Your moneybags, sir.

Read a fascinating story overnight, about corporate tax rates. Although the rate is allegedly 35 percent — AND CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’S THAT HIGH? WHAT IS THIS, THE SOVIET UNION? — it should not surprise you to know that many companies pay far less, and some collect fat…well, you can’t exactly call them refunds, as there was nothing paid to be refunded in the first place. “The thanks of a grateful nation,” perhaps.

Here’s a chart. I notice that many of the biggest refunders are utilities, including my own, DTE Energy. I’d imagine that comes from exploiting energy policy that rewards some sources of power over others. Here’s a jaw-dropper, however:

The report said that many other companies took advantage of tax breaks that favor certain industries, including drilling for oil and gas, making video games, building NASCAR racetracks, producing ethanol, and making movies.

Video games, movies and NASCAR. If you wonder why lobbyists are as rich as Midas, wonder no more.

Rick Snyder, the new governor of Michigan, drastically reduced our film tax credits, on the grounds that governments shouldn’t “pick winners and losers” for special treatment. (Then he turned around and top-downed a bunch of other ideas and “best practices,” which goes to show we all have a different idea of what constitutes a winner and a loser.)

What I don’t know about tax policy could fill the Grand Canyon, but I do know I studied the wrong thing in college. A lawyer friend of mine likes to say he wouldn’t trade his B.A. in economics for anything, that no single field of study explains the world as well as econ. I’d say he’s right.

So what’s your major, anyway?

I have an interview to do in 45 minutes, and I intend to ride my bike to it, because what’s the point of doing hyperlocal journalism if you can’t do hyperlocal transportation along the way. I haven’t been doing as much cycling as I usually do in the fall, but that’s to be expected, considering the near-constant rain we’ve been having. I have to remind myself to be alert to autumnal cycling hazards; one year in Fort Wayne I nearly came to ruin after thoughtlessly riding fast under an aesculus glabra tree that had dropped its fruit all over the Rivergreenway. I use the Latin name so I don’t wreck the punchline: It would be ironic indeed for an Ohio native to be felled by a buckeye.

Fortunately, I have some bloggage:

Mitch Albom, infamous crafter of over-the-top obituaries, stays his hand (mostly) and does one I actually enjoyed reading — about his piano teacher. It’s good because he mostly keeps himself out of it, although it has enough head-smacking phrases for a few winces; the man’s cancer battle had “gone to a minor key,” not to mention this entire paragraph:

Sing a song of Matt Michaels. Make it sweet and melodic as the best jazz tune, make it funny and smart and a little whimsical, a trill note here or there. Make it smoky and coffee-stained and gently inspiring to anyone who hears it. The old expression goes, “Those who can’t do, teach,” but that is false. Sometimes, those who can do teach anyhow, and the world is better for it.

Ugh. But the guy left behind a million stories, and Mitch wrangled a few of them. Kate’s wonderful bass teacher gets to tell one, so there’s that.

Mark my words: At some point in the near or distant future, Kim Kardashian is going to claim her whole joke of a marriage was planned for just this reason.

Jim at Sweet Juniper’s other kid — that would be “Juniper” — was a ghost for Halloween. But not a sheet ghost.

My phone just alerted me that it’s time to head out. The weekend is drawing so, so near, I can almost taste it.

Posted at 10:05 am in Current events, Media |

102 responses to “Your moneybags, sir.”

  1. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 10:43 am

    As I was a-goin’ over the Cork & Kerry Mountains
    I met with Captain Farrell, and his money he was countin’.
    First I drew my pistols and then I drew my rapier,
    Sayin’ “Stand and deliver, for I am your bold deceiver.”

    I’m thinking, rob it back. These mofos stole the money blind. Fuck ’em and take it back. I’m not suggesting violins, just bigger firepower.

    Not the best jazz tune, but a damn fine tune.

    Kim Who? She has an obscenely fat butt and was apparently a trophy given to Reggie Bush, that can’t play football to save his life. Maybe he should try pot and hang with Ricky Williams. Might play better. Actually talented people have more attractive asses than the avoirdupois “lady”. And who gives a shit? James Lileks could tell you, this is how we got reality TV, which makes the last two decades the dregs, and there is no way to deny it. Who the fuck are the idiots that prefer that shit to anything with a writer, a plot, and acting? Good Lord, an idiot could see that Miami Vice is a better way to waste an hour than Survivor of any sort. This is way beyond me. Zombie TV. What is wrong with you idiots?

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  2. Sue said on November 3, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Interesting tax story and chart. Now I would like to see someone match this information with US job loss/creation numbers for each company.

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  3. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Years ago, David Letterman showed a video featuring a forlorn dog asking “Where are the folks with the food?” Anybody got a link? This was brilliant.

    Or this one. Mingus rules. Or probably this one. Did anybody ever have a cooler name than Thelonious? But if you are a bass player, you have to listen to Joni Mitchell playing with Mingus.

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  4. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Sue, American companies don’t create jobs, they shitcan or outsource them. Romney’s and Hermanator’s specialties. Now how fixing bridges before they fall down is going to create a job in New Delhi, let’s hear GOPers explain that. Or Tim Pawlenty. It’s not too late Bozo, they are all clowns in that car.

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  5. adrianne said on November 3, 2011 at 11:01 am

    These couples need to come to New York. Gay marriage has been an economic godsend to the wedding industry here – designers, florists, caterers, etc.

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  6. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Or probably this one. Did anybody ever have a cooler name than Thelonious? Nope.

    This video reminds me of something my brother David said once, who has not got a racist bone in his body, “A black kid will put anything on his head and call it a hat.”

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  7. Connie said on November 3, 2011 at 11:24 am

    So Caliban, do you judge all women on how attractive their asses are?

