Not wowed. Yet.

We’re finally getting some competition for Comcast in these parts. As Comcast has recently rewarded my years of customer loyalty with a $20 monthly rate hike, to give me services I don’t use, I listened when the WOW cable guy stopped by yesterday. Most intriguing offer: Real savings on the land line, thanks to the choice of three tiers of service. We use it so little I know that if it rings, it’s likely someone I don’t want to talk to. I’d drop it if it weren’t for my husband’s objections, and the fact the phone mount in my kitchen is huge and will require a large framed portrait of Alexander Graham Bell to hide. So this would work for us, and I’m pissed Comcast hasn’t stepped in with an alternative.

They also offer three tiers of internet service, but in this area I require Maserati-like speed, so no savings there.

But the real elephant in the business-model room would be true choice in cable TV. The doomsday scenario for that industry is when customers can craft their own package from the channels they actually watch. Farewell, Golf Channel, hello AMC, etc. We’re there, more or less, at least with anyone willing to watch TV on their computer. I’m not. I still practice the exhaustion model of TV consumption — slump in chair, pick up remote, surf — enough that it would bug me to not have the option.

Anyone with WOW experience, I’m all ears.

Someone sent me this article, more food apocalypse-porn from Gary Taubes. Headline: Is Sugar Toxic? Let’s see if I can guess what the answer might be, coming from a writer who’s been beating the drum for the low-carb, paleo diet for years. Do I even need to read it? Probably not.

New rule: I no longer listen to anyone who tells me a food that I, and millions of other human beings, have enjoyed for centuries, is “toxic.” If nothing else, I’d like to enforce a certain strict constructionism in language. A toxin is a poison. If I eat this cookie, will I fall to the floor in a writhing heap? No? Then I’m going to eat it. Taubes acknowledges as much in his opening paragraphs:

It’s one thing to suggest, as most nutritionists will, that a healthful diet includes more fruits and vegetables, and maybe less fat, red meat and salt, or less of everything. It’s entirely different to claim that one particularly cherished aspect of our diet might not just be an unhealthful indulgence but actually be toxic, that when you bake your children a birthday cake or give them lemonade on a hot summer day, you may be doing them more harm than good, despite all the love that goes with it. Suggesting that sugar might kill us is what zealots do. But Lustig, who has genuine expertise, has accumulated and synthesized a mass of evidence, which he finds compelling enough to convict sugar. His critics consider that evidence insufficient, but there’s no way to know who might be right, or what must be done to find out, without discussing it.

If I didn’t buy this argument myself, I wouldn’t be writing about it here.

OK, then!

The longer I live, the more I throw in with those nutritionists. I come from a long line of moderate people who lived into their ninth decade by practicing moderation, and eating a piece of birthday cake ever year.

However. Speaking of food, someone posted this on Facebook yesterday, and while its headline is immoderate — The 20 Worst Foods in America — it’s worth a click-through on your next coffee break. It’s not foods, exactly, but restaurant dishes, compiled by the folks at Eat This, Not That ™, yet another insta-book that became a franchise overnight. I don’t eat at places like the Cheesecake Factory and Blimpie’s often, but every so often circumstances will force us off the freeway and into an Olive Garden or some such. Just last week, Kate and I ate at a Chili’s nearby; I fired up the Fast Food Calorie Counter app on my phone, to get a sense of what we were in for.

And nearly fell on the floor. I’ve never seen so many 1,800-calorie appetizers in my life. Everything seemed to boil down to a fat stuffed into a carb, then deep-fried and glazed with more fat — crispy-cheesey tortilla bombs. I ordered the chicken tacos and ate half. Kate got the sliders and ate half. As these are not foods that reheat well, we passed on the go-boxes, but it reminded me of the other thing that is making us fat — portion size. Do you remember when restaurant plates became platters, when the goal was not to feed you so much as stuff you like a foie gras goose? I do. It was approximately the mid-70s. It started with Chi-Chis. I knew a woman who waitressed there; she was living in a hippie farm commune and asked the dishwashers to scrape the plates into a special garbage bag, which she took home at the end of every shift to feed to their pig. Fitting.

OK, the morning is fleeing, so let’s skip to the bloggage:

Longish, but worth a read, as Hugh Grant — yes, the actor — sits down with a former tabloid hack and gets the download on how prevalent surveillance techniques like phone-hacking and other digital eavesdropping is. Via hidden recording. Brilliant. P.S. And this is a developing story.

Speaking of food, Roy Edroso linked to this, and so am I: A few notes on modernist cuisine and molecular gastronomy, at both the restaurant and McDonald’s-lab level, from the Chicago magazine 312 blog. (Broken link fixed. Sorry.)

It’s not “Sophomore dies in kiln explosion,” but it’s close: Yale student dies when her hair gets caught in a lathe. Something to remember when you’re considering what factory work should pay.

OK, off to the bike, and outta here. The week, it’s nearly over!

