School supplies.

It rained all day yesterday. Every time I checked the radar for an idea of when it might stop — the wind was blowing, so it should have been headed somewhere — it seemed the same little scrap of precipitation was more or less circling over southeast Michigan. Sometimes it would rain hard, sometimes it would just drip a little, but it never actually stopped.

So when Kate came home with her school-supply list, it seemed like a good time to hit Staples. As Staples go, ours is probably a bare-minimum footprint, tucked as it is into a pre-war urban neighborhood. Still, it has plenty of parking, although it’s rare to see more than a dozen cars there at a time. Not last night. No supply lists were mailed or posted online in advance of the school year; students show up on day one with a pen, and come home with a list. Which means that instead of shopping the sales in August, or spreading the purchase out over a couple of weeks here and there, every parent in the district is at Staples on the second evening of the school year. I saw more familiar faces than at the orientation meeting the previous night. And after all the binders, paper, pens and suchlike had been thrown in the cart, I confronted the big purchase — the graphing calculator. The least expensive of the three acceptable models was sold out. The second one was in stock, for a mere $125.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked the nice Staples guy who was helping me sort things out. I looked at the bulky package, and noted all the selling points — acceptable for use during the SAT/ACT! USB cord included! Carries you through algebra II, calculus and trigonometry! “Does it make coffee or something?”

It does not. It just costs an arm and a leg. The priciest option — the one with the color screen — was $150. So the Texas Instruments TI-84 it was, and no, they didn’t have any pink ones. I’m told the cost will drop to $109.99 after mail-in rebates, which I am so totally getting. The cashier asked if I’d like to make a donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Detroit, which will use the money for school supplies. Oh, hell yes. I can’t imagine being a parent in that city, with all the mountains you must climb just to get your children an education, confronting the news that now your high-schooler needs a $100 calculator to take geometry. Take my money, please.

At least I’m enrolled in the rewards program.

In a college TV production class, we were required to write and perform in a 30-second commercial for a product of our choosing. Mine was a Casio four-function hand-held calculator. My selling point was that you don’t need a square-root key to balance your checkbook. “It adds, subtracts, multiplies and divides — what more do you need?” I got an A.

Amusing detail from the product listing in the Staples circular: Among the classes the TI-84 is suitable for? “English/Language Arts.” Ha ha ha ha ha.

A big teaching chore awaits me today, so here goes with the bloggage:

A Texas wildfire on the march. A YouTube video, but taken with a tripod. As irritating as all-day rain can be, the alternative can be far worse. Actually, whenever I see the meteorological contrasts our country is capable of, I think about the day, which I expect to see in my lifetime, when the southwest finally stops hemming and hawing and makes its case for a transcontinental water pipeline to bring some H2O from chill, overcast and soggy Michigan to sunny, warm Arizona. That’s the day I start pouring sugar into bulldozer gas tanks.

While we’re at YouTube, a friend posted this clip from “2001: A Space Odyssey” today — Hal’s death scene. I’d forgotten how moving it is. Hal was voiced by one of the actors from the Stratford Shakespeare company, and if you want to know how to make a computer voice emotional without changing its machine-like quality by one iota, well, there’s your scene. I don’t know how he does it, but I guess that’s why he’s the pro.

And while we’re still on YouTube, this was served as a “related” video to the fire clip — a Pomeranian puppy, howling. We aren’t amusing ourselves to death, we’re drowning in Cute.

At the goading of some of you, who were discussing it in comments, I turned on the GOP debate last night. Good. GOD. A nation of more than 300 million, a vulnerable president, and this is the alternative? Was that a cheer I heard when the Texas death penalty was mentioned? Who are you people?

Via Mitch Harper in the Fort, a look at Southtown Mall in that city, late, unlamented, but one of the city’s fabulous ruins, for a time. I forgot about that Orange Julius.

Finally, for a good cry, this, the eternal mystery of the human heart.

And I think that’s it. I can smell weekend in the air — can you?

Posted at 10:02 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

65 responses to “School supplies.”

