Thousands strong.

Because it seemed like something worth doing while another snowstorm bore down on us — now in progress, a few new inches — I took myself way the hell out to the west side last night. There was a “town meeting” for supporters of the Michigan film incentive tax credits, threatened with near-elimination in next year’s budget, and while my job isn’t on the line, I thought I’d go to fly the flag, another warm body in the crowd. I should have known something was up when it was moved at the last minute from a local studio with cavernous sound stages to a nearby banquet hall with enough room for an army.

Because an army showed up, and then some. Thousands, I’d estimate, at least two, maybe more. Parking was a nightmare, the hall so overfilled the fire marshall shut the doors and turned away probably a few hundred more. I squeaked in under the wire, but spent a lot of time standing around; the show started half an hour late, and the first speaker was ol’ shoe-polish head, the li’l man himself, ladies and gentlemen, Misterrrrr Mitch! Albom!

And to be sure, he wasn’t terrible. In fact, he was easily the best speaker of the night, doing what he does best — telling people what they want to hear: “This isn’t about saving Hollywood! This is about saving Michigan!” Big standing O for that one. And he did what newspaper columnists do best, talk tough without fear of contradiction: “Like it or not, this industry goes where the incentives are.” The message of the night was, the generous tax credits — and they are the most generous in the country, ranging from 30 to 42 percent — given to the film industry for work done here, is getting results beyond the chance to see Robert DeNiro in a restaurant. It’s providing jobs, building a talent base for future productions, etc.

No one talked about an end game, or even a compromise, at least while I was there. I had to leave during Mike Binder’s lament that “The Upside of Anger,” set in Bloomfield Hills, was shot in London because that was the best deal. (You remember “The Upside of Anger,” don’t you? Kevin Costner, Joan Allen, lots of University of Michigan references?) Is there ever a sunset on tax incentives, or do they set the state up to be thrown over when the next state gets stardust in its eyes? On the other hand, what else does Michigan have going for it at the moment? And the incentives have been an adrenaline shot to the burgeoning creative-class economy, and they are my people.

On the third hand, the same budget Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed cutting education funding by $920 million. (Mitch Albom has no children, and if he did, he’d doubtless send them to private schools.)

We’ll see how this works out. I’ll do my part, but I’m not hopeful. The best-case scenario would be for a cut that falls short of disastrous. Fingers crossed.

It was nice to get out of the house, even to wrangle with impossible parking. That’s how bad my cabin fever is at the moment.

Not much bloggage today:

Keep it classy, Georgia!

New York Times cooking columnist reveals, in his final column, that he doesn’t really cook all that much. (His wife does. Quel surprise.)

Think I’ll make some broccoli-cheddar soup today. Just because it’s snowy. A great weekend to all.

Posted at 10:42 am in Detroit life, Movies |

60 responses to “Thousands strong.”

  1. Kim said on February 25, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Re: the NYT cooking columnist. Just what the journalism world needs, another poseur. I know there are a LOT of working mothers (and fathers, gents, so don’t get all in a bundle – the guy leaves it to his wife to have the more flexible job) in NN.C-land who manage to do what the poor cooking columnist cannot. I have a special phrase for people like him: effin effer.

    367 chars

  2. LAMary said on February 25, 2011 at 11:19 am

    It might actually snow here tonight. The weather woman said snow might fall at altitudes as low as 500 feet and I live at 900. So, inspired by that article about not cooking I think I’ll make the spaghetti and meatballs referenced in the article. I’ve got the marinara made. I have to go buy all the meat and the heavy cream and a ciabatta before we get snowed in.

    364 chars

  3. basset said on February 25, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I want one of those Local 337 shirts, if that’s indeed what it was. Spent a couple of years in the NABET local up in Cadillac, which was less than worthless… but that was a long time ago.

    About to start a big pot of venison chili to take to the bluegrass jam on Sunday afternoon… sit around in a circle, pick, sing, eat something, drink a little wine, repeat.

    367 chars

  4. brian stouder said on February 25, 2011 at 11:49 am

    still pondering the evocative “Thousands strong” header. Isn’t that marvelous? – that energetic vibe that emanates from “the better angels” of a crowd of well-motivated people?

    For all the crabbed and negative initiatives that are afoot nowadays, there are as many (or more) opportunities for positive responses, from people like us. Yesterday’s positive news from the board of Fort Wayne Community Schools moved me to offer a few paragraphs to a local blogger/lawyer/politician who observes the local scene, which touches on that same subject. I suppose the opposite of alienation is stakeholding; and stakeholding is much more fun than resignation, if you ask me.

    (I know, I know – “nobody asked!”)

    721 chars

  5. Linda said on February 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Well, the cooking guy told the truth. Sorry, but I don’t have a lot of time to cook, either. We are all supposed to feel guilty about this, because Alice Waters and Mark Bittman told us so, but screw them. Seriously. How many people feel guilty that they aren’t fixing their own plumbing or making their own clothes?

