Talk amongst yourselves.

Inaugural pix ‘n’ linx! Given the week’s theme in Detroit, let’s go with a car:

2013 smart for-us concept

That’s the Smart concept, an “urban pickup.” Grabbed from the Flickr stream of Michelin Media, and used under a Creative Commons license.

The interior:

2013 smart for-us concept

Would I want one? Hmm, prolly not. But I admire the thinking.

To kick off the linkage, a painful story to read about one of those guys. Everybody knows someone like this, a utility player at a company who doesn’t necessarily contribute to the bottom line, but supports those who do. In this case, he worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The rest you can read for yourself. Spoiler: It’s not a happy story. But it is important.

When Charles Pierce referred to our new super-PAC era as one of “fully weaponized money,” I think this is what he was talking about. Josh Marshall:

Last night I saw a link on Twitter to the news that Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul had given $5 million to a Gingrich-backing SuperPAC to run a brutal series of ads against Mitt Romney in South Carolina. (The ad campaign will be based on snippets from a half-hour swift-boat style ‘documentary’ about Mitt’s time at Bain Capital.) I knew this was big if for no other reason than the fact that $5 million thrown at a relatively small state like South Carolina over little more than a week is enough to totally change the calculus of a race. …But there’s much more afoot here.

Beyonce, celebrity maternity monster.

Oh, and me, on the play the other night. Actually, on the guy who made it possible. We should all be so fearless.

Posted at 5:42 am in Current events, Detroit life |

52 responses to “Talk amongst yourselves.”

  1. David C. said on January 10, 2012 at 7:20 am

    They’re handling hazardous material all right. How the hospital let this happen is beyond me. I suspect the hospital is going to be in deep shit because of this. Before this I had no opinion either negative or positive on Ms. Knowles or Mr. Z. But I do now.

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  2. Deggjr said on January 10, 2012 at 8:02 am

    The conclusion of the story of the go-to guy is very optimistic: “… I think he was a victim of our times — caught somewhere between serious health care reform and the old paternalistic way of companies.” Maybe. The old way is definitely gone however.

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  3. beb said on January 10, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I’ve seen golf carts with more trunk space than that “Smart” pick-up. Also, the steering wheel is missing the wheel where I normally hold the steering wheel, what’s up with that?

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  4. heydave said on January 10, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Not a terrible car from afar, but too toyish up close.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on January 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

    And here I was thinking about cleaning the black smudges off all that plastic.

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  6. nancy said on January 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

    It’s a concept, remember. Not a production model, more of a flight of fancy.

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  7. coozledad said on January 10, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I always like the cars that never make it beyond the concept stage. The green schwimmwagen is beautiful. The silver Mercedes titty headlight concept is nice, too; the kind of car Rowan Atkinson would wrap around a tree.

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  8. coozledad said on January 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle working blue? What’s next- armpit farts?

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  9. Dexter said on January 10, 2012 at 9:37 am

    The new Ford Fusion has tiny headlight fixtures and the grille coming at you looks like an angry animal ready to bite. The little eyes-for-headlights accentuate the look. J Mays signed off on this model; I look for it to be a monster hit.,0,2416678.story

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  10. Bob (not Greene) said on January 10, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Re: that Post-Dispatch story. The new American Dream is simply not being a pauper in old age. God, that’s depressing. Pardon me, but now I have to go back to my job as a go-to guy at work. Oh, great.

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  11. John C said on January 10, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Thanks for the link about the “go-to guy.” We had a few of them at the Sun-Times. One of them once recognized that the woman on the phone seemed like she had a good story, and flagged me down and transferred the call to me. Next thing I knew I had a nice scoop of an interview with the ex-wife of a guy who’d just been arrested for murdering his parents years earlier. As for what the death of Robert says, who knows? But I know what the cold-hearted bastards waiting to see how many cold-harted bastards in New Hampshire voted for them would say: The guy shouldn’t have smoked! He shouldn’t have drank! Grrrr.

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  12. Dave said on January 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

    They spent a million dollars to customize a hospital wing to their specifications. What becomes of the room when they leave? No doubt, they needed room for their entourage. They cared only about themselves, other folks didn’t matter, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch publishers could identify.

