End of a long week.

Oh, it’s so nice to watch “Project Runway” again, in real time. Lifetime has done its best to ruin it, but it’s still worth your time, if you don’t mind all those promos for “Dance Moms” along the way. Tonight’s challenge is to make a ball gown suitable for opening night at the opera. The winner was one of two or three that deserved it (Austin). Now here comes the boot. I’m thinking it’s going to be Sweet P. And yes! I’m right. I knew she was toast. Her dress looked like something you’d wear to a beach party, not the opera.

Reality television. It’s not my thing, but sometimes, it’s my thing.

Every so often I think about what the next new thing’s going to be, in any field. Not long ago we were talking about R.E.M., which broke up after 30 years. The Beatles were together for, what, seven? When was the last real new thing in pop music? Hip-hop, I figure — something no one had ever heard before, that enough people flipped over (and the right people hated) that it took its place in the parade. Same with TV. Reality TV made its first big splash with “Survivor.” A friend told me it wouldn’t last. “Reality TV is OVER,” he was always declaring. The last time he did, it was 2002.

Reality TV. Not over.

How about some bloggage?

A very oldie, but something I hadn’t read before, until someone unearthed it for the New Hampshire primary — Henry Allen on New Hampshire. Cruel and unfair, but it feels right to me. The place sounds like northern Michigan.

Six things I love about Detroit, by some Internet guy I should know more about, but don’t.

Matty Moroun’s terrible, awful, no-good, very bad week. And one that made applause break out in the courtroom.

I’m going to bed.

Posted at 12:18 am in Popculch, Television |

62 responses to “End of a long week.”

  1. moe99 said on January 13, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Charles Pierce takes down NYT weasel editor Arthur Brisbane, and does so in a most satisfactory manner:


    The newspaper bidness is in trouble, and this is not the way to staunch the bleeding.

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  2. Jakash said on January 13, 2012 at 1:54 am

    As long as everyone’s ripping the NY Times, I thought the following article was remarkable, in a bad way. In it, a vegetarian reporter relocates from the Big Apple to cover the Midwest from Kansas City. The piece is his “tale of survival”. If it had been written 30 years ago, it might have only been condescending. Today, it is so off the mark as to be dumbfounding. It manages to combine the dismissive attitude toward flyover country that made the famous cartoon map of the U.S. past the Hudson River so appropriate with a lack of initiative that is breathtaking. He expresses disappointment that in this “Mecca of meat” the vegetarian options at barbecue restaurants and steakhouses are scarce. A commenter notes that this attitude is like going to a vegan restaurant and wondering why one can’t find a good steak. He states that “Those on the coasts have it better.” Numerous commenters make the point that it depends where on the “coasts” one finds oneself and that a good variety of ethnic and vegetarian options are more dependent on the size or nature of the city (college towns, e.g.) than their geographical location. Anyway, the comments were more fun than the article, as loads of “Midwesterners” speak up for the availability of vegetarian fare and farmers’ markets in the region, while taking the writer to task.

    Here’s the article, for anyone so inclined:

    Here are the comments, found at the NYT’s dining blog:

    One of the most telling comments to me was the following:
    “It’s funny that the Reader Picks are almost exclusively pointing out that the article is condescending, parochial, and factually wrong, but the NYT Picks are almost all ‘how-to’ that ignore the failings of the article.
    I’m not sure why a national newspaper would print an article this dismissive of much of the country, but I would hope the editors would at least acknowledge the issues people are raising with it.”

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  3. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Well, it was probably emo. And it foisted a bunch of sorry ass crap and bad singers like Modest Mouse on hipsters. And sold a lot of PBR, which is truly atrocious on unsuspecting beer drinkers. I’d like to point out that what most Murricans think is an antidote to the NYT is probably that lying sack in a fedora he stole from his literate dad that flaunts his illiteracy every day, Matt Drudge. That’s the unfortunate and foul future of all news, all the time, on the people’s intertubes. Not a pretty picture. But at least I’ll know what JayZ and Beyobce named their baby. I’ll still take the times. People fly over flyover country for a reason. There is something objectionable about breeding lettuce for ultimate blandness and zero nutritive value, but great shipability. But clearly, crap lettuce doesn’t translate to crap people. Nope. Buying into Tamma Faye does. There’s a pretty entertaining Steve Martin movie called Blue Heaven. Mafioso gets witness transplanted protectioned to Phoenix and ends up missing arugula. Well? Given your own tastebuds? Arugula or iceberg?

