The blaming of the shrew.

One of the mantras I’ve repeated from time to time is a universal truth about marriage: The only people qualified to judge a marriage are the people in it. Marriages — relationships of all sorts — are living things, like gardens. We might feel qualified to walk by and offer advice from the picket fence, but really? It’s none of our business.

So stipulated. But if Mr. and Mrs. Newt Gingrich feel confident enough about the necessity of their presence in public life to shove themselves into my newspaper, I’m not going to feel bad about judging. Right now, the word spreading through the wreckage of the clownmobile caravan of the GOP presidential field is this: It’s all her fault. Or, to put it more crudely: He’s pussywhipped.

And I gotta say, you can spend hours spinning out fantasies about what their intimate moments are like:

He: How was your day, dear?
She: Don’t you dare speak to me.
[Thirty frosty minutes pass.]
He: Look, I’m sorry. You know what lunches with the Wall Street Journal editorial board are like. It ran long!
She: WE used to have lunch together.
He: What, you think I’m having nooners with Dorothy Rabinowitz? Are you insane?
She: That’s it! Take your things to the guest room!
[One hour passes.]
He: I brought you something from Tiffany’s. I’m sorry, honey.
She: You DID fuck her! Wait, are those natural pearls? OK, you can come back.
He: Will you wear your special nightie?
She: They aren’t diamonds. Don’t press your luck.


Among the issues leading to the resignations, according to knowledgeable sources, was the two-week vacation that Gingrich and his wife, Callista, insisted upon taking against the advice of his top political staff. Coming as it did after one of the most disastrous campaign launches in recent memory, it raised questions as to whether Gingrich would be willing to “commit time to the grassroots,” said Tyler.

Well, we all knew this would happen sooner or later. Republican pockets are very deep, and while it was certain that someone would pay to keep the self-proclaimed Smartest Republican in the World out there shaking hands and writing unreadable books, it was probably not going to happen when the money was going for baubles, and the recipient pays you back by describing your next-generation star’s policy proposals as right-wing social engineering. The campaign was doomed from the get-go. The end was humiliating. I think we won’t have Newt Gingrich to kick around anymore.

But I, for one, will miss the photos of Mrs. G’s many fun outfits. Here, an obscured view of Wednesday’s turnout, in canary.

While we’re talking politics, one of our Marks asked what journalists thought of the crowd-sourcing analysis of $P’s Alaska emails. I think: [Shrug.] At some level it’s an acknowledgement of reality; people are going to do this anyway, so invite them to partner with the big boys, maybe? Ultimately, if the things are newsworthy, then let the pros do the work. God knows we need it. If nothing else, there might be some entertainment therein. I expect we’ll find out soon.

And now I have to wrap and follow Alan to the Subaru dealer, where the Outback is getting its 50K checkup. Which reminds me I’m six months late in getting my own, so maybe I should make that appointment, too.

Not much bloggage today; it’s been an exhausting week. But here’s this:

I like that girl. Also: Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. Maybe even to a Goodwill store.

A great weekend to all.

Posted at 9:50 am in Current events |

85 responses to “The blaming of the shrew.”

  1. Bitter Scribe said on June 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I think the thing we have to ask about Newt is…why did the Republicans take him seriously for so long? And what does that say about their judgment?

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  2. Dexter said on June 10, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Alright, everybody else get the -_-_ OUT. The science fair judges have a winner! Hey, I learned today to buy only organic taters. I hope this goes viral, but probably not, so thanks for educating us , kiddo.

    Give Granny a break, people. You know damn well her last will and testament specified Salvation Army, not Goodwill.
    Really, this is the down side to cremation.
    I had my beloved pooch, P-Dogg, cremated 23 months ago. I spread some of the ashes in a flower bed by the pathway we walked daily, but I am holding on to most of them.
    I feel in my gut I really should spread the remainder , too, and have been thinking about it since Toni Bernette spread Creigh’s ashes during the Ste. Anne Walking Club ceremony in “Treme” on HBO last Sunday, but I am either a sentimental fool or a plain pack rat. Something I learned from show chronicler Dave Walker, the Ste. Anne parade changed during the AIDS epidemic, as many Ste. Anne parade walkers were taken by AIDS, and the parade took a detour to the water, a “baptizing” ceremony for the living was held, and the ashes set upon the water. Later, ashes from others , not just AIDS victims, were celebrated this way, and that is how Creighton Bernette (John Goodman’s character) ended up in the river.

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  3. Bob (not Greene) said on June 10, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Re: the crowd sourcing: One of the many complaints about the “lamestream” media (god, that just grates) is that it’s some coven of elites locked in an ivory tower dictating the course of world events and opinion. Well, here they are, saying “OK great unwashed masses, roll up your sleeves and dive in with us.” And now it’s some other conspiracy (at least according to the web comments on the NYT site yesterday afternoon). Well, whatever. Newspapers are never going to win that argument. It’s certainly different, but it’s inevitable, as Nance says. These emails are going to be dumped in a pile on the Internet (the Guardian has already said they’re doing as much — and they’re asking for help in combing through the emails, too) so everyone will be able to do it anyway. Frankly, I’m not sure this exercise will amount to much, but who knows. It’s worth a look. My guess is that they’ll a whole lot of boring emails about asking Todd to take someone to hockey practice or what cut of moose to braise for dinner. I doubt $P’s evil plan to turn America into a wacko theocracy will be found there. I hope I’m wrong, but I won’t hold my breath.