    One thing about being, ahem, older, is that you really don’t have to know about Jay-Z and Beyonce and you can freely say you don’t like the affront to the ears they create.

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  13. Bob (not Greene) said on January 10, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Before reading that story, I had basically no opinion of Jay-Z and Beyonce. I now hate them. Ta da! Can’t rich people just go off to whatever island it is they live on and leave the rest of us the fuck alone?

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  14. alex said on January 10, 2012 at 10:29 am

    If Beyonce and Jay-Z were so worried about hospital staff snapping surreptitious photos of her snatch and selling them to tabloids she should have just had her baby at home.

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  15. Deborah said on January 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

    That urban pick-up concept car looks like an inflatable.

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  16. MichaelG said on January 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

    They offered me a Smart Car once at Ontario. I was going to Barstow that day. A hundred miles of three and four lane freeway over Cajon pass and out into the middle of the desert toward Vegas with 85 and 90 MPH traffic. Ever stand next to a Smart Car? I opted for something a tad more substantial. I do think, however, that a Smart Car would be a good alternative in a large city urban environment. I once drove a Nissan Cube around Hollywood and Burbank for a couple of days and loved it.

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  17. MarkH said on January 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

    beb @#3 — I would venture that the main reason for the cut in the steering wheel on that Smart Car is that the main instrument pod would be obscured otherwise. Additionally, perhaps it’s an encouragement to keep both hands on the wheel where they are supposed to be, ten and two o’clock. Not that I’m allergic to one handed driving, of course.

    That dash is a little retro, reminds me of something in the past. Oh, of course, Nash Metropolitan.

    Love those cars.

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  18. JWfromNJ said on January 10, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Mark beat me to it – 10 O’clock and 2 O’clock. Not sure a pickup truck that fits in the bed of a full size pickup truck is a good choice for many people. It looks like the bed slides out a foot or so, but still won’t be too useful at Lowes.

    Not too much of a surprise about JayZ and Beyonce. You’d think a home birth, or even a tour bus converted to a mini maternity ward would work better but folks like that get lulled into thinking everyone loves them because those are the only people they encounter.

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  19. Jeff Borden said on January 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Bob NG (@10),

    Amen, brother, you speak the truth. One of my more apolitical friends was talking to me yesterday about whether the USA has crested and now confronts the journey to less than dominant taken by so many nations and cultures before us. My original thought was not yet given the enormous size and power of our military forces and all the technology they employ.

    But perhaps the real measure of when a nation is at a tipping point is what Bob N.G. alludes to…after a few generations where it was expected that Americans who worked hard would enjoy their final years in some measure of comfort and security, we are now parsing everything. Politicians on both sides of the aisle talk constantly about sacrifice, about needed cuts and trims to things like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid even as most of us have seen our individual wealth shrink, our houses tumble in value and our investments short-circuited or lost.

    By this standard, perhaps we are already in an irreversible decline? It’s hard to survey the pygmies and termites who operate the levers of government taking the kind of bold action necessary to stanch this fall, but hope springs eternal, I guess.

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  20. Bob (not Greene) said on January 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Jeff B., It’s something I worry about all the time. My parents bought their house in 1967 and it has paid for every single major thing in their lives — their kids private high school educations (actually in college we were on our own for the most part, but it was doable back then), weddings, you name it. The house we bought in 1998 has tanked to the point where I’m not sure it’s worth as much as we owe. So that old game plan is out the window, and instead of the house financing things, everything is coming out of pocket. Which means little savings, which means I’m worried about the future. You know how many places are looking for an approaching-50 news reporter/editor? Good luck to me. Thank God my wife has a decent job.

    But hey, let’s call decent healthcare for all socialism and convince the yahoos without such a safety net to vote against their own best interest. Sounds like a plan. For disaster. But we may as well begin, as Scrooge would say, to decrease the surplus population, eh?

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  21. caliban said on January 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    With a turkey on his head, Coozledad:

    On the go-to guy: In January of last year, the company canceled health insurance for retirees who had left the company under the previous contract. The union is contesting that in court, but the bottom line for Robert was he was without health insurance.