  1. Bryan said on September 8, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Ah, Southtown Mall. Even though I lived in West Central, which made Glenbrook a little bit closer, I preferred shopping at Southtown because it was everything Glenbrook wasn’t. Plus, it had that funky ’70s vibe with the hexagonal skylights and brown/orange color scheme. Best of all, though, was that because it was a dying mall the place was never crowded. I also liked to shop at the big Scott’s score on the south side — the one with the neon cornucopia out front. The place seemed as big as an aircraft hangar.

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  2. Sue said on September 8, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Texas wildfires:
    Proposed state budget cuts funding for firefighting.
    Texas executions:
    Where to begin? ‘A casual approach’ is the mildest criticism that can be applied.

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  3. adrianne said on September 8, 2011 at 10:57 am

    David and I were similarly astounded by the price of the graphing calculator (although our school district has a supply for general use among students who can’t shell out $100 or so). Cheapest I’ve seen around here (after rebates) is $89. What the hell?

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  4. Suzanne said on September 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Don’t get me started on school supply lists. My kids would bring them home, and by the time it was all said and done, I’d be a raving lunatic from road trips to multiple retail venues to search for some overpriced or non-existant item that my kid would invariably inform me later was either not really needed or was never used. Eight or so years later, I still have a steno pad that I went to 3 or 4 different stores to find, paid $5.00 or something silly to buy, and it stayed, unused, in my kid’s desk for the entire school year. I use it to write grocery lists.

    I shopped at Southtown Mall all the time, with my kid in a stroller, and never had a bit of trouble. I was sad when it closed. It was a nice mall; may it rest in peace. For a time back in the mid-80s, we lived in the South Suburbs of Chicago. When we had visitors, one of the cultural highlights was to visit the closed and decaying Dixie Mall (or something like that) in Harvey, IL where the police chase in the mall scene from Blues Brothers was filmed.

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  5. nancy said on September 8, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Adrianne, there’s actually a Yahoo Answers topic called, “Why are graphing calculators so expensive?” The sole reply seems to be: Because they’re required, because teachers designate specific models, and hence no competitive pressure. Where’s that damn invisible hand when you need it?

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  6. LAMary said on September 8, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I didn’t need to buy one this year, but I swear I saw graphing calculators at Costco for under 100. I think there is actually a coupon for them that’s good until next week. I think. Don’t kill me if this is a very boring hallucination I’m having.

    Yes. Here it is:

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  7. Deborah said on September 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

    What the hell is a graphing calculator and how did I, a complete math impaired person, get through algebra and trig without one?

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  8. Julie Robinson said on September 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

    If it’s any comfort, those graphing calculator prices are the same as what we paid back in the 90’s and 00’s. And it’s one purchase I’d advise buying the insurance for, because they have a way of falling out of backpacks and lockers and getting crunched. Oh, and the kids can load all kinds of games on them too, unless someone’s found a way to block them.

    We used to live south of downtown and I loved shopping south since the traffic was so much lighter. But it was frustrating to be told, time after time, that I had to go to Glenbrook to buy the item I was looking for. The stores themselves bear responsibility for not knowing their customers. When they started stocking crap and only crap, I gave up and went north.

    Edit: Deborah, it’s the modern equivalent of a slide rule, and makes solving complicated equations much faster. They are actually computers. Wonder if there’s a iPhone app?

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  9. Connie said on September 8, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I have fond memories of this Staples ad: Dad and kids are shopping for school. Dad is bopping through store, kids are moping, soundtrack is “See You in September.”

    Joseph Decuis restaurant in Roanoke Indiana, mentioned before by several of you, is featured in Sept/Oct issue of Midwest Living magazine.

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  10. beb said on September 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Forget to mention in yesterday’s post but the face of the the chimp Ceasar was CGI from motion-capture technology. The same company that animated gollum in the Rings trilogy, in fact the same actor. He also he the facial expressions for Petert Jackson’s King Kong. I don’t know if that’s a comendation for his ability to emote or just that he’s familiar with the tech.

    Lots of people are stunned by the applause for Rick Perry murdering 234 people, at least one of whom was almost certainly innocent. Conservatives have a nasty, vindictive streak in them.

    Michelle Bachmann has been telling the nation that God sent Hurricane Irene because were not moral enough. I guess that means God hates Texas because he’s trying to burn it off the face of the Earth.