Posted at 10:54 am in Media, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

57 responses to “Not wowed. Yet.”

  1. LAMary said on April 14, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I knew someone whose hair got caught in a lathe. She didn’t die but a chunk of her scalp got torn out. I’m cringing just thinking about it.

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  2. Mark P. said on April 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

    “His critics consider that evidence insufficient, but there’s no way to know who might be right, or what must be done to find out, without discussing it.”

    Wrong. There’s a good way to know without discussing it. Discussing it will lead exactly nowhere. The way to know is through scientific studies. I suspect that if and when they are done, and when enough are done*, it will show that sugar can promote tooth decay and, when too much is eaten, obesity. But not much else.

    “I come from a long line of moderate people who lived into their ninth decade …”

    That’s the key – you chose your ancestors wisely.

    * Scientific studies like this are almost exclusively epidemiological. Unless there is clear evidence of harmful effects, like falling on the floor writhing, then the effects are likely small and will only show up when very large populations are studied. And, unfortunately, that type of study is often not conclusive. The conclusiveness comes from repeated, well-designed studies. That’s what rightly convicted smoking. The less well-designed and not-well-enough repeated studies are what mistakenly convicted saccharin.

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  3. coozledad said on April 14, 2011 at 11:48 am

    If you want to give up sugar, you can adopt the habit of the Finns since WWII and use xylitol. I eat plenty of sugar, but xylitol actually kills streptococcus mutans in the nose and throat, kills helicobacter pylori in the mouth, in the gut(they cause ulcers) and possibly the cardiac arteries, where they promote the adhesion of plaques.
    It has the same sweetness as sugar, and similar cooking properties, with a slightly cooler mouth feel. It has roughly half the glycemic index of sugar. There is one significant drawback, though, and that is after consuming a teaspoon of it in a hot liquid, like coffee or tea, you will have a new understanding of the phrase “like shit through a goose”.

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  4. Judybusy said on April 14, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Nancy, the modernist cuisine link takes us to the Hugh Grant article.

    Wow, 1800-calorie appetizers? And very little actual nutrition packed in there. Like everyone, I could eat more fruit and vegetables, but I do try to stay away from those kinds of places. As I dwell in a city with tons of eating options (as evidenced by my quick list yesterday)it’s easy. Last night a friend and I split a salad and cheese plate for dinner. The plate had a gelee of lime and honey and an onion marmalade to complement the 6 small pieces of cheese. It was amazingly tasty and satisfying….

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  5. nancy said on April 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Link fixed. Sorry.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on April 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

    My Dad lost an arm in a farm accident as a boy when he got his sleeve caught in a thresher. No one in the family would ever talk about it but I would have to guess it was gruesome. I’ll pass on reading that story.

    When FIOS came in around here it was supposed to be competition for Comcast but I think it’s actually more expensive now.

    We don’t have cable and life seems to hum along just fine anyway. At the hotel I was excited to see HBO, but after I watched Mildred Pierce it was just the same old movies over and over, nothing we hadn’t already seen. I can do without all the talking heads yelling at each other and the sports, so what’s the point? We stream Netflix and Comedy Central from the computer so as long we have a good internet connection, we’re happy.

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  7. Bitter Scribe said on April 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    If more people would just follow the basics of good nutrition (reasonable portions, heavy on fresh produce and whole grains, light on fats and sweets), it would do them more good than all the advice about “toxic” foods ever written.

    Comcrap is the pits. My only alternative is AT&T, which is already overcharging me for Internet access. I’m frustrated because WOW’s boundaries stop just short of my house.

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  8. Mark P. said on April 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    We have satellite TV. Lots of channels, not much to watch. Our internet connection is with a Verizon cell modem. Slowish, but out in the boondocks we don’t have cable or good enough phone lines for DSL. It will be interesting to see what we get when Verizon gets 4G out our way in the next couple of years. Our landline is AT&T. We are seriously considering ditching the landline and using a Verizon cell system that lets us keep our phone number, and it will only cost about $10 a month as an added line for our cell service.

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  9. LAMary said on April 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    The only restaurant I’ve been to on that list of things to never eat is Baja Fresh, which is close to Costco so sometimes we’ve grabbed something there before braving the weekend Costco mob. I would swear Baja Fresh was better when it first opened. The stuff if gooier now. It’s never been spa quisine but there was a change about three years ago to something a little closer to Taco Bell crap.

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  10. 4dbirds said on April 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I had to look up a picture of a lathe because I wasn’t sure I knew what one was. We had to wear our hair up when I was in the army. It was often a pain in the ass but the number one reason was safety. Your hair can kill you. Poor girl, the terror she must have felt in her last moments.

    Thank you to all of you who use AT&T since I am an employee (for a year now). I work on a navy contract and don’t have anything to do with the wireless/communication portion but thank you anyway. 🙂

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  11. Peter said on April 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    My dad was a lathe operator at Barber Greene in the 50’s. He didn’t have to worry about long hair because most of his fell out during the war. 4d, don’t worry her last moments – lathes go so fast that the whole event probably took a second.