    I cook some, but having ready-made food gives me the time possible to write and help care for my mother, neither task of which can/should be farmed out. Yes, everybody should know how to cook and what goes into it, but when you have to hump over the stove 3x a day 7x a week, a lot of people would find it a drudgery. There. I’ve said it.

    665 chars

  6. coozledad said on February 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    I’d really like to attend the solidarity march in Raleigh tomorrow, but Bin Laden’s late sending my packet of hallucinogen-laced Nescafe. Will Red Bull and a couple of capsules of trucker speed work just as well?
    I’ve already been doing that work slowdown. For years.

    268 chars

  7. beb said on February 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I often wonder about tax incentives; do they actually generate any return on their investment? They sound so much like the Laffer Curve which argued that tax cuts paid for themselves, but the evidence for that has been scant and tending to the negative. Perhaps we should ask if there is some number between 42% and 0% where people will still come to Michigan to make films but but it won’t be a complete drain on the budget.

    425 chars

  8. Linda said on February 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I’d like to attend the solidarity event in Columbus, too, but my public-employee union-belonging butt is putting up a display for the library on my day off, because we don’t have the staff to do it and cover our desks on regular time. Unlike, apparently, tea partiers on Social Security who can demonstrate any time they want.

    327 chars

  9. Rana said on February 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    You know, beb, that’s a very good question. It reminds me of the mentality that high hit counts in one’s webstore are proof of “success” even if the actual sales numbers never go up high enough to justify the advertising campaign.

    231 chars

  10. Sue said on February 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I’ll be attending a rally in my county on Sunday, but probably only long enough to pass out some flyers to fellow-rallyers pushing them to remember spring elections and to contact local businesses about how anti-worker sentiment affects their bottom line. Act locally and all that.
    Today I’m going to contact the Milwaukee mayor’s office to thank Tom Barrett for publicly supporting Wisconsin workers and then call the White House to ask if Obama intends to issue a statement supporting American workers. I’m not in the camp that thinks he needs to physically be here but the longer he stays quiet the more likely it’s going to look like he’s being opportunistic if he jumps in after ordinary folks have done all the heavy lifting.
    It occurs to me that there is a very good possibility that Scott Walker just handed Wisconsin to Obama for 2012.

    849 chars

  11. Jakash said on February 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    What jumps out of this post to me is that, regardless of what the incentives were (I take it they weren’t 42% at the time), it was still a better deal to make a movie set in Bloomfield Hills in LONDON, for crying out loud. That’s remarkable.

    242 chars

  12. nancy said on February 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Why I hate so many columnists, Chapter eleventy-jillion:

    Rochelle Riley, today:

    But here’s the thing, governor: When I asked you in an exclusive interview this week what enticing careers you would suggest for young and creative people to embrace to stay in Michigan..

    What is the point of “exclusive” in that sentence? OK, so Rochelle got to talk to him with no one else in the room. Big fucking deal.

    These apple-polishing ambition monsters get on my last goddamn nerve, for sure.

    503 chars

  13. Rana said on February 25, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    No kidding, Nancy. You’d think that if it was such a big coup to score that “exclusive” interview, she’d have come up with a better, weightier question than that!

    163 chars

  14. nancy said on February 25, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Not to mention the fact the “open letter” trope is one of the hoariest in the game. Stand still for my lecture, damn you! Stand still, I say!

    141 chars

  15. MommyTime said on February 25, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    That NYT column makes me furious. FURIOUS. Of his wife, he writes, “She works, but not in an office…so she can steal time away for herself and for the boys…” In other words: SHE can multi-task, and can do a full-time job in less than full-time hours, and juggle her schedule so she works after they sleep, and do all the compromising and extras, so that he can work the regular hours, and come home to dinner on the table. In OTHER other words: she has TWO full-time jobs, and he only has one. Oh, woe-is-him. He ought to have been mortified to publish that column, but then, his smug tone makes it pretty clear that he doesn’t have the humility to be embarrassed. Seriously, if he were my husband, I’d just punch him.

    Sorry for the rant. There may or may not have been a few buttons pushed there…

    806 chars

  16. MichaelG said on February 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Snowed in in Ellay, Mary? That should be fun. I want pix. On the other hand, I spoke with my erstwhile one a little while ago and she says she’s seeing it at about 1150. I was up in Truckee (6000 ft) on Wed and 80 was clear and dry and the weather was beautiful, temps in the early twenties, bright sun, low humidity and no wind. Stay out of the shade.

    356 chars

  17. LAMary said on February 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Michael, they’re saying the Sacto area could get snow. Good luck with that.

