That stinks.

Slept very badly two nights ago, which meant I had to go to Defcon IV last night — the guest room (for total silence and darkness) and an over-the-counter sleep aid, which doesn’t so much help me fall asleep, but keeps me that way through the little wee-hour disturbances that tend to rouse me. I got the six solid hours I require for function, but the downside is morning grogginess. I’ve been watching clips in an attempt to regain my sense of humor, and it seems to be working. I laughed, anyway.

The movie in that clip — “The Craigslist Killer” — was advertised at one of the movies I saw over the holidays. That’s the movies nowadays: Arrive early, and you not only get previews (which always start late), but a pre-show, as well, featuring commercial after commercial. One was for “The Craigslist Killer,” another for Axe body wash, a fragrance I would happily work a shift running a honeywagon to avoid. Have you seen these? There’s a whole series of them, all about washing balls, washing back doors, washing ball sacks. You’ll feel like you’ve been locked in a room with a 14-year-old boy. Old Spice did it miles, miles better, and it probably smells better, too.

What is it with young men and their fragrances? When my nephew was a teenager, he and his friends went around in clouds of stinkum, more than I ever recall wearing as a girl. I guess they’re self-conscious about their rapidly changing, suddenly mystifying bodies. I don’t mind a nice-smelling man, but my definition is perhaps a little different: A man should smell like clean skin and soap. Even a little hint of b.o. doesn’t bother me; it just means he’s working hard. Whereas I take one whiff of Axe and think: Jersey Shore.

So, let’s skip to the bloggage, shall we?

Two video bits kick us off today. First, for fans of “Boardwalk Empire” or just digital magic in general, a quick walkthrough of the major visual effects used on the show. Yes, yes, they built that huge boardwalk stage in Brooklyn, but they built a lot more on a hard drive. My favorite was the boat, and the maiming of poor, haunted Richard Harrow:

And our own J.C. Burns was BoingBoing’d yesterday, when someone stumbled across his signoff video from WOUB-TV in Athens, Ohio, c. 1977. Groove on the cool ’70s hair and swingin’ fashions, all:

I knew a few of these people. I see Bill Dickhaut makes an early appearance. You pronounced his name “Dickout,” and you can imagine the jokes. You think you’re so funny when you’re 19. Here’s to all the people with funny names, who suffer for it. I like to think it’s not such a cruel world anymore; far more funny names in the world. One of my professors from that time was Korean. Sung Ho Kim. He said he went through grad school in the U.S. being called Wong Hung Lo by his classmates, and it was months before he realized what was going on, at which point he demanded to be called Wong Hung Up.

This story, about the state budget crisis in would-you-believe?-Texas! is weird — it seems to cut off after the lead. I wanted to know a lot more. But the figures are jaw-dropping, even with the weasel word “potentially:”

This month the state’s part-time legislature goes back into session, and the state is starting at potentially a $25 billion deficit on a two-year budget of around $95 billion. That’s enormous. And there’s not much fat to cut. The whole budget is basically education and healthcare spending. Cutting everything else wouldn’t do the trick. And though raising this kind of money would be easy on an economy of $1.2 trillion, the new GOP mega-majority in Congress is firmly against raising any revenue.

Which sent me googling for comparison; Michigan’s shortfall is $1.9 billion, which is regarded around here as apocalyptic. And look here at this photo of the new governor at his first staff meeting, which included his chief of staff — Dennis Muchmore. (See above.)

One final thing: Please stop sending me the incredibly sad pictures taken by the latest French duo to go through town, set up their tripods, and take pictures of Detroit’s very picturesque ruins. I haven’t been so moved since …the last batch, which were probably also taken by Frenchmen. There are so many French journalists wandering through town the hotels have probably renamed the continental breakfast for them, the way the hotels in Honolulu had miso soup and fish on the breakfast buffet in the ’80s. Yes, they’re lovely photos, but I’ve seen versions of every one for years now, and the accompanying stories are always wrong in some fundamental way, and I’m just tired of reading them. They’re perfect examples of how you can get every fact right and still miss the truth.

Off to get some work done. And catch my rabbit.

Posted at 10:09 am in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

89 responses to “That stinks.”

  1. brian stouder said on January 4, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Off to get some work done. And catch my rabbit.

    And now, all I can hum is Go Ask Alice, especially given the sleeping pill intro.

    This being NN.c, the allusion is entirely by design, I’m sure! (feed your head)

    Aside from that, I recall when I was a kiddo and first began to shave, that I believed that you HAD to use aftershave*; I was an Aqua Velva man. Looking back on it, I must have smelled like a mafia wannabe, or maybe like a stripper between shows

    *score one for TV advertising, circa 1978

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  2. Jenine said on January 4, 2011 at 10:32 am

    It’s a metaphor for getting something important done with your day: gotta go catch that rabbit.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see more than one woman on the team in the video clip.

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  3. coozledad said on January 4, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I used to wear a little bit of sandlewood essential oil. I figured it helped keep the moths off my wool clothing. Ultimately it develops a funereal quality, though, and when I was carting a bunch of old shirts to the Goodwill, it reminded me of something Bruce Chatwin said about the antiques business: He got out because he got tired of the singular pervasive odor of dead people’s stuff.
    I had a roommate in college who would pour about half a cup of Aramis in his hand, hold it just behind the base of his skull, and let it course down his neck into the dense mat of hair covering his back.
    “Jesus fuck, Howard. If someone lights a cigarette you’re going to go up like a wad of cotton.”

    I’ve encountered salesmen who were walking around in a cloud of that stuff, and the more they had on, the more aggressive they were. It’s the scent of self unawareness. Do men’s cologne formulators introduce that fecal note on purpose, or does it just leach out of guys with a heavy application of the solvent?

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  4. LAMary said on January 4, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I’m wearing the scent my son assembled for me as a Christmas gift. I know I described it here earler as Chanel #5 but more herbal. I’m thinking a better description would be hippie baby powder.
    Axe is hideous. My sons use some of the samples I accumulate from my perfume department chums. Anything from Hermes is a hit. Orange Vert especially.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on January 4, 2011 at 10:56 am

    A middle school teacher I know bans all Axe products in his classroom. Smart man.