    Where in American contract law is there any provision for a party to a contract abrogating terms of the contract unilaterally and after the fact? The union should kick the company’s ass in court.

    And high noon is the best position on the wheel when changing gears. The Ford Fusion “angry animal mouth” has a distinctively murine overbite, like Rattus norvegicus.

    At least a couple of those $5mill the Carters spent on renovating Lenox Hill Hospital to meet their opulent standards came from a private concert party for the Gaddaffis, 12/31,09. Too bad Eazy E isn’t still around to comment. Maybe Chuck D has an opinion.

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  22. Sherri said on January 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I don’t understand the mindset of people, and they’re out there, who would find the go-to guy’s situation unfortunate but acceptable, yet believe that abortion is murder.

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  23. Julie Robinson said on January 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    There are certainly a lot of days when I think about those issues, too. Like many of you, pay increases are not keeping pace with health insurance premiums. And between job insecurity and student loan payments, who will be able to buy our house when the time comes?

    But today I will rejoice. Our daughter was only an interim with her church because they didn’t know if they could afford a second full-time pastor. On Sunday they decided they can, and she will have full bennies including health insurance. First time since college graduation almost 10 years ago. It’s one less thing for Mom & Dad to worry about.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on January 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Bob N.G.,

    My career in journalism flamed out seven-plus years ago, when a sociopath became the editor and targets appeared on the backs of many of us over 50. I never dreamed that would be the last time I had a full-time job with a decent salary and health benefits. If not for my wife, I have no idea how I would have fared in the intervening years, where I’ve tried to reinvent myself as a college adjunct instructor and freelancer.

    She’s retiring next year, so I guess I’ll find out. We’ll not only lose her salary, but I will lose access to her health plan, which is one of the best of anyone I know.

    Politics became less abstract for me during the health care debate. Every proposal put forward that might’ve benefited me –single payer, lowering the eligibility age of Medicare, etc.– was defeated by the Republicans in Congress. And not just defeated but scorned, mocked, dismissed with the kind of language not normally associated with the idea of taking care of our fellow citizens.

    I have a hard time thinking of when I might next vote for a national Republican. It is a terrible, horrible group of people at the moment, each figure who arises smaller, meaner and often dumber than the one before. And the likely candidate is literally a poster child for entitled, inherited wealth of the 1%.

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  25. Dave said on January 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Sherri, at 22, such as the fellow on the Summit City airwaves every afternoon, who often says his first test for any candidate, for any office, is where they stand on abortion. Go-to guy was making $39 grand a year, what’d he do with it? I’m sure he should have tried harder, isn’t that the answer they always give?

    One thing about camping out in Florida is that I can’t be turning on the car radio to him while here, although they’ve got their own share of what Brian Stouder calls “lip flappers” here.

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  26. Jonathan said on January 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    One thing I don’t understand is how they were saying, both the hospital and the government agency, that there were no “formal” complaints. By Zeus, if someone tried to keep me away from my baby in the hospital, there’d be more than just a few quotes in the newspaper. Formal complaints would litter the ground by the time I was done. Do you suppose both are lying? Or is it just easier these days to complain publicly and not really do anything about it?

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  27. caliban said on January 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    The strain of criticizing greedy corporate downsizing to attack Willard Windsock is probably going to give Newt a hernia. But when Mittens says stuff like “I like to fire people”, the shit just writes itself. And Romney people will moan and gnash their teeth about context, but that will just remind people of his hatchet job ad misrepresenting the President.

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  28. Kim said on January 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Folks, it used to be 10 and 2 but for quite some time has been 8 and 4. Good reason, too: Keeping the hands there cuts down on punching yourself in the face when the airbag goes off.

    Journos, escaped and otherwise: Have you seen the B.S. non-compete Halifax is demanding all employees at its newest papers (the ones from the NYT, including the Sarasota H-T and Santa Rosa P-D) sign? Holy shit, the world has gone mad.

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  29. Scout said on January 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    SOME are saying that the reason the security for Beyonce’s delivery was so extreme is because there was no pregnancy.
    And the reason SOME are even talking about it now is because it reopens the issue of other public figures *cough*She-Who*cough* who might have also staged a pretend pregnancy.

