wealthiest donors.

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  4. LAMary said on December 9, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Good question ROgirl. Owning three big dogs, one of whom is a farter of some renown, I can tell you that what you feed them can make it pretty clear it’s a dog fart, not a human fart. If the dogs are eating table scraps, it’s anyone’s. Kibble retains its aroma even when converted to a gas.

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  5. Mark P. said on December 9, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Ah, New Orleans. Do you by any chance ever watch Top Gear? For those who don’t, it’s a high-production-value BBC show with three frumpy, middle-aged car geeks doing all kinds of stupid things with cars, sometimes the most expensive cars in the world. They did a show in the US in 2007 where they ended up in New Orleans after driving three junkers from Florida. They were astounded at the condition of the city almost two years after Katrina. They drove miles through neighborhoods that looked more like post-earthquake Haiti than the US. They wondered how anyone in the US could sleep at night knowing the condition of New Orleans. It was a very uncomfortable picture of the US from an outsider’s point of view.

    Oh, regarding Fox and the use of “government” as a pejorative term. Neal Boortz (a perfect last name if you drop two letters) always uses “government” when he talks about schools. He draws the word out slowly and slimily, like a middle schooler calling names. It’s a buzzword, a dog whistle, a code word for people who call themselves libertarians. Everyone who watches Fox knows immediately that it translates as “evil.”

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  6. John G. Wallace said on December 9, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I was thrilled to see that a few other space flight buffs reside in the NN neighborhood. Yesterday was another positive step for private space flight and a not so subtle reminder that Americans and American entrepreneurship can make a difference and lead the world.

    It’s true that man-rating the DragonX will take time, but more flights like yesterdays help the process.

    My favorite Hoosierisms are:

    Worsh – involves a major appliance

    Fixing to – Essentially doing nothing but gathering ambition to do something

    Acrost – As in the “ball rolled acrost the road.” My wife can’t shake that one.

    Eye-Talian – Let’s go get some good Eye-Talian food, which is a mission fail in Indiana for the most part and a word considered an ethnic slur where I grew up. Even my Hoosier born wife cringes but I shrug it off.

    And the great pop vs. soda thing, which interesting seems to follow red state – blue state lines.

    And speaking of words having many meanings, and I can’t find the link now but this gorgeous and very vocal parrot at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Fl. loves the word “cracker,” which has three meanings in Florida, one historic, one edible, and one that this bird seems to get right most of the time. He also yells to zoo staff, “back to work, get back to work.”

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  7. Jen said on December 9, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Those “How To Speak Hoosier” videos are great! My out-of-state friends used to make fun of me in college for my Indiana colloquialisms, but I always figured that they were all at an Indiana college and they should be the ones changing to sound like Hoosiers! The one that got me the most grief was calling a vacuum a “sweeper.” I didn’t even realize that was weird!

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  8. Scout said on December 9, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I never know what our team of experts will weigh in on from day to day. Lo and behold, today’s menu is dog farts. I freakin’ love this place.

    The key to being able to see your kid perform is for them to understand the difference between stage right and stage left. They almost always get that wrong when telling you which side they’ll be on.

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  9. Mark P. said on December 9, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Down here in Coca-Cola land, we don’t say pop or soda. Ever. Those are both foreign words. Everything is a Coke: “Say, can I have an orange Coke?” It’s not quite as true today as it was a few years ago. I’m not sure we have agreed yet on a replacement generic term. “Soft drink” is a little too long, but I don’t expect any agreement for pop or soda.

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  10. Bob (not Greene) said on December 9, 2010 at 11:22 am

    By the way, it’s the 95th anniversary of the Eastland disaster this year. Time for a story!

    Actually, in the towns I cover the Eastland is (mainly was at this point) a very real thing. Western Electric employed thousands of people from the surrounding neighborhoods, many of whose families ended up moving into my coverage area. In fact, my dad, who beginning in high school lived in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, worked for Western Electric for a bit (of course, way after the Eastland).

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  11. nancy said on December 9, 2010 at 11:23 am

    That rabbit did not want caught.

    The “substitute ‘government’ for ‘public'” is an old right-wing trick, but obviously still a successful one. Certain homeschoolers speak of “government schools,” which suggests something in China — excuse me, Red China. Amusingly, it is rarely used to describe something everyone loves. You don’t go swimming in a government pool. But lately the loonier ones have been referring to privatizing roads, for crying out loud, so look for that one to show up soon. “Government roads.” “So-called freeways.” Etcetera.

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  12. Bob (not Greene) said on December 9, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Of course, in “The Grapes of Wrath,” the “Government Camp” was the place you wanted to be if you were a migrant worker.

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  13. nancy said on December 9, 2010 at 11:28 am

    The Eastland disaster — which I did not know about until today, thank you — is another reminder of how much history in this country is still largely unknown, especially in our popular culture. Why isn’t there a movie about the Triangle fire? (Or has there been?) I’ve long believed the story of William Wells, Little Turtle and the twilight of the Native American gods in Ohio/Indiana/Michigan at the end of the 18th century is at least as worthy of epic filmmaking as anything shot farther west. Wells was the original Little Big Man. And outside of a few studious schoolchildren in the northwest territories, no one has ever heard of him.

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  14. LAMary said on December 9, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Keeping with my theme of specific smells, my dream job is now available:

    I’ll be tweaking my resume today.

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  15. Kim said on December 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

    My grandpa’s brother was one of the first on the scene for the Eastland Disaster and, according to drunken family lore, helped with the rescue and was subsequently honored by the city. If you could see where this happened (and, duh, thanks to the magical Internets, you can right here) your first thought would likely be a question: How did this happen so close to the wharf? It was 20 feet away and 844 people died.

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  16. Rana said on December 9, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Dog farts are the worst. My dad has likened them to the smell of burning rubber, and he’s not wrong.

    Starbucks is indeed a great place for eavesdropping. As I’ve noted previously, a friend and I go there some evenings to work. Mostly this plays out well, as we get a groove going and somehow it’s easier to focus surrounded by coffee and people than home alone. The only problem is that there’s this one group among the regulars who always have really entertaining conversations. There’s no polite way to join them, but, by gosh, it’s hard not to sit with one ear leaning in their direction.

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  17. LAMary said on December 9, 2010 at 11:37 am

    My dog Max, who is a great dane/boxer mix, farts a lot. If it’s not an SBD fart, he is surprised by the sound coming from his butt, and he turns around and growls at his own asshole. We refer to this as Max’s trick, since Max is not very smart.

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  18. Catherine said on December 9, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Y’all are on a roll today!

    Mary, if they take a vote on the new perfume critic, I’ll definitely click for you. I’m happily wearing Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom, on your recommendation.

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  19. Rana said on December 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I just saw this in my feeds. Nancy, you may find this amusing:

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  20. Snarkworth said on December 9, 2010 at 11:47 am

    LAMary, you made me LOL.

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  21. Connie said on December 9, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Rana, I once had a car that farted. Worse than a dog fart for sure.

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  22. basset said on December 9, 2010 at 11:53 am

    A couple of Martin County Hoosierisms…

    Oral: that black stuff in the ground, you make gasoline from it

    Feesh: they swim in the crick.

    Down here in Nashville, the cart you push around the grocery store is a “buggy” and a stove burner is an “eye.”

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  23. crinoidgirl said on December 9, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Long time, no comment. As Scout says, I freakin’ love this place.

