In da club.

Man, I need to get out more. Friday night, a friend is having her 50th birthday party, which came about in a fairly roundabout way. She and some of her pals were at a charity auction a few days back, and someone bought a cake. This one:

What girl doesn’t want a Barbie cake, especially a glamorous bridal Barbie in a dress made of snow-white fondant? Once she’d been secured, the party was scheduled for a fortnight hence, and Barb spent the interval wrapped in plastic on the birthday girl’s unheated sun porch. The plan was to go to one bar and then to another bar, where they have a dance floor and a DJ and all the rest of it. I skipped bar no. 1, and arrived so early at no. 2 that the bartender and I looked at one another across an empty room. Oh well, I thought — this is why casinos were invented. I was in Greektown, and figured an hour of low-stakes blackjack might pass the time. So I walked a block, and, well.

When Michigan passed a law banning smoking in restaurants and bars statewide, they exempted casinos for the usual bad reasons (lobbyists). It must have convinced a lot of unapologetic smokers to take up slots, because of the hundreds of people crammed into two floors of gambling, at least three-quarters were puffing away. I understand that over time, I’ve lost my tolerance for smoke, but this was ridiculous. And that was only the beginning. The lowest minimum bet on all blackjack tables was $15, ditto on poker. There were a couple of craps tables that looked interesting, but I’ve never understood the game, and the table is so bizarre — COME and DON’T COME sounds like stage direction in a dirty movie, as does “hard eight.” I ended up doing a few slow circuits of the room, leaving and getting a little snack before heading back to the bar, where Barbie was glowing under dim light on a table in back.

From there, it was the usual night with buddies, with a few observations:

1) Anyone who drinks any alcoholic beverage mixed with Red Bull is insane.
2) Those jobs on Craigslist offering to hire young people for “fun PR jobs” are really for the miniskirted blondes who pass through the place in their branded clothing, passing out free samples of their branded cocktails, leaving T-shirts in their wake, but not before asking everyone to pose for glass-in-air pictures. Which is fine if you always wanted to be a cocktail waitress, but not get any tips.
3) Marketing alcohol to young people is a big business. When I went in, the street was deserted but for a few strollers. When I came out, a branded RV from some sort of booze concern was parked across the street, and the block was thronged. I wondered if I’d trade all the physical degradation of middle age — back pain, knee pain, avoirdupois, gray hair and the rest of it — for a second chance at youth, and this would be what I’d do on weekend nights. Decided: Nope.

Drink responsibly!

Barbie finally gave it up yesterday. Once the fondant was peeled off, she sported three layers of vanilla-and-chocolate goodness, plus buttercream. My mother made me a doll cake when I was little. Whatever else they are, they are memorable.

What was your best birthday cake?

Bloggage? Sure:

Newt Gingrich is practically dead, but we’ve said that before. The WashPost digs deeper in his background and finds all that Reagan butt-kissing isn’t exactly a consistent position for him:

In an unnoticed 1992 speech, Newt Gingrich in a single utterance took aim not only at a beloved conservative icon but also at a core tenet of the conservative movement: that government must be limited.

Ronald Reagan’s “weakness,” Gingrich told the National Academy of Public Administration in Atlanta, was that “he didn’t think government mattered. . . . The Reagan failure was to grossly undervalue the centrality of government as the organizing mechanism for reinforcing societal behavior.”

A review of thousands of documents detailing Gingrich’s career shows it wasn’t the first time he had criticized Reagan, whom he regularly invokes today in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. When Gingrich was in the House, his chief of staff noted at a 1983 staff meeting that his boss frequently derided Reagan, along with then-White House Chief of Staff James A. Baker III and Robert H. Michel, the House Republican leader.

Mittens might pull it out in Michigan after all. I’ve learned not to bet on this race, but I’d guess the outcome will depend on whether Sweater Vest actually pledges allegiance to the Pope before it’s over.

Flag-burning we can all get behind:

Wyoming, Mich. — A Michigan man whose son was killed while on patrol in Iraq in 2005 burned the New Jersey flag on his outdoor grill in protest after learning flags in that state were ordered flown at half-staff for the death of Whitney Houston.

Via Hank, why the Oscars are so lame: Oscar voters are overwhelmingly white (94%), male (77%) and old (86% older than 50). Now you know.

Monday! Come and get me!

Posted at 7:33 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

128 responses to “In da club.”

  1. Connie said on February 20, 2012 at 8:03 am

    So Michiganders, if you’re a Democrat are you going to vote in the Republican primary? and if so, for who? We have talked about but do not plan to vote.

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  2. beb said on February 20, 2012 at 8:07 am

    So much bloggage today.

    Your thoughts about the casinos were interesting. My wife would ccasionally go with a girlfriend and spend, I think it was twenty bucks there. You have to set a limit to your losses otherwise it’s the homeless shelter for you. In fact, thinking about it, it would do more good to give twenty homeless guys a buck each, then to gamble.

    But yeah, the smoking. Depressed people seem to smoke a lot. So natural casinos where you’re just throwing your money away in ope of striking it rich, is depressing. Thus people there smoke a lot. they say that AA meets are smoked filled as well, probably because people trying to kick their alcohol addiction need a new fix. I’ve never smoked and so I’m incredible sensitive to the smell of smoke. It’s amazing how someone can just walk by and I’m almost gagging on the mismia of cigarette ash coming off them, and they don’t seem to notice a thing.

    Barbie cakes. Where they ever for little girls? It sounds like you had a good time, and suffered no ill-effects. I was beginning to worry about that cake sitting around for so long. Even unheated sun-porches aren’t that cold….

    Lowering the flag for Whitney? Yeah, I can get behind the flag-burning for that.

    When little Ricky starts saying the President isn’t Christian enough to be President — it’s time to change the channel. Anti-abortion, anti-contraception and anti-protestant. What a trifecta in one man. And the thing to remember is that Santorum isn’t the Republican “B” team, this is their “A” material.

    I saw Myazaki’s adaptation of “The Borrows” (The Secret Life of Areety) over the weekend. A beautiful, moving story. Something to put on your ‘to see’ list.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2012 at 8:14 am

    If they’d lowered ’em for a day for Clarence, I don’t have the heart to object for Whitney. I just don’t see how you manage the criteria after a while of this sort of celebrity necrology. Why for Frankie Valli and not for Snooki, etc. Fame at moment of death? Ratings data on the announcement? Or just your gut? (No, not intentional joke, but still.) Then it becomes a campaign commercial issue: “He lowered the flag for Whitney, but not for The Situation! Chris Christie — he’s inconsistent, and out of control.”

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  4. Julie Robinson said on February 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

    We were filling out one of those office pool forms yesterday for the Oscars, but have only seen two of the movies. So we made our choices by who has already won and who is the sentimental favorite. In other words, just like most of the Academy voters.

    Best cake ever? The year I had three. Mom was sick in bed and wasn’t going to be able to make one. I was shuttled off to grandma’s house, where we made a cake together. When I got home, I found out that my aunt had also made a cake, and Dad had stopped by a bakery and brought one home. I must have been about 7 or 8 and it was a BIG deal.

    Best cake made for our own kids was the volcano cake that my husband rigged up to erupt, using whipped cream. It was way cool.

    Beb, I’m happy to hear you liked The Secret Life of Arietty. There was another movie based on The Borrowers a few years back and it was just plain crap. I read every single one of the Borrowers books multiple times as a kid and fantasized that our home sheltered a few tiny people.
    I’ll put it on the Netflix list.

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  5. coozledad said on February 20, 2012 at 8:38 am

    At some point Rick Santorum could replace Pat Buchanan as the go to pissed- off old. Pat’s “The West lost its brightest star when the Jews crucified Nixon” schtick was always good for its evocation of a simpler time, when honest men might be forgiven for confusing Vitalis or Listerine for Johnny Walker Red.

    Rick, on the other hand, has a lot of work to do. He can’t just sit there on the Sunday shows and shout “Y’all goin to hayul!” every time they ask his opinion.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2012 at 8:46 am

    For everyone with conservative friends, family, & acquaintances who are defending Rick Santorum’s indefensible statement just down the road from me this weekend, send them this link:

    Plus, the last thing any of us needs is the increase of political candidates opining on their opposition’s theology. What, you have nothing to say about their policies and proposals and why yours are more worth voting for? Then to perdition with you.

    Politicans critiquing another person’s theology is just a bright line for me. Seriously, if you haven’t read and/or watched what Obama had to say at the National Prayer Breakfast, you should. That’s how you do it.

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  7. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 8:51 am

    On the smoking: Everyone knows smoking is allowed in casinos. So, why do you go there if you object to or find it offensive? As non smokers you have the entire freakin state to eat, drink, and party smoke free. Except for casinos. So, stay away from casinos. We will do our thing there, and you have the rest of the state to do your thing. Share the state, without bitching, if you come slumming!

