OK, now I’ve seen everything (or, rather, Hank Stuever has): There’s now a competitive league for beard-growing:

“Whisker Wars” starts tonight on IFC, and even though I get that channel on cable, I’m not convinced this is exactly appointment TV yet. But who can resist, really? A whole subculture of men whose activities are not only of no or little interest to women, it actively repels them? You could almost compare them to homosexuals, but every smart girl has a gay boyfriend, and some are even sexually attracted to them. Whereas if a competitive bearder even came near me with one of those waist-length things, I’d run away as fast as possible. And I bet you would, too.

Oh, but what am I saying? There’s a match for every sock in the world; you just have to look at bit harder, is all. My youth was a big era for facial hair. My male confederates had beards and moustaches of all shapes and sizes. One of my favorite boyfriends had a splendid moustache, in fact, although I doubt he still does, as one day we all woke up and they were called “pornstaches,” a cruel jape, because as every man with a weak chin eventually discovers, facial hair can cover a multitude of sins, and sometimes that sin is an upper lip that is too thin, too stiff, too something, and a moustache can salvage it.

(There was a TV personality of my youth, fella named Bob Braun. A friend of mine, a hilarious and dead-on mimic, could conjure him out of the air just by pulling down and fortifying his upper lip. Bob Braun could have used a moustache.)

The facial hair of my yout’, however, was generally not something to be fussed with. Trimmed, yes. Groomed, certainly. But it was either there or it wasn’t. (With a few exceptions, like the aforementioned Joe Namath and his famous Fu Manchu.) These latter-day beards, with their fanciful trimming? No. Show me a man who grooms it like this, and I’ll show you a real asshole.

Alan had a beard, long before I met him. He looked like a young Bob Seger. My dad grew one in his young manhood, and it came in all gray and white. The other guys called him Frostypuss, so he shaved and never ventured forth again. But it strikes me the real problem with beards is, they invite stroking by their owners. It’s very hard to stroke one’s own chin without looking like a total douche. In fact, the very gesture of chin-stroking, the phrase itself, is shorthand for someone who talks too much and rarely proposes action of any value, but rather, thinks the whole room needs to do some supplemental reading before we revisit the topic at a later date.

At which point the room rolls its eyes and makes the jackoff gesture.

Boy, am I in need of a vacation, or what? Which, by the way, I will soon be taking. We’re heading north in a week, and I will be away from the internet for most of that time. I might have asked J.C. to maybe fill in here while I’m gone, but as it turns out, that’s who we’ll be visiting. There may be supplemental material, however, and comments will be open all week. You all are so good at playing amongst yourselves. We’ll see.

Bloggage! Let’s get to it!

Minister of Culture Michael Heaton on why August is the month of bad decisions:

The bad decisions of August also include the impulse road trip. You and a college friend are sitting around talking about Crazy Bob from your fraternity. Next thing you know you are on the road to Kalamazoo, where Bob lives, for a surprise visit. At his house you find only his mother, an old and broken woman who informs you that Bob killed his wife with a ball-peen hammer and then set himself on fire. Always call first.

We’ve already got one embedded video already today, so you’ll have to follow the link to YouTube for this one: That stock-trading talking baby confronts his losses.

Wow. The Cat Scan Tumblr. Wow.

Hurry, vacation. But first, lots of work to do. Have a great weekend.

Posted at 10:31 am in Popculch |

89 responses to “Bearded.”

  1. MarkH said on August 5, 2011 at 10:58 am

    No, Nance. A moustache would have done nothing for Bob Braun, and killed it for him with all the Ruth Lyons refugees. He was, however, one of the few men to have a sandwich named after him: the Brawny Lad at Frisch’s in Cincinnati. Your day is now complete.

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  2. Connie said on August 5, 2011 at 11:27 am

    My husband has had a short trimmed beard for most of our married life, our daughter has never seen his chin.

    My husband scanned some old slides recently recently and posted on facebook a 1972 picture of my dad in profile with the beard he grew for the Zeeland 125 years beard contest. My dad insisted it was not him. We all said look at the house behind you, you still have the dining chairs we can see through the window. My daughter said “Grandpa used to have red hair?” I would have said strawberry blonde, but yup the beard was red.

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  3. prospero said on August 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Throw in July with August, and you have Thomas Pynchon’s dog days, described in the great novel V.

    And that guy comparing not shaving to ski-jumping as sport surely realizes he’s a hairy buffoon. I hate shaving as much as the next guy, and I used to grow luxuriant wintertime beards, that for some reason came in red though my hair is dirty blond, mainly to avoid shaving. At some point the red gave way to gray and grizzled, and that was that for beards. I have managed to find a Panasonic electric model that provides a satisfactory shave without turning my face into an oil field, which helps. And none of these fierce competitors can play “LaGrange” or “CheapSunglasses”, so they’re miles behind Billy Gibbons (whose also hilarious in a recurring role on Bones) and Dusty Hill.

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  4. Mindy said on August 5, 2011 at 11:44 am

    A family friend in his 70s has worn a moustache since he was a teenager. Everyone who knows him at all knows that his speech slows considerably when he begins to twist it. Means he wants to make a point and won’t speak normally again or change the subject until he has the listener’s full agreement. The room clears instantly when his hand goes to his face.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on August 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Bob Braun’s name sounded familiar and when I read the link I realized why: a singing group I was in performed on his show, circa 1976. They gave us weird makeup to use for the cameras of the day and I always wondered what it actually looked like on screen. Lots of dark contouring and super bright red lipstick. I just checked–it’s not on YouTube, oh well.

    Have you other mothers of sons experienced seeing your baby boy with facial hair? Our son grew a partial beard for a show he was in and it came in black, even darker than his hair. It kinda made my heart break, the way he looked so tough and hard, which was the point of it all, but still. He shaved it when the show was over.

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  6. beb said on August 5, 2011 at 11:56 am

    My wife of 30 years has never seen my without a beard. It used to be reddish. Now it’s whitish. I shant shave it; its the only hair left on my head.

    A week without fresh Nancy is like a week without internet connection.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    For Brian Stouder et alia –

    Make sure to get to the close, and Mary Todd Lincoln’s creative accounting. Whether you care for Civil War history or not, and especially if you manage budgets, you’ll enjoy the denouement.

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  8. coozledad said on August 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Mr. Olsen looks like an overly earnest muppet character worked up entirely from pubes.
    I can’t really talk, because I’m sporting a “just don’t give a damn” beard right now. I look like an extra in a Western who’s only in the movie to die ugly.
    It’s too hot to shave right now. The rash would sap my will to live.