    There was a TV movie made about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster, but nothing for the big screen. I’ve read several books about it, but I’d love to see a movie. I agree – there’s so much forgotten, sometimes tragic, history just in our own little country, much less the world.

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  24. John G. Wallace said on December 9, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I wasn’t aware of the Eastland but the story has much in common with the General Slocom disaster
    which caught fire during a picnic excusion from the East River to Long Island in 1904 with a mostly German-Lutheran crowd. Of the 1324 aboard, an estimated 1021 died, and it was the NYC region’s worst disaster or loss of lives until September 11, 2001.

    The Boston mollasses spill is just too odd to ponder, but another untold story and puts the expression, “slow as mollasses,’ into question, sort of like we still use Indian giver.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on December 9, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    How’s about cheese toastie’s? Or maybe’s that’s just here’s in Fort Wayne?

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  26. Mindy said on December 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    My grandmother used to worsh the deeshes.

    My husband and I were asked about a few Hoosierisms when we lived in Florida. One guy made a point of adding yasshole (“Get that thing out of the road, yasshole!”)and eem (“Be careful – don’t drop eem.”)to his vocabulary. “Fixing to get ready” was a Floridaism I heard more than once.

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  27. Bill White said on December 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I’ve learned a lot of Hoosier since marrying a girl from Columbus. My favorites when I want to sound authentically Hoosier are feesh (as a previous commenter noted, they swim in the crick), boosh (aka shrub) and meelk, that beverage you get from cows. And just a couple of week ago my m-i-l called a green pepper a mango.

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  28. ROgirl said on December 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    “Fixin’ to” is a Southernism, aah reckon.

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  29. beb said on December 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Mark P @5: Going by Detroit most of the parts of new Orleans that look so horrible two years after katrina probably looked that way before Katrina.

    There will never be a movie about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire because such a movie would be inherently pro-union and pro-union movies do not get made.

    By the way, my reading of turn of the previous century literature informa me that shirtwaist was a kind of dress. How it went from a “shirtwaist” to “dress” I don’t know.

    I will not discuss my native tongue, Hoosier, with yokels from other counties.

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  30. LAMary said on December 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Shirtwaist didn’t mean dress at the time of the fire. It meant blouse. My grandmother called blouses shirtwaists, or waists. She worked in the textile mills in NYC and later NJ a little earlier than the Triangle fire. I have a wonderful photo of her with two of her girl friends on a day off, probably a Sunday, in their high necked white shirtwaists, wide sashes and long skirts, probably from about 1900, with their arms around each other’s waists, hair up in a bun, and big smiles. I think it was taken at Coney Island. I recognize my grandmother, her sister and their friend Bess, whose family took the sisters in when they were orphaned.

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  31. coozledad said on December 9, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    There’s at least a song about the shirtwaist fire:
    My best friend was alone in the alcove
    Has anyone seen her there?
    Such a sweet face.
    Trapped in the staircase
    with the smell of her own burning hair.
    The owners blamed the shopgirls for the fire, because there was “unauthorized smoking” at the workstations.
    Sounds like the Republican take on the mortgage backed securities fire.

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  32. MichaelG said on December 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Another Sothrenism for that fizzy brown stuff in a bottle is Co-Cola. I heard that a lot. You mash the button. Grandpa drove either an Oze or a Chivrolet.

    Then there’s the places where you go to the family reunion to pick up girls. You know, where the family tree looks like a telephone pole.

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  33. Peter said on December 9, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Crinoidgirl’s right – there was a movie about the Triange fire, but it was lame by made for TV standards.

    As for why so many people died on the Eastland and the General Slocum -a lot of people then, and even many now, don’t know how to swim, and they panic when they’re in water.

    I found it strange that in WWII the Navy didn’t teach recruits how to swim; you’d think that there’s a better chance than usual that the ship would sink. I heard that it didn’t matter if the sailors knew how to swim or not – on most high seas the water’s too cold and you’ll get hypothermia, and if it’s warm the sharks will use you as an entree.

    The Boy Scouts and Red Cross push swimming lessons because even today a lot of deaths in boating accidents happen in moderately deep, calm water. There was a capsizing in Indonesia a few years back where dozens died – in water so shallow that you could stand!

    The Hoosierisms were great. The only one I can add is “ball”, as in “let’s go outside and ball”, which, no matter what season, is basketball.

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  34. coozledad said on December 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    As opposed to “Let’s go inside and ball” which, in the south you typically respond with “Get the fuck away from me, Uncle Don.”

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  35. Mark P. said on December 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    beb, NO was different. There were (and probably still are) miles and miles of what used to be neighborhoods and all that was left was half-destroyed houses, piles of rubble or bulldozed lots. You could still see the marks on doors indicating that searchers had found no bodies inside. When my wife and I visited a couple of years ago there were still lots of neighborhoods, apartment complexes and shopping centers that were empty and boarded up stretching for miles outside of NO along the interstate. Detroit may have its horrors, but NO is different. It’s a national disgrace.

    I should note that New Orleans stands for a huge area of the Gulf. There were many communities that suffered as much, or more, that got little attention from the national media.

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  36. Dexter said on December 9, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    It’s not an anniversary day, but I had never heard of the seiche that hit Chicago’s Montrose Harbor in summer 1954, until the Trib ran a feature on it years ago. A seiche might be described as a mini-tsunami. It was a devastating tidal wave.

    I also continue to use words and phrases which irritate people; this is a direct result of being reared in Indiana. We never said reared either…we were “raised”.

    I get it all now, I have discussed it, processed it…I get it. The words I have never had a chance to use are Northeast words, especially frappe and tonic. I would bet you know what a frappe is but a tonic? It’s a soda, it’s a pop.

    It’s a pop. Amongst adults, you would think folks know a pop is a shot of booze, but this is the most confusing word of them all, I believe. Of course it goes back to the days when a real cork stopped up a booze bottle and a pop ensued just before a shot was poured.
    How did soda become soda (or sody) pop? I called soda “pop” until I left home to play baseball at age 18 and found out I was in the minority, calling it “pop”.
    Mark P, even beer is called “road cokes” in some circles of the US south. Actually, it went more like this: “Gimme a sixer, will ya?” Then when in the car, we said, “gimme a road coke.”

    ROgirl is right…only transplanted hillbillies ever said “fixin’ to”.
    And I live just 26 miles east of my old high school town, just 13 of those miles are east of the Indiana line, but many words and phrases are so much different here than in Indiana. Nance has mentioned it here a few times…we , as kids were taught that our neighbors lived in Ahia. But I live in Ohio, as in Oh-HIGH-Oh.

    In the linked videos, a voice pronounced “AUGH-vern” for Auburn. Auburn was our county seat, I worked there for decades and lived there a couple times, too, and I never , ever, heard it pronounced as anything but just how it looks.
    Then , too…I still have a living uncle who says “Oh no, I daresn’t do that.”
    It’s pronounced DARE-uh-sunt. He lives just a few miles from “AUGH-vern”.

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  37. nancy said on December 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    When Alan was features editor, he had an idea for an elaborate photo illustration for a story on flatulence. He wanted to set a long table for dinner, with at least six people seated around it eating, each one turned to the person to the right, all making a “who farted” face, and the nearest one to the camera looking down at the dog.

    Rejected: Too complicated to set up and shoot. Maybe for a magazine.

