I was driving home from the mall Sunday, thinking about driving. I was in the far-right lane cruise-controlled at 70, woolgathering about a lot of what we talked about last week — safety and road stress, mainly, but also how the hell I’m going to teach my daughter to navigate these crazy freeways. How hard it is to resist the velocitizing effect of your fellow travelers. How you should never, ever travel faster than you feel comfortable. How margins of error are so much shorter at higher speeds. I glanced in the rear-view, where a BMW grille was closing in at a terrifying pace. My foot, which had been resting ineffectually on the accelerator (cruise control, remember) twitched up reflexively, just as the Beamer blew past on my left and wove another stitch around and through the cars ahead before disappearing into the flow of traffic.

He had to have been going 100, if not more. I’m assuming it was an auto-show tourist of some sort or another. The same thing happened to us Saturday night around 11, only it was a Dodge with fancy LED taillights. I don’t know if it was a dealer or a journalist or a corporate test driver, Ryan-goddamn-Gosling or Michael-goddamn-Shumacher, but that is an ignorant, stupid thing to do on an American freeway, especially one demonstrably full of people who are doing everything except paying attention to what they’re supposed to be doing. But it’s auto-show week, and that’s what happens here.

I’ve driven fast enough times myself to know why people do it and how invincible you can feel in a new, well-made car with all the latest safety features, but treating I-75 like an F-1 proving ground has too many hazards to count, including something as simple as my automatic reaction to seeing a car roaring up from behind — to take my foot off the gas. A sudden decrease in my speed, a closing hole in the lane to the left, and we all might have ended up in a sheet-metal sandwich. (I wonder how I’d be described in the story/obit, “journalist,” “blogger” or the ignoble “area woman.”)

And it did seem the BMW driver knew what s/he was doing. It’s the multi-lane swerve-overs behind me that freak my cheese, as so much depends on the trustworthiness of your fellow motorist, and that is? Not bloody trustworthy.

While we’re on the subject, for those of you who didn’t follow the comment thread Friday, the story of the firefighter killed while changing a tire on the freeway — the very incident that started this train of thought — has taken a turn. Now it’s looking less like a tragic accident and maybe a staged one, but the investigation continues.

Hope your weekend was a fine one. We went to see a production of “The Tempest” at a local bar. It was fun, but I think I’ll blog about it over at 42 North in the next day or two. But this part is for you guys alone: The actor who played Caliban was a real scenery-chewer, and had a very funny bare-ass scene that left me thinking our own Caliban chose his handle well.

A little bloggage:

Rick Santorum quotes as New Yorker cartoon captions.

Mitt Romney and his Irish setter — the anecdote that won’t go away, by the writer who dug it up. HT: John Wallace.

Finally, some housekeeping: I think this week will be the one I’ll start experimenting with some shorter material. Classes start at Wayne today, and my life will hit another gear. I’m thinking writing posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and pix-with-linx Tuesday and Thursday. Not sure how it will shake out, but I want to put up a new post daily, but perhaps one that won’t take quite so much of my increasingly scarce free time.

We’ll see how it works out.

Posted at 12:41 am in Detroit life, Housekeeping |

46 responses to “Drive.”

  1. LAMary said on January 9, 2012 at 12:54 am

    That BMW action you described? That’s how I assume all BMW drives roll. When I taught my son to drive I told him to assume all BMW drivers are crazy assholes. Let them pass you.

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  2. Dexter said on January 9, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Back in the 1970s Detroit’s freeways, specifically the Chrysler, the Lodge, the Jeffries, the Ford and the Fisher were especially hard, dangerous roadways especially at night in the rain because there were no raised dots or lane-bumps like California installed in the 1960s sometime, and the faded white lane marks were invisible in the shiny rain, so it was a fucking crap shoot…you had to drive from experience and intuition. Most drivers had a notion of where to be on the road, but I was playing it by guesswork, and since I was bar-hopping, well, the edge had been honed a bit. I used to go bar hopping with my army pal Frank from Westland and he had a green VW Bug, and I much preferred riding with him than trying to navigate those roads myself. Frank had been born in Italy and moved to Detroit as a small boy, so he felt at home and drove like a crazy man, ignoring any semblance of lane markings…he drove insanely, and many others did the same.
    Even though those of us in Michigan and those of us who (at least used to ) drive in Michigan a lot over the past decades know Michigan just didn’t have appropriations to keep up their roads as well as other states did, we hope that has changed. That east-west road, M-50, had potholes that ruined many rims and undercarriages.