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  8. Peter said on February 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

    My lovely spouse and some of her friends went to Vegas for the first time recently, and she was stunned at the amount of cigarette smoke in the place – and her parents were heavy smokers.

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  9. nancy said on February 20, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Some smoking I can handle. It’s the sheer quantity of it that staggered me. Whenever this happens, I’m amazed anew that this used to be how every place was, once.

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  10. elaine said on February 20, 2012 at 9:49 am

    My best birthday cake? That one’s easy. It was the last wonderfully golden pineapple upside-down cake my mother made for me before she passed away.

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  11. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation house responsible for Arietty also produced Howl’s Moving Castle (free streaming on Netflix), an astoundingly beautiful movie. And Ponyo, too, I think. One of my brothers and I were in the Durgin Park Oyster Bar in Faneuil Hall in Boston when one of those Brewski reps showed up to buy a few rounds of Sam Adams for the house. Had never heard of it previously, and we were kind of making fun until it dawned on us that the quality of the beer was a long way from Buttwiper.

    Mr. Frothy talking about theology reminds me of people that think Gone With the Wind is great literature.

    Elaine, Pineapple upside down cake was my favorite too, although nowadays, store-baked carrot cake is our go-to.

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  12. Bitter Scribe said on February 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I’ve always thought that casinos want smoking allowed because otherwise, smokers would have to step outside for a butt. This would allow their heads to clear and realize how much they lost, and they might not go back inside.

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  13. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Nancy – The reason smoking is concentrated in casinos is because it’s not allowed any where else. So, knowing that, why would any non-smoker go there excerpt to find a reason to bitch. You’re not bitching about gambling. Nor the easy access to cheap alcohol. Nor the easy access to women selling themselves. All are accessible to any patron in a casino across America. What I find incredulous is it’s the smoking you find most objectionable. If I was judge and jury, I’d allow smoking in any resturaunt or bar that put up a sign that said “We allow smoking!” or for resturaunts or bars who didn’t want smoking they could put up a “No smoking here!” sign and be done with it. But a state wide smoking ban everywhere except casino puts the 20% of the population who are smokers where…. In casinos!

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  14. Deborah said on February 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I can’t remember a single birthday cake from when I was a kid. I must have had them, but they sure weren’t memorable. If I had to guess, they were probably chocolate from a mix. The icing was probably chocolate from a can. My mother was a lousy cook.
    A memorable cake for me was at a party with a bunch of architects celebrating the completetion of a project. That cake was the shape of the building and had delicious brick colored buttercream frosting.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on February 20, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Illinois casinos have been complaining ever since the cigarette ban that they’ve lost millions in revenues to nearby states without such regulations. To which I respond, Boo fucking hoo.

    I don’t believe I’ve lived a good enough life to see Rick Santorum become the GOP nominee. It would be 1964 all over again and, hopefully, would crush the nutty conservative movement and allow intelligent, thoughtful conservatives to rise again. As is, it will be Mittens, he will lose but not terribly, and the raw meat eaters will be certain it is because he was not conservative enough to win. Santorum is such a schmuck. And for all his holy roller blather, he’s filthy dirty, having run the K street project, been close to Jack Abramhoff and having a rep as a pork barreler par excellence.

    One thing that makes me very, very, very nervous about Obama’s prospects are the gas prices. Wall Street hates the O-man and would love to see him fall, so why not kill two birds with one stone? Speculate heavily on oil prices. . .start talking about about $5 per gallon gas. . .let high fuel prices depress a struggling recovery. . .voila. . .a Republican president.

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  16. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Helen Gurley Brown’s 90th BDay. Wonder if she had a Barbie cake. Maybe a Burt Reynolds cake. And Barbie should really eat more cake.

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  17. Sue said on February 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

    “Mittens might pull it out in Michigan after all”
    Isn’t the phrase “pull it off” normally used? Did I miss a naughty joke?

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  18. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Jeff B – As a person who has read your posts of allowing woemen to make their own choice on haveing a baby, or not, dont they also have a choice of going in a bar who allows smoking. If you’re over 18, don’t you have a choice for what you want to do?

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  19. Dorothy said on February 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

    With 10 kids in the family, usually the cake was from a box, but Mum always made the icing from scratch. I still make it like she did – not much measuring, set out a half stick of margarine so it gets to room temp, dump some powdered sugar, warm up milk in the microwave (she used the stove top), a little blob of vanilla and a pinch of salt. I always hold back on the powdered sugar in case I accidentally make it too runny. Factor in some Hershey’s dry cocoa for chocolate frosting and you’re all set.

    You need to chill, Hex. I think you’re being a little overly sensitive about Nancy’s comments about the smoking in the casino. She was observing, not criticizing the smokers for Pete’s sake.

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  20. Joe Kobiela said on February 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

    What do I do as a non-smoker if I want to gamble? I know smokers say second hand smoke is not leathel, then again me walking by and spitting on your food is not leathel either but I bet you wouldn’t want me to do that. Jeff B, remeber its the PRESIDENT who controles the gas and oil prices, at least it was when Bush was in office or did that some how change with Obama?
    Pilot Joe

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  21. jcburns said on February 20, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I once suggested to Sammy we duck into a Cherokee, NC casino for a buffet meal. The smoke was so thick we lasted about 20 seconds. All you can eat secondhand!

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  22. Jeff Borden said on February 20, 2012 at 10:47 am


    I have no problem with smokers per se, but this moved from a social issue to a health issue when the very real dangers of second-hand smoke were proven. If the casinos were to set aside rooms for smokers and non-smokers, I would see that as a relatively elegant solution, but I’m not sure it would address casino workers who need a job, yet must endure the dangerous chemicals a burning cigarette unleashes.

    It’s only been 14 months since my last cigarette. I would allow myself to smoke a couple during breaks from our poker games, where I’d join a retired Chicago cop who smokes like a chimney out on the porch. But the last time I fired one up, it really did taste like hell and I wound up tossing the pack away.

    My point is that I’m not a zealot. But I do feel for those who must work in conditions like smoke-filled rooms if they want to keep a job in this shitty economy.

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  23. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 10:50 am

    People that vote based on gasoline pump prices are not responsible enough for suffrage. People that believe the President of the USA has the remotest effect on gasolline pump prices are probably too dumb to find polling places.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on February 20, 2012 at 10:52 am


    How does the president control oil prices? I assume he could release large amounts of the national reserve, but otherwise, how?

    The $5 per gallon prediction has been floating around for years, which should have forced discussion of a national energy policy, but no one has the political cojones to undertake such a conversation. Instead, we talk about finding new areas to despoil in our search for a finite resource without ever acknowledging that the oil we find might never go to the U.S. if the market price is higher somewhere else. Assuming we began this week sinking oil wells into the Arctic region, off the east and west coasts, in the shale oil areas, etc., how long would it take to ever reach the market? Years? Decades?

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  25. coozledad said on February 20, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Borden: The only way Santorum is going to push beyond the minimal threshold of delegates is to pick up some of Romney’s accidentally outed campaign staffers. These guys could help Santorum keep an iron grip on his message.
    Hiring Paul Babeau as his anti-Latino reacharound outreach coordinator would result in a more relaxed Santorum, as fluid on the stump as in the steamroom at C-street. And one less likely to step in it when the gotcha questions start.

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  26. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

    The Koch Bros. Kriminal Konspiracy is in better position to affect gasoline prices than is the President. That’s a fact, Jack.

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  27. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

    My point, Dorothy, and Joe, is that concentrating smokers in to a single spot and not to except the result of that – that there will be lots of smoke where smokers are segragated to…. is insane. State wide bans on smoking is as crazy as state wide bans on abortion. What’s the difference?

    Again, why not allow the owner of a business, like a bar or resturaunt, to allow or not allow smoking based on a sign he/she hangs by the door. Then you, as a patron can enter, or not, based on that information.

    I don’t see any difference in the “Republicans” thinking on wanting to ban all abortions and you “Democrates” wanting to ban all smoking. Both are about choice, and the everyone else accepting that choice.

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  28. Sue said on February 20, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Hex, you have to – you HAVE to – find another analogy. People who are selling cigs or allowing people to smoke are not being shot and killed when they go to church. Their families are not being hounded and harassed. Cigarette smokers are not being subjected to invasive medical procedures before they can get their cigarettes.
    You have a point, but you need to make that point with a different reference. Really.

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  29. mark said on February 20, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Obama has been plain that he wants higher energy prices. If nasty Wall Street runs up gas prices, He should just take credit for implementing a policy goal.

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  30. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Sue – I have to walk two blocks to smoke my cigaret now,when I used to be able to smoke it at my desk. Why isnt “outside” good engh? Company rules say i must be off campus. Note thatI pay more in taxes for cigarettes than any one pays for gas.


    Discrimination and abuse by masses is just that. Why is it ok for abortion, which I’m ok with, because that a persons choice, but my smoking is not, which is also a choice?