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  8. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I’m happy people have jobs, but the idea of a wedding industry makes me exceptionally queasy. I didn’t love my own. We were made to share it with a sister in law I esteem and care a great deal about, but her husband was an idio, and fucked up our wedding, but my Father in law was an ahole that figured if he controlled things they must be right. Amazing we stayed married nearly 15 years. Screwed from the getgo.

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  9. Bob (not Greene) said on November 3, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Man, Prospero is throwing the heat right out of the chute. Usually he’s in the bullpen for an inning or two. Not today!

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  10. moe99 said on November 3, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Two of those couples are from Seattle. You can add my brother, Mark, and his partner John. Together 16 years and they can’t marry.

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  11. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Not in the slightest Connie. More legs. But a rational observer would have to admit that Kim Kardashian has one gigantic pair of buttocks, and that is what she is famous for. That sort of Calypigian asset is not particularly attractive in my estimation. It is generally intelligence that arouses my interest. Pretty faces are wonderful. In a billion years, you could not drag me into that mire, Connie. That is Hermanator territory. He’s an idiot. I’m not.

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  12. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

    These people are nuts:

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  13. brian stouder said on November 3, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Caliban – Now that Cain’s star** has gone nova (nova-Cain?), I’d forget about him and, taking a cue from the Proprietress, focus on Governor “Corporations are people*, my friend” Romney!

    *”people” who either pay no taxes, and/or who get ‘refunds’ despite paying no taxes, and/or who say that if they DO have to pay taxes, it will kill their jobs!

    **we could have fun naming the Cain star, using this website

    I lean toward Andromeda Beta, right at the top of the list

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  14. Jeff Borden said on November 3, 2011 at 11:49 am

    What do you folks figure is the next step in the Herman Cain saga? He has handled himself very poorly –I actually laughed at loud when he was taped yelling at reporters, ‘What part of NO don’t you understand’– and now there is a third woman from the National Restaurant Assn. saying the Hermanator came on to her. And, of course, we’ve been treated to the spectacle of racist right-wingers like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter (“Our blacks are better than their blacks.”) defending the guy and blaming the liberal media, when we all know the stories are coming from Romney or Perry or Rove.

    I’ve had something of a soft spot for Herman because he seems like a real person when compared and contrasted to the menagerie of mannequins also in the race, but Lord, the fact that this silly man with his goofy ideas on taxes, foreign policy and other issues is leading the pack of a major political party is really pretty scary.

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  15. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Sorry I ever said anything about a Kardashian. But She’s slightly beyond normal. legs and faces for me, Connie. Boobs, not in the least. Though of course they are attractive in whatever shape and form. Butts? Gigantic? Mot my particular interest. Kardashians? Not remotely attractive. Fat, obnoxious reality TV bitches that will turn on each other. What is wrong with these assholes?

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  16. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Connie, Not C;ose. I will say that Republicans do not give a shit if it means putting a bone-sure abbuser on the supreme court. Clarence did that shit, there is no doubt. Actually doubting Anita Hill i strange and some sort of tight-ass shit, what is wrong with you?

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  17. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Look. this asshole claiming this is racism is so fucking bizarre it is beyond belief, Mamster is on his own. What a fucking looney-toon

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  18. Julie Robinson said on November 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I’m at a hotel near Mom’s and they have Today on in the breakfast room, which is a whole ‘nother story, but I digress. Yesterday some K person was on, maybe her mother, and I noticed the breakfast attendant sidle over to the TV, turn up the volume and watch intently. Before that I had been in a bubble where no one paid any attention to those people. But I guess if you’re spending your life serving up breakfast in a small town, it looks…glamorous?

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  19. beb said on November 3, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Little Ricki Snyder’s latest plan is to shitcan the gas tax that’s worked fine for decades for a wholesale tax on gas plus an enormous increase in car registration fees. Since the goal is to increase the revenue for road repairs why not leave the current tax in place and just increase it? Why set up new bureaucracies, who have to write thousands of pages of new regulations defining just what is and isn’t wholesale gasolene, etc when we already have a system already set up? It’s like the people pushing for GPSes in every car so we can download how far they traveled and tax them on that? And this is supposed to be cheaper to run that just raising the gas tax?

    And little Ricky alway wanted to tax retirement incomes so he could give tax breaks to companies in the state.

    Wwhen Randians complain about all the “looters” and “moochers” someone ought to explain to them that the only people mooching around here are the businessmen looking for another hand-out….

    And as I predicted a couple days ago MF Globan looks to be too small to be immunized so the fed are going after it hammer and tongs. If only they’d do that to Goldman Sachs.

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  20. Scout said on November 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    This is just piling on, but the burning rash of stupid is just too funny/scary to ignore. How is it people like Coulter have any credibility warranting teevee face time? And Trump? He’s a caricature. It’s unbelievable that any sentient being takes these (any of them, all of them) idiots seriously.

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  21. brian stouder said on November 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Scout, I’ve been pondering the same question.

    My best guess is that essentially ALL of us* were angry/apprehensive after the market crash of ’08. But half of us were also a bit pacified by the fact that we got a superb victory in the 2008 elections, while the other half were left to the Rolling Stones rumination about getting no satisfaction, at all. I think the white-hot passion of the ’09 tea-party stemmed from that, and the people who were pacified by the drubbing the congressional R’s got, and Obama’s victory, remained somewhat stifled.

    Now, the OWS movements embody the anger/apprehension that half of us held onto, while the train-wreck of a Republican presidential primary (and the mangled congress they gave us in 2010) represents the “morning after” that party’s wild abandon, and the first step on their way back to work-a-day life. Or at least, that’s my theory!

    *”us” meaning voters in general

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  22. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Seriously, I’m right almost all of the time. And it has nothing to do with butts. We consider actuully good looking womwn by their brains, then their bodies.No reason the two have to be separate. And Connie, I prefer slimmer. And That woman made her fame and her bucks on being a fat-ass. And I sure as shit didn’t make that up. Who ever heard of this idiot until she hooked up with that sad NFL loser Reggie Bush? Guy cannot play. Ohio can play. Like they are bigtime. Most epic TD pass. These boyos play serious football.