    Mary, I remember reading a story in Outside a few years ago, an essay by a guy with a dog that lived the closest thing to an ideal dog’s life. They were somewhere in Montana, and the dog could roam anywhere, and frequently did. Once the dog came home from two nights away with the worst flatulence imaginable — probably got into a carcass somewhere. It, too, would turn and bark at its own ass. Maybe out of embarrassment: “Hey! Cut that out!”

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 9, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    “Gateway to Empire” by Allan Eckert — story of William Wells, cued up and ready to roll; Mr. Spielberg? Mr. Simon?

    Bueller? Bueller?

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    The trick with our own son and many other kids — telling them that 90% of drownings happen within 15 feet of shore or shallow water. You don’t have to learn to swim the mile, let alone the English Channel, we just want to know that if you fell in, you could paddle your way at least 20 feet to a shoreline or ladder.

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  40. LAMary said on December 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    On a more fragrant note: I’m flattered that my Jo Malone advice was appreciated. Jo Malone fragrances are very earthy and true to their origin. The grapefruit really smells like grapefruit. My current faves are Versace Versense and Hermes Voyage. Both are very clean, one citrusy the other herbal. I wish Hermes was not so bleeding expensive, though. Hermes Amazone and Pamplemousse Rose are great scents but pricey. I think Amazone is no longer available in the US so it’s a moot point.

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  41. Rana said on December 9, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Does anyone else remember the James Harriot story about the incredibly flatulent dog that found a home with a man who couldn’t smell? Amusing and touching both, the way many of his stories are.

    I think there must be something in the air (heh) today. Over at another site I visit, there’s a long thread with people replacing words in movie titles with “butt.” It’s one of those things where I sit there, reading and giggling, and think “I am such a 12-year-old.”

    Dog farts and butt puns. Life is good.

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  42. Dexter said on December 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Peter, my dad trained in the US Navy during WWII at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, just north of Chicago. I just listened , last month, to a legacy tape he made with my brother about his life. They had to swim, training in a swimming pool, then practicing survival tactics and rescues in Lake Michigan.
    However, they didn’t know how to march at night for shit.
    Dad was training to be a radio tech at Oxford, Ohio…Miami University, and one night his company was marched to town to see a training movie in a theater.
    After the movie they were marching back to their dorms , along city streets, pitch black outside, and Dad said he heard a noise like a car running over corn stalks. A car hadn’t seen the sailors and had run over many of them, killing two and seriously injuring a couple dozen more. Damn.

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  43. Judbusy said on December 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    LAMary, back at # 17, love your dog’s trick. We’re newish dog owners, and the other night ours farted with a sound. Se looked back at her nether regions with surprise, which we found hye-larious. Now I _really_ have become the world’s most boring person. But at least here, I have plenty of good company.

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  44. Kirk said on December 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I used to work with a guy who, when the conversation lagged, would go through the TV listings in the paper and repeat the names of shows and then add “… between the sheets.”

    Mission: Impossible between the sheets

    Good Times between the sheets

    60 Minutes between the sheets.

    You get the idea.

    As for being a 12-year-old, I often tell friends that, when the last ounce of eighth-grader slips out of me, I’ll go gladly to my grave. So far, there’s still plenty in my tank.

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  45. Jenflex said on December 9, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    LAMary@ 17: I’ll see your SBD Boxer fart, and raise you a bloated Bichon Frise recycling cabbage and corned beef Irish stew in the middle of a cramped mini pickup truck bench seat on a 3-hour drive. We about got frostbit opening the windows that cold, cold March day.

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  46. paddyo' said on December 9, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Since we’re talking smells: LA Mary, did you ever experience the old Emeryville in the Bay Area?

    From her girlhood days in our native Berkeley, my mother used a fictional perfume name for the pungent fragrance that emanated from that tiny industrial burgh, wedged between Berkeley and Oakland near the foot of the Bay Bridge. As a kid myself, I remember Mom quipping as we drove by on the freeway, windows open: “Ahh, it’s Evening in Emeryville.”

    It also is home to the famous Emeryville Mud Flats, where in the ’60s and ’70s, hippies and other artists constructed acres of elaborate artworks out of driftwood and bay flotsam, hard by Interstate 80.

    The stink was not from the unwashed, but rather the remnants of the town’s industrial past. Besides factories, there were bayshore meat plants in Emeryville’s “Butchertown” that dumped effluent and offal directly into the flats. Hundreds and thousands of years ago, those mud flats were a rich food source (shellfish) for native tribes along the East Bay. They ate millions of meals there, creating a shellfish mound that once stood 60 feet high and hundreds of feet across.

    No doubt prehistoric Emeryville reeked, too . . .

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  47. basset said on December 9, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    back to an earlier topic… I assume Mariah Carey perfume is teenage-girl stuff, right?

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  48. Julie Robinson said on December 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    basset, I would think Mariah’s too old for teenagers. Maybe for immature twenty-somethings? Mariah was named as the “voice of a generation” in some ad promo we saw recently. When I raised my eyebrows at this our 30 yo daughter said, “not MY generation!”

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  49. moe99 said on December 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Kirk, we used the “between the sheets” line when we would read off titles from juke boxes in restaurants (when they still had them).

    And LA Mary, my two brothers classified and named farts. SBD was the most popular because of the surprise element, but then there was Toby, named for a loud rip roar and Rose which was a sweet and sticky fart. We had long conversations about these growing up but generally sotto voce because in our household we could not use the words ‘pee’ (dodo was the accepted term) and ‘poop’ (we had to say grunt instead). A Defiance, Ohio upbringing here.

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  50. John G. Wallace said on December 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I was lucky enough to grow up not far from the Fair Lawn, NJ Nabisco plant; to this day they still make all the animal crackers there, and when the wind would shift or rain moved in Glen Rock, NJ smelled wonderful.

    In Bluffton IN and other ethanol plant towns the winds can bring a smell more like day old spilled meister brau and bread about to grow mold.

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  51. Kirk said on December 9, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    “Bastard fart”: a little fart with no pop.

    I grew up about 25 miles from Chillicothe, Ohio, where there was a Mead Paper plant with a giant smokestack. When the weather conditions were right, we could get a big whiff of it as we walked to school in the morning, and it was pretty funky.

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  52. Mark P. said on December 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Can those industrial odors compare to the sulphurous aroma of a paper mill? We used to get the odor from 10 miles away, but these days they have tamed it, at least mostly.

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  53. LAMary said on December 9, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Ah, John G. You must have lived near where route 208 and route 4 joined. Glen Rock? I lived in Hawthorne. You could smell the cookies. I lived about a half mile from where Rock Road and Goffle Road intersected.

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  54. 4dbirds said on December 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Peter, my father-in-law taught swimming to navy recruits at Pensacola during WWII although I don’t know if they were required to be proficient in swimming before they shipped off.

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  55. MichaelG said on December 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    paddyo – remember the Emeryville mud flats well. There were truly some wondrous sculptures there.

    I’ve passed through some towns in the South that had paper mills. God, the smell.

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  56. ROgirl said on December 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    When I was little and we would drive through Gary, Indiana on the way to Chicago we would sing the song from “The Music Man,” but we changed the lyrics to “Stinky, Indiana.”

    Does it still smell?

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  57. Kirk said on December 9, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I also remember stopping in Terre Haute to get gas one time in the ’70s. There was a horrible chemical odor in the air. We asked the attendant what it was. “Oh, that’s just the bug-spray factory.” I’ve wondered since then whether the life expectancy in Terre Haute was significantly shorter.