    75 chars

  18. Casey said on February 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    changing subject here: a bit of emotional vent. Am watching CNN coverage of the ferry arival in Malta. Why? Cause about 20 friends are on board – until July 2010 we lived in Tripoli, I taught at the American School. Teachers, support staff and former students and their parents are on board, many of them friends I knew then. Have seen a few still shots of the teachers on the CNN feed it’s quite an experience to see close friends on a big international story…. exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I’m just glad I’m not in their shoes. We’ve been evacuated before (2000 Gaza, 2003 Israel) and those circumstances were not as life threatening as those faced by the people on board.

    At the time we left Tripoli, we were being transferred against our preference. I’ve got friends now telling me God was watching out for us, but my response to them is “doesn’t God like any of my friends being evacuated now?”.

    Even after this ferry off loads, we are still concerned for the Libyan friends we made who are still there. From all indications, things are going to get far worse in Tripoli than now. Gaddafi is ….. well, look at this totally un-p/c youtube of the leader. If he wasn’t so dangerous, it’d be funnier.

    Anyway, sharing over.

    1313 chars

  19. Casey said on February 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Michael, you live in Sacramento? That’s where I’m from. third generation. My sister lives in my grandfather’s house that he bought in downtown back in 1928.

    159 chars

  20. Julie Robinson said on February 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    A niece just posted that friends are telling her it’s snowing in San Francisco, but where she lives, also in SF, she has her windows open because of the heat. So go figure.

    Casey, thank you for reminding us that the Libyan crisis affects real, live people, not just some amorphous blob of Muslims. It’s just too easy to write off those we don’t know. It must be hard for you right now

    389 chars

  21. Julie said on February 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    It’s 75 degrees with stunning blue skies here in Georgia today, but I’m not sure that makes up for living in Paul Broun country…

    130 chars

  22. Jolene said on February 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I was watching that evacuation too, Casey. Saw one woman carrying a baby. Can’t have been much fun for anyone to be on that ferry for 60 hours, let alone to be there with a baby. I’m glad your friends are safe, but, my God, what’s going on there.

    A despotic government is bad. A despotic crazy man is a lot worse. I’m fascinated by all the voices asking President Obama to “do something.” What exactly is he supposed to do that will stop the killing in the street? They can freeze assets and such, but that doesn’t seem likely to have much influence when the immediate problem is young men driving around shooting people from the back of pickup trucks.

    657 chars

  23. Julie Robinson said on February 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Completely off-topic: 27 hours ago I got an email from Amazon with a 20% off code for I re-entered through the Kickback Lounge, ordered a pair of my favorite Birkenstocks, and clicked two-day free shipping. The UPS guy just delivered them. Do we live in a great country, or what?

    295 chars

  24. coozledad said on February 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Any time they start with the family values shit and DOMA and “gays make it more expensive for hets” they might as well be saying it with a dick in their mouth. It’s the hypocrisy, stupid:
    Next up, the Mikes Huckabee and Pence.

    317 chars

  25. Eric Zorn said on February 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Open letter to Nancy — I’m a columnist, too, and our ethics policy and my personal sense of journalistic ethics would forbid me addressing a political rally — even a non-partisan rally like this one — as an advocate, even if I’d written the exact same words in my column. Does that sound a little too fussy for you?

    318 chars

  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    But Mitch isn’t a columnist, Eric, he’s a public institution. Not sure what the ethics for public institutions are, but I think it involves always being ready to sign autographs in copies of your books you see people reading in public, even when they don’t ask you to. Or something like that.

    292 chars

  27. Crazycatlady said on February 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Hey, we need the movie jobs here so more of us can send our kids to private school and lessen the burden on Public School funds, just like voucher-loving republicans are always trying to do.

    190 chars

  28. MichaelG said on February 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Here’s a not bad summation of the public employee wage and retirement situation. It shows how public employment has worked to provide some simulation of a living wage to lower echelon employees while professionals have opted for the job stability and benefits package over wages. It also reflects the thrust of union efforts over the last few decades. I have a more detailed scholarly study that says the same things.

    485 chars

  29. coozledad said on February 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Walker is asked to leave Madison restaurant. Hahahahah.

    181 chars

  30. Kim said on February 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Eric – C’mon, man, you’ve been around the block a time or two. The only rules of journalism that apply to Mitch are the ones he says fit. Who else gets away with his crap? Oh, g’wan ya’ll and disabuse me of the fantasy that Mitch stands alone. On second thought, are you being ironic? It’s been a hell of a week (even with no snow here) and I am about to put in 7 hours of driving to see my eldest put his months of training to work for less than 10 minutes of running. In other words, my week is about to improve immensely.

    524 chars

  31. Connie said on February 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    McDonald’s “oatmeal” has 11 weird ingredients, more sugar than a Snickers.

    138 chars

  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 26, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Nancy, how much stem do you slice and cook along with the broccoli florets? Have you succeeded in getting your family to consume those, or are they flowering-end-only eaters?

    174 chars

  33. brian stouder said on February 26, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Boy, I intend to stay on the right side of MommyTime!