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  4. Bob (not Greene) said on June 10, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Dexter, that was positively prospero-esque, without the links.

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  5. Judybusy said on June 10, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I hope it’s not overconfident to say we’re going to have a lot of fun watching the Republican prez race self-destruct over the next 17 months. I think Romney’s their best bet, but he is not meeting some ideological standards, so they will turn on him like a honey badger after a cobra.

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  6. 4dbirds said on June 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I have my sister’s ashes on a bookself in the living room. Her wish was to be placed in our mother’s casket and be buried with her. Since my mother at 88 is still very much alive and well, sister Sarah will continue to be a guest at my house.

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  7. basset said on June 10, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Nance, the 50K checkup’s not bad as I remember, but I just had the 90 on my Outback and you need to save up ahead of time for that one… the 105’s even worse, changing out the timing belt will cost ya.

    Not as much as what happens if it breaks, though.

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  8. coozledad said on June 10, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Romney’s got to get his mojo back, after letting it slip that he believes science can be as effective as prayer in predicting weather outcomes.
    If he shows up in Iowa with a dog strapped to the roof of his car, or draws a pistol at a Dunkin’ Donuts, he might come off as an outsider again.

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  9. alice said on June 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Judybusy: I still want Randall to re-narrate Ken Burns’ Civil War.

    Ashes: We have 2 wood carved boxes with dog ashes, residing on the shelf with my mother in law, who’s contained in a jelly jar.

    I would happily be sprinkled at any thrift store.

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  10. Dexter said on June 10, 2011 at 10:42 am

    alice, nice. Five years ago I had “a scare”. I knew it might turn out bad (it didn’t) but while I was being scoped and tested and having all that fun, I decided to write an addendum to my official will, specifying what I wanted done with my ashes. My wife was creeped out by this, so I sent the instructions to my brother via email. These involved a short journey to spread me around , a little a time, at about nine locations. I told my other brother of this. Ever practical, he said “That’s a bunch of shit. If I get those ashes, you’re going into a hole in my back yard. End of story.” Gasoline is high, true.

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  11. Jolene said on June 10, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I have my dog in a box too. After several years, it still breaks my heart that my handsome, intelligent, athletic canine pal is now a pile of ashes, and I’ve never been able to bring myself to open the box. Maybe I’ll ask my family to put his ashes in the family plot alongside mine–assuming that’s where mine end up.

    Speaking of GOP candidates, the economic analysts are making it clear that Tim Pawlenty, the understated, seemingly sensible, Midwestern governor is just as much of a goofball as the rest of them.

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  12. Mark P. said on June 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Dexter and the other dog people here, I have three containers of ashes from three of my past Dobies. I can’t figure out what to do with them. If I knew our current house was our last house, or if they had spent any real time there, I might spread the ashes there. But somehow spreading the ashes is like finally letting them go, and I guess I’m not ready to do that yet. I may never be.

    On the other hand, I really couldn’t care any less what happens to my ashes. I have suggested to my wife that instead of cremation, she should have my body placed on a very large amount of TNT and just blow me to straight to hell. I imagine more people would attend the funeral.

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  13. Judybusy said on June 10, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Alice, Randall doing the civil war would be so worth watching!

    Also, I’m enjoying the bickering between Bachmann and She-Who. I nearly choked on my coffee when Bachmann positioned herself as the intellectual of the two.

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  14. LAMary said on June 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

    “…I nearly choked on my coffee when Bachmann positioned herself as the intellectual of the two.”

    I’d play Scrabble against both of them and bet the farm.

    And here is an alternative to the usual cremation remains urn:

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  15. Jolene said on June 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Also on GOP candidates, we know that Mitt Romney has changed his position on lots of things since his prior incarnation as the governor of a liberal state, but, still, I was struck by the strength of his pro-choice position during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign.

    It’s worthwhile to take a few minutes to listen to the video embedded in this Matt Yglesias post.

    If I were an anti-choice voter, I would really wonder how anyone could make a statement of this sort, and, a few years later, come to the opposite conclusion w/o any apparent rationale for the change on what Yglesias accurately describes as a mature issue–that is, an issue that had been such a central part of the political discourse for such a long time that it’s impossible to believe any political figure wouldn’t have a developed a settled position on the issue.

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  16. Jolene said on June 10, 2011 at 11:44 am

    In case you missed the deeper meaning of Sarah Palin’s tour of historic sites, she has assembled this video to, as they say, explain it all to you. In keeping w/ her longstanding difficulty w/ the English language, she misuses the word “Americana” in introducing it.

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  17. adrianne said on June 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Most amusing to read about the “Newtiny,” as it was inevitably dubbed in the blogosphere.

    And I can’t resist one more jab at U.S. Rep. Weiner. Today’s New York Post headline: “Weiner: I’ll stick it out.”

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  18. Jolene said on June 10, 2011 at 11:56 am

    In case you are short of things to do when you should be working, you might want to check out Time’s list of best blogs. Except for the shocking failure to include, it’s an interesting list w/ a number of sites that were new to me.

    I was pleased to see that one of my favorite guys, Ta-Nehisi Coates, was on the list. Even more impressive, he is writing guest columns in the NYT. His first one was published yesterday. Since I’ve been reading him for several years (and occasionally writing to him), I feel an almost parental sense of pride in seeing his success. Ridiculous, since I’ve had nothing to do w/ his writing other than to promote it a bit, but there it is anyhow.

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  19. del said on June 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Judybusy, thanks for the honey badger link.