    Is hippie baby powder good or bad?

    My maiden name: Pigott. Pronounced PIGutt. Yep, it was miserable. And will someone tell me a better word than maiden? Given? Birth? ???

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  6. ROgirl said on January 4, 2011 at 11:01 am

    The Craigslist Killer clip looks like the beginning of a porn movie.

    I once got on an airplane in Amsterdam, an end seat in the middle section of a 747, near the back. A young man in his early 20’s was coming down the aisle towards me, preceded by an ungodly stench. He was seated right next to me, of course. The odor was some high-smelling after shave/cologne mixed with what was probably a good week of unwashed body parts. I was gagging. I shifted my body out into the aisle as much as possible, but it didn’t help. People were still boarding. I finally got up and talked with a flight attendant. I just told him that the guy next to me smells really bad and is there another seat I can be moved to? He said, “Ah yes, Amsterdam in the summer,” and told me that once everybody was seated he would move me somewhere else. I went back to my seat and pretty much had to hold my breath until all the passengers were settled in. The flight attendant came back and moved me forward, to a seat directly in front of a dividing wall, away from the stench.

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  7. Mark P. said on January 4, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Next big trend: Axe Pressure Wash for Men.

    I miss the green Mennen squeeze-spray deodorant my father used many years ago. I used it until it was no longer available. People sometimes gave me aftershave or cologne (or whatever they called it), but I never used anything like that. Just keep my armpits from stinking so bad I can smell them with my arms at my side and I’m ready to go. As for cleaning the rest of my body, I find that a shower and soap do that pretty well.

    Georgia’s 2011 budget shortfall may end up in the $2 billion range. Around here, they always try to add a cent or two to the sales tax to make up for the inability of the legislature to be responsible enough to tell people they need to pay higher taxes if they want services. But for some reason, not that many people are voting to increase their sales tax. I think the state plans to make up the difference selling teabags.

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  8. LAMary said on January 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Hippie baby powder is nice. Johnson and Johnson with some sandalwood or patchouli or something lurking.

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  9. coozledad said on January 4, 2011 at 11:17 am

    There’s some women’s scent that smells like someone’s been mulling hard cider,Blue Nun,and pumpkin pie spice. It’s probably called “bank teller”.

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  10. Catherine said on January 4, 2011 at 11:18 am

    There’s a woman over at Jezebel who’s channeling Ashley. Did someone already link to this?

    And Julie, yes, we need a better word to describe one’s old last name. I sometimes say “my unmarried last name” or “my father’s last name.”

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  11. nancy said on January 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I thought the same thing when I read that thing at Jezebel, Catherine.

    I’ve heard women refer to their maiden names as “my birth name.”

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  12. Bob (not Greene) said on January 4, 2011 at 11:23 am

    As a joke, my wife got our 13-year-old son a stocking stuffer of the Jersey Shore-smelling stuff. Hilarious names. The first one he put on is called “Really Ripped Abs”. He’s a wrestler, what can I say? I think the others are “Rock Hard” and some sort of musk. He’s in on the joke — he has to be with three older brothers making fun of it.

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  13. MichaelG said on January 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

    The deficit here starts at $25 Bil. At some point something is going to have to be done to increase revenue. Raise taxes, have a bake sale, I don’t know what. Maybe even, horrors, make corporations pay a little.

    It’s not just men. There are also women out there who seem to marinate in stinkwater before coming to work. There’s one who smells like insect killer. I’ve been in the elevator with her several times. I can hold my breath for four floors but my eyes still water.

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  14. prospero said on January 4, 2011 at 11:25 am

    When I was in college, Hai Karate, English Leather and British Sterling, all as odoriferously offensive as their faux macho names, were the alleged male pheromones of choice. Girls actually bought this shit for guys and I was expected to use it, and to remember who had given me which one. The whole business was annoying and somewhat publicly humiliating. I’m sure there were still unused portions of this toxic waste in the medicine cabinets at my parents’ old house when we tore it down to sell the property. Could be a Superfund site by now.

    Nancy, I’m with you on Pete Postlethwaite. Sins of the Father is so good I bought my own copy. It was stunning to see a Brit play Irish in a true story of a black hour in modern Brit history. Pretty courageous.

    His Supporting Actor Oscar nomination in ’93 came against formidable competition in excellent movies: Tommy Lee Jones in “The Fugitive”, Leonardo DiCaprio in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”, Ralph Fiennes in “Schindler’s List”, John Malkovich in “In the Line of Fire”. Aside: How were any of these roles actually supporting? Anyway, I probably would have voted for Malkovich as the brilliant deranged assassin. Anyway, Pete Postlethwaite (what a cool name, like Entwistle) was in a lot of movies I really liked, most recently Inception.

    Postlethwaite also played Friar Lauraence in the fascinating Romeo + Juliet Baz Luhrman Shakespeare revival, and actually spoke his lines in iambic pentameter as they were written. The actor probably insisted on this, since he was a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

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  15. Cointoss said on January 4, 2011 at 11:39 am

    No. No. No.

    You – of all people – need to look at those photos of Detroit. You – of all people – need to look hard at the fruits of your liberalism. You – of all people – need to stare hard at what happens when you enable the sense of victimhood of a class of people; when you tell an entire culture that they are immune to criticism and entitled to do whatever makes them feel good about feeling bad. You, who have spent your entire adult life clucking your tongue at the rich, kneecapping entrepreneurism at every turn, and channelling every fiber of your being into being “more empathetic than thou,” don’t you dare turn away.

    No. You should be strapped in a chair with your eyelids pinned back ala Clockwork Orange and forced to watch the end product of your irrational bumpersticker feelgood pseudologic.

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  16. nancy said on January 4, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Hey er’body! Dwight’s back!