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  9. LAMary said on August 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I had a boyfriend in the 70s who had a great mustache. I saw his photo on Linked In recently and the mustache is gone, but he’s still pretty fine.

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  10. Deborah said on August 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    My ex had a beard some of the time. Occasionally he’d change the shape of it or just have a mustache. My current husband has never grown a beard or mustache and only shaves every other day, he hates shaving, has problems with his skin and constantly cuts himself. When ever I say “current husband” it makes it sound like I’ve had a passel of them and intend to have a few more.

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  11. Kim said on August 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    The thing about these dorks in pursuit of the best beard (read: longest pelt) is that beards don’t grow like that overnight. This takes time. I pity those few who remain in the beard dorks’ sphere. Can you imagine enduring that dedication to glacial, hirsute “progress”?

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  12. hexdecimal said on August 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    The reason for my white goatee: Rosacea. It appears only on my chin. The white goat is preferable to the splochie red. Sometimes I forget about why I grow the goat and shave it off. Then the red shows up and I start the growing process all over.

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Many of the beards that Coozledad spoke of can be seen in “Cowboys & Aliens.” Indeed, they pretty much all die ugly, or appear to [backs away from faintly glowing *spoiler* alert signal].

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  14. prospero said on August 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Cooz’s comment has put an indelible picture of Jack Elam with flies in his beard at the opening of the masterpiece, Once Upon A Time in the West in my head. Now I’m gonna have to watch it.

    My problem with blade shaving is that despite being white as Caucasian can be, I’m liable to bumps, which is supposed to be a problem for black guys only.

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  15. prospero said on August 5, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Effects of facial hair.

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  16. Dorothy said on August 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Our kids have never seen their dad without his moustache; Josh keeps upping the monetary offer to convince him to shave it off. I’m not sure what figure Mike has in his head but when he hears it, I’m sure he’ll comply. He grew a goatee after his cancer surgery last January and said when he gets the next colonoscopy to mark the one-year anniversary, he’ll shave off the chin part if the scope comes up clear.

    My cousin Ruth Anne was married to a guy who had an awful beard, a sunken nose and a presumed non-existent chin. He was definitely not a looker, so imagine our surprise when he ditched her ’cause he was having an affair with someone else. Talk about a match for every sock in the world…

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  17. Maggie Jochild said on August 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    My great-great grandfather David had a long ZZ-toppish beard in all his photos, even as a young man. He married Margaret when he was 20 and she 16, after sharing a wagon train from Arkansas to Texas, then died within a decade from TB contracted in the hellish Union Army Prison on a river island outside Alton, Illinois. Margaret raised their only child, who eventually also died of TB, and then her granddaughters, one of whom my grandmother Hettie likewise died of TB when my mama was a newborn. Margaret looms large in our family stories, a tiny tough woman who believed in educating girls and kept her love for David bright (perhaps because he wasn’t there.) Apparently her opinion of his long whiskers was that it made her “want to strike a match”.

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  18. moe99 said on August 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Spoiler alert if you plan to watch the beard series. I saw the fellow’s picture in the attached article and said, “I bet he went to Evergreen College!” the granola/hemp institution of higher learning in Olympia. And I was right.

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  19. adrianne said on August 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Oh, let the guys have their fun with facial hair. It’s really the only personal grooming item that they can get excited about!

    As you know, my significant other has sported a neatly-trimmed beard for nearly his entire adult life, except for a brief period in the 1990s when he got tired of the gray coming in and shaved the whole thing off. I think he’s devilishly handsome, with or without the beard, so it’s his choice!

    My teenage sons are actively opposed to the close shave, so I think they’ll be sportin’ goatees pretty soon.

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  20. nancy said on August 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    OK, I know what I’m going to do for the off week. But let’s make it a surprise.

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  21. Kirk said on August 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    What’s next? “Fingernail Wars”? Thanks, Moe, for showing us the winner. Now I can go on to the rest of my life. I can’t imagine spending time to watch a whole series about guys growing beards — further proof that there are too many channels on TV.

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  22. Deborah said on August 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Nancy I was going to suggest that you run your greatest hits from the past, other blogs have done this, but I guess I’m too late.

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  23. nancy said on August 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    It’ll be similar, Deborah.

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  24. Sherri said on August 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    A couple of days ago, I added a plug-in to my browser from You can click on it, and it makes book suggestions based on the web page you’re looking at. Today’s comment thread has produced a fascinating array of books. My favorite title is “Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving, Fourth Edition: Shaving Made Enjoyable”, which gets 32 five star Amazon reviews!

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  25. prospero said on August 5, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    books! Wonderful mail today. I got “The Radiance of the King” by camara Laye, who wrote “Defender of the Word”, which even after I started the book I thought was “Defender of the World”, not “Word” as in griots. I can’t imagine there is a better introduction to African Lit. than these two books, if you leave out Alan Paton and the white guys with no business there in the first place, but whose blood vessels had been invaded irrevocably by the Dark Continent. I don’t know if Joseph Conrad ever went to Africa, but he sure understood the possibility of infectious madness.

    I got a brand new copy of “Origin of the Brunists”, by Robert Coover. A religious and political story written by a master that everybody should read these days. It’s got these semi-ecstatic baggers by the short ones.

    I got State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett, that wrote the sublime “Bel Canto” about ten years ago. I got a copy of Evelyn Waugh’s “The Loved One” that makes Faye Weldon seem kinder and gentler. And I got a mandolin, on which I’ll rip as soon as I figure out how to tune it. Does anybody know, is it GDAE? Like a violin?

    I got my own copy of “Jonathon Strange a& Mr. Norrell”, which, if you haven’t read it for some foolish reason, don’t waste another minute. The same is true of “LemPrierre’s Dictionary” which might be a tad better. Guarantee. If you think you don’t like fantastic lit. give those two a try. I’m betting just about all of you have read some novel about the Buendias. Who votes for Solitude as a better book than Patriarch? Everybody? Not close. The Buendias are people of the people. They are heroic and beautiful. The Patriarch is a grotesque monster that gradually wins sympathy from revelatory glances at his bizarre childhood. Much mor amazing book in my opinion.

    Used to be that I rarely sought out novels by women. Now it seems as if their are books all over by women that look from reviews are worth a shot. Have to say, when I started spending my daughter’s inheritance, a whole lot of titles in the TRB started looking more interesting. From way way Russell Hoban Back, I was an acolyte of the author of “Cat’s Eye” an astounding novel, though a tad derivative of Wallace Stegner, and “The Big Rock Candy Mountain.. If you’re gonna pinch, why not a master? And she’s Canadian. But, holy shit, “The Handmaids Tale”. And Margaret Atwood is so freaking good it is ridiculous. Well, I am a massive fan of both Brontes.