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  20. moe99 said on June 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Hey it’s June. June is the month for weddings. Like this one:

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  21. coozledad said on June 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Self-loathing the-ah-tah aficionado and cartoon racist enters the Republican field to suck off some of Rick Perry’s base:

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  22. Judybusy said on June 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    You’re welcome for the honey badger, Del.

    Michelle Bachmann has stated she’ll think about returning to the gold standard–she’s meeting with some crazees who consider this their top issue. Yes, some pols will say anything to get elected. I burst out laughing when it popped up in my FB feed.

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  23. kayak woman said on June 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    My brother and dad’s ashes are scattered in various places, including the seat of a bulldozer belonging to the real-estate developer who got his filthy hands on some property my parents and aunts & uncles donated [naively] to the nature conservancy.

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  24. coozledad said on June 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Kayak woman: Hank Paulson headed up that sham for awhile. It’s just another front for a property grab.

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  25. prospero said on June 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm


    As far as Goodhair Perry the secessionist is concerned, I’m relying on Kinky Friedman to shadow his campaign, and make his life a living hell. He should run a mirror campaign

    And I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m looking forward seriously to Super 8, and not because of the Lost connection. Quit that blather two seasons in when it got painfully stupid. Not for all the ET and Close Encounters references. What this movie sounds like to me is Predator Comes to the Goondocks. The kids in the Goonies were amazing, and it sounds like this cast might be their equals.

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  26. brian stouder said on June 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Moe, I thought the honey badger was the cake-taker of the thread, until I saw your link to the bride with 7,000 piercings and a green face (which makes her look very much like The Thing from Fantastic Four*), who appears to be marrying the dad from Eight is Enough**.


    As for the governor of Texas, I hope that son of a bitch jumps in the race, and gets his ass comprehensively kicked. Any governor (or other candidate) who is stupid enough to seriously speak about secession will absolutely deserve the coast-to-coast drubbing that President Obama’s campaign will unleash upon him (or her).

    I saw a magazine spread in Newsweek, wherein Perry – in suit and tie – is firing a six-shooter in the air as some NASCAR driver or other looks on admiringly. Other than the firearm, the only other thing that empty-suited sack of shit has to offer is lots of hair. In the movies, his archetype is the one who leads a charmed life, where everything just falls his way….in other words, the guy who the audience despises.

    Aside from that, let me say that I think it is sexist to dump Newt’s mistakes and miscues at the feet of his wife. It strikes me that a woman like Michelle Obama – who is a great campaigner (and a huge draw) in her own right, drew criticism for that very reason; she was angling for the chance to order around and tell us what groceries we can buy (or WalMart can sell), etc.

    If Newtie is doing what his wife wants, then I say – maybe he’s grown up a bit.



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  27. Dorothy said on June 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    My son showed us the honey badger link last week and every time his girlfriend sees it she giggles endlessly. It is pretty funny.

    In 1999 when my sister-in-law was in the final throes of her colon cancer she was searching for an appropriate container for her ashes. I can’t recall what she finally settled on, but she was delighted by this particular casket:

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  28. LAMary said on June 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Kayak Woman, you should have scattered the ashes into the crankcase of the bulldozer.

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  29. Scout said on June 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I have two dogs and four cats, along with pictures and little name tags, etc set up as a little shrine in my kitchen sideboard. It’s not as weird as it sounds, really. I too have been trying to figure out the best possible place to distribute the ashes, but so far I have not been able to let their last little vestiges of physical remains leave the house.

    Friends of ours were recipients of a small vial of ashes from a friend of theirs, with instructions to take the vial somewhere truly fabulous and scatter the ashes. Apparently his bits are all over the world; our friends scattered their portion in the South of France. I kind of like that idea.

    Newt was over before he ever started. Nancy’s imagined dialogue between him and Callista was priceless, and probably not so far off the mark.

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  30. Sue said on June 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    The only thing I have to say about the Callista thing is:
    Really? In 2011 grown men, hired because of their willingness to get down in the trenches and do just about anything to get their candidate elected, are pulling the “Nancy Reagan is just so mean!” bit?
    Oh, and last night my husband commented on the resemblance between Callista and the babe from ‘Mars Attacks’. And by gods he was right.

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  31. James said on June 10, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Speaking of ashes… When I was on Jeopardy (long story there) I told what I believe was the most macabre story ever; about smuggling my mom’s ashes to Pere Lachaise, in Paris.

    Is that spelled right?

    When my mom knew she was dying of cancer, she left instructions that she wanted to be cremated, and have her ashes spread around this necropolis where all the famous people are buried (Voltaire, Pilaf, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison). Her box of ashes sat around the house for years, until I made the trek, sneaking her into the country, and opening the box in the cemetery, only to find a sealed metal box inside. I left the cemetery and found a hardware store, and managed to buy a screwdriver, with which I pried open the box (hiding behind some bushes) and then traipsed amongst the famous, distributing her remains.

    Me? Cremate me and spread me in the driveway for traction in the winter.

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  32. Connie said on June 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Nancy said: The only people qualified to judge a marriage are the people in it. I say every marriage has its own dynamic and who are we to think we understand it.

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  33. prospero said on June 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Isn’t there something in Travels With Charley about a relative’s ashes? 35 years since I read it. A top ten all-time travel book. #1: The Old Patagonia Express. I would say Coming into the Country by John McPhee, but I’m not sure that’s travel writing. Maybe the best is The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiessen ( a great novelist, I think, particularly Far Tortuga and At Play in the Fields of the Lord), and the Shadow Country trilogy (individually, not the composite). But Snow Leoppard’s a nature/travel hybrid. Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad is terrific too. A snippet, on the quality of local water:

    It is served lukewarm, but no matter, ice could not help it; it is incurably flat, incurably insipid. It is only good to wash with; wonder it doesn’t occur to the average inhabitant to try it for that.

    Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes (RLS) is very good, too. Anything by Jan Morris is worth an investment of time.


    You could have ended up at Guantanamo, these days.

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  34. Deborah said on June 10, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    My husband and I have designed the place where our ashes will go on our land in Abiquiu, NM. Two shallow, open, bronze bowls will be embedded in concrete. The ashes are to be poured onto the respective bowls and left for the wind to disperse. We may have our names engraved somewhere on the bowls, but maybe not. We also haven’t decided if this should happen at one time or separately. In other words when one of us dies before the other should those ashes be saved until the other one dies? Then the ashes could be put out each in our separate bowls to let the wind mingle them. We got married on our land and the woman who officiated talked about the power of the wind (it was a very windy day, as it often is there). We didn’t want god talk at our wedding and thought that was a perfect way for her to refer to the spiritual without getting sappy. Her name was/is Kay Nine Coyote, and there’s another story for you some day.

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  35. prospero said on June 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Me? Burial at sea, or Beau Geste style immolation would be fine. Burial? Well pine box and William Cullen Bryant for a reading, that would do fine:

    Comes a still voice–Yet a few days, and thee
    The all-beholding sun shall see no more
    In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
    Where thy pale form was laid with many tears,
    Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
    Thy image. Earth, that nourish’d thee, shall claim
    Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again

    Thanatopsis and Wild Swans at Coole both showed up on my English AP exam, which could have been an autumnal omen of foreboding, but these were two of my favorite poems, then and now, and the essay was already clear in my head, no back of page outline required. (Actually, I don’t ever remember outlining for a paper or an exam, unless it was required, in which cases the outlines were always ex post facto.

    No matter how ’tis done, were best ’twere done quickly, accompanied by a ceremonial torching of As I Lay Dying, easily the most torturous supposedly great book ever foisted on English majors. It’s presumptuous for sure, but I’d like some sort of memorial marker quoting Yeats (and borrowing his epitaph):

    Cast a cold eye
    On life, on death.
    Horseman, pass by!

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is a habit worth developing for anyone who likes to read around here. Jolene, Romney is an interesting case — clarifying that I’d probably be considered anti-choice by most of the regulars here, but have never been doctrinaire enough to get my pin for the pro-life movement. So I have some sympathy for where Romney is trying to stand; what complicates it even further is that the LDS (Mormon) Church believes, in reference to fetal life, in a doctrine of “quickening” or “ensoulment,” based on a statement of Joseph Smith, Jr. (he of the discovery/writing of the “Book of Mormon,” depending on your reading of it). So basically, Mormons hold that until you feel the little wriggler moving about, the divine essence, the soul itself, has not been implanted. It’s generally seen as being two months/eight weeks.

    Mormons tend, therefore, to be on the one hand, in their more traditional camps, heavily into childbearing (which gets you into the deep rough of the pre-existence of souls, etc.), but generally agnostic about birth control when the couple deems appropriate. IUDs, the Pill, and condoms are theologically/doctrinally not seen in the same light as the Vatican’s objections to “blocking the potential for new life” per se. There’s a question about whether your faith is weak, causing you to hesitate to bring new souls into the world, but bluntly they’re not as worried about what happens the first trimester.

    Beyond that, Mormons are strongly opposed to late-term abortions for reasons that are indistinguishable from the rest of the pro-life movement, but they aren’t into the whole “from conception” defense of pre-natal life that other Christians on the more traditionalist side of the spectrum would affirm. In other words, Romney comes by his ambivalence honestly.

    And yes, I said “other Christians,” because I have no trouble saying they’re part of our motley, complicated family of faith. Melkite Eastern Rite Catholics aren’t much like South Succotash UMC, either, but c’mon. They talk plenty about the Big Guy, and Joe Smith isn’t much odder than John Calvin in my book.

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  37. Jeff Borden said on June 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Until I got to Chicago, I never felt I had a fixed address. I spent almost 11 years in Columbus, but was loathe to commit to a house or condo, because by God I was going to get out of there. The need to flee was even more quickly apparent in Charlotte. Some of my closest, dearest friends were made in just a little over four years –not to mention meeting the fabulous Johanna– but I just could not take the bullshit religious stuff, the inability to find decent ethnic cuisine aside from kickass Vietnamese, the provincialism, the charmless downtown.

    So, burn my ass up and toss me into the Chicago River. I honestly believe this is going to be a wonderful city in which to be elderly since we’ll always have access to world-class health care, a terrific transportation system and a staggering list of things to do throughout the year. The river is filthy and cannot be swum in, so it’s not like my pathetic ashes will pollute it any further.

    On Newt: I agree with those who see an undercurrent of sexism in targeting Calista, though I think she is as phony as a $3 bill and, lest we forget, a trollop, a tramp, a homewrecker. Let’s never forget she was boning that sausage-shaped shithead for SIX years while he was married to someone else. The fact that these two famous American sinners were in N.H. to debut a film they’ve produced on Pope John Paul II is hubris that cannot be contained within the Milky Way.

