The bugs.

I can’t let fishfly season go by without at least one photo documentation:

That’s from a few days ago, the typical leavings of a single night. They’re pretty much done now, but they had one last hurrah last weekend, when the Detroit Symphony Orchestra was playing on the shores of Lake St. Clair. It was a two-night gig. The first night they played the first half of the program and took intermission while night fell and the hatch came. Within minutes, the insects covered the players’ music — they’re attracted to anything white — and, it’s safe to say, were probably arousing a wide gamut of emotions among them, as well as the audience. The following night they dropped the intermission and shortened the program, so as to get everything wrapped before the disaster movie started.

Stupid goddamn Mondays. I worked, on something, all damn weekend. Except for Saturday night, when we went to the Concert of Colors down at the orchestra hall for the Don Was All-Star Detroit Revue. It wasn’t bad, and if it skewed old, well, that was the audience. Martha Reeves was the finale, still workin’ it after all these years. Her voice is shot, but she was able to shake it on down for “Dancin’ in the Street,” helped along by a vigorous horn section and the love of the crowd. They rolled out a cake for her 70th birthday, happening that very night, and she didn’t look entirely thrilled about it. Kate came with us, which I thought was game of her. I am shlepping her to Cleveland on Tuesday for the Warped Tour, so she owes me one.

Warped will not be held in an air-conditioned orchestra hall, either. In fact, the forecast for the rest of the week is for temps in the 90s. Groan.

So as I must away, a brief bit of bloggage and we’ll try to do better tomorrow.

Why there are more typos in books. Duh:

Editors I spoke to confirmed my guesses. Before digital technology unsettled both the economics and the routines of book publishing, they explained, most publishers employed battalions of fulltime copy editors and proofreaders to filter out an author’s mistakes. Now, they are gone.

I have an RSS feed that picks up every mention of Grosse Pointe on Twitter, excluding “Grosse Pointe Blank,” a cult movie that will live forever in film geekdom. It blew up overnight with a story in the Detroit News, about our school district’s rejection of a Head Start program at one elementary. But all the tweets were from automated feeds aimed at stock traders. I couldn’t figure out why, until I remembered the elementary principal’s name — Penny Stocks. A useful reminder how much of what we now rely on to tell us what people want to know is run by robots.

Posted at 8:58 am in Detroit life, Media, Same ol' same ol' |

37 responses to “The bugs.”

  1. Jolene said on July 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Speaking of new things in publishing, a notice re the possibility of renting Kindle versions of textbooks popped up on my Facebook wall. Could be a partial solution to the high price of textbooks, which some folks were talking about a few weeks back. Note that Kindle texts can be read on regular computers, as well as the Kindle machine, so lots of possibilities for using these texts.

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  2. brian stouder said on July 18, 2011 at 10:07 am

    And speaking of The Bugs, and of electronics*, one fairly quiet one that buzzes around nn.c from time to time is on display below (in the next lower post).

    The comment counter (currently) says there are 58 comments, but there are 57 on display. I betcha the 58th one is only available to the premium-package subscribers, and not for the hoi polloi up here in the cheap seats…but we digress!

    Anyway, this week will be a short one for me. Friday is The Procedure**, so it will be a hungry Thursday followed by a lost weekend. But, rather than complain, it is undeniably true that others have a harder row to hoe, this hot week (such as my oldest son’s wife, who will be giving birth to my newest granddaughter, sometime today)

    * does anybody refer to this stuff as “electronics” anymore?

    ** colonoscopy

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  3. Dorothy said on July 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Fingers crossed for a good outcome on the scope, Brian! I won’t really be able to type very well for about 3 months so I’m doing so now. Tomorrow is my surgery on my left thumb, and I’ll be tapping keys with one hand for a good while. Guess I better learn to be more succinct with my comments!

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  4. Deborah said on July 18, 2011 at 11:30 am

    It is horribly hot today, I wore a t-shirt and yoga pants for my walk to work this morning, brought a whole change of clothing including underwear. I was soaking wet when I got here and it was so nice to change into fresh clean clothes after swabbing off with wet paper towels. I will be doing this all week because it’s going to get even hotter than this later in the week. We have a shower at work but for some reason that creeps me out, I can’t imagine showering at work.

    Have any of you heard about the Marilyn sculpture that got installed in a plaza near the river on Michigan Ave? It has caused a lot of controversy, some think it’s sexist. It doesn’t bother me, I walk past it on my way to and from work, I’ll get plenty tired of it since it will be here till next spring.