    I’d also point out that the people that find the NYT food article annoying translate that to the entire paper. I’m sure they mean to demean the paper for being part of the so-called liberal MSM. Believe me, that shit does not exist. When the Gray Lady doesn’t come down on the side of the scummy sexist activist judge Clarence Thomas, it’s denigrated as the liberal press. But holy shit. Is this Nixononia? That paper employed Little Miss Runamuck. In a cheerleader costume. If that’s the liberal MSM, they need an intestinal cleanse. It’s about time for everybody to admit there is no such thing as the liberal press. Trying to expose it by talking about food is way lame. I grew up eating iceberg lettuce and I much prefer romaine and chicory, that does not make me some elitist liberal snob. I just like more tasty lettuce. Bitter with the sweet.

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  4. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 2:49 am

    And Nancy, nothing tires you out like driving, but in retrospect, it is always enjoyable.

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  5. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 3:12 am

    And reality TV. There will always be rednecks. And for every hour spent on that shit and not Life or Terriers, people just get stupider.

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  6. Dexter said on January 13, 2012 at 3:29 am

    When Mitt Romney came to Town.

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  7. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 4:05 am

    What Mittens did to that daog is the same thing he did to the people that made the money for those companies. He is one disgraceful shitheel. Anybody that votes for this asshole is a scumbag.

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  8. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Mitt and Seamus? Man on dog. What a flaming asshole.

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  9. Suzanne said on January 13, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I admit I didn’t read the entire NYT article, but I can tell you that living in rural Indiana means you have to drive to the farthest grocery store to get the veggies you want. I’m not a vegetarian, but finding even a fennel bulb, or a parsnip, or swiss chard or kale in my local grocery store ain’t gonna happen. I have to drive the other direction to “the city” to find that citified stuff. Granted, my town is small and the choices are a Walmart or the local grocery, but still, it gets annoying.
    My little town just started having a farmer’s market in the summer a couple of years ago.

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  10. Connie said on January 13, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Suzanne, my thing was arugula. I decided it just can’t be bought in Indiana. When we moved to southern Indiana many years ago we had to drive the 40 plus miles to Bloomington just to buy ricotta cheese.

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  11. heydave said on January 13, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Interesting article about New Hampshire, although I read it with several grains of salt. A clown named Bloom wrote about Iowa in the Atlantic (a rag in it’s own right for some of their hires) and clearly collected the bestest anecdotes ever to shore up his article. Which was just the condescending, myopic “coastal” view of what Iowa is like. So… as I say, I read the New Hampshire thing and wonder, “Is he their Bloom?”

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  12. beb said on January 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Reality television is like cancer. It’s so cheap to produce and pulls people in with its combination of gossip, anger and institutionalized dysfunctionalism that it’s slowly consuming the rest of the entertainment market.

    It’s nice that someone actually liked Detroit but when his first point is that Detroit artists have a refined sense of font I find myself scratching my head and txting WTF? But then he likes the music scene here, which along with the font thing seems to say that Detroit has a vibrant youth culture and that speaks well for the city.

    And I wonder how easy it is to find Swiss Chard, Kale or fennel bulbs in New York city? I suspect that most groceries there are small with limited space, thus forcing them to carry only common meats and vegetables. Sure you can find the specialty stores somewhere. But if you don’t have a car it seems like people are in the same boat as Suzanne, too far away to get the tghings they’d like.

    I was expecting Nancy to chip in with some comment about whether Newspaper should tell people when politicians are lying or just report every fatuous claim of the candidates and let the uninformed public figure out what’s true. Or maybe the answer is so obvious that the only surprise is that the NYT’s public editor doesn’t instinctively know the right answer?

