Tin for the 10th.

I hope it’s a testament to the spirit of this blog that I made a big fuss over its ninth anniversary, in 2009 2010, and completely forgot its 10th, which happened last Friday. The traditional tenth anniversary gift is tin. I’ll take mine in the shape of a horn. A tinhorn, my dictionary tells me, is a petty braggart who puts on airs and pretends to be richer and more important than s/he is. That’s pretty much the definition of this blog, ain’a?

Anyway, I don’t mention this to set off a round of congratulations, but because I stumbled across this Crain’s Chicago Business story about the phenomenon of blog disillusionment, people who started with great enthusiasm and soon found themselves running out of things to say. This guy, for instance, thought he could get a book deal:

He founded Modern Craft in 2007 and spent seven to 10 hours a week on the blog. It received 800 to 1,500 views per post, a respectable number for an independent blog. But it launched the career not of Mr. Harbison, but of the artists he featured. While they signed deals with Target, Urban Outfitters and Chronicle Books, he got virtually nothing, save for a spread featuring him and his mid-century Evanston home in ReadyMade magazine.

“I could see it happening, but it wasn’t happening for me,” Mr. Harbison says.

Sorry, dude. Harbison went back to work at what he does best — designing his own line of textiles and canvas bags. Others featured in the story did the same, jumping in with great enthusiasm, keeping things at a high boil for a few weeks or months, and then petering out. They’d run out of things to say, it was harder than it looked, they’d grown in a different direction. And one more ghost ship is abandoned to drift along the currents of the internet, its comment section filling with spam, until one day the URL isn’t renewed and it becomes an Estonian porn site. (Don’t laugh — this happened to one of the most obnoxious radio talk-show hosts in Fort Wayne, one of Brian Stouder’s lip-flappers. One day it’s pictures of his daughters and recipes for mashed potatoes made with cream cheese, the next it’s sluts in blue eyeshadow putting something other than mashed potatoes in their mouths. It has since gone back to a placeholder, but for a while there — woo.)

Back to the story:

The feeling that nobody’s reading can cause bloggers to quit. “It’s discouraging, if that’s the reason you’re blogging,” says Liz Strauss, a Chicago-based professional blogger, web strategist and founder of SOBCon, an online business conference.

Ms. Strauss, who maintains three blogs, began in 2005, when she was one of 12 million. Now, to stand out in a sea of 31 million, “it’s no longer OK to be a mommy or daddy or business blogger,” she says. “The more narrowly you define your niche, the more visible you become.”

I’ve heard this before. I think it’s crap. How much more narrowly defined could this blog be? “One writer’s daily download,” is how I describe it when asked, and yet still, is Amy Adams playing me at the cineplex?

The only reason to blog is if you have something to say. Your readers will find you, or they won’t. And you’ll probably make more money making textiles and canvas bags.

I read and liked — and blogged about — the NYT op-ed that most likely prompted this book contract, so I guess I’d better read the book, too. Paul Clemens’ “Punching Out: One Year in a Closing Auto Plant” sounds worth the time, even though, as the critic points out, it’s not so much about a closing auto plant as a closed one, being disassembled by specialized crews and shipped, piece by piece, to countries where the labor doesn’t expect quite the wages they do here.

I was struck by the numbers; at one point he notes that this plant, Budd Detroit Automotive Plant, Stamping and Framing Division, employed 10,000. That was the figure that the International Harvester factory in Fort Wayne once employed, back when it was the biggest employer in town. It closed in 1980, an event that seared the city’s consciousness the way World War II did my parents’ generation. One-quarter of the city fell into a slide it never recovered from, a disaster that affected uncounted businesses and families. Detroit is a much larger city, of course, and Budd was only one player, and nowhere near the largest. All over the city are plants like it, and many more that are considerably smaller, the mom-and-pop tool-and-die shops, the widget factories, whatever. Many are being disassembled the same way this one is. We live in interesting times.

Oh, but let’s close on a high note, shall we?


What Roger Ebert will miss about Regis Philbin, a YouTube bouquet. Philbin really has the gift of not taking himself too seriously. He could teach his co-hosts a thing or three.

Gene Weingarten made reference to this yesterday: Kate Winslet admits to wearing a merkin for a brief scene in “The Reader.” An old story, but when it comes to merkins, you can never be overinformed.

I was more struck by the question that prompted it, from a reader:

I saw the show “Hair” at the Kennedy Center some weeks ago, and while I liked it more than disliked it, one thing in particular bothered me.

