Divine? Not me.

Such a strange story in the Freep Sunday, a Rochelle Riley special on the aftermath of a case everyone who was paying attention in 2005 knows about — a mother and her two sons, killed instantly by a drunk driver. The case was especially egregious in the details: It happened at midday. The driver was utterly shitfaced. He hit her car, stopped to make a left turn into the dentist’s office, at an estimated 70 miles per hour. There wasn’t a single skid mark to indicate he tried to slow down first. He was driving a Yukon, she an Accord. So, so awful. All Gary Weinstein’s chickens and their dam in one fell swoop.

This was in 2005. The driver, Tom Wellinger, was tried and convicted of second-degree murder, and is serving 19-30 years in prison. So what’s the story about? Forgiveness.

Now. If you know me at all, you know I am a world-champion grudge holder. If you were filling out brackets for this sport, you’d be smart to have me and David Simon in the final four, perhaps with an Albanian and Sicilian blood-feuder. It’s not that I’m incapable of forgiveness. I just don’t like the version peddled today, in which you forgive someone who has wronged you by hugging them on Oprah’s set and then adding them to your Christmas-card list. This seems crazy to me. This is the forgiveness I practice: I decide to put stuff behind me. And then I move on. But I reserve the right to not like the other person forever and ever.

Because what else can you do? It’s been my experience that when you get seriously fucked over, it’s pretty rare for the fucker to come back later and say, “I did a terrible thing to you. I apologize, and I ask your forgiveness.” Nooooo. They go on about their lives, eating ice cream and otherwise not being bothered by the face they see in the mirror every day. Life could hardly go on, otherwise. Because we’ve all been that fucker, sometime, to someone. We might not even be aware of it.

But this new brand of forgiveness is the hot thing now, and it’s the bass line of this piece by Riley, which promotes a film project called Project Forgive, being produced by a woman who knew both men at the center of this story — Weinstein the widower and Wellinger the drunk driver, and here’s where I start to look around for the nearest exit:

“There are two Toms,” she said (of the killer), “Tom, this man who killed a family and is in jail, and Tom, a beautiful, loving family man who happened to make a horrific mistake.”

Sure, that guy. Stories at the time indicated this beautiful man was on an epic bender at the time, with a blood-alcohol content around .4. Riley picks up on this ironic detail:

The saddest twist of fate, she said, was that Tom Wellinger’s immediate family had flown to Michigan the day of the accident to stage an intervention over his drinking.

It was scheduled for the next day.

That is not the saddest twist of fate, sorry, no. The saddest twist of fate is the three dead people, and have you ever been to an intervention? Frequently, the person at the center says, “No, I’m not checking into your little rehab center. In fact, I’m leaving right now” and walks out of the room. But she’s going somewhere here, and it’s in the direction of forgiveness. Then this mushroom pops up in the middle of the copy:

(Weinstein) also attributes much of his success and life philosophy to Landmark personal development seminars, something that he said chased away many girlfriends but intrigued the woman he eventually married. (His wife) attended a seminar with him and eventually became a Landmark leader.

What is a Landmark personal development seminar? There’s no explanation. So I went a-Googling. And wow:

If, like me, you are not in the habit of sharing highly personal tidbits of your life with 148 strangers for 13 hours a day, three days in a row, then let me, uh, share with you what that experience feels like. It feels like intergalactic jet lag, or like someone has pumped your head full of a global weather system, heavy on the cumulonimbus. Some of the 148 strangers were crying so much, they looked as if they had been boiled.

And wow:

After nearly 40 hours inside the basement of Landmark Education’s world headquarters, I have not Transformed. Nor have I “popped” like microwave popcorn, as the Forum Leader striding back and forth at the front of the windowless gray room has promised. In fact, by the time he starts yelling and stabbing the board with a piece of chalk around hour 36, it’s become clear that I’ll be the hard kernel left at the bottom of this three-and-a-half-day Landmark Forum. I have, however, Invented the Possibility of a Future in which I get a big, fat raise, a Future I’ll Choose to Powerfully Enroll my bosses in, now that I am open to Miracles Around Money.

And an even bigger wow:

Though it’s hardly a secret, Landmark does not advertise that it is the buttoned-down reincarnation of the ultimate ’70s self-actualization philosophy, est.

Dragging that around in your backpack — to borrow an image from “Up in the Air” — you almost have to find yourself confronting your wife’s killer in a jail cell, and asking after his kids.

“I want him to speak so that the world will know he’s not a monster,” Weinstein said. “My understanding is that he’s not. I can appreciate that people who know what happened to me think I should be vindictive against him for what he did. But I don’t come at it from that point at all.”

Again: Wow. I can’t figure if this is brilliant or not. If I’d done something like Wellinger did, I think a fate worse than death would be to have my victim’s survivors embrace me like this. To care about my family. To tell people I’m not a monster. Maybe this is jujitsu. But there was a strange undercurrent to this story. Some things can’t be forgiven in that way.

Or maybe I’m just in dire need of a Landmark personal-development seminar. Has anyone here done one of these?

