Won’t get fooled again.

Perhaps you’re wondering what the genesis of my problem is with Charles Pugh, current Detroit City Council president and former numbskull TV reporter in Fort Wayne. Reader, I’ll tell you.

Back in the 1990s-ish day, Pugh did a story on the well-known link between the Super Bowl and domestic violence. You remember that? Rising testosterone combined with cabin fever and erratic blood-sugar levels caused by weird snack foods and brought male tempers to a boil, and they bounced their wives all over hell ‘n’ gone. For a couple of years, this was an established fact that all the lifestyle sections and (especially) TV stations liked to make a fuss over around the end of January.

Only guess what? It wasn’t true.

An enterprising Washington Post reporter asked to see the data, and it turned out the whole contention was based on one study, and the authors of the study said the data had been misreported and twisted by people with an ax to grind. You can read the whole story at Snopes, if you’re so inclined.

Anyway, at least two years after this, after it had been discussed and put through the usual journalistic mea-culpa wringers, Pugh did a story for his station about how domestic-violence shelters are flooded with black-eyed women on Super Bowl Sunday. I think even his sources knew it was b.s., but hey — publicity! And so the one woman who appeared on camera was careful to say she noticed an uptick in services “during football season,” which also covers a lot of other stressors, including the start of school, cold weather, the holidays, and well, you get the idea. I wrote a note to the news director and Pugh himself, asking for an explanation, and discovered what it feels like to shout down a well. Neither responded. What is TV, anyway? Just a few moments in time that no one even gives their full attention to. La-di-da.

So last night I’m doing one of my jobs, gleaning the fields for stories about health care, and what do I turn up but this:

When fans flock to the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, few will be thinking about anything other than touchdowns and tailgates.

But nearby, in hotels, motels and on street corners, Texas authorities say a “dark side” will exist, one where children are sold for sex by pimps. And those sex traffickers are descending on the area.

“People are thinking of the Packers and the Steelers and the game on the field, having a good time and Super Bowl commercials. Most don’t think about a 12-year-old being forced to dance naked,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told ABC News.

And this:

ATLANTA — Pimps will traffic thousands of under-age prostitutes to Texas for Sunday’s Super Bowl, hoping to do business with men arriving for the big game with money to burn, child rights advocates said.

And this:

While football fans are eagerly anticipating the Feb. 6 Super Bowl showdown in Dallas, some state officials are gearing up for the big game’s dark side: the surge in human trafficking that tends to accompany major sports and entertainment events. “What we’ve learned is that sexual trafficking, sexual exploitation of children in particular, is all about supply and demand,” says Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. With more than 100,000 fans descending on Dallas, that demand is going to be great. There is a “looming potential explosion of human trafficking around the Super Bowl,” says Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is expecting hundreds of girls and women to be brought to the area.

The second story, from Reuters, is instructive. I’m going to do something I don’t normally do — quote more than three paragraphs or so, just so we can go through it and see if we can spot all the weasel words and agenda-laden sources. This entire story rests on two rickety legs, “child rights advocates” and the Texas attorney general. Ahem:

As the country’s largest sporting event, the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will make the Dallas-Fort Worth area a magnet for business of all kinds.

That includes the multimillion dollar, under-age sex industry, said activists and law enforcement officials working to combat what they say is an annual spike in trafficking of under-age girls ahead of the Super Bowl.

“The Super Bowl is one of the biggest human trafficking events in the United States,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told a trafficking prevention meeting in January.

Wow, really? Tell me more:

Girls who enter the grim trade face a life of harsh treatment and danger, according to a Dallas police report in 2010. Few who emerge are willing to speak about it. Tina Frundt, 36, is an exception.

Now married and living in Washington D.C., Frundt was lured into sex work at 14 after she fell for a 24-year-old who invited her to leave home in 1989 and join his “family” in Cleveland, Ohio.

That family consisted of the man and three girls living in a motel. When Frundt declined on the first night to have sex with her boyfriend’s friends they raped her.

“I was angry with myself for not listening to him, so the next night when he sent me out on the street and told me … (to earn $500) I listened,” she said in a telephone interview.

Frundt paced the streets for hours and finally got into a client’s car.

When she came home in the morning with just $50, her pimp beat her in front of the other girls to teach them all a lesson and sent her back onto the street the next night with the warning not to return until she had reached the quota.

The scenario was repeated night after night as Frundt’s pimp moved his stable across the Midwest. Any sign of rebellion led to further beatings. Escape seemed out of the question.

“I was a teen-ager in a strange town with no money and no place to go,” she said. She finally escaped by getting arrested.

Frundt’s story is terrible, for sure. Notice it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl.

There’s some more stuff about how awful a teen prostitute’s life is, and then we’re back to the news peg:

“At previous Super Bowls, pimps hired cab drivers to turn their vehicles into mobile brothels,” said Deena Graves, executive director of child advocacy group Traffick911.