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  58. LAMary said on December 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I haven’t experienced Emeryville, no, but there are some parts of highway 9 in NJ which smell like a dirty diapers. There was a huge industrial looking building was right where the stink was the worst and we called that the dirty diaper factory.

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  59. Dorothy said on December 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    We had an Irish setter who used to run away (or try to ) from her own farts, too, Mary.

    Do you guys remember the scene in “10” when the minister’s housekeeper farted? Found this clip on YouTube. You want to see the part that starts at the 19 second point, and then ends at 1:07

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  60. Colleen said on December 9, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I lived in Garden City KS for a time, home to some of the largest meat packing plants in the country. Talk about smell…

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  61. alex said on December 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    moe, when I was a kid there was a family from Indianapolis that lived down the street. They called their defecations “grunny.” They also used the word “kellerds” a lot and at the time I was too naive to realize they were talking about people of other races. It was certainly one of the favorite words of their mother.

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  62. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm


    If Kate plays bass, find some deconstructed Who and Cream songs on the net. John Entwistle and Jack Bruce are nonpareil. And along with ineffably and inchoate, isn’t nonpareil one of mankind’s finer linguistic accomplishments.

    Then, there’s Tal Wilkenfeld.

    She ain’t Mingusyet.

    I’m a pretty good guitar player, but I love to pretend I can play bass. Joni Mitchell clearly gets it, about playing bass. So buy that kid a Squier and a Fender Champ. Y’all could be going on tour.

    There are two great female drummers. First is Mo Tucker. Best is Georgia Hubley, and Mo is as good as Charley Watts. And Keef, Mick wrote those lyrics. You tagged along.

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  63. brian stouder said on December 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    That same “between the sheets” trick works pretty humorously with fortune cookie fortunes, too. As for local odors, Fort Wayne quite often has a wonderful baking bread scent, downtown (thanks to Perfection Bakery); although in recent months, there’s been a mystery stench (think roadkill scent). I think it was owing to our exceedingly dry fall, and the lower rivers. The aroma that different cities have are inextricably in my memory. I associate Chicago with perfume, since the times I’ve been here and there in Chi-town (say, at one of the museums or at the Sears Tower) that’s what I smelled. Battle Creek, Michigan smelled just like I thought it would (thanks to Kelloggs), as did Milwaukee (years ago, anyway).

    My dad served on the USS Oriskany (CV-34) in the early 1950’s, and I remember him telling me that you had to prove you could swim, and they conducted the test in a swimming pool which you could touch bottom in(!). So, my dad qualified, despite not being able to swim a lick. But indeed, as was implied earlier, if you end up in the ocean off of an aircraft carrier, there’s plenty of other things to kill you, besides inadequate swimming skills (not least of which being the fall from the deck to the water level). I remember reading a story in Proceedings once, about a fighter pilot in a plane which was catapulted off the deck of a carrier, and his engine flamed out. He punched out of the plane, but the nose was down, and his ejection seat shot him in front of the ship. He survived all that, and splashed into the water – with his ship bearing down on him. The ship went full rudder to the port side, and the bows missed him, but then he literally scraped alongside the starboard side of the hull. As this was unfolding, it occurred to him that a horrible death awaited him at the stern, when his chute would either get into the screws, or else get sucked into the intakes, and pull him along. But instead, thanks to good luck and/or good ship handling, he survived all that and was rescued. When he was recuperating his shipmates presented him with a special award for “distinguished underway hull inspection”!

    And the breaking news in the last hour appears to be that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell won’t sell. I think the Congressional anti-gay message implied therein is at best strange, and at worst anti-American and hostile to the US military. Even the crackers will allow for “illegal immigrants” to fast-track their citizenship if they’ll serve in the military; but the congress is willing to forsake a whole class of Americans and their skills, based on the sexual orientation they were born with?

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  64. Jeff Borden said on December 9, 2010 at 5:22 pm


    Yes, Gary still smells. Even in the summer with the windows up and the a/c running, the smell permeates the car. There’s still an active US Steel plant belching away, but the city remains a rough, desolate place despite strong efforts to upgrade including a very nice minor league ballpark for the Gary-South Shore Railcats. The park is called the Steel Yard.

    For two years I attended a Catholic boys high school in Akron, Ohio, which was maybe a mile or two from the Goodyear plant, back when all the big tire companies still had operating factories. If it was rainy, snowy or the cloud cover was low, the smell was strong enough to get into your nostrils and remain there a good, long while.

    I think women have more sensitive noses when it comes to the odors of bodily functions. My wife swears our dog cuts the cheese on a regular basis, but I can never smell it.

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  65. nancy said on December 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Some years back, there was an American sailor who fell off an aircraft carrier. The precipitating event sounded very Three Stooges; apparently he was walking along near the edge of the deck, someone flung open a door that hit him, and woooooah he’s in the water. He was rescued about 36 hours later, and stayed afloat by crafting a crude PFD by tying knots in his pant legs and blowing air into them. I remember at the time thinking there had to be alcohol involved, that there’s no way a U.S. carrier could have a design flaw like that, and I believe I mentioned it here at some point and many of you said no, that was entirely possible.

    Anyway, he was one of those pre-9/11 “heroes,” the kind who are deemed heroic mainly by managing to stay alive in a difficult situation.

    I once interviewed a survivor of the USS Indianapolis sinking in 1945. Very self-effacing guy, as many of that era are. He didn’t have the Robert-Shaw-in-“Jaws” experience, but several arresting anecdotes about men who simply went nuts floating in the ocean for however many days it was and either slipped out of their jackets to drown or just struck out swimming for the horizon and were never seen again. (One said he saw a drugstore soda fountain out there, and he was going to get a Coke.) Two things struck me: How very very very big the Pacific Ocean is, and how very very very lucky they were to have been spotted by a plane, which saw not them but the oil slick from the ship’s sinking. Also, how long it took to recover from severe dehydration and three or four days’ treading water under a tropical sun; he was hospitalized for a month.

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  66. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    The knotted and inflated pants thing? That’s WSI 101.

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  67. Joe Kobiela said on December 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Anyone ever drive down us 30 to Plymouth In you went by a rendering plant, never smelled anything like it. You could even smell it if you flew over it. Brian, the Oriskiny is now a artifical reef in the Gulf off Pensacola. They sunk her in such a way she remains upright. There is some amazing video of it going down including some interior shots. She was a Queen to the end.
    Pilot Joe

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  68. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Oh, and did Sarah Palin look like she’d ever held a long gun in her life. She had the stock halfway up her scapula, and that bone would surely shatter if she pulled the trigger. She can’t even fake things right.

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  69. coozledad said on December 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Nancy: I spent a few days reading “In the Heart Of the Sea”, Nathaniel Philbrick’s book about the whaleship Essex. The boat was sunk by a whale, and the crew took to lifeboats. They could have headed west towards the Solomons, but harbored a lot of baseless assumptions about Pacific islanders, and tried to get back to Patagonia instead. Instead of being eaten by cannibals, many of them died of malnutrition and in turn were consumed by the surviving crewmates. The ones who pulled through must have experienced a sort of super PTSD.
    The ocean will mess you up.