    Those concept cars are mostly just weird. I’m still waiting for the hovercraft I was expecting by now after growing up watching The Jetsons.

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  30. Dorothy said on January 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    That’s wonderful news, Julie! Congratulations to her and to her parishoners, who will be gaining a valuable associate pastor!

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  31. caliban said on January 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Here ya go, Scout. 130 mph, 1000ft altitude.

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  32. Bob (not Greene) said on January 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm


    That non-compete is Exhibit A for why unions came into existence and what’s going to be commonplace when the right extinguishes them for good. Today it’s a non-compete, non-recruit clause for two years. Next it’ll be you can’t look for any other job, competition or not, while you’re working for us. But the old “on the other hand, you’re an ‘at-will’ employee to us’ crap will remain gold. The goal is to go back to the days when workers had no rights and were simply thankful for the scraps thrown to them. When the free market gets to run rampant you get the oligarchy of assholes. Everyone else is a serf, and deserves it.

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  33. Sherri said on January 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I’m pretty sure that non-compete clauses in employment contracts are generally illegal in California. Employees of the Santa Rosa PD should talk to a lawyer before signing such a contract with Halifax.

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  34. nancy said on January 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Romenesko has some stuff about the non-compete clause story. I think the guy who speculates this is a ruse to allow them to fire non-signers “for cause” and not have to pay severance is the closest to the mark.

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  35. brian stouder said on January 10, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Totally off the subject, but our 13 year old daughter and her mom were just having a conversation, and it hit me that I had no idea what they were talking about.

    So here’s a pop-quiz on vocabulary. Define the following footwear:




    Honestly, I had to ask to learn that those terms pertained to footwear. It sounded more like symptoms of some horrible intestinal infection, to me.

    And with that, we’re off to a PTA meeting – which should take us past 8:30, and to the point in the evening when NH will be getting interesting. (otherwise, I’d start watching sooner, and be fast asleep by the time things take a turn)

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  36. Deborah said on January 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I can only guess that a slider is a shoe with no back. I know that an Ugg is a really ugly boot that gives you cankles. A Chuck is a sneaker (converse)?

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  37. Sherri said on January 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I’m guessing that sliders are the slide-on sandals with the adjustable velcro tops that you wear to and from soccer games or the pool. At least, that’s what I just bought my daughter a new pair of, when her old ones fell apart. She wears them to karate. Like these:

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  38. alex said on January 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Uggs are mukluks for muckety mucks.

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  39. caliban said on January 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Chucks are indeed Converse All-Stars canvas hightops like the Celtics used to wear, named for named for Chuck Taylor. The lowtops could be Chucks, I suppose, but they don’t have the rubberized ankle patch with Chuck’s name and the Alllstar Converse logo. I’ve had Lord knows how many pairs of these over the years, but I’d say they are as durable as Izod tennis shirts and original Levis jeans. Have two lowcut pairs now. Uggs are butt-ugly boots for metrosexuals like Tom Brady and coeds, who, strangely, wear the Uggs in the Summer and flip-flops all Winter. Uggs make shapely female legs look like matchsticks.

    Regarding the conversation earlier between BobNG and Brian, here’s a depressing visual aid. Thank God our condo’s free and clear, and still worth about 50% more than I paid for it 15 years ago.

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  40. Kim said on January 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Nance – I am hearing otherwise about that Halifax stuff, and considering the company’s first foray into print (remember these are the folks who were going to reward journalists who successfully solicited subscribers with a kickback) I think it’s misguided but for real. Maybe it’s one way to thin the herd, but they may be surprised at what’s left when this is over.

    Hey – maybe they can be so bold as your theatre man. Great story; The Bridge people are lucky to have you telling it.

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  41. LAMary said on January 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I have no idea why uggs are so popular. Especially here in LA where it seldom gets below 40 degrees.

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  42. Dexter said on January 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    I know Uggs and like Caliban, I have burned through dozens of Chucks over the years. Once at the old Neblung’s Shoe Store in Auburn, IN they had them at a sidewalk sale, 10 pairs for $10…these were all different colors, and I bought 20 or 30 pairs. Sliders are White Castle hamburgers to me.
    I would never wear Uggs, but I have seen Don Imus wear them on his TV show.