    Speaking of broccoli parts, Pam and I did an early anniversary (or late Valentine’s) dinner at Cork ‘N Cleaver Saturday evening. The salad bar there was, as usual, excellent. In addition to all the fresh whole broccoli you could ever want, artichoke hearts and caviar and heart of palm and red red strawberries – not even to mention all the usual salad stuff, was all especially good.

    That restaurant is always good for people-watching. Aside from the usual mix of birthday outings and so on, one sees many (apparent) expense-account folks, owing to the nearby hotels; and lots of couples, in addition to boring couples like Pam and I.

    For example, two couples shared the table adjacent to ours, and when we were seated they were already done eating, and spent the next 90 minutes drinking* and (loudly) conversing. Both men looked a good 20 years older than their wives, and one of the men looked 20 years older than the other man.

    At first, our working theory was the men worked together, and the older one was the boss; but soon enough we revised that theory, as the men worked to top each other’s stories, and earn a bigger laugh from the women.

    As the evening progressed, our evolving working theory was that the men were colleagues, and both women were second wives; they both were leather-clad, and had high-end bags and lots of bling, and they actively supported and augmented the protracted story competition, and even expanded upon the racey bits.

    Anyway – our reservation was for 8:15 pm (the choice was either 4:15, or 8:15), and we arrived 5 minutes early, and were seated right on time. A couple came in right behind us, and they had a 9:15 reservation, and asked if they could be seated early, and learned that they could not.

    I thought that was somewhat amazing.

    *and they were drinking those funny/fancy (think mai tais and Santa Cruz rum daisys, and the like)
    drinks, instead of drink-drinks like a seven-seven

    2015 chars

  34. Jolene said on February 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    The other day, I mentioned something about how the recent crises had made me aware of how many people there are in the world living and working far from their homes. Today, the Post describes the evacuation efforts taking place in Libya. Countries mentioned include, at least, the US, the UK, Poland, India, Greece, Italy, and Turkey. It’s amazing to think about the logistics involved. And all this doesn’t include all the North Africans spilling into Tunisia and Egypt.

    Such a teeming, streaming thing humanity is.

    646 chars

  35. brian stouder said on February 26, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Jolene, did you see the article about the newly wed couple in Christchurch, New Zealand?

    Reading it, one can just envision the Lifetime movie they’ll make out of it. The bride-to-be was in her office building when the quake struck, and her building collapsed, trapping her. The groom-to-be and her communicated via cell phone, and the groom arrived at the scene and worked to dig her out, eventually (with lots of help) succeeding.

    And they were wedded on time

    466 chars

  36. Jolene said on February 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I hadn’t heard that story, Brian, but it’ll definitely be one to tell the grandchildren.

    88 chars

  37. brian stouder said on February 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Jolene – I didn’t find the AP story, but this one is pretty evocative

    an excerpt:

    Guest Tania Hill said she could understand why the wedding stayed on schedule. “At times like this you realise how fragile things are.” And the groom himself was more excited than nervous about the day after that frantic, desperate wait on Tuesday. Even the media attention was welcomed. “If we can give other people a bit of hope, it’s all good.” For some, that wedding in a plain brick church did provide a bit of hope. People were going to and from the Burnside High School welfare centre just up the road. “Is it a wedding?” one woman said as she passed. She smiled, “Oh, good.”

    and if the conclusion is a little over-stated, still it rings true

    The families weren’t to know it, but at the same time, directly across the road families of people still missing were meeting for their daily briefing with police and search and rescue. Two ambulances stood outside in case some were overwhelmed. The walked out half an hour after the newlyweds had left, faces drawn. They left quietly in small groups of two or three. Outside a couple sat crumpled together, devastated. Joy and agony in one street, at one time