    Weekend in the air? It’s only Thursday. I think Nancy was smelling someone trying to BBQ in the rain. Here in Detroit BBQ is a year long occupation.

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  11. kayak woman said on September 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I was thinking what Julie said, that the price on graphing calculators hasn’t gone up since the late 90s. Also, a search for iPhone apps returns a whole slew of results.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on September 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Yep, I just found all kinds of iPhone apps for graphing calculators. I don’t know how many high school kids have iPhones, though, and the teachers want everyone to have the same calculator so they can guide the kids through examples. I think our daughter used hers in college but she liked to take math classes. For most kids they’ll become expensive paperweights.

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  13. Sue said on September 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    beb, no, no, no, it’s not our morals God is objecting to this time. God is devastating large portions of the country and hurting and killing its citizens because the politicians are not listening to the citizens that God is hurting and killing. Got that? Although she was just kidding!
    “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending”

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  14. moe99 said on September 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Dick Cheney was/is far more evil than I thought:

    This is a guy who admits to no mistakes while being vice president:

    I sure wish that some of those countries who have charged Cheney with high crimes practiced rendition.

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  15. Dexter said on September 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I see smart phones pouring champagne, emulating a bro-‘stache, and becoming a guitar in that corny commercial that plays incessantly…and yet, they have no calculator functions? I simply prefer a flip phone , so I don’t know much about phones, except I see my kids shooting pictures and video and going online with their phones…it amazes me a parent has to spend a buck fifty for a calculator.

    I had my first Orange Julius from a street-side stand in Berkeley, California. I remember how exquisite it was. I think I had one in FWA, too. I used shop at Southtown because my post-war girlfriend lived in Waynedale.

    The Pomeranian was cute…we had one years ago…let him out to pee and he was shot , and had to be put down as he was paralyzed. A sad day. Don’t let your pets stray away…I learned the hard way. Last night my pup, a Lab, wrapped her leash around a tree and backed out of her harness. She is a runner. I couldn’t find her. Ten minutes passed and I was out driving , searching…and I got a call from the local tattoo parlor. She was there. I was lucky. Always tag your pets and chip them, too. The phone # on the tag got me my dog back.

    The loving applause for Perry’s death-state? Perfect. Now the whole world knows what is in the heart of hearts of Rick Perry’s followers. Applause for such a horrible option? I don’t get it. Why? Too many reversed DNA convictions is why.
    No need to argue for or against the death penalty. I am just saying the applause was a real head shaker.

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  16. nancy said on September 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    So? What tattoo did the dog choose? Let me guess: A bone inside a heart.

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  17. Joe Kobiela said on September 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Did you check out the link on about the Arabs flying out after9-11. Sorry if it burst your bubble but snopes is pretty reliable.
    Pilot Joe

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  18. Dorothy said on September 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Re kids going back to school (I have no supplies stories but hope you’ll enjoy this:)
    My nephew Dylan (middle child), Tuesday morning: I’m sort of excited about my first day of high school, Mom.
    Janet, my sister: I’m excited too!
    Dylan: Why – you aren’t going anywhere.
    Janet: No, but you three are!

    She’d rather be going to work but she lost her teaching job at the end of June. She’ll be subbing, but she’ll be struggling once again. She got divorced about 3 years ago and finding full-time employment has not been easy. She thought she was going to be hired after subbing for a woman with breast cancer last December, who did not come back the rest of the school year. But it is a Christian school, and since Jan is Catholic, they decided she was not a good fit as a full time employee, even though she was praised to the heavens for her work. How Christian is that, I ask you?

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  19. James Moehrke said on September 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    We purchased two graphing calculators while our boy was in high school, but he’s still using the last one in calculus in his second year of college. Just wait until the sticker shock kicks in at the college bookstore that first year…

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  20. Julie Robinson said on September 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I’d say not Christian at all, Dorothy.

    Here’s a bit of levity for a gloomy, rainy day. Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for sex ed:

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  21. Judybusy said on September 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Out of the blue, I want to thank whoever posted that Mark Bittman easy paella recipe about two weeks ago. We added shrimp and chorizo sausage, and used out of town guests as guinea pigs. It was incredible!