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  17. Sue said on January 4, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Is that really Dwight, Nancy? Dwight was more of a smash and grab commenter, this has too many big words.
    Pardon me for questioning. You – of all people – would know.

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  18. Bob (not Greene) said on January 4, 2011 at 11:44 am

    And he’s a self-proclaimer tosser as well!

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  19. LAMary said on January 4, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Still a troubled teen, too.

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  20. coozledad said on January 4, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I was getting ready to ask who the fuck invited Greg Mankiw.

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  21. paddyo' said on January 4, 2011 at 11:48 am

    The Jezebel rant threw me back to a favorite song by one of my favorite bands, Brooklyn Funk Essentials: I Got Cash . . . a great flip-off to Yuppiedom — or to Dwight, for that matter

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  22. Sue said on January 4, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Is there anyone else here who laughed at the ‘more empathetic than thou’ characterization of Nancy? That’s our girl, a regular Oprah.
    Stop wearing your heart on your sleeve, Nancy, you drama queen.

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  23. Eric Zorn said on January 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Not Bob Greene, either. I blogged on this scent topic
    this morning and came clean, as it were, about my personal sin against female nasal receptors, Royal Copenhagen.
    Musk! Evidently it doesn’t work.

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  24. alex said on January 4, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Someone above commented on Aramis. Yes, I remember that smell all too vividly, driving around with a bunch of fellow teens and thinking someone had put the Aramis on a little too heavy.

    Eventually we realized that the car was actually on fire and that’s what the smell was.

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  25. Connie said on January 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Having been the first person I knew who didn’t change her name upon marriage, lo these 30some years ago, I call it my life name.

    And if you had a unique ethnic name with a Z in it you probably would have kept yours too!

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  26. prospero said on January 4, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Actually, what put Detroit in it’s current fix is big-amygdala conservatives, white flight at first sight of a black potential neighbor, racist redlining by deregulated banks going all the way back to the 60s, bundled derivatives based on clearly, deliberately bad loans (that would condense to Mittesque greed), entrepreneurial stupidity on a colossal scale by automobile manufacturers.

    Somewhere recently I read some conservative dickweed talking about businesses burnt out in Detroit in the Summer of ’67. Yeah, like the friendly neighborhood mompop groceries selling milk for $5/qt. My dad was chief of peds at Metropolitan Hospital, 12th and Tuxedo. I worked there and saw this unfold. The Panthers House was a couple of blocks away, at 14th and Indiandale. The infamous Blind Pig where DPD Tactical Mobile Units precipitated the riot was in the same neighborhood, 12th and Clairmount. I know what was going on at the beginning of Detroit’s slide into post-Armageddon. It was most assuredly not any feeling of entitlement to a “sense of victimization”, it was actual repression of an entire community, by greedy vulture landlords and business owners, and by a rogue police force.

    I’m sure it’s not productive bothering to point this out, but whoever cointoss may be, that is a string of unsupportable bullshit, like Issa going after Holder and ACORN when the latter has ceased to exist, and inspector Gadget used to be a car thief who burned his own properties for insurance money. What is it about a computer keyboard and the internet that makes people so willing to display wilfull ignorance through mindless vituperation?

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  27. Kim said on January 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Connie, I did!

    And BobNG – your wife and I were totally on the same stocking stuffer page. Our 13-y-o got a stocking full of smells and his brother and sister gave him intense grief over each splash. He’s not a wrestler but a soccer player, and if he runs his feet as much as he runs his mouth we will, as he predicts, have a professional on our hands in the next 10 years. One with scent endorsements.

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  28. brian stouder said on January 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    You – of all people – need to stare hard at what happens when you enable the sense of victimhood of a class of people; when you tell an entire culture that they are immune to criticism and entitled to do whatever makes them feel good about feeling bad.

    I would propose a trade. I would stare at all the “ruins” pictures that Dwight wants, and sincerely ponder them, and their causes, and who (or what) history should blame.

    In return, Dwight would read an appropriate book. Right now, Jane Addams is top-of-mind, but there are many other goodies. The key is, the book must deal honestly with late-19th and early 20th century issues like child labor, safety in the workplace, strikes, and anti-union violence (think Pullman and/or Carnegie, et al. Hell, there’s even a Detroit overlap, with Henry Ford and others)

    If he honestly contemplates the effects of telling “an entire culture [in this case, capitalist plutocrats and other such ‘captains of industry’) that they are immune to criticism and entitled to do whatever makes them feel good about”…doing whatEVER enriches them…

    Or apologizing for spending all his days [flapping his]tongue at the [poor, and the powerless, and the disenfranchised], [while getting on his] kneecap[s] for [so-called] entrepreneurism [but really, for unrestricted greed and inhumanity] at every turn,

    then we’d have a deal

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  29. Little Bird said on January 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Weighing in on the scent topic, when I was a teen Draakaar (or however it’s spelled) hit the market. It was yanked off the market shortly after, purportedly because it had human pheromones in it. I hate to admit it, but I loooove the scent of the stuff (they have re-released it without the problem ingredient.)
    For us girls there was the Love’s line of scents. And a number others that all seemed to carry a hint of urine in the scent notes. And of course, we teens hadn’t yet learned how to properly apply perfume of any kind so we all went around in a cloud of the stuff that must have been so thick it was visible.
    These days I go to one of those “build your own” perfume oil places. And what I am drawn to most are the ones that smell merely clean. Much to Deborah’s relief I’m sure.

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  30. prospero said on January 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Mittens Romney’s dad was a liberal Republican that made the mistake of admitting he’d been brainwashed about Viet Nam. What liberal programs or philosophies caused this hare-brained conservative, entrepreneurial nitwit son of one of the last good AmericanRepublicans to leave this blight on Palmer Woods while he beat feet to a mansion with indentured servants paid for by the state in lilly-white Belmont, MA, just down the street from John Birch Society HQ? ACORN made him do it? Is that it? How does Mitt feel “entitled” to let the cash-starved local government clean up his mess after him? True GOP culture of personal responsibility, right? People like this greedy, selfish asshole are responsible for the current state of Detroit’s demise.