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  26. Jolene said on August 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Moe, that article re the beard contest winner from Olympia is hysterical.Very impressive that Washington state has winners in four categories. I love the references to beard-growing as the sport.” This contest must surely be a high point in the history of athletics. Humans sure are funny creatures.

    Speaking of competitive hair growth, have any of you seen “Good Hair”, the movie by Chris Rock re African American hairstyling? The whole topic is fascinating, but the contests, I’m sure, leave beard-growing in the dust. Very much worth Netflixing if you haven’t seen it.

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  27. Dorothy said on August 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    We caught that last winter, Jolene, and really enjoyed it.

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  28. prospero said on August 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Any of you ever read TC Boyle. Literary opinion is in short supply at this site. I have no use for biography or it’s counterparts. I want flat-out wild-ass fiction. If you have to transcend what histerigraphers want to pull, and you don’t come close, just admit, Thomas Pynchon got that shit exactly, on Mason ans Dixon.

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  29. prospero said on August 5, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Watching paint and whiskers are Olympians. There ceaes to be an out for these aholes when they try to claim this is connected to actual athletic endeavor. Seriously. Anybody could just long jump 30 meters. That’s not astounding, are you braindead?Making fun of athletes is fucking lamer than making fun of nerds, you assholes.

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  30. paddyo' said on August 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    OK, as one of the follicle-forest-faced guys here (the Mad Men-yourself mug is an approximation), I’ll simply note that I started mine in my youth (stopped shaving, except to trim, on Mother’s Day 1976), just because it was something to do and women didn’t run screaming from the room. No weak chins in my family, either.

    Over the years, I trimmed or didn’t trim (the longest it ever got was maybe 1-20th the length of one of those “Beard Wars” bears), but I kept it reasonably sheveled (if that’s a word). Newspaper editors don’t want Neanderthals interviewing the mayor — although I’ve noticed they will sometimes look the other way about photographers (see “Animal” from Lou Grant).

    One Saturday afternoon in 1983 or ’84, I accidentally took too much off while trimming and decided to shave it all. I took the butchered side first — yes, down the middle of my face — and kept the other half on as a sight gag for friends coming over for dinner that night. Once they recovered from the creep-out, I went in and trimmed and we had dinner.

    The absence of beard, however, freaked out my then-wife. She said I looked eerily like my older brother, and I caught her staring warily. So I went right back to letting it grow the next day, and it has been ever thus.

    Like my haircut, it has shortened with the decades, and I keep it pretty trim. It has just become, well, me. The open secret about responsible beardsmanship is, you spend pretty much as much time grooming and shaving as you would without a beard, probably more. Vain? Well, who isn’t a little vain?

    But only a little: When I began to gray (it’s about 75-80 percent gray now), an in-law tried to get me to start using Grecian Formula 16. Nuh-uh.

    As for mustaches: An acquaintance of mine, a PR guy I met in St. Louis when I was still a reporter, has a fu manchu and a great attitude about ‘staches — which is to say, he makes great fun of them. He and some pals started the American Mustache Institute for laughs. He’s the tall, dark one in the lab coat . . .

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  31. paddyo' said on August 5, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Prospero, I love TC Boyle (though his goatee, frankly, looks scuzzy at times). The Tortilla Curtain is a fave, and still totally topical. Drop City and Talk Talk good, too. Looking forward to reading his newest, When The Killing’s Done, about the tug-o’-war over saving an endangered critter on the Channel Islands.

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  32. prospero said on August 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Ladies, no kidding.This ahole needs a beating. Serioaly, you dickhead? Sorry, this is spectacularly obvious horseshit. And I used to go to reall school where this sort of bullshit was a crock.

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  33. David C. said on August 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I haven’t shaved since I was 17, about 35 years ago. It was red back in the day, just like my great-grandfather’s, I’m told. Now it’s almost all grey. I don’t spend much time stroking it, but it is a very nice place for an introverted guy to hide in plain sight.

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  34. brian stouder said on August 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Jeff, excellent Lincoln post, and on-topic with the hairy-hands and unkempt hair. In Mr Goodheart’s end-notes, he lists Jean Baker, who wrote a tremendously good bio of Mary Lincoln. Ms Baker is a very great favorite of mine.

    I’ve never been a beard man, although I did the mustache thing back in the 1980’s; which at the time seemed like just another thing that young fellows DO, simply because they can (amongst other things)

    As for utterly unwatchable “contests” on TV, one thing I cannot and will not watch is any of the various “competitive eating” debauchery shows. Even just the sight of the “Man versus Food” guy, as I flip through the dial, is enough to make me shudder

    edit – and as to Madam Telling Tales’ upcoming hiatus, I think she should draft a guest host into duty; Jolene or Jeff tmmo or Prospero could certainly knock out 375 words with interesting links

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  35. Paddyi said on August 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Could I take something back that annoyed Dexter fo badly. There wer always teachers that found some kids inexcusable. I will insist, the teacchers sure as shit didn’t give up. the kids did. Dexter’s making me out to be some rich kid is so wrong and so unfair, it just strikes me as some horseshit. We were midle class, bsc wehrn that meant something. My HS had a very stringent entrance exam that anybody that’s a devotee of NNall, just about woud have had a shot at , It was an exceptional education. but it had nothing to do with Cranbrook style or Pjillis or any of that litany and legacy shit like Philips whatever. You are just wrong, Dex, and that is nonsense and an affront. We got into the best school by being smarter, not byy who our dads were. You are just totally wrong about this. Most of my classmates were on scholarships, I wish you had been included. It was the world’s best education. We had great teachers. But this had nothing to do with moneym abd it really makes me wonder about what another education might have been like. But to consider this had to do with cash and private school, not in a million fuckung yearsm no matter what you may think. UDHigh in Detroit. And it is no shit we all liked each other and considered who was realy good at whatever. This isn’t some made up shit. In my brother Chris’s class, Chris was a National Merit Schoar, but in his class, there was Guy Conslmagno, a total nerd, who became Brother Guy, at the Vatican, who could trash those anti-warming assholes in a moment. We may have been a bunch of accomplished jocks, but we were also well-educated, and we were Jebbie=trained, so we know know-nothing shitheels when we see them.

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  36. nancy said on August 5, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    That’s Prospero’s comment, btw. Dunno what’s going on.