    Dorothy, the hypocrisy of some Christians is astoundng. Do they never thnik to ask, “What would Jesus really think of this behavior?”

    And cheering the death penalty? Makes me ill.

    Julie, I get the Oatmeal on FB–loved this one so much! Now if Hyperbole and a Half would finish her book and put up new stuff, I would be so happy!

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  22. Bitter Scribe said on September 8, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I’m guessing a graphics calculator app on a smartphone wouldn’t do a kid any good, because most schools don’t let them use phones in school.

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  23. Julie Robinson said on September 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Based on the number of facebook postings I see from my school-age friends, I’d guess most schools are failing miserably at cell phone bans. My kid got called out on it once, but since that was the only call I ever got for a behavioral issue, it didn’t concern me too much.

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  24. Dexter said on September 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Actually she has a heart inside a heart for her ID tag. Of course, I got there just in time before she made her selection for her tattoo. She was eying a basketball shoe; her favorite form of recreation is chewing up shoes.
    She has ruined a new pair of Nike , a nice pair of leather shoes, and a pair of hiking boots so far, plus all my shower sandals. And a few pairs of my wife’s good shoes. Now we realize the dog will hunt and search for shoes, so we keep them all in sealed tubs (totes). We had great fun on the phone last evening recanting the tattoo tale…some gave me hell for being a careless owner but believe me, I concentrate on keeping control of her…she is wily and she loves to run. I will try to do better. I’d hate to lose this pup.

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  25. jcburns said on September 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    The Stratford actor whose voice elevated 2001: A Space Odyssey, who we saw onstage with you and Alan many years ago there, was of course Douglas Rain.

    Yes, RAIN. Just wanted to make sure all the threads of your story connected.

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  26. moe99 said on September 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm


    “MR. RUSSERT: But, Prince, here’s the question. This is a photograph of you with the president down at his Crawford ranch. He brought his family. Alison Walsh of The New Yorker wrote you are almost a member of the Bush family. That was her interpretation after doing an enormous amount of research. And 140 Saudis did leave the United States when Americans couldn’t fly. The FBI agent–the FBI spokesman, John Inurelli, said, “I can say unequivocally that the FBI had no role in facilitating these flights.” Jim Thompson on the 9-11 Commission asked Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state, “Did you, the State Department authorize this?” “No, sir.” I asked the vice president of the United States on this program, did he know anything about it? “No, sir.” Hundred and forty Saudis leave the country two days after September 11, and nobody knows who gave permission. You don’t know anything about it. You didn’t ask anyone for permission.”

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  27. LAMary said on September 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    My fundie right wing co-worker has her kids in a very Christian school. To work there, in any capacity, one must sign a document swearing they share the religious beliefs and values of the school. No Catholics (my co-worker once said Catholics are not Christians), no anything except the 21st century version of Ronald Reagan mega church evangelical facism that the school and the church it’s related to hold dear. I think they don’t want the students exposed to any ideas or beliefs they don’t already hold. No critical thinking is allowed.

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  28. april glaspie said on September 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Fun and games at Christian School.

    The HAL death scene is brilliant, but I think Roy Batty’s (Rutger Hauer) death scene is the best movie death scene ever. Like tears, in rain.

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  29. Scout said on September 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    My daughter, her husband and my two grandchildren moved from Las Vegas to Pennsylvania on August 22. Their first day on the east coast brought an earthquake. By the end of the week Irene blew through and took down scores of trees and knocked out power for days. Now in week three Lee is bringing major floods to the area. I’m starting to think my tears over this long distance move are creating all this. I never knew I had so much power. I only wish I could make it rain in Phoenix. My plants all look like they’ve lost the will to live.

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    The truly awe/horror inspiring thing about kids and cell phones is how they can be sitting, in the classroom, in church, in . . . well, shall we say . . . court-related settings, and if they have one hand completely invisible above the table/pew/desk? They’re sending long texts to friends.