    The Large Hadron Collider sounds like Brian Eno fooling around, and a little like the Close Encounters theme.

    Interesting concept, beautifully executed.

    Oh, a wise guy, eh? Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck. I’madinnerjacket has his own Joe Wilson, but this is more like Three Stooges. Wasn’t this guy supposed to have heaved a shoe. If this happened in the US, would alert Secret Service agents wrestle the guy to the ground like Gerald Ford’s grapefruit spoon?

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  31. Suzanne said on January 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Amen, Mr. Stouder.

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  32. Bob (not Greene) said on January 4, 2011 at 12:42 pm


    The other scent-related event of the late fall was No. 3 son, a swimmer, and his swim team buddies doing a “who can go the longest without taking a shower” contest. Of course, they’re swimmers, who are submerged in chlorine three to four hours a day and who don’t consider the shower they take after practice as an actual shower (it’s just getting warm). And, they hatched this contest while IN the shower as well. I give them credit; the “contest” lasted a couple of weeks, not that you could tell. He just smelled like chlorine, as usual. Teenage boys do the darndest things.

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  33. Jeff Borden said on January 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Dwight is such a fucking asshole. And so inconsistent. Detroit, apparently, has been ruined by kind-hearted liberals and their policies. Interesting theory, but how might our knuckle-dragging pud-puller explain San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and all the other burgs that are either thriving or at least holding their own despite the enormous population of liberals living there?

    Fuck Dwight. Let him move to Arizona. It’s clearly his kind of state.

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  34. coozledad said on January 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Borden: Given his predilection for torture porn imagery and white resenttiment, Jan Brewer and Old Walnuts would he happy to have him. What’s one more fuddled sociopath? Texas’d be a natural home too.

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  35. moe99 said on January 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    My favorite scent, Memoire Cherie, by Elizabeth Arden, was discontinued years ago when an ingredient became illegal. I’ve since found a place in TX that makes the perfume, but then I went into a period of not wearing anything as a member in my choir was allergic to perfumes, and I’ve just not gotten back into the habit.

    Have to say, I’d like to shake each and every on street smoker I walk past. Even outside, their stink cannot be avoided.

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  36. Jeff Borden said on January 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm


    Agreed. I should have included the Loon Star State in my suggestions, particularly west Texas, where amoebas like Dwight are a dime a dozen.

    I saw a reference to Bristol Palin buying a five-bedroom house in Maricopa, AZ., which noted that if she ever took up residence, it would raise the IQ of both Alaska and Arizona. I believe the author was quoting someone else, maybe Will Rogers? H.L. Mencken?

    The revirginized Bristol, btw, paid $172,000 in cash for the foreclosed property, which also has a swimming pool and a three-car garage. The high school dropout teen mom must have such a hard time keeping a straight face when she’s discussing abstinence education. Getting preggers by Levi was a great career move for the junior grifter.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on January 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    But not to Tuscon please, we have friends there.

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  38. ROgirl said on January 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    My candidate for the most nausea-inducing mens’ scent is Brut. Wasn’t there a line in “Breaking Away” about frat boys who reek of Lavoris and Brut?

    I agree that some womens’ scents are quite repellent and they can be applied with all the finesse of a garden hose sprayer.

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  39. beb said on January 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Good luck catching your rabbit. We’re trying to snag a squirrel that got into our house about a week back. The dern fool has avoided the peanut butter baited live trap. I also had him yesterday. He was in the sink, head deep in a large mug trying to drink the tea at the bottom. I had walked up to within three feet of him and realized that I could bag him easily and that I didn’t have a bag. He finally noticed me and ran away before I could think of a substitute. We’ve since added an apple to the trap.

    So, what the deal? It’s OK for women to wear perfume but not for men? Or is that when men wear perfume they over-do it by 1000%?

    I always felt that Jennifer Granholm, our previous governor spent too much time trying to cut spending when she should have bulled ahead for a tax hike. But if she kept the deficit down to one billion while Tea Party favorite Perry let it run up to $25 Billion, then she was doing all right.

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  40. MichaelG said on January 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I once got on an elevator on the first floor with a guy who had been drinking. He got off on the second floor but the elevator still stunk of booze. Then a woman got on on the third floor. I got off on the fourth with the woman staring at me. I couldn’t imagine what she might have been thinking.

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  41. Dave said on January 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Nancy, I had a friend whose father was a United Methodist minister. They were moved to Lima in about 1964, where he became the associate pastor of the United Methodist church in downtown Lima. The lead pastor’s name was Dickhaut, which was really funny when you’re 14 or 15.

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  42. John said on January 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    My favorite scent, Memoire Cherie, by Elizabeth Arden, was discontinued years ago when an ingredient became illegal.

    Moe, can you name the ingredient? I was fascinated by this trivia but couldn’t find the reference for the rest of the story.

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  43. LAMary said on January 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Bristol will likely be attending ASU, a school with an acceptance rate of 90+%. That’s the school whose student body voted to not give Obama an honorary degree because he had not accomplished enough so far. Unlike famous ASU grads like the insane woman on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills who called herself a psychic and bragged about graduating from ASU. I think they have a golf course management major there.

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  44. coozledad said on January 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    And Snooki Polizzi’s a writer in residence.

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  45. Brandon said on January 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm


    Drakkar Noir is still around.

    What does anyone think of Opium by Yves Saint Laurent?

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  46. LAMary said on January 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I think Opium is very disco era.Opium and Poison were two scents I never cared for but they were very popular. Over the top for me.
    My favorite mens cologne is Guerlain Imperial.

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  47. mark said on January 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Found this bit in one of the articles on the Michigan deficit:

    The average total cost of a state employee, a figure that includes benefits, rose 58.2 percent from $54,412 to $86,100 from 1999-2000 to 2009-10, Olson said.

