In recent years, the influx of red-winged blackbirds to our area has prompted some non-official but civic-minded soul to post signs along the heavily used lakefront sidewalk. The birds defend their nests aggressively, and joggers and pedestrians were getting head-pecked. They nest near our lake cottage, and I know they prefer a water view, preferably a swamp, so I wasn’t thinking about head protection when I rode my bicycle down Mack Avenue, a business strip about a mile from any water, or even a backyard water fountain.

Fortunately, I was wearing some anyway. It’s a strange feeling, a bird attack — the bonk isn’t much, especially through a styrofoam-lined plastic hat — but the accompanying aggression call and the wings flapping so close to your eyes summon up a deep lizard-brain response. I’ve known two people in my life who have an unreasonable fear of birds, and for the first time, I understand why. The little fuckers are what’s left of dinosaurs, after all.

If you have red-winged blackbirds in your neighborhood, beware. They don’t play.

So. I recently bookmarked the Daily Beast. Again. In my old age, I’m becoming very stingy with bookmarks, and if your site doesn’t deliver, I’m totally out of there. But they keep hiring good people, and occasionally publishing something worth reading, and I keep thinking they’re worth a daily visit, and then, today, I read something like this:

Headline: Clooney Breakup’s Red Flags. Subhed: Fans thought she’d get him to the altar, but Barbie Nadeau says the flameout of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor and his showgirl squeeze started months ago.

Really? Fans thought that? I’m a George Clooney fan, and how well I recall those days of …sometime in the last couple of years, when I would call my fellow Clooneyheads and say, “You know, I think this is the One. I think she’ll get him to the altar.” And we were so astounded when they broke up that I’m now going to read this piece, in the authoritative voice of Barbie Nadeau, who was scanning the heavens for warning signs of this flameout. She saw it coming months ago. And so:

The 50-year-old graying stallion announced that he and his 32-year-old Italian showgirl have called their fairytale romance quits.

One sentence — not even a compound one — and three clichés/tropes. A graying stallion, a showgirl, and a fairytale romance. I can’t count the times I read Kate bedtime stories about middle-aged actors, Italian beauties of indeterminate careers and how they fell in love for a year or so.

Sad as it may be, it’s fair to say that “Cloonalis” was probably doomed from the start.

I’m totally sad about Cloonalis.

Since they first fell into each others’ arms in 2009, there’s been much speculation that perhaps Canalis was the siren who could finally wrestle America’s most eligible bachelor to the altar. The two seemed inseparable, and Clooney had passed several coupledom milestones with Canalis, like vacationing with her parents and bonding with her girlfriends. They had been effectively joined at the hip from the beaches of Mexico to the red carpets of the Kodak Theater for two full years. He stood by her side when she was questioned about her role in a prostitution ring in Milan, and she accompanied him to the Emmys when he won the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award.

I love these details, presented with a straight face. He stood by her side when she was questioned about her role in a prostitution ring. I remember when Alan and I passed that coupledom milestone, too.

But it doesn’t take more than a glance through the recent tabloids to see a number of red flags foreshadowing this breakup.

Oh, do we really need to do this? The Daily Beast, deleted.

Which seems as good a time as any to skip to the bloggage. First, a twofer from two of our favorite WashPost writers, not necessarily in the WashPost. Gene Weingarten’s reply to a journalism grad student who asked him how he’d built his personal brand over the years:

The best way to build a brand is to take a three-foot length of malleable iron and get one end red-hot. Then, apply it vigorously to the buttocks of the instructor who gave you this question. You want a nice, meaty sizzle.

She’ll get an A on her project and probably miss the point entirely.

Hank Stuever in the Stranger, the Seattle alt-weekly, for its annual Pride Week-pegged gay issue. The theme — You’re doing it wrong — inspired his essay on “Glee,” which says everything that needs to be said:

If Glee was in touch with the reality of being gay—which can have its dark side—it would make the cruelly honest decision to switch off the Auto-Tune and razzle-dazzle and show a bunch of kids in a choir room singing badly but believing they’re great.

I didn’t hate this show immediately, but I soured early on, although I stuck through season one. (If nothing else, Rachel Berry’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade” was worth the trip.) I gather that in season two, it devolved into Very Special Episode territory almost immediately, which might mark a new record in the trip from smart-and-hip to dumb-and-predictable. Kate’s 8th-grade choir did “Don’t Stop Believin'” for their spring concert this year, which makes the circle complete — now “Glee” influences show choirs, instead of the other way around. (The crowd started to cheer when they heard the now-familiar choir arrangement, which made me want to stab everyone in the throat.) Anyway, worth a read.

Newspaper columnists like to write personal essays they think readers will find warm and funny, but they should all just give it up, because they’ll never be as good as the best personal essay-writin’ bloggers. That is all. EDIT: For some reason, this link isn’t working at the moment. Hope for a revival when their server comes back up — or whatever the problem is, gets fixed.