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  31. basset said on February 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

    I don’t remember smoke being an issue the one time I’ve entered a casino – the one down near the foot of Canal Street in New Orleans, about ten years ago – but I don’t understand the appeal of casinos in the first place. I walked around for awhile, said “well, now I’ve been in one, I don’t get it” and left.

    They did do really well at making the place its own world, though; no night, no day, no connection to anything except the tables and the machines.

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  32. velvet goldmine said on February 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I have no problem with the flags flying at half-staff for Whitney. Jersey really celebrates its musicians, and good for it —
    especially in this decade of sneering at anything that seems to be put on a higher pedestal than soldiers and firefighters.

    There have been tons of memes showing up, unwelcome, on my FB newsfeed wondering why, why! is Whitney the druggie famous when (flag-draped coffin photo) will never be celebrated.

    Ah, what might have been! Christie would have made the GOP even more interesting than it is: Braving the wrath of the angry veterans one day, and vetoing gay marriage the next. But that’s another story.

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  33. Jakash said on February 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

    “Why is it ok for abortion, which I’m ok with, because that a persons choice, but my smoking is not, which is also a choice?” What is so hard to understand about this? Especially when it’s been chewed over for years now. Your smoke affects my health and access to fresh air for, uh, something that’s not optional — breathing. Your abortion doesn’t. Sue is right, if you want to keep waging this battle, which is over, by the way, find a better analogy.

    I noticed that in Vegas they still have the $5 blackjack tables at certain times and casinos. There is, however, a strong and direct correlation between the cheapness of the minimum bet and the percentage of smokers among the folks huddled around the table.

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  34. Peter said on February 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Speaking of casinos: I don’t know why it made me so sad, but I’ve had occasions to drive by some smaller Indian casinos in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota – the ones housed in metal warehouse buildings with the gravel lots, and I keep thinking you have to have a serious gambling jones or they must have a great payoff in order for you to step inside one of those places. Mohegan Suns they ain’t.

    And I don’t know about Mr. Santorum – Sure, it would be nice to see the nut jobs get the beat down they deserve, but I keep thinking that the Weimar version of the internet had the same kind of comments in 1932, and that didn’t turn out too funny. I’m not saying Rick is the coming of the Fourth Reich; I’m just saying that I try to be careful of what I wish for.

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  35. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I suppose this was inevitable. Years and years ago, a black football player at University of Houston called Elmo Wright created the first TD dance. Chris Schenckel was announcing a Houston game, and was clearly waiting with bated breath for Wright to score a Touchdown and go into his celebration. Finally, in the 4th quarter, Elmo scored on a long passing play, and Schenckel was beside himself. “There it is!!” There’s that happy little jig.” I think Schenckel was relegated to bowling for the rest of his career.

    Warren Zevon’s great casino song. Love the John Ford indian bingo. Closest I’ve ever been to a casino is watching Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas a ridiculous number of times.

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  36. Dexter said on February 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I tuned in to Frank Beckmann for a few minutes today on his WJR 760 AM radio show. He said Mitt Romney is outspending all the other candidates put together . Not just outspending them in Michigan, but outspending them twenty to one. This is the obscene nature of our wicked world at its worst. All it takes is money, and Romney has that market cornered, it appears, and not even billionaires in Santorum’s and Newt’s camps can dent Romney’s seemingly bottomless cash flow.

    beb: When I entered the recovery rooms , even the meetings in church basements, which is where most meetings are held, were smoke-filled. As we progressed through the nineties, it slowly , eventually became rare to find a meeting where smoking was allowed.
    Some people sought out crummy rooms above old storefronts where they started smoking meetings. They were advertised as “smoking allowed”.
    A while ago I exited a local meeting. Smoking is allowed there in the parking lot. There were fifteen of us at the meeting. Fourteen lit up as soon as they hit the door, and I got a dose of smoke before I could get to my van and get the H out of there. Smoking is not something people pick up to combat drinking desires or replace the habit. However, I have heard many say they have replaced alcoholic beverages with the coffee habit, which is accepted. Younger drunks seem to drink a lot of Mountain Dew at meetings, but coffee remains the official beverage of recovery meetings. Tip: if you ever go to a recovery meeting, just bring your own coffee in. See, coffee-making is a service, and young and old alike are encourages to volunteer as coffee makers at times. However, some just cannot make coffee, and it’s usually no stronger than hot water or else it’s like sludge. Some meetings just won’t allow this and they have people who know how to brew a proper pot taking charge. I approve this .
    My best birthday cake…I was eight, and my grandmother made an applesauce cake with white frosting. All by cousins and my brother were there, and I got to “fish” for presents over a screen. It was a blast, gawd, how I loved my grandma. I remember how she had mixed a few raisins in the batter…it was a perfect cake that day. Now, every year, I get my standard yellow cake with white frosting. It’s great.
    Not only could grandma make great cakes, I have never had cookies like she made…choco-chip, oatmeal-raisin, huge sugar cookies, many other types. She did something to make her choco-chip cookies the best I have ever had.
    Someday the topic of “best soup you ever had” will come up here, and I will tell you about Grandma’s chicken rivel soup.

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  37. Suzanne said on February 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Amen, Peter. I’ve posted before about reading Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts” recently and being struck by how many people realized that Hitler was riding the C(razy) train to Crazyville, but assumed the train would derail before he got there. I’m not a fan of Romney, but Santorum scares me.

    The only brush with casino smoking was on a Caribbean cruise that I took a few years ago. I couldn’t understand all these people spending an afternoon in a windowless, smoke-filled gaming room when a few levels above them was endless turquoise water and sunshine.

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  38. Julie Robinson said on February 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    One of the organizing principles of society is that my rights end where yours begin, and vice versa. So, Hexdecimal, that means I don’t have the right to get drunk and crash my car into you, and you don’t have the right to stand outside a building polluting the air I must breathe.

    Our last trip to Wisconsin, several years ago, was miserable because smoking seemed to be allowed everywhere, and we couldn’t even go into a fast food restaurant without breathing in smoke. We were there for the wedding of a nephew who is almost a son, so we didn’t have the option of staying away, but thankfully they have moved and we don’t have to return.

    nn.c has always been a place of civil discourse, humor and insight, unlike comments at most blogs. Here’s hoping the last couple of days have been an anomaly.

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  39. velvet goldmine said on February 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    By the way, no one has any reaction to last night’s Downton Abbey finale? I thought it’s been getting stronger in the final few episodes, and was really involved in last night’s finale, though I missed the first 25 minutes. I presume that was the Christmas part.

    (In the UK, this episode was also the Christmas special, which is always always a big deal in the U.K. — as opposed to the rerun wasteland we have here. But, as appears to be the case with DA, BBC Christmas episodes quickly dispense with the gift-giving and cracker-popping, and then it’s off to the Tardis, or the forensics lab, or the snipe shooting.)

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  40. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Morons will be nattering about the Keystone XL pipeline and gas prices, even though the sole purpose of that boondoggle is to get the filthy tar sands crude to refiners faster and then on to China as the dirtiest diesel there is. The main effect of expediting shipment to China will be raising fuel prices for Midwestern American farmers. and increased food prices in the USA. Of course, this is not even accounting for the fact that the pipeline ROWs will be taken by eminent domain for the benefit of a foreign company. How the hell are GOPers gonna splain that?

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  41. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Joe – I’ve found gambling establishments in every town I’ve been in, big and small. I’m partial to poker and 21, but I’m been known to play craps too. All have been bastions for smokers. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that gambling goes with all the other vices. You find me a place to play poker and I’ll find all the other vices within a two block radius. You want to play poker without cigarets or cigars, well that’s pretty hard to do.

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  42. nancy said on February 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Here in SEMich, you go across the water. The Windsor Caesar’s is smoke-free. Not an option for an impulsive drop-in Friday night, though.

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  43. brian stouder said on February 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    1. Years ago, Pam and I had the exact same experience as basset describes, of entering a casino (a riverboat one, in St Louis), wandering around, and then deciding to hit the eject button, all within about 5 minutes. Just wasn’t our thing.

    2. I can identify (at least slightly) with hex’s frustration about the odd way smoking in public has changed around, in the past 25 years or so. That said, I think hex has the emphasis on the wrong syllable. For many of us (see item 1 above) venturing into a casino is an unusual experience, yes? And she was describing her impressions, and the smoking made the biggest impression. If a person went to a massage parlor – and really only wanted a massage – and then described what happened, that would be interesting in the same way.

    3. I think it was great that NJ lowered their flags for their famous daughter, too.

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  44. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Julie R – It’s against the law to smoke inside a business in Wisconsin. Out side, thou, we share the the air. So, who is greater polluter, you in your car or me outside smoking? I’ll argue that’s it your car Juli. So why must I breath “your” pollution Juli. Is it because it more convient for you to think I’m the bad one than it is too look in the mirror at yourself as the polluter of air. It’s easy to pick on the minority. To find rules and reasons why your better. But your not. You, and anyone who drives a car, pollutes the air 10 times more than I do with my cigarets. So don’t use that as an excuse to discriminate and segragate smokers.

