Always check the film.

I need to knock together a short video for my other site, which doesn’t exactly count as a chore, except when it does. And it has to be done pretty soon, because I’m taking Kate downtown later today for a little micro-internship with an acquaintance who owns a recording studio. I take all career aspirations at this age with a mine full of salt, but it does no harm to encourage. And who knows? Maybe she will be a music producer, and maybe she’ll be the next Rick Rubin. I read a profile of Rubin once, years ago, with the arresting detail that he lived with his parents until years after an average adult would be shamed into leaving the nest, much less one with a hot streak of charting records, and not only that, he would crawl into their bed with them when he came home from a night out, and they’d talk about what he did. Srsly. The story featured a photo of all three of them, in bed.

So maybe not. But it won’t do her any harm to watch Jim lay down a few guitar tracks, which is the task for today.

So what I’m saying is, I have to turn my energies elsewhere this morning. How about some bloggage instead?

And….I don’t have much.

But I do have something for you English nerds. A little background: The Atlantic recently published a piece by Stephen Bloom, a University of Iowa journalism professor, a 4,000-word essay slagging the state as it prepares to kick off the 2012 presidential race with its famous caucuses. I haven’t read it; I refuse to read it; you can’t make me. Did I punctuate that sentence correctly? I ask because perhaps the only interesting detail in it is this blog post by the editor of the Gazette, which singles out this passage by Bloom…

When my family and I first moved to Iowa, our first Easter morning I read the second-largest newspaper in the state (the Cedar Rapids Gazette) with this headline splashed across Page One: HE HAS RISEN.

…and does what Bloom didn’t: Check the microfilm. Turns out the front page indeed includes the words “He is risen,” but not in a headline splashed across the page, but in a rather pedestrian graphic that papers run on holidays like Easter. The type is actually quite small. If anything is splashed across the page, it’s the headline MURDER DRAMA, but you know how memory is.

Anyway, score one for the editor, but in his blog, he writes:

I tend to see the religious aspect of that day’s newspaper as less splash and more dribble, kind of like Bloom’s 4,000-word embellishment.

I get what he’s going for here, comparing splash to dribble, but in comparing it to the original essay, I think he’s confusing dribble and drivel. And that, my friends, is the long way around to making several hundred words of fussy superciliousness.

Supercilious. Now there’s a word.

Off to edit video. And HT to Jeff for finding the editor’s blog. Enjoy the final countdown, all.

Posted at 10:34 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

49 responses to “Always check the film.”

  1. Tori said on December 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Since I spent 1997 to 2002 in Ames getting an education, I was interested in the Atlantic article. Nancy, you didn’t miss much. I found it to have no new insights into the state of Iowa or its ethos. It read to me like something I could have written circa 1999.

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  2. Yale Cohn said on December 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Here’s our show about Bloom’s article:

    “Four native Iowans talk about the depiction of them and the state they call home in Stephen Bloom’s scathing and controversial article in The Atlantic Monthly, his motives for publishing it, the response its generated across the state, and its national implications with regards to Iowa’s first in the nation voting status.”

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I think he’s evoking drivel, while artfully using dribble. Teaching the prof a thing or two; the rewritten online para is a desperate scrabble for “yeah, that’s what I meant,” but I wonder what my print version will say . . . probably the original, utterly inaccurate statement. Heh.

    If it weren’t for the first-primaries hook, the entire piece could be repurposed for Ohio, simply swapping place names. Line by line, every paragraph. Which I think is an indictment itself, but YMMV. It’s not at all presented as a takedown of the Midwest as a whole, but of Iowa in particular, which it ain’t. And if you go around to as many potlucks as I do, in Iowa or Ohio, you’ll always find casserole & tater-tot baked dishes, but if you look a little closer, you’ll find stuffed grape leaves or potstickers or bulgur & quinoa salad or lemongrass soup or roasted grape & fennel with bowtie pasta — even at the South Succotash UMC. Et cetera.

    Very best joy of the season to Maggie Jochild (see end of yesterday’s thread); and there’s hope – today, the sun starts edging back a little to the north as it rises, and as it sets, and I was confirming it yesterday at a 2,000 old device for keeping track of precisely that (Newark Earthworks’ Great Circle). It’s cool to come back the next day and actually be able to “see” the change, and think about what hope that gave the people whose very lives depended on that annual nervous uncertainty — will the days lengthen again, or just keep getting shorter into the darkness?