And that is all. Happy weekend. I’m off to see Matt & Kim tonight at the Majestic.

Posted at 11:03 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

75 responses to “Dive-bombed.”

  1. Dorothy said on June 24, 2011 at 11:18 am

    If I am not already among the two you counted as having an unreasonable fear of birds, then I’m your third. Although we don’t really “know” each other. Still …. birds and bats are what my nightmares would be flush with if I had them on a regular basis. At the zoo yesterday I had to put my hands beside my head to block my view so I didn’t totally have a meltdown seeing the “flying foxes”, which is really just a fancy name for vampire bats with 6′ wing spans.

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  2. coozledad said on June 24, 2011 at 11:27 am

    When I get up, after I make coffee, I feed the crow in its indoor cage and once it tells me it can’t eat anymore I let it sit on my shoulder and watch a few bird videos on Youtube. It talks to the screen for awhile and purrs in my ear, then climbs to the top of my head and starts drilling for dura mater. Right now, I can tolerate this. It’s no worse than the helmet drills my slightly sadistic coach put everyone through in little league football.
    But the other day when I was driving around in RTP, I saw a couple of suburban crows with a wingspan of roughly a yard flying off with halves of a large pizza they’d snaked from a dumpster.
    A temporal bone would be nothing for one of those fuckers to punch through.

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  3. Jenine said on June 24, 2011 at 11:36 am

    The Bloggess and her giant metal chicken are WINNING!

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  4. nancy said on June 24, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I bought Alan a book on crows and ravens a while back, and I can’t remember if I read there or elsewhere about a study of ravens in Alaska. A number of individual birds were found to be flying 40 miles or so from the backcountry to a particular Fairbanks McDonald’s, where they kept the parking lot and dumpster area nice and clean. At close of business, they’d fly back to the wilderness.

    In other words, commuting. Smart birds. If they drill through your head, they’re just interested in how you make it all work in there.

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  5. John G. Wallace said on June 24, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Crow videos please?

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  6. Randy said on June 24, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Nancy, I have to (reluctantly) agree with you about Don’t Stop Believin’. But we know, given its durability, it will never go away. So I’m curious to wonder how long it will be away, and then what will bring it back to a new group of ears?

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  7. Vince said on June 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I remember a story when I lived in Texas done by a colleague in Austin. Grackles were swooping down and attacking people as they entered the Capitol. But not just anyone. The birds had a knack for only head bonking reporters. It was one time when I enjoyed the TV reporter participation standup when we saw Robert walking out with a reporter’s notebook in his hand and within moments running for cover. Smart birds. Too bad it was in the mid 1990s. Can’t give you a link.

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  8. Hexdecimal said on June 24, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Blame the Sapranos for the last Don’t Stop Believing revival.

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  9. Lex said on June 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Congrats, Nance, your link has crashed The Bloggess’s site. 😉

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  10. Julie Robinson said on June 24, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    My grandparents’ farm came complete with chickens that chased us around and pecked at us and I will never believe all the people who tell me that they are gentle and friendly. Even worse, at our first house, I pulled back the covers to discover a bat on the pillow. Yep, just taking a little snooze. The neighbor boys had a great time chasing it around the house with brooms and tennis rackets, so in the end, it may have been more traumatized than I was. We were so happy when we could move out of that place.

    Thanks for input on charger cords, all. I ordered one for $17, shipping included, that says it’s from the manufacturer. Prices quoted on the phone locally were $90-120, so once again, Amazon wins. Maybe it’s a piece of crap, but I bought one at that price for my sister and it started sparking after a few days, so it’s worth a try.

    And for those in the Fort, let me put in a shameless plug for the zipline that will be at RiverFest this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. My dear hubby has been working for two years to bring it to town, and is still hoping to find it a permanent home. Reduced prices Sunday & Monday!

    Edit: The Bloggess link was being passed around facebook yesterday so nn.c may not be completely responsible for the crash.

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  11. beb said on June 24, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    On a visit to Florida recently our daughter decided to trasde in her ball cap for a pith helmet. The next day she went to The Sunken Gardens where said helmet protected her from aggressive birds steal food our of people’s fingers, including her.

    I didn’t know red-wing blackbirds were so territorial or aggressive, but I remember last year the Detroit Zoo had to put up a couple signs near nesting geese, as nesting geese are very defensive and big enough to hurt people.

    People in Hollywood, like Clooney shouldn’t ever marry. Their relationship are so short-lived why bother. Just hook-up until the next nubile actress comes along….

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  12. Julie Robinson said on June 24, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Beb reminds me that a seagull nipped a granola bar out of our daughter’s hand when we were in Florida. It happened so fast we could hardly believe it. Those Florida gulls are aggressive!