    My take is the staffers who ditched are true believers in the theory that Barack H. Obama is the anti-Christ and they saw Newticles as far more interested in being a celebrity than in being a legitimate candidate. So, they’ll go to work for someone they think has a shot at restoring America to it’s rightful place as the land of the corporate and the home of the rich. They’ll fail, of course. I’ve never –ever– seen a presidential field this laughably weak and I’m a junkie for this stuff.

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  38. Runner said on June 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    This is my favorite sentence in the entire world: “The fact that these two famous American sinners were in N.H. to debut a film they’ve produced on Pope John Paul II is hubris that cannot be contained within the Milky Way.”

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  39. prospero said on June 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Does anybody else think it’s instant Karma, Newt’s campaign staff dumping him while he’s on his political deathbed?

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  40. alex said on June 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Jtmmo, you are very magnanimous in your assessment of Mittens’ ambivalence. I still think he’s a colorless, soulless opportunist who talks out of both sides of his mouth on any issue and bumfuzzles idiots all across the spectrum into believing he’s their man.

    Well, I’m off for Chicago in a rented ‘bu. (The sports car is too cramped and it hydroplanes; the pickup’s too big to park on tight urban streets.) My take so far, driving it home from the rental agency: What’s all this supposed acclaim about? The interior’s as brittle/plasticky as any I’ve seen and not particularly comfortable. It looks like it’s calculated to break into a million little bits in five years so you’ll be shamed into shelling out for a new one. I’ve been in new Hyundais that were more impressive. Still, because it’s preserving American jobs, I will try my best to swoon over its nice lines. And the cockpit is as airy as you’ll find in a vintage Honda, which I’ve always thought was an excellent design. But those hard plastic troughs in the doors look like they’d shatter against someone’s shin on a cold day and leave a mess on the ground.

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  41. prospero said on June 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    The bar for irresponsible and regressive tax-cutting has been set unbelievably high by
    W but Pawlenty is aiming for a new standard.
    Anti-revenue effects of Pawlenty’s budgetary proposals. How many people would go down with all of the collapsing bridges. Stupid or crooked? Or just mendacious? I’d go for the cocktail.

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  42. prospero said on June 10, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Alex, you forgot spineless.

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  43. Jolene said on June 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    In other words, Romney comes by his ambivalence honestly.

    I disagree that Romney is ambivalent. Ambivalence implies uncertainty, perhaps recognition that there is not a clear right answer or simply that the individual doesn’t have a strong preference for either position.

    There is nothing ambivalent in Romney’s 2002 statement; in that video, he makes a strong pro-choice statement. When his opponent points to what she sees as chinks in his pro-choice position, he flatly denies them, even to the extent of pointing out that Massachusetts law permits minors to obtain abortions w/o parental consent if approved by a court. That is, he is saying that, even given certain constraints in the law, there is almost always a way for a person seeking an abortion to get one, and he approves of that state of affairs. And, as far as I know, there’s nothing ambivalent about his current anti-choice position. I’m not sure where he stands on the standard exceptions (rape, incest, life of the mother), but apart from that, I believe he is entirely opposed to the idea that abortion should be legal.

    One can construct a moral justification for either position, as well as for changing one’s position. But to go from such a strong, clearly stated pro-choice position to his current anti-choice position (again, as a mature man addressing an issue that public figures have had to address for decades) surely requires an explanation other than “I changed my mind.” What personal experience, social insight, or crisis of conscience led him to his new position?

    If he has said what prompted that change other than the fact that he is now trying to appeal to a different set of voters, I’ve missed it.

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  44. mark said on June 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Lots of problems with Romney. All the more encouraging to Republicans, then, that he topped Obama in polling this week.

    The economy is moving toward free fall. Excepting Geitner, all of the architects of Obama’s Keynsian recovery efforts have fled the White House. Soon, the “anybody but Obama” drumbeat will bring even more candidates, some even more awful, into the GOP contest.

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  45. Jolene said on June 10, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Don’t get too excited, mark. There have been several Obama vs. Romney polls this week, and Obama has come out ahead as often as not. It’s still a long way to November 2012.

    Exactly what is it that bothers you so much about Obama anyway?

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  46. brian stouder said on June 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    The economy is moving toward free fall.

    I suppose, from the longest point of view, it is always true to say that the economy is moving toward boom times, and also toward free fall.

    I will say this: if the (Republican) congress fools around with the full faith and credit of the United States of America (ie – the debt ceiling extension) very much longer, it will be impossible to deny that they are, in fact, nihilistic fire eaters who place their skewed ideology ahead of their country.

    Think about it. The debts we have are the result of previous and legitimate congressional action, and the resultant need to service that debt really cannot be shirked.

    When the Japanese Imperial Navy suddenly attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, and then Nazi Germany declared war upon us, no serious person said “Think about the debts we’ll saddle our children with! We cannot afford to resist these aggressor nations; let’s sue for peace on any terms”.

    What magical legitimacy does war and death and destruction possess, that bridges and roads and rail and green energy does not? How is it that massive government action, with a view toward production of tanks and planes and ships and bombs; and also fairly rigid controls on what people could buy “for the duration” (ie – fuel and food rationing, and no consumer goods like cars and all the rest) – how is it that ALL of that was perfectly fine, so long as lots of human slaughter was going on, but would be a TOTAL AND COMPREHENSIVE EVIL if we enact a small portion of that sort of action, to boost our economy (ie – the general welfare) of the United States?