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  37. Paddyi said on August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Paddy, yeah that is about as scuzzy a beard as there ever was. But this guy has written so many ridiculously awesome short stories, and he wrote “Water Music” which is so fucking brilliant it is hilarious. I can’t actually think about that novel without considering “The Sotweed Factor” along with it. Do you know what I mean? Have you read that? You have to understand, NNall has never seemed like the literary clearinghouse it shoud be. It is a pleasure to come across anybody that understands how brilliant TC Boyle is. This guy wears his beard because it makes him look demonic. He is. Demonic, that is. “World’s End” is the best book he wrote, aside from “Water Music” which is pretty much a masterpiece. Skeevy shithead abd a great writer, in my estimation. He’s retty much the anti-version of that really good guy in all the Tom NxGuane books.

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  38. Paddyi said on August 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    I musr say, or not, Y’all allow my horseshit. I know I’m annoying about all sorts of things, What I say about the economy and how GOP means to screw us all if that;s what it takes to do without a seriously brown presidentm that is what these aholes have to motivate then, It is racism and they can say wgatevert they like but that is what it comes down to, Sherriff Bart is a Nig… The reality is spectacularly obvious.

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  39. Deborah said on August 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I like TC Boyle and met him at a book signing. He spoke at the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple in Oak Park about his book about FLW. Boyle lives in a FLW house in So Cal too. He signed my book and spoke to everyone after he signed their books, it took for ever waiting in line but it was so worth it.

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  40. Crazycatlady said on August 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Beb stroke his beard more than once or twice in our nearly 32 years of marriage. Never has my daughter seen him sans whiskers. Our cat Haku likes to rub his face on Brian’s beard to mark Beb as his territory. The only difference from the Beb of 1979 and the Beb of 2011 is he dumped (lost) the long hippie hair and his red beard is now a silvery mix.

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  41. brian stouder said on August 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Let me just say – Standard and Poor’s downgrade of their rating of the full faith and credit of the United States strikes me as equal parts bullshit/laughably icoherent polemics/epic credibility fail.

    Standard and Poor’s is an almost Dickensonian name for that firm; a “credit rating” agency that consistently – even possibly criminally – OVERrated junk bonds and toxic assets in exchange for fat fees from the orignators of those loans – and now under-rates the credit of the United States of America. In our latest market crash, people stampeded INto US Treasury notes; it is still the safest bet in the world, especially compared to the sorts of “mortgage-backed securities” and the rest, that S&P saw no problem at all with, right up until they collapsed and disintegrated into worthlessness at the end of 2008. (Where were those Standard/Poor visionaries THEN?)

    If S&P’s little experiment in rightwing macro-economic theory results in at least a couple of these geeks getting frog marched into a court of law, then maybe it WILL do some overall good. Afterall, how many striped suited ladies and gentlemen from the glass towers in the world’s markets have been called to account for the MASSIVE, LUCRATIVE, AND STILL CASCADING WATERFALL of fraud, deceit, dishonesty, and theft?

    If the number exceeds 10, I’d be surprised.

    President Obama – and the United States Congress – needs to go to WAR with these sons of motherless bitches. It’s time “Main Street” rises up and goes nose to nose with the Masters of the Universe in the credit markets; who have never (ever) seen a Lie that was Too Big to Retail

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  42. nancy said on August 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Prospero, please check the name field on your next comment. Somehow you’ve become “Paddyi.” That’s too close to Paddyo for me.

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  43. Bill said on August 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    I’ve had my beard off and on since 1976. I used to grow it in the winter and cut it off in the summer so I could get the sun on my face. My wife of 50 years prefers the beard, so I wear it all year long now. Happy wife-happy life.

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  44. moe99 said on August 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Steve Benen in the Washington Monthly, yesterday:

    “Remember the Promise Keepers? Say hello to the Promise Breakers…

    “What we have to be, I think, focused on is truth in budgeting here,” Cantor told The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal. He said “the better way” for Americans is to “get the fiscal house in order” and “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.”

    He added that younger Americans will have “ample time to try and plan our lives so that we can adjust” to the post-Medicare society…

    [N]ote the rhetoric the oft-confused House Majority Leader uses: the United States has made promises to the public, and as far as Eric Cantor is concerned, “many” Americans will simply have to accept that those promises “are not going to be kept.”

    Why not? Because Republicans say so. Promises to Grover Norquist are sacrosanct, but promises to senior citizens are not…”

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  45. april glaspie said on August 5, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    OK, I don’t know how that happened, We are having a thunderstorm here. but I’ll change over to my hero April Glaspie here to avoid sullying paddyo;s name. Nothing I did, But I would like to find out what ever happened to April Glaspie. She;s the First Bush era diplomat that was instructed by HW to tell Saddam that nobody in the US gave a shit if Iraq invaded Kuwait when Kuwait was slant drilling under Iraqi soil for oil. She was hung out to dry by Poppy. like W and Cheney hung Valerie Plame out to dry. What a buncha patriots them Bushes are, Paddyy’o I didn’t do this on purposem I wouldn’t do something like this. C’mon. Does anybody think I’d fuck around like that? I say what I think and if it amounts to it my name is michael johnson. And my opinions are my own and you know that for sure because they cane from me.

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  46. april glaspie said on August 6, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Grover Norquists pledge is anti-Constitutional, these people are signing on to something grotesquwly treasonous. They could all be rounded up and shot. He is anti-American, on the face of his bullshit. Ask your favorite ‘bagger. They oppose the Constitution.

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  47. Connie said on August 6, 2011 at 2:42 am

    Found one of those great spell check errors in Anne River Siddons new book “Burnt Mountain” : character refers to someone having lots of something, “up the kazoo”. As for the book, her usual southern sweetness.

    Pros, I just finished Padgett’s new book “State of Wonder” and it was wonderful.

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  48. ROGirl said on August 6, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I’m a TC Boyle fan. Over the years he’s written on so many different topics, from World’s End to Tortilla Curtain to The Women. He used to appear on Letterman, which I haven’t watched in a long time. I also was introduced to Pynchon in college, starting with Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow and V. I kept up with his later books as they appeared, but I couldn’t get through Mason and Dixon.

    There are a lot of wonderful female writers beyond Margaret Atwood. For starters: Marilynne Robinson, Jane Smiley, Francine Prose, A.S. Byatt, Jaimy Gordon, Eudora Welty, Lorrie Moore, Ruth Rendell, and so on.