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  13. Suzanne said on June 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Got dive bombed by a mamma robin once. It brought back memories of “The Birds”–I made sure to protect my eyes.

    Glee! My kid did show choir and it was a pretty bad experience. Absolutely, to be anywhere near reality, “show a bunch of kids in a choir room singing badly but believing they’re great.” That said, though, I did see a few choirs that were impressive as a group. 90% of the soloists, though, Ugh!

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Hexdecimal, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one to think of an order of onion rings when “Don’t Stop Believin'” plays.

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  15. MichaelG said on June 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I haven’t met her, but La Canalis if pictures are to be believed, is a goddess. Not quite Monica Bellucci but very close.

    Bring a badminton racquet with you on your rides, Nance.

    My ex tells me that crows are quite easy to teach to talk.

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  16. Deborah said on June 24, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    We had one of those dive bombing birds that returned every year to one of the trees around our building. It seemed odd to me that in this dense urban setting they would pick that spot. Also, I have no idea if it was the same bird year after year, but this year it’s not there thankfully.

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  17. A.Riley said on June 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Grackles are fierce. They’ll mob a crow or a hawk and drive it out of the neighborhood with prejudice. They gather in the trees, saying “hawk, hawk” until there’s enough of them there, and then off they go.

    They’ll also gather in the trees to cuss out a cat. Once I was taking the late great Felix to the vet, and put his carrier (with him in it) on the patio table while I locked the backdoor and unlocked the garage door — and in those few minutes, they were gathering in the maple tree, saying “cat, cat.”

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  18. Jeff Borden said on June 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    “Don’t Stop Believin'” and everything else in the Journey songbook is a crime against humanity. I’m a Cubs fan, but was mortified for White Sox fans when this shitty, horrible anthem became the theme for the 2005 World Series chase. I cannot abide the voice of the lead singer and think the whole band is lamer than lame. My apologies to anyone who likes this group. . .just expressing my opinion.

    Last Saturday, I was at Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs lose to the Yankees. It was the second national game of the day for Fox, so the start time was 3:05 p.m. This totally pissed off the many seagulls who tend to swoop into the Friendly Confines in late afternoon of a day game to feast on the detritus left behind. (Usually, day games begin at 1:20 p.m.) Most of the birds congregated on the roof of the stadium –very Hitchcockian– but many simply landed in the outfield, walking about indignantly while play continued.

    Contending with seagulls is one of the perils of playing the outfield at Wrigley. I imagine the same is true for other ballparks close to large bodies of water. (Wrigley is maybe a half-mile from Lake Michigan.)

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  19. Linda said on June 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    When I first moved to Memphis, I lived 2 blocks from work, along the nesting site of a mockingbird. I got dive-bombed every morning. In the film To Kill a Mockingbird, they say “it’s a sin to kill (one), because they sing pretty and never hurt any one.” I say HA! LIAR!

    I have a cat I adopted that is indoor-outdoor (he had been outside nearly a year, and wasn’t going to change). Last spring he was laying low and not going out. Turns out all the birds on the block were after him. He was a marked guy.

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  20. 4dbirds said on June 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Beb and Julie are a couple? I never knew. Must have been dive-bombed by some birds as a kid. lol.

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  21. Bitter Scribe said on June 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    You all are going to have me believing that “The Birds” was a documentary.

    That Weingarten essay was classic. Sadly, it will probably be dismissed as more media-dinosaur whining.

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  22. Linda said on June 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    BTW, my momma is scared of birds. I took her to the Memphis Zoo exhibit, where the birds are uncaged, and she almost instinctively moved to club a big one that edged near her with her cane. We had to get her out of there, quick, before there was an incident.

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  23. Bob said on June 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I used to think I had a bat/bird phobia — I sure didn’t like having them flap around near my face, for example. Then I decided not to flip out over them. My oldest daughter was about 2, sitting on my lap, and a bat showed up in the living room, flying around a ceiling fan. I remember thinking that it was a stupid fixation to pass along to a kid, so I just pointed out the bat, talked to her about it, and herded it out the door. If I turned it off so abruptly, I guess it wasn’t a genuine phobia.

    Speaking of divebombing, I put up with 40 minutes of being harassed by killdeer as I mowed the lawn Wednesday. Those little shits build nests on the ground, then penalize the rest of the world for their real-estate mistake.

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  24. Laura Lippman said on June 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    So many good giggles today, but I fear that you may have inspired George Clooney to try his hand at his own line of children’s books: George Clooney’s Fairy Tales.

    “Once upon a time, a nubile cocktail waitress . . . “

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  25. kayak woman said on June 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I’ve been attacked by both seagulls and redwing blackbirds. At Clyde’s Drive-In, downriver a bit from Sault Ste. Marie, you cannot leave any food on your tray because seagulls will swoop in and grab it.

    Bats? My aunt once got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and was startled by splashing sounds in the toilet bowl. She turned on the light and there was a bat flapping around. She flushed it.

