Who are you?

Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land my sophomore year in high school, and for a few years before that, abortion was legal in New York. In my young adulthood, I knew lots of women who got abortions, a few who elected to become single mothers, but none who bore children and gave them up for adoption. It’s possible there were some who spent extended vacations with Aunt Jane in Kansas and came home with stretch marks, but if so, they never talked about it.

For women of my generation, giving up a baby for adoption was something that mainly happened in weepy movies of the week or, later, in nightmare scenarios like the Baby M surrogacy case or — dare we mention it? — the Baby Richard case in Chicago. (A moment of silence, please. OK, that’s enough.)

Around the same time the adoptees’ rights movement began to gather steam. I recall reading many, many an internet posting by people who’d been adopted under the old systems of Secrecy Unto Death, advocating and sometimes suing for access to their files, demanding information about their birth parents. And I read an equal number of personal stories by all involved, most of which worked out but a few that didn’t. There was one about a woman who’d conceived as a result of rape, and opened her door one day to find a young man there, informing her he was her son. The happy endings were bolstered by a changing cultural environment that had stripped the shame from unwed pregnancies, and the coverage was almost always on the mother-and-child reunion, the adoptive parents relegated to paragraph five, sometimes with an indirect quote: “Samantha said her adoptive parents have been ‘totally supportive’ through the process.”

All of which I mention only because I’d forgotten how rife with drama the whole process was — is — until I read this fascinating story about the secret love child of Loretta Young and Clark Gable. Judy Lewis died last week at 76. I’d never heard of her, and the story of how she came to be — borne in secrecy, shuttled around to foster homes and institutions until she was a year and a half old, at which point Young “adopted” her publicly. She was kept in the dark, despite volumes of Hollywood gossip, until she was 31, when she confronted her mother and heard the truth.

The photo is arresting; Lewis is the spitting image of Gable, and even had his protruding ears — until they were surgically altered at age 7, probably to tamp down the snickering about their resemblance to you-know-who’s.

I’m not much for genetics, even as accumulating science tells me I’m wrong. It treats people like show dogs, and, medical issues aside, implicitly disparages the extraordinary bonds forged between non-genetically related people. But I have come to understand people’s deep need to know who they are and where they came from. And I feel for Lewis, who was apparently the last person in Hollywood to know who her real parents were.

So, it’s an office-hours day, and time for bloggage:

The Publishers Weekly blog has named the latest winner of Worst Book Ever — “Microwave for One,” a 144-page cookbook by Sonia Allison. Whatever harm has been done by the book is entirely redeemed by that burgeoning new art form, Amazon customer reviews:

It used to be that I got home from work and the only thing I’d want to put in my mouth was the cold barrel of my grandfather’s shotgun. Then I discovered Sonia Allison’s Chicken Tetrazzini, and now there are two things.

I don’t watch much local TV news, so those of you who do have to school me on this. Is this sort of thing, a report by former Detroit News reporter Charlie LeDuff, the way it’s done nowadays?

This is the second piece I’ve seen by LeDuff, and he actively cultivates this NewzKlown act. The hip waders, the smirks and asides, all of it. Is this TV news now? If so, I’m glad I don’t watch.

My, but time is fleeting. Must run. Thursday already! You lose a day to electricity failure, and the week gets shorter.

Posted at 9:41 am in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

63 responses to “Who are you?”

  1. John G. Wallace said on December 1, 2011 at 9:55 am

    ‘Cause his house is floodin’ On the contrary this would make me more inclined to watch the tv news. Especially the splattering splashes in the septic field.

    Life is good with just Roku boxes.

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  2. Bitter Scribe said on December 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

    When I was a kid, there was a “home” in Wisconsin for unwed, mostly teenaged girls to give birth to babies who would be put up for adoption. It was called–I swear I’m not making this up–“The Seven Sorrows of Our Sorrowful Mother.” Must have been a real fun place.

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  3. adrianne said on December 1, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Charlie was a lot better when he was just a writer, not a would-be standup comedian. His shtick doesn’t translate well to video. Although I did see him give a hilarious presentation at a writers’ conference in Boston.