    Is President Obama an ideologue devoted to the destruction of the Constitutional government of the United States? That’s what Uncle Rush Limbaugh and his flocks of flying monkeys all across the rightwing airwaves will flatly tell us. (Considering what the fire eaters of the 19th century said about President Lincoln*, that’s actually a fairly fine complement)

    Meanwhile, the 2011 GOP is fast-approaching their own Fort Sumter moment; they will have to decide whether Grover Norquist (et al) trumps the full faith and credit of the United States; and they may well decide that he does.

    *yet another president who transplanted into Illinois, and who hit the national stage with a fairly thin amount of (governmental) experience, and who would have had a hard time coming up with a birth certificate (or a certificate of live birth), and who had a “scandalous” family tree (according to some)

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  47. jcburns said on June 10, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Okay, I’m officially averting my eyes from all of this sad economic and political news.

    Uh…hey Nancy, here’s a fine way to use your fancy HD GoPro thingie:

    Get down with your bad self, I say thee.

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  48. Bob (not Greene) said on June 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Well, Mark if the economy is moving toward free fall, we all know that the GOP has the answers right? The GOP is doing everything it can to push the ruin the of economy for its own political end, because that’s the patriotic thing to do. Thank god the GOP did such a bang up job before Obama went and ruined everything. I can’t wait until they get the chance to right the ship of state again with some supply side magic.

    EDIT: Also, what Brian said.

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  49. moe99 said on June 10, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    If we’re going to talk about the economy and point fingers, then first let’s view this handy dandy chart to see the source of the deficit.

    Those facts have a pesky liberal bias once again.

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  50. mark said on June 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Moe, you look good in that picture. I hope that means you are doing well.

    But you have this habit of refuting arguments that aren’t being made. I said Obama’s efforts to right the economy are failing, and things are getting worse. I’ll stipulate that the Bush tax cuts AND unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan AND a giant, unfunded expansion of the Medicaid drug benefit created irresponsible deficits. That makes Obama’s policies successful? That makes Obama’s deficit spending irrelevant?

    Bob NG- How exactly do the republicans push to destroy the economy with control of one half of Congress? Is Obama so weak that Republicans are running the show?

    Brian- Pick a point. I got lost among the straw men.

    The economy is heading downward, Obama’s policies failed to produce the results he promised and he is politically vulnerable. That’s reality.

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  51. Little Bird said on June 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Deborah, you forgot to tell them which famous person Kay resembled!

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  52. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 10, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I’m really not trying to “defend” Romney, just pointing out one of the sources of his . . . either ambivalence, or inconsistency, depending on your angle of view. He would be likely to not really be bothered by the 88% of abortions that take place in the first trimester, but would be pro-life about aborting fetuses beyond 12 weeks, if you go by general LDS beliefs. Orrin Hatch is pretty much on that page, last I checked.

    He’s not my candidate for prez, but my sympathy is for someone who doesn’t fit neatly into either end of any polarized debate. On abortion, you’re “supposed to” either defend all life “from conception” or be in favor of legal protection of any procedure up to live birth. What makes the subject so messy politically is that I firmly believe the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t fit into either of those views, but there’s not much voice for intermediate positions . . . and Romney isn’t doing that, either.

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  53. Joe Kobiela said on June 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Research ww-2 bond drives and that should help you in figuring out how a lot of that war was paid for. I just looked it was 61 BILLION!!!
    Pilot Joe

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  54. moe99 said on June 10, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Seems to me, mark, that Obama is trying to steer a boat where only one oar is working and that’s only part time. The Republicans don’t give a good gd whether the economy breaks up–only that Obama be defeated, frex their failure thus far to extend the debt ceiling, something they had no problem voting for when Bush was Pres. The policies that are causing the deficit are ones that were put in place by Bush and because of the Republicans, are not being withdrawn, cf. the tax cuts. I’ll grant you Obama is slower to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan than I’d like but that would get all the hawks on his back about being a chicken shit. And the no backbone Democrats are not very helpful either. He’s trying to steer a course between Scylla and Charybdis and it’s very tricky.

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  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 10, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Meanwhile, catch Gates’ speech caustically commenting on NATO’s non-US readiness — almost every other nation involved is nearly out of munitions. The armory is *empty*, so it’s back to us to find the hardware to finish Khadaffy. And that’s why our defense outlays are so stupidly huge. Sigh.

    I left work a touch early (no one was calling me back anyhow) and saw a 4 pm show of “Super 8” and color me impressed. If you did any of your growing up in the 70s, or in the Midwest, or even if you just were once in middle school, go see it . . . and stay for the close credits.

    Weirton finally gets a great movie treatment beyond “The Deer Hunter”! They give you a few visuals and mentions that imply north of Dayton/Montgomery County, OH, but there’s both the terrain, and comments about “the power is out in Belmont County” or “they’re all in Brooke County” that put you along the Ohio Valley . . . but it’s all filmed in Weirton, West b’God Virginia. They even feature a cemetery I’ve done committals in.

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  56. brian stouder said on June 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    And, Joe, the government took over the auto companies, well and truly, and told them what they would build (not Model A’s); and the comic cost estimate is 1.5 trillion dollars, and those are 70-years-ago-dollars, and that doesn’t capture the “opportunity cost” (what other things we could have spent the money on)

    When people say the guh’mnt cain’t do nuthin’ right, I think of the top-to-bottom organizational effort to win the second world war, and the massive public health and nutrition efforts, and rural electrification, and the interstate system (not to mention the internet system), and indeed, our much-maligned public education system is head and shoulders better than what was on offer 50 years ago (let alone 100 years ago).

    Anyway – enough of my endless strawmen, all over the place!