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  26. brian stouder said on June 24, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    “Once upon a time, a nubile cocktail waitress . . . “

    And the required Antagonistic, No Good Female, who has to show up by the third page, should be a suitably beautiful, evil-hearted tabloid-TV reporter, with ample décolletage and an evil sense of humor

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  27. Bob (not Greene) said on June 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm


    I agree with you on that awful Journey anthem. I thought its latest revival came via the 2005 White Sox, when the damn thing was playing all the time. When one of the high school’s choirs did a rendition of it at an honors convocation last year I thought it was still White Sox hangover. Having never watched “Glee” I guess I’m simply out of touch.

    Hey Cooze, you make yourself sound like cross between Uncle Billy from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Elly Mae Clampett. You have to post video of that.

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  28. Judybusy said on June 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Another friend shared the Blogess post on FB–that was damn funny.

    In 1988, my then-husband and I were fostr care proivders for a couple guys with developmental disabilities who’d just been de-institutionalized after 30-odd years. We shared a nice duplex in Madison with them, and as it turned out, a bat colony. They’d come in the apartment, and we’d be madly chasing them about trying to get them to leave. Terry, one of the guys, thought it was hilarious; I still remember laughing with him till tears were coming down my face.

    One day, I came home and the ex said, “A bat got into the fan somehow and was killed. Can you take care of it?” I donned rubber gloves, got a plastic bag, unscrewed the screen and took out the little bat. I carried it outside to deposit in the brushy corner of the lot. About half way there, the bat came to life, scaring the crap out of me. I shrieked, threw down the bag and ran for cover back to the house. He flew away, back to attic to join the rest of his family.

    Happily, our landlords just screened over the access point to the rest of the house so the bats stayed in the attic after that.

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  29. nancy said on June 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Another reason to hate “Don’t Stop Believin'”: There is no south Detroit. I mean, as a neighborhood or commonly spoken-of part of the city. There’s southwest Detroit, and Downriver, but Detroit, as anyone who’s spent even a minute here knows, is an east-side/west-side town, with Woodward as the divider. Unless they’re talking about Windsor; is Journey Canadian? I think they are. And yet, they play it at Red Wings games, and the DJ drops the volume for that line, and everyone sings the line.

    Meanwhile, here it is:

    Kate said she didn’t like rehearsing it, because as a non-soloist, all she got to do were the da-das.

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  30. Sue said on June 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Oh, dear, I just got an embarrassing reminder of why I can never, ever read The Bloggess at work. I had to run to the ladies’ room until I calmed down. The last time The Bloggess did this to me the essay included the words “Do you mind? I’m eating tuna here.” Those of you with a Coozledad kind of mind will get that one right away.
    She wrote it three days ago and has 1,238 comments. That’s a big comment community.

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  31. prospero said on June 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    George Clooney, with his pal Wahlberg made one of the best movies ever made Three Kings. it is absolutely a great war movie. Whatever these handsome guys do in their private lives All power. Not auto-tune: Cyndi. Grace PotterMaria McKee So why don’t the auto-tune nits twats shut the hell up. There are seriously gorgeous women that can sing and play. Who needs the surgically enhanced crap that need electronics to make it seem as if they can sing? I blame Madonna for this odious horseshit. And she looks like a skank. And the fact she’s been put out to pasture by a guy that looks skankier and is slightly more outrageous is hilarious. It’s amaxing Marilyn Manson didn’t fit the bill.

    For years, I didn’t think women could actually rock ‘n’ roll. I know, there were all the Irish sort of ladies, most obviously and Maddy Pryor who might not be as gorgeous as those others, but she has the map of Ireland all over her face, and her voice is purely from God. Joni: Joni Mitchell Steve Stills” girlfriend,
    Joni Mitchell

    Judy Collins, best girl singer ever. but that isn’t actually right. There is Anne Richmond Boston, Annie Lenox. I don’t think any of these womwn were surgically or electronically enhanced. I don’t think Avril needs electronics for her snotty rags, and she’s great for it. Doesn’t Pink just sing from her sizable lungs? The not great gay singer that knows he’s good, that would be the spectacular old Boston band Human Sexual Response/a>, which I think is a conservationist idea about not throwing beer bottles on pavement., though I could be wrong. and the semi-great Larry Bangor. For purely great rocker girls, I’d check Patty van NessPhysical Speed. and Anne Richmond Boston, Swimming Pool Qs, an astounding band, nobody ever heard of. Exene and these are great singers.

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  32. coozledad said on June 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    A coworker of mine was in the target demographic for that song when she was a freshman in college, but she resisted. She always called them REO Journeywagon.

    I think my camera makes short videos, but I’ll have to learn how to upload them. I’ll also have to learn how to ignore the terror of seeing a motion picture of myself. I’m sure it just takes getting used to. The crow won’t mind at all.