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  12. Jeff Borden said on April 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Didn’t Veronica Lake, the blond actress whose long, silken locks fell over half her face, change her hairstyle during World War II to encourage other women not to emulate her look? The reason was all the Rosie the Riveters handling dangerous mechanical equipment ran the risk of exactly what happened to that poor college student.

    Inertia keeps me tethered to Comcast, which supplies us with cable TV and Internet modem. I’m with Nancy –I can’t stand the idea of watching TV or movies on my laptop– and I rather enjoy channel surfing. (It’s how I found “Swamp People,” another reality program about alligator hunters in the Louisiana bayous. It’s astonishing how these guys have zero protection –they don’t even wear gloves and operate in small, flat-bottomed boats– when they are wrestling a gator. Another guy in the boat uses a rifle shot to the head to kill the gator when it gets close to the boat.)

    But, like Mark P. notes, it’s amazing how little interesting programming is on all those channels.

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  13. ROgirl said on April 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I have WOW for cable, phone and internet, and generally it’s been pretty good. It seems like there were outages in the past (a year ago or more), but nothing recently. Their customer service people will offer you deals like discounts or service upgrades when you call to complain.

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  14. elaine said on April 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    We dropped our cable subscription (Insight) last December, signed up for Netflix through our Wii and never looked back. We have the one-dvd-at-a-time plus streaming, which works great for us. Not to mention we’re saving about $40/month. Don’t miss the 70 channels of nothing on, not to mention the commercials. We received a Roku box for Christmas and put it on our second tv, allowing us to stream Netflix plus a wide, and sometimes weird, variety of free and pay movie and music channels.

    I will shed no tears for the cable industry when – not if – they reach their tipping point. They could have been providing a lot of the channel choices and features years ago, but chose to take the greedy route instead.

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  15. beb said on April 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    And the girl was supposed to have attended a shop safety class… Sad.

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  16. Deborah said on April 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Little Bird went to the Kansas City Art Institute for a couple of years, all the students there must take safety classes in how to use the equipment in the shop. Her room mate just about sawed her entire hand off and that was one of the very few accidents they’d had in decades. They put her hand back together, but apparently it was pretty gruesome for everyone when it happened.
    Brought to you from Minneapolis.

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  17. Jen said on April 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I started on Weight Watchers last June, and the biggest thing the program has taught me is PORTION CONTROL! To me, that is the key to staying healthy. Restaurants, movie theaters, coffeehouses, etc., are terrible about that. At our local movie theater, it’s cheaper to get a large bucket of popcorn and two large drinks than to buy a small bucket of popcorn and two large drinks! It’s terrible. And you have to be so careful at restaurants. Often, salads are one of the worst things on the menu. There are a lot of places I used to love where I really don’t eat anymore because their food is so full of fat and calories. I routinely split meals with my mom or bring half of my dish home. Fast food is really out of the question.

    And, you know what, after I switched my thinking and started eating less, I realized that I don’t miss it. When I do eat fast food (like I did on a road trip on Sunday) or overeat, I feel horrible. I used to feel bad a lot more. But carrying around 55 fewer pounds (and counting!) and eating a lot less has made me feel a lot better. I just wish that restaurants would offer some light choices. A few do. I especially like the new mini-desserts at Starbucks. They’re ridiculously overpriced, but it’s nice to be able to get a cupcake that tastes good and isn’t going to completely screw up my attempts to eat well. But for the most part, it can be a major struggle because most restaurants just don’t give you the option to eat light.

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  18. Rana said on April 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    When it comes to people touting the latest nutrition fad, I always think about how, basically, people have been saying “Eat a modest amount of food, have it be fresh, include vegetables as well as meat, and exercise” for literally thousands of years. I mean, this is the sort of thing that Aristotle was writing about! So when someone decides that something other than that basic advice is The Key to Health, I roll my eyes a bit.

    Portion size is more tricky. Most places I can count on having at least one, sometimes two, additional meals from the leftovers. And plates are huge – literally as well as figuratively. For our wedding we put some everyday potteryware on the registry, since our dinnerware was a mishmash of stuff from grad school, inherited plates, random bowls, and so on. We requested dinner plates, salad plates, big bowls, and small bowls. It turns out that the dinner plates are so large they’re not quite compatible with the dishwasher, while the salad plates are perfect. The salad plates are also about the same size as the dinner plates I inherited from my grandmother.

