Someone is watching.

So there I was at Staples, replenishing the manila-envelope and Sharpie supplies, when I passed an end-cap display for some sort of…camera? No, a camera system. For security? It’s running a demo loop, let’s watch: An attractive middle-aged woman climbs onto her elliptical trainer and starts working out, smiling down at the monitor, where she sees? Her teenage son, doing homework somewhere else in the house.

I was speechless. It didn’t take long, did it, for us to accept surveillance cameras not just in our public spaces, not just on light standards staring down on red-light runners, in virtually every corner of the world where they can be justified in the name of safety, but in our homes? It starts with baby monitors, I guess. Kate’s was probably the last generation to be surveilled by audio alone; it gentled my rattled new-mother nerves to know she wasn’t upstairs being eaten by a tiger.

(Later, I tried to chase down a story I heard through a remove or two, about an interoffice romance that had gone bad. She suspected he was up to something with another woman, so she hid a baby monitor in a little-used file drawer in his office, and put the receiver in her own desk. If it hadn’t been for a sudden burst of static one day, it might have gone on for some time.)

Then it was governors on cars; you could install aftermarket accessories that would reveal exactly whether she’d told her old man she was at the library, when she was really having fun fun fun at the hamburger stand. Then they were factory-installed, and we called it OnStar. What else? Keystroke monitors for computers. Constant text-messaging. (At least that’s voluntary.) And for every eye-roll you can think of, there’s a counter story, a case cracked because someone sauntered under a camera, or a stolen car recovered because OnStar was able to hit the kill switch, a kidnap victim able to get her hands on a cell phone and make a call.

Still. If I were that kid? I’d spray-paint the lens and tell mom to get a life.

So, what are you doing at the moment? I’m grading papers, cursing the adverb and looking to the bloggage. Which is?

A lyrical conundrum, solved: Steve Perry finally admits no, there is no such thing as “south Detroit,” as he sings in “Don’t Stop Believin’.” He does explain the origin of “streetlight people,” and as you might expect, it’s lame. As for SoDet (otherwise known as Windsor), he acknowledges it was a little poetic license. I recall how stunned I was to hear that there is no Gower Avenue in Los Angeles, as Warren Zevon’s chorus sang so wonderfully in “Desperadoes Under the Eaves.” It’s Gower Street, which just isn’t as lyrical. I don’t think I could do that. Accuracy is important.

Those of you who are higher-ed nerds — or who pay tuition in Michigan — might enjoy this project in Bridge, my new employer, by Ron French, comparing Michigan’s college costs to other states’. The results aren’t flattering.

I wonder if she’s selling her house in Arizona? Bristol Palin heads home.

Happy Wednesday, all. I think I might survive this week, but the jury’s still out.

Posted at 1:18 am in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

67 responses to “Someone is watching.”

  1. alex said on January 11, 2012 at 1:43 am

    When the home health care workers start taking care of my parents you can be damn sure there will be cameras on ’em and conspicuous baby monitors too so’s they mind their manners.

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  2. caliban said on January 11, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Thanks for pointing out what a crock of shit “South Detroit” is, Nancy. That has rubbed my bare ass raw for years. Now the question is the one the sultan asked of the applicants for the job of guarding the harem asked. Have you balls? Well, has Steve Perry? Sounds like Castratti, and Godawmighty the music is horrible. They built this city? Trying to excuse a pure hack guy doing a Grace Slick act by nitpicking Warren is mighty lame, IMO. Warren got details of LA about as perfectly as Dash Hammett did, maybe not quite up to R. Chandler or Robert Towne. Or even Thomas Pyncheon in his detective noir, which is sublime. But Steve Perry? Good Lord, that is some horrible shit screeching. Man, the contralto women like Grace and Nico are far superior.

    And well-deployed adverbs are superb.