    We weren’t forecast an unholy blizzard but even the light snow predicted has withered away into another dusting. We’ll surely pay for this later…

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  13. Dorothy said on January 13, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I like to say I don’t watch any reality t.v. but then I remembered that I have “One Born Every Minute” cued up in the DVR. The thing that really bugs me about reality t.v. is when they repeat something after a commercial break that YOU JUST SAW 5 MINUTES AGO! Do they think viewers have such a short attention span that we can’t retain memories beyond a commercial break? All of them are guilty of it. A local family in Columbus was featured on the show that builds a new house and I can’t remember the damn name right now. I wanted to follow the story so I recorded the show. But they did a two hour special that could have easily been an hour if they didn’t keep rehashing the same shots and clips, and put such b.s. filler in it over and over again. And the reason they do that is because what they have on film is so weak, they don’t have enough to fill the time slot. (Just remembered the name of the show – Extreme Home Makeover, right? I guess I’ve not completely crossed into full-blown old fartism.)

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Manuel “Matty” Moroun is in jail. I am proud of America! Not to mention a certain judge in Detroit.

    It doesn’t strike me as unfair at all. I only worry Moroun will come out of this realizing “hey, there’s money in this private corrections business, maybe more than in bridge monopolies!”

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  15. Julie Robinson said on January 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Dorothy, they even do that on the news. They promo a story 3 or 4 times; then it turns out the story is shorter than the promos. Dumb and dumber.

    Has anyone with an ereader used ebookfling? I just learned about it this morning and I’d love to hear what people think.

    One of our nephews works for a talent agency and reality TV has been very hard on his profession. He sees the end and is taking classes in landscape designing, hoping he can get through before his agency is through.

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on January 13, 2012 at 10:10 am

    One of the best vegetarian restaurants I ever ate at was in Missouri. Interestingly enough, the walls were decorated with animal heads.

    On my way out, I told the girl at the register, “It seems like your decorator was a little unclear on the concept.” She rolled her eyes, and I realized it was probably about the 5,000th time she’d heard that.

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  17. BigHank53 said on January 13, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I haven’t visited northern Michigan, and so can’t make a fair comparison, but the Henry Allen piece is…well, it’s as accurate as you’re going to get in a couple thousand words. I lived in the state for thirty years. I’ve been to all the towns and maybe half the restaurants he mentions by name. I remember that sad-sack Peabody campaigning against Rudman, and what a waste of time it was. I met Gordon Humphrey during his 1984 campaign, and the man couldn’t even remember exactly what the graphs on his own posters meant.

    New Hampshire is just…odd. I remember the biggest right-wing reactionary NRA member in my high school class was also either the second or third smartest guy, too. Wound up marrying a divorced woman, adopting her three children, and becoming (by all accounts) a really good cop. No idea what his politics are these days, but I would not try to sell him a line of bullshit.

    Tourism’s the biggest industry by far. In Peterborough (yep, Our Town) you can’t find a parking spot on Main Street between Memorial Day and Labor Day. When I was there I lived in a decrepit rented single-wide…and the town imposed so many zoning regulations on the McDonald’s franchise they gave up and put the McDonald’s in Jaffery instead. Nobody hated McDonald’s more than the refugees from New York and Connecticut, who all wanted to be the last person into the state before the door was locked.

    Allen might have been cruel. He wasn’t unfair.

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  18. nancy said on January 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Can’t really join the discussion now, but here’s the NYT public editor, explaining himself.

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  19. MIchaelG said on January 13, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I can buy Swiss chard, aurgula, kale and fennel bulbs at any supermarket. Always have. I didn’t realize they were in any way special or wierd or exotic.

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  20. alex said on January 13, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Brisbane claims to be arguing for a more nuanced approach, but on balance it sounds like he endorses the Fox News “we report, you decide” school of journalism (which is cynical when Fox does it, and just plain lazy when it happens at the NYT because Fox actually works very hard at manipulating truth and feigning objectivity).

    The American press fell down on the job when Dubya was trying to sell us on Iraq. No one dared call him or anyone in his administration the liars that they were and are to this day. The rest of the world wants to put Bush and Cheney on trial as war criminals, but again that’s news that nine-tenths of Americans will never read nor hear.

    It’s telling that Brisbane regards speaking truth as an act of vigilantism, but in today’s journalism that is pretty much what it has become.