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  3. beb said on January 9, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Getting passed on the freeway by some idiot going like a bat out of hell is such a common experience that it’s hardly worth blogging about. The most recent instance for me was about a month back while driving on work related business. I was driving back from Port Huron to Detroit when I noticed a car behind me rapidly catching up with me. I pulled over in the right-hand lane and was thinking “what an idiot”/”why is there never a cop around” when I noticed that the car was painted a deep blue. When it blew past I realized that it was a state police vehicle going somewhere in a hurry but without bothering to turn its lights on.

    He should have his lights on if he’s going that fast was my first thought, the second was the amount of heartburn I’d have experienced if I’d looked in the rear-view mirror and seen cop lights while driving a city vehicle…. So maybe it was just as well.

    There’s a book just come out about the Obama’s which suggests that Mrs Obama has consistently pushed her husband to be more aggressive, more assertive as Prez, and that she felt marginalized and pushed out by the likes of Rahm Emmanual. The odd thing is that while all this is presented as some devastating attack on the Prez and certainly Mrs. Obama I find it all very credible and unsurprising. It just makes me think that the wrong Obama got elected President.

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  4. heydave said on January 9, 2012 at 8:46 am

    The first thing I told my younger son about driving was to remember that everyone else on the road is a dangerous idiot. Can;t go wrong if you prepare for that; getting pleasantly surprised would be a bonus.

    Nancy, where can I find your work at 42 North? I’ve found the photos of you and your coworkers, but that’s it.

    And the Rick Santor’em and New Yorker cartoons is inspired. Someone was used Jersey Shore quotes with Family Circus for fun, also too.

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  5. nancy said on January 9, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I’m just getting rolling over there, but if you click this link, it’ll take you directly to the blog.

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  6. basset said on January 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Nance, in the car magazines they call that “spirited” driving, and the BMW guy would be an “enthusiast” or a “sporting driver.” Another one you see sometimes is “driving con brio,” which I believe is Italian for “like an a-hole.”

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  7. Bitter Scribe said on January 9, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I used to work in a town where the rules of the road apparently stated that the more expensive car has the right of way. Plus there was a BMW dealership near my office. A lot of times the mechanics would road-test a repair to brakes or whatever by whipping a car around corners and stopping suddenly. Made it interesting to drive around the neighborhood.

    If that fireman was in fact a suicide….I sympathize with people who are desperate enough to commit suicide (or attempt it), but my sympathy cools just a little when the suicide involves the involuntary assistance of others. As in, when someone steps in front of a truck or train, or God forbid, commits “suicide by cop” (pointing an unloaded or phony gun at a police officer to get him to shoot you). If you’re going to do it, at least leave other people out of it.

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  8. JWfromNJ said on January 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Glad I could be of service on the Seamus the dog link. It’s got to be boosting Romney’s cat vote though.

    The BMW maneuver you described sounds like the famed, “Jersey Sweep,” which doesn’t work well in NJ anymore but is ideal for most other interstates. To get around the intransigent left lane cruisers and the other flotsam in the faster lanes you dive across traffic to a gap in the right lane, then arc back to the far left.