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  49. Julie Robinson said on August 6, 2011 at 9:36 am

    State of Wonder has been on my library queue since it was published and I’m still #40. Bel Canto is in my top ten favorite books, and this one is getting even better reviews. But I am a patient woman as well as a tightwad, and there is plenty of good reading until my ship comes in. Has anyone else read Delirium? It’s set in the future, where love has been deemed a disease and all must undergo a “procedure” to remove its dangerous qualities. I was thrilled to read that it’s the first of a proposed trilogy.

    Isn’t it funny that S&P gave credit default swaps their highest rating a couple of years ago? So they helped create this mess we’re in, and now they put through a downgrade. Hmm.

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  50. coozledad said on August 6, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Hannity Oddity

    Tool control to Major Sean
    Tool control to Major Sean
    Take your boner pills and get your “bishop” on
    Tool control to Major Sean
    Tell “little Rupert” game is on.
    Check emissions
    Or pull out if you need to…
    This is Tool Control to Major Sean
    Your rocket man’s asleep
    Try and think of something that will wake him up
    Like some oily wrestlers on an antique cup.
    This is Major Sean to Tool control
    I’m tumescing in a most peculiar way
    A chubber’s all I seem to get today.
    Lord, am I in erectile limbo?
    Are these the right pills?
    One don’t seem to do
    So I’ll pop another two.….
    Though I’m past the sixteen hour mark
    I’m still walking erect
    And my spaceship feels like it’s about to crash
    Tell my wife to throw them dick pills in the trash
    Tool Control to Major Sean
    Your circuit’s fried!
    We’ve lost your dong!
    Are you reading, Major Sean?
    Internal bleeding, Major Sean?

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  51. beb said on August 6, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Sean Hannity sure proved himself to be a dickhead when talking about the government’s order that health care programs cover women’s birth control without co-pays.

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  52. MichaelG said on August 6, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I agree, Brian, with both the eating and the credit crooks comments.

    No beard here. I suffer from baby’s ass syndrome.

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  53. Jolene said on August 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Julie, while you are waiting for State of Wonder, you could read Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy and Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett.

    Grealy wrote about the terrible sequelae–physical, social, and psychological–of having had cancer of the jaw as a child. She met and became friends w/ Patchett at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, when they were both young women. Patchett’s book is about Grealy’s very troubled life and their long, complex relationship. Terribly sad, but very moving, story.

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  54. Dexter said on August 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    The Dexter referred to in #35 by Paddyi / prospero is not me.

    Michael Heaton’s comment on the old surprise visit took me back to 1996 when I had no computer, but I still kept in touch with a couple army pals, maybe a Christmas card, that’s about all.
    I was surprised when the little network that we had expanded and one of the men had located a sergeant from our unit in Vietnam, and the sergeant invited us to his home in San Jose, California for a reunion. The sergeant was 35 back then, in 1971, and I was 21. Four of us flew out to San Jose, from all corners of the USA. The reunion home was close to the airport so I took a cab there and did not rent a car. That was the second mistake, the first was going there at all.

    While our host was a very youthful 35, a quarter century ago, his 60 was not so good. He had been thin and athletic, now he was paunchy, skin all wrinkled, obviously chronically alcoholic, and a chain smoker of cigarettes, and his wife was a bossy , dirty hag who also smoked a chimney full, constantly.
    Of course the host didn’t even remember me; my invitation was engineered by one of the other old veterans…and after a handshake I got a cloud of smoke in my face and a “you guys bring any beer?” Oh Jesus…what had I done? The house was a small one story structure which I believe could be described as “clapboard”. Anyway, it was tiny and absolutely filthy, with a pack of cats coming and going all the time…and oh my gawd…I will never forget the mound of cat litter atop the cat litter box…they apparently rarely dumped it, just covered the mess up with another scoop of litter, and it spilled out onto the floor…it was a hot summer, and it stunk unbelievably.
    We were to stay here three days. There was one couch available and a little floor space. I stayed one night on the floor…no, I had not brought a sleeping bag.
    Of course I had to stay two more nights but I made an excuse and checked into a downtown San Jose hotel and rented a car.
    I never like San Jose when I was stationed near Monterey all those years ago, now I have even more negative memories of the place. I think I already blogged here a couple years ago about the blackout I went through. That’s right…hot as hell and the power was out for a day or so…chaos in the streets, cops ordering people back into the hotel, warning of gang violence possibilities…what a trip.

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  55. brian stouder said on August 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Dexter, that is an amazing story. I was 10 years old in 1971, when you were 21. I think you and I were born into the same general part of America – and yet, your era was starkly and strikingly different from mine. I remember hearing Walter Cronkite reporting this or that story about Vietnam and/or Cambodia, and that’s it.

    I “lived through” part of your era the way a person “lives through” a nearby construction project; I saw some of the external stuff – but have zero real understanding; no skin in the game.

    Since about 1973 or so, a Vietnam war combat veteran has lived right next door to my mom; an exceptionally good man with a beautiful family, who just recently retired from GM at Defiance (he car pooled with other guys every day, in the classic way). The war only rarely comes up, but when our country went into Iraq, he began flying his flag upside down – which was, it seemed to me, as succinct and eloquent as any anti-war protest could possibly be.

    Later, I ventured to ask him about it, and he said something dismissive, about how it didn’t mean anything – his upside down flag was just a mistake, etc. But his manner seemed to suggest otherwise, and I had enough sense to let it drop.

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  56. Dexter said on August 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    brian, you were too young to be in the history classroom I lectured to one day only, in the fall of 1971, speaking from a radical antiwar stance as a Vietnam Veteran Against the War.
    I remember a few kids making eye contact and listening intently but most of the kids were tuned out and not listening at all.
    My friend Phil DeVol who lived over on Glasgow by Memorial Park and was a Quaker and a one day veteran of the Vietnam war had organized our appearance at South Side HS by calling the teacher. Yep, Phil’s conscientious objector status was approved as he was on the plane to Vietnam. He was ordered back to the USA on the next plane out. Quite a story in itself.
    I was very outspoken against Nixon and I made a lot of my old friends uncomfortable and I had a few bar encounters with rednecks who heard me spouting off and called me a commie, but I didn’t give a damn.
    Did you ever read any accounts of Oliver Stone’s life in Hell’s Kitchen , New York City, after he got back from Vietnam?
    He had banded together with other vets and they were just wild as hell for a couple years. I too came back in a rage and it took me about two years to settle down and quit yelling at people I didn’t agree with. But now it’s all better! 🙂

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  57. brian stouder said on August 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Dexter, my oldest brother was a sophomore at South Side in 1971; there is at least a ghost of a chance that he heard your talk.