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  21. Sue said on January 13, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Speaking as a mid-coaster all my life and a veggie for most of that time, I can say that it’s been at least 20 years since I had any trouble finding ingredients or restaurants. Of course, I’ve always lived within easy driving distance of either Chicago or Milwaukee and also for a long time had access to a co-op operating out of the People’s Republic of Madison, but I find it hard to believe that ‘sourcing’ would be difficult in any ag state, which most midwestern states are at heart. I guess I just never considered it any other way.
    And a question in a somewhat similar vein: has anyone seen “Portlandia”? I can’t get it and can’t find season 1 on dvd or anything, but I hear it’s a funny and affectionate takedown on, among other things, overly-earnest foodies.
    I don’t like the way reality shows manipulate people and situations. My husband has recently been watching some of those shows where people bid on abandoned storage units or drive around and try to get people to sell stuff out of their garages, and I cringe when I see someone fake-bargain, or give away some item for pennies because they want to appear accommodating. Then they show a segment where the main person on the show is laughing about the great bargain they got and how they got such a deal. Imagine watching that show after you’ve sold something for way less than it’s worth, knowing they’ve made a fool of you.
    And speaking of TV, I just want to say that I am becoming irritated with being manipulated by Downton Abbey. Geez, Julian, stop broadcasting how I should feel about the various characters, and for heaven’s sake you’ve turned Maggie Smith into the Fonz or Steve Urkel, waltzing in and delivering a couple of hi-larious lines for all to applaud. Grumble, grumble.

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  22. Heather said on January 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Sue, Portlandia is hilarious. For more insight into how Fred Armisen’s time living in Chicago and taking part in the local music scene in the late 80s and 90s informs the show, here’s a good read, an oral history of that time: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-0112-fred-armisen-chicago-20120111,0,5048552.story

    I can’t resist pointing out that some of my friends were in a band with Fred for many years (Trenchmouth) and I occasionally see him around, although I’ve never met him.

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  23. JWfromNJ said on January 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I gave up on survivor and by extension all “reality” TV years ago when the woman who was a USAF survival school instructor was eliminated early on. The show was never truly about surviving -which would be pretty interesting. Once they started with hoops to jump trough, puzzles to solve, etc., I was out. I may watch the Amazing Race if nothing else is on or I don’t have something better to read, and I like the Canadian show Ice Pilots for all the vintage aircraft, but thats about my limit.
    “Reality TV stars” are like rappers or country stars in my book. I could walk up to any of them and be clueless, except for perhaps Eminem, Blake Shelton, or that kid Drake and that’s only because I watched Degrassi.

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  24. beb said on January 13, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I’ve watched “American Pickers” a few times and find it interesting. Basically two guys drive around the country looking for junk that they can resell at a profit. It’s interesting in part because they visit an endless series of people who have filled barns and backlots with ….”stuff” that they appear never to actually resell. It’s almost like they’re hoarders or something. During the show a narrator will recap what they paid for an item and its estimated value. Generally speaking they estimate that they can resell an item for twice what they paid for it. This strikes me as fair since they have to make a profit, after all, and they have the added expense of running around the country looking for stuff.

    As a pulp magazine fan I do a certain amount of buying and selling but mostly listen to dealers talk about the business. It always bothers me when they talk about some great bargain they got from some one who doesn’t not the business. Their attitude is that a “fair price” is whatever two people think is a fair price. There’s too much of a rat-fucker /vulture capitalist mentality to that thinking.

    Someone should take away the shovel the Times’ public editor is using before he digs his grave any deeper.

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  25. JWfromNJ said on January 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I’m working on a pitch for perhaps the best reality show ever: a midget single mom with 8 kids who bakes cakes and lives in a house cluttered with old junk, and she has a part time job at a tattoo shop, and dates a guy who builds custom motorcycles with his dad.

    I confess I did try to pitch a newsroom based reality show last year but the big stumbling block was in finding a newspaper that would be stupid enough to let a crew film there. Couldn’t be much worse than many of these other shows. And I’ve seen American Pickers and it’s likeable, those brothers would be funny just driving around.