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  3. David C. said on January 11, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I have a niece and nephew attending college in Michigan. My niece at CMU and my nephew at UofM. My nephew is 1/8 Native American, so his tuition is paid by the Chippewa Tribe (thanks casino). My niece is on her own. She will be leaving school in a shitty job market with a debt higher than my first home mortgage. It’s only because my parents and my sister’s father in law pay the current interest that she can go at all. It makes me fume when I hear someone my age, 50ish, talk about the lazy kids who can’t pay the tuition with a part time job – like they did. They have no goddamned clue how much of their tuition was courtesy of the taxpayer. They got theirs and then pulled up the ladder for everyone else. I thought I was getting a break when I left Michigan – it lasted two years until Wisconsin transformed into FitzWalkerstan.

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  4. beb said on January 11, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Nancy, weren’t you watching the Christmas ads this year? Things like miniature remote-controlled helicopters with wireless cameras for “ninja spy” like action. I immediately wondered how long it would take for the little ninja to think of parking the helicopter in the bathroom….

    Obtrusively surveillance has been around for years, sadly, with things like home pot-testing kits. Now admittedly I laugh when parents claim I never know he was taking drugs because if their kid is getting messed up on drugs, their behavior reflects it. It’s not a surprise. But you don’t need to buy a test kit, you don’t need to install internal surveillance cameras. You just need to interact with your kid.

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  5. coozledad said on January 11, 2012 at 8:16 am

    The lyric
    “Some will win
    Some will lose
    Some are born to sang the blues.”
    always made me want to invade the privacy of the adjacent dorm rooms and pitch their stereos out the window.
    That song drove a lot of impressionable young adults into an unhealthy obsession with Neil Young.

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  6. Deggjr said on January 11, 2012 at 8:25 am

    The kid could spray paint the lense if he knows it’s there.

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  7. brian stouder said on January 11, 2012 at 8:51 am

    The commercial that makes me shake my head is the one where mom – who is away from home – looks at her ‘mobile device’ and sees her son doing homework, and switches on the dining room lights. So, if you’re a 21st century peeping Tom, forget about creeping around in the bushes, on cold nights. Life is good!

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  8. mark said on January 11, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Everyone is watching. My advice to those with teenagers is to get them off-line, now. Anything they write on a public site is being archived and much of what they assume is “private” is readily accessed. An entire industryis developing devoted to providing this information to colleges, employers and others who perform background and security checks.

    Kids say/write stupid things. They exaggerate, sometimes to impress other kids. Their rants won’t (probably) keep them out of Ball State, but they may make the difference for more selective institutions, scholarships, internships and even volunteer activities.

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  9. nancy said on January 11, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Agreed, Mark, but honestly, how does one get a teenager offline? Seriously. Unless you have one, you can’t know how much of their social life is lived online, how much of their classwork requires them to *be* online. Over the years I’ve known a few people who raised their children without television. That’s an OK choice, I don’t judge, but requiring kids to stay off Facebook, Twitter, etc. is far more isolating.

    And I get what you say about information being archived. All I can think is, if everybody’s got a digital file out there, at some point the judging will be against benchmarks. I aim for keeping her within the range of acceptable discourse, and I think that’s the best you can do.

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  10. Dorothy said on January 11, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Steve Perry is fun to sing along with – in the car, while I’m dusting the house, at a party with friends, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. “Oh Sherry”, “Don’t Stop Believing”, “Any Way You Want It” etc. among them. I’m sorry but sometimes the criticisms here make me cringe and make me feel like I’m second class or something. Taste in music is very subjective.

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  11. Peter said on January 11, 2012 at 9:38 am

    If I start kvetching about college costs I may never shut up, but the following just shows my age: I was able to pay for the first three years of my college education by working a $4.00 an hour (average) job during the summer only, and that was for a private college and a whole $100.00 scholarship.

    I did a project for renovating a small portion of a research facility for a medical school – I was told that the school receives so much money in research that they could charge nothing for tuition and still do just fine.

    Maybe it’s just me, but when people say how screwed up government and health care are I’m thinking that they’re bush league compared to education.