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  23. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Cainn on accusations: Guy is a lying sack of shit, like Clarence Thomas Menthat abuse women always have an excuse. They are abusers.

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  24. coozledad said on November 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Herman Cain is the direct result of the Koch brothers taking an active role in the disbursement of their political money. They were born rich, and have led secluded lives, even for a bunch who are genetically antisocial, so they’re incredibly inept at making the fine distinctions about the character of the thieves they pick to front their organization.
    If they hadn’t inherited such vast wealth, they’d have blown through it decades ago. Their entire lives have been spent on the narrow frontier between arrogance and stupidity, and nothing is going to budge them.

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  25. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Our blacks are better than their blacks, Sorry? how is this woman not a shitheel? Seriously? These aholes should shut the hell up. They are a freaking joke.

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  26. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Are you people kidding? Seriously moromic, Not my fault, You are victims of a TV show.

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  27. Dorothy said on November 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    For some reason, I’m missing Ashley Morris’s wisdom an awful lot lately.

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  28. LAMary said on November 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Tell it, Dorothy.

    Julie, here in the definitely not small city of LA, lots of shallow young ladies who like to shop and wear too much eye makeup love the K family. One sits behind me. She swears that Kim is heartbroken because this time it was really love. If you point out that Kim Kardashian has no discernible talent she will tell you how hard Kim works.

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  29. Jeff Borden said on November 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    At least the Kardashians wallow in their own tackiness and do not deny employment to others. Unlike super-wealthy heiress Meghan McCain, who has been hired to do political commentary for MSNBC. While it was amusing to see and hear her dishing on SheWho after the 2008 election, Ms. McCain at heart is a brainless party girl whose insights into America’s political processes are considerably less interesting than anything posted on NN.C.

    Tell me again about the legend of the “liberal media.” I’m in the mood for a nice fairy tale.

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  30. beb said on November 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I have often wondered how the Gabor sisters became famous in the age before the internet. It’s not like they did a lot of movies (or did they? I know of only one (Queen of Outer Space) and I think Eva was already famous before Green Acres. So, as with the Kardashians, how did they end up with a TV show when they have no talent?

    And the mayor of Detroit says he’s will and eager to become the Emergency Finance Manager of Detroit if the city should fall in bankruptcy. This kind of rich considering that as mayor he would be the one mostly likely to have failed at controlling the city’s finances.

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  31. Dave said on November 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Don’t get the Kardashians, don’t understand why they’re famous, don’t think much of Bruce Jenner for his role in all of this, is he a superb athlete who got caught up by making it last by whatever means he could?

    What has Kim Kardashian worked hard at, Mary? Have you asked her?

    Yes, wish we all could still be reading Ashley Morris’s remarks.

    Going back to yesterday, Jeff, TMMO, I haven’t any idea where Club Kno-Place was, I think it was on the north side of Newark somewhere but it has faded from my mind. Googling tells me that it was Club Kno-Place.

    OTOH, I could drive right to Siggy’s location in Lancaster today, right across the street from another bar which Google tells me is still there, the Pink Cricket, which only served one brand of 3.2% beer, in attempts to discourage us from migrating over there when Siggy’s shut its doors for the night.

    It’s truly a wonder that we didn’t all kill or main ourselves but no one in my group, anyway, ever had any catastrophes happen while driving, nor did anyone ever get caught. I truly believe that they were much more lenient then and looked the other way.

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  32. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    AnnCoulter is an idiot. Why does anybody take a whack. This asshole is so stupid it’s unbelievable,. We are talking about a fucking idiot, Where does this stupid piece of shit get off? What a fucking moron. Good lord, that woman is an idiot. And she has an Adam’s apple. She’a been a guy all along and a fucking ugly one. Roger Ebert wrote that shit. What is wrong with people?

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  33. MarkH said on November 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Siggy’s!! The Pink Cricket!! Dave, out of the PAST!! My most favored tavern back in the day was the Fairview. Although sometimes we’d go party up in Lithopolis at the Town Pump.

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  34. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    For a tavrn, I;d say the Drumshanbo in Worcester MA.

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  35. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Jeff, Liberal Media? on what planet? Politico? Good Lord? Obama is an com

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  36. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    There is no liberal media. Why is that? shouldn’t there be? These aholes all still suck Sara Palins enhanced tits. People write to tje LATimes calling it Commoniss. That paper is owned and operated by the freaking Goldbergs. Are people that fucking stupid? The LATimes is liberal MSM? You cannot be stupider. No fucking way. The Goldberg Times? It’s one thing to be a moron. It’s another to be abject about your stupidity.

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  37. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    The LATimes is perfectly reasonable thinking Israel is reasonable sitting on Dimona, spying on the USA in the USA, and railing about Iran. And the paper is liberal commoniss. Horseshit. Where do we get this execrable stupidity?

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  38. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    If you don’t think Shane McGowan could sing give a listen. Brilliant. How we all should take life.

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Since the Proprietress asked the question “what’s your major,” I will throw in that I feel the same way about my Anthropology B.A. that her friend does about an Econ degree.

    Technically, I got an anthro (spec. archaeology) & political science double major, but the cultural anthropology stuff rattles through my head on a near daily basis as a wonderful explanatory tool for the incomprehensible. Ethnography as a discipline and a heuristic tool is valuable for almost any later career, or just for working with people in groups in general. It’s a useful skill to be able to observe while involved in something, but still keeping just enough detachment to not get co-opted by those around you. Doesn’t necessarily give you a good model for *living* in general — the detachment can be dangerous in its own way — but I love wrestling with the approach in trying to understand group dynamics. Almost everything I learned in political science classes was and is useless (why did Van Buren fail of re-election? what were the causes of Tilden’s electoral victory? why a duck?), but by the time I realized this was just a training ground for pre-law students, I was too close to finishing the second degree to stop, plus it was fun to detachedly observe pre-laws in their foetal habitat before entering the nymph stage of law school itself.