    1298 chars

  38. prospero said on February 26, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Why parents stood for Jack Kemmedy, wheN that was anathema, Down south,. We lived in Memphis. at that time. When we moved to BiRmingham, we wwent to block-bUSTING,arches. I mean, my family believed wholeheartedly in civil rights and making our beliefs well known. My dad introduced me to Walter Reuther. And he thought that was a great man. My dad was a way talented doctor and he believed whole-heartedly in the UAW. His little hospital at twelfth and Tuxedoe provided health care for the UAW. They thought it was important. I reLLY BELIEVE IN UNIONS, I believe that anybody that opposes unions is probably some scumbag. These union busters are assholes.. My dad that thought Walter Reuther was a great man, or this pissant governor? I’ll take my dad that was a world renowned pediatrician. Seems like beating up on morons. And you Johnyy Bench folks. Joe Morgan can croak all he wants. Johnny Bench wasn’t John Roseboro. He was excellent, But Pudge was just as good. Take a look at the numbers. and don’t talk about defense. Scioscia and yeager wer better defensively. Joe Morgan can croak all he wants. Wvery player on the Big Red Machine was not the best player that ever lived. Concepcion? Please. Joe Morgan thinks he was better than Oz? What a moroon. Ozzie was better than anybody. He was the greatest fielder that ever lived. Perhaps there are Reds fans that think Pete actually could field a position. Pete rose was a butcher wherever he was deployed. Reds fan? He wasn’t horrible with a glove? He sucked. And his assault on Ray Fosse was pure bullshit. He was an asshole. That assaulted a better player. How was their an excuse? He was just an asshole. Is their some excuse for Pete Rose? What he did was spectacularly inexcusable. The catcher whose knee he trashed wAS ABOUT THE BEST CATCHER ANYBODY HAD EVER SEEN IN YEARS. WAY TO GO PETE. THAT’S THE REDS. THEY ARE SO full of shit. Just ask Joe Morgan. . He’ll gladly tell you Concepcion was a better shortstop than Ozzie. Because every member of th Red Machine, including himself, was better than evetybody ekse. Was Joe Morgan a better 2ns baseman than Davey Lopes? Bot hardlt. Wherendoes this dumbass claim there was a better SS than Ozziw. Ia aomwboody kissing, Sroakinf? . The best defense and offense at SS is Jackie hands down. And Joe Morgan doan know dick. And Johnny Bench, vs. Pudge, Ed Armbrister cheated like a bastard, I just Don’t get the Johnny Bench hagiography. There were better catchers, Yeager was better, Threw guys out at third, . Scioscia was better behind the p;ate. Fisk was at least as good a hitter and COuld wing the ball. What was so great about Bench? Was he better than Thurman Munaon? Nope, Not close to better, Not remotely better than Pudge. What makes Bench so great if it isn’t the croaker insisting? Joe Morgan is full of ahir. Wvery player he ever played with is the best. He thinka hw’a the greatest 2nd baseman that ever kived. Lopes was better than Joe MorgB. SO WHATS THE DEAL ABOUT THE REDS? FUL OF SHIT.

    3027 chars

  39. Jolene said on February 26, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Very touching, indeed, Brian. A powerful story on both sides of the street.

    75 chars

  40. prospero said on February 26, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    If you take the tops off the mountains and fill the cricks with dross, how is there water to drink? If you destroy the watershed? What;s left to drink? Are people this fucking stupid? Tou can;s fill the cridks in the hollers by topping the mountains and expect there to be potavle water, if you aren;t an idiot.Judge moron. Is everybody a moron. bought and paid for by Blankenship? What the hell is wrong with people? It’s the water and it’s the aquifer. and if people don’t understand this they are apparently to dumb to understand they need water to drink.

    558 chars

  41. brian stouder said on February 26, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Every player on the Big Red Machine was not the best player that ever lived.

    Well, Pros – lemme just say –

    if this was 1979 or so – I’d be answering you back in ALL-CAPS…

    ‘course, I’d have been using my mom’s Olivetti typewriter (manual, not electric), and I’d be using the red-half of the ribbon, too, dammit! And a week later, maybe I’d get an answer back from you, in the mailbox.

    But, since it’s 2011 and this is the internet; and since I’m not a know-it-all 18 year old anymore – but instead a deeply conflicted almost-50 year old, who’s not sure of much of anything, I’ll limit this to the points upon which we agree.

    I used to LOVE Pete Rose.

    The very fact that he WASN’T the most gifted, nor the fastest, nor even the smartest guy on the field was the source of his appeal; he was endearing because he was a highly motivated “hustler”, so to speak. (not unlike our modern day political hucksters, except much less consequentially)

    But the gambling scandal, wherein my man Pete Rose lied his ass off, and wherein he placed bets (or not) on games in which he participated – in fact, in which he was managing his team, was the absolute end of my love for Pete Rose.

    After years of viewing all Pete’s other baseball sins through rose-colored glasses (so to speak), everything changed. Despite WLW’s endless sliming of Commissioner Bart Giamatti and Fay Vincent – and maybe even because of that – the bloom went off the Rose forever, to me.

    The day after baseball lets Shoeless Joe Jackson into the Hall of Fame, then they might consider admitting Rose….but only if he’s pushing up daisies, too

    1650 chars

  42. Kirk said on February 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Pros, you don’t know much about baseball. Stick to politics.

    And you’re right, Brian. There’s no way in hell that Pete Rose should ever get into the Hall of Fame.

    165 chars

  43. moe99 said on February 27, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Ok, it’s been a roller coaster returning to the Emerald City. I fly back Wed night and as soon as the pilot announces the 27 degree temp in Seattle and we can see the snow falling from our plane windows, the folks in the airplane start the chant, “Turn around! Turn around!”

    Coldest weather on record for this month. If I could, I’d turn around right now, too. As it is we celebrated the miraculous return of my brother’s and partner’s dog today after 3 days missing in the south Seattle industrial area, after she was attacked by 2 big dogs in downtown Seattle. Truly a wonderful feeling for Mark and John as Lily, who originally was a rescue dog, is their child. So am most grateful for this particular gift of grace.