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  33. Julie Robinson said on June 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    RIP, Peter Falk. The NYT tells me that he appeared in original stage productions of Paddy Chayefsky, Neil Simon and Arthur Miller. But in my memory he’ll forever be turning around on his way out the door and saying “By the way, just one more thing…”

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  34. paddyo' said on June 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    One of my neighborhood crows was squawking at me like crazy this morning when I went out to get the paper. Fortunately, no giant crowpoop on my bathrobe shoulder (or my head). I must have got in the way of a peanut or some other sidewalk morsel.

    Yesterday, he and three or four of his buddies were in the backyard, raising a similar ruckus as I readied for work. Then I saw why: A young raptor (I think a prairie falcon, but might’ve been a goshawk) descended and perched for a couple of minutes on one of my chairs by the picnic table. About once a year I get one of these backyard visits here in east-central Denver, a thoroughly urban area just 4 miles out Colfax Avenue from the Colorado State Capitol. The hawks/falcons seem to like to eat at my bird feeder — not the seed, but the sparrows and finches that come to dine.

    It’s a cruel, remnant-flying-dinosaur world out there, ain’t it? Fly or be eaten.

    The hawk/falcon eventually flew off and the crows quit complaining and went off to their days, too. And the sparrows and finches returned. And the fucking squirrels.

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  35. Maggie Jochild said on June 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    My senior class trip was spent at a fish camp on the shores of Lake Texhoma because in my rural high school graduating class there were five boys vs three girls and the boys wanted to fish for crappie instead of go to museums in Dallas. (Four of us were practicing homosexuals, as they say, but that’s another story.)

    At the camp, we found an adolescent crow who latched onto us gratefully, apparently having no world experience with crackers, teenaged or otherwise. We named him hot rod because the number one song on the radio right then was by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen. Hot Rod happily devoured anything we gave him, which was whatever we were eating. He lasted four days.

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  36. John G. Wallace said on June 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    As someone who now lives in Florida but in my early 20’s spent summers working the boardwalk in Seaside Heights (yes, long before Snooki) I can vouch for the New Jersey gulls being much more skillful and swift at stealing. We’d spend our breaks hanging on the side patio of a pizza place watching the birds work. They could swoop in and claim a tourist’s (a bennie in North Jersey, a shoobie in south jersey) pizza before they could say, “huh?”
    The pizza place guys would fold up corners of crust and fill them with crushed red pepper, it only taught them not to eat from the employees.
    On the beach here they are lazy, and just drop in for stray cheese doodles or potato chips.
    Treated that summer work as a sociological experiment on my bosses dime – my friend and I had a project “the gathering and dispersal of crowds through music.” If we didn’t want to work, play Pink Floyd. If we wanted to work, Debbie gibson. I worked two rides – one that went fast in a circle and tossed people to the outside, I also worked a roller coaster – fat guy joke time – as ballast. The brakes were calibrated for a minimum of 300 lbs in the car, so if two little kids wanted a ride, they got a hung over fat guy in the back seat, and I could actually sleep on the ride.

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  37. Dexter said on June 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I recently emailed a friend concerning the preponderance of red winged blackbirds here in NW Ohio…she lives 25 miles west of me in Indiana, and she wrote back how her husband said the same thing, he is seeing a lot of these birds there . I see them about half the time I walk the dogs, along the edges of fields and alongside woodsy areas. I have not been attacked by them yet, but I have been scolded many times by these Canadian geese.
    In 1975 my partner’s 4 year old girl was simply standing by the fenced in duck quarters at The National Zoo in D.C. A duck wandered over ever so calmly and then fiercely lunged at the child and cut and bruised her just under her eye.
    We had a first aid kit and the call was close, hospital or just a treatment from me out of the bag, and since I had had tons of experience as a medic in the army, I called it a non-emergency, and no scars were left later on.

    “…south Detroit..” J Bo and Debrorah and other Chicagoans will remember “Bad Bad LeRoy Brown…On the east side of Chicago
    In the baddest part of town…”
    How did the west side become the east side, how did that get past the producers? Maybe it was a big joke, but it just always seems stupid. Now, Taste of Chicago is kicking off, and for a couple weeks the “east side of Chicago” does indeed become the baddest part of town, even though my connections who work for the city administration tell me Rahm is ramping up security for the Taste.

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  38. prospero said on June 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Julie, I loved Colombo, it made my teenage Sundays, particularly with Jack Cassidy or Patrick McGoohan as the brilliant bad guy du jour, or the truly spectacular edition with Johnny Cash. but I’ll always think of Peter Falk saying “As you wish” to the Wonder Years kid. And what maroon ever thought it a good idea to remake The In-Laws? Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks are brilliant, but attempting to reproduce the hilarious insanity of Alan Arkin and Peter Falk was basically an idea doomed to failure. Serpentine! Serpentine! And talk to the hand. They didn’t even get Richard Libertini back, the morons.