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  70. Dexter said on December 9, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    JBo, The Gary Steel Yard is a great baseball park. It’s so nice to see it there in that area.
    In the 1960s, Gary was really something. Just driving through Gary, my eyes watered and I coughed; the sky was yellow and orange and brown and other-worldly.
    I was in the army with a man from Gary, a brown-skinned fellow, who had white triangle patches of skin around his eyes. Yes, he had been a furnace tender at US Steel before being drafted. His skin stayed just like that for the three months we were together in training in Texas.

    I lived on West Washington Blvd. in Ft. Wayne and I liked to take my constitutional west on Jefferson to Swinney Park. A place that I remember as Essex Wire (help me here, brianstouder!) really stunk up the air all year round. I’ll never forget that stench.

    Now I live in Candyland, where our air is perfumed by cooking candy at Spangler’s Candy Factory, less than a mile west of me. I love the smell…nothing smells better than a bunch of simmering DumDum suckers.

    The only industrial odor that made me want to vomit was the horrific smells from that goddam rendering plant on I-94 in Chicago, way south , near the old Sherwin-Williams paint factory. I would rather inhale chicken shit fumes. Yecchh!

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  71. Jeff Borden said on December 9, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    There’s a phenomenal book about the sinking of the Indy called “Battle Stations” that I read many years ago. One of the anecdotes related to a guy who had broken his leg, which was set in a heavy cast. The Indy sank so quickly there was no launching of lifeboats and not many rafts, so this guy apparently just took a deep breath and went over the side to be dragged under the water by his bum leg.

    I recall the captain was court-martialed because he was sailing in a straight line on a bright, moonlit night, making the ship an easy target for the Japanese submarine. I am not well-versed enough to know if a zig-zag pattern would have prevented her sinking, or whether the court-martial was a CYA maneuver by the higher ups.

    Whatever, it is a deeply tragic story made all the more so because the war was so close to the end.

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  72. paddyo' said on December 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Prospero @62: Yes indeed, Jack Bruce’s bass riff on Cream’s “Badge,” sublime . . .

    And BTW, as for that soda-v.-pop-v.-everything-else discussion earlier, I happened across this en route to something else this afternoon.

    Growing up in the ‘burbs east of L.A., we called everything “coke” — Canada Dry, Safeway store brands, Hires, Nesbitt’s, actual Coca-Cola, etc.

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  73. Rana said on December 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Oh, gross, pulp mill stench. There’s one along the 5 in Oregon, and we always put the car on recirc when we realize we’re coming up on it. Only industrial smell I’ve smelt nearly that bad was somewhere around the Ohio river when we were moving from Indiana to Virginia. It was so bad that it woke the cat up and she started yowling; I was trying hard not to inhale, myself.

    Switching the topic to more pleasant industrial smells, the best were when I lived in Northfield, Minnesota, home of the Malt-O-Meal plant. You could tell which way the wind was blowing by whether you could smell the cooking meal. And on different days they did different flavors, each of which smelled different. (The maple flavor was the best.) Here the two dominant smells when the wind is right come from the digestive cookie factory and the pet food plant. The combination is weirdly appetizing.

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  74. Peter said on December 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Dexter, you sure those fumes weren’t from Sherwin-Williams? We had friends who lived in Pullman and oh my God that was something – didn’t occur to me that it could have been from a neighboring plant.

    Hey Nancy, Eric Zorn gives you a shout-out with the Hoosier Videos. You rock!

    And Nancy, you’re so right about the Pacific. When you get to listen to air traffic on flights, there’s continual yacking, even over the Atlantic, but fly to Hawaii and 20 minutes past LA it’s really quiet until you approach Honolulu.

    Prospero at #68, there’s enough double entendre comic material in your small comment to last a week! Well played Sir!

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  75. brian stouder said on December 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Aside from the American Civil War/President Lincoln, reading about the Pacific War (and isn’t that an odd name?) and the US Navy always enthralls me.

    The vastness of the Pacific Ocean is definitely part of the mystique. And indeed, the pluck of the sailors is an unfailingly interesting thing.

    A good friend’s father recently passed away; he was a “tin can sailor” aboard the destroyer USS Sterett (DD-407), and was in the naval battles off of Guadalcanal. I only heard him speak of those days one time, and the story he recounted was about vanilla ice cream.

    Apparently, if a pilot went into the ocean, and your ship rescued him, it meant vanilla ice cream (an exceedingly rare delicacy in the South Pacific) for the whole crew. They had just emerged from “a scrap” and were on the way toward where an American pilot had parachuted into the water, when another war ship beat them to him; and 60 years later that disappointment still vividly lived in his memory.

    At his funeral, there were many photographs of his ship, including one where she has a gaping hole in her starboard side. A Kamikaze struck her amidships, and pretty much destroyed the area where my friend’s father would have been, had he been aboard.

    Anyway – there’s a nice little book called PT-105, which I enjoyed very much, some years ago. The fellow who wrote it recalled one evening when they were on patrol, and wherever they were in the South Pacific, it occurred to him that they were the farthest forward American combat unit at that moment. Think of that – aboard a wooden vessel with 9 other people, so deeply into the remotest part of the planet that you could disappear without a trace, and the foremost tip of the spear versus an implacable opposition; and yet you do your job and follow your orders.

    Those people humble me.

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  76. Dexter said on December 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    JBo: A few years ago a young man, who had studied the Indianapolis sinking for years , wrote a book, and as I recall, the findings of his research were enough to exonerate the commanding officer of the ship. Amazon has three books available on this topic but I do not remember which book I am writing about here.
    Anyway, Captain McVay was exonerated, it appears…

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  77. paddyo' said on December 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    There’s a Purina pet foods plant along I-70 in Denver, about three miles from downtown, that spreads the sickening joy whenever the wind blows from the north.

    Fortunately, that north wind has shaken off Greeley, CO, by the time it reaches the Mile High City. Greeley’s meatpacking plant and feedlots are notorious and nauseating. Even political candidates remark on it: Greeley homeboy Ken Buck, the GOP/Tea Party candidate who narrowly lost our U.S. Senate race last month, remarked admiringly at a campaign gathering in another Colorado town:
    “Wow, this is like being in Greeley. Except it doesn’t smell.”

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  78. coozledad said on December 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Prospero:Percy Jones underplaying the bass, and Fred Frith (I think) nailing a guitar outro.

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  79. Dexter said on December 9, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Peter…might very well have been that paint plant…helifino…I was told by someone it was a rendering plant. I stopped at the Burger King in Pullman about ten years ago on Cinco de Mayo …crazy people driving around drunk with cans of beer on their dashboards…hollering at everyone…a huge drunkfest, and I got the hell out of there quickly , and I never saw one cop.

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  80. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Take a look at this. Actors Acting.. Raw talent. Natalie Portman is more tired than Lili VonSchtupp, and you really don’t want to piss off either Matt Damon or Javier Bardem. Robert Duvall, he’s happy with himself. I think that’s his character from Secondhand Lions, a ridiculously underrated movie.

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  81. Mark P. said on December 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Nancy, being immersed in salt water in itself dehydrates a person. The salt concentration is higher than in the body, and the water in the body tries its best to dilute the ocean to the same concentration.

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  82. nancy said on December 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I believe time has proven the captain did nothing wrong, but the verdict came too late — wasn’t he a suicide? I should maybe follow some links before I wonder out loud.