    727 chars

  44. Jakash said on February 27, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Regarding the boing boing article posted way above about the McDonald’s oatmeal. This was all discussed here a couple days ago, but if you look at the comments on that article, a couple people mention the “11 weird ingredients” and they’re not that unusual at all. I don’t doubt that it has more sugar than it needs, but so does packaged instant oatmeal that you buy at the store. The bottom line to me is that at least the people eating this sugary oatmeal are getting some OATMEAL and a smidgeon of fruit in their diet, unlike the people eating the sugary pancakes or the empty-carbo-loaded fries or drinking the sugary Cokes. McDonald’s created this menu item to serve to people who eat at McDonald’s, I imagine. (Well, and probably to compete with Starbucks and others.) I bet most of them tend to like stuff on the sugary side. Mr. Bittman isn’t gonna be eating any oatmeal at McDonald’s anyway, why should they be making it the way he’d like it?

    957 chars

  45. brian stouder said on February 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Well, and – McD’s does indeed have some excellent salad choices, and they serve them with the dressing and croutons in packets, so that the customer can decide how much of those evils they wish to unleash upon the happy greens and garbonzos (etc).

    Moe – welcome back to the mainland! It must have been a wonderful feeling of relief for your family, especially after three days of facing (no doubt increasingly horrible) possible fates regarding their dog.

    465 chars

  46. alex said on February 27, 2011 at 9:56 am

    The bottom line to me is that at least the people eating this sugary oatmeal are getting some OATMEAL and a smidgeon of fruit in their diet, unlike the people eating the sugary pancakes or the empty-carbo-loaded fries or drinking the sugary Cokes.

    I’ve heard people making this same argument with regard to salads. “Well, it might be mostly condiments and croutons, but at least we’re getting some greens we wouldn’t eat otherwise.”

    Reminds me of the fella who once told me, in complete earnest, that he eats McDonald’s fish sandwiches as the healthier alternative because you know how red meat is supposed to be so much worse than fish.

    It’s amazing what people will rationalize in order to avoid making real dietary changes, and the companies that do food marketing and packaging are exploiting it to the hilt. (McDonald’s as far as I know never touted its fish as a health food; but it’s obvious that people are inclined to make these kinds of leaps on their own.) This is why morbid obesity is becoming the new normal.

    Mark Bittman might not eat at McDonald’s anyway, but who’s to say he wouldn’t if they’d actually serve some real food? I’m becoming a fan of his column, and a more discerning shopper as a result of it. Public consciousness about fast food at present is where that about tobacco was in the mid-1960s or so. We know it’s bad but we don’t want to stop. I can see it evolving to the point where, like today, a minority might still indulge but the majority will demand better for themselves. For now, McDonald’s oatmeal is really just a “light” cigarette, the kind the tobacco companies are no longer allowed to advertise as a more healthful alternative.

    1694 chars

  47. prospero said on February 27, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Brian, I figure those condiments and croutons are in little packets because the pWcket industry is making cash. Seriously. how baad can croutons be. we make our own from store bakery bread. You make suitable sizes, put it in a plastic bag, throw in suitable herbs and spices with some olive oil. Shake ’em all up. You put de lime in de cocoanut, den you feel bedder. Spread on a sheet pan and bake. What could be healthier? Good bread is healthy eats. Good bread with olive oil is wonderful. . This whole discussion is getting on my nerves. Ribs are major sources of fat? In what fashion? Ribs in general are lean once they’ve been cooked. Michelle Obama wouldn’t be a fit for the SI cover because she’s somehow obese? You fucking dumbass, she’s close to 6 feet and weighs in at maybe 140. This is just like aholes that hate the WNBA because , well, because they hate women in general.Neither would Rush’s most recent golddigger. No woman would have anything to do with that porker except for cash. He’s spectacularly revolting.

    Oscars? Who actually cares? Shouldn’t Natalie Portman have won for V? Do any of the appointed movies measure up to Inception? Maybe True Grit, nothing else. King’s Speech? Fuck the Brits.It’s movies, for Godsakes. It seems obvious to me that Chiatown was as good as you get. Best movie eveer made. Could be wrong., but what?

    1358 chars

  48. brian stouder said on February 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Pros – just wanted to say; your 3 word summation of The King’s Speech (Fuck the Brits) still has me guffawing!

    117 chars

  49. prospero said on February 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Brian. That hero was waging a terriss war on a free people that produced greatest poet (WBY) and great novelists (JJ) and yes, I’ve read Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake. St. Pats day looms, and they’ll be coming out of the woodwork. In this day and age, the fact that there is still a Northern Ireland is basically obscene. Who do these aholes think they are? England’s produced Evelyn Waugh, and no poets since Shakespeare. I believe they are trying to claim rem is an Atlanta band, And they do. purloin. Yeats is so obviously better than any homegrown poet, Brits want to claim Irish are Brits.