How was your weekend. We saw “The Hunger Games,” about which I’ll have more to say tomorrow. In the meantime? Bloggage:

For you photography nerds, inside the 3D conversion of “Titanic.”

Thirty-six billions dollars’ worth of student-loan debt is held by people 60 and older. (Speaking of wow.)

Remember when college riots were sparked by politics and anger over national policy? Yeah, me neither.

Monday awaits! Another slog of a week, but one I’m happy to participate in.

Posted at 6:47 am in Current events, Detroit life, Media |

68 responses to “Divine? Not me.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 2, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Oh, est. Great.

    Nancy, how dare you imply interventions don’t always work, especially when they make such compelling TV. (Especially when they work, but you can just shut down the project when they don’t, and bury the tape.)

    Spent a long day over at a place in Columbus called Amethyst, which is a supportive housing/treatment program for homeless women with addiction issues. Truly amazing and humbling residents (not to mention staff, who introduced me to Plank’s Cafe during the lunch break). Spending half a day with a roomful of women many of whom just got out of sex trafficking in the last year or two will give you a kick in the butt the next time you’re tempted to complain about having to lug your bags in the rain at the grocery or (insert your preferred small inconvenience here).

    But it takes an average of 15 months of small, daily steps and a huge amount of personal commitment to overcome addiction; big dramatic scenes are what they’d call “Hollywood” and shrug at in Amethyst. And to hear some of their stories — it doesn’t do much for one’s commitment to asking people to forgive those who’ve hurt them, at least the way our culture has defined forgiveness. “Moving on” isn’t a bad basis for a practical, spiritually healthy form of integrative forgiveness. IMHO.

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  2. beb said on April 2, 2012 at 7:57 am

    So, is this Rochelle Riley piece a covert ad for Landmark? As for forgiveness, I’m not very good at that, especially if it involved someone killing my family. Forgiveness makes what ever the other person did seem like it was not terrible bad. But they did no bad things, and some things are unforgivable. AZnd if there’s one thing that being forced to watch hours and hours of “Intervention” has taught me, is that most of the people at the center of these interventions are utter and complete assholes.

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  3. Dave said on April 2, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I would think I would wake up with a black hole within myself every morning, if I were this person (Mr. Weinstein) and I can’t think how I would climb out of that hole. I can’t fault him for using Landmark to forgive, although I could not imagine ever forgiving. The effort of keeping going would be hard enough.

    I bet, without looking, that Wellinger had several DWI convictions but there he was, driving still.

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  4. Linda said on April 2, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Actually, I can understand somebody forgiving a huge thing like this, if only to hang onto your sanity. Most of us have the luxury of holding on to petty grievances precisely because they don’t mean that much. But some societies don’t have that luxury, like Rwanda or Cambodia, where monstrous wrongdoing by a large percentage of the population has meant that extracting due vengence would create either massive imprisonment or large-scale bloodshed in pretty short order. There’s a book I have on my shelf, As We Forgive, by Catherine Claire Larson, that details people working in Rwanda to forgive unspeakable crimes. It is a galvanizing read, and no est or Landmark is involved. The ringleaders in the atrocities did indeed get punished severely, but those who were in the periphery, or even coerced into involvement had to work hard for their forgiveness. It shows the journey of those people as well as their victims.

    If, as Dave says, this is the only way that Weinstein can get out of that black hole every morning, I can get it.

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  5. Randy said on April 2, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Here’s a laugh for the day, from the airline up here that has a sense of humour:


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  6. Julie Robinson said on April 2, 2012 at 9:19 am

    It’s been instructive to observe the self-inflicted damage of 30 grudge-holding years by a person close to me. Instructive as in what not to do, focusing only on the past, seeing no personal responsibility (not to imply any in the story above), and confusing principles with inflexibility. So hugging Oprah or signing up for a Landmark seminar, no. Moving forward, yes.

    We went to see The Farnsworth Invention over the weekend, and for science geeks and local historians, it’s a geek fest. For lesser mortals, it’s the pairing of two dynamic actors who carry the show, with about 75% of the Aaron Sorkin staccato between them. A fine treat at the little theatre in the library.

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  7. adrianne said on April 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

    OK, to start the week, a joke:

    What’s the Irish version of Alzheimer’s?

    We forget everything but a grudge.

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  8. Bitter Scribe said on April 2, 2012 at 10:00 am

    As someone once said about est, anyone who pays $300 to be called an asshole probably is one.

    The next time I visit my parents’ graves, I’m going to whisper an extra “thank you” for their having paid every dollar of my tuition.

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  9. Connie said on April 2, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Heard a story on Michigan Radio this a.m. about the panhandlers at freeway exits, particularly around Ann Arbor. State trooper who has befriended many of them says they are all addicts. One view point on your story from last week.

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  10. Fling said on April 2, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I have a good friend who is very into Landmark. Her brother took a course in the early 90s and then got her to go and that was all she wrote. On beyond the seminars, she’s worked at their San Francisco office for years doing admin support. I have had to make peace with my distrust of the org in order to stay friends. She’s stopped asking me to take their courses. It works for her and I can’t argue with that. From everything I’ve heard about Landmark it’s not for me. I get teary after a yoga session, I don’t need to be browbeaten to an epiphany.