Up to 10,000 adult and under-age girls have come to previous Super Bowls, said Jerry Strickland, communications director in the Texas attorney general’s office, who acknowledged that precise figures are hard to gauge.

“The statistics are a moving target. They (under age sex workers) can’t be counted in turnstiles like ticket holders,” he said in an interview.

Can you give us a specific, Deena Graves? One arrest made in one of these moving brothels? One cab driver who took the cash to turn his rear-view mirror up? At least Jerry Strickland seems to know he’s carrying his boss’ water. Note the “up to 10,000 adult and underage girls,” which is sort of amusing. When Detroit hosted the Super Bowl five years ago, there were public and private parties galore, and you have to figure at least some working girls were there; I know I was told high-end strippers were happy to come and work as Jenna Jameson’s lingerie models at the party she threw. But “up to” is a wonderfully elastic term, and by saying that number includes adults, well, you’ve sort of muddied your own story. Anyway, it’s not like they can be counted with turnstiles! Onward:

Law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups rescued around 50 girls during the previous two Super Bowls, said Graves. Six were registered on the Center for Missing and Exploited Children website. One had been trafficked from Hawaii.

“Even one rescue is considered a success,” said Frundt who now advocates for exploited girls and has founded a girls’ treatment center and a safe house for girls in Washington D.C.

Finally, a link between the game and the crime. Too bad it’s vague and utterly unverifiable. “Around 50” during two previous games? Was that 25 per game, or 50 each year? How many were rescued by law enforcement, and how many by those convenient advocacy groups? Six were registered, only we can’t tell you who they are, alas, as sex-crime victims.

Finally, the feel-good ending:

To fight the trade, authorities, child welfare advocates and the airline industry are collaborating.

Representatives from American Airlines, Delta, United, Quantas and American Eagle are holding a training session to help them spot signs of trafficking. Nancy Rivard, president of Airline Ambassadors International, will also work with another 100 flight crews to distribute materials on flights.

Some 67,000 people signed a petition on www.change.org opposing sex trafficking as part of a campaign by Traffick911 called “I’m Not Buying It!” that is supported by 60 nonprofits and faith-based groups.

That campaign has also attracted heavy hitters like Dallas Cowboy Jay Ratliff, a three-time Pro Bowler, who made a public service announcement entitled “Real men don’t buy children. They don’t buy sex.”

Ratliff, who himself has two daughters, is recruiting other National Football League players for the campaign.

“You hear of sex trafficking overseas,” he wrote in an email from Hawaii where he is playing in the Pro Bowl. “But you never imagine it is happening in the United States.”

Training will happen. A petition has happened. A PSA has happened. And the Texas AG will be on the alert.

Please note that I am not questioning whether trafficking in underage prostitutes happens. We know it does. I am questioning whether it has any connection whatsoever with the Super Bowl. Why not the U.S. Open, or the Olympics, or the All-Star Game? Those events all bring large numbers of out-of-towners into a strange city to watch sports; are they less likely to get their freak on with a 16-year-old captive? What is it about the national pro football championship game that tempts so many to hitch a ride on its coattails? Is it something about the violence on the field, or the ridiculous, dead-of-winter, what-else-is-there-to-write-about hype that covers everything from advertising to the food pages (super dip ideas for your super spread!) that makes those left out want to latch on to the media gravy train?

I don’t mind a story on how to make a cheese ball in the shape of a football. But this sort of thing pisses me off. We’ve been burned once by this sort of piggybacking. If I were the NFL, I’d be throwing flags all over the place.

Speaking of which, this was also a health story last night:

Suffering an emotional loss in the Super Bowl may be hazardous to a fan’s heart health, a new study suggests.

Oh, bollocks it is.

Little Miss Grumpy, sitting here waiting for her snowstorm. Pantry is stocked, snowblower is gassed, bets are laid. Kate’s taking 12 inches, I’m going for eight, even though we’re in the purple band (forecast of 12+ inches) on the maps. We both think there’ll be a school cancellation. She still has to do her homework. Because I hope she’ll get good grades and grow up to be something other than a credulous journalist.

So I’m waiting for Snotorious BIG. Photos tomorrow, I hope. Have a good one, all.

Posted at 9:24 am in Current events, Media |

100 responses to “Won’t get fooled again.”

  1. alex said on February 1, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Bollocks indeed. Everyone knows it’s the Republican National Convention where all the sex trafficking goes on.

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  2. Rana said on February 1, 2011 at 10:16 am

    We’re glazed in ice here, waiting for the next big blob to drift by. I’m just glad the mailman didn’t wipe out on our concrete steps this morning; the rain had washed away the deicer I’d put out last night.