    I take that back — Constitutional Law, I & II, were excellent classes in the PolSci Dept., as was the “Political History of Anti-Semitism, Zionism, & Israel.” So that’s three.

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  40. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Kim Kardashian works hard, At What exactly? Having a gigantic ass? And fucking Reggie Bush? That can’t play football to save his life? She is joking, right? She’d be lucky to be Kylie Minogue, whoever in the world that is. Hell with this shit.

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  41. nancy said on November 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Caliban, take a break. And maybe a nap.

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  42. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Sorry, Nancy. but Kim Kardashian works hard. Seriously? That is enough to make anybody puke.

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  43. Judybusy said on November 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Jeff, loved your observations about how the anthropology degree has impacted you. I love having a social work degree–very practical and also a great tool for training one to be an observer of the human condition.

    Most of my knowledge of the K family comes from this blog. I really have no understanding of who they are! Loved the marriage link. My partner and I are ten years post commitment ceremony,also legally married in Montreal on 12/29/2007. We’ve been on vacation together more days than that woman was married. Huh!

    I don’t think anyone else has commented on Sweet Juniper. That costume was pretty creepy–the most effective pic was Juniper in the ring of glowing trees. I love seeing this guy parent.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Seriously, I’d love to hear a few more majors. Even Caliban’s (which I seem to recall was engineering related). Drinking game for all of us not with the name Caliban: for every journalism degree, drink! Chemical engineering, doubleshot; theoretical physics with a quantum mechanics specialization, watch the shot pour itself back into the bottle.

    Fashion design and apparel merchandising ends the game, bottoms up.

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  45. Judybusy said on November 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Jeff, what do I drink with that social work major?

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  46. Sue said on November 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I once dated a guy who told me that women with big asses should be shot. This was the side of him not many people saw because he got by on charm and humor, neither of which he displayed in that instance.
    I probably have a big butt, definitely bigger than when I heard that remark, but fortunately for me I married a guy who doesn’t believe that the results of the march of time require resolution by firepower.

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  47. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I’ve nothing against the Kardashians, but holy shit, they are not actualy good looking, except if you are a crappy football player with a big butt syndrome. ahole can’tcan’t actually play a lick

    Guy can’t play at all. How do people decide who is the evil MSM liberals? The LA Times, The WAPO. Excuse me, you are fucking morons, Politico? Seriously, you fucking idiots? Are these asssholes illiterate? Those news sources are pro-Obama? In what universe? You assholes? My time my sleep. Hermanator? Lying through his ahole. And he’s lying while the women he blithley calls liars can;t comment while he tramples of a non-discosure agreement. Helluvan Ahole. Screw them wimmwn.

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  48. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Jeff. you surely mean Viaduct?. Sorry about the Kardashians, but peple actualy watch that bullshit on TV? I find that way difficult to believe. What the hell is wrong with people?

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Judybusy, that would be a cup of cool water offered in a thirsty land. Drink!

    Caliban, “Honk honk, why it’s Wobbles the goose.”

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  50. LAMary said on November 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I started out as a fine arts major at a school that is now known as the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Family circumstances made it neccessary to move to Colorado after my Freshman year and on very short notice I got into a now defunct school called Loretto Heights College (Annette Funicello went there!) in Denver and majored in Poli Sci. After a year of going crazy at what had been a school for nice midwestern girls from affluent families, I dropped out for a year, then went to University of Denver, where I majored in International Relations and Communications, specifically Journalism. I graduated from University of Denver. In my thirties I went back to fine arts for a while with the intention of getting an MFA but babies happened and time and money were in short supply.
    Three colleges, one degree, and it was from a good school.

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  51. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Seriously Nancy. I’m outrageous when you have people admitting to watching Kardashians? Sorry, but in this case you are full of shit. The sisters K? Good luck girl. Somebody actually sppends a moment on that shit and anything I say annoys you? Give me a fucking break;

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  52. Dexter said on November 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I saw the gay couple from LA and goddam! I thought they were the guys my first wife and I visited in Eagle Rock; they sure as hell look like them, but my mind plays tricks on me, as the two guys we knew , Jack and Tom, were about 45 and 50 then, and it was thirty-seven years ago, so they would both be in their eighties now…but still…nah…those guys look younger .
    Oh … Jack was my wife’s half-sister’s natural father. He got honest with himself and left my wife’s mom and moved to Chicago where he met Jack back in the mid-1960s. They drove out to LA soon after , Jack became an office manager in downtown LA and Tom was an office manager in Orange County, so he put a lot of miles on his VW Bug.
    Jack , bald on top, would don a stylish wig at night, fuss with his nails, and watch TV while getting stoned out of his fucking gourd. Tom would make a giant bowl of popcorn and break out the Coors and we would have a lot of laughs.
    Then the sister and her kid went to bed and Jack and Tom headed off to the most beautiful bedroom I had ever seen…it was deco’d in a modern theme and just out of a magazine, with a huge bed.
    Then we’d leave and drive off to our little motel near or on Colorado Boulevard. It was a nice trip. Tom and I kept in touch via letters for a couple years , then …nothing. And wouldn’t ya know it…those guys were the only ones unidentified in that photo-shoot.

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  53. moe99 said on November 3, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Caliban, you need to rein it in. Seriously.

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  54. Jolene said on November 3, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Re Brian’s recommendation to focus on Romney, it’s worth taking a look at the article linked below. I mean, we all know that the guy is a paragon of intellectual, moral, and political flexibility, but the range of issues on which he has switched views (while offering no rationale for doing so) and the degree to which he has changed is truly astonishing.