    The most interesting part of that incident was the Japanese captain of the sub that sank them. Here’s this guy moping around aimlessly in the Pacific, feeling like a failure because he hasn’t died yet, knowing the war is ending, half his crew pissed because they lost their chance to die as kamikazes. (I believe Japanese torpedos had tiny pilot seats, for added accuracy.) Then he looks up, and what’s this? It was a gift, and an opportunity. He took it.

    The Japanese captain also testified on the American captain’s behalf at his court martial, and said evasive action wouldn’t have made any difference. They just got unlucky. Life is so weird sometimes.

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  83. brian stouder said on December 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Pilot Joe – A&E (I think) had an hour-long show about the sinking of the Oriskany off of Pensacola.

    Once, I was walking down the sidewalk in Chicago wearing an Oriskany ballcap, and a guy coming the other way loudly exclaimed “OH MY GAAAWWD!! THE'”RISKY’??!!” We had a pleasant little chat, in which he told me about serving aboard her, after I mentioned it was my dad’s ship. During the Vietnam war, the Oriskany had a terrible fire, and got that nickname. (John McCain – who was in another major fire aboard the USS Forrestal [CV-59], flew off the deck of the Oriskany on the mission that ended with him in the Hanoi Hilton)

    Another story my dad told was they filmed portions of the movie The Bridges at Toko Ri aboard the Oriskany (in the movie, they call her USS Savo Island; but you can see the 34 on the flight deck), and he met Micky Rooney (I don’t recall him saying he ever met William Holden; maybe Rooney was a bigger deal, at the time).

    The thing that always amazed me about the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was that they (the prosecutors at the court martial) utilized the testimony of the Japanese commander against the American captain!

    Jesus Christ Almighty!! Can you EVEN IMAGINE what would happen if, while President Obama is in office, an American commander who survives such a catastrophe finds herself in a court martial wherein “the government” utilizes the testimony of an Afghani (or otherwise militant Muslim) enemy combatant??!!

    edit: what Nancy said!

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  84. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Gorgeous bass, and an exquisite song Cooz. Brightened a bad day. I will always think Mingus is Trane playing upright. For rock ‘n’ roll John Entwistle and Jack Bruce just rule. Noel Redding was very good, and damn, Geddy Lee. Pete Quaife was brilliant. Jazz, Eugene “Take Five” Wright, Charlie Haden, Stanley Clarke.

    How about this bassline?

    And then there’s Bootsie. Interstellar.

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  85. MichaelG said on December 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I had a friend who served aboard the Oriskany during the Vietnam war. He said they used to call it the USS Zippo because of its propensity for catching fire.

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  86. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm


    If there was an onboard fire, McCain may have had some part in it. I know. It’s picking on the Oldtimer, but does being in a POW prison make somebody a hero when he is otherwise an odious little hypocrite?

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  87. Judybusy said on December 9, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Rana @ 73, my next door neighbor works for Malto-o-Meal in Northfield!

    Also, one of my co-workers survived a shipwreck for 76 days. He and one other survivor wrote a book about it, Adrift. He is a super nice, interesting guy. He told me he once talked to a different survivor about whether that experience changes you–makes you a better person. The other guy says something like, “No, if you’re an asshole, you just stay one–” I think referring to himself.

    All the talk of WWII reminds me of a piece I heard on NPR last week. The woman who wrote Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand, has a new book out about WWII experiences.

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  88. alex said on December 9, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    You’d think today’s wide-ranging discussions would have stuck me with some unshakeable olfactory reminiscence making it impossible to enjoy dinner, but no. Instead it’s a song that won’t quit.

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  89. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    The lame-duck Senate has been extremely busy not passing a range of legislation. The votes on two Democratic proposals to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for everybody but the rich were 53 to 37 and 53 to 36. Of course, under venerable Senate tradition, that means they failed entirely.

    Which part of that do people not comprehend. I assume progressives are so progressiver than thou they’d rather give up 13 months of unemployment benefits disappear. Easy, if you are supremely self-righteous and employed. Do I think rich dickheads shouldn’t pay Eisenhower-era taxes? Hell no. And I’m one of them.

    Here’s the deal. The President does not have a Praetorian Guard he can send to the legislature to commit mayhem. I sorta wish he did. The tax deal sucks, but it’s what might take care of unemployment benefits, which are cleary stimulative. So are the considerable EITC changes, and the middle class tax cuts.

    This sort of holier-than and spiting face brought the US Ronald Fucking Wilson Reagan. Andy North. Lee Atwater. Trickle Down. Is that what people want?

    Is the failure in the legislature of repeal of DADT the President’s fault? How was he supposed to bring that about? As I said, murdering the incalcitrant bastards might work, but that isn’t really a viable option. Senate rules regarding filibusters are odious and anti-democratic.
    can the President change them?

    Face it. With Sarah 24/7 and a Blankenship bought and paid for Mitch McConell stymying and flatout lying about the will of the people and sane public debate in general, there is no bully pulpit. The President makes sense, does anybody listen? There’s a difficult real world, there’s a really easy self-righteous one. If you aren’t unemployed and coming on Christmas.

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  90. Julie Robinson said on December 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Laura Hillenbrand came across Louis Zamperini while researching Seabiscuit and he’s still alive today at 93. After his plane was shot down he was in the ocean for days and a series of POW camps where the horrific treatment somehow left him Unbroken, as the title says. The book is harrowing to read and I was unable to finish, just too many nightmares. Truly Zamperini has an amazing spirit.

    I had the same problem with a movie we watched last week, The Green Zone. I kept seeing my son’s friends in those uniforms, and it was too much for me.

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  91. Rana said on December 9, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Judybusy – what a small world! (Your neighbor might appreciate the following, if they’ve not already heard it:

    I’m now thinking that, if such a thing doesn’t already exist, that there’s probably a market for one of those creative-non-fiction-popular-journalism books on industrial smells and their history. Call it The Ungodly Stench of Progress or something and off you go.

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  92. LAMary said on December 9, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Greeley stinks, but how about the huge feedlots east of Denver on I 70? On a smaller scale, how about downwind of Coors in Golden? I lived upwind for a few years.

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  93. Joe Kobiela said on December 9, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Zamperini was on a raft for 47 day’s. He also was a member of the 1936 Olympic team as a 5000m runner finishing 5th I think, he also met Hitler. Before the war he was on pace to be the first sub 4minute miler. He served as a bombadier on b-24s in the pacific. The captain of the Indianapolis was a suicide, I think in the mid 60’s. More airtrafic over the Atlantic than the Pacific. So more chatting on atc.
    Pilot Joe

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  94. brian stouder said on December 9, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Alex, that was a superb link; and now “the song that won’t quit” is uneraseably in MY brain!

    Knock on wood (and where did that saying come from?), but thank heavens – or tightened safety training* – that in all the wars we’ve been in engaged in in recent years, we haven’t had more of those big aircraft carrier fires such as in the ’60’s Vietnam war era.

    Those warships are essentially super-tankers, loaded with jet fuel, plus lots of bombs and other things that explode, and – before the days of the Nimitz-class nuclear powered carriers – fuel for the ship itself.

    In the old days, if a carrier had to sprint a long distance (across the Atlantic, for example, or a few thousand miles across the Pacific), then at the end of that sprint she had to spend a day or longer refueling, and more than a little vulnerable to bad things happening; all this before she has a chance to strike at the bad guys.

    But a Nimitz-class carrier can sprint across any expanse of ocean, and then commence combat operations as soon as she gets where she’s going. That, right there, is why the all-important big-deck carriers of the US Navy are now all nuclear powered.