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  4. Randy said on December 1, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I kind of liked that story. I think a straight up news piece would have been ingnored by most, given the fatigue from hearing another story of government wastefulness.

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  5. coozledad said on December 1, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Charlie reminds me a lot of Dennis Hopper’s impression of Dennis Hopper from Apocalypse Now.
    It also reminds me of Dennis Hopper from a bio/doc about James Dean, where even strenuous editing couldn’t make him sound any less acid damaged.
    Also, what were likely the most painful minutes of Johnny Cash’s life:

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  6. Andrea said on December 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

    That news clip reminds me of something you would see on Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight, complete with the Billy Bush-style delivery. I love that he’s wearing those chest-high waders and the water only comes up to his ankles.

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  7. nancy said on December 1, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I have to also remind everyone that until about five or six years ago, LeDuff worked for the New York Times.

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  8. brian stouder said on December 1, 2011 at 10:39 am

    A local news FLASH! –


    an excerpt:

    The CDC ranked cities most likely to clog your arteries and Fort Wayne came in second place to Detroit.

    So, at least the Proprietress can say she traded UP, eh?

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  9. del said on December 1, 2011 at 10:49 am

    As to the Charlie LeDuff piece I’m reminded of the Seinfeld art patron’s appreciation for Kramer’s self-portrait. Gazing at the portrait he observed, “He is a loathsome, offensive brute . . . and yet I cannot look away.”
    A clip.

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  10. Dorothy said on December 1, 2011 at 10:55 am

    This is a first – I read that same article about Judy Lewis in the TIMES while waiting for my bagel at the coffee shop on campus this morning.

    My favorite cousin adopted two girls, the first of whom was born on my birthday in 1993. Fast forward to May of this year when the girl barely graduated from high school. She had a fall while ice skating more than a year ago and the subsequent head injury really altered her personality. Her grades went into the toilet – she had previously been a very good student, a swimmer and basketball player. She fell for a kid in her senior class who we all dislike, but have to accept now because she’s expecting his baby in March next year. She just got engaged last night. He recently completed boot camp in the Marines. When my cousin asked her if she’d consider putting the baby up for adoption (when she first found out she was pregnant), the mom-to-be said “No – because adoption sucks!” This about broke my cousin’s heart.

    I’m not anti-adoption. I have several cousins who have adopted, and one of my sisters has two as well. The majority have very positive experiences. And these situations can come up in multiple ways with any family. But this one I went into detail about is just heartbreaking.

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  11. Connie said on December 1, 2011 at 10:58 am

    So I did a quick google search for Baby Richard, and find out that Bob Greene was all over this one. Sigh.

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  12. Jeff Borden said on December 1, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Oh, Connie, I am so sorry you were induced to dive into the crap Greene produced on Baby Richard. Greene did everything possible to destroy the birth parents with his hysterical columns. It was worthy of Westbrook Pegler or Walter Winchell at their worst. Greene’s sins are many, but this was one of the most egregious.

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  13. Dexter said on December 1, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Yah! You got that right. Oh Yah! Are we sure this wasn’t filmed on an old “Fargo” set? ( I saw “Fargo” again on cable last week.)
    There’s no doubt in my mind that Charlie is a sycophant of Michael Moore.
    And also, you know I am just a news consumer, not any sort of contributor or editor, and so, to mine eyes, I actually liked this report. Oh yah, yah! And I just betcha the commish looks and sounds a lot like Jerry Lundergaard. ( “My boss has agreed to knock a hundred bucks off that undercoat there!”

    My ex-wife, who I married when she was 19, had a high school brother. He was a junior in high school when he impreg’d his girl, who was a 15 year old sophomore.
    His step-dad loaded both of them into the Thunderbird for a nice drive to New York , a clinic not far into the state.
    It was taken care of and both returned to high school.
    The boy was a hard working kid, getting in an eight hour day working in a restaurant as well as attending school, and he moved into a small rental house when he was a senior.
    My wife and I visited a few times…I’ll just say that kid NEEDED a bachelor pad. Man, that kid was active… I wonder if the NY trip taught him a thing or two, or he made more trips to New York?
    We split up shortly after, so I never knew.