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  3. coozledad said on February 1, 2011 at 10:16 am

    “Every time a sports event like this occurs, we have to send a special detachment to the airport to monitor the luggage of the shock jocks and televangelists,” says chief of police Ollie Quarth. “It’s the togas. Sometimes it’ll be just one oversized imperial purple toga in a piece of carry-on luggage. This year we intercepted a whole crate of boys’ medium size togas, and part of the original set of Ben-Hur. I’m not going to name any names here because the indictments are sealed, but let me tell you something, Hoss, oxycontin robs you of not only of discretion, but all sense of proportion. You can take that to the bank.”

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Ah, training will happen. That’s fixed, then.

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  5. Peter said on February 1, 2011 at 10:42 am

    They’re saying 20-24 here, but I’m betting the under.

    I will say, however, that I drove down Lake Shore Drive a little while ago and the lake’s not looking so good.

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  6. beb said on February 1, 2011 at 10:53 am

    “Something in your house is trying to kill you RIGHT NOW! More at Eleven.”

    TV news exist solely to frighten and alarm people. We’re all be better off not watching it.

    Why the Super Bowl? because it’s our nation’s Soccer. The one big, all consuming sport. The NFL has had to crack down on “Superbowl parties” to prevent dilution of their trademark. Now these Radio Station hosted parties are just called “football parties” but every one knows there is only one football.And of course it pays to talk a good talk before the game so when election time comes around people will think the AG actually did something about crime.

    Speaking of crime and Texas did everyone catch the store of the catapult found just across the Mexican border. Apparently for lofting pot over the fences in the area. Immediately I thought of the Fall ‘Pumpkin chunking” competitions. Some of those air cannons get close to a mile in range. Set one of those mothers a 1/2 mile back from the border and assemble a crack team of crack addicts on ATV’s a 1/2 mile from the fence on the other side and no one would know what was going on. Tearing down America one joint at a time….

    We were supposed to have 3 inches this morning but only got a dusting. What a disappointment.

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  7. coozledad said on February 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Beb: I saw that pot catapult. I could use one of those to lob bales of hay to my cows in the field across the road. The infrared video of the crew dragging it into position with a Humvee and gunnery crew was pretty impressive. Reminded me of this:

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  8. LAMary said on February 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

    From yesterday’s appreciation of natural titties theme, here are the glam photos of young naked Betty White.


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  9. Julie Robinson said on February 1, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I see this thread devolving.

    My husband’s office didn’t open today, although straight shooter that he is he’s working here at home. It’s such a pleasant contrast to his old days at the paper when they never closed.

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  10. brian stouder said on February 1, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Mary, you’re leading me astray! (but I will definitely check out the link at lunchtime)

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  11. Sue said on February 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

    ‘Set one of those mothers a 1/2 mile back from the border and assemble a crack team of crack addicts on ATV’s a 1/2 mile from the fence on the other side’…
    Hey, you’re not trying to sneak one of those scary math word problems in here, are you?

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  12. Connie said on February 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Jeff(tmmo) my training session scheduled for Thursday, to be held a few miles down the road, has already been cancelled. No snow yet.

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Geek check — that was no catapult, it was a trebuchet. That is all.

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  14. Catherine said on February 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    The trebuchet makes me think those drug traffickers might be fun to hang out with. I wonder if they used this book: http://amzn.to/eEMgJa? I got it for DH for Christmas a few years ago. Hours of fun.

    This Sunday, my big event is… a baby shower. I must live under a rock; didn’t even know who was playing in the Superbowl or where till I read today’s entry. Pretty sure there will be no domestic violence, let alone underage sex trafficking, at the shower.

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  15. Rana said on February 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Catherine, I didn’t even know when it was. It wasn’t until some friends invited us to come over that I figured it out.

    I hope you do not have to draw babies on paper plates held on top of your head, or make diapers out of toilet paper, or whatever godawful Fun Activity is popular at showers these days.

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  16. ROgirl said on February 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    RE: trebuchet

    “I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”


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  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm


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  18. nancy said on February 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    In preparation for the fun tonight/tomorrow, I made a pot of bean soup. I stupidly fell for one of those multi-bean packs at the market — I think it has 16 different varieties, from lentil to lima. I got some ham hocks from the po’k butcher, threw it all together yesterday with some carrots and onion, set it over a low flame and left for four hours.

    That was about 90 minutes longer than it needed, and as I probably could have predicted if I’d thought it through, what I ended up with what a brown mush with a few sturdy pintos, black and blackeyes holding their shape in the stew. I stripped the meat off the ham hocks, threw away the bay leaves and gave it a taste. And while it looks like sewage sludge, it really tastes pretty good. Although, um, it’s almost entirely fiber. And now I’m really glad I buy t.p. by the truckload at Costco, because suddenly I must go to the bathro–

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  19. Peter said on February 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Tough it out woman! Bring that laptop to the tank with ye!