    This land was always ours the proud land of our fathers, it belongs to us and them, not to any of the others. It’s not an empire anymore, you aholes. And Canada, will you tell those imperialist jerks to take a hike. Dumbasses that still buy into that PNAC bullshit ought to consider how that maiier of thinking pans out. But Dickless Cheney made mucho cash when those palettes of cash disappeared. People are just dumber than grunt. I do think Inception is clearly the best movie. And as far as England getting their ass out Ireland, they’ve no business there in the first place.

    They are occupiers, and it’s bullshit. Get their asses out. Who do they think they are? Fuck the Brits. How are they not Gadaffi? It’s Ireland, you morons, not England, Get them the hell out. Isn’t that what W wanted? He looked into Putins eyes and knew he was a great guy. He knew Gadaffi was a good giy. He s

    W seems to have been lacking in the gut feeling department. He seemed to like maniacal murderous asshole dictators, What a great reader of character.

    1803 chars

  50. Connie said on February 27, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I was very aware when I posted the boingboing link that yes, we had already discussed Bittman’s rant on McD’s oatmeal. My point, which I obviously failed to make, was Hey Nance, you’re ahead of boingboing on this one. Cool.

    226 chars

  51. Jakash said on February 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Connie, sorry I missed the point.

    Alex, I think the comparison to “light” cigarettes is a bit harsh, but I get the idea, and tend to agree with you. I agree with a lot of what Bittman says, too, and certainly appreciate his contributions to the dialogue in America about food and cooking. I just think he’s a little overwrought on this McDonald’s oatmeal thing. We eat at McDonald’s maybe a handful of times a year, if that many, when we’re driving somewhere and in a hurry. So, I’m not defending them as a dyed-in-the-wool fan. But, it’s a chicken and egg argument regarding McDonald’s and obesity, I think. Are they leading people to eat badly, or do people want things that are fast, sweet, salty and fatty and they’re responding to that market? Well, both, probably. But, do you remember the McLean Deluxe? McD’s made a hamburger that was supposed to be healthier, for what reasons I don’t quite recall. It didn’t sell, so they took it off the menu. I think there’s a reason they put the 11 weird ingredients in the oatmeal having to do with making it more palatable to their market segment. They’re trying to make money, and being in the vanguard of turning around the country’s drift toward obesity wouldn’t seem to be a money-maker for them at this point. Bittman pretty well indicated why it doesn’t make sense to buy oatmeal at McDonald’s; I don’t think his reasoning would change if it was plain oats and cost 50 cents less. But the average McD’s customer probably wouldn’t be tempted to order the oatmeal again if it was as bland as plain oats, and they’d end up not selling much. And I’m pretty sure they’re more motivated by profit than anything else.

    1682 chars

  52. nancy said on February 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    The longer I’m around, the more I think it comes down to portion control. I’m old enough to remember when a McDonald’s meal was a hamburger, fries (one size — small) and a Coke. That’s a Happy Meal today.

    Super-sizing, Biggie-sizing, Whopperizing, whatever — it has more to do with the economics of selling food than anything like customer demand. Soft drinks are a squirt of syrup and some fizzy water. The profit is greater for an extra-large than for a small, ergo, that’s what they push. And once it’s on the plate, people will eat it all. Especially if its fatty-salty-tasty. I know I do.

    For all the talk of high-fructose corn syrup and various other factors, I really think it’s just a matter of moderation. And we no longer moderate anything, starting with our appetites.

    788 chars

  53. Jakash said on February 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    That’s a very good point, NN. I hesitate to admit that I finally had to go cold turkey on pop, because, even when the serving reached the 44-ounce tub, there wasn’t a size that didn’t leave me wanting more…

    209 chars

  54. coozledad said on February 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Badly OT: I just discovered something interesting through the intertubes. For years I’ve been avoiding taking niacin (a very effective and cheap means of lowering LDL cholesterol) because of the “niacin flush”. It feels like you’re cooking under a heat lamp after rolling around in some fiberglass insulation.
    All you’ve got to do is take an aspirin thirty minutes ahead of the niacin pill, and it neutralizes the prostoglandins that otherwise would make you feel like you’re about to jump out of your skin.
    Thank you, Wikipedia! Now tell me how I can grow hair.

    564 chars

  55. brian stouder said on February 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I’m old enough to remember when a McDonald’s meal was a hamburger, fries (one size — small) and a Coke. That’s a Happy Meal today

    The All American Meal.

    Just today Shelby and Grant and I stopped at McD’s (on the way to grandma’s house) and while we were there, I mentioned to them that when I was their age, my brothers and I would get a thing in the mail right around our birthday – which included a certificate for one “All American Meal” at McD’s (cheeseburger, fries, drink) and one admission to the movies*.