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  19. John G. Wallace said on April 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I could offer another suggestion on TV choices. Put a DTV antenna up, winegard’s square shooter is a great choice. Take advantage of broadcast DTV, the picture is always better than the comparable digital channels on cable or dish. You get 24 channels near you . Many of the subchannels aren’t carried by cable, etc. Then use an internet based provider for the shows you want. I’ve rebuilt older Windows XP based PC’s to act as a media server. A nettop works well also, get something with a decent video card with HDMI output and sufficent RAM.
    (Almost hit SHIFT+ENTER, damm you FB).
    We did that in Bluffton and were able to pull in all of the Ft. Wayne broadcast digital signals. One less bill to pay. Keep the landline and get the fastest DSL they offer.
    Not that I would ever download torrents (wink, wink) but if you are willing to time shift (watch later) just about any other program on cable or dish will be on a torrent site a little over an hour after it ends. This wasn’t a popular decision in my family at first, but I only watch 2-3 shows a week. You could beg a friend to hook up a slingbox and you’d both be able to stream signals from other locations.
    I’m wrestling with a hard choice here – go back to print and have a steady income, or stick with a local community news website where I would be free to come and go and run the news end of the site. I was offered 30% ownership, but 30% of nothing is still nothing. I’m going to have to burn my briges with one of the two either way.

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  20. prospero said on April 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Way back in college, my brother and I worked for a construction company in Athens, GA on a massive renovation of a gigantic New Deal Era Post Office Building.Of course it was 1970, so we were the hippies on a crew of chaw-chompin, smokeess-diooin’ good ol’ boys. Chris and I learned fast that there were two kinds of jobs on a construction site: making messes and cleaning up after the guys that made messes. The former can be very entertaining, the latter unadulterated tedium.

    The renovation required removal of three foot thick brick walls, constructed of multiple interlocked brick wythes, basically impenetrable, and cutting precision openings in others built the same way. I devised an approach that involved hanging a jack hammer by a heavy rope from an overhead beam, and attacking the wall exactly perpendicularly at whatever level one chose, allowing two operators to lean into it with a lot of force and weight. This ingeniously allowed undercutting walls to use the weight of the brick and mortar to our advantage, to a point where a good stiff blow with a sledge could send tons of brick crashing down at once. Obviously, we’d moved from cleaning up into the making messes category and this was wildly diverting, but I suppose it’s obvious where this is going.

    The crew called us Duane and Greg, after the Allmans because our hair was about that long. My innovation worked beautifully until my brother’s hardhat came off, his hair came lose, and he was immediately caught in the jackhammer manifold. The machine runs by what is essentially a deadman trigger, so no real harm was done I used the razor sharp blade on my Leatherman to cut him free unhurt save for pride, thank God, but he is vain and his new haircut peeved him immensely. We were both a lot more careful after that, and invested in Scrunchiis, but we never lived it down with the redneck contingent the whole summer.

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  21. Judybusy said on April 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Deborah, thinking about you today as you hang in my fair city! Hope the visit with your sister goes well.

    I grew up on a farm; both my parents had some serious accidents when I was young, so I developed a fair fear of machinery. Too bad, because my brothers know a ton of “how-to” stuff and I am nearly skill-less. I am pretty sure my dad would have taught me if I’d been interested. I did manage to get through shop and a welding class later on. I experienced immense pride when I changed out a lightswitch a few weeks ago, if that gives you an indication of my level of ineptitude.

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  22. prospero said on April 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    We just got a $100 device called a Veebeam that coneects our TV wirelessly to my Mac desktop. I don’t mind watching shows on the mac (very large screen), but that’s no good for two. This new gadget is very simple to install and works beautifully. Right now we have a Watch Instantly queue of 80 movies on Netflix. Abbudanza! Anyway, we don’t miss anything we want to see, even without DVR, and despite schedule conflicts, and it’s a better deal than we could get on DVR from the Dark Overlord Time Warner, without the hassles that company invariably brings as baggage.

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  23. Dexter said on April 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I didn’t know this was possible until maybe six months ago, but with lines and routers strung everywhere one can watch a lot of TV for free from Hulu and similar sites. I suppose with a bit of ingenuity anybody could do it; the point is it can be watched on your bigass TV and not your computer monitor.
    My lack of interest stems from the fact that i only watch Hulu to watch a missed episode, and it’s very limited, and I like to watch HBO when the majority watches it so I can blog with my friends about it.
    Cable viewing is frustrating, too, of course. How can a corporation with control of its Ohio ops based in Ohio cut off an important extra innig baseball game when it is tied in the 11th inning, to install system-wide software updates and disable all viewing for up to 9 hours? Time Warner found a way. It’s so numbing…years ago there was a football game cut off to show a show called “Heidi”. It was written about for years! Now? Nobody even mentioned it. Not a damn peep, except for me. I pay a lot of money to watch ball games and this behavior was just arrogance.

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  24. paddyo' said on April 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Hey, at least you’ve got cable options. Comcast is our only carrier in Denver (city limits, anyway). Otherwise it’s Direct TV or Dish Network.