    I’ve had plenty of interesting jobs as some of you know but one that always stands out was working as a corporate test driver for BMW North America in my early 20’s. It wasn’t glamorous or dangerous but there were far worse things a young man could do than show up every morning, enjoy a nice breakfast in the corporate cafeteria, then sign out a 3 or 5 series for a 300 mile cruise. We followed specific routes up into the Binghampton NY area for the most part – although they permitted a few alternate route deivations like a jaunt down to Wildwood NJ and back. I even got tasked with a project that involved full days of midtown bumper tag in NYC, along with airport runs for German execs and their families

    I must confess that in the past I have logged multiple highway hours at 100+, mostly on desolate stretches of I-80 in Pa. There is something to be said for making half of a six hundred mile journey dissapear in three hours. I don’t drive that way anymore and don’t have a car I would trust at those speeds but I am a firm believer that if people had better road manners we could entertain some higher speeds. Not sure who it was but one of the old timer car magazine writers always advocated painting, “DRIVE RIGHT – PASS LEFT” on every overpass in America.

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  9. MarkH said on January 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Right on in your last paragraph, JW. More states are passing laws making it ILLEGAL to pass on the right, as a way of encouraging people to get the hell out of the left lane. As I travel, I do see more signs all the time, Keep Right, Pass Left. Sometimes it helps. It’s always puzzled me that this very basic part of drivers’ ed. is so easily forgotten.

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  10. JWfromNJ said on January 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    My theory is if faster traffic approaches you from behind and you are in the left lane you are obligated to get over. Too many people want to rationalize that they are going fast enough and feel like playing traffic cop.

    I extend that belief to people who lag behind the left lane bandits and don’t flash them. You know the people who just pile up in that lane behind the people who are nervous about passing semi trucks. If you aren’t flashing the left lane bandit and you aren’t willing to go back to the right you should be considered part of the problem and be prepared for me to flash you – because I’ll continue doing so until you do move so I can then flash the slowpoke. And once I move past the clutter I do go back to the right, which too many people seem to think is a game. I want a buffer zone around my car. Nothing irks me more than someone who is content to ride right next to me instead of moving up or back 30 feet.

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  11. Connie said on January 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    As for me, I expect to die some morning on the new roundabout next to my office. I know how they’re supposed to work, but nobody else seems to.

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  12. brian stouder said on January 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Well, let me just SAY – if my family and I are in the minivan travelling at, say, 73 mph, and we are busy passing a semi that is going 65 mph, and then some BMW comes flying up at 96 mph and flashes his lights at me and shakes his fist, my reaction will be: Go to hell. And not for nothing, but along with “DRIVE RIGHT/PASS LEFT”, maybe they should add something like “90+ MPH = JAIL” (indeed, when Schumacher himself fouls up, or gets collected in someone else’s mistake on the racing circuit, professional responders are on hand within 30-40 seconds… or maybe 60-80 seconds; whereas if some wannabe schmuck takes out my family and I, how long before the emergency medical responders reach us? 10 minutes? 20?)

    That said, Fort Wayne has many “race” lanes all through the city, wherein there are, for example, two eastbound lanes at a red light, and both continue on the other side of the intersection (the right lane is NOT marked as “right turn Only”); but the righthand lane BECOMES an “only” lane on the other side of the intersection, and the driver has about 300 yards to either make the right turn, or else get ahead of the guy on his left, and get over into that lane. (State street at Wells; also Coliseum at Parnell)

    And we have the same thing on a newly redone and expanded road, wherein the LEFT lane ends, and everyone races to get ahead and get back to the right (Hillegas just north of Jefferson)

    Pity the out-of-towner who stumbles upon one of these

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  13. Julie Robinson said on January 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Living in the country, as I did growing up, there were a lot of back roads where I could be a speed demon. And boy howdy was it fun. That all changed the first time I strapped our firstborn in her car seat. Before that crazy drivers didn’t bother me a bit. For those learning to drive in urban areas, there just isn’t the same margin of error I had.

    Here’s a little bloggage from by Roger Doonan, who prepared the installation for the auction of Marilyn Monroe’s personal estate. His conclusion? She was tiny, tiny, tiny, and evidence to the contrary is the camera’s fault.