Directors, costumers, set design etc. try so hard to put an authentic feel to a show, and yet this show, about free love, about community, about the Vietnam war, and famously about full frontal nudity…didn’t show one follicle of pubic hair. Really? Was it too much to ask the actors to let it grow out for the run of the show? So anachronistic, it took me out of the moment.

Man, it would me, too. Really? That’s bad direction, if you ask me.

And now the coffee has fully engaged, so it’s time to get dressed, get showered, and get to work. Not in that order.

Posted at 9:57 am in Housekeeping, Popculch |

77 responses to “Tin for the 10th.”

  1. Mark P. said on January 19, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I heard something about Clemens’ book on NPR Tuesday morning. Dismantling factories and shipping them to other countries used to be the job of conquering Nazis and Russians. These days we do it to ourselves.

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  2. del said on January 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I am so sorry I looked up the definition of “merkin.”

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  3. elaine said on January 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    The things I learn from reading this blog! [vbg] Hard to believe I went 50-plus years without knowing what a merkin was or that such a device existed.

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  4. Randy said on January 19, 2011 at 10:34 am


    Thank you for these 10 years. It’s one thing to have the dedication, entirely another to provide somkething to look forward to every day.

    All the best to you, I hope for (at least) 10 more!

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  5. del said on January 19, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Yes, thanks Nancy; merkin notwithstanding.

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  6. Peter said on January 19, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I’m seconding del and elaine, and have to add – was there some historical need for a merkin? Am I missing something (other than the obvious)?

    And happy 10 years! And thank God for Bob Greene; if it wasn’t for him, I would have never heard of this site.

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  7. Suzanne said on January 19, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Yep, and now the last vestiges of IH are leaving Fort Fun as Navistar moves what little is left here to the Chicago Suburbs, in spite of the fact that our man Mitch keeps touting the fabulous business climate here in Hoosierdom. Oh, well. Free marketers everywhere cheer as the market weeds out more jobs that just can’t make it. “That’s God’s way, sorry you are out.”

    Congratulations on 10 years. I used to read you in the News-Sentinel and found your blog somehow, recently. I’m glad I did.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on January 19, 2011 at 11:14 am

    You might want to check that date, Nance. I don’t think Harvester closed until 1982 or 1983. I arrived in Fort Wayne in August of 1979, and the strike began soon thereafter, but it was still a couple of years before the final blow was struck.

    The last brewery also closed in the early 80’s, and its parts were also dismantled and sent to China.

    I am so with Del. Did I need to know that?

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  9. prospero said on January 19, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Along with Doonesbury, there is something here worth reading every day. I got hear by way of EZorn, so he can take the blame.

    The note about shipping the auto plant overseas caused me to think of Taiwan, a logical destination, where the wages may be lower, but public health care is way more efficient and economical.

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  10. Sue said on January 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Thank you for this blog and all its commenters. I am a smarter person today because of all of you, even if sometimes “smarter” equals knowing what a merkin is.

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  11. Scout said on January 19, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I would feel incomplete somehow if I didn’t start my day with your Morning Pages (a la The Artist’s Way). I’d much rather read your brain dump than my own, and the bloggage tidbits are always a treat.

    When I started my little photo blog experiment it was to motivate myself to produce something daily. The daily part soon fell by the wayside, but it is still a good tool for creative impetus. However, having done that, I respect even more this daily exercise.

    The other thing I appreciate is the community that is the nn.c comments section. There is no other blog community that would have noticed the absence of a (somewhat) regular, prompting the proprietress to send an email to check in to see if all is well. It was a definite bright spot during a dark time.

    And now I know what a merkin is. I wish She-Who would stuff one into her cake hole.

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  12. Sue said on January 19, 2011 at 11:26 am

    If I could just go off-topic for a moment, I want to really, really recommend last night’s opening monologues from both The Daily Show and Stephan Colbert. Truly awesome Sarah snark.

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  13. coozledad said on January 19, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Happy 10th. I don’t care what they say: One day my line of hand made craft merkins will sweep the planet.
    Right now The “Bella Abzug” is starting to kick ass.

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  14. LAMary said on January 19, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I’ve known what a merkin is for a long time. I remember reading a review of a godawful movie with that word in the title and the reviewer saw fit to tell us what a merkin was.

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  15. ROgirl said on January 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Doesn’t anyone remember the name of the President in Dr. Strangelove? Merkin Muffley.

    And congrats on the blog.

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  16. Mark P. said on January 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Check the Wikipedia entry on merkin. It has some fun reading.

