Planking squirrels.

The other day I was riding my bike to the library, a trip of less than a mile, brevity I was grateful for, as it was approximately 450 degrees outside. I was thinking how cold the spring had been, and oh well, Michigan, what are you gonna do, and then I saw this dead squirrel on the sidewalk ahead, splayed. This was in a park.

“Wow, that squirrel died looking just like a pelt. Weird.”

I came closer. The tail twitched, and the dead squirrel jumped up and scampered to safety. It reminded me I’d seen this once before, on a similarly hot day. The squirrel was lying on a picnic table. Every dog I’ve had has sought out cool surfaces to press their bellies on; Spriggy had a tile hearth spot he liked, our old German shepherd Agnes preferred the foyer. So I guess it’s not so strange, and even though I’d gone through my entire life without seeing it until recently, animals do adapt. I did make note that all the ones I’ve seen doing it are the black-coated ones we have around here, who anecdotally seem smarter and more aggressive than their gray cousins.

Then my old neighbor in Fort Wayne, Earl Bowley, posted this on his Facebook. Taken at a local restaurant on, yes, a hot day:

Planking squirrels. What will they think of next?

Its name is Walter, I’m told. Now you know.

Rained all night here, and at the moment all I really want to do is stare out at the puddles, drinking coffee. It’s been so blazing hot of late, the sun so relentless, that it’s nice to raise the blinds for a change and dig it. Or as a certain Seattle-bred left-handed guitar god sang, lay back and groove on a rainy day. (Hendrix must have done little else, in Seattle.) However, we’re promised a 90-degree day once the low pressure moves through, so my guess is, the primary activity of the day will not be grooving, but sweating.

A couple of book notes: I’m working my way through the nightstand selection, “Punching Out: One Year in the Life of a Closing Auto Plant,” and enjoying it very much. Recommended for those of you who’d like to discuss the auto industry, or even the manufacturing economy, with anything other than bumper-sticker phrases. (“The UAW killed GM, really, it’s very simple.” And so on.) The overwhelming impression I get is that building cars and everything large made of metal is anything but, and I stand in awe of the people who do. “Punching Out” is the story of the disassembly of Budd Wheel, a major stamping plant a few miles from my house, which closed for good in 2006. The plant’s equipment was then cut apart and sold, piece by piece and press by press, to companies which then shipped all these items to places like Mexico and India and so forth, for reassembly at other plants, where the evolution of the economy hasn’t quite caught up with ours. Which is to say, where there’s still a growing need for factories and workers.

The author, Paul Clemens, wrote a short version of this for the NYT op-ed page some years back, and I linked to it then. The idea of scrapping, from the illegal street to the respectable factory level, is a pervasive theme in Detroit, and has been for a while. When Kate was still in Brownies, we took a tour of the Ford estate in Grosse Pointe Shores, where Edsel and Eleanor, son and daughter-in-law of Henry, built their Cotswold mansion. The guide pointed out all the details that had been taken from great houses in the real Cotswolds — flooring from this one, windows from that — and I had to smile. Sometimes it seems there’s a finite amount of wealth in the world, and all it does is travel the globe, being bought and sold by those with the means and the need to do so. It’s not that Detroit is a ruin; it’s that its wealth has been taken elsewhere, leaving, in Clemens’ memorable phrase, the working class mopping up after itself.

I sound like a commie, don’t I? Well, I’m just thinking out loud, watching the puddles dimple.

The hour, it grows late. Let’s jump to bloggage, shall we?

“Bridge & Tunnel,” the “Jersey Shore” that wasn’t. A good read from the Village Voice about kids these days, on Staten Island.

I love these things, known on the ‘nets as supercuts: A montage of movie pep-talk-in-the-mirror scenes. Language NSFW.

Tea Party douche who lectures the president on financial responsibility, sued by his ex-wife for $100K in back child support.

House-cleanin’, verb-studyin’, other writin’ awaits the day. Enjoy yours.

Posted at 10:25 am in Current events, Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

52 responses to “Planking squirrels.”