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  14. JWfromNJ said on January 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    @Brian – the 73 vs. 65 is perfectly reasonable. Its the folks who get in that spot and go 66 who irk me – especially when they create a bottleneck and don’t try to pass faster and move over. I have equal contempt for the “my semi is faster,” type who has to jump over when 8 of his peers are content to line up in the right lane.
    I wouldn’t be on someone’s ass in any event because if I am already unimpressed by their driving skills, road judgment or vehicle I don’t trust them enough to safely handle the situation. And I won’t be in a BMW or lifting a hand from the wheel to shake a fist or fly the bird.

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  15. Deborah said on January 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Hey, wait a minute, I’m a BMW owner who drives like the little old lady I am.

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on January 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    As far as I’m concerned, if some a-hole comes up behind me and flashes his headlights at me, he can eat a turd. I’ll slow down just to annoy him more.

    (Actually, no, I wouldn’t. But I’ve thought about it.)

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  17. Jakash said on January 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    We were recently on I-65 North near Nowhere, Indiana, eventually leading to Lafayette, and got right behind a truck in each lane going exactly the same speed. At first I thought the truck in the left lane was just having a little trouble building up speed, but this went on for, literally, ten or fifteen miles. Flashing the old brights accomplished nothing. I just thought “if your actual intent is to pass this guy with the goal of going a fifth of a mile an hour faster than him, perhaps you could be content to follow, pal.” I eventually concluded that it must be some kind of prank, but who knows? Regardless, it was monumentally annoying. It was a helpless feeling. Eventually, the truck on the right sped up, opening up enough of a gap that I passed the jerk that was in the left lane and then the one in the right. I noticed behind me that the guy who’d been in the left lane for all that time did finally stand down and get in the right lane behind the other truck. I’m not an aggressive driver at all, but this was unbelieveable.

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  18. caliban said on January 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    What Mr. Swidey of the Globe fails to comprehend is that Seamus, in all likelihood, had the shit scared out of him, a common mammalian reaction to being strapped to a luggage rack atop a car travelling at interstate speeds. The thoughtless cruelty of doing that to a dog is stunning, and making a connection to Gekko behavior at Bain is pretty easy. In fact, when Swidey relates the anecdotes about the gay married couple and the makeup lady, it almost seems he’s reinforcing the natural assumption from the dog maltreatment that Willard is a mindless child of motherhood and a cluelessly grotesque product of inherited privilege. Much like back in the campaigning day, GHW Bush went shopping and marvelled at those ingenious, new-fangled UPC scanner machines that rang up his tubesocks at checkout, and then had to bum money from a Secret Service Agent to pay for the socks. Out of the loop, like he claims to have been on Iran-Contra. Like Romney and real life.

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  19. JWfromNJ said on January 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    @Jakash – found this on a trucking website that offers tips to car drivers –
    “Sometimes, it seems like truck drivers do some strange things. Many people get upset when trucks seem to ride next to each other on the expressway for an extended period of time. The problem here is that most trucks have “speed limiters” on them. So as a semi begins to pass another semi, the passing rig can only go so fast. If the road starts to go uphill, the passing big rig might be loaded heavier and his speed will slow down at a quicker pace than the guy he’s trying to pass. The end result? The trucks get “stuck” next to each other. It’s not only frustrating for you, but also for the truckers.”

    That could be what you witnessed. The same website strongly urges drivers NOT to linger when passing semi trucks as the longer a car sits in the trucker’s blindspot, the bigger the safety risk to motorist and trucker alike.

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  20. Jakash said on January 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I appreciate that, JW, and, early on, there WAS a point that an uphill component was involved. I’ve certainly experienced that before and was allowing for it. My frustration didn’t really kick in until we’d been on a flat stretch for quite awhile and nothing was happening. It’s very rare that I would flash my brights at somebody, but, after allowing for what I thought were all reasonable possibilities, this went on WAY too long. My question would be, if the “speed limiters” keep the one truck from going faster than the other, why is he so intent on passing in the first place?