    It’s not hard to see why conservatives don’t trust him. In fact, the more I read about him, the harder it is to see why anyone would trust him at all on any topic.

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  55. nancy said on November 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    It’s not what you say, Caliban, it’s that you’ve said it 10 million times already. Half the comments in this thread are yours. Just sit a couple impulses out — that’s all I ask.

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  56. LAMary said on November 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I live very close to Eagle Rock, Dexter. Like walking distance. This part of LA has a lot of older gay couples. I have to say that when my marriage was circling the drain, it was the older gay couples I know who became my surrogate family. Gordon and Dennis and Andy and Bill, all in their sixties or seventies, all made sure I was OK.

    Was the Jack of Jack and Tom named Halliday by any chance?

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  57. Dave said on November 3, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Fairview Inn, MarkH. Yes, I’d forgotten about that place. There was another bar on E. Main, west of Sigggy’s, on a corner, named the Birch Bar, frequented by old men. They did serve .35 draft, was a cheap afternoon escape from OU-L. This circa 1970 or so. Of course, there was Grilli’s and a couple of other places I may or may not remember the names, given time. Never been to the Town Pump and the bars that opened around Pickerington well after I was out of high school. I remember one in the shopping center behind Kroger’s and SuperX Drugs at the corner of Refuge and 256, that I was in three or four times.

    I do have a degree, Secondary Education, Social Science Comp, by the time I did my student teaching, I knew I couldn’t do it and I didn’t.

    Dexter, you made me think of my friend who lost his partner when they were in their late forties, had cancer of some sort. Phil was a work friend, life was never the same for him after that but they had the most beautiful bedroom. Sadly, he retired, moved to Arizona, and was gone within three years, he never really found another partner.

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  58. Jolene said on November 3, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I sometimes refer to myself as having an intellectually checkered past. I have an undergrad degree in French from the University of North Dakota. Don’t laugh. It was and is a decent school, but didn’t offer much in the way of career prep–not that, at that point in my life, I’d have been wise enough to take advantage of good advice. As we discussed yesterday, the late 1960s and early 1970s were happening, and earning a living didn’t seem to be something I needed to think about.

    Hence my years as a clerical worker in Seattle, during which I earned a second BA in psychology. After that, an MA and PhD in social psychology, followed by jobs in academia and think tanks.

    Not sure what kind of drink that buys me, but I like the habits of mind I got from the training–mostly, I think, a formalization of my natural tendency to be an observer and to seek explanation.

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  59. Connie said on November 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Started out as a German major, graduated as a history major. Knew I wanted to go to a grad school that required a liberal arts degree. I enjoyed history but didn’t get much long term out of it. I can name the kings and queens of Englanf from 1066 to today. I know the first ever constition was in medieval eastern Europe but can’ remember the country. And many more not so useful tidbits.

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  60. alex said on November 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I majored in English and devoured tons of literature that I remember next to nothing about. My favorite authors at the time of my graduation were Jonathan Swift and Evelyn Waugh, two of the most brilliant satirists ever loosed upon the earth. I also had what at the time was a startling epiphany—that genius and wisdom are two separate things and it never should be assumed that one necessarily accompanies the other.

    Waugh was distinctly lacking in the latter. I had a one-semester senior seminar on Waugh and his works and learned that he was a middle class gayboy who elbowed his way into higher society. He eventually converted to Roman Catholicism, married a baby-making machine, and became a right-wing political crank on the order of Rush Limbaugh but with a much more genuine gift for comedy. His work was designed to entertain the highly educated, not the middle and lower classes, whom he disdained and served up as fodder.

    Post-college, someone turned me on to Gore Vidal. I was told I should read Myra Breckinridge because Vidal had a very good ear for gay camp and this book would have me rolling on the floor laughing. I must say Myra lived up to the promise. This was probably almost two decades after it was first published and I didn’t know anything about it other than remembering it had been considered scandalous in its day.

    Vidal’s historical fiction never quite grabbed me, though. Maybe I’d appreciate it if I revisited it knowing what I know now about history. I did love his nonfiction and bought up books of his essays whenever I’d find them. He’d drop some fascinating words and allude to things I knew absolutely nothing about, yet he is such a gifted writer he had me hooked.

    These days I seldom have time for books, but I know I can always find a good daily dose of edification and humor here. Thanks to all.

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  61. Bob (not Greene) said on November 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    M.A. English; M.A. Art History = low-paying journalism job!

    Still enjoyed doing it.

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  62. ROGirl said on November 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    B.A.: Art History and French
    M.A.: Art History

    Let’s hear it for art history majors, Bob nG.

    I used to work for an automotive supplier and now I’m in the customer service industry. For some reason I hear Count Floyd saying, “Ooooohhh, that’s scary!”

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  63. Maggie Jochild said on November 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I started college pursuing a journalism degree right as Watergate hit, and I did learn a lot about writing. But I was painfully shy, not helpful in a reporter. I got assigned to cover the milquetoast “women’s rights” campus group, heard the names of a couple of interesting professors, and next semester signed up for their classes. After that it was all sociology and cultural anthropology, with as much archaeology as I could cram in (that school didn’t offer a major in it). It was women’s studies before the rot of defending pet theories set in. Taught me how to question and observe, and I too use it daily. But I’m equally glad for that year with a hard-ass journalism editor who gleefuly tore my copy in half and told me to start over.

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  64. coozledad said on November 3, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Alex: Burr was pretty good, but I think Vidal has a hit or miss fictive sensibility. I was able to get through his account of Julian the Apostate, but I think that’s because Vidal has an ear for depravity.
    His essays remind me of some caustic Roman who’s landed up in the wrong century; the stoic moralist Victor Davis Hanson would give his shriveled nutsack to be.