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  45. Icarus said on February 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    The oscars are lame because the show is too long involving catagories no one outside the industry cares about. I get that we mortals have to pay a cover to see the glamour so I’m willing to put up with a few of those categories, but do I really care who gets Best Key Grip?

    And as Richard Roeper writes about once a year, come into the 21st century already and release the nominees list at a normal time.

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  46. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Nance – I could proably find a Casino that has a church inside it, but that would be the exception and not the rule…

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  47. Suzanne said on February 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Downton Abbey finale–I laughed, cried, and cringed a few times. Maggie Smith’s character had a real zinger that I wish I had written down. I loved that Daisy is finally understanding the human kindness that she spread around by marrying William. I was ticked that the pompous, scheming footman (whatever he is)was not discovered to have dog-napped and was praised for his hard work by the man he just tried to scam. But, then, that’s real life, isn’t it?
    The show seemed a bit disjointed, but I loved it nonetheless.

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  48. Joe Kobiela said on February 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Of course I know the president does not controle the gas prices. the point I was trying to make is everyone seemed to blame Bush for $4.00 gas, and Jeff is saying its wall street. All im saying is it was wall street then also.
    Hexadecimal, feel free to smoke where ever you want,just not where the second hand smoke effects the rest of us.
    Pilot Joe

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  49. Sue said on February 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    velvet goldmine, I liked last night’s Downton Abbey better than the last few episodes, but am still irritated by getting clobbered over the head with what’s coming. Of course I knew right away the maid was sleeping with the fortune-hunter, I’ve been DA trained.
    My only real complaint was watching the romantic ending. Snow softly falling, not touching either of them, no wind ruffling anyone’s hair in spite of the scattering snowflakes, no evidence of cold or discomfort despite the fact that Mary was dressed for Florida. I couldn’t concentrate on the scene because I was wondering why the producers added a snow effect afterwards (I assume) and didn’t think it looked odd.

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  50. MichaelG said on February 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I was in a joint in Can Tho, RVN several years ago when the scantily clad Heineken girls showed up. Booze girls are neither new nor unique to the US. I certainly had no objection to pouring down a few free beers even though I don’t quite represent the yoot market.

    1964. Goldwater seemed a bit out there to some at the time but compared to the current GOP pantheon he would be a lefty. He wasn’t a full on ‘bull goose loony’ like Santorum. At least not in today’s context. “Back to the store in ’64!” And this other oldie just popped into my twisted mind: “Don’t change Dicks in the middle of a screw. Vote for Nixon in ’72!”

    I don’t remember cakes from when I was a kid either. My mom was also a horrible cook and so was my dad until fairly late in his life when he finally started to learn. While I can’t remember birthday cakes I can recall some memorably horrible meals. Chop suey was one example. The old man’s interpretation was a stew pot filled with chopped celery, a gallon of soy sauce and who knows what else and simmered for an hour. Just thinking about it almost makes me gag.

    Second hand smoke certainly causes physical discomfort and potentially causes illness for bystanders. Abortion doesn’t. Maybe a better analogy would be helmet laws. The argument there is that people with scrambled brains suck up a lot of money and medical resources in the form of long term care and are a social drag as they cause much sadness and anguish to friends and relatives.

    I agree that a reasonable solution is to have smoking and non-smoking areas in casinos. Too bad if that special machine is in the wrong area.

    Dexter, that link you posted in yesterday’s edition doesn’t work. Repost?

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  51. LAMary said on February 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I’m not thrilled that NJ lowered the flags for Whitney. It seems to discount people like firefighters or war heroes or statesman, but whatever.
    Thinking about all the great musicians NJ has turned out is interesting. Not just Sinatra, but Nelson Riddle too. Those two talents combined on I’ve Got You Under My Skin to make one of my favorite recordings.

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  52. Jeff Borden said on February 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm


    If the movie we rented is any indication, you can always move to Spain. We saw “Biutiful” with Javier Bardem in a killer performance and, Lord, it was rare there was ever an adult in the frame who wasn’t clutching a cigarette.

    Or maybe even Spain limits smoking in businesses and public spaces. The smokers were always seen inside apartments or on the streets.

    As someone who used to go through a couple of packs of Marlboro reds a day in my early 20s, I really am sympathetic. If I hadn’t had a pack of smokes in my pocket on the police beat, I would’ve been lost. Not only was I enjoying them, but they were great bribes to coppers at a crime scene. Given how slow social change seems to come, the way we regard tobacco products and smokers compared to just a few years ago is pretty astonishing.

    My wife still smokes a few per day and I’m on her to quit, but there’s a lot going on in her life at both work and involving her mom’s health, so I don’t push it. It’s really just me being selfish, at base. The nine days she recently spent with her mom made me aware of just how much I need and want her around all the time. Hopefully, when she retires at the end of the year, she’ll address the nicotine scourge.

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  53. beb said on February 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Who know smoking would be such a divisive issue — except that in hindsight — of course. I once got the smart-alecky idea that smoking should be allowed in any store or restaurant as long as the air handling system was so good that you couldn’t smell the smoke. I still think it’s a viable idea only non-smokers’ senses are so acute that they could probably smell a cigarette in a hurricane. I believe, but don’t know for sure, but I think there is also an exemption for so-called cigar bars. I confess I love smoke free restaurants, even when they had divided the room into smoking and non-smoking sections there was always too much cross-ventilation. But when companies (especially medical centers) start saying ‘no smoking on campus’ and included the employees our car in the parking lot, I think they’ve gone too far. Smoking may be bad for you, but it’s still your right to go to hell in a hand-basket, if that’s your desire.

    Julie @4: “Secret life of Arietty” just came out theatrically. I don’t think it will be released to Netflick any time soon.

    Speaking of netflick. I read on that Warner Studios, which owns the copyright to The Bodyguard has pulled Netflicks license for that movie in what appears to be a bald attempt to jack up profits by making people buy the DVD. This follows Sony jacking up the price to download her music. Does that mnake these people jackals or vultures?

    My favorite cake was our 30th anniversary cake – a store-bought pan cake from Costco. It had a layer of mousse between top and bottom that was soooooooooo good.

    Pineapple Upsidedown cake is also delicious but discouraged for people with Type II diabetes.

    Matt Taibbi talked about the last gas spike in his book, Griftopia. It principly happened because people (like Goldman Sachs) were speculating in the futures market, an otherwise tightly regulated market barred to people like Goldman Sachs… until the got a letter of exemption from the SEC. There is some indication that sharp increases in the gas price triggers recessions. Thuings went to hell in the 70s following the gas embargo and the crash in 2008 followed on $4 a gallon gas

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  54. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Look, I really don’t mind going outside to smoke. It’s the only excecise I get. Where I get incensed is comments like Nance’s who complains about smoke at casinos,which is one of the last places for smokers to gather as a group. It’s like going to a whore house and then complaining the place is filled with whores!

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  55. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Senator Frothy Excrescence is one of those people that always looks like he smells a bad stink. Dog in the manger blue-stocking prig.

    Who’s manipulating gasoline prices? Why, that would be Mortimer and Randolph, the Krooked Koch Bros. and a whole buncha very unpatriotic commodity speculators.

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  56. derwood said on February 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm


    It’s called a casino not a smokehouse. Another bad analogy. I’ve had the same experience as others. We went to Indiana Live after a wedding reception that was at the racetrack and we didn’t get 50 feet in the door of the casino before turning around and leaving. The smoking ban is in place to protect visitors as well as employees that have to work there. They shouldn’t be exempt at all. We don’t eat out in Fishers north of Indy as they are the one donut city/town that didn’t pass a smoking ban for restaurants. State-wide ban for all bars and restaurants can’t come soon enough.

    Favorite cake: when I was probably 5 through year 10 my neighbor baked these elaborate cakes for my birthday party. One year I had 10 Indy cars, the next was a full train from engine to caboose…6 cars long all different flavors of cake.


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  57. Dexter said on February 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I have never tried to reform smokers, but I am a reformed smoker, the worst kind of smoke-haters, even as I have great affection for many smokers.
    If casinos and smoking go so great and so well together…how to ‘splain this?
    CINCINNATI — Smokers won’t be hired at new casinos in Columbus and Toledo, a ban that’s been adopted in other industries as employers try to hold down health care costs.

    Job applicants for 3,200 positions at the two casinos being developed by Penn National Gaming Inc. will not be considered if they smoke, chew tobacco or use nicotine patches, according to the company.

    MICHAEL G…I guess I can’t post a facebook link here…maybe you could email nance your email addy to email to me, and I could sent the pic to you.
    If you , or anyone else here at nn dot com already use facebook, request friend status and I’ll confirm.