    Aside from that, I totally MISSED this story, which is datelined last Wednesday.

    An excerpt from the lead (with emphasis added by me) –

    WASHINGTON—House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Wednesday suggested that Republicans will continue a push to overhaul programs such as Medicare, saying in an interview that “promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many” and that younger Americans will have to adjust. “What we have to be I think focused on is truth in budgeting here,” Mr. Cantor (R., Va.) told The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal. He said “the better way” for Americans is to “get the fiscal house in order” and “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.” His comments suggest that Republicans are committed to overhauling entitlement programs such as Medicare even after President Barack Obama signed into law a debt package under which Medicare recipients weren’t hit with direct cuts. Congress left Medicare recipients untouched directly in order to win enough Democratic votes for the debt package to become law.

    So, my Ranty McRantypants remarks about S&P were (as usual) TOTALLY WRONG!! Afterall, who wants to buy the debt of a country with a government populated by people who BRAG about the idea of breaking their promises and/or not paying for things they’re committed to?

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  58. april glaspie said on August 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    So I guess Cantor is saying, “If you want to be sure of gainful employment in the future, go to med school and be an emergency room doc. And that tampon is supposed to be the intellectual GOPer, taking over the philosophical reins from Newt the Scrote. Asshole needs to be sent packing from government so he ends up on the wrong side of broken promises, instead of in the cushy House Cadillac health plan.

    Dex, your friend’s encounter with the war machine could make a great movie. Coming Home Immediately.

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  59. april glaspie said on August 6, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    ROGirl. My comment about women novelists was not derogatory in any respect. Just commenting on a quirk of my reading history. I think Ursula K. is as great a writer as sf has ever turned out. Anybody that thinks she doesn’t like sf/fantasy should read “The Left Hand of Darkness”, and think again. The Southren Ladies that Lunch and Communicate in Cursive, Carson and Flannery, and their little sis, Harper Lee, all 24K great. Oh, and I was overlooking Faye Weldon, who is a wonderful stylist, with a somewhat crueler expertise in satire than Evelyn Waugh, who was of course a guy. And, recently, there is Susanna Clarke, who wrote the mindbending “Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell”. Ever hear of Anne Michaels, an excellent poet that wrote a great holocaust novel called “Fugitive Pieces”? At the moment, I’ve got about two years worth of new books (Infinite Jest is one of them, big chunk of time, that will probably lead to rereading V. and Gravity’s Rainbow. Any of y’all that have read Gravity’s Rainbow might find this precis entertaining, whether or not you liked the book. Actually, I’ve never heard anybody say they disliked the book. Critical or dismissive commentary is usually along the lines of “showing off”, by which I take it, people are overwhelmed.

    Once when I was about 17, I was flying someplace and found a paperback copy of John Gardner’s epic scale “Sunlight Dialogues” in the airport bookstore. Found the Ouroboros trilogy the same way, and I think Little, Big. I was somewhat overwhelmed, but in what became one of the several FUBARed journeys in my strange travel history, I had no meaningful sensorium other than the book, stewardi, airport personnel, and uncomfortable seating for something like 36 hrs, and the parts I didn’t get, like Gilgamesh and Book of the Dead references, I looked up later.

    Some of my favorite poetry is by women poets. Edna St.-V Millay, Christina Rosetti, certainly Emily Dickinson, who is claimed by my ex-wife as the namesake of our child (I say the more-talented Bronte sister). And my favorite playwright not Will Shakes is Lillian Hellman. When I was a kid, I saw Little Foxes with Agnes Moorehead playing Regina Giddens. Bette Davis was brilliant in the 40s film version, but Agnes Moorehead was ferocious. And respect to Dr. Miguelito Loveless and Michael Dunn, but Emma Valentine was the best Wild, Wild West villain. With novels, somehow I always ended up with male authors. I’ve got State of Wonder on my desk, along with Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante and Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson. I did read Bel Canto years ago and thought it was excellent. Bought it for a Mothers’ Day Gift.

    Concerning AS Byatt, I read “Possession” because my entire family said it was brilliant. I didn’t dislike it, but found it a little annoying, for no reason I can identify exactly. I’ve heard her interviewed, and she sounded incredibly smart and knowledgeable, like a perfect drinking buddy, and her voice sounds like Bea Arthur! She has a new book scheduled for next year called Ragnarok: the End of the Gods. And I’m looking forward to that.

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  60. april glaspie said on August 6, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    As usual, Ralph Vader has no clue about anything more than half an inch from his umbilicus. He managed to get W elected with his navel gazing mischief, and he won’t admit it. He is an Onanist to the ridiculous point he could be a Kardashian sister. I have personal history with this flaming asshole. His concern is all Ralph, all the time. Friends and I arranged an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in Worcester in 1970. Somebody arranged for Country Joe McDonald to show up and sing the Rag. Day comes and Darth Nader shows up to take over. His hometown. He insulted Mr. McDonald, and insisted he should speak.None of us knew what we were doing so the asshole made this about himself. If I could do the whole thing over, I’d punch his lights out. Considering the purely self-aggrandizing role he played in getting W elected, it’s not really outlandish to say he’s at the root of most of the USA’s problems. Does this current bullshit display even a tenuous grasp on political reality? Sometimes it seems Nader and similarly deluded “progressives” think Obama can send a Paetorian Guard, or killer drones to deal with the obstructionist Greedy Obese Poltroon party. Would twas were so. But they are like harpy wives. Can’t live with ’em, can’t kill ’em. Here’s the lowdown on Ralph Vader:

    Oldtimers, and he thinks he should still have a driving license. He’s gotta be institutionalized before he gets somebody more horrendous than W elected. Who would have thought that hideous prospect even possible a few years ago? Or put him in a Corvair and direct him to Cali Rte. 1.

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  61. Kim said on August 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Nance, I thought you were going to say you were going to spend the week growing a beard!

    Jolene, I agree about the Grealy and Patchett books. What a painful relationship that was.

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  62. Judybusy said on August 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Kim and Jolene, I second your opinions, and add that each are beautifully written. Going off now to put the new Patchett title on the library list and explore ROGirl’s #48 other authors, some of whom I don’t know yet. Rendell’s wonderful, the way she gets into strange psyches. What did you think of The Time Traveller’s Wife?

    Jolene, I’m just finishing The Families who Built Rome and still highly recommend it. I will return to Rome, and will be sure to re-read it before going. Or, maybe by that time I’ll have a Kindle and will download it so I can wander around with it, seeing all as the author describes.