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  12. mark said on January 11, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Well, Nancy, you are right on all points. The most interesting point is the one about “benchmarks,” which will change over time. Right now, though, they are often being judged by 40 year-old sensibilities.

    I’ve been advising a local non-profit on their screening procedures for volunteers who will work closely with children, as mentors. We err strongly on the side of caution, not merely to screen out the obvious risks, but to assess motivation, maturity and level of commitment- volunteers who fail to follow through actually cause harm to kids in our programs, or so the research shows.

    A young woman who will be denied access to a program that utilizes high school students in a supervised setting, in large part because of her “tweets”, ironically just tweeted the following: “This aint sex, get the condoms off and Unprotect yo fuckin tweets!” She doesn’t know, and won’t be told, what background checks we have done or why she won’t be permitted to participate in the program for which she has applied. She also doesn’t know that we have yet to fail to find a way (lawfully) to get access to protected tweets, or “private” facebook accounts when we have wanted to.

    In addition to the good work she might do as a volunteer, participation in this program would be a positive thing on a college application. We know that is a motivation for some applicants, and it is not a bad motive if they are also sincere about the commitment they are making and mature enough to be helpful to the children with whom they will work. I’m not naive, and I know a lot of the kids that will be accepted for this program do, at times, use foul language, get drunk, get high, drive too fast, etc. But this young woman tweets about it incessantly, providing a daily diary of her misbehavior- real or created for her fans. In the process, She has closed the door on a small opportunity.

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  13. Lynn said on January 11, 2012 at 9:50 am

    …this reminds me of a conversation I had recently with someone about this very topic…We were lamenting along the lines of, ‘if it doesn’t play out on Facebook, it doesn’t exist.’
    Nicole Kidman’s character got it exactly right in GVZ’s ‘To Die For’ when she says (paraphrasing) ” if no one sees it, it doesn’t really matter.”
    Social media (as you rightly note) is so ubiquitous, to say it’s a ship that’s sailed is a gross understatement and one of the reasons we live in plain site these days is just a reflection of the times..the ‘look at me’ thing. For me the jury’s out on whether that’s any healthier than its opposite but it does explain a cultural shift toward shades of paranoia and narcissism.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on January 11, 2012 at 9:50 am

    In the late 70’s many of my friends got summer jobs in factories that paid for the entire school year. Even if those jobs were available now they wouldn’t pay but a fraction of the full cost.

    And I stand with Dorothy on the need to practice kindness with each other. We should each play the music that speaks to us, and ignore the rest. I love classical, but I also love show tunes and a few movie soundtracks, and I try to stay open to the occasional foray into other genres. Especially if it’s coming from my son, since music is our best communication nexus.

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  15. Kim said on January 11, 2012 at 9:58 am

    The Chicago version of “South Detroit” was that Paper Lace song, “The Night Chicago Died,” where all the action happened on “the east side of Chicago.” Al “Aquaman” Capone starred in this underwater adventure on the floor of Lake Michigan.

    Good stuff by Mr. French on the Bridge. Here in Virginia, state support for higher ed has gone to under 15 percent of what it costs. We have quality public colleges and universities, but you wonder how long you can put the burden of a “public” education so nearly completely on students and their parents. At least I wonder that as I write tuition checks.

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  16. nancy said on January 11, 2012 at 10:00 am

    And you’re right, too, Mark. I have an RSS feed that collects every tweet that uses the words “Grosse Pointe.” I’m astonished at how many kids in high school brag online about their drug use, and not even in code. Sparkin’ up the bong, etc.

    I can only figure all their parents are drunks.

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  17. Bitter Scribe said on January 11, 2012 at 10:00 am

    It’s pretty astonishing how quickly the Palins sank out of sight. I just wonder if the people who sent all that money to Sarah’s PAC feel like suckers now.

    Probably not. If they were that self-aware they wouldn’t have sent the money in the first place.

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  18. mark said on January 11, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Some of the parents are drunk, some are simply unaware (how many informed parents know about “chatroulette”?) and some think they are respecting the child’s “privacy.”

