I’m a big believer in food therapy, although the older I get the less often it takes the form of eating a bowl of raw cookie dough. One of the new activities I spoke of yesterday requires me to drop Kate off downtown at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, which is a strange time. If I head back out to the ‘burbs I run into after-work traffic, and so I look for stupid little errands to burn time until it thins out. Check out a possible bike route, buy a dozen tamales in Mexicantown, whatever. Yesterday I popped into a venerable downtown bar/restaurant called Cliff Bell’s.
Mmm, happy hour. (But I can’t drink on weeknights.) Not too crowded. Lovely venue, restored in 2006 to its full Art Deco glory. Framed newspaper articles in the foyer outside the ladies’ describe it as a former speakeasy, or “blind pig” in the local jargon. It also says it opened in 1935, two years after Repeal. Well, I guess it could have been a blind pig before that — there were certainly enough of them. More fascinating fact: Blind pigs were the source of 50,000 jobs at their peak during Prohibition. Fifty thousand! That earns them a place at any economic-development table in my world.
But today is 2011, and the drinks are considerably more expensive. I saw complaining on Yelp about $12 martinis but as I said, I wasn’t drinking. I looked over the menu and saw just what the doctor ordered: Steak and eggs. It came in the form of a petite filet on a small potato cake, topped with a runny one sunny side up, napped with bernaise. It was raining and chilly outside, and all that warm protein just hit the spot.
On the way home, I took a few side streets to the freeway and watched a lone cyclist cross my path — no lights, dark clothing, with what appeared to be half a dozen hula hoops carried crosswise across his body, but a closer look revealed them to be insulated cable of some sort. A scrapper taking his treasure to the yard. I bet he won’t be enjoying the steak and eggs at Cliff Bell’s anytime soon.
How did the morning slip away again? I’ll tell you how: Editing copy. My reporters are young, they’re inexperienced, and they don’t always deploy their adjectives with care. May I also add that their only role models in pop culture are TV types, and every time one of these show ponies asks, “And how did that make you feel?” before tipping the mic in the subject’s direction, God kills a kitten. At the very least He gives me another story to fix, written by someone who thinks that’s how you do journalism.
I shouldn’t talk. My students teach me something every day, and seeing them grow over time is genuinely rewarding. One I would have written off a year ago called me a couple weeks back, shaking with excitement over being sent to New York to cover Occupy Wall Street. The story he filed was better than anything he ever wrote for me. I hope I had something to do with it.
But now I must away, and I will not be in my regular place tomorrow. I’m off for a weekend of R&R in an undisclosed location, although I’m sure there’ll be photos. But tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., I hope to be looking at Detroit from a rapidly ascending airplane.
Meanwhile, here was the most eye-opening story from last night’s health beat:
Expectant mothers are more likely to die from murder or suicide than from several of the most common pregnancy-related medical problems, a U.S. study said.
You don’t say.
One of my Facebook friends posted this video two days ago, on the birthday of Father Charles Coughlin. Remarkable in many ways, but perhaps mostly for the casual use of “voluble” in a newsreel script. But how did he feel? Also note the use of dramatic reenactment.
I have to go. I hope it’s not raining where you are, because it sure is here.