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  58. Bitter Scribe said on February 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I get a little annoyed when I read Goldwater nostalgia. People tend to forget that his big thing was opposition to civil rights. When he said “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” he meant the liberty of Southern states to chase their black citizens away from the voting booth.

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  59. Dexter said on February 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I was all set to post an old-time cigarette commercial but the hell with that! Look what I found, me, a timeless hopeless Marilyn lover .

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  60. Jeff Borden said on February 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Right on, Bitter Scribe. I think the reason Goldwater is held in esteem by a lot of lefties is he became a voice of reason during the reign of the neocons. He was always good for a tasty sound bite on the lunacy of current right-wingers. But you’re quite right about his less savory beliefs back in the day.

    What will it take for the GOP to return to some level of normalcy? I truly wonder.

    BTW, anyone see that trial balloon story suggesting that nervous Republicans are pleading with Mitch Daniels to enter the race?

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  61. brian stouder said on February 20, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Jeff, I think Mitch would fold up like the empty suit he is; even more quickly than Governor Perry did.

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  62. Dexter said on February 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    J-Bo: My wife is a political junkie and she has msnbc on all day long. I have heard mention of pushing Daniels into the fray on several host-guest shows.

    Also, Jeff…your Cubbies seem to be headed for the basement even before Spring Training even officially commences. There was much talk today of batting Starlin Castro third in the order. He hit ten home runs and drove in 66 in 158 games in 2011. This is more like a sixth place hitter, or on a strong tram, eighth in the lineup. The guys on The Score 670 are saying the Cubs cannot contend until at least 2015 or 2016. Shit.

    brian, I will give Daniels more credit that that. Perry proved to be an empty suit. At least Daniels can articulate his views. Other than that, I admit to knowing only that he leased out, ( FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM WIKIPEDIA: in 2006, under his orchestration, the road for a period of 75 years to Australia-based Macquarie Group and Spain-based Cintra.”)

    This irritated many Hoosiers because of now and future steadily escalating tolls. In 2016, the I-Pass discounts go away and it becomes the cash toll, same-same.

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  63. Brandon said on February 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I had no problem with flags being flown at half-mast for Whitney Houston.

    FLag protocol:

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  64. Connie said on February 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Dexter, Hoosiers would put it a little differently. Daniels sold the toll road.

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  65. basset said on February 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    MichaelG@50 reminds me of another bumper sticker of the time… “Impeach the Cox-Sacker!”

    Meanwhile… Hunter S. Thompson checked out seven years ago today:

    “No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your (old) age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”

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  66. coozledad said on February 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Well, Hunter was a generous spirit. I’ve always thought if you weren’t being a pain in the ass you were missing out on at least half the fun.
    I like being old. People don’t ask me to help move heavy stuff.

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  67. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Again, I ask the question. Why do you nonsmokers hang out at casinos that allow smoking? And why can’t there be smoking casinos and non smoking casinos? Why do non smokers get to rule the world? Can’t we all just get along?

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  68. Dexter said on February 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Someone’s a fucking troll here today.

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  69. Julie Robinson said on February 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Well, I’ve no desire to go to a casino, but if I did the smoke would drive me out entirely. I watched my dad try to give up the coffin nails two or three times a year, suffer horribly from withdrawal, then finally give in. They did kill him, too, and he was only 62.

    Hex, you aren’t open to changing your mind and I’m not going to waste time arguing. But; that bitterness you’re carrying around makes for quite a heavy load.

    Loved, loved, loved the season finale of DA, despite all its shortcomings. Although I can’t help but wonder what will carry it next year if there’s no war and Matthew & Mary are happily together. Funnily enough, I never read romance novels but I love them in movie form.

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  70. velvet goldmine said on February 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Suzanne — what was the MS scene? When the cad was finally kicked to the curb and threatened not to come back, she said something like, “Is that a promise?” Like most of her lines, it was better in the delivery than in the writing.

    Sue — yes, much of it was telegraphed. I am mystified that the possible-heir just disappeared midway through series 2. My hope is that he will be a big factor in season 3, and it will be a showdown between Matthew and Mary and Titanic boy and Edith as to who will claim the estate.

    As for the fake snow, my TV is so old and creaky that it all looks legit to me — or rather, a sunny July day looks as if it were snowing!

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  71. MichaelG said on February 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Easy, Bitter Scribe. I wasn’t nostalgic for Goldwater. Somebody else mentioned him and I merely noted that he wasn’t as far out crazy and inhabiting an alternate universe like the current crop. Yes he was a bad guy and no I never voted for him.

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  72. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    No Dexter, I’ve posted here before. It’s Nance’s post about the casino having a plethora of smokers that tweaked a nerve in me, and complaining about it, which is one of the jabs I’ve been broiling about for a couple years now.

    I read this blog most every day. I like the writing, which I’ll never come close to emulating. But I always thought all ideas where considered. I’ve not gone all Caliban on anyone, nor all Dwight.

    My point has been through all my posts is that there should be places for smokers to gather and places for non smokers to gather. If you, as a non smoker, visit a smoking place, please keep your comments about how it smells like cigarets to yourself. It’s sort of a “DUH”! Better yet, don’t go there at all.

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  73. Rana said on February 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Spain is going smoke-free now, and I for one appreciate it; it means you can actually taste the food, which is excellent! Seriously, the difference between when I first went, in the mid 1990s, and my last visit a couple of years ago, was astonishing. I remember that when I came back from the first trip all of my clothing–my clean, washed clothing–smelled of cigarette smoke. No such problem the second time, and most of the restaurants we ate at were either smoke-free or had a non-smokers’ area (which worked as well as they usually do, but it was still an improvement).

    Hex, I’m normally sympathetic to people who smoke, and think that treating them as social pariahs is stupid, but, dude, you’re starting to make me rethink that position. Cigarette smoking is not an inevitable side-effect of gambling (unlike, say, the noise pollution generated at a NASCAR race) however much you want to claim that it is. If you want to make smoking the defining characteristic of your personality, as you seem to be doing here, more power to you, but is that really how you want to be perceived? As the ranting, defensive smoker? Rather than the reasonable guy who happens to smoke?

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  74. JWfromNJ said on February 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I’d also give Mitch some credit. A few years ago I interviewed him at length and he made some very convincing arguments for the toll road lease – which was a big financial boost for the state on a road they weren’t making money on and not maintaining well.
    He also took a lot of heat from Hoosiers on the f’ing DST issue – a perennial subject of Indiana’s stuck in the past mentality. His argument was without the switch Indiana wouldn’t have landed the FedEx hub in Indy or the new Honda plant.
    I threw some real fastballs and he hit them back well.

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  75. Jakash said on February 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I posted this as the last comment on the previous thread, so I assume many haven’t seen it. Not that it’s the funniest thing ever, but I thought it was pretty good, so I’m reposting it for today’s DA conversation.

    No spoiler here. Just a funny moment. After Downton Abbey, they had a short backstage-type video featuring some of the actors talking about the show. The woman who plays Mrs. Patmore (the cook) said something to the effect that she was so excited when she told people she was going to be on the show. They’d ask “Will you be an upstairs character, or downstairs?” And she’d reply “What do you think?”

    We actually thought that the actress that played Lavinia was the only person who actually appeared somewhat less attractive in real life than she did on the show. All the others seemed better looking in the video than as the characters they portrayed. I thought the snow was a bit much, especially with Mary not having a coat (or sleeves, for that matter), but it was charming.

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  76. Dorothy said on February 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Last night’s Downton was the best-written one so far for this current season – and I didn’t need to read Tom and Lorenzo to confirm what I already knew. Still, their coverage of last night’s ep was terrific. I hope the writing improves a good bit for season 3, but their worst shows are way better than much of what the broadcast networks put on. Did you DA lovers know that in the UK, they showed the series as 7 separate episodes? Here in the US they condensed it to five – two of them ran for nearly 2 hours. I have a friend in the UK who saw them in November and December.

    postscript: Why the hell didn’t Matthew take off his coat and put it around Mary’s shoulders when they were outside?! We knew it was January because the trial for Mr. Bates started after New Years. Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought that looked really dumb. How do those actresses wear those sleeveless dresses in that drafty big house and not have goosebumps the whole time?

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  77. garmoore2 said on February 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm


    I’d pull back and get a little perspective here. What set you off was just over four lines of a post. The post itself was not about smokers at a casino; it was about going to a party. Actually, never having been in a casino, I found it surprising that it would be full of smokers. But please, get a grip here. You’ve gone off the deep end over something that, while it obviously bothers you, doesn’t mean that smokers are being attacked. It was a description of the casino, and not the dominant theme here.