  1. Crabby said on July 28, 2011 at 10:39 am

    This dog knows how to do it:

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  2. Maggie Jochild said on July 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    A Dallas friend who lived in a second story apartment once reported to me on a hot day that she had earlier feared the demise of a friendly squirrel we liked to watch in his tree right outside her bedroom window. She could see his tail and legs drooping from his nest entrance, motionless, with what appeared to be some loss of his hoarded food stash. She put on her glasses for a closer look, wondering who to call for squirrel rescue, and when the tail twitched, she realized he was not only alive, he was airing his unexpectly large reproductive globules in hopes of a passing breeze.

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  3. LAMary said on July 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    My lab and my big male cat sprawl on the bathroom tile when it’s hot.

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  4. Deborah said on July 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    My cats are heat seekers, even on the hottest days they sit in the warmest place they can find. They often lounge on the bed on a sunny afternoon where the all glass wall has a direct western exposure, even when the air isn’t on. It gets pretty hot back there if we don’t close the blinds. They love it.

    edit: I forgot to mention, they are all black too.

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  5. coozledad said on July 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Just about every afternoon I fill an old horsetrough with cold water, and climb in it with a glass of wine mixed with soda water. Some of the chickens, Skinnerbox in particular, demand some of this beverage.
    The crow is the same way. If I visit his pen with a drink, he’ll immerse his beak in it, fluff his feathers, and make the motions of bathing. He likes non-alcoholic drinks, too, but he doesn’t show the same excitement.
    I suppose it’s possible crows might on some occasions find rotting fruit or some other form of natural booze in the wild, but I’ve already decided to make him quit cold turkey.
    Only water and fruit juice from now on.

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  6. Sue said on July 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Folks, I’m sorry to say that this is my state representative, and this kind of thing is just a day at work for him. Just want to say it took years to get the original legislation passed:

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  7. Judybusy said on July 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Two of our cats love this steamy weather–one heads outside as soon as we’re up, an hides in the hostas. The other stays upstairs where it gets toasty. The third heads to the basement floor for the day. The dog lays on the hardwood floor instead of her bed, and has begun to go to our upstairs bedroom to enjoy the last of the air conditioning from our window unit, which we just run at night. Once that’s gone, it’s back dowstairs, and the cat stays up. I used to fear I’d find her dead of heat exhaustion, but after 16 years of this, I think she’ll be OK.

    Me? I’m am super grateful I work in AC.

    I’ll have to keep an eye out for planked squirrels! Crabby-loved the dawg on ice.

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  8. Peter said on July 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Sue, what ticks me off about that story is his insistence that he’s doing it for those poor hobby breeders that have to fear the revenuers. But the current limit is 25 – that’s more than two a month, or that’s about three litters. If you’re pumping out more pups than that, it ain’t a hobby, mister.

    And Nancy, as for Joe Walsh (the tea party guy, not the cocktail party one), it’s just another textbook example of These Guys Have Absolutely No Shame. You know, even if she is 100% wrong, would it kill him just to pay out and shut her up? The fallout from this is far worse than any amount he owed.

    And another thing: The GOP claims to be the party of business; well, when something along these lines happens in business, businessmen pay to make it go away. These goobers are just too stupid or greedy for words.

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  9. Jolene said on July 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Amazing story, Sue. Anybody who is selling more than 25 dogs/year is not a hobby breeder! The last line of the story is terrific.

    Do you think he will get support for this bill?

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  10. Sue said on July 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Peter, I’m telling everyone I know to start calling him “Puppy Mill Pridemore”. That needs to be hung around his neck like Tea Party bling.

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  11. beb said on July 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Detroit was on the TV quite a bit last night. On the Daily Show the actress guess (Weisse?) mentioned that she’s shooting an Oz prequel by the Raimi’s in Detroit. And earlier the host on Rachel Maddow had a long piece on Detroit for having list 25% of its population since the last census. Then in the evening news there was talk about the Mayor new plan to ration city services according to how viable the district is. This replaces his older plan to relocate people from vacant blocks to more populated ones. Then this morning I read that Whole Foods is getting a subsidy to open a store in Detroit, which will be about a mile from a long starting currently healthy grocery business. It’s like paying Wal-Mart to come into your town and drive out all the existing businesses.