    We almost never went to McD’s otherwise; in fact I think Fort Wayne only had two or three of them. (One by Southgate, and one downtown was all I can remember)

    In gabbing with my mom, back in the day (say, 1967 or so), my dad earned a biweekly paycheck netting about $175, and this fed and clothed and housed our family of seven. (he had a company car, too, so that certainly helped)

    In 2011, that wouldn’t even cover the cigarette habit he had; but in any case, “Going out to eat” was an exceptionally rare experience then, whereas our family hardly goes a week without at least one visit to a restaurant (of some sort)

    *and I distinctly recall (this being Oscar night, and speaking of going to the movies in the old days) that you could go to the Embassy or the Rialto or the Clyde theater on a Saturday with a dollar, and get into the matinee, and have change left. And further, speaking of 1967, I recall that my older brother Todd saw Bonnie and Clyde at the Rialto (at Calhoun and Pontiac streets) on one such Saturday, and came back with a story about a kid that threw up during one of the bloody shootouts in that picture.

    Ahhhh – memories!

    1703 chars

  56. Deborah said on February 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I had a project a few years back when I was freelancing, it was the rebranding of Boston Market, which at the time was owned by McDonalds. I think since then they have sold it. I worked on the design of a proto-type store in Oak park. It was really interesting, there were chefs involved in the project redesigning the food. I had no idea before how much research went into the food for places like that. In the end our project was kind of a failure, we tried to push the brand too far. We were trying to turn it into more of a place like Whole Foods prepared foods cold case department. Which the McD people thought was terrific because hot food is extremely wasteful, something like 60% goes in the trash because of codes about how long you can keep it in the serving line. Anyway, the beefy guys who frequented Boston Market were not interested in anything new. They just wanted the hot rotisserie chicken and mac and cheese they were used to.

    946 chars

  57. prospero said on February 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Brian. That hero was waging a terriss war on a free people that produced greatest poet (WBY) and great novelists (JJ) and yes, I’ve read Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake. St. Pats day looms, and they’ll be coming out of the woodwork. In this day and age, the fact that there is still a Northern Ireland is basically obscene. Who do these aholes think they are? England’s produced Evelyn Waugh, Kingsley Amis, and his decent but odious son, and no poets since Shakespeare, Chris Hitchens, what writer that’s not a neurasthenic shitheel?. I believe they are trying to claim rem is an Atlanta band, Because nothing good came from Atlanta since the Brains. And they do. purloin. Yeats is so obviously better than any homegrown poet, Brits want to claim Irish are Brits.

    This land was always ours the proud land of our fathers, it belongs to us and them, not to any of the others. It’s not an empire anymore, you aholes. And Canada, will you tell those imperialist jerks to take a hike. Dumbasses that still buy into that PNAC bullshit ought to consider how that matter of thinking pans out. But Dickless Cheney made mucho cash when those palettes of cash disappeared. People are just dumber than grunt. I do think Inception is clearly the best movie. And as far as England getting their ass out Ireland, they’ve no business there in the first place.

    They are occupiers, and it’s bullshit. Get their asses out. Who do they think they are? Fuck the Brits. How are they not Gadaffi? It’s Ireland, you morons, not England, Get them the hell out. Isn’t that what W wanted? He looked into Putins eyes and knew he was a great guy. He knew Gadaffi was a good guy.
    W was too stupid to be asked by the PNAC to sign their letter to Clinton. So why did they appoint him President, and let him rain shock and awe on the guy that tried to kill his daddy? And run up the tabs on wars that produced $2trill in deficits, OFF THE BOOKS? Because the deficit matters? Cheney was clear. Deficit doan mean Dick except it boosts his bpttpm line when Halliburton hijacks pallets of cash.

    W seems to have been lacking in the gut feeling department. He seemed to like maniacal murderous asshole dictators, What a great reader of character.

    2452 chars

  58. Dexter said on February 27, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    brian…the first McD’s we patronized in The Fort was on 30, across from where Glenbrook is now. Hamburgers were 15 cents and fries 12 cents. A shake was 20 cents.
    It was a few years later as I recall that the McD’s opened downtown by The Jefferson Theater. I saw “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” there at The Jefferson with my parents when it was a first run movie. It was a confusing movie for a little boy like me. In 1971 I saw “A Clockwork Orange” at The Jefferson. I saw “Goldfinger” at The Clyde in 1964. I loved that movie. In 1971 I saw “Vanishing Point” at The Rialto. That theater was really crummy by then.
    Yeah, by the time I got out of the army in 1971, The Indiana on Broadway had turned into a hard-core porn theater. Old Fort Wayne was decaying and changing…GE was on its way down, the old downtown hotels were being demolished, Wolf and Dessauer and Murphy’s were no more the destination points of out-of-towners. Oh well, it’s all good. Nothing lasts long anyway.

    994 chars

  59. coozledad said on February 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Prospero: GW got in bed with everyone who had a petrodollar. It’s company policy. Ask me about Marathon Oil someday.

    116 chars

  60. Connie said on February 28, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Keith Olbermann is back:

    52 chars