    My advantage is that we can request logs, with time stamps, and show them on a second go-round. But I have to wink just a bit and say “touch typing isn’t dead, is it?” To which they stare blankly. Parents, for now, still keep glancing down, and are much easier to bust. “Ma’am, would you please put your device away and join in with this conversation about where your child will sleep tonight? Thank you.”

    From a life-long opponent of the death penalty (not all Christians, conservatives, nor Christian conservatives are feckless cheerleaders for execution), may I cautiously note that Perry’s electoral “gamble” isn’t that risky — 65% of Americans favor capital punishment, with yes, most Republicans itching for the switch, but half of Democrats are digging for a vein, too.

    The numbers get weird when you get into specifics, because most don’t actually like the idea of killing people, they just want criminals executed. You know, without mess or trauma. Just as the voters still think we have a unicorn farm with puppies & kittens & cupcakes to send children to when things get bad. Nope, the messy reality is that we send them to your perfunctorily screened neighbors, along with a monthly check and their belongings in a black plastic garbage bag.

    As do we want more services and benefits, and someone else to pay. Both the Kingdom of Heaven and the Worker’s Paradise seem very far away today, but it may just be the weather. Or the large number of kids walking by my office door in orange oneseys and shackles. Which do, in fact, clank, just like Marley’s Ghost, who is just around the corner, moaning. Or it might be me under my breath.

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  31. Sue said on September 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Oh, come on, april, the best movie death scene ever is the one in Love Story. So genuine, so true. Unless it’s the one where Spock dies (actually, that one was rather affecting if I must admit it).
    Actually, it’s the Bette Davis brain cancer movie death scene. Dark Victory, a movie of much fabulousness.

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  32. Dorothy said on September 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Well they payed nearly half what the public schools averaged, so maybe they did her a favor. Still, I know one of my brothers has been sending her a check periodically to help out.

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  33. coozledad said on September 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    What cruel medieval idea isn’t embraced by Republicans? Racism, sexism, homobigotry, rape as a tool for enforcing social conformity, judicial murder, use of the courts to assist property theft, upward economic redistribution, mythologizing or editing history, elevating sociopaths to positions of power, useless interminable wars conducted under the banner of white supremacy and religious militancy, preemptive resource wars, the commodification of water resources, the wanton destruction of water resources, the creation of a prison industrial state, mandatory draconian sentencing for misdemeanors, curtailment of voting rights, denying access to health care….
    The question isn’t are they stupid or evil, the question is, just how fucking evil can the warped fuckers get.
    I’ll wager you could hook them up to electrodes and show them a photograph of a lynching and the resulting data would echo the brain scan of a coked-up orangutan blowing a load while eating a carton of plantains.

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  34. april glaspie said on September 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Large numbers (<30%) according to polling by Zogby) of American fundagelicals do not believe Catholics are Christians. Mainstream fundy and evangelical preachers like the Grahams and Oral Roberts have suggested that Catholicism is a "satanic cult", and the intertubes are full of that sort of bizarre crap. Mea culpa. Some guys in Fort Worth created an app for that.

    As far as I know, the vast proliferation of Christiaan Schools was watered and fertilized, at least in the South, by school integration, which, of course, is about as far from following Jesus as you can get.

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  35. coozledad said on September 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Vitter will be strapping his diaper on in DC:

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  36. Jeff Borden said on September 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Cooz, While you always make me laugh, your insights always cut to the bone, too.

    By now, we ought to recognize the end game is afoot. The GOP –the so-called Party of Lincoln– is doing everything in its power to disenfranchise voters who do not share their obsession with wars, privatization and Christianity. They are not even subtle about it. It’s blatant war on people of color, immigrants legal and illegal, GLBTs, unions and the middle class. Consider the shenanigans –perhaps that word is a little too light to describe the actions– of the Wisconsin GOP, which rammed through a voter ID law. Citizens may obtain a free picture ID at any DMV, but employees are forbidden from mentioning it. They are only to be issued if the customer asks for one. And then we had the Koch whores, who funded a misinformation campaign designed to get those voting to recall their Republican puppets to show up for the polls on the wrong day. These are the same Kochs, of course, who at their annual retreat referred to our president as Saddam Hussein and declared the 2012 presidential election the mother of all wars.