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Pregnant girls going to an adjoining state (usually with relatives) and having a child they then gave up for adoption appears, to this pastor’s perspective, to have been remarkably common in the 30’s to early ’50s, after which it largely (but not entirely) vanished. A mix of abortion, pre-legal & and after Roe, and an increased number who chose to keep the child with or without a father & a ring.

    When you spend time with the large number of older single and/or widowed women in a congregation, and just listen, you learn a narrative of your parents’ & grandparents’ era that often isn’t the one you get at family dinners. And it’s where I got my strong skepticism about the idea that child molestation & rape is a modern phenomenon. No, talking out loud about it is, but the rates I would unprovably suspect are no different now than in 1932.

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  15. nancy said on December 1, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Before MTV turned “16 and Pregnant” into “Teen Mom,” i.e., the Real Housewives of Your High School, there were a couple of really good story lines that could have worked as stand-alone documentaries. I think the very first couple were from the Thumb area of Michigan, and were determined to give the baby up, against the united opposition of all the adults in their lives. It was appalling, how the girl’s mother and the boy’s father leaned on those kids and tried to guilt them into keeping the kid and, basically, running their lives straight into trailer-park land with the rest of their kin. But both wanted, first, a better life for their child, and second, to make something of themselves. It was simultaneously sad and uplifting. I hope they made it.

    And Jeff, I’m in absolute agreement about the child-molestation data. Nothing new at all.

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  16. Deborah said on December 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I had a friend in college who’d had a kid and given him up for adoption. She and the father were still dating and probably eventually got married, but I lost touch with her over time. She had gone to a different school when it happened so I didn’t know her at the time but she told me all about it later. It sounded like the most heartbreaking event I could imagine. She held the baby and had him with her for a day or two in the hospital and then she said good-bye. That kid would be about 41 now. I hope they found each other later in life.

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  17. Connie said on December 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

    My best friend was once a 17 yr old on the bus to New York for an abortion.

    I will once again heartily recommend the book “The girls who went away : the hidden history of women who surrendered children for adoption in the decades before Roe v. Wade” by Fessler, Ann.

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  18. Bitter Scribe said on December 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Jeff @12: Even though I wasn’t sympathetic to the birth parents, I completely agree about Greene. I can’t believe the Tribune editors let him get away with writing the same column, over and over, for month after month.

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  19. MichaelG said on December 1, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Bitter @ #2, is that where the seven dwarves came from? Dwarfs? Oh, God. Which is it? When you start to think too much about something like that . . .

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  20. alex said on December 1, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Jeff B and Bitter Scribe, much as I dislike Greene and his work, I also found the biological father extremely unsympathetic and felt enormous sympathy for the child.

    How would I have felt at that age to be ripped from the only parents and home I’d ever known? How could anyone with a heart or a brain possibly believe that this would be in the best interests of the child in this case?

    The biological father impressed me as just the sort of prick who probably isn’t fit to be a parent. When a woman leaves a man and is pregnant and doesn’t want him involved in her life or to know he has a child, that should tell you something right there.

    On edit: If anyone wants to google the story, don’t take Wikipedia’s word on this one. I remember quite well at the time that the father didn’t know the mother was pregnant when their relationship ended.

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  21. Judybusy said on December 1, 2011 at 11:59 am

    The book sculptress returns!

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  22. Jolene said on December 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    When I was in college, I had two friends whose mothers–like my own mother–were pregnant when they were married. These were three of the straightest women you could imagine–not that they didn’t have a sense of humor–but they were all burghers, married ladies w/ husbands, children, and good names in their respective communities.

    But they were all young women in their early twenties when this happened, able to make reasonably rational decisions (although I doubt it felt like that at the time) about marriage and with the maturity to make the marriages work–more or less, as most marriages do.

    That immediate post-war period (my mother was married in 1946) must have produced millions of such cases. I wonder how many of them turned as well.