    Just visited my library site: there are 160 copies of SoW, and 1328 requests. I am glad she’s so popular. Meanwhile, I have plenty of other things to read, and it will be nice to cozy up with it in January, when it’s 100 degrees less than it is right now. Forecast looks good, though: high 70s for the foreseeable future. Hope it moves east for the rest of the country!

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  63. Jolene said on August 6, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    A few days ago, someone recommended “Something’s Wrong with Aunt Diane.” Just watched it. A sad, sad story, but very absorbing and interesting. Also noticed that “Good Hair”, which Dorothy and I both liked is currently on offer through HBO OnDemand, but only until 8/8.

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  64. moe99 said on August 7, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Doc by Mary Doria Russell is quite good–fictionalized biography of Doc Holliday.

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  65. Judybusy said on August 7, 2011 at 9:02 am

    And Russell’s Children of God and The Sparrow are amazingly harrowing morality tales dressed up as science fiction. I really don’t know if I’ll be able to read them again, but they haunt me still.

    Do try to see Good Hair while you can!

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  66. Julie Robinson said on August 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Good Hair will be my exercise bike companion tomorrow. I heard an interview with Chris Rock a while back but had forgotten about the movie. I’ve spent a lifetime wrestling with my own curly hair so there’s great empathy with the issue.

    Speaking of hair, we took in Hairspray last night with some friends who were visiting for the weekend. The bouncy music and silly dancing are interwoven with a powerful subplot about racism that is quite affecting. The movie did it well too, but the stage version takes it deeper. This was at our local semi-pro theater where our son has been in several shows. He didn’t get cast in this one but was running the flys from above the stage. It was one of the finest amateur shows I’ve seen, and my standards are very high, just a great pleasure all around.

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  67. Deborah said on August 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Jeff tmmo, We saw Cowboys and Aliens last night. I wrote a comment about it here earlier but something happened to my iPad and it was lost. So it was great to see Abiquiu, that’s why we went, but actually wasn’t as bad a movie as I was expecting. Many scenes were shot at Ghost Ranch as you mentioned. But also many were shot at the White Place which is pretty near our land, just across the mountain that our land backs up to, Sierra Negra. In fact there is one scene where Sierra Negra is clearly visible. Our land is mostly a finger Mesa off of the mountain, with some surrounding land down in the arroyos encircling the Mesa. That was cool to see. Sierra Negra has a distinctive shape, sort of a mini Pedernal, and from a distance it looks black, thus the name. There is one Georgis O’Keefe painting where she painted half of “our” mountain. You can see her house from our land, so she probably painted it looking out of her studio window. We have hiked many times in and around the White Place, it has an eerie alien feeling to it, so can see why they chose it. Shirley MacLaine owns 9,000 acres around there, the entry to her property is called Plaza Blanca. There is an Islamic mosque in the White Place called Dar Al Islam, they are sort of the keepers of the White Place. Their mosque won many architectural awards when it was built, it fits in perfectly with the landscape. sorry to go on and on, I really love Abiquiu and miss it so when I haven’t been there in awhile.

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  68. Judybusy said on August 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Deborah, did you ever read Margaret Randall? She is a feminist activist that I read in the 1980s and your love of NM instantly reminded me of her–she is based out of Albuquerque. I have no idea if she’s your cup of tea, but in my eyes, she’s one of those unsung heroes who have worked so hard to make this planet a better place.

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  69. moe99 said on August 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    George Martin takes questions about Game of Thrones.

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  70. Dexter said on August 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    For those who still have a few clicks left on your New York Times free allotment (unless you have given in and sent them a check already), go there and read this, be you so inclined…
    New York Times
    The Sunday Review
    What Happened to Obama?
    Published: August 6, 2011
    I didn’t include the link because to click it would subtract from your free click limit.
    I hate having to pay for something I got free for ten years (except when TimesSelect shut me out of Dowd and Rich and all the op eds until I ponied up) but as I said a while back, I understand it. You need revenue, you charge the readers, just like you did when we were shoving quarters into cash paper boxes.

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  71. brian stouder said on August 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    A semi-digression – about races and race (and beards): Today is Grant’s 16th birthday – and (in addition to seeing the new Planet of the Apes movie today) he chose to see a race at Baer Field Speedway last night.

    I haven’t been to that track in many, many years, and the experience was interesting. It was “$20 carload night”, so we loaded up Uncle Gregg and Cousin Caleb, and the four of us rolled down to the track (just south of the airport).

    They drew a good crowd despite the threatening weather; I’m guessing between one and two thousand people, and maybe more.

    As I sat there, eating my hot dog and reading the program, one thing that struck me was – the crowd was almost ENTIRELY white! After I noticed, and began actively looking for anyone who might possibly be other than caucasion, I think I did eventually spot one kid who might possibly have not been white. But otherwise, and even allowing for the firm-grasp-of-the-obvious aspect of this, it was flat-out amazing to me, how self-segregated some things are. As I began to wonder what other public activities might be as thoroughly self-segregated as Saurday night short-track racing apparently is, the crowd itself became half the show (and sometimes more!).

    There were many, many white women with ‘their girls’ out, and with multi-color hair, and with newborn-to-toddler babies (I cannot imagine bringing an infant of mine to Saturday night at the races! The sound alone is quite a lot, let alone the length of the show and the only-semi-safe atmosphere), and with all manner of tattoos; and with men-folk with all variety of wife-beater goatees and wife-beater shirts and wife-beater scowls; and every other person (men and women) were smoking….and I realized that there was a reason why I almost never, ever go to local short-track car races. These were not my peeps!

    Anyway – the show (including the car races!) was entertaining, and not just a little worrisome. The track has been there for more than 50 years, and the catch fence between the crowd and the hurtling machinery on-track looked like it had seen its better days. (I kept an eye on cars to the left of me, figuring maybe I could duck if things went awry). It was surprising to me that they don’t have a wall all the way around the circuit; if a car goes off in turn 3 – they’re out of the facility and headed down a hill toward the runways.

    It made me wonder how they’re able to operate. (Surely a liability insurer would want a wall all the way around, no?)

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  72. nancy said on August 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    How do you pronounce Abiquiqui? That’s all I want to know.

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  73. Julie Robinson said on August 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Dexter, if you’re on Facebook you can “like” many of the NYT departments and they will send free links via FB. Some days there are more articles than I can read. Then you can use your free clicks to choose other articles. It’s almost worth joining FB just for that.

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  74. brian stouder said on August 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    How do you pronounce Abiquiqui? That’s all I want to know.