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  21. Chris in Iowa said on January 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Beb @3, there are at least some on the right who will go out of their way to promote the idea that Michelle Obama is a shrew and that there is discord in the first couple’s marriage. They will do this because our black, Muslim, non-U.S.-born president and his wife come closer to living the espoused values of the Religious Right (married to the same person for 20 years, children in whose lives they are both clearly very involved as parents) than do most, if not all, of the Republican candidates who seek the job.

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  22. basset said on January 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Fuel consumption is, as you’d expect, a major, major issue for those truckers, with some companies paying their drivers bonuses for improved fuel use… and their trucks run most economically at a steady speed, dropping down a few gears and flooring the pedal to pass costs money.

    They’re probably not trying to pass as much as they’re trying to keep the engine speed level and save diesel; don’t take it personally, even if you’re in a Beemer and assume the world should get out of your way.

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  23. LAMary said on January 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    JW, you’re from NJ. You need to remember it’s the attitude capital of the world. If you flashed your lights at me and I wasn’t creeping the left lane, just not doing 85 or something, you would see the NJ salute coming back at you.

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  24. Dexter said on January 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    There are some real stunners by both Ford and Chevy at the Detroit Auto Show. Radical concepts and a major change in the Fusion should create excitement for Ford customers.

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  25. brian stouder said on January 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Have I mentioned yet how tremendously good the book Once Upon a Car is?

    I have?

    Anyway – the annual car show comes up repeatedly in the narrative, and is (of course) a very big deal, all the way from top to bottom. (lots of furtive meetings and plans get made there, amongst the displays)

    (Wasn’t the Dodge cattle drive the year Nancy covered it? Mr Vlasic shares a pretty funny tale about that)

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  26. alex said on January 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Dex, I saw the new Fusion and the new Dodge Dart too.

    I guess it’s true that Hyundai has become the hottest brand on the road because Ford and Dodge just both copied the Sonata.

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  27. beb said on January 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Bitter Scribe @16. I have been known to flash my brakes in such situations, reveling in my latent assholishness.

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  28. Little Bird said on January 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    All these comments make me feel much more secure in my decision not to drive. Driving scares me.

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  29. JWfromNJ said on January 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Beb- that would be known as the ABS test. A quick jab to get the brake light on and the tailgater usually backs way off. A much safer and more passive-agressive method is to wash your windshield – very effective on said BMW’s.
    LA mary – my Jersey is showing, huh? In reality I don’t drive that way anymore, never would w/kids, and drive an 8 year old sable. I am very focused on buffer zone, awareness, and right or wrong I always assume my skills are better. That’s a good approach for anyone in that it heavily weighs the moron factor.

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  30. Joe Kobiela said on January 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Brian @25
    I picked up once upon a car before heading to Fla pretty good read. Interesting how things use to work up there. Ford was just a great story and guys like Bill Ford and the guy he hired from Boeing really work around the clock. That’s why they can’t afford to sit around waiting on commercial flights.
    Sunny and 75 at the mouse house today.
    Pilot Joe

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  31. LAMary said on January 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    You’re thinking in a very Route 4 sort of way, JW. I used to take Route 208 from Goffle Road to Route 4 and I seem to remember having to cut across three lanes pretty quickly so I didn’t get stuck having to exit somewhere in Fair Lawn. This often required some zipping about. Of course I was 18 and immortal at the time.

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  32. brian stouder said on January 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Joe – couldn’t agree more; Alan Mullally comes across as a really great fellow. I liked when he said he had been heading a corporation that built planes consisting of several million pieces, whereas Fords consist of several thousand parts; it ain’t THAT complex(!!)

    I liked the portrait of that very intelligent person taking on a hugely complex and difficult job, and then DOING it!

    And as you point out – Bill Ford himself must be an exceptionally intelligent and balanced man. How many guys would have the courage to say “this job is beyond me” and then go and find a Mullally-type, and not only hire him, but then support him fully, as he runs the company with your name on the buildings, and the products?

    One interesting thing is that the book was fairly harsh on the FIAT guy (Marchione, unless my spelling fails me) that runs Chrylser. A recent Time Magazine had a long article about Fiat/Chrysler, and their portrait of that fellow was essentially glowing.