    When I moved to my present home 4-1/2 years ago, I got the rock-bottom basic service ($17 and change), which at that time had CNN, MSNBC, Fox, Weather Channel, ESPN, TNT, AMC, History, MTV, Comedy Central and all the rest of the usual basic lineup.
    But Comcast, under the guise of instituting “all-digital programming,” has gradually Comcastrated my lineup over the past year and a half or so. I still pay a paltry $20.62, but for paltry fare: Beyond local stations, Spanish language, public-access, shopping channels and C-Span, all I get are TBS, Discovery, Bravo lite, and a handful of others not normally found in The Denver Post‘s TV weekly listings. I refuse to pay three times that for the “enhanced basic” that used to be just plain basic.

    Meanwhile, I get my fix of HBO, AMC, Comedy Central, et al. at my companion’s place on Wednesday nights and weekends. And she’s got DVR to boot. (‘Course, she pays ridiculously for it.)

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  25. Little Bird said on April 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    That friend of mine was using a miter saw. And she crossed her arms. The biggest no-no when in comes to that particular machine. Had she gone a half inch deeper, she’d have cut it off completely. We took pictures of it as it was healing and made safety posters for the woodshop. I don’t know if they still have them.

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  26. prospero said on April 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Interesting graphic design: Grand Prix flag posters.

    Wonder how many in the House got the joke. Robbie Robertson should bury the hatchet with Levon Helm and set this to music.

    Do Teabaggers know the source of their astroturf funding?

    Hilarious media matter. Check the comments. I bet every commenter with an out of joint nose thinks O’Keefe and Fox are God’s gift to accuracy in media. Hell, it was funny when they did it to the CofC and it’s just as funny now.

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  27. mark said on April 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I feel a little badly that the young woman’s tragedy prompts a pleasant memory. My father was a maintenance foreman for Chrysler and, when I was a young child, his “uniform” consisted of black wool trousers (pressed), a white, short-sleeved dress shirt, black, steel-toed, wing-tip shoes, and a clip-on tie. The shoes came off at the front door, as the soles were encrusted with metal shavings from the shop floor and would scar the linoleum. The pants, at least at 4 year-old hug level, smelled of smoke (factory and cigarette) and oil, and I still enjoy that smell today.

    At some point I noticed that the ties he wore on Sundays weren’t clip-ons, and asked why. The clip-ons, of course, were to make sure he wouldn’t be pulled into a piece of machinery. That was the early ’60s and machine guarding was in it’s infancy. Lots of amputated fingers and hands (and worse); incidents that would put my father in a somber mood for days. During those years, if a call came in the middle of the night because a machine was down, it wasn’t uncommon for the repair to include clearing out a body part.

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  28. Deborah said on April 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Judybusy, a fair city you have indeed. I’ve spent a lot of time here, I had a pretty big project about a decade ago. I designed 5 bronze kiosks on the new Federal Reserve Bank site near the river, that tell the story of the area. While working on that I made many trips here. And since my sister and nieces live here I get back quite often. I almost moved here back in the late 80s, but the winters discouraged me. Now That I live in Chicago I realize it wouldn’t be that bad.

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  29. Catherine said on April 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    My husband’s family has had a printing business for 3 generations. They are all inordinately proud that they have all their fingers. Apparently losing a finger in a bindery accident used to be par for the course. Let me just add — only one of them still works in the business, or in printing in any way.

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  30. Deborah said on April 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    When I did a lot of print graphics years ago. I noticed how many of the guys working in the printing plants had missing fingers from operating the guillotine trimmer, or the die cutting machines. It was an occupational hazard.

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  31. 4dbirds said on April 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Dexter I actually watched the Heidi game. We were living just outside of Fort Worth/Dallas and my dad was watching the game and my sister and I were waiting for Heidi to come on. I still don’t understand the hoopla. Heidi rules.

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  32. prospero said on April 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm


    The people that went apeshit about Heidi were folks that had too much cash, or their homes or farms, on the outcome. I remember watching and being pretty miffed. But that was just because it was a good ballgame. I’m pretty sure the spread had the raiders giving points (not sure though), so when the trailing Raiders scored 14 (in 9 seconds) in the last 1:05, it was a catastrophic collapse by NYJETS-Jets and excruciating for Jets fans or any bettor with the Jets and the points. Probably led to beatings and mayhem on the part of bookies and loan sharks. The game was very entertaining, but for me it was an earthquake game, i.e. both teams so despicable I would have preferred the earth had opened up beneath them. Calls blew out the NBC switchboard.

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  33. LAMary said on April 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    My father owned a lumber yard which included a lumber mill and cabinet making operation. I remember at least twice in my childhood hearing of some horrible accident. The really skilled cabinet maker there was missing several fingers, but the worst thing I remember was someone feeding planks into some machine to cut the boards in half, and a board split when it hit the blade, sending a spear of wood into a worker. He lived and was ok after a couple of surgeries.
    When I got to art school and had to use woodworking machines I was very nervous. Welding, no problem. Bandsaws, never.