    Let’s think about war bonds/savings bonds.

    Why the hell would anyone buy a bond, unless….unless they trusted “the full faith and credit of the United States of America”.

    Let’s suppose you and I bought US war bonds/savings bonds, and held them. Let us further suppose that a bunch of chuckleheads in Congress get to thinkin’ “y’know what? To hell with all the suckers who bought our bonds! We ain’t gonna raise the debt ceiling, and we’ll just default on those loans”

    What then?

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  57. coozledad said on June 10, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    The top income tax bracket was around ninety percent during the war, too, though mast of the people paying at that rate tried to assuage their feelings of loss by refueling Hitler’s subs on the Atlantic in exchange for gold bars from the sacked treasuries of countries in the Nazi Empire.
    You had Jesse Helms’ mentor here in North Carolina openly advocating an alliance with Hitler until we were brought into the war. I get the feeling the only reason he finally shut his trap was fear of the noose.
    Republicans are the political arm of a deeply embittered minority that’s been working against American interests for decades. Pretty much a fifth column, as Andrew Sullivan might say.
    And this could well be their new Sarah Palin, with an MBA!
    If she can’t make Rich Lowry see starbursts, it can only be because he just got caught in the sack with Diamond Dick Perry.

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  58. Jolene said on June 10, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I’m really not trying to “defend” Romney, just pointing out one of the sources of his . . . either ambivalence, or inconsistency, depending on your angle of view.

    I understand your position, but I think you are giving Romney more respect than he deserves. That is, I have no sense that his position on choice has anything to do w/ a moral, religious, or intellectual view. It seems like pure political opportunism.

    I only brought this up because I hadn’t seen the video that I linked to above before, and I was really struck by the firmness of the pro-choice position that he presented. Given his forcefulness in that presentation, it seems ludicrous that we are expected to credit his now completely opposite–and unexplained–stance.

    And, given that, I don’t know why anyone would believe him about anything. It’s too damn bad he didn’t have the spine to figure out how to run as himself–a moderate business guy–in the first place.

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  59. Sue said on June 10, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    So it’s quarter to ten on a Friday night, I’m watching a little hockey, waiting for my Baileys Irish Cream cheesecake to come out of the oven, and enjoying the excellent comments. Know what else I’m enjoying? The fact that I bought a 750 ml bottle of Baileys and only needed a third of a cup for the cheesecake.
    Under these circumstances, if you type very carefully it doesn’t take much longer than normal to spell correctly.
    Happy Friday night, folks.

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  60. Little Bird said on June 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I just watched the organic potato video. I’m only buying organic from now on. That actually scared me.

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  61. brian stouder said on June 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    I think Sue has the right idea!

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  62. JayZ(the original) said on June 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    When I worked for the postal service, the mail carriers often delivered ashes coming from a funeral home in another state to the deceased’s local family . The packages always had to be sent registered mail which requires a signature upon delivery. One time, a carrier attempted delivery and the intended recipient refused to accept the parcel. The mortuary doesn’t want it back, so where is it sent? (Rim shot) You got it — to the dead letter office.

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 10, 2011 at 11:32 pm

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  64. Dexter said on June 11, 2011 at 2:35 am

    My friend Jen in Savannah married a nice man who was a GB Packers fanatic. He always finagled tickets for one or two games every season. She is a bit of a widow-maker, finishing off three men by her early 40s. This lst one she was head-over-heels in love.
    When he passed , Jen took the ashes and concealed them on her person for easy scattering, booked a summertime walking tour of the stadium (Lambeau Field) and illegally (house rules violation) scattered them onto the field.

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  65. Linda said on June 11, 2011 at 7:57 am

    My sister used to be a home health aide, and once, while she was caring for someone’s mom while they were out of the country, they got a package from Australia that rumbled when it was moved, like stuff inside was busted up. She sadly informed the couple that the package sounded broken, and was informed that the package was cremated ashes, and in perfectly good shape.

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  66. basset said on June 11, 2011 at 8:18 am

    My late brother was a huge sports fan, so some of his ball game buddies scattered a small portion of his ashes on the floor at Assembly Hall. A little more went off the Tulip Viaduct, the rest are in a regular grave at Rose Hill in Bloomington, just a few yards from Hoagy Carmichael.

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  67. prospero said on June 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    A great band I recently came across: Hey Mama. Original blues music with great guitar and hellacious vocals. The singer is reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt and Maria McKee. These guys are from Cambridge MA.

    Elegaic, ridiculously gorgeous song: Mountain Bones. Would have fit on Astral Weeks.

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  68. prospero said on June 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Hong Kong Blues by Hoagy Carmichael. I loved this song as a little kid, and I thought this guy had the coolest nickname in the world.

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  69. mark said on June 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Your imagined conversation between mr and mrs Newt is pretty funny. I liked this effort as well:

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  70. moe99 said on June 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

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  71. prospero said on June 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    This whole bidness about who said what? What? You need to make this shit up.

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  72. prospero said on June 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I’m having a problem with this shit. My Cousin whom I care about ‘s husband, a rediculously brilliant heart specialist died.

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  73. Deborah said on June 12, 2011 at 12:28 am

    Just got back from the DIFFA gala and I must say I’m just not a big party person. Fun but painful at the same time. I’m not a shmoozer. It goes until 2am. No way for me and my husband. We walked about 3/4 of a mile home, the first time I’ve worn high heels since I fractured my foot in late August. Ouch.