    I keep looking for reasonable Republicans and conservatives with a heart, but it’s hard to find either these days. The entire right-wing movement is pernicious, ugly, selfish, racist, anti-intellectual and, in my opinion, utterly unAmerican.

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  37. Catherine said on September 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    You can find used graphing calculators on amazon for about $40. One of my kids’ math teachers brokers resale of used calculators for about $30 (she keeps $0). So, keep the receipt, you might be able to find it for much less.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Sue — “I am, and always will be, your friend.”

    Appropriate, given that today is the 45th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek.

    Live long, and prosper!

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  39. Bitter Scribe said on September 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I once had a Catholic co-worker tell me that Catholics aren’t always Christians. That one made my jaw drop.

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  40. jcburns said on September 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    “I am, and always will be, your graphing calculator.”

    So, OK, if the point is to teach them math skills, and how to use tools like calculators to figure complex equations out, then why not permit laptops running software that outshine most graphing calculators…or phone or tablet apps that do the same?

    Honestly, Kate’s iPod Touch has what, 6-8 times the RAM and 50 times the storage of the TI-84? (And a much fancier display for the graphics part of it?)

    I think there’s some secret kickback from TI or HP to teachers or curriculum planners, inherited from the old slide rule manufacturers’ kickback.

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  41. Jakash said on September 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    In the Chicago Tribune today, Rick Kogan has a swell review of Roger Ebert’s new book. Sounds great. Ebert says that Studs Terkel is “the greatest man I knew.”,0,989874.story

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  42. Sue said on September 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    jc, I heard from a mom that our high school will be issuing laptops to the students starting this year.
    When I told my husband, we spent a few minutes veering between laughing and shuddering.
    I know school-issued computers are becoming more common, but at least one of my kids would have destroyed that thing in a week. She wouldn’t even have had time to lose it. It’s what she does.

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  43. brian stouder said on September 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    psssst; speaking of ‘school supplies’ – President Obama may well mention good ol’ Fort Wayne Community Schools in tonight’s address.

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  44. april glaspie said on September 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Nah, Love Story is always having to say I think I’m gonna puke. Pure maudlin hokum. And wretched acting. Dark Victory is exceptional. And who really thought Spock was going to stay dead?

    This guy, Troy Davis is almost surely innocent of the crime he was convicted of, but he’s out of appeals, and he will probably be executed in the near future. Unless people that favor the death penalty want to rewrite American jurisprudence entirely, including Constitutional law, They are going to have to admit that it costs an obscene amount of money, for an obscene result, without any redeeming value to society. The idea that the death penalty is a deterrent to commission of some crimes is patently ridiculous.

    Jeff there are states, like my own (SC) Where the law allows for gun permits as valid ID for polling places but not college IDs. What sort of kneejerk nutcase would actually think of something so entirely perverse?

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  45. Sue said on September 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    april, you are just so wrong. The stunning combination of Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neil puts all other screen lovers to shame. If this were a musical they would be Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald, that’s how timeless this movie was, and how perfect the pairing.
    Such incredible chemistry in a classic story, simply told.
    So genuine! So true!
    I await your reply.

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  46. ROGirl said on September 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    April is right. Ali McGraw has to be one of the worst actresses ever to appear on screen.

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  47. brian stouder said on September 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    No no no no.

    A terribly under-rated movie is The Black Marble – a Joseph Wambaugh LA police movie – in which Paula Prentiss is so wooden and untheatrical that…I love her! She makes bad acting look sooo good! (and the male lead was really, really good as the sad-sack good guy…and the sad-sack not-so-terribly-bad guy is a fine character actor who is who I picture when Coozledad goes into retro-rural mode)


    male lead = Robert Foxworth
    not-so-terribly-bad guy = Harry Dean Stanton

    Grab it off the dollar rack, or Red Box it; a pretty good movie, IIRC

    edit 2: Southtown Mall was redlined out of existence, I say. I can never think of that “failed” mall, and not think that it was simply abandoned by its owners. It is in southeast Fort Wayne, which was go-go in IH days, and then changed all through the ’80’s (read – white-flight). I remember very specifically about the dynamic noted above, wherein the stores there had less and less selection, while their northern outlets had it all.