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  78. MaryRC said on February 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Re the snow in the final Downton Abbey scene — I have to agree, the proposal was lovely but I was concerned not only about Mary freezing to death but Matthew getting down on his knees/whirling her around, especially after crashing into the furniture during his tussle with Sir Richard the day before. I wanted to say “Mary, people have been dying of the flu and Matthew, you’ve been flat on your back just a few months ago!”

    But I enjoyed the final episode very much, especially the servants’ ball where the actors really seemed to be having fun. The only exasperating part was Mr. Bates. Honestly (as Lady Mary would say), was it his childhood ambition to be convicted of murder? Because he was certainly pulling out all the stops to make it happen.

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  79. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Juli – I’m not bitter. At least I don’t think so…. I’m actuly having fun. Mostly because I’m trying, slowy to show how most of you are hypricates. You all would be up in arms and indignant if someone was segrating people based on skin color. Blacks over there, Hispanics here, Whites anywhere else. Or segration by religion, or wealth. Ooh that’s not allowed. But segregation of smokers Is OK. I don’t like smokes so,it’s OK to put them on a reservation. And then make the reservation smaller and smaller, and smaller.

    Or discrimination. I’m not going to hire you because your Black, Hispanic, Fat, a Smoker. What’s the difference?

    People get into a mind set of ideas. I get it. Smoking is bad, at least for some. As a smoker for 40+ years I still like smoking. Maybe the rest of didn’t and that’s why you quit. Good for you. But quit trying to make the reservation you all have put me on smaller and smaller.

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  80. Dexter said on February 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    garmoore2…love your name…I am old enough to remember Garry Moore, my first favorite old time show host way back in the black and white TV days. The guy was great.
    Most folks today know the name “Gary Moore” as the deceased guitarist of Thin Lizzie. He died too young…only 58 , heart attack and gone.

    Great pictures are around using tobacco smoke for effect, the great one of jazz great Dexter Gordon in a cloud of his own smoke, many pictures of Dean and Frank with their cigs, Johnny Carson with his ever-present smoke, FDR with that Pall Mall stuck in that holder, the Great One, Jackie Gleason with his extra-long and holding his coffee cup full of booze…even going way back to Edward R. Murrow who always had one glowing. Looks good in retrospect, but to say smoking has lost its glamor is an understatement.

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  81. MaryRC said on February 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    When I was 7 my mom made my birthday cake in the shape of a bunny, with coconut frosting and jelly-bean eyes. It was awesome. I thought she was a genius. She had to go back to working full-time the following year to help us make ends meet and didn’t have time to spend on cakes so from then on they came from a box of cake mix or the bakery. I understood, but I’m glad she was able to make that bunny cake.

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  82. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    The USA woud be far better off had somebody listened to me 35 years ago and the government had put all the tobacco farmers into marijuaa, moderated its sale like liquor, and taxed the hell out of it.

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  83. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Rama – My “rant” isn’t about casinos, other than they are the only places someone who smokes can go and be in a social setting and smoke at the sane time. Where else? Resturaunts, No. Bars, no.

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  84. Dexter said on February 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Hope you can see the pic from the link…it’s Lauren Bacall watching President Harry S Truman playing the piano.

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  85. Dexter said on February 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    caliban…I must disagree strongly with a comment you made a couple days ago. I remember the dark day in the 1980s when Jack Daniels changed their recipe and became a simple bourbon which most people must mix with vast quantities of Coca Cola to mask the hideous quality and taste…now, don’t get me wrong, it used to be a great bourbon. Also remember it is from Tennessee, and there is no comparison to Kentucky bourbon. Wild Turkey is still the standard of quality, say my still-drinking pals, with Maker’s Mark also right up there.
    To tell the truth, Jack Daniels Tennessee sippin’ whiskey became an industry joke 25 years ago. To this day I have never even heard of a Wild Turkey shot being mixed with Pepsi or Coke.
    There, I said it! And of course I am sort of voicing the opinion of my few friends who still love bourbon and drink it regularly, as I am long dormant in the bar and drink-at-home scene.

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  86. Sue said on February 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Oh, I forgot to mention one thing about Downton Abbey last night:

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  87. alex said on February 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Re: Dex’s earlier post about Romney:

    Not just outspending [his opponents] in Michigan, but outspending them twenty to one. This is the obscene nature of our wicked world at its worst.

    Well, his poll numbers don’t favor him by twenty to one, so he’s not getting much for his damn money.


    Regarding the dustup over smoking, as a recent ex-smoker with heart disease I am glad to be done with the habit, but I think that if a business wants to serve a smoking clientele it should be the business owner’s right to do so and the customer’s right to patronize the place or not. Casinos are about the only business that hasn’t been trampled by restrictive laws in this regard. I’ve heard all of the arguments about how it’s supposed to protect employees as well as the general public. You should ask some of the employees in bars and restaurants in Fort Wayne who have told me that business is way down since the smoking ban was initiated six years ago and that they’re serving an entirely different clientele, one that not only doesn’t smoke but also doesn’t spend money on alcohol and consequently don’t leave big tips.


    JWfromNJ — I can’t recall offhand where I’ve read it, but supposedly the proceeds from the Indiana Toll Road have already been exhausted and the lessees have already made more in just a few years than they paid. And they’ve still got about 70 years to go on their lease, so that’s a lot of revenue this state will never see because of Mitch Daniels’ cronyism. (I refuse to believe it was shortsightedness. He knew he’d be long gone before having to answer for fallout from any of his dubious policies.)

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  88. alex said on February 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Dex, I must disagree strongly with your comments re: Jack Daniels. I happen to love the stuff and would never dream of desecrating it with Coke, or any mixer for that matter.

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  89. James said on February 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm


    Why don’t you step outside with that vile stuff you’re emitting.

    If you’re familiar with Nancy’s site, you should know better than to keep beating that dead horse. Mention your gripe once, state your case, and then stop. No one is enjoying it, and you’re making my clothes all stinky with your repeated whining.


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  90. Connie said on February 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    JWfromNK referred to DST being a perennial subject of Indiana’s stuck in the past mentality.

    In a similar vein , in recent days my Indiana Facebook friends have been moaning about class basketball. 15 years people, let it go.

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  91. Peter said on February 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Oh Dexter, I wouldn’t be too harsh on Jeff and the Cubs.

    It pains me beyond belief to say this, and my fellow Sox fans are treating me like Barry Obama at a CPAC picnic, but I really do think that this time, the Cubs are going to finally finally FINALLY turn it around, and it’s going to be nuclear winter on the South Side.

    I’m thinking positive thoughts for the Sox this year Adam Dunn won’t be as much of a trainwreck, Alex Rios might wake up, and Jake Peavy might get that bat out of his ass, and I’m thinking there’s nothing stopping them from winning 65-70 games.

    There. I said it.

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  92. Charlotte said on February 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Barbie cake! I got one for my birthday in 1st grade? I loved loved loved it because my mother vigorously disapproved of Barbie and yet, got me a Barbie cake. I do remember that it tasted bad though.
    And the branded booze thing — we were in the Quality Inn in Thermopolis, WY over the holidays (if you ever want a vacation that combines fabulous natural sulphury hot springs and amazeballs amounts of taxidermy — like Noah’s Ark-level taxidermy, 2 of everything, and they’re dead, the Quality Inn in Thermopolis is for you). So we’re in the bar, and the bartender keeps trying to sell me, drinks made with vodka flavored like marshmallow fluff, and vanilla icing, and there was some other revolting one I can’t remember. I had a bourbon, rocks. Ugh.

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  93. Sue said on February 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Charlotte, do stick around.

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  94. Sue said on February 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I seem to recall a birthday party for one of my nieces once where there was a Barbie cake. Good heavens that hair is flammable.

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  95. moe99 said on February 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm


    As someone who is probably in her last 6 months of life with nonsmall cell lung cancer, I am appalled at your cavalier attitude towards those who do not smoke. I do not choose to have to breathe the second hand smoke of all the smokers gathered outside of my building when I go into work. I am forced to breath it. How can you reasonably force the rest of us to inhale the poison you voluntarily force into your lungs?

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  96. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Dex @ #62 – I think you owe an apology to empty suits manfully dangling from clothesracks all over this great nation of ours.

    Hex, I wondered when the first bans went thru some years (decades?) ago about how the whole outdoor thing would work. Because if you concentrate smokers outside of large building doors, you’ll get a decent amount of building inhalation as the air systems cycled, plus now at any given hour, the odds of walking out (or in) thru a cluster of smokers is now up to about 1.

    So of course, the next rule posted at hospitals and college buildings and county offices that I saw was “not within 50 feet of door.” Yeah, that’s gonna work on rainy/frigid days. And I suspected . . .

    . . . we’d get “on our property, all use of tobacco products is forbidden.” Which in WV & eastern OH, begs the question of who’s gonna check those lumps in people’s cheeks. So of course the next step was: employment screening, and our own Cleveland Clinic is proudly first in that bathwater.