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  26. Jeff Borden said on January 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I still enjoy “Deadliest Catch,” largely because of the stunning visuals. The real heroes aren’t the fishermen, but those crazy guys filming them. And I have enjoyed “Swamp People,” mostly because I’m amazed at how little equipment those folks use to catch gators. Christ, they don’t even wear gloves when hauling in those beasts.

    The NYT disappoints me on a much more regular basis these days. I think most of the op-ed “talent” have their heads up their asses; the number of errors (grammatical, spelling, usage) is appalling in a so-called quality broadsheet; the redesign of the “Week in Review” to “Sunday Review” gutted my favorite section; no one has arisen to replace the combination of intelligence and anger of Frank Rich. . .and now this silly bullshit.

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  27. Deborah said on January 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I go through periods where I love the NYT and when I hate it. I’m in a so-so period now, I can take it or leave it. And Jeff B, I miss Frank Rich too.

    JWfrom NJ, hilarious.

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  28. moe99 said on January 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Brisbane is still trying to justify his question on Romanesko. I wonder if he appreciates Clinton’s trying to parse the definition of “is,” now. What he can’t see (probably because the air is too rarified in the tower he inhabits) is that he is a modern day scholastic, counting the number of angels dancing on the heads of pins, while the real story escapes him. All the life and vitality is being sucked out of the newspaper industry by their fears of reporting the truth.

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  29. Bitter Scribe said on January 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Is “Portlandia” really that good? I can’t watch it because Comcrap deems the $70 a month I pay for cable not enough to entitle me to IFC, but from what I’ve read plus some snippets I’ve seen on YouTube, it seems like pretty much a one-joke show. (Lefty urban hipsters obsess over where their food comes from hur.)

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  30. Suzanne said on January 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I know a kid who works with a young woman who was on “The Bachelor” a few years ago. Said she told him there was very little reality in it. I know you all are shocked about that.

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  31. Scout said on January 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve been glued to Charles Pierce’s column ever since Nancy posted a link to him the other day. Smart, funny stuff.

    My reality show guilty pleasure is Design Star on HGTV. We stream each episode two days after it airs on TV since we ditched cable two years ago.

    I believe wholeheartedly that the we report, you decide trend in journalism is a big factor in the crumbling of the institution.

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  32. Jeff Borden said on January 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm


    I think that’s a given on all reality programs. Action must be compressed, conflict must be introduced. . .something has to be happening all the time. I wonder how many hours of boredom and nothingness film crews must endure while they wait for the fishing nets to be lowered or a gator to be found. It cannot be an easy life.

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  33. MIchaelG said on January 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Ice Pilots? Never heard of it. Tell me more JW. Where and when?

    I like “Top Chef”. But then I’ve always thought Padma Laxmi was a goddess.

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  34. Jolene said on January 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    The need to create drama in reality shows makes them like nature shows. Big cats spend most of their time sleeping and scratching themselves, but, on TV, they are shown tracking and killing their prey, dueling with competitors for access to mates, and mating.

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  35. Jakash said on January 13, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    To try arguing with you is dumber than being a reality star reading the Drudge Report, but here goes, anyway.
    Uh, your 2:48 a.m. comment, specifically. “People fly over flyover country for a reason.” Thanks for that vote of confidence. But a lot of those people end up in destinations that can’t hold a candle to Chicago, to name one spot of many that are worth stopping your flight at.

    “There is something objectionable about breeding lettuce for ultimate blandness and zero nutritive value, but great shipability.” Yes, and that statement would be agreed to by practically all the people taking issue with the NYT food article. Aren’t the people shipping that lettuce from California, not the Midwest, at any rate?

    Your generalization that everyone between the coasts is “buying into Tamma Faye” is mind-boggling. Actually, the fact that you’d jump on this article as a chance to reinforce its denigration of the rest of the country as stereotypical slack-jawed, iceberg-lettuce-eating rubes is pretty shocking to me in the first place.

    “the people that find the NYT food article annoying translate that to the entire paper. I’m sure they mean to demean the paper for being part of the so-called liberal MSM.” I would be very surprised if that were the case. The people commenting about that article are people who read the NY Times, even though they live in Nebraska and Missouri and Minnesota, etc. Given the existence of the paywall, I’d imagine that most of them like the Times at least as well as you do, which is why they find it frustrating when it publishes something as subpar as that article.