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  34. Kirk said on April 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I, too, saw the Heidi game. I was pretty pissed the next day when I found out I had missed two touchdowns. Had no interest in Heidi, because I’d seen the real one, with Shirley Temple, many times.

    In fact, I caught the last 15 minutes of it again yesterday at lunchtime on TCM. I got to see my favorite part, where the grandfather flings Fraulein Rottenmeier face-first into the snow.

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  35. Bitter Scribe said on April 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    NBC tried to make up for Heidi cutting off the end of the game by running crawls on the screen during the movie announcing the final score. IIRC, one of them ran during the climactic scene where Heidi’s little friend learns to walk. So the symbiosis of ruination was complete.

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  36. Dave said on April 14, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Just today, we had a conversation with Frontier, because we had received a notice of a “special” offer. They’re still trying to wean everyone off cable in the Fort Wayne area by trying to sell Direct TV. We can’t get interested in putting even a small satellite disc on our house so, when our contract runs out in September, when our rate would increase to $180 a month. We won’t be doing that and never liked Comcast before, so we may learn to live a life without, which means channel surfing will end at our house.

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  37. moe99 said on April 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Nancy, maybe next year you could travel down to Valparaiso, Chile and enter into this downhill bike race:

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  38. Rana said on April 14, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Frontier irritates me. They swallowed up our landline service, and didn’t send out adequate official notice. Instead we started getting these “Here’s something to open quickly!” envelopes in the mail, which, as they looked like the bajillion other junk mail offers we get, got tossed immediately into the recycle bin. It wasn’t until a month later when they called with a sales pitch about “upgrading our options” that I learned that (a) they had taken over our previous provider, (b) those envelopes were invoices!, and (c) I therefore hadn’t paid the bills for them. When I mentioned the confusing appearance of the envelopes, I got an “Oh, yeah, we’ve been hearing that from a number of people” – but they are still sending them out, unchanged, half a year later.

    If I could have all of our telecommunications be handled by Credo and the local internet service, I would. These big regional companies are CRAP.

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  39. Rana said on April 14, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Also, Dave – sometimes if you call and politely freak out at the billing office about the rate increase, they’ll offer you a “special deal” that lowers the price in order to placate you, at least until the next expiration.

    It’s not unlike the business model of the insurance companies of “deny, deny, then maybe grant the claim.”

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  40. Bob (not Greene) said on April 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    This totally off topic, but going back a couple of days to the Kid Rock cruise, I thought people might want to see some who actually went to this.

    Well, one of the guys whose band was invited to play on the cruise, Deke Dickerson (he met Kid through his involvement writing the score to a movie called “The Wonderful Whites of West Virginia”), has just posted about 175 pictures from it. Not my kind of crowd, but a slice of white trash Americana in all its glory.

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  41. Little Bird said on April 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I’ve got Comcast, and while I’m not thrilled with it, they did give me something like 6 months of HBO and Showtime for free (a few years ago, and I kept the services). They sent a tech when I was having issues and he managed to damage some of my property. Stuff that was several feet away from the tv. I called and called and called until finally they admitted fault and attempted to make reparations. The thing they broke? A $20 Buddha head from CB2. The months of free premium channels? About $180. Yeah, I’m okay with Comcast.

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  42. nancy said on April 14, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I wasn’t able to look at that album via your link, Bob, but I found it with a couple clicks of my own.

    You know what pisses me off about it? There are at least a dozen shots in there better than anything taken by the professional at the Freep. I paged through a few of their galleries — nothing but shot after shot of the crowd (from a distance) watching the performers (up close). Not one of the lady with seven Kid Rock tattoos. None of the hot tubs. None of the souvenir shop. Pathetic.

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  43. Catherine said on April 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    OMG that cruise photo album!

    One of the weird things about living in LA is that you forget America is 75% white. I had to remind a writer of this fact recently — I think I’m going to send her that album. Also was met with stares of amazement when I suggested that my daughter’s friend might not find West Virginia a welcoming, comfortable place for college, because she’s mixed race. Here, she’s beautiful, smart and accomplished. There… I dunno, but I don’t think the crackers on that ship would dig her.

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  44. Linda said on April 14, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I’m late to the party, but it’s amazing how dangerous factories can be, even parts that you don’t think could possibly be. Several years ago, a candy factory in NW Ohio caught fire because it wasn’t cleaned thoroughly, and carbs are highly flamable. Several workers died in that fire.

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  45. nancy said on April 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I remember that. It was the Dum-Dum factory fire. They said the whole town smelled like burnt sugar for weeks.

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  46. Kirk said on April 14, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    That’s in Bryan, right?

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  47. alex said on April 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    My recent experience with Frontier tells me they’re abandoning the optic fiber system they acquired from Verizon and are trying to make everyone go with satellite and DSL. The shit’s right here but they refuse to connect us to it. The service has actually been relatively trouble-free, to date, but their customer service sucked last time I bothered with it. Next time they jack the price I’ll just go back to the lame-ass overpriced cable provider, Mediacom, which is already desperate and all but offering to blow me but I’m under a contract.