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  17. Sue said on January 19, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Next time I hear someone refer to himself and his cohorts as ‘real merkins’ I will laugh inappropriately.
    And long time readers knew as soon as they saw the word ‘merkin’ (or looked it up, in my case) which way the conversation will go today.

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  18. adrianne said on January 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Congrats, Nance! In your honor, let’s hum a little “Fugue for Tin Horns” from “Guys and Dolls.” “I got a horse right here, his name is Paul Revere…”

    Remember Ron French’s story about the poor bastards laid off from IH who took a bus every day from Fort Wayne to Dayton to continue work until they finally qualified for a pension? That, to me, was the definition of broken promises in the Rust Belt.

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  19. LAMary said on January 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Off topic but I thought this was wonderful:


    edit: Sue here’s I think this is the clip you liked from Colbert.

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  20. crinoidgirl said on January 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Thanks, Nance and everybody in our little community, for several years of entertainment and enlightenment (frequently at the same time).

    And I once knew somebody who owned a guinea pig named Merkin.

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  21. Sue said on January 19, 2011 at 11:59 am

    LAMary, yes it is. Both Jon Stewart and Colbert were brilliant on the Sarah-as-victim line. Here’s a clip of the Stewart segment from TPM:
    So, people, you’ve got two commenters recommending you watch these clips, and one of them is LAMary! Get on it.

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  22. Dorothy said on January 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Okay stop with the merkin jokes. I’m laughing so much at my desk and I cannot, will not tell my co-worker why I can’t stop giggling.

    Did anyone else slip and fall in their driveway this morning on the ice? I’ve got a festering bruise on my left hip under my grey corduroy slacks to prove I did!

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  23. alex said on January 19, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I remember merkins being a subject of fascination in the editorial assistant department of a publishing company where I worked when fresh out of college. (Everyone there was fresh out of college and it was one delightfully raunchy place.) I seem to recall they were a Victorian acoutrement placed so that a gentleman wouldn’t be forced to look at a vulva, God forbid.

    Congrats on ten great years, Nance. It will have been six years this spring since I petered out on my blog, although not so much for lack of things to say but fear that my words would get me in trouble in my new home in red-state small-town USA. I still have hopes of resurrecting it one day, though.

    Someone above compared blogging to doing “morning pages” a la The Artist’s Way and I couldn’t agree more. That book encourages one to write in longhand and forbids typing, but I disagree with the premise that this somehow makes a difference. Getting up and blogging every day is just like getting up and bicycling or running every day; you know you’re at peak fitness when you can dash off a 5000-word essay in no time flat and others actually enjoy reading it.

    I knew Nance had really hit her stride when I first saw her work here. She was good in the paper, but not given nearly enough lines (or latitude) to shine like she does here in her own forum.

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  24. Sue said on January 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Dorothy: merkinmerkinmerkin! Can you wear a jerkin with a merkin, or is a merkin only for the ladies? Shakespeare: Forsooth, someone’s lurkin’ in a jerkin, I think I spy a merkin!
    Ok I’m done.

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  25. moe99 said on January 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Congratulations on the ten years, Nancy. I’ve been blogging for 7 but not so regularly as you. I’ve hit a rough patch where I’m trying to writing about my great aunt and my grandmother and the rest of their families but I have so much information from their estates with letters, newspaper clippings, antique photographs, that it is difficult to organize and present coherently.

    btw I have several issues of a Fort Wayne paper (the competiton to the Journal Gazette) that I took from the family home in Paulding that date the day after Pearl Harbor. I was wondering if you would like them, as I am sure my kids would not be interested. I found that all the extraneous things in the paper like the classifieds and the ads are really interesting.

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  26. nancy said on January 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I haven’t read the Wikipedia entry yet, but one of my colleagues at Michigan did some research while there on the history of syphilis, and claimed the merkin was a response to one symptom of late-stage syph — hair loss. It would be useful for a prostitute to be able to hide that particular one from her clients.

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

    Saw both the Colbert and Stewart clips this morning. Add me to the “ya gotta watch” chorus. Both are LOL funny, so if you’re at work, you may have another eruption of the giggles on top of the merkin hilarity. I too will never hear the term “real ‘Merkins” again without feeling like Beavis and/or Butthead.

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  28. kayak woman said on January 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Congratulations on 10 years, Nancy!

    Dorothy, been there, done that a few times but not today: http://www.yaktrax.com/

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  29. jcburns said on January 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Congrats. Nancy. I should take you out to brunch at Merkin’s Pancake House.