    *I read a book about the catastrophic fire aboard the USS Oriskany (called “Fire on the Hangar Deck”) by a guy who was aboard ship. Apparently the crew were stowing unexpended flares from aircraft that had returned from their missions, when one somehow detonated as it was being placed into a storage area. The sailor on the scene panicked, and simply slammed the door shut, and the flare very quickly detonated a bunch more stuff in the magazine, until before long the whole bow of the ship – officer country – was ablaze.

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  95. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I’m partial to I’m partial to Gerard Manley Hopkins on the subject of shipwrecks. Hopkins is a Jesuit intellectual, and nuns drowning.

    And the great Irish poet Shane McGowan

    Then, there’s the Emily Dickinson accounting. It’s a remarkably good poem, one of her best. My kid’s named Emily. Her mom says it’s for the poet. I say it’s for the novelist. I’m persisting in being an insufferable jackass.

    Anyway, the kid is spectacular, successful, beautiful, headstrong, opinionated and going to have a kid in January. I like y’all, a lot, so I thought i’d tell you about that.

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  96. nancy said on December 9, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Prospero, if you refrain from dumping a lot of links into your comments, they won’t get hung up in moderation. I can’t be at my computer all day to approve them.

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  97. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Nancy, I would not sully your airwaves. On the subject of anything objectionable, you can most certainly trust me. Without links, blogging is just one woman’s opinion. Anyway. sorry, I did not intend to be a fly in the ointment.

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  98. brian stouder said on December 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Grandpa (to be) Prospero – congratulations!!

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  99. Dexter said on December 9, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    prospero, you have every right to question McCain’s abilities. After all, he crashed five airplanes, he was 894th of 899 graduates at Annapolis, too, for background.
    On the fateful night when he crashed in Vietnam, he ventured way off the flight plan to fly directly over Hanoi…terrorizing the locals for fun, I always thought…if you do a Google Maps search you will see how close to Hanoi the lake that McCain crashed into is located. He knew damn well the NVA had S.A.M.s and were going to fire at him, but he wasn’t even fatalistic, he was invincible in his own mind. I always thought he was half-baked at best, anyway. Surface-to-air missiles are huge, and McCain was brought back to reality when that giant missile blew the wing off his plane.
    The link I am posting here has been sanitized a bit, but it tells a nice chronicle of the incident and the aftermath of McCain’s imprisonment.
    Other critical writings I have researched over the years have convinced me that McCain could have dropped his bombs and returned to safety had he not been such a daredevil. So, hey…we need heroes, and McCain is acclaimed as such. I offer no apology for disagreeing.

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  100. Dexter said on December 9, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    prospero, you will definitely enjoy this from Mojo.

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  101. nancy said on December 9, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    You’re not sullying anything; I just noticed you tried to repost the same comment three times. It hangs because it has too many links in it. No biggie. Just sayin’.

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  102. Julie Robinson said on December 9, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Great news, Prospero! May your grandchild bring you joy.

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  103. coozledad said on December 9, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I’ve reached the level of indifference about my personal appearance that I will not be trying Shane McGowan’s baldness cure. Two, three years ago, I might have gotten out of bed and had a big swig of Guinness mixed with my own dandruff flakes.

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  104. Dexter said on December 9, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    or, coozledad, do as I did and do: embrace the fact but don’t stand for the horseshoe ring…razor blades and Barbasol are very cheap, as are hats when a gleaming dome is out of place.
    I saw my former barber in a store last month…last I saw him he was cutting hair all day after his school bus route. Now he is bent, stooped, using a cane, stiff-necked, plagued, obviously , with arthritis. He is now all grey.
    That’s how long I have been shaving my head.

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  105. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Julie, undoubtedly. If she turns out half as astounding as her mom or her grandmother, don’t know what I’m talking about, actually. Could be a boy, Better than I for sure. It’s All Too Much. Sorry ’bout the link Nancy, but it’s a wonderful song.

    Cooz: I don’t think Shane was ever serious about his appearance, or he would have consulted a dentist. No joke about being a very talented poet, though. And he wrote most of the melodies, and gutdom they are great. Spectacular band, too.

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  106. prospero said on December 9, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Sorry Nancy. My density.

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  107. Denice said on December 9, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Hoosiers ‘warsh’ their clothes in the warsher.

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  108. basset said on December 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Captain McVay of the Indianapolis… I grew up on McVay Street in a Navy company town in Indiana that was built up on empty ground just before WW2, always figured our street had been named after him.

    And it was particularly gratifying to see the list of towns in part 4 of “How to Speak Hoosier” and realize that not only have I been to all of them, I even graduated from high school in one.

    Hair’s getting thin, too.

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  109. alex said on December 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Pilot Joe, I know of the poopoo plant of which you speak on U.S. 30 east of Plymouth, south of the road. It’s surrounded by a fetid marsh. I always made sure to turn off the ventilation on the way past there when i lived in Chicago. Truly it made my dog’s carcass farts smell like Chanel No. 5.

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  110. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 9, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Brian, the deal for destroyers was that only carriers were big enough to have the excess cooling capacity for an ice cream maker, 50 gallons at a time, and called “gedunk” for the sound the maker emitted when you lifted the lid off the suction of the contracted chilly mix — the first soft serve.

    So if you got a flyboy, the “ransom” used to be scotch and cigars, but during the last two years of the Pacific War (yes, quite the oxymoron alert there), those weren’t hard to find, but soft serve “gedunk” was gold. Ships that shorted the canisters of ice cream didn’t get their pilot . . . tales are that carriers which tried to pass over the bo’suns chair a mere 40 gallons saw the line go slack, and the tin can start to veer off. You had to signal fast that another dozen gallons were coming, or they’d head back to station-keeping and make you wait another day; it would be another 50 gallons by then.

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  111. alex said on December 9, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Finally watched the Hoosierspeak videos at home with sound (work doesn’t have sound) and glad to see davenport, icebox, all’s the, pop, mangoes and all of it. They didn’t have “come” as both past and present tense, however, so hope it’s the subject of a future installment. As in “He come in here pitchin’ a hissy ’bout them feesh with Darwin feet.”

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  112. brian stouder said on December 9, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Jeff, thanks for the details! Truly, it was striking to me to hear and see – in my friend’s father’s voice, and in the wistful look in his eyes – the genuine (regret? disappointment?) and dearly felt recollection of the ice cream (gotta love the term “gedunk”; if he used that marvelous word, I missed it altogether! – which is why I ain’t a writer).

    Strangely, it somehow communicates so much about how young people “in harm’s way” cope with moment-to-moment life amidst an ever-present threat of sudden, terrible violence, both at that time, and when they look back in later years

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  113. brian stouder said on December 9, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Alex – I just now listened to the “How to speak Hoosier” bits, too, and I think they missed a few.