    There was a certain sad humor to all this because, in my family, no one EVER talked about sex, and, although no secret was made of the dates, no one ever acknowledged that my mother had been pregnant when she got married. It’s terribly sad that, despite all the good things in her life, she still felt that shame. I think I was in my forties when the subject finally came up in a family conversation and, even then, both of my parents could only speak of it awkwardly.

    The experience did, though, instill in her some compassion. She was not, in most instances, particularly charitable in her judgments of the human failings of other people, but she withheld her normal criticism when stories circulated about girls–including some in our extended family–who’d gotten “in trouble”.

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  23. Suzanne said on December 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Jeff tmmo, you are right. I’ve listened as well to some of the very senior ladies in my church, and life back in the day was not all sunshine and happiness by any stretch. I’ve also heard stories about sexual abuse by parochial school teachers in a era when you simply and absolutely did not tell. One woman found out that she was not the only one at a class reunion when the booze was flowing…

    The biggest difference in the unwed mother picture was that instead of going off to New York (too far) or having the baby with no hubby, the women usually married the baby daddy. Some like to say that this was so much better; I’m not sure. There were a lot of viciously unhappy marriages. One old guy in my neck of the woods said guys engaged in the art of “sport screwing”. Rules? You sleep around until one woman gets pregnant and then you figure that is the one God intends for you to marry.

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  24. Carolyn said on December 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Wishing there was a “like” button I could push on del’s comment.

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  25. kerry said on December 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Nancy — I don’t mean to engage in one-upsmanship but unless you live in hurricane-prone parts of this country you haven’t seen the best local TV news has to offer.

    So I offer Exhibit A: http://youtu.be/ao60kiy3Gpo

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    MichaelG, you may or may not enjoy this bit of trivia as much as I do: Tolkien started the spelling “dwarves” because he liked the look of it better on the page than “dwarfs,” which long had been the standard usage. When “The Hobbit” became a best-seller, he was asked by someone about the accuracy of “dwarves” as the plural of dwarf, mentioning the OED. Dr. Tolkien beamed at that, and suggested his questioner check the main index volume for the list of contributors, where they will find the name “J.R.R. Tolkien, Oxford,” concluding with “so, young man, if I helped write it, then I think I am the one to change it.” (Or words to that effect.)

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  27. Chris in Iowa said on December 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I didn’t mind the Charlie LeDuff TV news piece. It just looked someone in local TV trying to imitate Jeanne Moos at CNN — sort of like local sports anchors everywhere trying to be the next ESPN “SportsCenter” star.

    But if I remember correctly, didn’t accusations of plagiarism and quote fabricating hang over LeDuff during his days at the NYT?

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Next year, Baby Richard will be 21, and I have this awful feeling that Ottakar and all the families will get to hear about this over again. I lean with Alex on this one, but the awkward fact is — legal proceedings started early, no later than when the child was a year and a half, even earlier. I can only sorrow for the adoptive parents faced with this choice, but to argue the inhumanity of taking a child back when they were nearly five from the only home they’d known . . . well, that’s because of the legal fight. Is there a point when the biological parent should have graciously given up? I think you can make that point morally, but legally, he was really never going to lose. So should the adoptive parents have given in earlier?

    All I know is, biological parentage alone doesn’t often mean all that much. Parents are who is raising the child, by which I mean living with, wiping the nose and bottom of, and reading to said child. Humans are flexible creatures, and you can overcome getting that baseline relationship jolted or severed, even multiple times, and live well, even happily — but it leaves a very deep mark, one you can’t erase, only learn how to “live around it.”

    Can you tell I’ve been working lots with adopted and foster kids in the last few weeks? Yes, indeedy. Plus getting to do research on internet pr0n, which turns out to have morphed and adapted to the internet economy over the last five years of my benign inattention. Make sure your 13 year olds don’t have access to credit card numbers, friends; if they need to buy something online, do it for them, route it through your computer where the numbers aren’t in a cache they can get at. In Ohio, a kid logs onto five pr0n site registrations and six months later, a simple unruly complaint turns into a felony charge that the prosecutor’s office deeply regrets having to file.