    Bottom line – a super-WalMart is there now, anchoring a revitalized area that had died almost entirely, and which now includes a Menards and several other smaller businesses. The people who live in southeast Fort Wayne need groceries and flub-dubs just the same as everyone else, and WalMart stepped up and served that area. Bravo to them, I say

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  48. Andrea said on September 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    One thing I can say, from my experience, is that TI calculators last. I have a TI-31 scientific calculator that was required for 7th grade algebra back in 1986. I still have it and it works like it’s brand new. Even if it is featured in this “Datamath Calculator Museum.”

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  49. Dexter said on September 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    jc…that has to be it…kickbacks. And Bitter Scribe, I understand why phones have to be outlawed , but yeah, laptops and i-pads and other tablets could be used in lieu of the graphic calculators, right? I’m over my head here and it’s not my issue, but having to buy an expensive calculator in 2011 seems harsh on the pocketbook for no reason.
    Computers were donated by the UAE also for Joplin’s kids.

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  50. april glaspie said on September 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Ali McGraw bears a physical resemblance to Angie Harmon. Both are very beautiful women lacking emotive talent. And Ryan O’Neal’s great gift to the film world was his daughter, a considerably better actor than the old man. He’s not truly horrible on Bones. But years ago, on Peyton Place, he was hilariously bad as Rodney Harrington. He almost ruined Barry Lyndon. By all reports, he was a very good and faithful friend to Farrah Fawcett. Just not a very good actor.

    Out of Africa, I might go along with as a good love story/chemistry movie. Or, Ironweed, or A Boy and His Dog.

    Paul Krugman rips Kantor (R.-Israel) a new one. Bastard is a whited sepulcher. And politics as hostage taking should not get a pass in America. It’s exactly what the shitheels did to force the extenion of the rich folks’ tax cuts, they held unemployment money hostage. I don’t know about anyone else, but treating people that way will get you left out of the Rapcha, if God is good.

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  51. Connie said on September 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Heard today that Comcast will be donating computers to local high school students who get free lunch and do not have a computer with internet access at home. Our township supervisor serves on some local government cable committee and our township gets a small cable fee payment from Comcast every year. Money can only spent on technology. Remember when multiple cable companies were trying to be THE ONE picked by local governments?

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  52. LAMary said on September 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Ali McGraw in the Winds of War miniseries was remarkably bad. You could have hauled some stranger off the street, had them read the script cold, and seen a better performance.

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  53. april glaspie said on September 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Incredibly beautiful new album by Laura Marling Heavenly. Best new music I’ve heard in some time. Stunning voice, remarkable songs, great acoustic guitar playing.

    Elizabeth Warren thrashing Scott Brown would be a really sweet bit of election night news.

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  54. brian stouder said on September 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Elizabeth Warren thrashing Scott Brown would be a really sweet bit of election night news.

    Agreed!! She is marvelous

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  55. Connie said on September 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    He almost ruined Barry Lyndon? It was ruined from the beginning. It is the only movie I have ever walked out of.

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  56. coozledad said on September 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Brian: I can only wish I had the presence of Harry Stanton or Warren Oates. They were lanky. I’m more of a short-legged berry foraging monkey.
    More Ernest T. Bass, sadly. Even down to the mannerisms.

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  57. Deborah said on September 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I’ve seen Ali McGraw in a place called Tesuque outside of Santa Fe, at the Tesuque Market. She’s still very beautiful. Even in normal clothes and little make-up.

    Is the president’s speech happening? We are having a TV problem, haven’t been able to watch for months. I don’t miss it until times like this.

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  58. Dexter said on September 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Deborah…he was on earlier, 6:15 or so Chicago time. As to be expected, lots of audible jeering by the Republicans. I am not used to that. The Democrats never did that to Bush43.

    Here’s a link with a tab to click for the entire speech.

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  59. Jeff Borden said on September 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I’m a huge fan of great character actors like Harry Dean Stanton and Warren Oates and hate that the latter actor is probably far better known for his performance in the Bill Murray film “Stripes” than for his great work in many other films.