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  30. nancy said on January 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    And, of course, NONE of this would have happened without the support, encouragement, needling and web genius of J.C. Burns. Who must be acknowledged.

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  31. Scout said on January 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    jc… we are not worthy. Thank you too.

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  32. Deborah said on January 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Nancy, congratulations on 10 years, what a feat. One of my favorite parts of every day is coming to this site to read your posts and every single one of the comments, even the trolls from time to time. I hope you continue for many years to come, but I’d certainly sadly understand if you decided to call it quits because of the effort vs reward equation.

    I have nothing to say about merkins.

    edit: JC thanks too, I’m glad you know how to do what you do.

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  33. brian stouder said on January 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    If I’d a’ known there was a party I’d a’ baked you a cake!

    I especially love this decade-old blog for the exact same reason that I would never write my own, which is that I have essentially a tin ear, when it comes to…practically everything!

    This place never fails to enlighten and entertain, and it would be an understatement to say that it has enriched my general understanding of lots of serious things in our culture and politics, and lots of fun things (such as movies by the Coen brothers, and red-blooded merkins!)

    I’m still puzzling over ‘one of the most obnoxious’ local lip-flappers (there’s been so many of ’em!)

    Anyway – let me echo everyone else’s heart-felt thanks for this blog (edit – and for JC’s efforts, too), from up here in the cheap-seats.

    And Dorothy – I took one step from my car this morning and then was looking at the sky. Somehow I landed in such a way that nothing got bruised (or at least, nothing I’ve seen so far!)

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  34. beb said on January 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Maybe ther should be an all bald version of “Hair.”

    The wikipedia entry for Merkin is mildly NSFW. While the link to “Landing Strip” is very NSFW. (Or am I screwing up the acronym.)

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  35. Mark P. said on January 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Slipping on ice is not a problem we have much down here in the South, but our two recent snowstorms made it a different story. I slipped and fell (perfect three-point landing: hip, shoulder, head) while walking the dog on the day after Christmas and I think I might have torn my other rotator cuff – not the one I have already had the surgery to repair, but the other one, the good one. The formerly good one. It wasn’t even the dog’s fault.

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  36. del said on January 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Bush, George W., might laud Sue’s effort at 24 thusly, “You are a fine ‘murrican.”
    Perhaps he should be known hereafter as George W. Merkin. After all, he wasn’t a real president. Get on that Prospero.

    Okay, now I’m really sorry.

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  37. 4dbirds said on January 19, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Congratulations on 10 years!

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  38. Kim said on January 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you, JC, for the push and Nancy, for many years of amusement, enlightenment and generally civil and smart discourse. May it continue!

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  39. MichaelG said on January 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I knew about merkins all along. LBJ used to talk about them all the time. “Mah Fellow Merkins . . . I can’t follow any of those links until I get home. They have so much blocked now and some kind of nasty report goes to I don’t know whom everytime somebody hits a blocked site. I wonder how many people they have policing this stuff. Helluva job.

    Ten years. That’s a long time. I know how tough it is to do something like your blog every day, roughly anyhow, and it’s damn tough. You are to be admired, Nance, and thanked. I haven’t missed a day in – how many years has it been since Bob Greene? Thank you and congratulations.

    Alex, I remember your blog. Bring it back.

    There were a couple of women out there today on 43 degree, foggy, 5:15 AM street corners. What an awful way to make a living.

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  40. Kirk said on January 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Congrats on your decade, Nance.

    I swear, though, that merkin has been discussed here in the past. As ROgirl did above, I’m pretty sure I mentioned the name of Merkin Muffley as part of that thread.

    I have learned some other stuff here, though.

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  41. prospero said on January 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I haven’t seen The Reader, because I didn’t like the book. I’m all for historical verisimilitude in movies. Nothing is more annoying than high fives in sports movies set in the 60s. Nobody did that then. On the other hand, I sincerely doubt that the sight of Kate Winslet’s naked nethers would cause me to wonder whether they were anachronistic.

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  42. brian stouder said on January 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I sincerely doubt that the sight of Kate Winslet’s naked nethers would cause me to wonder whether they were anachronistic.

    Hear, hear; Some things are timeless!

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  43. LAMary said on January 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Michael I used to see girls working the corners in Hunts Point in the Bronx in the winter. The would wear little or at times nothing. I remember seeing a hooker wearing nothing but roller skates. Occasionally one would be run over by the one of the produce trucks coming into Hunts Point Market.