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  11. Linda said on April 2, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Bitter Scribe, I’m grateful to have both worked and had parents who helped. And when I got out of grad school in 1984, I had a whopping $1200 in debt! If you know ANYBODY with student debt issues, they need to see this page. It outlines every debt relief program available through the feds, including forgiveness (that word again!), income-based reductions, rehabilitating bad loans (so you will be eligible for the other stuff), consolidation, etc. Some new stuff has come down the pike in the last couple of years that has helped people I know.

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  12. Deborah said on April 2, 2012 at 10:36 am

    About twice a week I think of something fun that I want to send my right wing sister and then I remember I’m supposed to be holding a grudge against her. I don’t think it will last much longer, although I did need a break from her remarks about Obama and her love of Limbaugh.

    Bitter Scribe, I know what you mean about your parents paying for your tuition. I took out some student loans and for a wedding gift my father said he’d pay them all. He did that for my sister too, although she had taken a trip to Europe while she was in college and he paid for that as well.

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  13. Sue said on April 2, 2012 at 10:38 am

    “who happened to make a horrific mistake”
    Stop that, Ms. Riley. Driving drunk does not qualify as a mistake. You don’t accidentally get behind the wheel with enough alcohol in your system to put yourself into a coma.
    Driving drunk is a choice, one that you might be forgiven for, but it is not a forgivable ‘mistake’.

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  14. Sue said on April 2, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I went to an ‘informational’ presentation for one of those enlightenment seminars in the late 70s, with a friend who was a new convert and true believer. I didn’t know much about them but she really wanted me to go, really wanted to share the life-changing experience she’d had. While driving there, my friend told me about the exercise the leaders required her husband to do to get in touch with his emotions – he had to read “The Velveteen Rabbit”, and apparently he cried and cried and cried, discovering empathy and becoming a better person.
    I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a real distaste for that book. I wished in the car on the way to the presentation that I had known about this requirement, because it told me everything I needed to know about the falseness of the movement and the ability of these people to creatively manipulate emotions. Obviously I did not sign up and it was an awkward two hours, watching the aggressive cheerleading at the front of the room reinforced by the true believers in the audience chiming in constantly.

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  15. Deborah said on April 2, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I just looked it up and I realize I’d been mixing up est and Esalen. I get the difference now.

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on April 2, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Deborah and Linda, thanks for sharing. Of course I did thank my parents while they were alive, or tried to. They always pooh-poohed it and noted that I had worked and gotten scholarships, which was true but only went so far (not very). That’s just the kind of modest people they were.

    What annoys me most about the whole student-loan mess is how the banks, protected by their Republican lapdogs in Congress, have managed to hold onto a monopoly, charging out the wazoo for federally guaranteed loans.

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  17. Dorothy said on April 2, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Some of you might recall back in early December when I told about a co-worker who accidentally sent a snotty email to me (I never did find out who she meant to send it to) that was about me, and the mess that ensued. She apologized (several times) and I accepted her apology, but I did tell her I could not be friends with her ever again. I thought we had been good friends – we shared books, went to lunch together on occasion, talked about our kids and husbands, etc.

    Well, after about 6 weeks I found I was more and more uncomfortable at work. We had to talk to each other about work-related subjects and I hated the draining atmosphere any time she was near me. I also noted that she had been missing a good deal of work. She suffers greatly from migraines. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had to act on my instincts – which was to reach out to her and find a way to stop feeling so damn cranky about what had happened. The only way I knew to do that was to write her an email and ask her to go to lunch so we could talk. She was stunned and then grateful, and we both ended up in tears while we had lunch (the waitress just didn’t know how to handle that so she moved in and out of our presence REALLY fast). I told her I just wanted to forget it and move on. She apologized again and I accepted it, and we’re really fine with each other now. It felt very freeing to do this and try to be friendly again, if not actually being “friends.” The awkwardness is gone and I am pleasant to her. Would I confide something in her ever again? Not a chance. But at least I don’t walk around dreading bumping into her in the kitchen or passing her on in the hallway. “We’re good” is a description of our relationship now, but it could never go back to how it was before. All I know is that my conscience is clear, she was extremely grateful to me for reaching out to her, and we both learned some valuable lessons from it. Not the least of which is triple check the “to” line of a draft email from now on.

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    • nancy said on April 2, 2012 at 11:09 am

      I think the difference, in your case, is that the person asked for forgiveness, or at least was open to it. It’s the ones who don’t ask that perplex me. The bosses who choose your head to roll, the partners who cheat and move on, etc.

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  18. LAMary said on April 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I forgive so I can move on. I learn from the experience and don’t go out of my way to be buddies with the cheater/drunk/liar/thief. I have relatives and an ex with whom I have to interact regularly and if I hadn’t forgiven them life would be very difficult.