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  20. Dexter said on February 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I used to make this black bean soup with ham hocks and I would season it with many dashes of many spices. I thought it was really good, but of course nobody else would even try it. When I was in Kissimmee , FL one spring, I had car trouble and to kill time at a repair shop I went to a Cuban restaurant for lunch.
    I ordered pork & black bean soup. I was amazed…it tasted exactly like the soup I had been making at home.
    No snow or ice trouble here yet. I am anxious to see what the conditions will be here in 24 hours. Please, no ice…I hate long power outages.

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  21. prospero said on February 1, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Right, Nancy. Like the famous cabbage soup diet. Just steer clear of Malawi. I don’t imagine they even consider providing TP in the Third World jail.

    If there’s a correlation between big sports events and domestic violence, I’d be willing to bet it’s generally connected to dashed get rich quick wagering schemes.

    And this is one impressive and intrepid lady.

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  22. Little Bird said on February 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I made a pea soup for Deborah and her husband that turned out pretty well. Not split pea soup, but similar I suppose. The thing is, I think I ended up making enough for twenty. 6 pounds of frozen peas and roughly 10 cups of chicken broth. Good thing we all like it!

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  23. nancy said on February 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    One of Coozledad’s neighbors stands up for his rights:

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  24. ROgirl said on February 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Wha doncha come up an git me?

    Maybe ah’ll come down, maybe ah won’t. Maybe ah’ll come down, maybe ah won’t.

    Don’t fuck up ma beer now.

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  25. coozledad said on February 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    You know, I had a neighbor named Steve, and he was just about that clueless, but he was from Long Island. He once told me “Drivers who have suspended licenses are some of the best drivers around” just before he unsuccessfully asked to borrow my car.

    If he’d had a hemi in that skyjack, they could have kissed his ass goodbye.

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  26. prospero said on February 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    That skyjack video sure looks like Warren, MI to me.

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  27. Jolene said on February 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I loved the “I pay your salary” line. Seems to be a key element of outrage against public officials. I even heard it from state university students.

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  28. prospero said on February 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    George “Possum” Jones, meet John Deere.

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  29. nancy said on February 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I suspect it’s a fake. But a funny fake.

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  30. coozledad said on February 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Re beans: One of our Indian cookbooks says the addition of a tablespoon of powdered turmeric added to the cooking water will mitigate afflatus. I’m just putting this out there in the event someone’s body chemistry is radically different from mine, or they know the Indian solution to difficult yellow stains on linens.
    Also: Never use textured vegetable protein and beans at the same meal unless you’re camping alone.

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  31. Rana said on February 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Or, cooz, if you want to ward off bears, or punish a tent mate for singing the 99 Bottles of Beer song all day.

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  32. Sue said on February 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I’m not totally familiar with camping terminology (thank goodness), but my husband always refers to that camping condition, no matter what feast brings it on, as “barking spiders”.

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  33. adrianne said on February 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Nance, thanks for calling b.s. on the various Super Bowl urban legends. Just this morning, I heard two djs on the Radio Woodstock station intelligently and cogently laying waste to the domestic violence upsurge myth. Yet the stench lingers…

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  34. LAMary said on February 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I bet you bought the seventeen bean pack from Trader Joes. It’s got barley too. I make soup following the package directions and it’s good. I think it might say chicken stock and I use vegetable, but otherwise I stick to their recommendations and it’s muy bueno.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on February 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I am down with Beb’s view of television news. One of the greatest benefits of no longer covering the media industry was the knowledge I’d never again have to sit through the rundown of murders, shootings, consumer scare stories, auto accident footage and “exclusives” with someone who already had appeared on 67 other stations. I know a fair number of TV reporters and, by and large, they are smart, decent journalists, but they have little say over the tone and content of a newscast. My mother-in-law already has called us twice from Florida because the national scaremongers are focusing on Chicago as the snow bears down and she fears for our safety.

    That said, it looks like a rough one. The winds already were gusting to 30 mph when I had the dog out an hour or so ago, and now the snow has thickened and the winds are picking up even more. The college where I teach has canceled afternoon classes today and all classes Wednesday, which they almost never, ever do, but this is prudent, particularly since a fair number of students commute in from the ‘burbs.

    BTW, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from school late yesterday afternoon. There was all the milk, bread and perishables you’d ever want. I did notice, however, that the beer coolers needed a few more cases.

    We Chicagoans have our priorities straight.

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  36. Julie Robinson said on February 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Our daughter is at a conference this week, staying in Chicago and driving out to the conference in the burbs each day. Right now I’m hoping someone has offered her their hotel room floor. I’m a mom, I worry.

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  37. Connie said on February 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I’ve got a snow day tomorrow, everything is starting to shut down, even though the snow isn’t quite here yet. Kid tells me Indiana University has shut down due to ice.