    The end of Borders made me realize that I’ve been going to the same bookstore for 25 years. It used to be a Walderbooks before Borders bought, turing into a Borders Expressed. It survived the first round of closing but when the whole chain tanked….. For those 25 years I’m almost always drop by on Friiday night, after work to see what was new. It’sd going to be weird to have Friday come up and have no where to go. (I mean besides directly home.)

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  12. Sue said on July 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Jolene: he’s been working hard on his Arizona-style show me your papers bill and was a big part of the voter suppression bill. He voted against the concealed carry bill because it included horrible things like training and permitting requirements.
    They love him around here.
    And by the way, here is what you can expect when you try to get a voter id at a Wisconsin DMV office (after they close several of them, but that is yet another story). Make sure there is enough activity on your banking statement, apparently that’s a potential red flag.

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  13. ROGirl said on July 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    So the option for Detroit was either no grocery stores with fresh food or Whole Paycheck? What about Kroger or Hollywood or even Meijer’s?

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  14. Bitter Scribe said on July 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    My dad worked at a UAW plant for more than 15 years. He never complained about the work (mostly because he never complained about anything), but once he got my sister’s then-boyfriend a job there and the guy told her, “You have no idea how horrible that work is.”

    Whenever I see some douchebag prattle about overpaid UAW workers, I wish I could just put him on the welding line for 15 minutes.

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  15. Julie Robinson said on July 28, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Indiana has a similar law, and it includes a proviso for name changes. This means I’ll have to bring in my marriage certificate, among other documents. If you’ve been married more than once you have to bring in every single marriage certificate and divorce decree. The pastor who married us made a mistake filling out our certificate and used white-out to cover it over. Is it going to pass muster? I’m dreading the experience, but not as much as if I had more than one marriage!

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  16. prospero said on July 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    You guys know that’s Stevie Winwood playing the Hammond on the Electric Ladyland version of Rainy Day? I always put on “Fixing a Hole”.

    Peter, I’m sure Joe Walsh never met a cocktail party he didn’t like, but I wouldn’t call him a “cocktail party guy”. Seems like more of a forty and a blunt type of guy. I’m thinking the real Joe Walsh ought to track down this poseur Congressman with the Kindergarten F in economics and kick his ass. I mean, the real Joe Walsh named an album “The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get”. Which Joe Walsh would better serve the country in the House? Seems obvious which one has more active neurons. Same one that’s been destroying them for years.

    This asshole on fiscal responsibility is like Ken “Mr. Diebold” Blackwell (lying like a turd is just such a part of these assholes’ lack of character and anti-patriotism, they can’t help themselves) on election fraud. This new Joe Walsh is a fucking moron tha tdespises the President for being Kenyan. Somebody just needs to ask him in public, he will spew.

    I’d say if Ron Mexico is a 9/10 on the purely heinous scale, the breeder of those puppies is the full boat. As disgusting as it’s possible for a human being to be. And I should admit to the eternal moron Joe Wilson. Chief uppity-nigger-hunter of the House. Anybody says this isn’t about race is the biggest liar you will ever come across,

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

    Sue, Wow that voter suppression in Wisconsin video you linked to is outrageous. I sent it to everyone I know. Kudos to the woman who made the video. I hope this goes viral if it hasn’t already. Everyone here please spread it around as much as you can. “this is what voter supression looks like”. Amen.

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  18. Deborah said on July 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    OMG Julie, I just read your post about Indiana. How can we stop this trend. This is more than outrageous, this is criminal. I always said that the Republicans know that they’re policies are very unpopular and the only way to get elected, besides spinning and lying is to suppress the vote. I had no idea things have gone this far. I have a new cause!

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  19. Jolene said on July 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Julie, are you saying that even though you have a state-issued driver’s license, you have to bring additional documentation to obtain a voter ID?

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  20. paddyo' said on July 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Agreed, Sue’s “this is what voter suppression looks like” video is astounding. Ten times worse than the root-canal procedure we all go through just to get or renew our driver’s licenses. The “bank activity” test alone is beyond despicable — not to mention presumably illegal?

    Nance, one of the all-time grand “scrappers” (in the Edsel and Eleanor style) in the state of my birth was William Randolph Hearst. He bought, disassembled, and reassembled whole European castle rooms, up to the ceilings and down to the floors, for his famous San Simeon castle on the central California coast.