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  19. Prospero said on April 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

    What sort of crony capitalism put student loan debt outside of bankruptcy protection? Same sort that allowed the creation of the student loan middle man industry as a source of almost pure profit for a nearly nonexistent but mandated service, which I’m sure comprises a large component of current outstanding debt. These bidnesses basically tacked on a %age for mailing government checks to college bursars, and are as beloved of GOPers as their title-pawn and payday loan fellows in usury. This part of student loan debt ought to be forgiven by Congressional fiat, as never having been legal in the first place. Maybe members of Congress that supported this vulterine system in the first place can ease the blow by returning the kickback blood money. Maybe claw back obscene bonus money paid to crooked executives and traders that invented derivatives, nearly fucked the world economy and the TARP bailout beneficiaries that employ them, many of which were those useless student loan “brokers”.

    All of which makes me wonder about Raygun’s trickle down boy wonder, former OMB director David Stockman, the most infamous student loan deadbeat ever. Stockman is making a new career ranting about TARP and the evils of crony capitalism, er…corporatism:


    Ever pay off those loans Dave, or have a crony take care of them for you?

    I’ve read The Velveteen Rabbit a couple hundred times, to my daughter and now to my grandson, and I think it is a fairly moving piece of delayed Victoriana with beautiful illustrations, but I’ve never shed a tear. (Is the sentiment and uplift a little much, sure, but when your kid’s favorite book is the loathesome Danny and the Dinosaur, anything else looks good.) Do I lack empathy? Hell no. I cry at the mention of Brian’s Song.I’m amazed that those est clones don’t draw disgruntled postal carriers with modified semi-automatic weapons with the jumbo magazines. They seem designed specifically to incite mass murder.

    Am I alone in thinking oleaginously creepy Henry Francis wants Betty beefed up to MOM dimensions. Did January Jones do a DeNiro for verisimilitude? Sure looked it getting out of the tub. Does Henry own a creepy motel upstate on US5? That couple’s bedroom scenes put me in mind of Predator atop Schwarzenegger. Yuck. Not telling Betty that Don had called to check on her indicates serious problems with self esteem and penis-insecurity.

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  20. Peter said on April 2, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I remember that mass shooting at an Amish school a few years back – several of the victim’s parents went over and forgave the parents of the shooter, because, as one of them said, “Our religion teaches us to forgive, no matter what the offense, no matter how much it hurts”. I just thought to myself that those people have a lot more faith than I ever will, because I just don’t know if I could ever do that.

    There have been some people who have really been assholes to me, my wife, and more important, to my son. I don’t hold a grudge against them as such, but I won’t associate with them. Being assholes, I can correctly assume they’re not going to be coming over to offer an apology, but if they were thinking about it, they can save themselves the trip. Most of time, the real reason is to make themselves feel better, and I’m thinking they offended me once, no reason to have them offend me again.

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  21. coozledad said on April 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Among the host of other crimes and fuckups I’ve yet to see the Republicans own up to in any meaningful sense is the apology they owe the nation for giving this bumpited herpes sore a platform.
    Aww leave her alone, they say. What’s so wrong about her staggering into a studio to collect a check for her narcissistic personality disorder every other goddamn week.

    Lepers like Judith Miller and David Brooks need to be cleaning bedpans at Walter Reed until they’re hauled off to to rot in a common grave with Tom Delay and Duke Cunningham, but maybe that’s just me: I tend to think short memories overwhelmingly err in favor of the despicable.

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  22. LAMary said on April 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    It’s Emmy Lou Harris’ birthday.


    This is a sad sweet song that reminds me of my friend Peter. I named my son after him.

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  23. Bitter Scribe said on April 2, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    The only people who ever called me seeking forgiveness are 1) my ex-wife and 2) some guy who felt guilty for giving me a hard time in junior high.

    What’s funny is that not only didn’t I recall feeling resentful of guy #2 (and I’m the kind of person who still fumes over his high-school humiliations), but I had served as his campaign manager for class president and he didn’t even remember that. Just goes to show you that two memories really are never the same.

    As for the ex, I was civil to her, but that’s as good as it will ever get.

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  24. DellaDash said on April 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Est…Landmark…ugh! ugh! ugh! Sue, your friend is characteristic of those who drink the cloyingly sugared cool-aid. My younger sister started with Est (if that’s what it was back then) when she was an employee of FedEx in San Francisco. I guess all the minions were sent to be ’emotionally scoured’ as part of the corporate cult-ure. She’s been an enthusiastic pain-in-the-ass through all the permutations up to Landmark ever since…wanting all her family and friends to share in her ecstasy/personal growth; while completely disregarding anyone else’s attempted paths to enlightenment. Her second husband was also a ‘FedEster’, and jumped all over me at their wedding for being shut down…for not immediately sharing my innermost emotions, especially the one that was supposed to be already clasping him to my (rather nonexistent) bosom. My impression of Landmarkers and their ilk is that they’ve been handed a license to pump themselves up at the expense of dumping on everyone around them. Obliviously. Cluelessly. Do I forgive my sister for the many times she’s been offensive, aggravating, and hurtful even to the point of making me cry? Well…she’s my sister and I do love her. Sometimes my heart aches for the brittle neediness that makes her so susceptible to the Landmark ethos. Forgiveness isn’t really what’s called for here…kid-glove handling and wariness is.