    All in all, a remarkable story

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Hey, Brian, what do you think about this new book “Once Upon a Car”?

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  34. MarkH said on January 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Brian’s read a book??

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Say, I may be late to this, but who’s got insights as to what’s going on here?

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  36. brian stouder said on January 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    And a worthwhile book, too!

    For Christmas, the books I received included Once Upon a Car by Bill Vlasic; Conquered into Liberty by Elliot Cohen; Jack Kennedy by Chris Matthews; and Fiery Trial by Eric Foner.

    I am now about 75 pages into the snow and protracted mayhem of “Two centuries of battles along the Great Warpath that made the American way of war” as the subtitle of Conquered into Liberty says. It appears to be as good as I was thinking it would be, after seeing the author on C-SPAN’s Book-TV. In fact, that’s also where I saw Bill Vlasic talking about his book Once Upon a Car, but we digress.

    The Great Warpath (so named by Native Americans) – the key to the North American continent – is defined as the corridor running from Albany to Montreal, dominated by the Champlain Valley; 200 miles of lake, river, and woodland. It was at the heart of a protracted contest by and between shifting alliances (and evolving tactics, including terrorism) amongst the British, French, Americans, Canadians, and Indians.

    So far, good stuff, although it reads a little like a phone, since the time span is so wide, and the key characters are therefore so numerous. The narrative literally sprawls from eastern Canada down through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan…

    edit: interesting link, Jeff; and lots of signers

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  37. Dexter said on January 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Eric Clapton lives in Delaware, Ohio in one of his homes…his wife is from there, hence, home in Ohio. A few years ago they had a baby. My daughter has a close friend who was one of the nurses during the birth and after. Yes, Clapton had security and he was taken up in a private elevator and maybe there were other measures employed, but it was a security issue only…the mother and baby were treated as any other baby would be treated, with maybe a cop watching at all times, but nothing extravagant.
    So what? Here’s what: Fuck Beyonce! That scenario attending the birth of her child was obscene and repulsive. I hate people like that and I always have and I always will. Goddamn them! The following is from The NY Post:
    “One new mother, Rozz Nash-Coulon, said her twins, born Dec. 28, were in the neonatal unit, and starting Friday, intense security measures were implemented and it was a struggle to see her own children as security guards directed hallway traffic. She said a nurse told them Jay-Z and Beyonce were staying at the hospital.

    “Once they checked in there was high security everywhere. It looked like the president was on our floor. The hospital’s security cameras were taped over. Internal windows from the hallways into the ward were blacked out,” said Nash-Coulon, 38.

    Nash-Coulon said she and other parents are trying to mobilize to protest their treatment, which she called “disgusting.” But Osborne said she had not heard anything about any complaints. She also could not confirm or deny reports that security cameras were taped over.

    As for areas of the hospital being blocked off to some, Osborne said: “I can’t specifically talk about that but I can tell you that visitors can be asked to leave a waiting area in our hospital for any number of reasons.”-”

    Read more:

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  38. LAMary said on January 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Off topic update:
    The new grad nurse from Fort Wayne? Well I still don’t have a job for her, but one of my colleagues might so I’ve sent her contact info in his direction and left her a voice mail telling her to jump on it if she hasn’t already found a job.
    She has a great resume, so let’s hope this works out.

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Brian, that’s how my ancestor got into this country – from landing at Quebec, to Saratoga, and deserting there in 1777, on to York PA and then to Valley Forge. But if you enjoy the old Kenneth Roberts’ historical fiction, that’s quite a corridor.

    Have to check out “Conquered Into Liberty.” I’m told third-hand that Clapton is a mellow Columbus-area sporadic resident (more Dublin, as in Dublin OH), but I’ve not met him to confirm.

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  40. Suzanne said on January 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    What irritates me on the interstate is when you merge left to let someone on and then they won’t slow down or speed up enough to let you back in the right lane, even as cars line up behind you in the left lane. Not to offend, but Michigan drivers seem exceptionally bad at this.