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  48. coozledad said on April 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Bob (not Greene): James E. Strait Shows afloat! I hope I am not deluding myself that the entire ship is equipped with high pressure steam washers.

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  49. John G. Wallace said on April 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Catherine – I’ve lived in very diverse areas like near NYC, and I lived in a right wing, evangelical christian almost all white town in Indiana. People were more caring and tolerant of others in NY and NJ, by far.
    I live in florida now, it’s still pretty diverse, but I learned that cracker is actually a proper and accepted name for native born Floridians especially those who can trace back their roots to the 19th century. It became a derrogatory name later, but you might find the definition interesting.
    College towns are diverse by nature, your daughter’s friend should be fine.

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  50. Catherine said on April 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    That is interesting etymology, JGW. Makes me wonder if there is a PC way to say poor white trash? Or can I just go ahead and use it, if it constitutes a significant portion of my genetic material?

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  51. Deborah said on April 15, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Well my dinner with my sister could have been worse. She wasn’t as strident as she can be. She went on ad nauseum about Pawlenty, her hero. And Judybusy the food at 112 was good but not great. I had a cheeseburger with Brie on an English muffin. My sister and her husband had prosciutto on fried bread and roasted asparagus with pepper sauce, they raved about it. I got out of there for a little over $100. Took a cab to the airport and got home after midnight. It was ok. I like Minneapolis, it’s supposed to snow there tomorrow.

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  52. Kim said on April 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Bob NG – wow. It’s like they had a boat pull up to Cicero and just load people onto it. And Nance, agreed that the Freep’s performance was a massive missed opportunity. I noticed on a cocktail napkin (do you use those for plastic bottles of Bud?) it was the 2nd annual. Maybe next year they’ll do better. I think Hank needs to get off the TV beat and onto this MF boat.

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  53. John G. Wallace said on April 15, 2011 at 9:22 am

    If you call someone here a “cracker,” you would likely hear, “Yes, thanks, 5th generation,” or “no, but I moved here when I was 3.” It even describes an architectural style – houses designed to cool using airflow and ventilation. Cross over into Georgia and say cracker and it’s a different meaning – pretty much “poor white trash” and if a black person said it to a white person, it would be taken as a racial slur.

    I never knew the original use of the word before I moved here. I wonder if the AP Stylebook mentions the acceptable use, because it does get used often to describe building styles. A waterfront redevelopment project here in Sebastian is re-building a historic fish house that was damaged in the 2004 hurricanes and will soon have a mixed use facility for meetings, events, and office space, along with a boardwalk, a catering faciliy with a take out seafood restaurant, and a new fish market.

    Sooner or later a lazy copy editor from “up north” will pull an “Enola homosexual,” move. For those that aren’t familar with the Enola homosexual, google it and consider it a fun start for the day.

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  54. prospero said on April 18, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I’ve thought about reading Game of Thrones, but holy shit, it’s like 3000 pages and I finally just made it through 2666. A great book, but really. I;m trying something more user friendly, like Riding on the rim. Boy wrote we=re kidding and Bushwhaked Piano and the great Michigan novel, the Sporting Club. I hesitate to ask, since I’m only 34 pp, into Riding on the Rim, but how’d you like it Nancy? Ir won.. affect my enjoyment. But I know right now it’s excellent, What’d you think? Did you read V? What did you think about that? Gravity’s Rainbow?, and The Sporting Club, That is so good and so perfectly Michigan, Only 35 pages in ro Risinf on the rim, but it is way good. I’d stand aside and let Nancy Nall chime in, It seems very good, Tom McGuane is capable of being ridiculously sarcastic and on his rarget’s side at the same time. He’s a smartass, but he isn’t. He’s a sweetheart. He’s always the dumbass he portrays. isn’t he? He knows Elizabeth Ashley was absurdley wonderful and he’d nail his hand to a door for her. Moron. but we know where we could kid ourselves.

    I’d lide to know if you read V. I think it may be the best book I ever read. What about Gravity’s Rainbow? It’s fucking excellent. Nancy, you’re a wide ranging reader. Did you ever read Water Music, by TC Boyle? It’s sublime. This guy is the best writer going. You have to consider this. I would not steer you wrong. He didn’t write Mason & Dixon which is spectacular, but who’s to say V isn’t the best book anybody wrote in the last 50 years. Well, it is. Its ridiculously great.

    Whatever y’all think, whatever anybody thinks. Who is whatever? Must bust in early May orders from the DA, Lookout kid no matter what you did, jump down the manhole light yourself a candle? We are not fooling.

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  55. prospero said on April 18, 2011 at 12:32 am

    John G. Crackers, well that was the minor league Atlanta team. Whatever. It is a name for rednecks, . Not like anybody ciuld care what anybody says.