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  5. Jeff Borden said on July 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Speaking of loathesome insects. . .

    Those who were worried about the influence of Rupert Murdoch on the august Wall Street Journal can see for themselves what this rancid sac of pus has done to the world’s premier business newspaper. The fawning “interview” with Murdoch last week was horrible enough, but the editorial in today’s editions is simply one of the saddest, stupidest and most offensive ever printed, which is going some given the way the Journal went after Bill Clinton. The whole phone hacking scandal, you see, is being pushed by the Guardian and the BBC for reasons of competitive and political advantage. It’s just a ghastly read all around.

    This filthy little man corrupts all he touches. I relish the day when he sinks beneath the surface of the cesspool he created. . .and I honestly believe it is going to happen. This has gotten too big for even mighty Murdoch to survive. Shareholders are going to start demanding his head and soon. Who knows? News Corp. could wind up with an honest leader.

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  6. MarkH said on July 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Dorothy, I have a left thumb issue I have to take care of this week as well. An old injury form 30+ years ago I never nurtured properly. And they are probably going to go ahead and do the long put-off carpel tunnel repair. S’up with yours?

    Brian, if this is your first, it’s good you’re having it Friday so you can relax and recover the weekend. Don’t believe those that tell you you’ll bounce back from it in a day. Here’s hoping the results are good. I’ve got mine going next month.

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  7. Peter said on July 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Brian, as a colonoscopy vet, I got to tell you that the Go Lightly the day before is far worse than anything that happens during the procedure.

    I put off getting the stuff until the last possible minute, and when I read the instructions found out that the stuff doesn’t taste as bad if you make it the day before and refrigerate it. NOW you tell me! That stuff tasted like saran wrap.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on July 18, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I had zero problems with my colonoscopy aside from dealing with my hunger issues. Luckily, my procedure was set for early morning, so we repaired immediately to a little diner on Ravenswood called Paulin’s, where I ate everything on the menu. If you’re using the Fleet system to evacuate, you should do fine. It’s not even that much to drink.

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  9. alex said on July 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Deborah, I had to laugh when I saw that sculpture. Seward Johnson’s work was on display all over downtown Auburn, Indiana, last summer and featured an outsize piece depicting a man and woman dancing and kicking up their heels in nineteenth-century garb. Otherwise, the streets were full of lifelike, human-scale sculptures that really could make you do a double-take.

    I was there when the publishing houses let the bean counters take charge. “Proofreaders? Copy editors? Who needs ’em? Computers have spell-check.” I actually heard a woman in management say this in complete earnest.

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  10. LAMary said on July 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Half knocked out on demerol, I tried to slug the gastroenterologist the last time I had a colonoscopy. I was awake just enough to know someone was messing with a private part of my body but not awake enough to remember where I was and what was going on. I missed, since he was, ahem, behind me.
    Notes have been added to my medical file regarding using something stronger than demerol the next time.

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  11. prospero said on July 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I don’t suppose any of the GPschool Board members have children attending the Poupard school with the blappeople. It’s an ugly consideration, but the refusal of the gratis Head Start program sounds like a kneejerk reversion to Raygunism. Ronaldus himself waged fiscal war on Head Start back when ketchup was a vegetable, for no apparent reason. Head Start is an undeniably successful program (pdf file) which costs next to nothing. Opposing Head Start is American conservative political thinking at its nadir of mindlessness.

    Grosse Pointe Blank is a personal favorite of mine. Subtle, funny as hell, outstanding performance by John Cusack. (What’s new?) Shit, the guy made Con Air somewhat watchable. And Minnie Driver is always worth watching.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on July 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Alex, that’s why there’s at least one typo in every book I read these days. (And even more in ebooks.) Sheesh.

    Good luck to everyone with their medical procedures this week. I’m having a crown done on Wednesday, which is uncomfortable but painful only when paying the bill.

    Besides lots of phone chatter with family and watching the newest Harry Potter movie, I’d have to say that the highlight of my weekend was consuming the first local sweet corn. Sweet corn is the single best thing about summer, and I’ve been seeing the pathetic stuff from Florida but holding out for the real thing. Our 9 YO nephew was visiting and I was about to teach him to ding like a typewriter at the end of each row, when I realized it would have no meaning to him. Alas.

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  13. Kirk said on July 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    My next medical procedure isn’t for a couple of weeks yet, but it’s a sleep study. Never had one before.