    Over the same period, the average personal income for individual Michigan residents grew 24.1 percent, the lowest of the 50 states, Olson said

    This seems to me to be the crux of much of the government deficit problem, in Michigan and elsewhere. Keep “tax the corporations” as your answer, if you want, but government can not perpetually grow faster, pay better and spend more than the people and businesses it serves.

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  48. Rana said on January 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    moe99, I’m with you on the smoker stink – I’m neither fond of nor dislike the smell of the smoke itself, but something happens to tobacco as it processes through a human body to produce one of the more unpleasant organic smells out there – and I’m including stockyards and pulp mills in that category. I still feel traumatized by being cornered by a balloon-twisting clown with bad smoker’s B.O. at an amusement park once.

    I’ve discovered that spending an hour or more in a Starbucks running at full tilt is a good way to become infused with the smell of coffee; unfortunately it’s more the smell of stale coffee than fresh. I’ve had to declare some of my washable coats “Starbucks coats” so that I don’t fume up my dry-clean-only ones.

    As for actual perfumes, I’m rather fond of Jo Malone. When we were dating, D. got me Red Roses, and I’ve since become fond of their 154. The cedar-lime is also interesting, and quite nice, once one gets over the oddness of it. I must say, I would rather smell genuine perfume in my pits than anything the anti-perspirant folks turn out; I’ve long thought that laundry detergents were incredibly stinky, but the women’s anti-perspirant folks have them beat by far. Ugh!

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  49. brian stouder said on January 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    The average total cost of a state employee, a figure that includes benefits, rose 58.2 percent from $54,412 to $86,100 from 1999-2000 to 2009-10

    Not being argumentative for arguments sake, but really – isn’t this out of context and therefore meaningless?

    If hard times come (as they surely have in Michigan), what does the government do? They presumeably whack/furlough all they can, in sequence, from the newest hires (and lowest paid) upward.

    I bet a nickle that the aggregate Michigan public payroll is lower, even as the average salary/benefits package is higher

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  50. Bitter Scribe said on January 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Cointoss or whoever you are: So ghettos happen because black people feel sorry for themselves. I’m sure if you went down to those areas of Detroit and told the inhabitants that, they would immediately see the error of their ways and reform. I’m sure Nancy would be happy to give you directions.

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  51. Dorothy said on January 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    When my son was 13 or 14 he went to the mall with birthday money. He came home with a slew of samples from the men’s cologne counter at Gimbels or Kaufmann’s. I could smell him before I could see him – I was in the sewing room and about gagged from the overload he had on his neck. He raved about how nice the girl was when he spent about $25 on some aftershave products. And he didn’t even shave yet.

    I think scents are lovely in moderation, some of them. Personally I find musk extremely repellent, though. Mike has never worn cologne, just after shave. And I put on a smidge of Tommy Girl or Avon’s Imari when I want to smell nice. If you spray it in the air and then lean into it, that’s just enough for me.

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  52. LAMary said on January 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I can’t stand scented anti perspirants. Luckily you can find a few brands of unscented. Jo Malone Grapefruit or Lime Basil are great. There is that little bit of strangeness but once it settles down it’s really nice.

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  53. moe99 said on January 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    John, here are some leads for you:

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  54. Hattie said on January 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I got news for you. Honolulu hotels still have miso and fish at their breakfast buffets. We have a great team in state government now, though, and are actually getting some of that change you can believe in.

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  55. Linda said on January 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Hey Mark, did you read the part about Texas being broker than a joke? I wonder how much Texas being broke rocks the conservative world view. They sure as hell aren’t full of heavily unionized public employees. According to this document:
    “Texas (the second largest state in terms of the number of wage and salary workers) had one-fourth as many union members as New York (the third largest), despite having 1.9 million more wage and salary employees.”

    They sure aren’t choking on their largess to the poor. So why are they broke, Mark?

    And that quote about “the average government employee” is a hoot. This includes garbagemen, social workers (who are paid like crap), and politicians. It reminds me of the joke about the average wealth of a room which has both Bill Gates and a homeless guy.

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  56. mark said on January 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm


    The answer is the same for Texas- they spend more than they take in. The biggest part of spending is employment cost, wages and benefits, which have been growing at a far larger pace in the public sector than in the private.

    What is the “hoot” about the statistics? You may have a subjective view of the “fair” pay for garbage collectors, social workers, etc., but that doesn’t change reality if those performing the services as government employees are paid far in excess to those performing the same service in the private sector.

    It’s not about wishing for fairness, it’s about paying what you can afford.

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  57. JayZ(the original) said on January 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    In my youth the most popular fragrance for men was Canoe, and the favorite of my young women friends was White Shoulders.

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  58. Dexter said on January 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I am cursed by reactions to a lot of airborne chemicals. Even a faint detection of cat litter dust sets me off and I can’t breathe. I have been this way for many years. Now my grandson is staying with us for 18 weeks before he departs for US Army active duty. He sprays this horrible stuff all over himself, and I scream at him and threaten him and … well, it just does no good.
    It’s one thing to be mildly irritated by these sprays and quite another thing to not be able to breathe. I take pills, I use two inhalers, still, people ignore my requests.
    I am doomed, (inject non sequitur)just like Michigan football head coach Rich Rodriquez, who espn says was just fired.

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  59. prospero said on January 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Mark, you’re comparing public employee compensation with benefits to private compensation without. These statistics obviously do not include CEO level compensation, including stock options, or so-called professional small businessmen like hedge fund managers, white shoe lawyers, LLC plastic surgeons and other obscenely high, basically untaxed compensation. Furthermore, there is no public sector analogue to the vast army of the lowest paid private sector earners, like burger flippers and table servers, Walmart greeters, etc. The analyses you’re employing have no statistical significance, because of these patent inconsistencies. Undoubtedly, you, and people that produce studies of this sort are well aware of comparing incompatible raw data. It’s at least disingenuous, and probably more purposefully dishonest than simply a result of mathematical naivete.