    While I need to be a little cautious about what I disclose, I can say that certain juvenile law enforcement authorities are using RSS feeds as well. While they are not pounding on the door of every child who claims to be firing up a blunt, they are tracking those already in trouble. In addition, while a first time possession offense is (and should be) generally a slasp on the wrist with expungement after a period of good behavior, that discretion is being withheld at times when a review of the RSS feed suggests a high level of use or disregard for authority.

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  19. Heather said on January 11, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Regarding the cost of college education and the utter insufficiency of part-time jobs to make a dent in tuition, this is a good read from Persephone Magazine about a woman who actually crunched the numbers on the “mythical bootstraps college student”:

    As a friend of mine said, “I love a good debunking.”

    I admit I have music snob tendencies but for many years as a youngster, I felt bad about liking certain bands that weren’t cool, so I’m all live and let live now. Except for the Black Eyed Peas maybe. And maybe this is all hipster-ironic, but how can you not like Journey, even just a li’l bit?

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  20. adrianne said on January 11, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Journey=My guilty pleasure. I sing along to “Don’t Stop Believin'” in the car, at the top of my lungs, whenever it comes on, ridiculous lyrics and all. It’s got a great hook!

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  21. Deborah said on January 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

    My musical tastes are what I call schizophrenic, all over the map. My husband cringes at some of the stuff I listen to and I do the same for him, as he listens to almost nothing but Bob Dylan. I love Dylan’s lyrics and instrumentals but his vocalizations are painful.

    All of the surveillance of children has got to have consequences down the road. How will these children learn to become independent? I see the consequences of parenting of the generation we call “millenials” that I work with. These young people are often incapable of working independently. Collaboration is a good thing but sometimes you have to be able to put your head down and focus.

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  22. nancy said on January 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

    OK, one last note and I have to duck out: My secret guilty-pleasure shame is Lou Gramm’s (Foreigner’s lead singer) “Midnight Blue.” It makes “Don’t Stop Believin'” sound like Leonard Cohen. My favorite passage: I remember what my father said/He said, ‘Son, life is either cherry red/or midnight blue’

    Whoa. Deep.

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  23. Dorothy said on January 11, 2012 at 11:06 am

    We need to do a whole day of comments re our guilty listening pleasures. That’d be a blast. And embarrassing, but who gives a rat’s a**??

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  24. Catherine said on January 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Abba. Adam Ant. And those are just from the As in my ipod.

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  25. LAMary said on January 11, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Baby monitors were around when my kids were born, but I refused to get one. It’s not that I chose to ignore crying babies. It’s that my house is not very big. If someone is screaming, you hear it from wherever you are.
    Not just high schoolers post stupid stuff on facebook. College grads looking for jobs do. I look up some applicants on facebook and if I see a lot of drug and drinking boasts, they go to the bottom of the list. Maybe they’re exaggerating, but an employer doesn’t know that. If they’re dumb enough to announce to the world that they woke up one the lawn…again…forget it.
    And speaking of Journey, WWJD?

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  26. Catherine said on January 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

    The state college/university tuition situation in CA is almost as bad, and heading in the wrong direction. Two recent conversations: My BIL, an alum of two UCs and a professor at a third said, “I would have to think long and hard about sending my children to a UC today.” A friend with a high school junior said, “The total cost of the UCs is just not that different from a private college, many of which have much better financial aid.” UCs used to be a good value but families are really questioning that now.

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  27. LAMary said on January 11, 2012 at 11:36 am

    The tuition at the Cal State universities has gone up 32% in the last year. Perfect timing for my crew.

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  28. James Moehrke said on January 11, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I’m happy my Cal State University sophomore is working as a Resident Adviser this year. Free room and board at a school 450 miles away from home for a young man? Worth a ton of money. Oh, and we started saving 10 years before he was born. It’s good to know that even if I don’t have a job – darn newspaper business – he’s going to get that college education.