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  14. Dorothy said on July 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    MarkH my issue is osteoarthritis in the thumb joints, where they bump into the bone that connects to the wrist. I have it in both hands. They’re taking out that bone that’s rubbing up against another bone (no cartilage so it’s painful as hell these days), removing a tendon from my arm (I/we all have 11 more so it’s not an issue), they’ll roll up the tendon and put it in the space where that bone was. Two weeks in a heavy bandage/dressing, then I get a hard cast, and four weeks after that a splint for 2 months. I can only take off the splint when I’m showering. Physical therapy et. al. will follow. Everyone thinks it’s carpal tunnel when I tell them I’m having surgery – EVERYone. I get the impression most people have never heard of what I’m getting done, but it’s fairly common.

    Edit: Oooh girls – whoever recommended the Wendy McClure book “The Wilder Life” – I loved it! Finished it at 4:30 AM when I could not sleep this morning. I hope the insomnia stops once I get over this surgery. I’m a bundle of anxiety these days, even though I am glad I’m getting the arthritic thumb taken care of. It’s just the nervousness of hoping the surgery goes well, and I don’t screw it up by tripping over one of the dogs, or something dumb like that.

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  15. Bitter Scribe said on July 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I now work for a publishing company where not only am I the only staffer for two magazines, there is no one–I mean literally not a living soul–reading my copy before it goes into print. Not a reassuring situation.

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  16. Judybusy said on July 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Good luck to all having medical things done this week!

    The highlights of my weekend were spent in Denver, celebrating my older brother’s 50th, and watching the the women’s world cup final with some nice in-laws. Sadly, I missed the super intense ending, as I’d agreed to go the Botanical Garden with my mom….Wandering around in 97 degrees was, uh, overrated. Now, back in MN, we get a free sauna when we step outside.

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  17. Sue said on July 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Dorothy, speaking of books, I just finished the 500+ page “Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings” by Mary Henley Rubio. Maybe it’s because I’ve been an L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables) fan forever, but I could not put it down. To me it had all the intensity of a novel – what a story.
    I knew Maud never found her version of Gilbert, but I never knew her life was so awful. How she presented such a confident, composed and successful face to the world while barely holding her private life together – for decades! – is beyond me. If it was a movie it would have starred Joan Crawford. Geez.

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  18. Colleen said on July 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Since we’re sharing colonoscopy stories…I had one about a month ago, and aside from being STARVING and thirsty by the time the procedure took place in the afternoon, I was back to normal that evening, no painful, uh, after effects or anything. Demerol and versed are GOOOOOD. The prep was the worst part, and even that wasn’t as bad as the first one I had. Good luck!

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  19. brian stouder said on July 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I will be glad when this medical experience is behind me (so to speak); honestly, I’m most stressed about the purge. I plan on weighing myself before the fast, and then at the nadir, just to see how big my swing is (so to speak).

    Aside from that, here’s a genuine load of shit (so to speak), regarding Indiana’s unconstitutional (state constitution) school voucher law:

    two excerpts:

    Kendra Miller has four children in Fort Wayne Community Schools , but she’s always had her eye on Blackhawk Christian Schools . She has six kids and without vouchers, private schools were not an option. “We just think for our family we might be suited for a different school that up until this year wasn’t even a possibility,” she said. She added that Blackhawk shares the same religious outlook as her family and she see that as a strength.

    And then this (with emphasis added by me)

    Linda Pearson, a Blackhawk Christian School principal, has been meeting with families since Memorial Day, families who are interested in the school and not sure if they qualify. She said first the family needs to be a good fit for the school, then a good match for the state’s income guidelines before she can even have them apply to the school.

    “the family needs to be a good fit for the school”. Hmmmmm. I’m guessing English Language Learners (ie – Burmese students, and latinos) would present a less-than-good-fit to a private school, eh? And yet, every dollar these vouchers cost will come directly out of our public school budgets, even as our public schools’ missions and requirements and mandates not only do NOT reduce – they increase each and every year.

    We really do seem to still be plunging deeper beneath the sea of go-to-hell politics, these days. I suppose we’ll scrape the bottom at some point, but we’re not there yet

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  20. Julie Robinson said on July 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Isn’t Wendy McClure delightful? My thanks also for the recommendation.