    Human behavior is knocking off red-wings at an alarming rate. If they are fighting back, it’s just normal, but why don’t they target rednecks in Louisiana and Arkansas, where the birds are dropping like flies. If it’s a question of jorts-wearing mullet-heads and red-wings, I’ll take the latter. These birds on the wing are stunning. Fast as bullets and that flash from the shoulder.

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  39. prospero said on June 24, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Dex, anybody with a brain knew at the time that Leroy Brown was a mediocre at best remake of Don’t Mess Around With Jim. And in Chicago, isn’t the baddest part of town wherever the cops go drinking?

    And Journey is clearly not Canadian. Canadian bands tend to be cool, not hopelessly lame like Journey. Like Rush or the Guess Who, minus Burton Cummings’ pornstache. Raindance. But really, that South Detroit shit has bugged me for years, unless they were talking redneck heaven in Warren, but that was way Eastside. Sadly, Journey used to be Santana, and I believe they are from Frisco, which is about as likely to be said by a local as South Detroit or Beantown.

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  40. basset said on June 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    “Guess Who Live at the Paramount,” still one of the best live albums ever. Just loose and stupid enough to work.

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  41. John Brown said on June 24, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I was on Twitter when The Bloggess was trying to decide whether or not to post her story about the five-foot metal chicken. It was about two in the morning and she dedicated it to all her drunk insomniac followers.

    It is one of my favorite short stories ever.

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  42. JayZ(the original) said on June 25, 2011 at 1:05 am

    ” . . . Frisco, which is about as likely to be said by a local as South Detroit or Beantown.”

    or Chi-town.

    News just in that the New York legislature passed the gay marriage legislation. HUZZAH!

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  43. JayZ(the original) said on June 25, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Several years ago two escapees from a Utah prison made it to Berkeley where they were loitering on campus.
    A security guard who had no reason to believe they were anything more than local vagrants asked them where they were from. When they replied “Frisco” he immediately became suspicious, did some checking, and soon they were detained and sent back to the slammer.

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  44. Deborah said on June 25, 2011 at 7:51 am

    My iPad just conked out this morning. I have no idea what happened, it worked fine last night, full battery, no problem what-so-ever. I can’t get it to turn on at all now. Nothing. Nada. Looks like I’ll have to spend time at the Apple store today.

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  45. moe99 said on June 25, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Back east visiting mom and she said how disappointed she was that gay marriage passed in NY. My physician brother is gay and in a long term relationship. So there I was with a voice not recovered from surgery trying to explain to my 87 year old mother who refuses to wear her hearing aids, how very wrong I think she is. Guess I’ll have to start drinking early because dinner is at my other brother’s tonight. The NRA member and KY banker. Hoping the blood pressure maintains.

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  46. Judybusy said on June 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Courage and humor moe. And thanks for fighting the good fight! It was welcome news!

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 25, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Moe, red wine cures much. There’s a Latin tag that’s just not coming to mind. My impression, from the rightward fringe of this community, is that the New York legislation could be a very helpful model for other states.

    While I’m still on record as hoping we can get to some decoupling of state & church on certifying/legalizing protected relationships (civil unions for all, ratified by the courthouse as issued, not contingent on a clergy signature or a hard-to-find judge proxy officiant, and marriage left to various traditions to define as they will, a true separation of church & state both directions), the New York Times immediately rains even on this parade — http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/opinion/24franke.html

    So is there really that large a contingent on the left that believes no formal partnership structure should be privileged? I’m not looking for a fight, or even a debate, just wondering if that’s really held as a standard by anyone much outside of the academy. And yes, I’m fine with structuring privilege so that any formal partnership with care & responsibility for children, however they entered the family unit, would be greater than that of a childless/child-free married couple. But that’s not what I’m reading in the piece.

    Or maybe it’s just another winking proposal to back into Medicare Part E/federal single payer. But if all economic benefits should be equal in any case regardless of how committed, how stable, or how contractual (not a bloodless category of law, but a real factor in why marriage & insurance work currently the way they do), then I’m not getting how we maintain any protection for child-raising stability, which should be the basis of what we’re going to tinker around.


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  48. Jakash said on June 25, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Dexter, re: security at the Taste of Chicago. I’m sure that WILL be ramped up. As has been mentioned here, we’ve had a few incidents of punks assaulting people to rip off iPads, or whatever, and North Avenue Beach was closed on Memorial Day due to questionable circumstances. Last evening we happened to be riding our bikes past NAB and saw 12, counted ’em, TWELVE cop cars and numerous bicycle cops there. In, say, an 8-mile ride along the lake, I saw about 15 different cops, apart from the ones at North Avenue. Mind you, this was on a cool, cloudy day when there were maybe a hundred actual people at the beach. Oh, it’s on, all right.
    Re: red-winged blackbirds. Even here in the big city, I’ve noticed a lot more in the past couple years than I used to. Of course, that could be influenced by the fact that it’s one of the few species that I can actually identify. Hey, there goes a cardinal…

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  49. Deborah said on June 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    My iPad is working again after a trip to the Apple store. Of course it was something really simple. It just needed to be “hard reset”. which means, if it ever happens to you iPad users out there, all you do is press on the on/off button while simultaneously pressing on the circular button until it starts. Then the woman helping me said to power it off and restart it. The Apple store is only a few blocks away and it only took about15 minutes all told.