    Can a 13 year old boy have a pr0n addiction? The experts are still in conference, but I’ll let you know what we figure out.

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  29. Bitter Scribe said on December 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Suzanne @23: “The biggest difference in the unwed mother picture was that instead of going off to New York (too far) or having the baby with no hubby, the women usually married the baby daddy. Some like to say that this was so much better; I’m not sure. There were a lot of viciously unhappy marriages.”

    THIS. I wish every nitwit who cites the lower rates of “unwed motherhood” as evidence that the Fifties were some golden era could be forced to read that passage.

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  30. Kirk said on December 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Nance’s reference to that guy as a “NewzKlown” reminds me that Philip K. Dick, as usual, was way ahead of his time. Many of his science-fiction novels were set in a future during which people watched the news and other shows on full-wall TVs, with the news read by newsclowns in fright wigs, greasepaint and big red noses.

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  31. Minnie said on December 1, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Kerry, with hurricane season having just ended your clip makes me nostalgic for Tidewater storm reportage.

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  32. caliban said on December 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    My brother and his wife adopted twin boys 17 years ago. Wonderful, bright and talented boyos they are, too. Their birth mom was a registered nurse. Both kids are active online, and spend a considerable amount of time buying and downloading music. Their mom and dad set up PayPal accounts for them, and that seems to be a safe way for them to make purchases.

    When people discuss adoption, I always think about Elian Gonzalez. When his parents first divorced, his mother got custody. She proved unfit in the eyes of the Cuban court system and custody was granted to his dad. When his mom took him to FLA, she kidnapped him, no matter what those Batista-ista Cubanos in Miami tried to claim.

    The story of Dr. Kathy Moriarty, the child shrink that was an advocate for the Kirchners in the baby Richard case is interesting. It sounds as if she was as much a target of Greene’s bile as the biological parents. She claims the birth father began trying to recover the child when the kid was three months old, and that the adoptive parents coerced the mom.

    Our mailman brought an amazing new toy this morning, an Ebow. Tried it on my ‘lectric 12-string. Amazing effects. What I’m aspiring to:


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  33. LAMary said on December 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Electricity? What’s that?

    According to the Pasadena College NPR station, the wind in my neighborhood was gusting to 97 MPH last night. I believe it. There are lots of trees down and it took me 2.5 hours to get to work today, 11 miles away.

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  34. caliban said on December 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Kerry. We’re in Hurricane Alley, but the Myrtle Beach magnet always pulls them right past us. The reporting during hurricanes is hilariously over the top , but nothing matches Weather reporting when 1/4-in. of snow is forecast for Atlanta. People take this nonsense seriously, and grocery stores are looted of bread and milk withing minutes of early reports of the possibility of snow. This reaches War of the Worlds panic levels.

    Judybusy, the book sculptress story made my day. Awe-inspiring. Ars gratia artis.

    Another amazing Ebow demonstration, by a seriously great guitar player. The device works on acoustics , too:


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  35. Dexter said on December 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Wow, I just had a flashback to 1974 when my neighbor-friend and his partner became pregnant. She especially didn’t want another kid and he absolutely didn’t want one, so they asked around, and they found out about a man in Indianapolis who really, truly, would perform a coat-hanger abortion for a few hundred bucks. They actually went there and had this done.
    She developed an infection (duh!), but instead of going to the hospital, out of fear of repercussion, fought it off with whatever she had in her medicine cabinet.
    This is why I am for legalized abortion being made available, period.

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  36. Judybusy said on December 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Dexter, 1974? Wasn’t it legal then?

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  37. caliban said on December 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Searching for Solomon: Children are not chattel. They have inherent Constitutional and human rights, and I think child’s best interest should always be paramount to the interests of adults.

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  38. brian stouder said on December 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    judybusy – that was the first thing I thought, too; and then it hit me that it was only just legal by then (from the Roe Vs Wade decision in 1973), and so it would have been hard to find a local, trustworthy provider….sort of like 2011 Kansas.