    As for big-ticket forgiveness events in which loved ones get killed…I haven’t had to deal with any so far. Hopefully, I’ll never have to find out about how I’d come to terms with it all.

    On the day-to-day petty wrongdoings front, I’d put myself in the NN-grudge-n-letgo camp…or maybe the step-on-my-toes-I’ll give-you-wide-berth camp.

    I’m not in the habit of blaming others for what goes wrong in my life…nor do I have much sympathy for those who do…so, for the most part it comes down to forgiving myself.

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  25. Prospero said on April 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Great performance by Emmylou in a great movie:


    And with her band The Nash Ramblers, in a great dress, doing a great Hank Williams song:


    edit: OOPS, that’s the Hot Band, not the Nash Ramblers.

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  26. DellaDash said on April 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I feel ya, Dorothy @17. It’s a good example of workplace diplomacy. None of us, even guys, can be productive when emotional drama is holding sway.

    Here I go name-dropping again…there’s a Japanese magnolia tree (purple blossoms) outside my front deck that was given as a gift to my landlord, who’s done work on Emmylou Harris’ house (less than a mile from here). Also, you can see (and hear) my Nashville BFF backing up Neil Young, alongside Emmylou and Pegi Young, in Jonathan Demme’s 2005 documentary ‘Heart of Gold’.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on April 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Dorothy and Mary, kudos. You’ve got it right.

    Count me among those filled with gratitude for my parents, for lots of reasons, but also for college tuition. I guess I have to thank my grandparents, too, because their estates covered many of the costs. Our kids both have big loans and tiny incomes. I doubt either will be able to buy a house, which leads me to wonder how many others in their generation are in the same plight. The logical conclusion to that is wondering, who will be able to buy ours?

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  28. MichaelG said on April 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I remember Werner Earhard (Sp?) and his estholes.

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  29. Joe Kobiela said on April 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Hell, I forgive Prospero every day for the things he says on this here blog.
    Pilot Joe

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  30. LAMary said on April 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    If my sons stick to state schools we should be ok without loans. I’ve told them both I’ll get them through the BA/BS, but grad school is on their dime. If I’m able I’ll give as much help as possible, though. Luckily they are both hard workers and they’re supplementing what I give them. The dog sitting business is pretty lucrative.

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  31. basset said on April 2, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Mrs. B. says Emmylou was always really nice when she brought her dogs to the vet clinic… she has done a lot for dog rescue.

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  32. ROGirl said on April 2, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    The thing that got me about the guy’s involvement with Landmark is that according to the story he’s been into it for a long time, so no matter what horrific thing happened, he would have to spout the forgiveness rhetoric or else admit that it’s all a big scam.

    I couldn’t believe it when they said on the radio this morning that Emmy Lou is 65.

    All the fat and bulges on Betty Draper reminded me of Jiminy Glick (the Martin Short character).

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  33. Dexter said on April 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I was listening to WLW Cincinnati early Sunday morning, just after midnight , and callers from Columbus were saying the kids were at it again, burning couches and all that, and Bubba Bo, the host, said he couldn’t believe it because , basically, OSU fans couldn’t give a damn about basketball. It turns out , apparently, the call was a hoax, but the Lexington disturbance did happen.
    It was either when Michigan won the national championship in basketball in 1989 or when they lost in 1993 on the no-times-out-left time out call by C.Web when South University Avenue in Ann Arbor erupted into a pretty good sized riot. OSU does indeed routinely burn couches and cars and raise hell on a regular basis, and the worst riots occur in East Lansing, when the kids kick the shit and clods off their boots and start torching everything. At most schools it matters not if it’s football or basketball that inspires.

    Making amends, forgiving, (so the offender doesn’t own you, or “live in your head”) dispensing resentments by “turning them over to God”…yeah, it all sounds well and good, but man what a task for most folks.
    “…and resentments are our number one offender” I learned very early when I began my recovery process. I keep trying to remind myself not to get all tied up in resentments and hatred, and to try to forgive the “fuckers” in my life.
    Making amends is a delicate thing to approach,also. What good does it do to confess adultery to your mate when maybe it happened thirty years ago? Or a year ago, if it’s over and there is no compulsion in play to do it again.
    It’s so complicated…should a church-goer confess years later to lifting a twenty from the collection plate, or just put it back in some Sunday? There are thousands of indiscretions we commit all the time, but we cannot “get all bold” and go disrupting peoples’ lives just for our selfish benefits or because a perhaps-wacko “sponsor” told us we must. Sometimes we just have to calm down and say the short version of the serenity prayer: “fuck it”.

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  34. DellaDash said on April 2, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    According to TLo, Betty’s fat has been written into the story to accommodate January’s pregnancy weight gain. Before finding that out, I thought they must’ve used a body double for the bathtub scene.

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  35. LAMary said on April 2, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I still think they used a body double for the bath scene. That was a chunky bod, not a pregnant one. I’ve been both although I never saw myself from the back in either state.

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  36. nancy said on April 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I think that was almost certainly a body double in the bathtub scene, a prosthetic double chin, but the voluminous pink bathrobe was covering her postpartum belly. Can’t figure out how they did the arms — maybe that was honest preg-weight.