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  65. Julie Robinson said on November 3, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    My degree is in religious studies. I never thought about getting a job the whole time I was in school, nor did anyone else raise the question. Looking back I find that amazing.

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  66. brian stouder said on November 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Well said, Alex.

    I’ve read Gore Vidal’s Lincoln novel, and found it to be engrossing and entertaining. In fact, the thing that made me seek it out was that so many Lincoln scholars single that book out for scorn, that I wanted to see what the fuss was about (since afterall, they had all thought enough of it to read it and then criticize it). I think the scholars don’t like it because he has A. Lincoln visiting prostitutes while out on the circuit in Illinois; and if you read Herndon’s Informants, you’ll see that Billy doesn’t consider it much of a secret….but we digress.

    Another Lincoln book that often gets mentioned by the leading scholars – and then trashed! – is Lerone Bennet’s superb book Forced Into Glory, which has the thesis that Lincoln was, at best, only a reluctant Great Emancipator; that he was really a very smart political “trimmer” (which of course, is essentially true!).

    Being a slow reader, I’m not really big on fiction, but William Safire had a tremendously entertaining novel about Lincoln, which was quite enjoyable.

    edit: Maggie – the more I learned about Mary Lincoln, the more I understood the need for Women’s Studies.

    The most incredible and amazing thing? – the fact that a woman who was the widow of an American president (let alone the greatest president America ever had!); a woman who sat right next to her husband* as he was murdered, could be arrested, tried, convicted, and sent off to an asylum – all in the space of one single day!!! One day!! Robert Lincoln and Leonard Swett and a cast of other powerful men, including an all-male “jury” – did the deed.

    And the irony is, I do think Robert was motivated by some sort of protective impulse (as opposed to malice)….but the men had ALL the power, and the woman had none at all. But, good heavens!! Mary ended up essentailly exiled from the United States.

    *Jackie Kennedy and Mary Lincoln could certainly have an interesting conversation, including about life as an exile from the United States

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 3, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    And let’s not forget “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer.” The movie comes out next summer, I believe.*

    *As Dave Barry says – I am not making this up.

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  68. alex said on November 3, 2011 at 7:17 pm


    William Safire is another writer whose politics leave me cold but whose talents delight. Royko, also, was a nutty old crank. He was an old-school Chicago Dem but a curmudgeon who loved offending the sensibilities of minorities, yet he was one of the funniest writers of his time. It was sort of sad watching his downfall. There were mobs of angry hispanics protesting in the street in front of the Tribune Tower at one point and it really looked as if his head might roll. Then he got busted for drunk driving on Lake Shore Drive and on top of it got belligerent with the cops. At that point his career was pretty much over and he died soon afterward, alas.

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  69. Sherri said on November 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I started out as an Electrical Engineering major, but was bored by it because you don’t have any time in an engineering program to take many classes outside engineering. So I switched to Physics, got a BS in Physics from Tennessee Tech, then went to grad school in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon. That was a Ph.D. program, and after a couple of years, I decided I really didn’t want a Ph.D. badly enough to spend the 4 more years it was probably going to take (that was about the average for that program at that time), so I bailed and went to work as a software engineer.

    I was happy as a Physics major. I enjoy math, liked quantum physics quite a bit, got to spend my summers working on my adviser’s research project, and still had plenty of time in my schedule to take humanities classes as well. It was back in the ’80s, I was at a state school, so I graduated with no debt, then because our country was still investing in science back then, I was able to go to grad school on a research assistantship, have my tuition covered and get paid a stipend on top of that. I was one lucky ducky, and so was my husband (who has a longer attention span than I do – he stayed in EE, and he finished his Ph.D.)

    So it makes me especially angry when I read how the University of Washington turns away 3/4 of qualified candidates for its computer science undergraduate major because they don’t have enough resources, while the tech companies avoid taxes and push for more H1B visas. We can’t have anything nice anymore because we don’t pay taxes.

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  70. Jolene said on November 3, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Anyone know why the Brits on TV are wearing flowers in their lapels? Google didn’t seem to know about today being a holiday.

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  71. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 3, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Could the English be celebrating Roseanne Barr’s birthday? That would be interesting. You don’t collect “a penny for the Guy” for two more days — but there are a number of the “Occupy” groups suggesting we observe November 5th in this country and across the pond by removing our money en masse from banks and putting it in credit unions or some such. A different sort of “Gunpowder Plot,” but it might make a small boom . . . not like the explosion Greece seems to be planning beneath the European Parliament.

    Flowers today in GB though, I’m stumped. Unless they are going to be general right through Nov. 11th, with the poppies and such for Armistice Day. Were they little red flowers? If so, that’s it. “Flanders Fields” where the poppies grow, row by row.

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  72. Sue said on November 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    MMJeff, re the switch your money movement – from Think Progress:
    “Now, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) reports that a whopping 650,000 Americans have joined credit unions since Sept. 29 — the date that Bank of America announced it would start charging a $5 monthly debit fee, a move it backed down on this week. To put that in perspective, there were only 600,000 new members for credit unions in all of 2010.”

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  73. Jolene said on November 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Yes, little red flowers. I thought of Armistice Day, but thought it odd that they would start wearing them so soon.

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  74. Colleen said on November 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Double major, History and Sociology at Hanover College. Had a nice gig in public radio until I lost that job and now labor for slightly above minimum wage at the local Fox radio affiliate. Am back in school studying Health Information Management, hoping to find a decently paying job in a field that’s not quite so limited as radio.

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  75. caliban said on November 3, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    If the assholes start charging to use debit cards, fuck ’em. They invented them. Sorry if I said that before.

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  76. Minnie said on November 3, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Remembrance Day poppies, worn leading up to Armistice Day on November 11 in the UK.

    Are they still offered here? I haven’t seen one in years.

    Fine Arts major.