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  44. paddyo' said on January 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    So let’s see —

    The 10th anniversary is supposed to be tin, but it’s Brian S. @ 33 who’s got the tin (ear). Given all the back and forth here today on a certain topic of considerable pubic interest, I’m guessing the 10th anniversary of the Proprietress’s blog might just go down as the Merkiniversary.

    BTW, if they made merkins for guys, would they be gherkin merkins?

    Congratulations from out here in Mountain Time, Nance … many of us can write, as is obvious each day below the nn.c cyberfold. But to blog, ahh, well, that’s another thing entirely. A very good thing, this one. Thanks for this daily bread.

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  45. Carter said on January 19, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Hey Cooz, do you have the Barbara BUSH in your merkin line?

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  46. LAMary said on January 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Now was that necessary Carter? I was just getting over the Bella Abzug model.

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  47. jcburns said on January 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    As usual, the site’s very useful and convenient search capability yields the truth. I count 7 posts where that..uh..term comes up, including, of course, this one.

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  48. coozledad said on January 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Carter: Sadly, we were forced to discontinue the “Barbara Dentata” line because the albino opossum has made the endangered species list. Our efforts to provide a synthetic version met with resistance from our more discerning customers. They were beginning to complain the plastic teeth just didn’t cut it.

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  49. Jeff Borden said on January 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I learn something new everyday. I had heard that merkins were away around “totally nude girls, girls, girls” bars. So long as m’lady wore a merkin, she was not officially nude, though from a distance, presumably, no one could tell.

    I’ve grown tired of telling people that Nancy should have been a columnist in New York, Chicago, L.A., wherever. she’s smarter, funnier, tarter and more surprising than 90% of the scribes who have columns these days. Whenever I struggle through a John Kass column in the Chicago Tribune –he has the choicest space on Page 2– with its tired, stale, unoriginal and ultimately boring content, I ponder how it is that such an original talent remains only on the Web.

    Maybe it’s for the best. Generally, when a wildly talented, off-the-wall writer takes up residence in the Tower, something happens to their DNA and they morph into Tribites. There are exceptions, but that place has sanded the edges off many of fine journalist.

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  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 19, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Blog Year NN.C X, in Super Bowl nomenclature. Adrianne, I liked the “Fugue for Tin Horns” note.

    If the Super Bowl is Bears v. Steelers, I will have massive difficulty in figuring out who to root for. (Or whom.)

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  51. joodyb said on January 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Hard to believe my home away from home is 10 years old. Cheers and thanks to the Proprietress and the Community!

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  52. Dexter said on January 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I saw “Hair” at Geary Theater in San Francisco in 1970. The nude scenes were fully follicled.

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  53. MaryRC said on January 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Alex, your comment about merkins being “a Victorian acoutrement placed so that a gentleman wouldn’t be forced to look at a vulva, God forbid” reminded me of the legend about the Victorian art critic Ruskin, whose wife Effie ran off with the painter John Everett Millais. Effie was quite a stunner but the Ruskin marriage was never consummated because, according to Effie, her husband was shocked to see on their wedding night that she didn’t look the way he imagined naked ladies would look. Neither of them revealed any other details but it was widely assumed that, having only seen nude women in paintings and statuary with hairless ladyparts, Ruskin was horrified to see that real women have hair down there.

    And happy anniversary, Nancy!

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  54. Dave said on January 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Nancy, may I join all the others in congratulating you on ten years, this has been a regular stop for me probably as long, or nearly so, as you’ve been doing it, as well as your column from the time we landed in Fort Wayne.

    So many blogs have flamed out, many locally, I don’t know how you do it. Even when you are faced with a busy day and shorten it up, you’ve got interesting comments and, if not, the commentary makes up for it. Hmm, reading that, it sounds like a left-handed compliment, not at all my intention.

    Julie, I know the Falstaff brewery was still open in the spring of 1987, I had occasion to be in there at that time, work-related, and I can relate the time and the year to something specific. It was surely on its last legs by then.

    Brian Stouder, radio host was Mr. White, now camped out in the mornings on WGL. His website address was taken over by a porn site when he quit paying attention.

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  55. Holly said on January 19, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    What is a merkin?

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  56. coozledad said on January 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    That thing John Bolton wears on his face.