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  38. Dexter said on February 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Whoa! A vengeance, punishing us for being slackers so far this winter…the snow is really piling up quickly here in NW Ohio. I took the dog to a park; an east-west road was nearly impassable already. This is going to get interesting. We’re all safe and sound at home to weather this thing.

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  39. Rana said on February 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    The sleeting mini-hail has arrived – if I stand on our porch I can hear an eerie hiss as the little pellets spatter down. I’m just hoping that the big tree near my car doesn’t lose a major limb. By the time I remembered I should have moved the car, everything was too well iced to make it possible. And there’s a crack in the ice right on top of the car, where a lesser branch hit last night.

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  40. alex said on February 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Enjoying the storm immensely. Making goulash—the authentically Hungarian way per chef George Lang, the restaurateur of the five-star Gundel’s of Budapest (although cheating a little with Rotes Gold in lieu of cherry peppers)—and having a blast.

    A delicious respite. The house smells divoon. Whetting the hunger pangs with whiskey while watching the decline and fall of Hoser McBurke.

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  41. moe99 said on February 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Looks like Judge Vinson, the judge that struck down the Health Care Act yesterday, may have been caught Goeglein in his decision. He cribbed from a brief filed by the Family Research Council, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center labelled a ‘hate group’ in 2010.


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  42. brian stouder said on February 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    We had fresh-made mash potatoes, roast beef, fresh-made mushroom gravy, and green beans with bacon; probably the best supper of the year – and as Alex says, the house smells divoon!

    I look forward to going to bed early, as our windows get quietly pelted

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  43. Dorothy said on February 1, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    We’ve been pretty well encased in ice all day; thank goodness just yesterday I bought some thing-a-ma-bobs that go on the bottom of my shoes/boots to grip the ice. I haven’t fallen today but Mike did. After numerous attempts at breaking up some of the driveway ice he did manage to get both of our vehicles up to the road. We have a 100′ drive that slopes downhill. If we can drive tomorrow, we’ll have to thaw the cars out all over again.

    I made creamy broccoli soup today, steaks and dinner rolls from frozen dough. I don’t eat bean soups, or bean anything if I can help it. Bean-less chili tomorrow is on the menu!

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  44. Deborah said on February 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I’m here to tell you we are having a blizzard in Chicago. I just got home from work and boy howdy the wind is whipping and the snow is sideways. I got off of the bus near the Hancock building and when I tried to turn the corner from Michigan to Delaware, I could not do it. The Hancock creates a horrible current there and it was blowing me over. I had to dash into the North Face store and exit out the side door of the Hancock which was a little easier to do but not much. From there the block and a half east was slow going because the snow was blowing right into my eyes. The roar of the wind was something to behold. Glad to be inside where I’ll stay all day tomorrow probably

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  45. nancy said on February 1, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    This is killing me. Although the radar says it is upon us, all I’m seeing is a few flakes. I feel like King Lear: CRACK YOUR CHEEKS!

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  46. Julie Robinson said on February 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    After I sent a pitiful email to our daughter she made a mercy call to let us know she’s at the hotel tonight and tomorrow. When do you stop worrying about your kids?

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  47. Rana said on February 1, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    And now here comes the wind. Please don’t land on my car, o tree!

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  48. nancy said on February 1, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Rana, I thought you lived in Oregon. Is it storming in Oregon?

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  49. Linda said on February 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Here in Toledo, the wind is whipping and the snow is coming down fast. From the sound on my window, some is coming down as freezing rain, which is mystifying since it’s not even 20 degrees. A good day to be inside. Tomorrow, I’ll be making Greek lemon chicken soup, which is maybe my favorite comfort food.

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  50. LAMary said on February 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Everyone can come to my house. It’s in the high sixties, getting up to 72 tomorrow. Bring a sleeping bag and I hope you like dogs.

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  51. brian stouder said on February 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Mary – that’s the best offer I’ve had all day!; and those Betty White cheesecake bon bons you shared earlier were superb!

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  52. Deborah said on February 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Nancy, regarding your comment #45 all I can say is just wait. When I sat in my office and looked out the window it looked tame. But when I got out in it that was another story especially when I got to my neighborhood on the lake shore. In the 8 years I have lived in Chicago I have never heard the roar of wind so loud as this. Don’t know if the combo of snow and wind heightens the sound or what. The interesting thing about the wind currents around the Hancock is you can watch them when it’s snowing, normally you can feel them but the snow makes them visible. I have never before been in a situation where the wind prevented me from moving forward to the degree that it did earlier this evening. Combined with the icy surfaces it was really frightening. A guy clearing the sidewalks was trying to come to my aid when he saw me floundering, my coat snaps flew open and my puffy down filled coat became a sail and it was close to a disaster. Kind of funny when I think back about it but it wasn’t then.

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  53. nancy said on February 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I just looked outside, and in the 50 minutes since I posted that, well, it has arrived.