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  37. Prospero said on April 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    In the pink bathrobe scene, it looked Betty’s head on Joan’s body.

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  38. Julie Robinson said on April 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Somewhat related, we have caught parts of Henry Louis Gates PBS series, Finding Your Roots, the last two weeks. Everyone thinks they know those roots, but through DNA and extensive research he finds surprises for everyone. What’s really interesting is their reactions; from shock, horror, pleasure, acceptance, kind of like the stages of grief. Most everyone is more racially mixed than they think and many have surnames that have changed, often multiple times. For some it’s closure, for others further motivation for their life’s work. Personally, I know most of my heritage but I figure that like most in this country I’m a mutt, for better or worse.

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  39. Prospero said on April 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Ryan”s budget is a total boondoggle and slightly less fair and balanced than Fux News. Anybody that believes shit about tax breaks for job creators parbly dumb enough to believe RMoney was creating jobs when h ran the Bain Business death star Co.

    We watched the first episode of the Masterpiece Great Expectaions. Reviews wer pretty scathing about Dana Scully’s portrayal of Miss Havisham, particularly her affected vocal choice. I thought the production was excellent. The scenes in the fens particularly Pip’s meeting with Magwhich, were eerie as hell. I thought Gillian Anderson was excellent as Havisham as mad wraith. Her voice was particularly affecting, in my opinion. Miss Havisham has always been a character that to me was half-alive at best and was entirely spooky as Dickens was a master at. Between the caked pallid makeup and the ethereal voice, Anderson plays the character as haunting and spectral, which I think is very true to the novel. When Havisham shows Pip the moldering wedding cake, the dialogue is telling:

    Havisham: What do you see Pip?

    Pip: It looks like a wedding cake.

    Havisham: It is the ghost of a wedding cake. And I am the ghost of a bride.

    Maybe all those TV critics skipped the book. Anyway I loved it, and I can’t watch the marsh scenes without thinking of the superb reimagining, Jack Maggs, by Peter Carey, a personal favorite novelist

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  40. Brandon said on April 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Lepers like Judith Miller and David Brooks need to be cleaning bedpans at Walter Reed until they’re hauled off to to rot in a common grave with Tom Delay and Duke Cunningham, but maybe that’s just me: I tend to think short memories overwhelmingly err in favor of the despicable.

    @Coozledad: You have a way with words.

    But if we actually left SP alone (i.e., not watch her), she might go away. It’s 8:35 in Hawaii and I’m watching neither Today nor Good Morning America. (I can’t stand SP or Katie Couric.)

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  41. Prospero said on April 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Photo of Gillian Anderson playing Miss Havisham Oh, and the kid that plays young Pip is fantastic. ” Oh and Magwitch is portrayed by the inimitable Roy Winstone, beefed up to terrifying size like an NFL lineman, always a major character in Great Expectations to me, as a basically good soul made brutal by a brutalizing Brit penal system when penury and debt were criminal offenses. Probably a useful thing for contemporary Americans to contemplate. That is the ultimate goal of abject busllshit like Ryan’s show-budget that will never see the light of day in the Senate or the real world. It’s not so much feudalism as indentured servitude the bastards are after.

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  42. Icarus said on April 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I’m terrible at the forgiving and the forgetting. especially when it’s not a level playing field.

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  43. Sue said on April 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    In advance of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, may I highly recommend a book, even for those not really interested? This is a bookish bunch, so I hope I’ll be forgiven for throwing this into today’s discussion.
    “The Watch That Ends The Night: Voices From The Titanic” by Allan Wolf.

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  44. Hattie said on April 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    WE have lost our way as a country, and this is just one example.

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  45. Prospero said on April 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Sue , the Titanic book sounds excellent. I like that sort of thing anyway, going back to reading Ragtime (the Ballad of Stanny White and Harry Thaw) for the first time. If you like history bending novels with all sorts of original information included, there’s a book called The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, by Michael Ondaatje, that sounds much like this. There is also a great novel that alternates pages between the author’s prose and facsimile news clips and other historical detritus, called Natural History by Maureen Howard, that I’d recommend enthusiastically. It’s about a family in Bridgeport, CT, birthplace of P.T. Barnum, the charlatan that founded his own University decades before that idea dawned on his fellow charlatans Oral Roberts and Falwell, and a compelling murder mystery. You might like it, though the style is a little disconcerting. One of my sisters-in-law graduated from Bridgeport (their sister may be my ex, but they are still SIL far as I’m concerned).

    Also, on TV last night: The Killing picked up way, way better than it left off. Linden gone rogue and turned prey. One tough woman, with no idea whom she can trust.

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  46. Jolene said on April 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Was very touched by your story, Dorothy. You have a good heart.

    Count me in among those voting for body double in the Betty Draper bath scene.