    Another two days, and there will be no doubt at all, a full diameter shift in the sun’s horizon points. May that bring us all hope & joy!

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  4. Rory from Lawn Guyland said on December 22, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Funny. You and Lileks BOTH took that Journalism Professor to task today, for his gas-baggy piece in The Atlantic. Never the twain shall meet? Hmmmm…


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  5. beb said on December 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Nancy, re todays bloggage: WTF? I donn’t know who you’re mad at or why.

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  6. caliban said on December 22, 2011 at 11:48 am

    “Dribble” for “drivel” is one of those webbisms that drives me nuts. Like “jive” for “jibe”. And the ubiquitous “me thinks”. What a buncha loosers.


    The money quote, from President Eisenhower.

    Coolest iPad accessory ever.

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  7. LAMary said on December 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Give Steve Bloom a break. He used to live in LA. Next door to me. He’s actually a really nice guy. I used to take care of his cat.

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  8. brian stouder said on December 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The only thing I have to say about Iowa/New Hampshire is – it is unAmerican that those regions always get to go first.

    Super Bowl sites are rotated around the country, and Olympic sites are auctioned off all around the world; why can’t the ‘high honor and distinct privilege’ of going first in the national presidential election process be similarly mobile?

    I never really “got” this until May of 2008, when the protracted primary contest in the Democratic party actually came to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

    Our usually irrelevent MAY primary was suddenly crucial, and we got to actually see the process come to our city, and we could literally brush up against the candidates and their families*.

    This special thing should not be hoarded by a single region, forever.

    Aside from that, here’s wishing Maggie strength and patience, and as Merry a Christmas as can possibly be had!

    *and not for nothing, but the value of “retail politics” was also impressed upon me. Having shaken Michelle Obama’s hand, I am inalterably on her (and her husband’s) side, now and forever. It is strange, really; but it is real

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on December 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

    To give him the benefit of the doubt, it’s perfectly possible that he’s aware of the difference between “drivel” and “dribble” and was making a pun.

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  10. alex said on December 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Super-silly-ass drivel, indeed. He is risible.

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  11. nancy said on December 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Who’s mad? I’m not mad. Except at myself; my brain manages to forget how to use iMovie in precisely the interval between projects, whatever it may be.

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  12. Dave said on December 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Regarding Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, regardless of what state’s characteristics he discussed, I’m not surprised to find a story like this:|head

    Also, I find this story, the first two paragraphs caught my eye, I’m currently in Tampa Bay, I’ve seen a lot of door holding here.

    No, I know no one has mentioned Indiana but it also fits. However, what Jeff says is also true but sometimes, listening to afternoon radio in the Summit City, for example, it gets discouraging, and I know I’ll never see it change.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I dunno, I was born in Iowa and spent a week visiting family last summer, and “me thinks” Bloom was not off the mark. Tori says it could have been written in 1999. Precisely. It also could have been written in 1959, so little has changed. But Jeff is right, much of the same could be said for Ohio and even Indiana.

    It does seem Bloom was lazy in double checking his sources if he got the headline wrong. More to the point, how does he expect to live in Iowa any more? If this article was an attempt to get hired elsewhere, its bitter tone should make future employers leery, lest they be his next victim.

    BTW Jeff, is your book available on the Nook platform?

    Prayers go out to Maggie, and also to my sister who has been in the hospital again with more diabetes complications.

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  14. brian stouder said on December 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    1. If LA Mary vouches for him, that’s good enough for me!

    2. What Dave says about afternoon radio in the Summit City is all too true

    3. Julie, I hope things go as well as possible for your sister.

    4. Not sure that the “bitter tone” Julie refers to will hurt the Hawkeye heckler. The last sentences of the article Dave linked above say:

    Bloom told Romenesko he’s been invited to appear on a number of national shows, including Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” and MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” as well as CNN’s “John King, USA” and Piers Morgan “Tonight.” Bloom turned them down because, “I believe appearing on those shows would not further discussion of the important issues raised in my Atlantic article and would descend into more vitriol,” he told Romenesko.

    5. (the guy strikes me as disingenuous there, but maybe it’s just me)

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  15. Tori said on December 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Jeff – I agree with you – to a point. Iowa is a very unique place, imo. (But I miss it!) I am a native of a South Central Wisconsin city of 10,000 people, and *I* had culture shock when I arrived in Ames in the late nineties. I’ve never felt culture shock in Indiana or Ohio. (Granted, I didn’t spend five years of my life in either state, but there you go.)