    Those who truly dig Mr. Oates need to watch the director’s cut of “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.” Yes, the film is very violent, but at its heart is an incredible, poignant and utterly believable love story between Oates’ damaged barroom pianist Benny and a lovely but well-traveled prostitute. Some of their interactions are heart-wrenching. . .the long-time loser Benny, whose motto is “Nobody loses all the time,” and a woman who has seen and done so much she can accept being raped to prevent Benny from coming to harm.

    Director Sam Peckinpah said this was the only film he ever made that turned out the way he wanted it to. . .in the director’s cut, at least.

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  60. alex said on September 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Came home to a leaking roof so ran to Home Despot. Fortunately got to see the president’s speech because the TV was recording the pre-empted Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. And the hole is plugged. Absolutely invisible from above, but about the size of a quarter in the attic and wood wet and soft for about two feet around it in all directions. Hopefully the tar out of the caulk gun will make it last through the monsoon season predicted into next week so’s I can order a new roof.

    Judybusy—you’re welcome re: the easy paella and I’m going to try it the way you suggested and use seafood broth. Still getting about two bushels a week of tomatoes and if past years are any indication, the garden will keep pumping them out until November.

    Read earlier today that the incredible Mrs. Beard was planning a rebuttal speech for tonight. Anybody see it?

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  61. brian stouder said on September 8, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Alex – I think “Mrs Beard” has got to be a thread winner!

    I recorded the speech and went to the University of Saint Francis (four blocks away) for an interesting presentation by two photographic art curators; heard the beginning on the radio…and then drove back as the local radio yappers were “analyzing” the speech.

    The one guy was the local station’s de rigueur fat-slob hard-right wingnut, and his expert guest sounded vaguely familiar. The guest was making the point that the president sounded like a black preacher, exhorting his congregation – but not getting the responses he was wanting, to his sermon.

    THEN IT HIT ME!! – the racist bastard was Mark Souder his-own-self; our disgraced former congressman who was caught (by a fish cop) with his pants down, conducting a “Federal probe” of the wife of one of his biggest donors near one of the lakes north of here. Why would anyone care what that guy has to say about anything, let alone what he thinks of how President Obama did – especially when he cannot control himself or his own Mr Happy?

    What a world, eh?

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  62. moe99 said on September 8, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Nope but I love Talking Points Memo’s dissection of it, especially the comments:

    Favorite comments: “first clown out of the car.” and “she’s insulted circuses everywhere.”

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  63. EllenT said on September 8, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    I teach high school, so I can maybe clarify some points:

    Graphing calculators are the choice over iPhones and other devices because they are still lo-fi enough to be ok to use on state standardized math tests. The school will have enough TI-84s to use on state standardized test day – 5 or 6 per classroom. The teachers who serve as test proctors have to clear the calculators after each use. Anything with Internet capability could also be used to cheat. You have to buy your kid her own TI graphing calculator b/c she has to learn how to use that model correctly for the state test. Especially with public schools, it’s almost always all about the state test.

    Sue: The school-issue laptops usually offer an insurance option and have a lojack feature, if that reassures you at all.

    Back to lurking (and inhaling wildfire soot).

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  64. Dexter said on September 9, 2011 at 2:37 am

    Thanks for the clarification, EllenT.

    I’ll be seeing my granddaughter for the first time in about 12 hours. Of course I can’t sleep so I could get a rip-roarin’ early start. ( I have to drive to Columbus, three hours plus change) I am a damned night owl…can’t shake it.

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  65. april glaspie said on September 9, 2011 at 9:18 am

    When I think of Warren Oates, I think of the creepy fishing guide in 92 in the Shade, the creepier Sam Wood in In the Heat of the Night (Top ten all time, for me), and GTO in Two-Lane Blacktop. I think he was in The Wild Bunch (L’horde Sauvage, as I saw it in Geneva when it came out), and I’m sure there were many, many Gunsmoke episodes, as well appearances on every other great ’60s and ’70s western TV series. He was also in a strange western called Ride in the Whirlwind, directed and written by Jack Nicholson, which also had Harry Dean, as Blind Dick, and the incomparable Cameron Mitchell. I think that one is free on Netflix.

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