    For example, my wife’s family is from Cass County, and they pronounce Lafayette “Lay-fee-ett”. And quite often, instead of beginning a statement with the words “I prefer…” or “I would…” what they will say is “I’d just as leave…” – which has never really made sense to me. And, they add the “s” sound at the end of Illinois. And, if they’re minimizing an injury (say, for example, you’re telling a story about how you smacked your thumb with a hammer, and you might otherwise conclude by saying “but I think I’ll live”), they’ll say “but it was far from my heart”

    When you drive down US-24 to get to Logansport, there is an interchange where a very large sign informs you that if you turn right you’re headed to Mexico, and if you turn left you’re headed to Peru. This always makes me chuckle. (and there’s a new series of informative signs in Cass County near the Wabash River that inform you that you’re on “The Potawatomi Trail of Death”…not exactly Chamber of Commerce stuff, but interesting none the less)

    Anyway – I think this next summer, unless the young folks talk me into somewhere else, I’d just as leave take them to Santa Claus, Indiana, and do the theme park down there, plus the Lincoln Boyhood Home again – which is a genuinely wonderful place.

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  114. Dexter said on December 10, 2010 at 12:10 am

    The other day I was in California, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, and Florida within a couple hours and I never saw an airplane.
    California is a tiny burg in Michigan just east of Kinderhook, near I-69.
    IN, MI, OH are the states I was in, driving. Florida is a tiny town on the Maumee near Defiance, and Texas is also a small town on the river, halfway to Toledo for me, on US 24.

    Dad wasn’t a drinker, but plenty of sailors were. I heard this tale from a guy named Bob, who was on a destroyer during WWII. Rum and beer might have been rationed to sailors in earlier days, but not where and when Bob was in the Navy.
    Then he confirmed what I had heard years before: the best day for a sailor was the day supplies arrived in the form of after-shave lotion, and specifically Aqua Velva, which is what Bob and his shipmates got. They drank it. Bob said it “did the job”.
    I’ll tell ya, I have a long history of drinking beverage alcohol, but the thought of even a drop of after-shave in my mouth makes me gag.
    One drink recipe was a jigger of Aqua Velva in a glass mixed with 2 parts water and chugged. Bon apetit..I guess. Ugh.

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  115. nancy said on December 10, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Indians drink like that. Frequently with hairspray.

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  116. basset said on December 10, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Way I heard it, on the USS Baltimore in WW2 they used to pour after-shave or hair oil into one end of a loaf of bread and drink what dripped out the other. That, and ferment any kind of fruit they could save from their meals.

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  117. alex said on December 10, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Another Hoosierism worthy of mention. Bellefontaine (Hamilton, Steuben County) is Bell Fountain. La Fontaine (Huntington and Wabash Counties) is LaFOUNTin. And Hoosiers like to laugh at Illinioisians for their Dess Plains (Des Plaines).

    On edit: And Maumee/Miami is “Mes Amis” or “My friends,” a nation extinguished by Chrees-chuns.

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  118. Dexter said on December 10, 2010 at 1:07 am

    Just break down and DO IT…it couldn’t hurt. Say a little prayer, pancreatic cancer is an evil bitch to beat.!

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  119. moe99 said on December 10, 2010 at 2:06 am

    Coozledad, will you make it to Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral to block Westboro Baptist church from doing evil Saturday?

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  120. Linda said on December 10, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Alex, Bellefountaine (Bell FOUNTIN) is also how a town in northwest Ohio is pronounced by Toledoans. When I was a wee girl in Detroit, we regularly butchered the French names on the east side, the most notable being DuBois (DEW boys). Once, a driver from out of town asked me where it was, with the correct French pronunciation, and I told him I never heard of it. Which, pronounced his way, I never had, and had no idea of what he was talking about.

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  121. coozledad said on December 10, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Moe: I think Westboro Baptist Church showing up to picket your funeral is a step toward beatification. I don’t believe in hell so much, as some people have carved one out here on earth. There’s got to be a flicker of awareness in them they’re a fetid apostasy. A puddle of sick.

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  122. Mark P. said on December 10, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Brian Stouder – “I’d just as leave …”

    leave = lief. Lief is apparently Old English meaning something like gladly or willingly.

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  123. brian stouder said on December 10, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Mark, very cool!

    Thanks to your lead, I hit and found this

    and NOW, I have an amusing talking point for the upcoming holidays, over there!

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  124. moe99 said on December 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    In Kentucky, Versailles is pronounced “Ver-sales” and Athens, of course, has a long “a” with the emphasis on the first syllable. I also have a list of all the weird town names from that state/commonwealth:

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  125. Dave said on December 11, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Late, which means no one will see it, including Jeff TMMO, but my dad has said gedunk for ice cream for as along as I can remember. It was, “Let’s go to the gedunk stand”.

    I never knew where that came from, I always thought it was a deep Southern Ohio name for ice cream but now I know it comes from his Navy days.

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  126. brian stouder said on December 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Dave – wasn’t that a great story? Jeff is one of those personages who, although I’ve never met him, I’m certain that I’d very much enjoy meeting. Once, I think about a year ago, I got to meet one of the nn.c folks (Connie) for lunch, and we yakked and yakked; presumably it would be the same with Jeff (and many others, hereabouts).

    This whole subject of the way people speak, and the terms they use, is always interesting to me. Probably mentioned this before, but my mom, who was born in Brooklyn and came to Fort Wayne back in the ’50’s (met my dad – a hoosier from here – in the Navy). She can speak Italian fluently (or “Eye-talion” as some – although not her! – would say), and it was not unusual to hear her exclaim this or that Italian term or phrase (especially if she was angry!)

    One word that she would often utter – and still to this day, on occasion – is “Mitigon!”. This was usually heard if something food-related occurred, such as putting mayonaise on a baloney sandwich, or buying and eating a frozen pizza.

    Only recently I finally asked her what that meant, and she said her mom always used to say that. Her mom was an immigrant, who came over on a boat and passed through Ellis Island, and had to learn English and raise her family more or less on her own; a no-nonsense woman.

    And whenever her mom saw something that she considered particularly ridiculous, she’d say “mitigon” – which was really “American!”. Usually, this was reserved for American food that called itself Italian, but it could apply to any number of other things.

    But it was a revelation to me!

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  127. prospero said on December 12, 2010 at 9:44 am

    How in the world does the editorial board of the Wapo pin the Senate defeat of repealing DADT on Harry Reid. What a bunch of assholes. These guys are supposed to be the liberal pinupss, the librul press . There never has been such a thing.. They’re purely Republican. This is outrageous Republican suckupism. Hope Ben Bradlee is rolling in his grave. He’d be aspirating in his vomit otherwise. Liberal press? Right. Does not exist, you prejudiced assholes.

    Seriously, Harry Reid cannonballed the DADT legislation? Wapo, you morons sound like Fox News. I mean, McCain is so full of shit on this issue it’s almost hilarious, Republicans bought judges in the Supreme Court. That canned duck hunting you asshole Scalia, and let’s have a list of those smartest guys ibn ther room, you disgraceful traitor,

    Why isn’t anybody pursuing the conviction of Don Blankenship for murder? That is a murderer that bought a judge. Anybody want to claim that isn’t true? This guy is a despicable piece of shit that outright bought a judge. He murdered miners in the pursuit of digging more dirty coal, faster. He’s like Dickless Cheney. Real people doing real jobs can’t stand in his nefarious way, Just fuck ’em.

    So Wapo is the liberal press? And they make something up about wackjob conservatives> They are assholes. This Harry Reid Rax shit is garbage. You have to be ab idiot.

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  128. nancy said on December 12, 2010 at 9:56 am

    It’s here, Sue, but at 33 degrees, it’s falling mainly as slush. And I have an appointment at the Apple store in a distant mall. Making the fly/no-fly decision at the last minute.

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  129. prospero said on December 12, 2010 at 9:57 am

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