    Oh, and the squirrels in my yard just “plank” in the trees. They straddle a crabapple branch and splay out arms and legs.

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  21. Deborah said on July 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Embarrassing, I realize in my former post I wrote “they’re” instead of “thier”. I was furious while I was typing and hit submit and then went to get some lunch. I hate it when I do that.

    edit: and I probably do it way more than I think I do.

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  22. paddyo' said on July 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Since posting the previous note, I heard from an old ex-colleague/friend who moved to Madison, WI a few years ago. Jim says it’s bad just for driver’s licenses there, too:
    “I had looked on the Web site, but when I got to DMV (four years ago) they had changed the rules. I had a fucking passport, an Alabama license, and a gas bill — but it wasn’t enough to show I was a citizen now living in Wisconsin. I had to go home and get my mortgage. I felt like I had to fight to become a resident.”

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  23. Dorothy said on July 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    the Vimeo piece missed my favorite man-in-the mirror conversation:

    How come all you whities got such a tight ass?!

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  24. Rana said on July 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    They don’t need our money, they don’t need our labor, and increasingly, they don’t even need our votes. What happened to “for/of/by the people” again?

    My two animal temperature gauges for heat are splayed squirrels (here they mostly sag over tree limbs, but I’ve surprised a few on the ground – and always feel bad for making them get up) and panting birds. When you see both, you know it’s hot.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on July 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Jolene, you can use your license to vote in Indiana, but to renew that license you need all kinds of new IDs, no matter how long you’ve had a license or lived in the state. I had to get a new birth certificate because my old one didn’t have an embossed seal, which Iowa wasn’t using back in the 50’s. It cost $15 and took six weeks to arrive, so if I had needed to get an ID quickly to vote, I would have been out of luck.

    The process of getting the new birth certificate went like this. I downloaded and printed the application, then had to get it notarized before mailing it in. What ID did I use for that? Why, of course I used my Indiana driver’s license. If you think there’s a problem there that you could drive a big truck through, you’re right. And yet we are told this is all for homeland security.

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  26. Sue said on July 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I imagine this will come as no surprise to those of you in the south, but myohmy, does the heat ever cook compost. It’s almost August and I still have one empty bin. I fill a bin (actually a garbage can) to the brim and it’s down by half in 8 days. Amazing.
    So, compost volume is my wow-it’s-hot indicator.

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  27. coozledad said on July 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    They stopped the voter ID thing here in NC, because the tea trash didn’t get quite as many daughterboffers into the state legislature as they needed. It was close, though. My estimation of Bev Perdue has grown considerably. I thought she was one of those piddling Jim Hunt Democrats, another corporate doormat with a soft racist core, because I’ve been conditioned to expect that from my party at the gubernatorial and state legislative levels. But she’s read her history and she’s got a spine. It’s a fucking miracle.

    There should be prohibitively steep fees for animal breeding of any sort, to offset the costs of trapping, housing and euthanizing the millions of unwanted animals that result. Feral cats and dogs just serve to geometrically expand the needless and grotesque ecological damage wrought by dumbass humans.
    Pridemore’s probably the kind of ass who’d be at home gassing a chamber full of animals, or dispatching them with a rifle, the way they used to do at our old county shelter.
    Reminds me of the old Firesign Theater line: “No one can stop you from being dog-killer this time, dad. You’re a natural!”

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  28. Scout said on July 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Speaking of Whole Paycheck, this resignation letter from a disgruntled employee is epic. Although she(?) goes way over the top sometimes, there are certain points that ring true. Makes me glad that I have a Sprouts close by.

    hmm, and now upon further inspection I see there is follow up to this at gawker. Very interesting reading.

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  29. Connie said on July 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I moved to Michigan last fall, my Michigan driver’s license came in the mail last week. It took me five trips to the Secretary of State’s office to get it. Birth certificate, social security card, multiple proofs of address. It should have only taken 4, but they entered my address and the license they sent me was returned and shredded, or so they assume, because they don’t keep track of those.

    It also took my husband five tries, failed with a birth certificate photocopy, then couldn’t come up with enough address proofs. They finally accepted my address proofs plus an original with seal copy of our 33 year old marriage certificate.