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  47. brian stouder said on April 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Speaking of Titanic 3D: My sister-in-law is avid to see that re-release/Titanic 3-D, so depending upon how much she loves it, we may or may not revisit Leonardo and Kate at the bow. (and we’re abstaining from the easy jokes about getting to see Ms Winslet’s personal flotation devices in 3-D)

    On the OTHER hand, my understanding is that the Titanic artifacts exhibit is coming to Greenfield Village (or the Henry Ford Museum, one) and I’ve about got the kids talked into another trip to Detroit-land. (Grant and I saw it at COSI in Columbus, and loved it, but Pam has yet to see)

    The hotels still offer the same deal, wherein you get free tix to any two of: The Henry Ford, Greenfield Village, and/or The Rouge factory tour. We had thought of doing that for Spring Break, but that’s this week – and Greenfield hasn’t opened yet, and we’re too busy at work anyway; so the plan pends. (My other big plan is to drag them all down to the Lincoln Boyhood Home near Dale Indiana. That should happen this summer, as there is a huge water park also in close proximity [within 5 miles]; a win-win situation!)

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  48. Jolene said on April 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Wow! T& L’s discussion of last night’s Mad Men is so on target. What great cultural critics they are.

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  49. Mark P said on April 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    The death of your entire family is a large thing to forgive. I wouldn’t, couldn’t do it. In addition to seeing the guy in jail, I would hope to take every penny he has or will ever have. But what about his family? Well, he did it to his own family, too. Nope, not going to forgive that. I’m going to hope he suffers greatly every day of the rest of his life. Now maybe if it had been a mistake, I would feel differently. But, as noted, driving drunk is not really a mistake. “I started to take the trash out, but, oops! I accidentally drank thirteen bottles of Scotch and drove away in my car. Sorry! My mistake!”

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  50. Jolene said on April 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Thinking about the issue of forgiveness, what comes to mind is how grateful I am to people who’ve forgiven me–not for terrible things like drunk driving, but for my garden-variety shortcomings.

    A lot of my life has been a struggle to overcome chronic depression, which contributes to disappointing other people in a myriad of ways–being late, not showing up, not getting things done on time. Without a few people who’ve stuck with me through all this, I don’t know where I’d be.

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  51. MaryRC said on April 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Jolene, I agree about Tlo’s recaps of Mad Men, they always hone in on something I’ve missed but that seems so obvious once they’ve mentioned it. I couldn’t imagine why Betty had chosen that decor for the house (I understand Don’s “Morticia” crack now). But of course, as TLo point out, it might have been in Henry’s family already so poor Betty is stuck with it. As for the bathtub scene — that was a body double, I’m sure.

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  52. Prospero said on April 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    NPR preview of an excellent Bonnie Raitt album. Million Miles is spectacular vocal and slide. I think this may be the best album the Redhead ever made (and I know what AP stylebook says about that colloquialism, but red-haired is an adjective and the Redhead is . Exceptional. I saw her play many times in Cambridge MA and even shared tequila a couple of times, but I’ve never been a big fan of her records. I might buy this one. Sublime guitar playing. Be sure to listen to Split Decision. Like a really good original by The Band. Like a clean sounding Stones album with better vocals and guitar than their last several.

    Body 2XX or unhealthy pregnancy weight gain. Henry’s house and furnishings look like a set for 13 Ghosts.

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  53. Charlotte said on April 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Sigh. Forgiveness. I have a mother much like Betty Draper, except substitute booze for ice cream. Have I forgiven her? Not really. Do I take care of her (power of attorney, manage her money, pitch in what I can)? Yes, because what are you going to do? She’s a bitter, mentally ill, sometimes-alcoholic but I can’t just let her starve. She’s in a good cycle right now, being nice, and even motherly sometimes, but it’s just a cycle. I mean, it’s pleasant, and it’s certainly nicer than the way she treated me for the past 25 years, but it doesn’t really change anything. Especially since there’s never been, nor will there be, one of those “gee honey I’m sorry” conversations. Which I have to admit, makes me feel less angry at Betty than sorry for her.

    As for student loans, while it was a bummer to have to pay off the $40K for my PhD — considering the baggage that has come with everything my parents have ever paid for, I’m glad to do it myself. Looks like I”ll be done with them this year, and frankly, everyone I went to grad school with was teaching/borrowing to pay for our own degrees. Planning to roll the student loan payment into my mortgage when I’m done so I can get that paid off sooner.

    But I only borrowed a reasonable amount and only took out subsidized loans — I look at these kids and these returning students getting suckered into tens of thousands for bullshit “training” programs and it makes me really angry. I’m mentoring a senior in high school right now through the college app process, and we’ve talked a lot a lot about not going into debt for undergrad. (And I’m pretty psyched that it looks like my alma mater, Beloit, has offered her a nice package. It’d be a great school for her.)

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  54. coozledad said on April 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I always thought the Book of Revelation was just an exercise in rustic Greek schizophrenia, but the line
    behold, in the shadow of he who dwarfs the beasts of the grass, the ruins of the temple. And the walls of the temple and the stones of the temple shall speak with one voice, saying, Where the hell did the sun go? It was here just seconds ago. And the great bull shall wear a beanie, labelled “governor”.
    How did they know this shit would happen?

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  55. LAMary said on April 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Those training programs are insanely expensive. Learn to be a medical assistant, go 25k in debt and make 13 dollars an hour.If you can find a job. Woo hoo.
    I keep telling high school kids that you can take the same classes at community college for a lot less.