    Prayers to all, in whatever form you accept them.

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  16. LAMary said on December 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Steve has written some interesting stuff about a Kosher poultry processing company in Iowa using undocumented workers. He also won awards, I think, for work he did on the San Jose Mercury News.

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  17. Jeff Borden said on December 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Here’s yet another reason why I can’t be much of a practicing Catholic anymore. . . . . .

    A Catholic cardinal in Chicago on Wednesday compared the gay liberation movement to the Ku Klux Klan.

    Appearing on Fox’s Chicago station, Cardinal Francis George complained that this year’s Gay Pride Parade route would mean that Our Lady of Mount Carmel might have to cancel Sunday mass for the first time in almost 100 years.

    “You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism,” George said.

    “That’s a little strong analogy, Ku Klux Klan,” Fox Chicago’s Dane Placko noted.

    “It is,” George agreed. “But you take a look at the rhetoric — the rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church.”

    Upon hearing the church’s concerns, parade organizers agreed to move the event start time from 10 a.m. to noon.

    The parade is normally held on the last Sunday in June. The route was changed to accommodate a large crowd after more than 800,000 people attended last year’s event, causing crowd control and traffic problems. A 10 a.m. start time was suggested to reduce the amount of drinking.

    State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D) on Wednesday called for George to apologize.

    When I first moved to Chicago, it was Cardinal Bernadin (sp?), one of the good guys of the church and a truly humanitarian fellow running things. I cannot imagine a set of circumstances in which he would ever have uttered anything as horrifying as what Cardinal George just said.

    And Cardinal George wonders why so many Catholic Churches are empty these days? Look in the mirror, sir.

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  18. alex said on December 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Julie, which headline did Bloom get wrong? The one about people clinging to guns and God?

    That wasn’t removed because of its inaccuracy. It was removed because such people are volatile and nobody wants to mess with them. I suppose you can fault him for lack of originality, though.

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  19. moe99 said on December 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    If LA Mary vouches for Bloom, I’m with her!

    In need of a last minute gift:

    And with regard to anti-Catholic sentiment, I lived in Defiance, OH, and Rochester MN before my first encounter with anti Catholicism in Kentucky. Never before.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Alex, I was referring to the one Nancy quotes, about the font size and placement of He is Risen on Easter Sunday.

    I will say that none of my Iowa family have guns or go hunting. Both sides of my family have strong pacifist leanings, and very few have even served in the military.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Cousin Jeff, give Cardinal George this much — in the Midwestern Klan of the 1920s, they spent more time talking about Catholics than any other minority of whatever color. And the residue of casual anti-Catholicism is still as pervasive as racism on the lips of Midwesterners, I hate to say. So the visceral sense of anti-Catholic speech as Klan-like is rooted in a historic fact, even if George was making his point (whatever it was) poorly. I’m startled frequently by the stuff I’ll hear smart, educated Methodists say in Illinois & Indiana & Ohio about “everyone knows what goes on in those convents” or cracks about taking marching orders from the Vatican as to their patriotism.

    LAMary, I have no interest in saying he’s not a good guy, but it’s just a bad & badly written piece. If The Atlantic said to him “whack on Iowa as part of our editorial interest in changing the primary schedule from putting them & Live Free or Die at the head of the line,” it still wouldn’t explain the flatness & trite stereotyping of Iowa & Iowans. He’s written on the economic & social challenges facing the state, and all that is true, but they did launch Obama’s candidacy, they did take a leadership step in affirming gay marriage, and it just isn’t as vanilla-addicted a place as he framed them up.

    If someone offered me money to work on it, I’m sure I could write a critical article on Iowa that was more specific & characteristic of THAT place, as opposed to shallow drivel about how Midwesterners are so dang Midwestern. But the potluck point stands for what I mean — yes, there’s always casserole, but if that’s all you see, you aren’t looking.

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  22. alex said on December 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Julie, I can say the same for my family in Indiana. And we’re a distinct minority here just as we would be there.

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  23. LAMary said on December 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    All I can say is the Steve Bloom I know is not a hack and not a bad writer. That piece might suck and I don’t have an explantion for it, but I just looked at his website and his resume is not that of a bad writer or lazy thinker.