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  54. brian stouder said on February 1, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    And now, your cheeks can crack, right along with ours!

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  55. nancy said on February 1, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Why is this pink blob approaching from the south? It’s 21 degrees and we’re supposedly getting colder overnight. No ice! Ice go home!

    There is no way we’re getting 8 inches. No way.

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! . . . strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!

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  57. brian stouder said on February 1, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    There is no way we’re getting 8 inches. No way.

    Way, baby!!


    At lunch time today, it was a lot colder than it had been in the morning, and surprisingly (somewhat fiercely) windy.

    Near 5 this afternoon, the fierce wind was no longer a surprise, but the snow that was riding it sideways had a distinctly granular property – like Tide detergent. I remember that stuff – that was the way the snow was in the first humdinger of a storm in my experience; the blizzard of 1978.

    Right now, the wind is literally howling through the trees (I believe we are getting those 40+ mph gusts that they warned about), and the windows occasionally rattle; and still, the Tide detergent is riding it, and drifting here and there.

    The local police/fire radio has been interesting, as they struggle to patrol the city; the interstate (I-69) is shutdown through the Fort Wayne corridor.

    Looks like the weather terrorists pretty much pegged this thing back on Sunday, when we first heard the (semi-unbelievable!) forecasts

    edit – an interesting wind speed data link:


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  58. alex said on February 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Felt like it could’a been eight inches when I just took a walk outside so’s I could come back in and smell the paprika aroma. Maybe it’s just drifting, but I was knee high all the way around the house.

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  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Oh, FYI – http://i.huffpost.com/gen/243411/MID-WEST-SNOWSTORM.jpg

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  60. Deborah said on February 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Something weird is going on, on Lake Shore Drive. The south bound side is completely empty there are no tire tracks in the snow at all, they may have just shut it down. North bound is at a snails pace. My husband said he heard earlier that they were expecting 15 to 20 foot waves to come crashing onto the drive from the lake. But it appears that the lake in our view is frozen solid and no waves are apparent. Earlier we saw a lone runner on the trail next to the lake. Can you believe that? Someone who is that obsessed with fitness to be out in this is nuts.

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  61. brian stouder said on February 1, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Jeff, very (very!) cool!

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  62. Joe Kobiela said on February 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Today was only the 2nd time I have canceled a flight in 3.5yrs. I was scheduled to go to Columbus Ohio this morning and canceled that. We decided to put them in the hanger until Thursday. Wind here in Auburn is really whipping. Its possible to get ice when its cold like this due to the fact that the air at say 5000ft is actually above freezing and the snow falls turns to rain and then hits the ground as rain and freezes to the frozen surface. If your getting ice pellets the snow is melting at altitude and then re freezing before it hits the ground. I was just checking weather and it is a +2c at 6000ft over Fort Wayne with a surface temp of 18 f. Surface Temp in Evansville is 54 but only 32 in Memphis.
    Stay warm
    Pilot Joe

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  63. Dexter said on February 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Horizontal wind-blown heavy, heavy, volume of light, “dry” powder snow. Extreme amounts falling here.

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  64. alex said on February 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Sounded like ice pelting the windows but go outside and it’s all powder.

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  65. Little Bird said on February 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Chicago now has thunder and lightning. And my cable JUST went out as I was typing this.

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  66. Deborah said on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Latest development we are now experiencing thunder snow. I’ve only experienced this once before in the mountains. Apparently it has something to do with lake effect and wind sheer. Little Bird just called and said cable went out in the building next door where she lives.

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 1, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Deborah, this from Twitter @ColonelTribune – Everyone still on LSD is being coaxed off as it’s closed. They’re going to plow and salt it. Hopefully reopening late tonight.

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  68. Jolene said on February 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Wow, that’s a helluva impressive photo, Jeff. Thanks for linking.

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  69. Linda said on February 1, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Pilot Joe–
    Thanks for the 411 re: frozen rain at these ridiculously low temps.

    I heard a trick that helps to keep beans from disintagrating while cooking. Soaking overnight in salty water, and getting rinsed well before cooking. But I suspect when you have that variety of beans in 1 pot, some are going to go to pot while others are just adequately cooked.

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  70. Connie said on February 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Deborah, according to The Weather Channel there is a spun out bus in that lane on Lake Shore and all traffic is now in the northbound lane. They also just pointed out the thunder and lightning in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin which seems to mean this is really a serious storm. The worst is yet to get to us.

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  71. Rana said on February 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    It’s my parents who live in Oregon, Nancy, and they’ve been having nice dry weather out there.

    Alas, I’m stuck under that same giant system as you are, only to the south and west of you.

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  72. Bob (not Greene) said on February 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Well, this one is a bitch here in the Chicago area. Just drove home from my parents’ house two blocks away. Didn’t think I’d make it. There’s no way the car is getting out tomorrow, guaranteed. It’s not so much the snow itself — bad enough — the winds are creating drifts all over the place. Borden, get over here and start shoveling!