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  77. JayZ(the original) said on November 3, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Julie, my son has an undergraduate degree in religious studies also. Friends kept asking me, “What is he going to do to earn a living?”. He then went on to get his MBA.
    As for me, another BS in journalism from U of I in Champaign-Urbana, class of ’61.

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  78. Deborah said on November 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Fine arts and English Lit minors. I went to a teacher’s college so my major was Education (sort of automatically). I didn’t go to grad school, contemplated it often but was all wrapped up in my career and never did it. Probably not going to happen now that I’m 61, what’s the point?

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  79. beb said on November 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm


    I enjoyed all of Gore Vidal’s historical novels. I think I was hooked by his Creation, which I picked up because it sounded science fictional but proved to be engrossing despite its lack of sfnal content.

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  80. Linda said on November 3, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    One of the things that “delighted” me about Safire was that he was no weasel–he cheerfully described himself as a mossbacked conservative, and never stooped to concern trolling, or masqueraded as a “moderate” who just happened to hate everything any politician would do that was to the left of Attilla the Hun. The thing that chips me off about David Brooks and Kathleen Parker is that they are not honest that way.

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  81. nancy said on November 3, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    The Telegraph flag has a poppy on it. Minnie’s right — it has to do with the British version of V-day.

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  82. alex said on November 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Yay, Colleen, my mom’s a Hanoverian. Class of ’51.

    Health information management looks like a good occupation at present. You’ll probably deal mostly with the plaintiff’s bar (the folks who advertise on diner menus and phone books) and insurance defense counsel (the firms whose names are unknown because they aren’t in the business of seducing the general public like cheap hookers).

    There’s no shortage of litigation in these hard times and medical records are a valuable commodity—trial evidence, should one side or the other fail to flinch during the pretrial kabuki theater. Even without going to trial, people are making out like bandits over booboos on their knees that most three-year-olds would shrug off.

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  83. Suzanne said on November 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Art History undergrad, Library Master’s degree, both of which, in this day, are fairly useless. Did the library thing because it was practical. The joke’s on me!

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  84. Bill said on November 3, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    JZ (the original) and I were a year apart at the U of I in Champaign-Urbana. But I think both of our BS degrees were in Advertising (I always thought it an appropriate degree for advertising). I graduated a year earlier than her, spending said year in classified advertising in Iowa. It took me that long to realize I really didn’t care for the newspaper advertising business and returned to Urbana to marry, work in advertising and get an MS in Communications. Then to Chicago and the ad agency business.

    edit: Oh, the advertising majors win the double martini lunch drinking game.

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  85. MarkH said on November 3, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    After two years at University of Cincinnati, BA in Journalism, ’75, from Ohio State, back when the OSU j-school was well thought-of. I’m sure it’s still good, but about 15 years ago they merged with the school of communications and I’m not sure how it rates now. I always said I had a minor in Poli Sci, but that wasn’t really true as I took but three courses.

    My last year was after Watergate and Nixon’s resignation and the difference in the new students that Fall from my fellow students my first two years was rather alarming. Way too serious abut being the next Woodward or Bernstein with little idea of how much real work goes into good reporting. It was a larger freshman class, too, and the attrition rate must have been very high. Like Maggie Jochild, what I got out of the degree that I really liked was I learned to write and write for different mediums, print and broadcast, and became a better general writer. I wonder about that last part sometimes, because, really, the bar here at nn.c is set so high. Everyone here writes well and frequently turns a good phrase, especially our hostess. I put more time in writing things here than I do anything else; re-reading, editing, changing, correcting spelling, etc. So at least I might sound educated(!!).

    The last work I did related to the degree was in ’81 as a sports stringer for the Dispatch. Then it was off to the West for a bunch of careers to numerous to mention here. If I had it to do all over again (and I preach this to my 22 year old college drop-out son), I’d go the economics route, with business and poli sci mixed in. Then off to law school. Not to be an attorney, necessarily, but I strongly feel survival in this society demands that type of education, for one’s own protection. My son has a very keen culinary talent and currently runs the kitchen at an Italian food and wine bar in Denver. He said he’s go back to school if I helped him pay for Johnson and Wales (gulp!).

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  86. Dexter said on November 4, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Today on a radio talk show the topic was veterans, how they feel about their care, how they are making it as civilians once again.
    One guy called in and said the GI Bill is so good now he can go full time and live in a place and buy food…all on the GI Bill!
    I’ve written before here how I must have timed it wrong, as the monthly $175 I got to go 3/4 class load was a joke, and when I got sick I had to drop out just before finals and when I was well I just had to go to work full time and college was over for me, except for some adult classes I took in subsequent years…so I am glad the soldiers can make it these days, as they could after WWII. I wonder why the GI Bill was so insufficient for Vietnam vets? I know that many did take advantage and did graduate, but they had to work also or get other funding…it was not a free ride at all, it was tough to buy books and live on such a tiny stipend.

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  87. JayZ(the original) said on November 4, 2011 at 12:55 am

    My advertising career differed from Bill in that I worked in magazine publishing. Started at Popular Mechanics in Chicago, then on to Hearst Magazines in NYC. Yes I lived the Mad Men saga, except that my office was on Lexington Avenue, not Madison Avenue. I can vouch for the fact that the TV show’s portrayal of the ad biz during the 60’s in the Big Apple is spot on. I eventually moved to LA and Conover Mast, but quit the business when I realized I was drinking my lunch every day and if I didn’t leave the business I would end up an alcoholic by the time I was 30. Eventually ended up as a sober LA County probation officer.

    edit: Sober doesn’t translate to tee-totaler; I’ll take that double martini.

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  88. Bill said on November 4, 2011 at 1:14 am

    JayZ the original: Amen to that!

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  89. moe99 said on November 4, 2011 at 2:21 am

    history major here (took every European history course I could–all pre-1900s) and all the journalism courses my college offered. Realized that was not going to pay the bills even if I went to grad school so went to law school instead.