    I really don’t know what the right answer here is. Tobacco has fatal effects if used as directed, I get it, I did my initial CPE on a head-and-neck oncology floor at Methodist Hospital in Indy. If I’d ever smoked, that would have cured me before the long summer was over.

    But alcohol kills more — and as a few have observed, it’s mainly what killed Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. We talk about the drug use, which didn’t help, but we gloss over the drinking problem which really dug the hole and built the coffin and pulled the trigger.

    So my heart is with your frustration, even though I think you’re going to have to propose your alternative more clearly before there’s a conversation to be had. Caliban suggests that we convert it all over to pot, which doesn’t solve the secondhand smoke & us hyper-allergic sinus-feeble types who’ve stayed out of pool halls and bowling alleys and casinos more for that reason than any moral qualms. Smoking areas were tried here in Ohio, and I don’t know that they got a fair chance, because the health police jumped in and said it still exposed too many “innocent” people to the fatal scourge of tobacco smoke.

    Meanwhile, people are still dying very directly, very obviously, in drunk driving accidents where all we’ve done is pull licenses, impose suspensions, and treat working class neighborhoods to a few strong souls who ride bikes to work sweating out their legal and rightful punishment, while being passed by the three-fourths or more who just drive anyhow “and are careful.”

    My best camp counselor, Andy Hopkins, was killed almost ten years ago now (hard to believe) with his girlfriend by a seven-times arrested DUI driver, whose own girlfriend had been told directly by a local cop “if you let him drive your truck, you’ll be charged with murder, too.” He did, and she was. NOW they’re both serving twenty year sentences.

    All of which is to say — that doesn’t seem to be a good solution (when you kill someone, we REALLY punish you) because the incentive doesn’t line up with the addicition. But no one’s saying let’s ban booze. I guess the public health math and the ability to hyper-tax those still needing their nicotine is the real addicition, but it all does seem to be a bit out of skew.

    That was a lot of typing to not have a plan on my part, either, just that I’m a non-smoking sympathizer, even though Nancy’s original comment really wasn’t about “the evils of smoking” at all. But since we went there, that’s what drifts through my head like . . .

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  97. Kaye said on February 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Less than a week until the Oscars and I haven’t seen all of the Best Picture nominees. Please share any thoughts on The Artist, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close or War Horse.

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  98. DellaDash said on February 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Dorothy – was going to say the same thing about if Matthew woulda just taken off his coat and put it around Lady Mary’s bareass shoulders…

    On SadSack Bates…maybe they’re setting up for a little Masterpiece Mystery sleuthing on DA next season. Hopefully his utterly tedious stoicism will be satisfactorily explained at some point.

    Had a temp job for some reps of the Vegas Dealers Union (I think), who’d set up camp in Opalocka (a rough part of Miami) and were lurk-lobbying for a gambling proposition to be ratified. Seedy! My employers paid me…did me no wrong…but they were pornoily and I watched my back. They were definately ramping up for a full spectrum of vice to ambush the area. The locals (with children) had no idea what a bullet they dodged when the prop was voted down.

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  99. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I really need to hit refresh more often. A) I hear the same thing Alex describes as to restaurant business around these parts, and it’s an odd thing — so we need to get people liquored up to get decent compensation for waitstaff? But the answer, apparently, is yes . . . or stop the two-tier system and require decent pay for waitstaff and let tips recede to an incentive system, as it was (now I feel guilty if I don’t hit 20% even for bad service).

    And B) Moe makes the point more directly — we simply can’t go back to having a cloud of smokers outside the door of the hospital, let alone office buildings, which amazed me for years. That’s just a crazy state of affairs. . . but other than grounds-bans, what else would you suggest, Hex? Or are you just wanting to defend the few businesses that still smoke-away?

    It’s just the idea that we’re creating a system where we say on one hand it’s death no matter how secondhand, but on the other, we promote it as a draw for the taxes on the product, and on the services where we allow the same to be used. That just feels creepy . . . but if the alternative is Nucky Thompson, then . . .

    And then there’s legalization of controlled substances, which I can talk myself into either position depending on atmospheric pressure and my blood sugar levels that day.

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  100. Suzanne said on February 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Connie @90 Yes, oh, yes! Class basketball!!! Still stirs up the Hoosier passions. Loved it when my daughter, a middle schooler at the time, said something to the effect that the Miracle of Milan was 50 years ago and people needed to get over it!

    I think a bigger problem for Mitch would be questions about how the state “lost” $300 million dollars and then suddenly found it! Or his Sec. of State who didn’t actually follow the election laws he’s sworn to uphold. I have no doubt, though, the Sec. of S will be back in office in no time.

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  101. brian stouder said on February 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Thread-winner, from Peter:

    and my fellow Sox fans are treating me like Barry Obama at a CPAC picnic

    (I think what kept me laughing was the thought of a “CPAC picnic”; pure genius! And what would those people pack, for a CPAC picnic? Certainly not egg salad, since that’s abortion. Sack races? Sounds immoral to me. And the phony theology that suggests that we should ever picnic, while clueless people we don’t agree with are playing on the playground more gross than the ants in the chocolate sin cake….but we digress!)

    Suzanne – agreed! And don’t forget his loose-cannon wife, and the State Fair catastrophe that she was involved with, and his looming IBM scandal…

    And Moe – I’ll bet you and I will be commenting here in January of 2013, about the outfit Michele Obama wore to her husband’s Second Inaugural. Just sayin’…

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  102. ROGirl said on February 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Jack Daniels with club soda is a nice combination. I’m not much of a brown liquor drinker, and the club soda smooths it out nicely.

    I had a doll cake on my 6th (I think) birthday, she wasn’t a Barbie.

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  103. basset said on February 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Y’know what, I’m not so sure Hexadecimal isn’t actually Caliban before the substances kick in; don’t sentences like “…I’m trying, slowy to show how most of you are hypricates.” sound like Caliban Lite?

    Didn’t see “War Horse” or any of the other nominees, probably been two years since I went to an actual movie in a theater, but Mrs. B. is pulling hard for it and has no interest in the others. I’m not sure I could watch it, too much animal mistreatment from what Mrs. B. says.

    Class basketball… I may be the only native-born Hoosier never to go to a basketball game all the way through high school, and this at a school of a few over 600 students which consistently won sectionals, sometimes regionals, and went to the Final Four the year before I got there. Positively un-American, and they never let me forget it.

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  104. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Don’t be surprised if “The Tree of Life” wins, not because it’s the best, but because the nine nominees are so sprawlingly confuting of any usual way to calculate a winner. There’s every possible standard “that kind of movie usually wins” profile in the list, and how they cancel out could give a quirky movie with a big reservoir of support floating it a chance — like Terrence Malick fans, of which there are many in the Academy.

    I guess I should go see “The Artist,” just so I’ve seen one of the nominees. The last movie we watched here was “Thor,” because if Anthony Hopkins is in it, I’m watching it. But I even liked “The Rite.” (Sorry, *Sir* Anthony.)

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  105. Julie Robinson said on February 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Can’t get enough Downton Abbey? Print out these paper dolls:

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  106. Little Bird said on February 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I quit smoking a while ago, but I still think each bar should be able to determine on their own if they will allow it. Particularly the bars that don’t serve food. For everyone that frets about the folks that work there, keep in mind that the dive bars used to allow the employees to smoke too. And a fair number of them did.
    If nothing else the state could offer cigarette licenses similar to liquor licenses, at a cost to those bars that wish to have it.
    It is kind of nice to be able to go put and not come home smelling like an ashtray though.
    I don’t care if folks smoke around me now, but I never did like it when folks would blow smoke right in my face, that’s just rude.

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  107. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I’ve seen The Artist, Tree of Life, Hugo, and Hugo the most, although I really liked Tree of Life too. Hugo is imaginative as Terry Gilliam at his best.

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  108. Kirk said on February 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    At the CPAC picnic, they pack baloney on white bread — and their guns.

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  109. JWfromNJ said on February 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    @connie – For a moment I thought I’d been promoted to our man from Pyongyang!

    At the time I interviewed Mitch (early 2007) he was correct. And yes, I forgot about class basketball.

    DST really amused me as someone who has lived with it most of his life. I had to pull my car over I was laughing so hard when Hoosiers on a Ft. Wayne station were concerned they would have to work an extra hour for free that night, and in fact some employers thought so too.

    I’ve stayed above the Chris Christie fray because A) I’m ashamed by home state elected him, and B) that wasn’t even the dumbest thing he did last week.

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  110. 4dbirds said on February 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I love poker so have been in MANY casinos. Unless there are small Indian casinos that allow it, every poker room in a major casino is non-smoking. As much as I love to play, if they allowed smoking in the poker rooms, I’d stop going.

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  111. Connie said on February 20, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Sorry JWetc., part of my ongoing fight with my iPad keyboard.

    As one who quit smoking somewhat unwillingly back in October, I am still at the stage where a smoker outside the exit just makes me want to grab their cig for myself. I am thankful my crew of construction workers is done.