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  57. prospero said on January 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I BelLIEVE Nncy isthe best blogger I’se ever come ac4oss, Sje’sso smart.she might fe smaryer than I am, though I doubt thats actuallu p0ss9bible. Tin, thenn Ine tin sold9er. Bi;;y Jack. One tin soldier rides away Sarah, I alwas used to tjimk you werew’re you you were my good friend. I was right about this ridht. I alwys thougjy you wete attracyibe yoo. Sarah. you alwas nkew I tjouhjy upiu wq243msomebody foumd attractive, vut, no you weree Emily’s au paire,Why do you think I bo6ght 697nth swans? O wzs in obe with you, your idiot. I don’t think this is my faul4. (‘be alwa§s been in l9be wi5y y96. Sinnce the firsr dat I saw you. I know you don’t see this the same way I do. but you should consider it. I’ve always been in love since I saw you.

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  58. brian stouder said on January 19, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    His website address was taken over by a porn site when he quit paying attention.

    And now, it’s probably (by his lights) even WORSE than that – it has apparently become French Canadian artsie/smartsie!


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  59. nancy said on January 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    It was thepatwhiteshow.com that went porny, Brian.

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  60. crinoidgirl said on January 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Rebecca Burns scores a book review in the WSJ!

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  61. Linda said on January 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    As the Pasta Queen has said, 10 years is like 100 on teh intarwebs. Congratulations!

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  62. MarkH said on January 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Nancy, congrats from out here in caldera country as well. I got here via Bob Greene too, and that has to be seven years(?) for me, trolling and occasionally piping up. Let me echo others’ sentiments that I don’t know how you do it day after day either. And, I agree of Jeff B.’s assessment of you in #49. The masses are missing out.

    Prospero, your keyboard’s messing with you again. Tape it down; stationary targets are easier.

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  63. Holly said on January 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Someone told me about I am bossy. I was reading her blog. It repeats. It got boring. That same person told me about your blog. I don’t respond often. I cant hold a candle to the people who respond to you. You have a very smart and informed following. That is one of the reasons I like to read your blog.

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  64. prospero said on January 19, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    WThey never win an election without cheating. It’s OK forthe Supreme Court to make shit u
    they think chepating is some sort of right.
    they are a flaming buncn of aholes. We make this shit up, but we aren’t ome sort of activists judges. We just decide what sort of gucking moron is the president, and we hove it up his ready ass what people are suppoed to go along with. Ain’t that Amerifa.

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  65. basset said on January 19, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Believe I got here through Bob Greene as well. Maybe a repost would be in order.

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  66. crinoidgirl said on January 19, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    I got here through L*l*ks. I used to love his old postcards, etc., but he’s dead to me.

    Edited to try to keep this off his radar. Substitute an “i” for the first asterisk, and an “e” for the second one.

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  67. alex said on January 19, 2011 at 11:57 pm


    Your post reminded me of a Chicago Reader piece (that I couldn’t find on the Web) about a naive artist who’d never seen a snatch. His women all had penises. He was hailed as a great surrealist.

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  68. Dexter said on January 20, 2011 at 2:20 am

    It was 1980 that the last Scout rolled off the assembly line, and it was 1983 when the Fort Wayne plant closed.
    I , being of a certain age, had many, many friends working at the IH Fort Wayne plant. I knew men who rode that old bus every day to Springfield to get their 30 years in and retire. It was tough for the Fort Wayne people to go to Springfield. Generally speaking, they simply took a lot of abuse from the Springfield “native crew” who felt threatened. The first year for them was tough, very tough, then things eased up.
    My good friend Steve moved into a small rental trailer with four other workers.
    They left Friday for home and came back late Sunday night. One guy lived in Hamilton. The guys who rode the bus daily had their own little areas on the bus…they all slept on the way to Springfield. A tough life.
    Two weeks after I started my career job with Dana Corp. in Auburn, IN, Harvester finally called me to go to work. I had been trying a long time; I was going, for sure. A man Dave and Pilot Joe may recall, Ambrose Thrush, who had worked at Harvester, just happened to be working with me on a two-man job that night. All night he tried to talk me out of going to IH… a long drive, about the same pay, harder work at IH, and layoffs could get you quickly…same as Dana, really, but he convinced me. See how the seemingly inconsequential events of a regular day can shape one’s future? Damn. Like the gas station man in “No Country For Old Men”, I made the right call for once in my life.

    I came here from a Google search a few years ago. I only regret I missed the first 6 or 7 years. Happy Tenth.