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  60. Julie Robinson said on January 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Completely off-topic, I’m sharing this website for the Lincoln scholars out there: Forgive me if you already know about it, I just stumbled across it. NIU is in my hometown and my mom is a huge Lincoln fan, so I’m wondering if it’s new. Incidentally, Lincoln was rumored to have stayed at a house on my family’s former farm.

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  61. ROgirl said on January 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    As a Wolverine, I say good riddance to Rich Rod.

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  62. beb said on January 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    It’s not about wishing for fairness, it’s about paying what you can afford.

    Mark, it’s never that simple. Try finding a babysitter will will for for a dollar an hour. If you are working minimum wage and need a babysitter you probably can’t afford to pay more than that. Good luck finding someone who will work for $9 a day. You start paying teachers $10,000 and they’ll start looking for work in another state or in another line of work. You need good accountants to run the tax department, you’re not going to get those for $20,000 / year. People will not take jobs that pay less than what they’re worth. Texas’s problem isn’t that they’re paying state employees too much so much as that they never taxed people near the level of services they offered.

    By the way, studies of public employees v. private employees have public workers to be generally paid less than private employees.

    Michigan went through 8 painful years under Granholm to arrive at a deficit of only $1.9 billion. It doesn’t sound like Texas under its succession of Republican governors has ever cut anything.

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  63. Sue said on January 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Here’s how they get around it at the Federal level. If you don’t want to have to worry about it, you exempt it, just like how they got around that pesky problem of paying for the Iraq war. God. Things never change, do they.

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  64. Joe Kobiela said on January 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Just finishing up a overnightin Memphis Tenn.Had some good bar-b-q went down and saw the ducks at the pebody and checked out the Missisippi. Also drove by Graceland. The pebody was cool, there was a letter from a 81yr old woman who honeymooned there in 43 as a 18yr old and had took a towel, in 2006 she sent them 30 dollars cash,said she still felt guilty all those yrs later. Beal str was a dissapointment but that might have been due to it being daylight. Still like Old spice and their slogan. If your grandfather had not worn it you would not be hear.
    Pilot Joe

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  65. Linda said on January 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I didn’t say the wages weren’t “fair,” I said they were small. “mental retardation assistant III at $25,000 is pretty lousy, as is a $12,000 school food person. You seem to be the one assigning “fairness” or “unfairness” to public sector wages.

    As to a comparison with the private sector, wages had been going up, but largely for federal workers. “Public workers” is a broad spectrum. In my field, you can be a well-paid community college librarian, or a terribly paid public librarian in a small town. Or you can be a corporate librarian who seriously out-earns public librarians. My wages have been cut, and the cohort in my department has been cut in half. And those giant pensions that crush everybody (for which we pay, by the way) are the size they are because we are forbidden to enter the Social Security system, the defined benefits package that nearly everybody else in the U.S. is allowed to participate in.

    We agree that it is indeed a matter of paying for what you can afford. Texans have a real aversion to paying for their stuff. They are not, however, being crushed by unionized workers. They are living in a state with high population growth, and that means more stuff needs to get done–more trash to pick up, more kids to educate, more roads to keep paved. That takes money, and they don’t want to pay to live in a state with paved roads and educated kids. They could choose to cut those services, or start up a state income tax, but they are considering, for instance, the expansion of gambling instead. How mature is that? Their cheapness chickens are coming home to roost.

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  66. brian stouder said on January 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Julie, that is indeed a lovely site. If I live long enough to be an old retired guy, I don’t think I’ll ever reside in the sunbelt. Instead, a good old northern college town – such as Galesburg or Bloomington or Springfield or Normal, Illinois; or (for that matter) Fort Wayne, Indiana or Oberlin, Ohio (not even to mention Columbus) will always suit me. If a citizen is willing to get up and go, there’s no end of interesting (or fascinating) public lectures to attend. Just a month or two ago, I visited one of my favorite Lincoln sites (I don’t have that link on this computer) and learned to my very great joy that Jean Baker (an all-time favorite scholar of mine, and a biographer of Mary Lincoln) was delivering a lecture at a college near Columbus…and then I was practically heartbroken that I couldn’t possibly go.

    It is almost amazing how pleasurable it is, when a genuinely intelligent person shares the fruit of her scholarship with you, and illuminates things that you should see and consider, and places in proper perspective the things you thought you knew. One thing that almost compels a sympathetic pang from me, toward the so-called “Tea Party” crowd, is their apparent desire to look to the past so as to improve the present, and the future. That process never ends

    PS – Jolene, did you watch the Bobby Lee show?

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  67. moe99 said on January 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    those performing the services as government employees are paid far in excess to those performing the same service in the private sector.

    That’s a good one, mark. I have never been paid in excess of attorneys in private practice. I even took a pay cut to jump from the federal service to the state of Washington in 1994. At this point in time, I earn maybe, if I am lucky, one third of what attorneys with my years of experience earn in the private sector. I chose government work because I needed regular hours raising my kids, so I went into it eyes wide open. But when some yahoo like you tries to tell me that I earn more, after watching my former associates from private practice pay off the mortgages on their 3000 sq ft mansions by the lake and purchase vacation homes or travel abroad every year, that’s so full of crap as to merit a diaper.

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  68. Linda said on January 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Moe, this reminds me of one of the reasons Texas was a hotbed of scandal in the S & L troubles of the 80s. Their financial regulators were so poorly paid that they hired anybody they could, mostly people with no real experience or acumen in finance (since those people could make good money in the private sector), and the scamsters just skated circles around them. Sometimes, you get what you pay for.

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  69. Julie Robinson said on January 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Brian, that is indeed one of the reasons Mom has stayed put. She lives a scant two blocks from campus and has season tickets for both theatre and dance at Northern. Music concerts and lectures are free, and she also participates in their life-long learning program. It’s a rare day that doesn’t see her walking over for an event, or a least a gambol around the campus lagoon.