    I was wondering that, too. So, Nance inspired me to ask Uncle Google, and the first damned thing I learned is – I wasn’t watchin’ Nance’s p’s and q’s (which she had one too many of).

    After losing her spare ‘q’*, I went here –

    and learned this:

    Pronounced A-bih-kyoo. A as in apple, bi as in big, and quiu pronounced like the letter Q. The original Spanish pronunciation is different, but this is how it’s colloquially pronounced here in Northern New Mexico.

    And, they don’t tell us the original Spanish pronunciation – and I’m outta time, so you’re on your own, as always

    *I’m thinkin’ Nance has always had an excessive ‘q’ factor, eh?

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  75. Deborah said on August 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    You got it Brian, There’s a new cafe in chicago called Cafe Abiquiu and they say ab- bi-Q.

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  76. Deborah said on August 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Judybusy, I was not aware of Margaret Randall but can see why she was drawn to NM. I’m not that crazy about Albuquerque but the University is there and can see how it can be a draw as a place to find employment in the area. We are about 2 hours north of Albuquerque, much more remote. but incredibly beautiful if you like that kind of thing. The high desert can be hot, in June but then the monsoon season sets in, in July and August and it cools down, 80s in the daytime and low 60s at night. And it’s a dry heat when it’s hot. Night and day from humidity. The only thing you have to worry about are fires.

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  77. april glaspie said on August 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Moe, I’m definitely going to read Doc. This is a novel form I find very enjoyable. One of my favorite books ever is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, by Ron Hansen (haven’t seen the movie but intend to). The masterpiece of this genre, in my opinion, is the Shadow Country Trilogy by Peter Matthiessen, about the 1910 vigilante murder of Edgar J. Watson in the Florida Keys. Originally, the books were published separately as Killing Mr. Watson, Lost Man’s River and Bone by Bone. For some reason the author did a sort of Director’s Cut and combined the three novels into a single work, called Shadow Country. I prefer the three separate books, possibly because that is how I encountered them first. It seems to me that what gets lost at times in the editing process, is astounding, palpable nature writing to set scenes and create atmosphere, and unparalleled descriptions of phenomenal weather. Unsurprisingly, these passages from the author of The Snow Leopard, a classic gem of travel and nature writing, are incredibly evocative, and the language and insight are exquisitely beautiful.

    I wonder if it crossed Newt’s mind to attempt to claim that all those Twits were bona fide but had been Rapcha’d right out of existence.

    The homogeneity of the stock car crowd reminded me of an old favorite movie I hadn’t thought of in years: Greased Lightning. A great cast, with very fine performances. My favorite car movie., that doesn’t have post-apocalyptic gangs and Mel Gibson. The crowd you describe is just the sort of assemblage we used to see in Athens (short A) GA at the J&J Center when wrestling came to town.

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  78. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Deborah, didn’t they place the alien ship in the middle of the White Place, and oddly multiply the spires around it for effect? I’ve not seen that area for twenty years, but it looked like they took the basic overview and then cloned spires into it for more of a Bryce Canyon or Capitol Reef effect.

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  79. John G. Wallace said on August 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Roger Ebert blogs on Rick Perry’s Prayer Rally, “The error of political prayer.” Something to keep the conversation going while Nance is on vacation:

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  80. nancy said on August 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Vacation starts a week from Monday, John. I’ve already got that flagged for tomorrow. Watching that clip made my eyes cross and steam pour from my ears.

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  81. Dexter said on August 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    JulieR: I never joined MySpace, considering it kid stuff, but when my blog guru Craig Crawford suggested to us bloggers that we all join this brand new facebook thing a few years ago, I was there. I was told the links nyt sends out subtracts from the free clicks…not true you say. Thanks for this info; I will definitely check it out.
    Now it’s time for True Blood. I am quite sick and tired of this show but still, now I have to see what happens. After all, I favor zombies over vampires, and especially over creepy fairies like Sookie’s family…and I mean creepy.

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  82. brian stouder said on August 7, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Watching that video only confirmed to me that the old Republican party that I used to belong to is dead and gone.

    I think Governor Good Hair will jump into the race, and may win the nomination. I think Romney would have the best chance to defeat President Obama, and I confess that I would really, really enjoy watching President Obama knock the stuffing out of the neo-secessionist governor of Texas.

    It really does look like the Republican party of 2012 may offer the nation the proposition that only an unrepentant sinner could possibly vote to re-elect President Obama.

    Until it comes to pass, I cannot believe that our nation will allow itself to be scolded into electing a person who appeals to people’s sense of guilt and religious inadequacy. Ebert’s concept of horizontal prayer is elegant and precisely hits the core idea that the right-wing noise machine seems to be settling upon marketing in 2012: God is a Republican

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  83. Julie Robinson said on August 7, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Dexter, after I wrote that I clicked on a FB link and it told me I only had five articles left for the month. That was a first, so maybe it has changed. I’ll let you know in a couple more days. I have loved reading all the theatre news and dreaming of the day I take in my first Broadway show.

    And I have to have that to counterbalance news like the Rick Perry shenanigans. As Nance knows from her health news farming gig, eyes crossing and steam pouring from ears is not good for you. Even my mom, the life-long Republican, is sounding like a liberal in comparison.

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  84. John G. Wallace said on August 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    My bad. Looks like awild week ahead if the Asian financial markets are an indicator. I wrong Asian markets at first and couldn’t get the association of some of the purveyors of odd lychee candies and siraccha sauce on South Calhoun Street (or anywhere else) out of my mind.

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  85. Deborah said on August 8, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Jeff tmmo, Yes the alien ship was in the middle of the White Place, they call those spires hoodoos, and you might be right about having enhanced them. There are places in there where they are very dense though.

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  86. Jakash said on August 8, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Dexter, I asked about this on here a while back, but nobody responded, so I don’t know. My impression was that if you clicked on a link to a NYT article on a blog like this, it didn’t count against your 20 articles. I thought those 20 free articles were only tallied if you went directly to the NYT site. But I’m not sure.

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  87. Dexter said on August 8, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Check out Craig Crawford’s latest blog entry and the fun video.

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  88. Dexter said on August 8, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Back to the real world, we lost a great Republican, Mark Hatfield. The only major issue I had a beef with him about was his pro-life stance.
    He was a hell of a friend though, speaking up to bring our asses home from Vietnam. He was smart as hell, and he knew foolish defense spending when he saw it.

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  89. coozledad said on August 8, 2011 at 7:49 am

    This is your captain. We hope you’ve enjoyed flying Cathay. Speaking for myself I’ve enjoyed the hell out of it:

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