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  29. JWfromNJ said on January 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    It’s very hard to get teens offline. We’re talking about a generation that tweets and texts each other while sitting next to each other on the sofa.

    The bottom line – this technology is not going away anytime soon and we truly live in a world where Big Brother is watching (and a world where way too many morons watch Big Brother, but thats a different rant).
    Just in the 18 months that I have lived in this neighborhood we’ve seen several burglary suspects and one murderer caught through the traffic cameras. They aren’t in our development but you can’t get in here without passing one.

    In the murder they saw a person of interest come in, and leave, pulled other cameras from a gas station, and busted the kid.
    If you go to a major sporting event, etc. you will be scanned by facial recognition software. Same with flying. Especially if your flight has a FAM on board. The FAM can do all that with their mobile device and cross check you through various databases before you even get your carryone wedged into the bin.

    People seem to suspend their knowledge of cameras way too often – last week we had a 70-year olf boat owner decide that writing anti-French stuff all over another man’s yacht dingy (from Quebec)with a Sharpie was a good idea. He forgot that there were cameras all along the dock.

    After reading a few of the posts here, Mark especially, I’m playing around with RSS stuff. I have my own means of cracking FB already but knowledge is power, and as our gracious host knows I have some pretty good skills at gleaning stuff online.

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  30. Little Bird said on January 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    In my area of Chicago there is a camera at every othe intersection. Literally. They were installed for Homeland Security. When you add in all the cameras that each individual building operates, I don’t think there is a square foot around here that isn’t covered. And no, it doesn’t make me feel one bit safer.

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  31. JWfromNJ said on January 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I read an article on some tech geek website that explains how researchers are working to create virtual cameras by using CUDA, or linked graphical processors, along with existing cameras.
    The way it would work would be to model the reflective qualities of items seen in camera feeds, so a street view could be enhanced to see things off screen that are being reflected on cars, windows, even puddles. I imagine that certain agencies are already playing around with this technology.

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  32. Jeff Borden said on January 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Bitter Scribe,

    The departure of the snowbillies of Wasilla from our national consciousness is much to be wished for, but alas, it won’t last long. Mooselini herself will be the keynote speaker at this year’s annual wingnut version of Bonaroo called CPAC.

    There have been a few stories floating around about La Bachmann resigning her Congressional seat, which apparently is in a safe Republican district. If that occurs, I’d wager she winds up on Faux News, taking the “token brunette” spot now held by Mooselini. If that were to occur –and chief Faux toad Roger Ailes has reportedly soured on the Quitta from Wasilla– we may truly be free of these awful people.

    Until that happens, however, I fear we will continue to hear that nasal, whiny, screechy voice for a lot longer.

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  33. Jenine said on January 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    @31. “CUDA, or linked graphical processors, along with existing cameras.
    The way it would work would be to model the reflective qualities of items seen in camera feeds, so a street view could be enhanced to see things off screen that are being reflected on cars, windows, even puddles.”

    Reminds me of the Blade Runner photo retrieval, seeing around a corner. So so cool.

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  34. Peter said on January 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Kim, in all fairness, there is an east side to Chicago – Hegwisch and the surrounding neighborhoods – you know you’re on the east side when the street intersections are letters/and numbers – i.e. 105th and Avenue H.

    Catherine – Adam Ant! Sex Music for Ant People! I’ll have to throw that disc on the player tonight.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on January 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    And, Peter, don’t forger “Slag Valley.” I did a story years ago about a small-time wrestling promoter on the South Side, who still operates a rasslin’ school and taping venue around 125th and Commercial. Back in the days of the steel mills on the SE side, his dad would load the kids into the car at night and drive them to a location where they could see “fireworks.” It was an enormous machine that took railroad coal cars filled with molten coke and turned them upside down, producing an amazing light show.

    It’s an interesting part of town to bump around. I also like the backdoor through SE Chicago that allows you to reach the Indiana Toll Road while avoiding the tolls on the Chicago Skyway.