    My mother always made box mix chocolate cakes with home made chocolate frosting. My best cake memory is one I bought for my kid. Baskin Robbins ice cream cake roll airplane with cookie wings.

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  112. Connie said on February 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I lived in Indiana when DST kicked in for the first time, and my coworkers were clueless. Their questions were a riot. No, you do not need to set your alarm clock for 3 a.m. In order to change your clocks. Yes, church will still be at 10 a.m. on the changed time.

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  113. caliban said on February 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    Chris Christie reminds me of Providence, RI’s erstwhile mayor, Buddy Cianci, a thuggish, unquestionably mobbed up old time New England pol. When prosecutors got an indictment for rape against Cianci, roving squadrons of his goons hit every coin-op newspaper box in the city and destroyed the papers containing news stories about the assault charges. He skated on the rape charge but ended up doing five years in Club Fed for some sort of political corruption. It’s easy to look at Christie and decide he looks like somebody that would be pals with Raymond Patriarca and the Genoveses. And it’s not entirely unfair. Christie, as did Buddy Cianci, has the heart and soul of a stone bully.

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  114. Joe K said on February 20, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I love dst, being a pilot I no longer have to get up a hour early when I fly east. I also love taking Baxter the worlds most spoiled Golden Retriever,for a walk in the late evening. Before I retired from Dana, a bunch of us were talking one night about how hot it was, I told them it was because the sun was out later with dst therefore it was hotter. They agreed. I also hate class basketball. Taking a event that brought in 63,000 people to watch a high school game to hardly drawing that many for the whole tourney, what a crime.
    Pilot Joe

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  115. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Damn. DAMN. Can all of you, if you have kids, or if you know kids, even just live next door to kids, tell them this for me?

    NEVER MEET SOMEONE YOU’VE MET ONLINE. Ever. If you only know them online, and you’re a kid, NEVER meet someone at their request. And if you request the meeting, ask yourself why, but I never run into that. If someone you only know online asks to meet you, a kid: DON’T GO. And tell an adult, even if you know it means you’ll get some online restrictions. Which of course is why they don’t, and that’s the problem.

    Damn. Sorry, that’s all I can say.

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  116. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Moe – I’m sorry I offended you. It wasn’t my goal, it wasn’t what I set out to do. I had a good friend who died two years ago from lung cancer. We worked together. Saw each other every day. At first, his cancer only cost him his right lung. He recovered. He still smoked. Two years later the second lung, as well as other organs , showed cancer. He lasted another year. Three weeks before he died I picked him at hospice to take him to a Drs appointment. Hospice was on the west side of the valley, appointment was 40 miles east. 3 hour trip. The whole time he raged. Mad at himself, me, the world. He was just angry. The whole time I’m wondering how I can cheer him up. We get to the appointment and he spends two hours with the Dr. When he came out he was skipping, singing, laughing. I ask him what the Dr said? He says “I got a chance. The Dr has a procedure he wants to try. I have an appointment for next month!” the whole way back I had my friend back. He was happy. He was thinking about tomorrow, next week, next month. He laughed. We laughed. He died three weeks later, one week from his appointment.

    I learned a lesson from that last meeting. What can you give a dying person? Hope. That Dr gave him hope. Maybe it was false hope, but it made his passing so much easier on him.

    So Moe, I’m sending all the hope I can your way, that it helps you beat your cancer.


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  117. beb said on February 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Jeff @115: I take it that something bad has happened. Our daughter goes on-line a lot to play multi-player games so we warned her about meeting guys on line and she’s been pretty responsible. I hope whatever has happened can be recovered from.

    Your comments on #96 and 99 really capture the dilemma I feel about smoking. As a non-smoker I find cigarette smoke pretty vile but I don’t think that gives me the right to insist that everybody stop smoking. And I’m troubled when high “sin” taxes are levied on cigarettes and booze. Is it really to discourage people from smoking and drinking or is the State trying to balance their budgets on the backs of the low income drinkers and smokers.

    Daylight Savings Time. I’m all in favor of just forgetting the whole thing. You’re not really saving any times you’re just robbing morning hours for the evening. And at least for me it take a month to adjust to the new times since they have no correlation to our body’s clock. I don’t think there is any real savings in electricity and what there might be is lost to all the inconvenience of changing time zones.

    But I’m a Hoosier born, though I’ve lived in Detroit for 30 years. And I can remember one year when St. Joseph Co. was on Central Standard time and Elkhart county, the county to St. Joe’s east was on Eastern Daylight Time. The county line was about five miles away from us and made a two hour jump. That was fricking insane, and probably why I’m against the whole thing.

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  118. Connie said on February 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    When we lived in Elkhart I had co workers that lived in Michigan and during DST they had to keep careful to keep track of what time it was where.

    When we lived in s. Indiana we got both Louisville and Indy Tv. During DST we appreciated watching Letterman at 10:30, and again at 11:30. Or watch half a show, wait an hour and watch the other half. Only good thing about not having DST.

    I for one love the summer evening sunshine it gives me.

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  119. Rana said on February 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Hex, were you honestly just now comparing restrictions on smoking to Indian reservations? Or being a smoker (a voluntary condition, mind you) to being a minority in a racist society? What the hell, man, what the hell. Stop and listen to yourself, please.

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  120. Crazycatlady said on February 20, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    As having actually seen a patient smoke through their tracheotomy. I know it’s severely addictive. At Henry Ford Health System you must leave the property to smoke on the public sidewalk. I have also seen old people at the casinos pulling their oxygen tanks up to the slots and park it next to someone smoking. Scary!!

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  121. Hexadecimal said on February 20, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Rana – discrimination in any form is wrong. Or don’t you think so? When employers won’t hire because your black or Jewish, is that different than not hiring you because your fat or a smoker? It is a question. For the group. Again, I ask why is one discrimination OK but the other not?

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  122. Minnie said on February 20, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Surely this topic of smoking will not continue into Tuesday.

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  123. Hexadecimal said on February 21, 2012 at 12:12 am

    No Minnie, I’m done. I’ve made my point as far as I’m concerned. I’ll fade back to lurker status. I would like to say I’ve enjoyed the exchanges of ideas and criticisms. I did, really.

    As for Nance, Im sorry if I hijacked part of the discussion. However, those 4 lines were enough to send your comment count into the 100s. Not bad for a Monday.

    My only regret is upsetting Moe. I hope I made amends there.


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  124. paddyo' said on February 21, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Out here in Mountain Time, it’s not yet midnight, so I’ll toss in one more lit cigarette, heh-heh . . .
    I read this 28 years ago when it was originally published, and wish I’d kept that copy of The New Yorker, as I’m not a subscriber at the moment. All a non-subscriber can get at the website for this kind of archival material is the abstract to which I’ve linked. Any of you who are subscribersThe best the magazine offers us non-subscribers is this abstract at its website. You subscribers can go to the archives free of charge for a great read . . .
    End of the Trail
    Great satire from a smoker himself, this is Garrison Keillor’s take on the richly imagined future federal manhunt tracking down the last smokers in America, holed up near . . . Donner Pass! Yeah, and we know how that one came out.

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  125. Deborah said on February 21, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Connie, I too love, love, love DST. I am counting the days until March 11. It is wonderful to walk home from work in the light. I am a lot less crabby during DST.

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  126. Dexter said on February 21, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Peter, I am all over the map when it comes to following baseball, but I have a keen interest in the Cubs because Ron Santo is my favorite player of all-time ( I am INCENSED that the Hall of Fame waited until Ronnie died before opening their doors to him) and also because I spent a good chunk of the late part of the summer of 1969 in the left field bleachers…I was a bleacher bum, albeit a transient one, not one of the hard core bums that were sent by the Cubs on road trips and such, and got their names and pictures all over Chicago Today, a now long-defunct tabloid. I became a Cubs fan when my second cousin Wayne played for the Cubs 48 years ago.
    The Sox cannot possibly beat out Detroit this year. The Tigers landed Prince Fielder. This will be the Tigers’ year.
    Anyway, my cousin actually made the big club in 1964 and pitched well, but never played MLB again after 1964. All I ever did was play in Comiskey Park one game, on a barnstorming team that played one game a year there when the Sox were on the road. The clubhouse attendant took pity on our sorry asses and gave us some clean, but used sanitary hose, which in those days were worn under the stirrup socks, the wool ones.

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  127. Dexter said on February 21, 2012 at 3:21 am

    This is pretty funny, a little video in the Freep:

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  128. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 21, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Beb — my worry these days is when a status offense merges with mandatory expulsion from school, can it be recovered from? I just don’t know. When no one in the home really cares about a high school diploma, you can finagle and arrange all you want on my end, but any plan is vulnerable. But turning 18 and walking away from graduation — that may not sound so bad to some, but from my vantage point, it’s looking more and more like a life sentence.

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