    “I much prefer romaine and chicory, that does not make me some elitist liberal snob.” C’mon, the people you’re attacking are vegetarians. They prefer romaine, too and would hardly to be likely to consider someone a snob for doing so.

    Oh, well, I’ll leave it at that and proceed to “duck and cover.”

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  36. Jakash said on January 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Suzanne and Connie (# 9 and 10),
    Many of the comments about that article tried to make the point that the difference in easy availability of quality vegetables and vegetarian restaurant fare is not that between the midwest and the coasts, but between rural and urban areas. They would suggest that your chance of finding arugula or kale would be no better in rural upstate New York or rural Pennsylvania than in Indiana.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on January 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    The bits of reality shows that I’ve seen just don’t match up with my values, there is so much nastiness and back-stabbing. But I have really enjoyed The Sing-Off, where even the roughest judges’ comments are constructive criticism. Plus, great music.

    Portlandia is available to stream on our poor man’s cable, Netflix. We haven’t watched it yet, but I’m sure we will eventually take a look.

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  38. JWfromNJ said on January 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Michael – Ice Pilots is about Buffalo Air which operates passenger and cargo flights in the Yellowknife NWT area using DC-3’s, C-47’s, DC-6’s and Lockheed Electra’s. Their pax service operates the last scheduled DC-3 service in North America.
    The airline’s owner Buffalo Joe is a character and aviation icon. The airline starts every pilot as a ramper and they all know how to tear down and rebuild engines. Its only aired in Canada but has a big US following through torrents and web content. They are on FB also.

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  39. Dan B said on January 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    The thing about “Reality TV” is that it is a label the way “Scripted Television” is a label, but people seem to treat it as a genre as specific as “Soap Opera.” But it’s really not-can we really honestly lump The Sing-Off, Ice-Road Truckers, Top Chef, The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Survivor into a coherent category? Saying all reality TV is bad because “Jon and Kate Plus 8” is bad is like dismissing all hour-long dramas because you hated One Tree Hill.

    There is a lot of bad reality TV out there, but I don’t think there’s any reason to feel guilty for enjoying any given reality TV show. The focus on voyeurism and manufactured drama in our descriptions of them misses one really popular aspect, what some people call “competence porn.” One of the huge appeals of a number of shows is watching really talented people do their thing (losing track of that is a big part of the reason Project Runway has gone downhill in the last few seasons). The Sing-Off is great because you get to hear talented singers, then listen to smart judges giving thoughtful critiques. Project Runway at its best showed creative people being creative. Yeah, it’s artificial and it has its manipulations, but I’m also not under any illusion that it’s a documentary, either.

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  40. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    I lived in Massachusetts for a long time, and Neh Hampsha is a great place to visit. But not Winnepesaukee when the bikers are there. It is also the Northren version of that banjo music redneck haven in Deliverance. Home of the most singularly reactionary newspaper in the history of newspapers and the foulest governor since Jabba, and that would be Meldrim Thomson. Remember when “reactionary” was the brand on whacko GOPers? Good old days.

    JW, I can remember flying on a DC-3, I think it was from Detroit to Buffalo. I think to be driven to my little brother’s funeral.One way or another, I guess the point is that I’m old enough to remember flying on a prop plane. How many people actually have that memory? It was loud and it vibrated. It was definitely over a wide expanse of water. And people made jokes about flotation devices and the flies floating in our in-air refreshments.

    Julie, I haven’t seen Portlandia, but I plan to. I’m a fan of Ms. Carrie Brownstein:


    Reality TV is a paudeen’s attack on intelligent expression.

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  41. Dave said on January 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    We vacationed in Vermont a number of years ago, thought it a beautiful state but met a lady who told us of her daughter and son-in-law, a minister, and the crushing problems in northern Vermont, mostly stemming from poverty. I suspect New Hampshire is much the same. Driving around either state, it becomes readily apparent there isn’t a lot to do there, other than depend on tourists.

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  42. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Beb said Reality television is like cancer. It’s so cheap to produce and pulls people in with its combination of gossip, anger and institutionalized dysfunctionalism that it’s slowly consuming the rest of the entertainment market.