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  36. Julie Robinson said on January 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    If anyone needs a laugh, go to Mary’s link at #25. Hilarious.

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  37. caliban said on January 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Adventures in Education: No Child Left Behind is doing exactly what GOPers and the Norquist legions intended: promoting privatization by damaging public education.

    This sort of snobbish bullshit from Mittens is going to drive Teabangers to vote for anybody but Willard in the general. If this maroon is supposed to be so smart, how does he continue to say such unpolitic crap? Republican success for the last four decades has relied upon convincing the Booboisee to disconnect cognitively and vote against their own economic interests because they are all part of the political and social Rapcha known as the GOP big trickle down tent. If the Windsock is setting out to destroy everything that Atwater and Rove built, he’s looking mighty sharp. For one thing, he appears to be saying that the Jesus of Nazareth and the NT fomented envy and divisiveness in a way that the most wedged wedge issue fundagelicals can’t fail to see as an affront.

    And I feel sheepish when I listen to Hill Where the Lord Hides and Bella Via by Chuck Mangione. Still love Alice Cooper Love It to Death album too. But the music I absolutely love that everybody gives me shit for is the Koln Concerts album by Keith Jarrett and Straight Outta Compton. Billy Joel is a strange case. Great first album with songs I really like like Captain Jack and Ballad of Billy the Kid. But I sincerely never want to hear Piano Man again, and Moving Out, Only the Good Die Young, or My Life (and several others) make me feel postal.

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  38. Jolene said on January 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    The Koln Concerts are uncool? Who says?

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    My dad worked in Hegewisch for years, decades actually, just two blocks off the South Shore Interurban station. It’s East Chicago in many references — and just north of Calumet City, where I believe the Blues Brothers grew up under the stern guidance of The Penguin with Cab Calloway in the basement janitor’s office. A Chicago vibe all its own.

    Mark, I’m shocked, shocked to hear you think juvenile justice officials would monitor our little darlings’ Twitter & Facebook feeds without their knowledge. It’s worse — we tell them we’re doing it, and they still rattle on. Yes, they occasionally will create a second profile (sooooo hard for us to figure out), but mostly, they put it right out there, and then shrug when we call them in and silently hold out the cup with the blue cap.

    “You know the drill.” And they do. But the horror show isn’t what the kids say in the comments, it’s what the parents of the kids post, too. Drunk? You should wish.

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  40. Kim said on January 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Peter, I am pretty sure the guys from Nottingham absolutely meant Hegewisch. C’mon, that is as south and as east as you can get and still be in the city. Southeast, not east. BobNG, help me out!

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  41. coozledad said on January 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I seem to be the last human who discovered Derek Taylor’s film of Harry Nilsson doing the standards, and it’s oddly beautiful. But you gotta let the dead bury their dead, sometimes.

    Have you heard this guy, Caliban? He’s all over the place, musically.

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  42. Scout said on January 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I got yer embarrassing music ri-chere: Spandau Ballet, Uriah Heep and Ricky Martin. Go ahead, top those!

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  43. caliban said on January 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Jolene, we play Koln Concerts most Sunday mornings. Perfect for leisurely breakfasts and lots of dark roast African coffee. One of the few albums we both really like. But nobody else ever seems to like it.

    Never heard that guy before, Cooze, but that song is good. Sounds like John Lennon or his pal Harry quite a bit both vocally and in the mood induced by the chord progression. There’s a good doc called Who’s Harry Nilsson? streaming free on Netflix. Apparently he and Lennon were mutual bad influences.

    Another musical guilty pleasure:

    Kinda like Humble Pie still too:

    I did see Uriah Heep once. And I’m a fan of all of those Marty Robbins story songs about cowboys, like El Paso and Big Iron. Spandau Ballet was probably the best Roxy Music imitation ever.

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  44. Kim said on January 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I hesitate to even call this a bad song because it is so good … Flo-Rida’s “Low.” Shawty had them Apple Bottom jeans, boots with the fur ….