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  70. Jolene said on January 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Yes, Brian, I did see the R.E. Lee show. It was useful for me in terms of basic facts, as I’m not as knowledgeable about that era as you were. I sometimes think it’s amazing we’ve recovered from the Civil War as well as we have, given the scale of the destruction and the human losses. It takes real effort to imagine what it was like to have armies marching across farm fields and to see the huge numbers of bodies falling there. That someone of Lee’s character and talent somehow thought it right to devote himself to the defense of a way of life based on slavery is a testament to the profound difficulty we all have in understanding life from any perspective save our own.

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  71. basset said on January 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Joe, you didn’t go to the Rendezvous, did you? tourist trap, awful dried-out ribs. Mrs. B. and I passed through Memphis on our honeymoon lo these many years ago and sent postcards home from Graceland signed “Elvis and Priscilla.”

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  72. LAMary said on January 4, 2011 at 5:44 pm

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  73. brian stouder said on January 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Jolene – yes. I yapped a little at the end of the last thread about the Lee show; in short, I was glad that they went after him, at least a little. The word “slavery” – especially as it directly relates to Robert E Lee, is not one that the Lost Cause defenders like to hear; but indeed, the show also addressed a bit of the bipartisan, northern and southern historiography – wherein the progressive Teddy Roosevelt, and the New Deal FDR (amongst many others) felt the need to invest in the rehabilitation/celebration of Lee’s life and legacy.

    The show was OK; and it did at least look at the unpleasant shadow that Lee (et al) casts across our shared American history, to the current day.

    As you say – going to those battlefields, and those packed cemeteries, is almost unbelievable. Forget percentages and ratios – the raw numbers are astounding in ANY age!!

    60,000 American military personel killed in Vietnam over 20 years is plenty horrible enough; how do we comprehend 620,000 American military personel killed in 4 years of war?

    Honestly – I do not say this in vain – you visit these fields with markers from Indiana and Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Illinois and New York and Wisconsin on one side; and Georgia and Texas and Virginia and North Carolina and Alabama and South Carolina and Louisiana on the other – and you say out loud “Jesus Christ in Heaven! How did it EVER come to this??!!”

    And the more you read, and the more you chase that answer, the more awful and murky the emerging answer becomes.

    The one damned thing I’m certain of, is that A. Lincoln was eternally right when he said “we must not forget what they did here” (whatever else we do)

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  74. Mark P. said on January 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Jolene, I’m not sure we ever recovered, at least down here in the South. There is a tragic irony in that the most vociferously nationalist people you can find in the US, and the most military enlistees, too, come from the South. And, at the same time, many of them would happily secede from the Union if it meant they could start discriminating against people with darker complexions. And we still have politicians more than willing to fan those flames of ignorance and hatred.

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  75. prospero said on January 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Here’s a worthwhile compendium of information and facts regarding comparisons made between public and private sector job compensation. It points out all of the logical fallacies required to buy into the union-busting anti-government rhetoric, most of which originated with that Old Yellowstone of bullshit Fox News. And the idiot right-wing politicians like Tim Pawlenty that buy into the deliberate misinformation, despite seeming to intelligent and reasonable to join in the chorus. Pawlenty is probably trying to cozy up to the Teagger types taking over his party.

    And yeah, Media Matters must be part of the Soros Grand Conspiracy, or something. They actually quote wingnuts extensivvely, in context. And document their claims and conclusions. Dastardly tactics of the left wing.

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  76. Jeff Borden said on January 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Mark P.,

    Living in North Carolina from 1985 to 1989, I was kind of amazed at how many vehicles had bumper stickers or front license plates with the caricature of an graying Confederate defiantly shouting, “Forget hell!” and N.C. was not even a hard-core part of the Old Confederacy, not compared to South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, etc. (I read somewhere that N.C. was reluctant to secede, but went along with its sister states south of the Mason-Dixon line.) I know it was referred to as “a valley of humility between two mountains of conceit (Virginny and S.C.)”

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  77. Linda said on January 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Joe, your posting reminds me of the first time I went to Memphis for a job interview about 25 years ago. I was cooling my heels in the lobby of the Peabody till my train came, and then I saw a crowd of people crowding around the elevator. Since this was a fancy hotel, I went up to see who the celebrity was that could be causing such a stir. I was informed most solemnly by another gawker that the ducks were marching. And sure enough, they were marched on a red carpet to an elevator up to their little penthouse on the roof.

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  78. MichaelG said on January 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Moe, you correctly identified the difference between public and private sector employment. As with your job, private sector people who do what I do get paid a whole lot more than public sector folks. The public sector attraction over past decades has been that employees have stable employment (no layoffs and no required moving around the country), good health care coverage and a decent pension. Talented people have long accepted lower wages in return for the benefits.

    The stories about huge pensions are just that – stories like the welfare Cadillac stories. Yeah there are a few. There are always exceptions and abuses but I can tell you that your average CA State retiree is most assuredly not living in a villa on the Cote d’ Azure.

    Now the Repubs are attempting to cut the benefits so that public employees will get both lousy wages and lousy benefits. Guess who will be staffing all those public jobs in the future. That’s right. People who can’t get anything else. Even as it is, we have long had chronic shortages of architects, lawyers, engineers, etc. because the State compensation package just hasn’t been competitive.

    The notion that State employees are the cause of the CA budget problems is simply ludicrous. You could fire each one of us and the savings wouldn’t be a drop in the budget crisis bucket.

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  79. Mark P. said on January 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    This public-vs-private pay issue is funny, at least from where I’m sitting. In my world, the way to get rich is to start your own company and get a federal government contract. The government employees who manage the contracts don’t get anywhere near what the senior contractors get. Not even close. That’s why so many senior government executives retire and go to work for the companies with contracts they used to manage. They work long enough to get their SES, work for a couple more years, then retire with a bigger pension and a ticket to a top job in the private sector.

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  80. Jolene said on January 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    I’m not sure we ever recovered, at least down here in the South.

    Yes, well, I did say “as well as we have.” Before reading T-N Coates’s blog, I had never had occasion to read any of the statements issued by the Confederate states justifying secession, but he has published segments of several of them.* They are replete with references not only to the need for, but the moral justification for slavery.