    Dorothy, facing a surgery/recovery period like that would give me insomnia too. My dad lost an arm as a child and he was an amazing typist despite it. He also did woodworking and even wallpapering (insert joke about the one-armed paper hanger here). I hope you’ll learn to compensate half as well as he did, it sounds like you’ll have plenty of time to practice!

    Edit: I wonder how much of a “good fit for a school” means “don’t disagree when the science class teacher brings up creationism”.

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  21. coozledad said on July 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    This must be one of those David Kelly style suicides. Just an unfortunate coincidence:

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  22. Dorothy said on July 18, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Delightful definitely describes her writing style, Julie. I found myself laughing quite a bit when reading it. I loved the way she described the things her boyfriend said. It reminded me very much of the relationship my daughter and her boyfriend have.

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  23. Suzanne said on July 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Best part of my..ahem…procedure was, after me c*apping my guts out for 12 hours, eating or drinking nothing for nearly as long a time, and having the…ahem…procedure scheduled for late morning, the nurse had trouble finding a vein because, gosh! my veins were collapsed and she seemed surprised. Gee Whiz!! Do you suppose that was because there were no longer any fluids in my entire body??? Beyond that, I remember very little and ate like a horse afterwards.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on July 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I’m really believing that this scandal is going to force Rupert to give up the reins, Cooz. There are tons more stories to come. . .the testimony from all the rats who have been arrested. . .and, as noted, the stock price is being savaged. Sooner or later, there is going to be a move afoot to get rid of the whole fucking Murdoch clan.

    If this happens, will Sean Hannity’s head explode? A man can dream.

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  25. Peter said on July 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Re: Michigan Avenue Marilyn

    The Tribune’s art critic is railing about this thing like he’s never heard of Seward Johnson, and this guy has been pumping out the lifelike sculptures for decades – I remember his ads from the AIA Journal, and that’s been out of print for quite some time.

    he did the sculptures in front of the Rock’n’Roll McD’s – Ronald and a couple of angelic kids, and let me tell you, Ronald looks creeeeepy!

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  26. coozledad said on July 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Borden: I was just thinking this morning how much the blowhards at Fox put me in mind of the folks you might see in a Weegee photograph; bespoke clothed trash like Eric Bolling, who wouldn’t look out of place with his brains leaking into a storm drain after a convulsion within the organization. Most of their presenters either look like software company convention hookers or some douche trying out for a part as Sammy Gravano.
    It’s not just me, either. It appears to be part of the HR dynamic at all levels of the company.

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  27. Joe Kobiela said on July 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Google Dave Barry,read his take on the procedure. He called it the night of a thousand waterfalls.
    Pilot Joe

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  28. Deborah said on July 18, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Peter, I’ve always disliked the J. Seward Johnson bronzes that sit on park benches and the like, they’re super creepy. I sort of like his new schtick with the overscaled people. I like big stuff, like the Claes Oldenburg sculptures. Did you know that J. Seward is part of the Johnson & Johnson clan? At least that’s what I’ve been told.

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  29. Hank Stuever said on July 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    @Alex, @Julie, and others: Truly these are dark days for people who put a premium on the high art of copy editing and proofreading. I also find mistakes in books — whether published in 2011 or, as I recently noticed, in a bestseller published in 1975.

    I can’t speak for all publishing houses, but on both books I’ve written (the second one was only 18 months ago), there was plenty of good editing going on at every stage.

    This included a terrific copy edit from the publisher’s hired gun, a woman named Barbara Wood. It was wonderfully retro: double-spaced manuscript pages secured with crossed rubber bands came to me via FedEx, with 10 working days for me to OK or stet in red pencil all her clearly marked changes; to answer her many excellent queries of fact, style and grammar; and, finally, to admire her ability to disentangle some ugly sentences. There were also rules about how to staple new copy inserts to the “live” page, etc.

    This was followed by galley proofs and one more chance to catch typos, which I treated as seriously as a heart attack. Late in the game, I saw a PDF proof of my book jacket and noticed an “em”-dash had been typeset as a hyphen. When I told the production manager, she told me that the in-house proofreader had already caught it.

    That was when I let go and felt the burden lift. All those unsung heroes at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt — EDITORS who are working in publishing, IN THIS CENTURY, working even as rumors of the company’s bankruptcy swirled around them. This is why I think it’s unfair to make blanket statements that nobody is editing books anymore. My dumb little book was lavished with attention to detail.

    Granted, I like all that stuff — red pencils, minutiae, type breaks, etc. Which, if I’m reading Heffernan correctly, makes me less of an ideas guy and more of a systems guy.