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  69. prospero said on January 20, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Dexter, I came here because I read something at Eric Zorn, a semi’brilliant blogger in the way that LBJ had semi-beautiful daughters. I met one of them as a kid, Linda. I thought she was actually beautiful, she shared a moment of having spent time with Bobby Kennedy, who was my political hero at the time. She was gracious, I was thirteen, it was some sort of political meet and great at Cranbrook. If a gunman had materialixrd, I would have have given my life to protect her. Fortunately, this scenario never unfolded.

    We are all children of political violence, so when some asshoe talks about furthering his raist and statist cause by talking about blood and the Liberty Tree, we take this seriously, Rosey Grier should get his hands on wimps like Glenn Beck and shut his yap up. What is wrong with assholes like Beck that hate America so much?

    Glenn Beck doesn’t love America, he despises the idea that America is inclusive. Glen Beck is so anti-American. Are you people nuts? Do Americans not understand they payed for the School of the Americas and funded every rape of every Maryknoll nun Ronald Ragbun disliked because of liberation theology? And they didn’t like the pushy bullshit from Franklin Graham, That was pushed with cash by the US gobernment? HOW’S that sit with you assholes that want to allow US bidness that wants to swny coverage to kids with diabetea

    That’s repeal. And government hands on your Medicare? That’s government, in the first place, you fucking morons, So’s Social Security. Rich, seriously rich, people are taking this cash, Why is their aomE limit on their QEALTH vout what they py in? On who’s backs did they “earn”this this money? Do people that clip cooupoms deserve to get free health care? Republicans think they should get free Viagra. They can’t get it up.

    So are people nuts, or just misanthropes? We don;t want to provide health care to the needy?

    How is that Christian? How does that make any sense, economically>

    We don;t want to provide for kid cancer victim because that hurts the bottom line? Fuck you, insurance companies. I run a business. But we don;t decide somebody;s an asshole if we think they might die, We aren’t that sold-hearted.

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  70. MarkH said on January 20, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Prospero – YOU went to Cranbrook?

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  71. del said on January 20, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Ode to a Merkin

    What is that lurkin’ under your merkin,
    and why is that smile on your face?
    Is it you’re smirkin’
    about some sweet Gherkin
    that’s occupying that space?

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  72. ROgirl said on January 20, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Has this merkin topic petered out yet?

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  73. prospero said on January 20, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Mark H, No, I went to UD High. More of a Jesuit than one of those. A far better school. I did spend a couple of summers at Cranbrook Daycamp, in the Theater School, with Carl Wonnberger. I was pretty good, too. It was pretty much wonderful. And the Loins (as Van Packard would say) were hearing footsteps there too. Roger Brown was a particularly nice guy, being huge and all. Gigantic, actually. But we got to know all of those players. Lem Barney and Night-train Lane were the guys I idolized, because I played safety. Lem Barney actually caused me and some friends to start marijuana-induced dance at sock-hops at Catholic schools all over Detroit and Southfield, led by the greatest freestyle flutter kicker that ever lived, Pete Kralick, who could actually make the little boat go. We’re talking about kickboatds. Kicking was more or less ajoke. This boy pounded. The greatest kicker in 60s Detroit was Jim Morgan
    I was monstro, any event but back, and I wouldn’t drown in IM, I seem every damn event and dove, in one season. Not the relays. Big Whoop. Who the hell ares now?

    Cranbrook was fun, and I ruled the Jonah pool, but the whole thing was sordid. Male counselors raided the girls’ underwear. Much as I liked the productions etc. I asked to not go back. I was only twelve. I should have said something, about the thuggish behavior. But I also thought the girls should stand up for themselves. I was a little kid,Matk H? you wnt to Cranbrook? I’d neverasmit to that, but it was just for Summer. You went to school there” Could Ackley fart on command> ?

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  74. prospero said on January 20, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Geezus Coozledad. Likeshimself? I thought better of you. That guy is a forebrain poisoner. I’d read that shit, but I wouldn’t let it indoctrinate me. I found NNancy.com from reading Ezorn. I think I took a higher path. But Lileks. Selling coals to Satan. Cooze, you were my mentor. Lileks, it’s a sham’ Indie, don’t grab it. This framing bidness is horse patooie, as Sherm Potter might say. Now, I believe every thing Harry Morgan ever said, in and out of character. “You’ll get no more guns from Kincaid”

    He was the star of the funniest anti-war movie of all time, What Did You Do in the War Daddy,along with that hippie wannabe Treat Williams, who was in hair, sans merkin. Some of the songs are good.