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  90. Jolene said on November 4, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Dexter, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) led the effort to overhaul/update the GI Bill. He is, as you probably know, a big military affairs guy, as well as a Vietnam vet, so he was able to pull off the bipartisan arm-twisting needed to get a really comprehensive bill passed. He began work on this immediately after he was elected in 2006, well before the financial crisis. Am not sure whether he’d be so successful if he were starting today.

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  91. Deborah said on November 4, 2011 at 4:21 am

    My husband went to the Graduate School of Design at Harvard (usually referred to as the GSD) on the GI bill after serving in Viet Nam. He had other funding too, but often says he couldn’t have done it without the GI bill assistance. He did his undergrad at the University of Illinois, majored in theoretical math, and was drafted soon after he graduated.

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  92. jerry said on November 4, 2011 at 4:35 am

    The flowers everyone is wearing in the UK are indeed poppies ready for November 11th. It is a big matter over here. Yesterday Morgan (aged five) had, along with the rest of his class, been given a poppy although he didn’t seem too clear why!

    Wearing them now starts earlier and earlier; people seem scared of appearing in public without them in case of attack for lack of patriotism by the more jingoistic British papers.

    As for degrees I dropped out of a Maths degree after two years – total lack of work – but completed a degree in Psychology with the Open University three years ago.

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  93. Connie said on November 4, 2011 at 6:39 am

    My master,s in library science has given me a decent career, but these days I don’t recommend this degree and heartily discouraged my own kid when she considered it. So sort of agree with Suzanne.

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  94. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 4, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Ah, so wearing poppies starts Nov. 1 now; I’d thought it was a Nov. 11 thing only. Must be turning into a flag lapel pin thing for Brits.

    MarkH, I was smack in the middle of my archaeology program (undergrad) when “Raiders of the Lost Ark” came out. After that summer of ’81, our enrollments in the major and classes tripled. The profs smiled, did their best to be interesting (not that they weren’t, in their own way), and by the time another full year had passed, all the stats were back down where they had been. It’s hard to glamourize five weeks of 12-hour days on your knees in the dust, scraping slowly, or heaving buckets of debris to the shaker-tables, or hours of rocking those dang things back and forth . . . and then there’s the long winter months of staring at chunks of nondescript stuff in brown paper bags, staring even more intently at the sharpie text on the outside of the bag, and grabbing anyone who passes by and murmuring desperately “does this look like a 5 or a 7?” Whips, guns, fedoras all never made it into the picture, but you still see quite a few leather bomber pilot’s jackets at conferences.

    It did leave me with a lifelong tendency to put that continental mark on my 7’s. The life you save may be your own.

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  95. ROGirl said on November 4, 2011 at 7:23 am

    This poem is what inspired the wearing of poppies on Remembrance Day by the Brits. It was written by a Canadian doctor named Lt. John McCrae in 1915 after he witnessed the death of a friend.

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

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  96. basset said on November 4, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Took me seven years to get a BA from a four-year school… worked my way through. take a partial load, several part-time jobs, leave, come back, it adds up.

    I was a radio-TV major at IU, and more people than you would expect thought that meant I was learning how to fix TVs. About halfway through the program became Telecommunications, finally got the degree in summer 1980 and I have managed to stay in and around media, journalism, and PR ever since. Every now and then, though, I run into someone who thinks I know how to set up phone switches and data networks.

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  97. Suzanne said on November 4, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Connie, my library degree gave me a decent career for a while, until the cutbacks hit, and I didn’t survive. Now, I have the joy of trying to market some rather specific skills to businesses that don’t want to step outside the box for a new hire, especially one who is middle aged. But, I guess it’s my own fault, isn’t it? Thank you Mr. Cain!

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  98. David C. said on November 4, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I earned an AAS from community college in mechanical design. Five years ago at age 48, after many stops, dwells, and starts, I earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Ferris State University in Michigan. It’s definitely not the route I’d recommend to anyone, but it’s worked out OK for me – so far. I’m not sure how well having degrees and experience in making things will play out in a society that increasingly makes nothing.

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  99. Linda said on November 4, 2011 at 7:50 am

    My MLS had gotten me into the library field, and I’m still there, because Ohioans love their libraries–and I have seniority in a place w/a union shop. The sad thing is that the MLS is discounted for working librarians even by people running libraries, and now there is a sore need in our society for people who know how to create order in information, and help people access it. Of course, there’s a need to keep retrospective sources of info that haven’t been digitalized, but if you can throw them out and make room for a cafeteria….welcome to the devolution of modern life. It’s like the defenders of collective memory have thrown in with the Huns. End of rant.

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  100. Rufus said on November 4, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Just wanted to chime in about the poppies. I’m an American ex-pat in Belgium. Wearing poppies here is popular at this time of year. Some people wear them from late October to 11 November. Many people wear them from 01 November to 11 November. My guess is that many people begin wearing them on the first of November because it’s All Saints Day, a federal holiday here. Most Belgians don’t wear the poppies, but even the most irreligious Belgians I know tend to go to at least one cemetery to visit dead loved ones on 31 October. 11 November, Remembrance Day, is also a federal holiday.

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  101. Jenine said on November 4, 2011 at 11:20 am

    English expat tells her story about seeing a veteran selling poppies in San Francisco.

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  102. caliban said on November 6, 2011 at 12:33 am

    ABRAHEAM LINCOLN Not a vampire layer. what is that strange sort of shit?
    abe Lincolm trying to make sense of Herman

    cain? Well he cant. This asshole is so far removed from reality trying to make thie about his race, it is just fucking wierd. What has this got to do with what a strange fucker this guy is? He is just fucking strange. Nd bzd for black peoplee. He is too damns weird. bizarre. very weird. Whatevere he says is just whack.
    He is one strange brother, Just fucking odd.

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