    They didn’t take away my Indiana license but they did punch a hole in it.

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  30. coozledad said on July 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Well, Christie’s fantasy candidacy is kaput. I’m betting he’s got chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder.
    I understand Rick Perry’s got a similar problem, but getting his lieutenant governor’s dick out of his throat is a fairly routine operation.

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  31. ROGirl said on July 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I saw a car today with an Indiana license plate with “In God we Trust” taking up about half the plate. Do atheists get to express their views too?

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  32. prospero said on July 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Rana, Extremely well-said. Christie is a disgusting fat piece of shit. Like obese on purpose. What sort of person does this? Hope that is done once and forever. All Bozos on that bus.

    Connie, you don’t get to vote. Because Get outta Denver, baby, you look just like a commiee and you might be a member, Get outta Denver. The shit that GOP pulled in Volusia Co., Florida was fairly astounding. They closed polling places, they shut down RR crossings, the Painted Lady cheated like a bitch. Fla was robbed in 2000, and Scalia basically took this to the bank, This is hilarious. Ohio was grand theft in 2004. These atr facts everybody has to deal with. So the aholes that ran hedge funds [ay half what I do for maybe a quarter of the work. Why don’t those aholes actually pay their fair share? 35% from these assholes ill-gotten gains, and the deficit is long gone by about 2015. Is somebody sleeping at the switch on the

    gop side? They don’t know about this shit? They don’t understand the looney Oil depletion bullshit? Getting rid of all this shit is raising taxes, Fuck these assholes.according to Republican shitheels, Good luck with this sort of crap if it means making children’s lives better. They need to empower rich oil axxholes.. Make the ridiculously wealthy pay the price.
    And I’m pretty sure Jimi raised a carnival wherever he went. I think there was an aura. He was tall, thin and handsome. And unusual. I think things turned out well.

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  33. prospero said on July 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Is stopping this shit really a tax increase? Is this what teabaggers are protecting? Are these bastards joking? Yep, Oil Companies and Hedge Fund Managers that pretty much don’t pay taxes.

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  34. coozledad said on July 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    This answers at least one question for me: Why does loudly self-proclaimed Het Bill O’Reilly pleasure himself with a vibrator?

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  35. Crazycatlady said on July 28, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    At the Nursing Home in Indiana that my mom-in-law is in, the garden squirrels are extremely overfed and spoiled. These morbidly obese squirrels don’t want peanuts, no crackers, not even cookies! Nothing is good enough for them! What the heck ARE they eating? Meat? Lard biscuits? Dunno!

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  36. alex said on July 28, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Ah, the priesthood (or among protestants, the pulpit)—western civilization’s hiding place for its homosexuality.

    In my Episcopalian boarding school I was forced to eat toilet paper and pretend it was the body of Christ. It’s how I became a Freudian instead of a Christian.

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  37. moe99 said on July 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    We need some humor again:

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  38. Dexter said on July 29, 2011 at 1:32 am

    When I was done with the army and heading to school at what is now IUPUFW I think,and illness caused me to lose my part time job and I couldn’t devise a way to live on no money, I set my sights on getting into a union plant instead, and a year later was hired into a UAW factory. I never even tried any temporary foreman jobs but I jumped at every union job I could get, and I served a long time as a shop steward and I was a local trustee for two terms also.
    Also, I couldn’t get enough of the history of US labor, and I read everything I could find on the Reuther brothers and all the histories of the great labor movement . It was heady stuff to me, but I must report I was so far left , so in tune with the spirit of the early days, I was alone, except for one other young up-and-comer, who ended up being an international rep for the union .
    With my background then, I want to tell you about my favorite worker-book, by a former worker in Pontiac named Ben Hamper.
    Michael Moore put Ben on the cover of Mother Jones magazine during the very short stay Moore had out there.
    After much critical acclaim , Ben’s story of life on the assembly line became a book called “Rivethead”.
    To read it today would be awkward; much has changed since the book was published. Things just are not done like they were done in Ben’s time on the line. However, as a historical look at the assembly lines of the 1980s, this is the book for you to read.