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  24. Bitter Scribe said on December 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    So, everyone who objects to something the leaders of the Catholic Church say or do is a Klansman?

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  25. Judybusy said on December 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Julie, I hope all goes well for your sister, and the diabetes gets under control.

    I grew up in rural Minnesota, in a Lutheran family. In high school, I dated a very nice boy from a Catholic family. One day my dad approached me, and I remember his asking, “Is Bob Catholic?” Me: “Um, yeah.” Him: “That’s not good.” However, he never stepped in to intervene, so I don’t quite get the point of this conversation. In a nice twist, this boy’s sister is now one of my mom’s best friends. (My folks are divorced.)

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  26. Sue said on December 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    judybusy, did your boyfriend happen to mention that he had the exact same conversation about you with his dad? Because he probably did.
    I had a friend who broke up with her non-Catholic boyfriend when they began thinking about marriage because she understood that it would have destroyed her father. Ah, the good old days.

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  27. Bob (not Greene) said on December 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Jeff B., I hadn’t seen that about Cardinal George. What a gold-plated prick. Got a news flash for you Cardinal — there’s a large percentage of your priestly population who are gay. I have known several personally. They are generally really great guys. They actually do the church’s work in the neighborhoods they serve. Unlike you, who sit in your mansion and come up with fantasical scenarios where “the gays” are going to turn into the Klan. The guy must be losing his mind.

    If George spent less time worrying about gay people and more time about the actual pedophiles that the church has harbored and hidden through the years, he wouldn’t have so many people either suspcious of the church or leaving it in droves.

    The older George gets, the more reactionary he becomes.

    And I don’t know what George fears about anti-Catholic bias in Chicago. Hell, Catholics have run the damn place for a century. Most of the anti-Catholic bias I’m hearing these days is coming from Catholics, who are pissed off that their church has been hijacked by a bunch of reactionary zealots like George who want to turn the clock back to 1890.

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  28. alex said on December 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    So, everyone who objects to something the leaders of the Catholic Church say or do is a Klansman?

    Merciful heavens! If that were the case, virtually every Catholic of my acquaintance would be a Klansman.

    Disagreeing with the church can hardly be compared to genocidal animus toward those who happen to have been born into it. I wouldn’t let the Cardinal off so easy, MMJeff. He wasn’t making his point poorly. He knew what he was doing and he’s reaping the scorn he deserves.

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Oh, he was wrong and poorly phrased, both/and, I just wanted to add that there’s a narrative behind why a Catholic leader would go *there* so quickly — lots of folk assume the KKK has been all about the skin color, and their socially accepted pre-eminence in the Midwest was as much based in anti-Catholic nativism (they also hated Hunkies, not getting the whole Orthodox thing) as it was racial animus.

    But no defense of the Cardinal per se is intended. As someone mentioned, no Chicago Cardinal has needed help with defense since Red Grange.

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  30. caliban said on December 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    “‘I’m… like…. EarlBUTZ and I can’t de-ny…'”

    Recent comment on the Doughboy Sensenbrenner buffoonery, story in Slate. What is with these GOPer Jabbas that they stick with this hilariously misdirected bullshit about the most fit and stylish First Lady since Jackie Kennedy? I mean, this is like Rush commenting on the WH dog while holding a photo of 13 yo Chelsea Clinton, when his Oxyfried ass looks like something you’d hack up with a machete to make conch fritters. And I mean no offense to Carribean sea slugs.

    It’s interesting Jeff B. mentions Cardinal Bernardin. He was wrongly accused by three separate people of sexual abuse, on the basis of hypnotically recovered memories induced by one or more of the three or four psychology hired guns that were all over the lawsuits prevalent in the 90s. It is a historical fact that the lifeblood of the KKK in the early 1900s was virulent anti-Catholicism. And this was representative of American attitudes in general. Ask Al Smith about the 1928 Presidential election that sicced Hoover on the USA. That was the election in which the Republicans first understood that suppressing the vote and defecating on the census for political advantage were winning, if unConstitutional, strategies. I think the gist of what Cardinal George intended is pretty obvious, while his choice of metaphors is rather shocking, and quite offputting.

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  31. Sue said on December 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Well, I never knew those gay people were so vicious, so maybe the good Cardinal is on to something:
    Those Minnesota gays take no prisoners apparently, in their quest for the destruction of innocent straight people.