    Jakash is right the police are out in force in Chicago. When I walk home from work up Michigan Ave I see dozens of them. Usually in groups of three. A few times there has been a command van parked on Water Tower plaza with lights blinking. They had the doors open so you could see in, there were banks of video screens with a few officers sitting there staring at them. Haven’t heard of any more incidents since. Memorial day.

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  50. prospero said on June 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Damn, people are weird.

    How is this different from the invasion of Ira1q? The Amerian economy tanked while rich assholes got richer. As Wallace Shaun woud say, Itth incothievable.

    Back in ’73, watching the disintegration of the Loud Famil, I had no idea I was seeing the beginning of the end of TV as I’d known and loved it as a kid.

    Class warfare as practiced by Congressional Republicans. Proving beyond doubt that their concern for human life begins at the moment of conception and ends somewhere in the first trimester.

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  51. beb said on June 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Yahoo needs to do something about the way they trim headlines. I saw one this morning that read “Ann Arbor Schools to Slash Freshmen” and had to wonder: literally? With razors maybe or bullwhips? So I clicked on the link and found that it was:
    “Ann Arbor schools slashing freshman sports teams, cutting funding to several other programs.” That’s an entirely different thing. Shesh!

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  52. coozledad said on June 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    This ought to give Republicans the chubby they’ve been a huntin’. Why not run him for president? I’ll bet he’d cut a bitch!

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  53. Dexter said on June 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for the street-level reporting, Jakash and Deborah. Have a safe Taste of Chicago. I can smell the ribs and corn-on-the cob and brats from here.
    The woman on the bike in these photos is my sister-in-law, who works for Sidley Austin in the Loop; they live out in an exurb.
    It was a foggy day for the Bike the Drive 2011 bike tour.

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  54. Bob (Not Greene) said on June 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Holy shit, cooze! What a story. Well hell, if you can’t out-argue someone you might as well try to strangle him … or her, as the case may be.

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  55. coozledad said on June 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I might have jumped the gun suggesting he could get the Republican nomination. We won’t know for sure until an inquest discovers he had a rutabaga up his ass.

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  56. Bob (Not Greene) said on June 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    That’d explain why he was so cranky

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  57. Deborah said on June 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I’ve never been to the Taste, I shy away from those kind of crowds, not my thing. I am going to Millenium Park this evening for a concert along with a picnic if it doesn’t rain. It’s supposed to start raining at 6 CDT. Here’s hoping it won’t rain. It’s been a perfect weather day so far.

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  58. prospero said on June 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    A few days ago, with nothing better to do, some sour mash in the house and feeling primordially opposed to anything but sloth and imbibingwe watched The Bed-Sitting Room with Rita Tushingham and God, You know, Ralph Richardson.Can that possibly have been her real name.oom a movie directed by Richard Lester of the Beatles movies, starring that carnaby queen, Rita Tushingham. In my skewed recollection, I thought this woman was some babe. Like Marianne Faithful, but mirabile dictu, not close. She’s a pretty self-deprecating actress of great innate talent. So we watched The Knack… and How to Get it. Kinda like a version of Buster Keaton. These are two very funny movies for free on Netflix. I now believe Rita Tushingham, with the wildly unlikely name, is a lost comic gem. You know Ringo kicking the can around in Hard Day’s Night? Done much better here. And Sir Ralph was most certainly God so far as Terry Gilliam was concerned. And any of you that don’t get Time Bandits? You must be kidding.

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  59. MichaelG said on June 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I’m guessing it wasn’t rutabaga, Cooze. He and his secret boyfriend were probably playing figgy wiggy. It was most likely ginger.

    Rita Tushingham. ‘The Knack and “ Haven’t thought of her for years. Great movie and she was an excellent actress and a babe.

    I have the Indy car race in Iowa on the TV live. They just had the singing of the National Anthem. It was sung by some woman representing the Iowa cornholer’s coalition or some such. Best I’ve heard in years. The Anthem is not a cover song, it is not a country and western song. I’ve thrown curses at the TV for so long that I almost muted this latest attempt. It was very good. Was she a terrific singer? No. Was it excellent? No. But she gave it a helluva try. She sang it straight and she stayed within herself and it came out just fine. I was happy.