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  56. prospero said on April 18, 2011 at 5:17 am

    John G. The Enola homosexual is pretty much hilarious. When I used to teach high school in Georgia, I was called a cracker fairly regularly,. And that was in Georgia. And I do not posess a racist bone in my body and most of the kids knew that. And most of them were black. I intervened with many of these kids when they got in trouble with the school administration. I also went to law enforcement with a “kid” who hung around school who threatened my life and the lives of many of my students. To this day, I’m sure he meant it, and I’m sure his presence on school grounds was a dire threat to kids that I cared a great deal about. He was a crack dealer and I had a decent relationship with him at some time. I had a class in a trailer, an unfortunate manifestation of overcrowded classrooms. We had 45 kids in the trailer. It was interesting at homeroom when we were supposed to turn on the TV for homeroom. There are morons that think there is a moment of silence in public school. These kids respected me in general, And they’d actually listen to Civics, but the bogus Pledge of Allegiance? Yeah right. You all know that was written by a well-known Socialist, and the under God phrase was added by the Knights of Columbus under McCarthy’s influence.

    So anyway, one day, I pulled up to my trailer from lunch. I had Bone, Thugs and Harmony on the stereo in my Honda. Kids gathered. It was time for class. So I turned the car and the stereo off. This kid, adult, who basically hung around school but did not deign to grace us with his presence, offered to end my life then and there if I didn’t put the music back on. I ended up going through a lengthy process of having him prosecuted, not because he threatened me, but because he threatened a bunch of kids that came to my defense. I know for a fact that this shit happens to teachers all the time, and I’d defy shitheads like Scott Walker to deal with this sort of thing, I was willing to take this thug on directly, but it would have endangered kids I’d won over and that I cared a lot about. Guy was dangerous. His brother was a convicted murderer. This is what teaching in public schools is like. Scott Walker should give it a try. But a black President makes him weak in the knees, so a trailer full of black kids that would rather have Mix-a-lot on the TV in homeroom instead of the Pledge, well, vapors.

    So Republicans believe in Charter schools teaching creationism, and vouchers that almost cover tuition for white people that can almost afford the tuition anyway. What supreme bullshit and what a victory for institutionalized racism. Let’s grow those young Republicans instead of kids I educated that will never see those benefits. This pisses me off immenseley, And that is what teachers deal with. And the moron governor of Wisconsin has no clue. Anybody want that job? I thought not. But I know some kids from that class got Georgia Hope scholarshios and have told me since then they were inspired to continue in school, so persevering in the face of threats is just part of the job. And I’m fairly certain those kids vote. And I know they know why it’s important. I’m sort of glad I don’t have to try to explain why GOP can hijack the Senate. That is fucking depressing. Not about me by any stretch. About them.

    Now we’ve got the remnants of Deanie-babyism claiming they’ve been betrayed by Obama. Do they think it’s by fiat? What is he supposed to do when the Senate doesn’t deliberate but rules by the cracked filibuster. Broken and perverted representative democracy. What is wrong with people? Teabaggers are true believers, and they will be the first jettisoned, and they are so stupid, they are lining up to be betrayed. They deserve it, beause they are invariably willing to turn into skinhead worthy racist scum. But, whatever you do for the least of my brethren. These folks claim to be Christians and turn their backs on everything good about Christianity, Commonweal. Caring for the disadvantaged. That is what th USA is supposed to stand for. Right” I’d be OK with rhe idea of a Christian nation if these people would actually give a fuck about Jesus’ example. He wasn’t Thomas Hobbes. He believed we are all supposed to take care of each other and that life is supposed to be joyous, not short and brutal. It is not Christian values to give money to Con-Agra to force-feed antibiotic-laced corn to cattle and jack food prices on top of ridiculous subsidies to grow corn for ethanol. This is so anti-Christian it’s revolting. Who are these shitheads? These fuckers’ patron saint is Ronald Raygun. Which part of Jesus Christ just sailed past his Oldtimer-addled brain when he relied on School of the Americas and sanctioned the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero? Liberation theology is a way out of this thuggish so-called Christian shit. These people are anti-Christian. If there’s a Christian strain in US government, it’s the idea of universal healthcare and social welfare for everybody. The USA spends more on defense than the rest of the world total. That’s insane when people in this country starve. Who needs F-22s when F-16s rule the sky? Kinda stupid waste of cash, but Israel wants them. and they are sitting on all those nukes at Dimona they built by actually stealing nuclear secrets from the USA and teaming up with the DeKlerks. Learned all about apartheid, too. If somebody claims Israel hasn’t turned Gaza and the West Bank into Bantustans, they lie.

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  57. prospero said on April 18, 2011 at 5:33 am

    More race car art. The artist shares a surname with the actress that playe the crazy French woman on Lost and also played Delenn on Babylon 5. Coincidence? I think not.

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