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  45. paddyo' said on January 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Late to the party this week after a busy three days, my first thought on the surveillance thing was: What about drones?
    Then I see this just ran today about a lawsuit filed yesterday to try to stop domestic drone use. Given the erosion of our quaint fears not-so-long-ago about 1984-style stuff, good luck with that.
    In fact, why not retail home-use drones. Just radio-control models with cameras and such, right?
    And could weapons systems be far behind? Gangs wouldn’t have to invade each other’s turf, they’d just send in the drones . . .

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  46. Connie said on January 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I will join Dorothy in saying I have little interest in all the music you folks recommend. I seem to have stalled at classic rock.

    Though I now have “send in the drones” running through my mind to the tune of “Send in the clowns.”

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  47. Bob (not Greene) said on January 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Kim, I do indeed concede there is an actual “East Side” of Chicago. It is an official neighborhood designation, separate and apart from Hegewisch, which is immediately south.

    But to think that Paper Lace, a band from the U.K., pinpointed the actual East Side for their fictional war between Al Capone and whoever the hell he was supposed to be shooting it out with seems a bit of a stretch. Capone had a home on the South Side, but certainly not as far south as East Side, and he was really headquartered closer to downtown and out in Cicero — the West Side. And the biggest shoot ’em up he was ever connected to, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, took place in Lake View — on the North Side. So no leeway given to Paper Lace and their fictional East Side. Your honor, I rest my case.

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  48. Kaye said on January 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Connie, that made me laugh. “Where are the drones? There ought to be drones. Well, maybe next year.”

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  49. moe99 said on January 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    An interesting problem I’ve been having is going back in time on Facebook. I belong to a group of former Defiance folks on a site, “I Miss the Valentine Theater.” I’ve tried to go back to when the group started because there was something said by one of the members that was really off the wall and I wanted to verify it. But Facebook doesn’t let you go back, except manually, which is very, very tedious. And then I get to mid 2010 and it just stops working.

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  50. Little Bird said on January 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    These are not the drones you’re looking for?

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  51. caliban said on January 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I’ve got strange compilation albums with both of these bizarro tunes: (Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood, and where was Frank on the subject of this blatant drug reference?) (Noel Harrison)

    along with These Boots are Made for Walkin’, Big John (Jimmy Dean), Ringo (by Lorne Greene), and those Johnny Horton classics, Sink the Bismarck, Battle of New Orleans, and North to Alaska. 16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Two Roger Miller albums. Link Wray and Duane Eddy. Johnny Rivers. This was all music I heard on the radio when I was seven or eight yo and we lived in Appalachia and then Memphis. Sheb Wooley and Alan Sherman collections too. I do play these all occasionally.

    I’m not spending a dime on drones until I can get ’em standard weaponized.

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  52. Dexter said on January 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm
    Guilty viewing pleasure, especially for those of us who never got over G & R.

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  53. Deborah said on January 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Well I haven’t lived in Chicago that long (close to 9 years) so I don’t know all of the official neighborhood designations but everything east of State St is technically, well “East”, only about 2 to 4 blocks until you hit the lake, but still. Capone owned a flower shop on State, but it was on the west side of the street, now a parking lot a few blocks from me. My building has a Lake Shore Drive address but the front door is actually on east Delaware. So does that mean I live in East Chicago? I’ve always thought the neighborhood was called Streeterville.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Deborah, I toast the honored memory of His Majesty, King George Wellington Streeter, his intrepid wife Maria, and his grounded gun-running ship the “Reutan,” making up the Free District of Lake Michigan! That reclaimed land you live on was once his windy province, resisting with pans of boiling water all tax collectors and revenuers or sheriffs of any sort; when the World’s Fair of 1893 finally meant the city of Chicago got serious and gathered the troops necessary to evict the Cap’n, he and Maria decamped for guess where?

    No, really — East Chicago, Indiana.

    And the thread has bent around upon itself for your reading pleasure. [Bows.]