    And if someone is on my bumper when I’m going the speed limit or beyond, I totally slow down. Think I’m going to slow? Try this much slower speed!

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  41. Kirk said on January 9, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Suzanne, I seldom put on the brakes in those situations, but I often ease off the accelerator. I seem to get a lot of hurrying housewives in SUVs on my butt in our suburb, which has cops who will bust you for speeding.

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  42. brian stouder said on January 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. You know, if someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say, you know, I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me,” Romney went on to say.



    So this guy is literally hours away from the polls opening in New Hampshire, and he has the chance to close out the nomination process, and instead he says “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”?

    “people who provide services to me” makes me think of sub-minimum wage wait-staff. I think I can guess what he “really” meant, but still – he said “I enjoy being able to fire people”. Newtie’s “Super-PAC” has a major hit piece rolling out that paints Romney as a heartless, soul-less corporate raider, and he chooses that very moment to say “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”?

    And he says you shouldn’t run for office if you need the paycheck it would provide, to pay your mortgage?

    This is like a grassy knoll moment in the election cycle.

    Seriously, I think he doesn’t really and truly want to win the presidency. I think that, just as Newt simply wants to destroy him, he in turn wants to preclude Newtie (and Ricky, et al) from gaining the White House.

    Governor Perry wants to Occupy Baghdad; Santorum wants to ban contraception; Newtie says black people value food stamps more than paychecks (and he’ll speak to the NAACP and try and help reverse that sort of thinking), and Governor Romney enjoys firing people.

    I think none of these guys actually, seriously wants to be President of the United States. They all seem to be running to stop the other bastard, with the longest knives reserved for their fellow Republicans

    edit: Mary – I betcha that nurse from Fort Wayne will do an absolutely superb job for whoever hires her.

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  43. alex said on January 10, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Brian, Romney’s tone deaf. That’s why his dog whistles don’t register with the dogs. That’s why he’s the least offensive of the GOP offerings this year, although that’s not saying much. Huntsman actually comes across as much more authentic. So if movement conservatives ultimately have to coalesce behind a Mormon RINO, why not one who’d probably give Obama a run for his money? The guy’s smart and well spoken. I wouldn’t vote for him, but if he were elected I could respect him. His biggest liability is that he resembles Barney Fife, the pol coif notwithstanding.

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  44. Jim H. said on January 10, 2012 at 12:41 am


    As a refugee engineer from the auto industry, I have now found a home where Alan Mulally spent most of his time before moving to the executive suite. My older colleagues are quite familiar with him, including one who’s known him since he was a fraternity brother of an older sibling. He is highly respected by all, even back to his college days. Can’t say that about too many of the other execs I have known. Even the good ones make an adversary or two along the way. However, I do think he sometimes gets too much of the credit for the turnaround at Ford. Most of the product renaissance and quality improvements were well underway before he arrived from Boeing. Don’t mean to downplay his excellent leadership and contributions on the financial side, but will be interested to see what Mr. Vlasic has to say.

    I often make the same comparison he does when discussing the two industries. In an auto plant you do fewer things, all a thousand times a day. Building an airplane requires you to do thousands of things, each once a day (or week or month). That’s not to say one is easier than the other. Airplanes are much more complex, but automotive technologies and customer preferences change a whole lot faster.

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  45. Dexter said on January 10, 2012 at 2:20 am

    For anyone interested in business in general or in cars in particular, listen to this guy speak if you ever get the chance.
    He’s entertaining and extremely likable. Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Fiat-Chrysler.

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  46. Cosmo Panzini said on January 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I once knew a guy who had a right effective way to move left-lane parkers out of the way: He would roll up about six inches or so off the other guy’s bumper, and smile, showing lots of teeth. If said idiot failed to get the message at that point, he would nudge the guy’s bumper just enough so that he’d feel it. Worked absolutely every time. I once asked him what he would do if somebody hit their brakes, and he said that was no problem because the closer you are to the car in front, the less the impact when you hit it. Crazy and ruthless, and he was from Michigan too.

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