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  56. Laura Lippman said on April 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I’ll tune in for that match-up.

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  57. Jolene said on April 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    More Mad Men follow-up: The Rolling Stones really did do a cereal commercial.

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  58. Prospero said on April 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I thought of the Who Heinz commercial with the Ox tooting away on the French horn, immediately, while watching. And if the Rice Crispies jingle isn’t a Glimmer Twins composition, it’s a damn good initation.

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  59. ROGirl said on April 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Prospero, thanks for the link to Bonnie. She’s the best, and she did make some good albums. I saw her in AA with Sippie Wallace, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells.

    Charlotte, Betty Draper made me think of my mother, too. I forgave, but chose to keep my distance.

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  60. Rana said on April 2, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I’m willing to forgive, but that’s not the same as forgetting what happened — or trusting the person involved not to hurt me again. I view it more as a way to push it out of my mind so I can get on with life; if it helps the other person, fine, but for me that’s not the goal. I also don’t view forgiveness as a get-out-of-jail-free card. If I forgive a person, it means that I won’t waste energy hating them in the future, but I’m perfectly happy for them to live with all the other consequences of their actions.

    Raises a question: does forgiving someone require telling them that you’ve forgiven them?

    That Landmark stuff sounds horrible. In my case, it wouldn’t work, either. I can be manipulated into crying over things, even to the point of having a genuine emotional response to whatever issue it is, but my experience has been that it’s only a temporary “conversion”; as soon as I’m out of that setting, what I feel isn’t a desire to transform my life, but resentment at being manipulated (speaking of grudges, there’s this one writer who pulled that on the participants during a workshop a few years ago, with the aim of making us into more “passionate” activists and writers, and I still feel irritated whenever I see her name). Public shaming (or whatever that is) among strangers doesn’t engender trust or epiphany for me; it feels fake and like a trick, and thus tends to have the exact opposite effect of what was intended.

    Re: student loan debt – I got out of grad school owing about $7500, and I thought that was an awful lot at the time (it added about $100 to my monthly expenses, which is a big chunk of change when you’re working part-time and living in an expensive city). It’s sobering thinking about students who graduate with debts that are ten times that.

    My parents fully funded all four years of undergrad for me and my brother, me at an expensive private college, and I still feel humbled and grateful that were willing to do that for us.

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  61. Prospero said on April 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Oh Ann RMoney, that is fracking hilarious. More, please. Willard is just a little stiffy.

    ROGirl, it’s a very good album this time around. Guess I was spoiled in her maniac Cambridge days, where her live shows were legendary. One we saw was with John Lee, one of the greatest live shows I’ve ever seen. The Crawling King Snake was lusting after his wild young protege and she was flirtatious, and the music was spectacular.

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  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    My main beef with how our culture frames the concept “forgiveness” is that it’s always bound up with “forgive and forget,” leaving people with the idea that if they can’t entirely forget what someone has done to them, then they haven’t forgiven them. Let me just assure everyone that you don’t need to look it up: “forgive and forget” is nowhere in the Bible.

    What many need help with is figuring out how to work past obsessive remembering, which is a different process. But telling them “to forget it” even when the idea is “put it in the arms of Jesus and forget it” is generally not going to help. It’s *how* you remember that someone has harmed you, even (or especially) when it’s someone you care about, that’s the challenge. But a certain amount of watchfulness and guardedness is often not only OK, it’s necessary.

    Jesus no doubt forgave the moneychangers in the Temple, but it didn’t slow him down from dumping their racket off the portico and lashing their sorry hindquarters out the gates. Then he forgave them right on down the road. That’s a forgiveness worth keeping in mind, too.

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  63. Dexter said on April 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Vengeance with a Great Big V.

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  64. Suzanne said on April 2, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I have trouble forgiving people who mess with my kids, especially the kids that were mean to them in middle school and the parents who surely saw it happening and didn’t care. It’s been years, and it still makes my blood boil. It bothers me more than it does my kids.

    I enjoyed “Great Expectations” although I’m pretty sure that if I’d never read the book, I wouldn’t have had much idea what was going on. Magwitch coming out of the water was epic. Miss Havisham was sufficiently creepy, but I’d always pictured her as older. I liked how almost everything in her house was dusty and sort of moldy looking. It makes me really want to reread the book.

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  65. basset said on April 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Brian, I remember going to that big water park near Dale when I was maybe ten years old and it was still called Santa Claus Land. Too bad you can’t stop in Elnora on the way down and get some Graham cheese but all things must pass, I suppose. And when you’re at the Lincoln home, you’re just a couple of hours from Mammoth Cave and several more Lincoln sites.

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  66. Brandon said on April 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Is she hosting Today tomorrow? I guess so. Either today or tomorrow, I won’t watch that or Good Morning America.

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  67. Charlotte said on April 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    RoGirl — well, I take care of her financials — but she’s in Kentucky and I’m in Montana. So plenty of distance (although nothing compared to one of my cousins. His parents live in Florida, and he fled to Hawaii. He and his brother refer to their parents as “Ghosty” and “Frosty”).

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