    (I did a wedding for family in The Ritz-Carlton at Water Tower Place, where I told parts of this story, noting that the site of the Castle aka the grounded freighter was effectively about four stories directly beneath the ballroom where we were sitting. All the downstate farmers and veterinarians nodded approvingly, and all the city relatives long in Chicago were “what? who’s this guy? why’ve I never heard of him?” Streeter wasn’t a Democrat, so he’s lost from most official Chicago history along with Big Bill Thompson.)

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  55. caliban said on January 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    What ever happened to the Spin Doctors?

    And how baked were these guys when they did this?

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    A fair and accurate overview (as far as anyone can tell now) with sidebar links to pics —

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  57. Deborah said on January 11, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Jeff (tmmo) @54, I think that’s called recursive. Google it (hint when you enter recursion, it asks you if you meant “recursion”).

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  58. Suzanne said on January 11, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Speaking of college costs, whoever said the days of the I did it all myself college students are pretty much over. I worked in the summers and made enough to pay for all most all my state school costs. My son worked at GM one summer making $20+ dollars per hour and made enough to pay for one semester tuition at the cheapest state school. People who say students are lazy and just need to work obviously do not have a kid in college and have not for years. I don’t care how resourceful you are in the summer, you aren’t likely to make $20K in 9 or 12 weeks.

    As far as working during high school and saving that money…well, good luck with that. Most colleges don’t look much at your work history, but your grades and extra-curriculars. I worked 20 hours per week when I was in high school, but had almost no extra-curricular activities on my application because I simply did not have time. I doubt I would have even been admitted now days.

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  59. caliban said on January 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Shady ethics on Santorum’s part.

    Powerful statement of support for rights of gay people to marry from Gov. Christine Gregoire. This is about as clearly as this argument can be stated. Logic, law and human rights.

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  60. ROGirl said on January 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    My guilty pleasure is Neil Diamond. So cheesy, such great tunes.

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  61. nancy said on January 11, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    One of the more entertaining interludes with Kate lately was when we passed a billboard for a Neil Diamond show next summer at the big outdoor venue here. It said DECEMBER 23 in huge type, and she said. “They can’t have at show at DTE in December.” I pointed out that was merely the tix-on-sale date for a show set for June. Watching her try to wrap her head around the fact this guy was so big there’s a billboard for his show six months in advance of the date was pretty funny. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt in your philosophy, Horatia.

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  62. caliban said on January 11, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Totally honest politician.

    Mitt’s tizzies.

    The Greek Theater live album by Neil Diamond is a castaway on an island record. That version of Brother Love is spectacular. His performance in The Last Waltz is also stellar.

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  63. alex said on January 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Simply bizarre.

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  64. MarkH said on January 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    “Someone is watching”? You have no idea. We’re in category #4 on the list…

    Have a camera ready when they come knockin’ on your door, caliban. Record the whole thing. Then post here with your audio commentary.

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  65. Dexter said on January 12, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Larry the Cable Guy’s new season premiere was tonight. He’s in Alaska. Lots of moose poop laffs and a seg on some moose scientist who shoved a shunt into a moose’s stomach and tested the partially digested food by dragging bags out on a wire…just a disgusting episode featuring some kids’ football team sent to the woods to butcher a decaying moose carcass to “give the meat to the needy”. This moose looked damn ripe…Larry shown munching on moose meat on a stick, cooked over an open fire. I was nauseous…then Larry crashed in on the Palins, of course…Todd came out and showed Larry his airplane but Sarah just waved from afar. Three days on a moose hunt and no makeup makes for one camera-shy ex-guv.
    Larry had some funny episodes last year but this one may have been the worst cable TV show I have ever seen. Too much moose. Moose shit, moose meat, dead moose everywhere…I hope more people had a problem with this show. I am going to Twitter now and rip the shit out of Dan and his show.

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  66. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 12, 2012 at 6:51 am


    riverrun, past Eve and Adams, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

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  67. coozledad said on January 12, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Fucking brilliant. The Obama team ought to buy this and run it from here to November:

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