    I have author friends who hate the production stage — they find it sickening to have to face their own words in still another draft and often just glance at copy-edits and galley proofs before sending them back late anyhow. These are often brilliant but harried digerati of the 21st century who just wish it could all be as simple as uploading Google docs and jpegs to the WordPress account. Before you know it, that _will_ be the entire publishing process.

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  30. brian stouder said on July 18, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Joe – I seem to recall Nance highlighting that very Barry article, and it made a big impression upon me. It was quite funny at the time, but now I’d be leaning more toward the terror (an indispensible part of any humor) than the laughs (or the ‘yucks’ rather than the yuks)

    Alex – a year ago, when friend-of-NN.c Laura Lippman came to the library in Carmel, I rolled down there and was quite taken by several life-size mannequins (or sculptures?) strategically placed around town. My fave was one consisting of the classic WWII-era sailor and his girl embraced in a big, leaning kiss; all of them made you look, and look again!

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  31. ROGirl said on July 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Suzanne, your experience sounds a lot like mine, except that my procedure was scheduled for the morning. Once the stuff started moving through your system there was no stopping it. That part was a lot worse than the procedure itself. I was out for that. When they woke me up I asked if the doctor had done the colonoscopy.

    And weak with hunger, I had some coffee that morning, which I spit out in the sink without swallowing.

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  32. John G. Wallace said on July 18, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    @Julie – The Florida sweet corn is fine if you are in Florida and it’s fresh. I think that’s the case with any sweet corn. I used to enjoy the Indiana sweet corn, but my most objective foodie preference would be for New Jersey sweet corn and New Jersey tomatoes.

    @Brian S – good luck with the procedure, I also agree the Go Lightly drink is the worst part, my advice is chug it down. I was sedated but awake for my colonoscopy – finding a clean healthy colon my GI decided to do another upper endoscopy tight afterwards despite me stating beforehand that I would not consent to that without the propofel. He did it anyway, I became fully awake in the middle of the procedure and needless to say it was the end of our doctor patient relationship and had I had better footing and didn’t have a tube down my throat gagging me it would have been the doctor’sgood fortune to be close to the ER.

    It took a hematologist to figure out I had a clotting factor disorder, but the mystery low hemoglobin levels stumped the entire ER staff, my GI,and the only doctor who had a clue was my regular GP.

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  33. Sherri said on July 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    From the Heffernan article and others I’ve read about publishing today, I get the sense that the problem is more than just a lack of copy editors, though that is a problem. It seems like the traditional publishers have not updated their processes to deal with a situation where intermediate stages of a manuscript are not discrete and well-defined by being a stack of paper. In other words, I get the feeling that they lack good version control systems with audit trails for managing digital data.

    Or at least that’s the best explanation I’ve been able to come up with for why ebooks that are published simultaneously with hardcovers still have more typos.

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  34. Deborah said on July 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Hilarious, the undefeated, defeated,

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  35. Linda said on July 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Brian @19:
    Re: the Indiana voucher plan. I was reading a pro-voucher blog where parents were bitching up a storm because the vouchers could only go to schools that met certain standards, which VIOLATED OUR FREEDOM OF CHOICE. Because if the public doesn’t pony up to send your kids to a crappy private school, your freedom is violated.

    Also: this choice article on the campaign to get a Mandarin-teaching school in an affluent town as a charter school. Because everybody should pay for the right of affluent parents to send their kids to a Mandarin Chinese-teaching school. On the taxpayer’s dime:

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  36. DellaDash said on July 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    12-year cicadas swarmed Nashville this summer. They’re gorgeous, red and black with metallic glints. But crunchy underfoot.

    I was such a space cadet as a young girl, immersing myself over and over again in the pen-and-ink illustrated world of Green Gables on idyllic Prince Edward Island…yearning…not to have Anne’s redheaded pluck, but her vast and oh so seemingly elusive imagination.

    It’s occurred to me lately that ‘Fahrenheit 451’ was prophetic in a twisted, unforeseen way. We’re all witnessing the black smoke of book-burnings; but it’s not the content (literature and ideas) that’s being destroyed, rather the format/media (with all its combustible trappings) through which it’s conveyed.

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  37. Little Bird said on July 19, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Speaking of Green Gables, I very much remember reading the books. Some details stand out more than others. For some reason the mouse drowning in the milk stands out the most. I don’t know why.

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