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  39. beb said on July 29, 2011 at 7:42 am

    ROGirl @13: I should have responded last night when I read your comment. Hopefully you’ll drop in this morning to see what’s new.

    While it is true that Detroit does not have a national food chain grocery store that does not mean that they do not have grocery stores or grocery stores offering fresh produce.
    Detroit has independently owned stores that have found ways to be successful in a hostile retail environment (aka pilferage). The thrust of the article I read yesterday about that ( pointed out that the big-box Whole Foods was opening about a mile from a successful grocery which is not getting a $5 million subsidy to exist.

    Here’s a follow up article

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  40. ROGirl said on July 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Beb, I think Whole Foods has symbolic power as an upscale destination shopping experience lured to Detroit to show that it has a customer base and can bring back the middle class (maybe in 10 years), and it comes at the expense of the stores that aren’t getting the subsidy.

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  41. Dexter said on July 29, 2011 at 8:48 am*240/squirrel+cooling+off.jpg

    Beating the heat.

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  42. Judybusy said on July 29, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I’m reading a history of Rome organized around five famlies that ruled and built massively from the 1200s through the 1800s. Each one had a pope at some point, which was tremendously useful in enriching the families. There are numerous examples in which the author states such-and-such bishop/priest/pope was likely homosexual. As well, the power of the church was just astonishing. No news to me, but it’s fascinating reading.

    Like many cities, we also have a some shortage of grocery stores in the city. However, we have numerous farmers’ markets scattered throughout the city on various days. Five of them accept food stamps, and more are getting set up to do so. We also have a huge store, Rainbow, in a fairly poor neighborhood that’s on many bus lines and the lightrail. Transportation is an equally important factor in making it easy to get good food. I didn’t own a car till I was 29, so I know this first hand. Proximity to bus lines and grocery stores was always a factor in where I chose to live.

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  43. Connie said on July 29, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Here’s more info on the Oz movie prequel currently being filmed in metro Detroit: . Stars include James Franco, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams.

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  44. coozledad said on July 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

    judybusy: It seems like in more densely populated areas, it would be possible to organize a buying club and either arrange with city government to secure or rent a dropoff location. We drive a little over half an hour to pick up our bulk purchase from United Natural Foods, and the meet the truck driver at a parking lot about halfway through his route.
    It would be easy to clear the minimum purchase order with a few families, and it doesn’t require a retail space.

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  45. basset said on July 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I know “Rivethead” well… Hamper was in “Roger & Me,” shooting baskets by himself. Now aware of anything he’s written since, though.

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  46. Joe Kobiela said on July 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I read rivethead years ago,good read. Spending the day in Lexington, just got back from Keenland, watched them exercise the pony’s this morning, nice track and grounds.
    Pilot Joe

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  47. Jolene said on July 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Judybusy: What’s the name of your book?

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  48. Deborah said on July 29, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Did anybody watch the president’s speech this morning? I tried to watch it on a live feed but was unable to. I’m really curious what he said and can’t find much on-line.

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  49. Judybusy said on July 29, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Jolene, it’s The Families Who Made Rome. I really wish I’d kept the map that came with my RomaPass to supplement the not-great maps in the book. Damn, sometimes I just recycle too zealously! The writing’s smooth, engaging, and not dry. Each chapter tells the history of the family and then “walks” you through the various neighborhoods where their buildings still remain. Makes me want to go back to Rome for a month and see it all!

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  50. Jolene said on July 29, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Thanks, I’ll add it to my list.

    Deborah, the speech was as you’d expect: We need to solve this problem. We’re running out of time. I and mty staff will work with both Repubs and Dems to get this done. Call your Congressman. Keep the pressure on.

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  51. Jolene said on July 29, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Deborah: Here is the video.

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  52. Rana said on July 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    ROGirl – about the “God” plates – no, there’s no equivalent for atheists, unless you count the slogan-less regular plate. There were some threats of suing on church-state separation grounds, but, as you can see, they came to nothing.

    I tend to avoid cars with those plates when I’m driving. There’s a decent correlation between a car having one of those plates and the driver being incompetent. There are also a lot of minivans with them, but those don’t seem to be noticeably worse than other minivan drivers.

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