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  32. Judybusy said on December 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    That’s right, Sue. She had to go! In a twisted sense, we have been loving this story. The MN republicans seem to be in quite a state of disarray these days.

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  33. adrianne said on December 22, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Been waiting to write this headline all week: House Republicans cave on payroll tax extension. And now I’ve posted it to our inter-tubes site, so it’s official.

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  34. brian stouder said on December 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Woo Hoo!!!!

    edit – and Fort Wayne’s right-wing ‘passing wind’-talker and our local hard-right hypocrite* Congressional Representative are crying crying crying, right now!! (and I love it)

    *Good ol’ Marlin Stutzman is all for free markets and ‘keep the government out of the way’; except for all the hundreds of thousands of dollars his family collects in farm subsidies…

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  35. Sue said on December 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    adrianne, until there’s a vote, no one’s caved.

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  36. brian stouder said on December 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Sue – they either “cave” – an odd term for (in this case) what should be known as “facing reality” – or else they shall surely crater.

    While the prospect of those crackpots crashing into the ground is somewhat alluring, the damage they’d do to our economy makes it an overly-expensive spectacle

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  37. Sue said on December 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    brian, Boehner can’t control his troops. Everyone thought this thing was done the first time – until it didn’t happen because no one would go along with it. The ‘crackpots’ aren’t interested in ‘facing reality’ because that is not what they were elected to do.
    I won’t relax about this until the vote is taken and passed, and from how I understand it, it will be a House version that will have to be sent back to the Senate for their vote.

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  38. Dexter said on December 22, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Shit damn hell. My furnace went out and I couldn’t get it to re-light. I had to call a plumber to talk me through the process…I wasn’t holding down the “pilot” button long enough.
    Ever feel like you’re losing it? Anyway…he babied me through it again and that was it…

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  39. Deborah said on December 22, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    LA Mary, is there anyone famous out there that you haven’t spotted or know personally. I’m impressed. And jealous, I must admit.

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  40. Bob (Not Greene) said on December 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Deb, she hasn’t met caliban yet. In person anyway.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    He’s on the other coast! Propsero’s rough magic is played out against an Atlantic backdrop painted by Caliban, while Mary’s spells are cast across a Pacific stage.

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  42. brian stouder said on December 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    While we, here in fly-over country, admire the convergence of the auroras, and their reflections upon our rippling Great Lakes

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  43. Connie said on December 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    it is comments like those last two make me wish I could write as well as you all do.

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 23, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Yeah, as I misspell Prospero! 😉

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  45. ROGirl said on December 23, 2011 at 8:28 am

    The Troy mayor’s antics have made it to the New York Times.

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  46. heydave said on December 23, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I moved to Iowa from Chicago temporarily 17 years ago. Sure, i miss a lot of things, but wherever you are, you need to open your eyes and see what’s going on around you. Bloom has lazily compiled and cultivated a list of anecdotal evidence that fits his current pique. He is by no means an accurate observer of this state. It has its flaws, of course, just like any state you find yourself in. Drivel must be French for dogshit.

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  47. brian stouder said on December 23, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Sue, our resident local fat-ass right-wingnut I-got-mine radio lip-flapper was just in full-whine mode yesterday, after the Congressional nutballs crashed their tea sets!

    For the ten minutes after work that I listened (on the way to get a soda pop), I loved it!!

    I’d have changed channels sooner, but – to his credit – they let a well-spoken woman caller have a go at disagreeing with him*; I was imagining Julie, as the caller was even-keeled and reasonable, as she politiely pointed out how full of shit he was…..and after about 3 minutes of failing to deal with her points, he summarily CUT HER OFF, and then angrily attacked the points she made, safe from any rebuttal!

    I stopped for a soda pop (95 cents for a 44 ounce cup at the new Marathon on Spring Street) and when I came back to the car 5 minutes later, he was STILL attacking that woman, as other lap-dog callers called in and grunted their approvals.

    All in all, it was enjoyable, much like when a speeder blows past you on the highway, and then you see him having a discussion with the cop who yanked him over, a few miles up the road.

    *his (incoherent) point was that this was all the president’s fault, period.

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  48. Scout said on December 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Connie @ 11:47, I had exactly the same thought as you did!

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  49. Dave said on December 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Yes, Brian, anytime someone starts pointing out alternative views to him, he tends to get mildly irate, he always talks about rational discussion but it always turns out to be on his terms. He doesn’t really mean it.

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