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  75. Gary Farber said on January 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Anyway, I don’t mention this to set off a round of congratulations, but because I stumbled across this Crain’s Chicago Business story about the phenomenon of blog disillusionment, people who started with great enthusiasm and soon found themselves running out of things to say.

    Never been my problem. 🙂

    Congrats on your tenth! Kudos!

    Gary Farber
    Amygdala & Obsidian Wings


    My ninth just gets in under the wire of 2010. Pshew!

    I’ve never been disillusioned about blogging.

    But I think Lisa Bertagnoli has a valid point on these few words, at least:

    […] began in 2005, when she was one of 12 million. Now, to stand out in a sea of 31 million

    It’s absolutely true that every year we’ve been blogging, the environment has changed dramaticallly, I submit. It was very easy to stand out back in 2001 or 2002, and each succeeding year, there have been umpty more real blogs, with umpty more good, even great, writers/bloggers worth reading.

    And there are only 24 hours in a day for each of us. We can all catch only as many great other bloggers as we can manage to, whatever methodologies we use.

    Blogrolling each other helps, but that only works proportional to, well, each one you add, means that fewer people will check each link. Again: everyone gets only 24 hours, and most spend a lot less time reading. As we know, every click loses, on average, some 90% of readers who won’t click. Each additional click loses another 90s. This is a a vast generalization, as every blog is different.

    And meanwhile, all the major publications have added and added and added their own bloggers. Then it’s a matter of how much time you can spend using, oh, Twitter, YouTube, RSS, Technorati, texting, whatever, all the various tools to publicize one’s self.

    It still comes down to that maximum of 24 hours a day. And there’s Shirkey’s Law. And much more directly, Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality is as valid as ever.

    Then add to that, Chris Anderson‘s Long Tail.

    Add to that, that the tech environment is continually changing and the rate of change is ever-increasing. Throw in Moore’s Law.

    And if this isn’t explanatory by itself, then the observation I make becomes a loop: I don’t have enough time left to expand on it here, or enough time to blog on my own darn blogs. And I’ve always been an eclectic, non-niche blogger, myself. And I wouldn’t in the least be surprised if you’ve never heard of me before the past couple of weeks. Or maybe you’ve read me for years. I have no idea. Maybe you even wrote me, or donated to me, and I’ve forgotten. I don’t even have time at the moment to check my records.


    So I do think there’s a real problem, and that it’s not enough to just be a good writer, or a good any one thing.

    There’s got to be consistency — something I’ve wildly failed at, myself — and one has to get a positive feedback loop going. Otherwise, there’s a negative feedback loop, and a blog collapses if not constantly fed.

    Or, perhaps, one spends time running around trying to remind people that one is still here, or back, and wants more readers.

    Some of us, anyway. 🙂 Congrats on all your success!

    I also blog at Obsidian Wings, too. But: time issues. And life issues.

    They can get in the way.

    But meanwhile, congrats again, and hi.

    Toodles and best wishes,
    Gary Farber

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  76. Gary Farber said on January 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Whoops. Did not mean to stick my .sig in the middle. Accident and hastiness. Drat. Apologies! Please delete that or move it to the bottom, if you like, or just leave it, with this apology. Or, naturally, whatever you like; it’s your blog!

    Assuming I come out of your moderation queue. I was afraid that might be a problem. We all also use different software, with different settings, different policies, we switch those, and who can keep up with everyone’s various changing of all of that? And still read? And read books? And have a life? Let alone a family, medical issues, a job, a sick relative, child, whatever. Some bloggers need help, and have problems.

    You never know until you know. If you have time to look. And none of us can be anywhere, or in fact, more than where we can find time for. Oh, and all successful blogs become silos and silo communities, themselves. For the same reasons I stated in my prior comments.

    But this is only my perspective, and we all have different situations. And thus different blogs.

    Now I’ll see if three links make it through. 🙂


    Gary Farber
    Amygdala & Obsidian Wings


    But maybe this will help. 🙂

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  77. Gary Farber said on January 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Whoops. Did not mean to stick my .sig in the middle. Accident and hastiness. Drat. Apologies! Please delete that or move it to the bottom, if you like, or just leave it, with this apology. Or, naturally, whatever you like; it’s your blog!

    Assuming I come out of your moderation queue. I was afraid that might be a problem. We all also use different software, with different settings, different policies, we switch those, and who can keep up with everyone’s various changing of all of that? And still read? And read books? And have a life? Let alone a family, medical issues, a job, a sick relative, child, whatever. Some bloggers need help, and have problems.

    Or just one link, then. Delete whatever you like. 🙂

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