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  60. coozledad said on June 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Nancy: I got an idea for a screenplay:
    They goaded him.
    They abused him.
    They taunted him.
    They tempted him.
    They even bullied him.
    But they didn’t count on his Kung Fu grip
    or his rabbit punch.
    He was going to bust that union
    or make a complete ass of himself trying.
    Joe Don Baker
    David “Buford” Prosser

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  61. prospero said on June 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Andd if you care about the Tigew, qnd

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  62. Deborah said on June 25, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    No rain, perfect day and evening. What a great city.

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  63. Sue said on June 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Wisconsin gets weirder by the day. Yesterday Governor Walker was forced to scramble to find another private business to hold his budget signing ceremony (the better to keep those pesky protesters far away). The budget, filled with tax breaks for corporations and businesses, was supposed to be signed at a business that turned out to be owned by a convicted felon.
    His crime? Tax evasion.

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  64. prospero said on June 26, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Sue. That’s very funny, in the way that funny might cause me to think concealed permit. Walker created the budget problem by inking the tax breaks. Then the scumsucker attacked the unions’ pension funds. Who cares you slaved for dogass salaries in a haunted Public School system straight out of Human Centipede. Now we take your pensions. At this point, I’m not sure I care much anymore. Modern Amurrcans seem decidedly too fucking stupid to survive. And they are more than happy with abject racism as the go-to vs. the President. When they all just endured q fucking short-bus bastard appointed by activist Republican judges. The activist judges meme. Man, that one just took a dive. When there actually started to be activist judges. And is one of them identifiabbly liberal? Nope. They are Scalia and his dogass shits that are supposed to be the Chief Justice and just bend over. Seriously, Clwrence Thomas? An original thought? Assholes. people that think the Constitution is a joke. And these moronic sacks of shit believe the President is th wtong color

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  65. prospero said on June 26, 2011 at 11:39 am

    How did that moron actually prevent bridges from collapsing? What a terrific governo Truly q eumbqwwr

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  66. MichaelG said on June 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Just got around to reading Sweet Juniper. His 06-21 post on e-reading is a classic. He’s on Nance’s blogroll.

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  67. prospero said on June 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Why concealed carry permits are an astoundingly bad idea.

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  68. prospero said on June 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Couldn’t a smart lawyer turn this int a bulletproof Constitutional challenge to Citizens United.

    Anybody read Bel Canto, the delightful Ann Patchett novel of a decade ago? This sounds like it might be even better.

    White Dads on Pot. Apropos (sort of ) of Nancy’s pot blog item, this is a terrific piece from NYT Mag, that I came across on the Long Form site, about a trip to Disneyworld where the two dads sneak off occasionally to burn a bomber. Speent three days running there one time between 6/24 and 60 in 1985, with my parents wife and four year old. A lot of our visit is captured in this story, including the preternatural thunderstorm., and the interminable , unbearable Dumbo and Small World rides. (Could have used a little THC.) I sympathize with the part about the double stroller. We rented a single, which was so onerous of weight and bulk, I ditched it in 10 minutes. They would not allow our own stroller, nice and light, but losing the $25 deposit and rental fee seemed preferable to hauling that unwieldy POS around in 102 temperatures.

    For anybody going, my advice is go to Epcot when you first arrive to make lunch reservations. Then do rides in the morning, Epcot in the pm. In my experience those summer monsoons come up in the afternoon and the nations are well represented by comfortable bars. We sat out a huge storm in Mehico with some icy Dos Equis. Another vital piece of information is to hit the Alpine tram when the heat is about to drive everyone to mayhem.

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  69. prospero said on June 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Whatever. I think it’s funny, and seriously, It’s a Small World requires being high. It is the single most annoying piece of shit with no connection to Dumbo. And that Dumbo shit will undoubtedly lead me to crime. There is something wrong with people.

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  70. alex said on June 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I heart New York!

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  71. Dexter said on June 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    alex..huh? 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  72. Julie Robinson said on June 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    In New York the civil right to marry has been extended to all couples regardless of sex.

    Hubby reports that the zipline is going great, and even better, tomorrow our wonderful daughter will be here for a week! I just got off the phone with my own mom and she mentioned how much she had missed me after our trip together was over. Even though she pushes my buttons, she also knows how to tug at my heartstrings.

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  73. Deborah said on June 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    The New York deal is amazing. Pride weekend seems to have been a huge thing this year in Chicago, probably partly as a result of NY. I have so many gay friends that I work with, It makes me cry when I think of it from their perspective. Many of them have been in committed relationships for decades.

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  74. JayZ(the original) said on June 27, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Prospero, thanks for the link to the review of Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder. I enjoyed Bel Canto too, so I will definitely seek out this latest work of hers.

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  75. Halloween Jack said on June 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Wait, was there a Milan prostitution ring that featured an act called the Stallion and the Showgirl?

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