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  73. Crazycatlady said on February 1, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I love my 16 Bean Soup. I put mine in the crock-pot on low all day long. The beans stay whole. I like to cook my water covered ham-bone in the crock over night. In the morning I remove the bone, sort the meat, then add my beans, an onion and a small can of stewed tomatoes if I have them to the broth. Put the lid on and cook on low till dinner. I love mine with corn bread on the side. Beb likes to split the corn bread and spoon on the beans, and add ketchup on top of that. (!) PS–I saw a woman who looked just like you at Costco on Sunday. I wasn’t sure so I said nothing.

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  74. brian stouder said on February 1, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Fort Wayne just went to a Level One snow emergency, wherein no one other than emergency vehicles should be on the streets. Anyone out tonight would have to be just about insane in any case, but aside from that, here is a neat little contest – wherein you can see how prescient you are with regard to Academy Awards.


    All I did was go for True Grit everywhere I could, and then The King’s Speech where there was no TG; and The Kids are Alright in the remainder.

    Goodnight, folks

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  75. Jolene said on February 1, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    CNN just said there are tens of thousands of homes w/o power. Hope none of our peeps are among ’em. Not that it’s particularly better for others to be without power on a cold, dark night.

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  76. Connie said on February 1, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Duke Energy is updating their outage numbers in Indiana on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.duke-energy.com%2Findiana%2Foutages%2Fcurrent.asp&h=a948f

    Starting yesterday here and continuing on today these are the new words for snow storm I have learned: Snowmageddon! Snowpocalypse! Snowtorious BIG! Snowicane! Blizzaster! Got any more. I mean if all we’re going to talk about is the weather….

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  77. moe99 said on February 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Jeff tmmo, when you mentioned LSD above, my first thought was, “who would be taking drugs at this time?”

    Sorry, long day.

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  78. nancy said on February 1, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Wow, that’s some serious wind out there. It would totally suck to lose power tonight.

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  79. Little Bird said on February 1, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    I just saw a group of people on the lake path, hootin’ and hollerin’ and taking pictures. I keep waiting to hear the sirens of the ambulance that will come to their rescue, when one of them inevitably falls in.

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  80. Catherine said on February 2, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Y’all are starting to sound like the Ingalls family in The Long Winter. I hope noone has to grind wheat in the coffee grinder, or twist hay for fuel.

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  81. MarkH said on February 2, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Amazing what’s going on in the midwest judging by Jeff’s photo. Hope you all get through it ok. Judging by that photo, it looks like some of it should have come over here in the Tetons, but all we’ve had is sub-zero temps and clear skies for two days. Going to -25 tonight. Blizzard of ’78: I remember it well, Brian. Woke up at 3:00 am that first night with a wind so fierce, I was convinced our little cheaply built Pickerington cabin was going to blow right off the foundation. And no power, to boot.

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  82. Rana said on February 2, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Impressive how much red is in this map: http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/travel-advisory-map/

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  83. Connie said on February 2, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Catherine, when there is a snow day there is bread baking at our house. Wheat came already ground.

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  84. Bill said on February 2, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Here’s the Illinois map:


    I’ve been listening and watching the wind and snow. It started to get strong around 6 p.m. It’s slowed somewhat, but is still blowing and snowing at a fairly good rate. Nice night to stay inside as long as the electricity stays on.

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  85. Jolene said on February 2, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Here’s something somewhat cheery to read while you are warming your toes by the fire. It appears that the long-term damage from the BP oil spill might not be as bad as feared. There’s uncertainty, of course, but it sounds optimistic.

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  86. moe99 said on February 2, 2011 at 1:43 am


    Just be glad you aren’t in Queensland.

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  87. beb said on February 2, 2011 at 8:20 am

    It’s morning in Detroit. For once I got up early and ran the snow blower. About six inches I’d say but kind of heavy. There was a deal of wind so some drifting. Not much trouble getting to work. It would have been easiler if I did have bald tires.

    I was with Moe thinking that “telling people to get off LSD” was about the drug. Or Lorenzo St. Dobeau.

    As for bean soup, the kicker is to chop a little onion over it for some bite. It’s Hoosier cooking because that’s how Mom made it.

    Radio and TV news programs used to be part of the stations community service requirement. BNow it’s part of the Entertainment div. So I have this great idea — require that all news programming be run commercial free. Since they can’t make money off the news any more there would no reason to hype programs with “Something is trying to kill you, more that 11” kind of crap. But I’m sure the stations would find some way to work product placement into the newscasts.