    Aside from that, lemme say “Thanks, Jeff!” . He posted a marvelous little link yesterday, showing Daniel Day Lewis as our 16th president*.

    After Henry Fonda’s Lincoln, and Sam Waterston’s Lincoln, it is time for a 21st century Hollywood Lincoln.

    Honestly, it is almost a little spooky how polarized our 21st century politics have become. The 19th century was only about 3 lifetimes ago – not that long, really – and look how badly we got it back then. I don’t think any one of the crash of “Republican” candidates will defeat President Obama, but then again, who knows? (how long before that moron Representative from Illinois [Joe something-or-other] goes and “canes” Senator Klobuchar, for instance?)

    And our current Supreme Court might have a Dredd Scott moment in them (or ANOTHER such moment, if you think that Citizens United was such a moment…)

    *for a new Spielburg movie, currently in production

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  39. basset said on December 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    could we please, PLEASE have a thread without a Seinfeld reference?

    And Charlie has a Pulitzer and used to work for the NY Times, that makes him a real journalist.

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  40. paddyo' said on December 1, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Actually, Basset, Charlie might quibble with that. He likes to play the anti-journalist, which I guess might explain his goofy enthusiasm in the TV link embedded above. I like Nancy’s description, too.
    Anyway, Charlie has even written that he’s a “reporter,” not a “journalist.” OK, Charlie, whatever you say . . .
    I met him a couple of times (had dinner with him once, in a group) when we both were covering non-sports news and feature stories during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. “Character” does not begin to describe the guy . . .

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  41. brian stouder said on December 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics

    – say, that was the Romney-lead Olympics, yes? Did his ‘administration’ treat you press-dogs well?

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  42. caliban said on December 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    It consists half of people who think like Michele Bachmann, and half of people who are afraid of losing a primary to people who think like Michele Bachmann.

    Barney Frank on the GOPer House caucus

    Ron Paul burns Gingrich a new one, with “serial hypocrisy” ad.

    Dangers of abstinence-only sex education. The inconsistency of the abstinence and pro-life crowd is mind-boggling.

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  43. brian stouder said on December 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Say, I thought this was a fascinating article (and indeed, palate cleanser), about the upcoming (2014) premier of the newly enlarged Panama Canal, and the massive effect it will have on shipping, and east coast ports….and not just Caliban’s neighborhood, but also other inland NN.c cities such as Columbus and Chicago and Atlanta…


    two excerpts –

    By lengthening, widening and deepening the locks, the Canal will accommodate much larger ships. In fact, the largest ships today carry just 5,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). When the expansion opens in 2014, that number will jump to as high as 13,000.


    Ports of Savannah, Charleston, Jacksonville, Miami, Baltimore and Philadelphia have announced projects to enlarge and deepen channels to make way for the larger ships. Meanwhile, the Hampton Roads and New York/New Jersey ports are already in position to benefit from the shift. Georgia and South Carolina are co-developing the $500 million Jasper Ocean Terminal. This project is expected to handle 7 million cargo containers annually.

    But it doesn’t stop there. The non-port city of Dallas is ready to handle increased intermodal traffic. Other inland ports are expected to benefit nicely from the import shift. Of particular note are Atlanta, Chicago and Columbus. According to Cushman and Wakefield the mode mix of shipments is changing as shippers look to keep as much product as possible on the most efficient modes of transportation for as long as possible. This means maximizing rail and sea transport over trucking and air.

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  44. Andrea said on December 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Nance @#15 – Now I have to admit I watch “Teen Mom,” but the couple you’re referring has made it so far. They both graduated from high school, have jobs, take college classes and have their own place. They are far more successful than some of the others on the show who haven’t graduated or earned GEDs yet, are in trouble with the law, etc.

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  45. caliban said on December 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Very interesting Brian.