    My question is, how does anybody with a brain find this remotely entertaining? Well. they think, there but for the grace…

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  43. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Nancy’s movie:


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  44. Jakash said on January 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Arthur Brisbane’s new comment, linked to by NN above, reiterates part of the problem with his original post. “To illustrate the difficulty, the first example I cited involved whether Clarence Thomas “misunderstood” the financial disclosure form when he failed to include his wife’s income. No doubt, many people doubt that he “misunderstood” but to rebut this as false would be difficult indeed, requiring knowledge of Mr. Thomas’s thinking.”

    Seems to me that is just a terrible example of the kind of fact-checking people are expecting of journalists. While saying that he “misunderstood” is almost certainly bullshit, that’s not something that can be factually countered by a reporter. It’s similar to when some weasel is on trial or appearing before Congress and they testify that they “can’t recall” some piece of damaging information.

    Rather, when somebody suggests that climate change is a matter of widely diverse opinion among the majority of climate scientists, or that Creationism stands on equal ground with evolution as something to be taught in a science curriculum, those are examples of flatly untrue nonsense that should not be allowed in the name of keeping the paper “fair and balanced”.

    Alex Pareene, of Salon, combines the two NY Times stories referred to in this thread in a tweet:
    “Should the Times be a ‘vegetarian options in Midwest steakhouses’ vigilante?”

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  45. Deborah said on January 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Regarding finding edible food, not necessarily vegetarian but could be: Whenever we go on roadtrips we have the darnedest time finding food we like. Call me a snob but on the interstates and small towns that you might have access to at mealtime the pickings are usually slim unless you like fast food. Which I do sometimes but not when I’m captured in a vehicle for hours at a time. William Least Heat Moon wrote romantically about 4 and 5 calendar cafes in small towns on blue highways but I’m here to tell you they don’t exist or at least they are very rare. I mean occasionally you can still find a cafe in a small town and when you do that is no guarantee it’s going to be good. Often we just order breakfast no matter what time of day at places like Perkins, because eggs and bacon or pancakes are harder to mess up. They can be just as greasy as fast food but somehow it doesn’t seem as bad for you. We also have started to cart our own food along with us in a cooler. I didn’t read the article about finding vegetarian food so maybe I’m just repeating what was said.

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  46. adrianne said on January 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    And for something completely different – I laughed out loud when reading this gem in a column in “Catholic New York” by the “twentysomething” columnist Christina Capecchi:

    “I recently interviewd Mitch Albom, author of ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’ the best-selling memoir in history. The Detroit journalist told me that writing is an inherently spiritual endeavor. ‘You need to be infused with a certain spirit in order to be able to create, and I believe all our talents come from God,’ he said.”

    So many things to take a gander at…including the best-selling memoir in history!

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  47. brian stouder said on January 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Let me just say, I have enjoyed the comments today regarding reality TV and fact-checked newspapers; the discussion here has been genuinely thought-provoking and illuminating. (I especially liked Alex’s point about the deception inherent in ‘we report, you decide’).

    There is an interesting nexus between whatever it is that ‘reality TV’ captures, and much of what news/journalism captures. After all, if a news organization sends reporters to an Occupy Wallstreet-type event, they are going to get a story that revolves around a self-selected group of people, with a specifically produced ‘show’ in mind.

    And when a reporter goes to an official event – whether a session of Congress or a school board meeting – again a self-selected group of people with their own agendas will provide the raw news, which the producers then have to edit and refine.

    Aside from that, here’s today’s installment of black humor in the news (and let me just ask – who wants a “metal tissue holder” anyway?) :


    an excerpt:

    Metal tissue holders contaminated with low levels of radioactive material may have been distributed to Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in more than 20 states including New York, federal regulators said Thursday. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre said the home products company had pulled the tissue holder from its stores. He said there is little to no risk to human health — but it’s better to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation. “If someone has one of these, they could receive a small radiation dose from it,” he said. For example, he said someone keeping one of the boxes on a vanity in the bathroom and spending about 30 minutes a day near it for a year would receive the equivalent of a couple of chest x-rays. “There’s no real health threat from these, but we advise people to return them,” he said.

    But, what if this someone has three or four of these “chest X-ray” producers scattered around the house?!

