I can’t tell you enough what a good time Saturday’s Tour de Troit was, even though I rode all by my little lonesome, the other two-thirds of my family SO busy with THEIR lives they couldn’t be bothered to rise at dawn and take a three-hour bike ride with mom. But so what? I do lots of things alone, and found plenty of people to talk to among the 4,000 or so rolling along with me. The weather was perfect and the route was great — Detroit high to low, crack houses to manor houses, with a lap of Belle Isle and a crisp McIntosh apple thrown in. And lunch. With beer. None of which I drank, as it was 11 a.m. and I had a day of chores ahead. So I found a table of thirsty-looking guys, and gave them my final food and drink tickets.
I should have given my extra ticket to Dexter. He could have put one of his 37 specialized bikes into the van, driven up and rolled on out with me. Would have been a crazy early start for a night owl like him, though. Maybe next time.
I just realized what-all my week will entail, looked at my calendar and groaned. If I miss a day this week, don’t bother with search parties. It’s just me, exhausted and weeping, trying to make a 50-hour week run with five hours of sleep, nightly.
But so we can get it started in the same fashion it will likely end, how about a bunch of tossed-off bloggage?
We seem to be on a capital-punishment jag here, so one more, a column about what it was like to be in the crowd outside Troy Davis’ execution. Sounds a lot like the Tim McVeigh death carnival in 2001, i.e. a reporter-to-protestor ratio of about 10:1, and not much news to report other than, “it’s going to happen in two hours” and “it happened 20 minutes ago.”
It did jog my memory, however, to when my friend Ron French (with whom I worked at TimFest) covered an execution of a Michigan man in Florida, years previous. There’s a wire-service reporter at those things who, like the Atlanta reporter linked above, has seen more men lose their lives than an infantryman in a war zone. The protestors, pro and con, all know one another, shake hands and ask after one another’s kids. They keep their signs in their car trunks, and some of them are looking a little worn out.
The wire-service reporter told a story about how, back in the electric-chair days, the liner on the chair’s cap finally wore out, probably from overuse. It’s a sea sponge which is saturated in salt water before it’s fitted on the condemned man’s head, and aids in conducting the charge through the body. When it wore out, some genius at the prison, probably looking to save taxpayer dollars, replaced it with a common cellulose sea sponge. Which burst into flames during the event, upsetting everyone and very likely hastening the era of lethal injection.
A few of you have asked, in the past, what my problem is with Jennifer Granholm, who always looked so smart and presentable on “Meet the Press” while she was governor of Michigan. I think my Wayne State colleague Jack Lessenberry gets to the heart of it in his review of what seems to be her laughably awful memoir. A friend of mine suggested some staged readings might be fun to do, and with passages like this, of course I’m waving my hand in the air, volunteering to play Jenny:
Actually, the book, which is subtitled The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future, is so appallingly bad it is weirdly fascinating, starting with the weird, stilted dialogue it claims were real conversations, mainly between husband and wife.
What they actually sound like are Ayn Rand characters who have learned a whole lot of psychobabble. (“His words finally pierced my hard, self-pitying armor. It was my ego that was sucking me down.” Finally, she told him “Thanks for caring so much.”)
Mark Bittman takes on the “junk food is cheaper than broccoli” canard and finds: No, it’s not. This is not exactly a state secret, which we’ve discussed here many times before — oh, my little smartlings, you make this job so rewarding — but I have to pull back at his solution, which is to turn Mickey D’s into the new Philip Morris. Just what the culture war needs: Another front.
Finally, one for Cooz: A chapter from North Carolina’s history of social engineering, i.e., aggressive sterilization programs for the poor, feeble-minded and, of course, promiscuous. The reveal is who presided over these programs for decades — one Wallace Kuralt, father of Charles the Beloved.
And now I must get moving. Happy week to you. As for me, I just hope to endure it, and make a few deadlines.