    Jasper County is the next county over from Beaufort, with an interesting namesake. The exploits of Sgt. Jasper are celebrated annually in connection with Paddy’s Day in Savannah. The Port of Savannah is a bustling concern that provides interesting viewing from sidewalk eating and drinking establishments on River Street. The container ships are gigantic. The Port is actually about 20 miles from the coast, up the Savannah River (Part of the intracoastal Waterway). There is keen competition between Savannah and Charleston for shipping business, and Charleston lobbyists are dead set against the Port project in Jasper Co.

    I would hope that this would lead to RR development. Ike was prescient about the military-industrial complex, but the massive trucking industry subsidy that built the Interstates and damaged rail transportation was certainly a mixed blessing.

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  46. MaryRC said on December 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I knew about Judy Lewis, having read her autobiography Uncommon Knowledge. She really did look like her father, didn’t she? It’s understandable that Loretta Young would want to keep her birth a secret from the public, but not to admit it to her own daughter … she must have been in pretty extreme denial. She seemed to believe her own publicity as the epitome of womanly virtue.

    Whenever I read huffy Mrs-Grundy comments about celebrities who shamelessly flaunt their out-of-wedlock motherhood, I think back to Loretta and Judy. It could be worse.

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  47. moe99 said on December 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Back in the day (late ’60’s and early ’70’s) if a girl got pregnant, she was expelled from school if her condition became known. I remember one young woman, a year ahead of me at Defiance High School, who disappeared for a year and the rumor was she had gone off to have a baby and give it up for adoption. But because she had not stayed at the high school during her pregnancy she had no trouble getting back in.

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  48. paddyo' said on December 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Funny you should mention that, Brian @41 — a photog and I spent an entire day shadowing Romney around the ’02 Winter Games from venue to venue . . . from breakfast with the family in their gigantic log mansion in Park City to afternoon rush hour in his chauffeured SUV. He was full-tilt boogie all day. Seemed like a nice guy at that time, but the political buzz was never far away . . .
    I’m pretty sure I asked him about that and included it in the story — something on the push then to get him to run for office again. I don’t recall now if at the time it was for Utah gov, or senator, or maybe even prez.

    I tried digging up the 400-some-word story on USAT‘s website just now, but it’s no longer in the “reporter index” The Nation’s Nicepaper still keeps for everybody who’s ever written for them. It’s still in their paid archives, though.

    Funny, the “abstract” on the archives page (Ho-hum headline: Romney re-charges volunteers with visits to various venues) excerpts a couple of sentences that include his crossing paths that day with former NFL QB Steve Young (Mormon, of course; big college star at Brigham Young U. in Utah) “in a lunch-break tent for ski venue workers. After bearhugging the former San Francisco 49ers star, Romney shouted to the volunteers, ‘Hey, you guys got the real deal here! Get him to sign your underwear.’ ”

    The rest of the way it was pretty predictable rah-rah stuff. I remember we went to the Russian-Finland hockey game down in Provo and he made a speech between periods, thanks-to-the-volunteers-they-make-these-games-go-etc.,etc.

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  49. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Gosh, is it possible that I’m the first to bring this up? Some enterprising researchers have produced 3D videos of women’s brains during orgasm. And that’s all I’m saying.

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  50. coozledad said on December 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I wonder what 3-d imaging of women’s brains would look like when they’re subjected to images of Newt Gingrich eating a Milky Way bar in a steamroom.
    Would these register on the human visual spectrum?

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  51. basset said on December 1, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    >>Actually, Basset, Charlie might quibble with that.

    Could be… he’s obviously a lot less tight-assed than the few NYT people I’ve met in various parts of flyover country, they took themselves even more seriously than network TV reporters.

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  52. brian stouder said on December 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    By the way, let me say that one obnoxious sitcom that I LIKE is…..Everybody Loves Raymond.

    We never watched it when it was new. It always struck me as the show where people were always yelling at one another. But, over the years we have enjoyed the reruns so much that Pam got me the boxed-set of the series.

    Go figure, eh?

    edit: Julie, skipping past all the easy jokes, that was a fascinating link you posted. I was taken aback by the different approaches taken by the Americans, on the one hand (so to speak), and the Dutch.