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  74. prospero said on June 12, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Well, he was kind of a dick, but I liked him anyway. He’s my cousins husband, a cousin I really care about. We haven’t been close over the years, but we took a trip to my Grandma’s funeral that could make an Ann

    tyler book. She is a piece of work, and I love her deary. How is he related to me? I don’t get all this removed etc. stuff. So what’s the deal on this business about how we are all related? I know some of y’all have this shit at you’re fingertips.

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  75. moe99 said on June 12, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Ok, anyone who has not seen “Midnight in Paris” needs to go asap. I am still laughing 3 hours later. Woody Allen’s best in 30 years.

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  76. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 12, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Prospero, I took lots of cultural anthropology in college, and I still can’t figure in my head the whole “second cousin once removed” stuff. Cousin-in-law perhaps?

    Our church has pretty much finished rebuilding the clinic-school-church (Pente-Methodist, i guess) in Calebasse, Haiti; that team just got back, and we prayed out the door for this week 66 high school kids & parents. Basset, if you run into any Methodist kids acting up in Nashville this week, it’s Ohio’s fault. I think they’re re-building/drywalling/painting, but I’m not sure – focused on Cub Day Camp this week, so i’ll not be about: c’mon people now, smile on each other.

    Woody Allen sounds just right for next weekend – five days of hundreds of small boys will put me in a terribly ironic frame of mind.

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  77. Jolene said on June 12, 2011 at 11:33 am

    “Once removed” has to do w/ being a step away from the direct relationship in question. For instance, the child of my first cousin is my first cousin once removed. My cousin’s child and mt child, if I had one, would be second cousins. My first cousin’s grandchild would be my first cousin twice removed. Got that?

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  78. Scout said on June 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Jolene – that is the first time I’ve ever heard it explained that it actually made sense. Thanks! And moe, thanks for the movie review – based on it, we’re going!

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  79. prospero said on June 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Jolene, so my cousin’s husband is what? I think not related in any sense. And why did anybody ever make these rules? Inheritance?

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  80. prospero said on June 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Great animal photo.

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  81. MichaelG said on June 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Your explanation is perfectly clear as I read it, Jolene, except that as soon as I look away it drains out of my brain and I’m back to square one. It’s kind of like math that way. And it’s not getting any better as I get older.

    Florence Nightingale on the right hand side was interesting too, Prospero.

    Poor Brian. They finally have a F-1 race on at a decent time and it’s raining.

    I enjoyed the Indy Car race(s) last night. Shitty for some of the drivers but fun to watch.

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  82. basset said on June 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Jeff TMMO, if they’re working in the Bellevue section of Nashville I probably will see them… Basset Jr.’s scout troop met at a Methodist church close to here, we’re not members though.

    Don’t know what y’all see in Woody Allen, never could get interested in his stuff. Didn’t try all that hard, though.

    Why isn’t basketball season over yet? And isn’t hockey still going too? Both should be done for the year before baseball starts.

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  83. Jolene said on June 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Jolene, so my cousin’s husband is what? I think not related in any sense.

    That’s right. Not a relative. Just your cousin’s husband.

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  84. brian stouder said on June 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Michael G, that F1 race turned out to be a hum-dinger, but only if you have a DVR. If you’re a fan attending a rain-race, it becomes a lot less fun….but boy did they put a show on, once they got rolling again.

    I will probably always be an F1 fan for just that reason; they may redflag for a deluge, as they did today in Montreal, but short of that, they switch to grooved rain tires and then race in the rain – an altogether tricky enterprise. And indeed, in the event today, Sebastian Vettle in the all-powerful Red Bull Infiniti (Renault) got shown a thing or two about how to race – on the very last lap as they headed for the chex! – by Jenson Button (admittedly, also in an All-Powerful Mercedes McLaren, but we digress).

    But I will say, if I’m ever NOT an F1 fan, it will be over something like the near-debacle they had with the “re-scheduled” Bahrain race. The governing FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) voted unanimously to reschedule that race yet this year. Apparently, there are stacks (and stacks) of blood-money to be sucked up, and by God, the FIA saw no reason NOT to!!

    One driver, good ol’ Mark Webber of Australia, publicly stated that he thought it was a terrible idea, and floated the idea of teams not going along with the scheme. Ten days later comes the news that, despite the FIA’s unanimous decision to reschedule the Bahrain event, it would require the unanimous vote of the teams, and NONE of them voiced any support for the idea at all.

    If they had gone back there yet this year, I’d have been hard-pressed to remain a fan. These are the same chuckleheads that ruined the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis a few years ago, over a tire issue that Michelin botched up. One hundred thousand fans – many of whom flew in from all over America – witnessed the usual parade lap, where all the cars go around the circuit before gridding up for the start, and then… all the cars except for 3 teams peeled off and hit the pits and shut down.

    And F1 ran the whole race with just six cars – a total sham, and a rip-off. (it didn’t make me as mad as it should have at the time, since I was a Schumacher fan, and it handed him an easy victory!).

    If they could screw Indianapolis like that, then they could surely tell Bahrain to go to straight to hell (and take their blood money to the blazes, right along with them)…and it looks like they have indeed, despite what their governing body thinks

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  85. alex said on June 13, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Enjoyed Chicago over the weekend, although it was downright chilly. Great music. Great food. Different, certainly, than this favorite old place that got taken over by new owners who didn’t seem to know what the hell they were doing last time I was there.

    Also came away with a more favorable impression of the new Malibu I rented. It actually drives quite nicely and has a very solid feeling to it. The seating was a little hard on the middle-aged buns, though.

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