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  88. Sue said on February 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Our snowblower broke yesterday. Perhaps there is a karma issue I’m not aware of, even though we are nice about doing our neighbors’ walks.
    It seems by unspoken agreement everyone who made it into work today did a ‘screw it’ when checking closets this morning. Sweatshirts, sweatpants, I’m surprised no one showed up in pajamas. Not many of us, but we sure are comfy.
    Something called a ‘civil emergency’ has been issued for all of southern Wisconsin. I’ve never heard of it. They’re begging people to stay off the roads. As Chicago commenters can attest, it’s worse south.

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  89. Deborah said on February 2, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Chicago is quiet this morning except for the wind. LSD further north appears to have a bunch of abandoned cars on it that they are now towing away. No other traffic on it but that. I’ve only seen very light traffic on Michigan. Hardly any cabs and no buses. I’ve seen people walking. Think I’ll stay where I am.

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  90. Kirk said on February 2, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Our power went out about 9 last night, but it came back on about 2 a.m. Still almost 50,000 people in Franklin County without power.

    About six serious-size tree branches down in our backyard, cracked off by the ice. Lots of other neighbors’ trees suffered the same. Now it’s supposed to be windy (30-50 mph) all day. It did warm up enough overnight to melt the glaze off my car, not that I’m planning on going anywhere today.

    I’ll be starting a pot of beef stew in a couple of hours.

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  91. Dorothy said on February 2, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Kenyon’s campus doesn’t have power but thankfully we do here, 4.5 miles from there. The wind is in full force and it’s snowing sideways. They canceled classes and all non-essential personnel can stay home, so I’m getting some laundry done in case we lose power. Chili will be bubbling soon! How’s everyone else this morning?

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  92. Sue said on February 2, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I looked outside, and this quote popped into my head:
    “And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day.”
    It is, in a Fargo kind of way.

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  93. LAMary said on February 2, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Only in the high fifties, maybe low sixties, with high wind warning here. Not as nice as they were saying it would be but a lot better than what all you are getting. I’ve been through that sort of weather in Colorado a few times and the best plan is to stay home and drink hot sake.
    From long ago experience I would agree it’s best to stay off LSD in that sort of weather. Not only could you get plowed and salted, the potential for freezing to death while examining individual snowflakes is very high. Stick to old school chemicals like alcohol.

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  94. alex said on February 2, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Sounds like the Chicago folks are having quite a time of it. On the local news they just showed Wrigley Field, where the press box is evidently disintegrating.

    I used to live on LSD so I know what Deborah and Little Bird are talking about. Hunkering down for a storm was never a big deal when I lived there because we had a commissary in the building, although high winds used to make the glass in the windows flex noticeably and in some cases burst. Fortunately I never lost a window, but others in the building did.

    Here in the hinterlands, we’re under a Level One emergency which means no travel except for emergency vehicles. Power’s still on, knock wood, and the pantry’s full.

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  95. Julie Robinson said on February 2, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Catherine, I was thinking about The Long Winter and feeling very fortunate this morning that the wind has ended and the ice didn’t come this far north, though a friend who lives south of town got some. Hubby is home from work again and we can just enjoy the day. It’ll be scalloped potatoes and ham here and maybe pumpkin bread in the breadmaker.

    We are feeling the lack of one thing, however: no newspaper. I’d hardly begrudge the poor carrier for staying home, but it’s just not the same poking around on a website. Yes, I am fortunate that I can find such a small thing to complain about.

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  96. Dorothy said on February 2, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Our paper arrived yesterday, Julie, and we were quite astonished. Nothing today (so far). We always tip our carrier generously because she is very dedicated.

    Here’s a fun story if you need a smile today. It’s Super Bowl related. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/02/sports/football/02hair.html?ref=sports

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  97. Kim said on February 2, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Almost 70 here in Va., with a light rain – smells like spring, for sure. BobNG I would surely help with the shoveling, but I know you have strapping boys who will be happy to help the old man!

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  98. MarkH said on February 2, 2011 at 10:00 am

    If I were having to get around where some of you people are today, I’d want an LSD. We are talking about a Limited Slip Differential, aren’t we?

    -27 deg. and not a cloud in the sky this morning here.

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  99. Rana said on February 2, 2011 at 11:48 am

    The car made it through the night intact, though the pile of sticks around it is growing.

    I am astonished that the mailman keeps making it to the mailbox. I feel like I should order him a Starbucks card or something.

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  100. brian stouder said on February 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    That would probably be some sort of ethics violation.

    I dunno about Nance’s Detroit; but Nance’s Fort Wayne got hit by The Real Thing. We got off work early, and Grant and I just finished the driveway and the sidewalk. All those gales last night left the snow with a pronounced, undulating quality – the snow on the sidewalk in front of our house varied in depth from ankle high to thigh high, and back again; as did the driveway.

    When we finished and came back into the house, I wasn’t seeing in color anymore…(!) Aside from being snowblind, I’m gettin’ too OLD fer this s%$t.

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