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  53. Dexter said on December 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    judybusy, brianstouder…you made me think…and it may well have been earlier, perhaps as early as 1972, when they went to Indianapolis for the dangerous coat-hanger abortion…oh well…not sure now.
    My friend, the man, was scared as could be, but I never discussed it with the lady. I think she wanted to just move on…and she did; they split up soon afters….

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  54. Dexter said on December 1, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    caliban…lots of great memories of seeing the Dole banana boat coming up the Savannah, watching the giant cranes unloading the pineapples and bananas, browsing the antique mall there on the bank of the river, shopping and sipping a double espresso outside under a giant umbrella … strolling through Oglethorpe and all the other city squares…Savannah is a can’t miss place for me. I was there first in 1968–many return trips.

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  55. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Brian, I wasn’t going to touch it.

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  56. del said on December 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Basset, I enjoyed the LeDuff piece. It’s an entertaining schtick. And it’s very appealing. The local Fox station that uses LeDuff also uses an attorney for legal bits, Charlie Langton. Langton’s something of a legal NewzKlown at times, but he’s entertaining too. And while I don’t take him seriously, I cannot avert my gaze when he’s on the tube.

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  57. Dexter said on December 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm


    This is the one Michigan TV ad I can’t avoid, being a Detroit Tigers fan. I feel as though I know old Sam and his daughter and his sons personally…”Call Sam”.

    Attorney Mark Bernstein is blind, and he does not wear dark glasses to mask his eyes. One stares dead ahead and the other moves around but rests at an angle. I feel kinda creepy saying this, but I usually think “man, he should get some really darkened glasses to cover up those eyes when he’s on TV…”, because like some others feel, it sort of takes away from whatever message he is delivering…just like Stuart Scott, the cancer-survivor-sports news telecaster of espn. Scott has one eye bugging way off to the side. Yeah, I do feel bad about mentioning this…do bug-eyed people on TV bug you, too?

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  58. MarkH said on December 2, 2011 at 12:17 am

    moe @47 — Not everywhere in Ohio. When I was a senior, class of ’70, one of my classmates in our suburban Cincinnati high school got pregnant. Everyone knew it, there wasn’t a lot of trying to hide it. Not only was there no permanent whisking away, one of our teachers made it a cause to help enable the parents to get Laurie to England for the abortion. Conveniently it was over Christmas vacation as I recall. She came back to start the new year as if nothing had happened.

    paddyo’ @40 — “…he’s a ‘reporter’, not a ‘journalist’. OK, Charlie, whatever you say…”
    What did you mean by that? I found this refreshing. Most newsfolks want to be known as “journalists”. When I was in the game, I always felt I was a reporter. Reminds me of the best newspaper movie of all time (Nancy disagrees, I know), “Deadline, USA”, 1952 with Bogart and this line:

    “A journalist makes himself the hero of the story. A reporter is only a witness” — Jim Cleary, as played by Jim Backus.

    Opinions vary, I’m certain.

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  59. ROGirl said on December 2, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I wonder what a woman’s brain looks like when she’s faking an orgasm.

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  60. Deborah said on December 2, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Look at this great photo of Hilary in th NYT, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/world/asia/us-will-relax-curbs-on-aid-to-myanmar.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

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  61. basset said on December 2, 2011 at 7:37 am

    >>I cannot avert my gaze when he’s on the tube.

    and that trumps everything in the tv news game. content, responsibility, none of that counts for anything… just gotta be, as our kid producers used to say, “compelling” and bring in those eyeballs.

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  62. del said on December 2, 2011 at 7:46 am

    RO Girl, one of the best lines from the movie forgetting Sarah Marshall happened when the rock star (Russell Brand) was the recipient of an absurd fake orgasm by Sarah Marshall who was trying to get the attention of someone in an adjoining hotel room. He looked at her and said, presumptuously, “So THAT’S a fake orgasm…I’ve heard about them but never actually SEEN one.”

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  63. LAMary said on December 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Thank you for that photo of Hillary, Deborah. I think she’s really hit her prime.

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