    Another snippet:

    … the company said it was asking for customers to return any purchased tissue holders out of an abundance of caution. The contamination was first discovered in California when two packages bound for Bed, Bath & Beyond stores in Santa Clara and San Jose containing four tissue holders triggered radiation alarms at truck scales, according to a Jan. 6 report posted on the NRC website.

    You can’t make this stuff up. Bed, Bath, and the Great Beyond?

    What if an Iranian firm produces the tissue holders?…or owns a stake in BB&B?

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  48. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    We have stainless steel TP holders and we are not turning them back in. It took some effort and some drill battery to put those suckers up. Furthermore, we figure Mommy’s alright, Daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird,


    But, does the radioactivity pass to the tissue, and then to the buttocks? Enquiring minds might want to know, since this will be all over the tubes tomorrow.

    One way or another,


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  49. Dexter said on January 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm


    May 15,1967, Fort Wayne to New York for our high school senior trip, then a bus to Washington and a return flight on a plane like this propeller aircraft.
    I watch old “Get Smart” shows sometimes and they had a scene in an airport showing insurance policy vending machines. We were strongly urged to buy flight insurance, and we all did. What a racket that was!

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  50. Kirk said on January 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    On a topic vetted here when the statue was to be dedicated:

    Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says a paraphrased quotation on the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial will be corrected. Salazar tells the Washington Post’s editorial page that he has given the National Park Service 30 days to come up with a more accurate alternative. The paraphrased quote, which says “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” prompted indignation among many.

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  51. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm


    I would have thought Anne Frank outsold Mitch. I’m severely disappointed in the human race if that isn’t so.

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  52. Dexter said on January 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Hoffa mystery solved ! Yep.

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  53. moe99 said on January 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Jakash, you wrote:

    Seems to me that is just a terrible example of the kind of fact-checking people are expecting of journalists. While saying that he “misunderstood” is almost certainly bullshit, that’s not something that can be factually countered by a reporter.

    But it can in this case, because for a number of years (before Mrs. Thomas got great paying gigs) Thomas correctly listed his wife’s income. It just takes a bit more digging.


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  54. brian stouder said on January 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Dexter – great photo! which gave me an immediate flashback.

    My mom’s mom, who came to America from Italy on a ship in 1920 (when she was 20), and lived in Brooklyn, New York the rest of her life, visited us in Fort Wayne in late 1965 or early 1966, when my younger brother was born.

    I remember when she boarded a plane just like the one in your photo, for her trip back home. We were on the tarmac(!), and they rolled the stairs away from the plane, and the engines revved up, and my mom cried, and the United aircraft rolled away. (I remember that it was surprisingly loud)

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  55. Suzanne said on January 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Brian @47
    Iranian firm making radioactive toilet paper holders? Bed, Bath, and the Great Beyond! Got me laughing…

    Reminded me of my thoughts this morning when I heard a snippet of a radio piece that mentioned the Taliban opening an office in Qatar. I had visions of militants rolling desks and file cabinets into a suite in a strip mall, complete with gray cubicles, fake plants, and a flashing “open” sign. Right there between the Chinese Buffet and the UPS Store.

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  56. JWfromNJ said on January 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Dexter – A Vickers Viscount with the Rolls royce Dart turboprops. Very cool.

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  57. moe99 said on January 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Jimmy Fallon is genius!


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  58. David C. said on January 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    The vegetarian article was by A.G. Sulzberger, Pinch’s kid, Punch’s grandkid. Born on third – thinks he hit a triple.

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  59. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Brian, So you remember when you actually had to walk outside to get on a plane?

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Isn’t what really bugs GOPers about Mitt is that he’s the richboy posterchild? I mean, they don’t really want to give the richboy game away. These sleazeballs make their political living convincing rednecks to vote against their best economic interests. It’s depressing that anybody is this fucking dumb.

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  60. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Sulzbergers. Well-known GOPers that ran the MSM liberal media.

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  61. caliban said on January 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Newt is insisting Mitt identify his corporate Superpac donors, Comedy gold. These assholes are are too funny to be true.

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  62. Dave said on January 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport, you have to walk outside to board or dismount an airplane, we use Allegiant regularly between there and Fort Wayne.

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