    Only a few people would endorse such statements these days, but, as you point out, assumptions about white supremacy are both entrenched and pervasive, and the consequences of those beliefs are everywhere. Given the human propensity to categorize individuals based on surface characteristics and to seek out others like ourselves, it’s not easy to be optimistic about the end of race-based judgments and actions. All the more reason, I guess, to write, to speak, to vote, to organize.

    *The State, which is the leading newspaper of South Carolina, published South Carolina’s secession statements on the date that that secession ball was held, which I thought a very good thing to do.

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  81. Jolene said on January 4, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Has anyone read This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust? If so, did you find it depressing beyond belief?

    I’m thinking of choosing it for my next book club selection, but am not sure it’s right to impose my macabre tastes on the rest of the group.

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  82. Kim said on January 4, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    LAMary, that link was as hilarious as states’ budget woes are maddeningly sad.

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  83. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 4, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Jolene, I’m about to start it, will let you know. She’s a friend of my wife’s boss, and he loaned me “Mothers of Invention” first which, once I got Frank Zappa out of my head, was a great read.

    The thing about state budget deficits and increased cost of full-time employees — it’s largely true, and is why Obama’s decision to work on jobs and deficits began with health care reform. You can’t deal with the reality of either side of the problem (costs of public service personnel, outlays for Medicaid etc.) until you find a way to make manageable & predictable the total cost of employing people whether public or private.

    Which is why an end to the business tax deduction model for paying for health insurance, an idiosyncratic artifact of World War II wage & price controls, is a necessary part of any general structural HCR approach. I hope any so-called “rollback” or quondam “repeal” of the last Congress’ HCR includes the both/and of addressing tying your ability to insure yourself and your family to your employment status. Which is not likely to happen in this Congress, because there’s almost no way to do that without creating in some form either a modified public option, or a sub-structure of single payer with free market overlays. The GOP still doesn’t have that much imagination to see the essential conservatism of such an approach.

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  84. Deborah said on January 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I have a New Year’s resolution not to post comments unless I feel super compelled to do so and after a few days I’m there.
    1. LA Mary the laughing women alone with salads was hilarious. Thanks
    2. I lived in Texas for 8 long hard years from 1972 until 1980. If I had to guess where all that state tax dough is/was going I’d say it’s for the infrastructure to support all of the sprawl that occurred/occurs. Providing roads and sewers and whatnot for the multitudes of folks moving out to the exurbs and new suburbs was astonishing. It wasn’t about paying government workers who are providing basic services that people demand anyway, so grow up.
    3. Government workers making more than the private sector? Give me a break. Are you fucking kidding me?
    4. My experience recently after my purse was stolen awhile ago is this: it took me 48 hours+ to get my phone replaced by Verizon (private) all kinds of technical problems. It took me 12 minutes to get my drivers license replaced (public). You tell me who has their act together. And we’re talking driver’s license being replaced in the Chicago Loop’s Illinois State building during lunch hour.

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  85. moe99 said on January 5, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Jolene, I read Drew Gilpin Faust’s Republic of Suffering. It’s a superb history book but you’re right, a real downer. I don’t know how she could have seen it through to the end. My book club read it and had a very interesting discussion as a result.

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  86. Dexter said on January 5, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Alright, that does it…I am skipping the introduction and getting straight into the text of Mark Twain’s Autobiography. I’ll read the intro as a tool to piece together what I shall have read when I finish the book. This is gonna take a while.
    Woooooooo PIG! Sooooooeeeeee! My wife thought I had finally gone into the deep end of insanity’s pool last night as I was getting excited at the prospect of The OSU Buckeyes losing to the Arkansas Razorbacks. In the end the Bucks had their bowl victory, mainly because the receivers for the Hogs had greasy fingers and dropped about seven neatly delivered passes from superstar Hogs QB Mallett.
    I just never could stand Ohio State football or their coaches or their obnoxious fans or their fixated ideals. I had an “M” bumper sticker on my Volvo and was chased around a Columbus parking lot by screaming thugs one time. WAY too serious were these clowns. I live much closer to Ann Arbor but I am always going to Columbus. Life ain’t fair.

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  87. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 5, 2011 at 7:07 am

    What you can’t tell Buckeye fans (of which I am a very fickle one) is that, up in Michigan, the vast majority of folk are completely indifferent to the apocalyptic eschatological encounter. OSU-Michigan, meh. The flipside is I think Michigan maize & blue gear sells more in central Ohio than it does up north — there’s a vital subculture of wearing the hated Wolverine rig like some teens and young adults elsewhere go Goth, and it has much the same impact (and hence self-justification) around here.

    Up in Ann Arbor, I drive around and see less of it on the sidewalks, at least in the most garish triple-slash hat & jersey form, than I do in most small towns where teens hang out around Columbus.

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  88. nancy said on January 5, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Very true, Jeff. What no one in Ohio wants to admit is that Michigan — the once-proud, pre-RichRod Michigan, that is — has at least three significant football rivalries that it pays attention to in a year. There’s the UM-MSU in-state rivalry, Notre Dame, and finally, OSU. Anticipation of each varies from year to year, and it’s fair to say OSU is probably the biggest of the three, but there’s no way the OSU game throws the same shade in Michigan that it does in Ohio. No way.

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  89. brian stouder said on January 5, 2011 at 8:55 am

    A non-sequitur – I am experiencing an upswing in anti-Obama banter and utterly absurd (and basically ugly) e-mails. It is odd; I can’t decide if this is caused by chest-thumping triumphalism (owing to the new Congress going in this week) or a sudden upsurge of fear in the fever swamps. Whatever the cause, I’ve been in an “answer ‘em back” mood, and have been doing just that. (interestingly, lots of the e-mail of this sort has been specifically the same as was seen two years ago; the Obama doesn’t believe in God/is a secret Muslim/doesn’t Pledge Allegiance/isn’t native-born stuff). Oh well; deep cleansing breaths seem to help, too

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