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  43. LAMary said on January 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    The continuing off topic saga of the new grad nurse from Fort Wayne:
    She has found a job so she does not have to move to Burbank, CA. Being well raised and polite, she thanked me for keeping her in mind.

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  44. MarkH said on January 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    OT, but one more reason to be totally smitten with Julianne Moore. Over the holidays, Jackson Hole usually gets a certain amount of Hollywood types and this year’s buzz included Justin Timberlake, Jessica Beil, a few other I can’t remember. Even JLo was rumored but not confirmed. Not much chance to run into them as they ski, or hang out at Four Seasons or Amangani resorts. But, no one knew Moore was here until she just showed up at our local library at children’s story time to read from her books. I had no idea about her as a childrens book author either. She was a complete hit with the kids and parents:

    Connie, I think you’d love our library. It’s very well run and funded,currently undergoing an expansion and renovation.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Hey, full disclosure: this is a purely self-serving question, but you guys make for an interesting target demographic. What kind of event(s) would make you want to come visit and learn more about 2,000 year old Native American earthworks in Ohio? I’m doing some writing and planning/grantwriting for this project – – and this is our question du jour for Summer 2012, so I’m curious what y’all’s manic, off-the-cuff reactions are. Crazy ideas welcome . . . hey, there’s already a zipline ride in the Little Miami Valley next to Fort Ancient, so any possibility might be made a reality before we’re done with our pot of NEH money.

    MarkH, if you could ask Julianne Moore to drop by one of our ancient sites, it would really be great. You know, for publicity value. That’s all. Really.

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  46. MarkH said on January 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    She be long gone, Jeff, but I’d entertain any reason to chase her down for you!

    BTW, click on the news story in #44 to enlarge and read.

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  47. caliban said on January 10, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Julianne Moore was fantastic in Magnolia, which for some reason was not considered as worthy as American Beauty, when it was a much better contemporary movie. Why do people think Kevin Spacey is so great? Jeff, actual ghost dances would be fascinating, probably not legal. How is a zipline ride indemnified against lawsuits? Handcuffs? Seriously, I’d say a reenactment would draw a crowd. Since it’s in Ohio, I’d suggest that Jay Farrar in performance of Cahokians would be a pretty fair draw:

    Only mounds people build these days are landfill Pampers mountains.

    Campsites and some good bands would work. As in Tennessee.

    Isn’t it hilarious when law enforcement agencies congratulate themselves for busting tour buses owned by Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg? Thank Jah Bob Marley never had to put up with this sort of moronic shit.

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  48. Dexter said on January 11, 2012 at 12:11 am

    caliban, you’ll enjoy this…just a minute eighteen long:
    Snoop gives hell to the dumb m-f’in po-lice

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  49. Little Bird said on January 11, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Campsites an re-enactments would indeed be a draw. It would be interesting to “live a day in the life”. Also, the guy from “Digging For The Truth” might be someone to contact. Josh something or other.

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  50. alex said on January 11, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Totally off topic but just found out a fave Brit singer does Minnie Ripperton a coupla octaves lower and pulls it off just as spectacularly.

    She’s best known for this. A vocal range that’s the envy of the nations. Though Minnie pulled off the whistle register like nobody else.

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  51. caliban said on January 11, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Well, what is wrong with Tejas cops when they congratulate themselves for finding seeds and stems on Willie’s and Snoop’s buses? Months of undercover work by dedicated officers? Willie might be carrying some pot. Spectacular police work, fellas.

    Jeff. Indian Boonaroo might be a good idea. Or else put the back forty in marijuana, regulate it and tax it, like I had the sense to understand back in 1969, and make them teenagers get fake IDs. Get Buffy to open with her cranked Fender singing Codine. And a Link Wray tribute. Coolest Indian that ever lived:

    Since Geronimo, anyway.

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  52. caliban said on January 11, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Well Dexter, before there was Snoop, there was Cube and Dre, Fuck tha Police. Anybody that failed to understand has got to have ben living in an alternative universe.

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