What a week it’s been so far. Moe dies Saturday. On Monday, my car started missing; the verdict was bad ignition coils. Three hunnert dollars, ma’am. Bright side: This might be a recall issue, in which case I can expect reimbursement in four to six weeks.

Today I sat on my glasses. Bright side: I was just telling Kate I’m ready for new ones. I’ve had these for years, and they fit great and look great, but five years is enough for one pair of glasses, if you aren’t Elvis Costello. Still, is this a little too perfect? The last time this happened, I said, “I might be ready for one of those iPhones,” and that very day my pink Razr disappeared, never to be found again.

Meanwhile, I’m finishing a big project at work, and it is another horse-eating deal. Annd it’s the end of the term, and at the moment I feel like one of those marathoners who enters the stadium doing the hurricane walk. If I can get to the end of the week, all will be OK.

And if I can get through tomorrow, I’m planning to have two (2) craft beers after work. Maybe Oberon, if they’ve tapped it at one of my Wednesday places.

In the meantime, I beg your tolerance for a few more days. In return, I bring these tasty links:

A nice piece by Laura Berman in the DetNews about what many claim doesn’t exist: True hunger in the U.S. of A.

Hump day. Let’s get over it, eh?

Posted at 12:35 am in Same ol' same ol' |

73 responses to “Almost…there…”

  1. alex said on April 18, 2012 at 7:55 am

    And then there’s those who help themselves—to the dumpster.

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  2. beb said on April 18, 2012 at 8:08 am

    It’s all about not giving your money to the undeserving poor. And by definition, if you’re poor, you are undeserving. Everybody is cutting assistance to the poor so they won’t have to *gasp* raise taxes on the super-rich.

    The internet is full of cool pictures of shuttle Discovery circling DC before coming in for a landing. And in about two weeks the private firm of SpaceX will attempt to launch their first cargo capsule in hopes of berthing at the Space Station. So exciting times in Space.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 18, 2012 at 8:36 am

    “what many claim…” Eh.

    The dispute is not whether there are hungry people, but what’s to be done. We’re in the middle of a very productive series of five meetings (OK, not middle, since we’ve done three) for all of the food pantries in Licking County and supporting organizations. Mid-Ohio Food Bank, the co-ordinating body for most of us from the Columbus area to the Ohio Valley around Steubenville, reports that their polling and stakeholder interviews have been very reassuring in that, among a variety of populations, there is overwhelming agreement that hunger exists in Ohio, and that we are obligated as a society & as communities to respond — and not just for children, or elderly, or even “deserving.” They’ve been very emphatic about this, so I had to note that here.

    What we are struggling with is that the food distribution and food stamp/EBT numbers are so large — our JFS Planning Committee just reviewed the first quarter EBT numbers for Licking County, and we’re providing almost $10 million in food aid through those means alone, not counting WIC, let alone food pantries. So with the thousands of pounds of food, and millions of dollars of direct food support, why do we feel like we’re not making more progress, and still observe hunger and empty shelves in homes where we visit under other auspices?

    The concern about “facilitating dysfunction” is not just a right-wing trope, it’s a social service reality. But it’s not the dominant reality, and even our most conservative church-housed food pantry folk don’t think it’s the main story here. We all agree that the biggest hunger challenge is: Jobs. Good, decent, stable, more-than-minimum-wage-or-tips jobs. Solving the health care insurance dilemma, then, is a key to solving the hunger challenge; likewise, education, and preventing truancy & drop-out rates from climbing back up, is key to solving the hunger challenge, because what decent, solid jobs there are you can’t get with a GED let alone a 10th grade education.

    We are feeding thousands, and we are, even in just this one county, haunted by the realization that distribution is the last key: there is food not in the hands of the hungry in some corners of Licking County, while there are empty shelves in others, and some simply can’t get to where the food is when they need it. We’re looking at GIS and giant tabulated spreadsheets to figure out “which demographic, which day of the week, which time of day, which months of the year” is getting heavily served (seniors, mostly; school age kids, secondly) and which populations are mostly looking at gaps (single males with mental health issues in and out of supportive housing, mostly, who have access to once a month, central pantries, and not all 12 months).

    But I respectfully call “what many claim doesn’t exist” a classic journalistic phrase that resides in the same neighborhood as the fabled “local man.” Hunger is what many who work with it call “a symptom of multiple social ills” which manifests most visibly as hunger, starting with an imbalanced employment market and a lack of community-wide value for education.

    It is, by the way, a very nice column — Bridge cards in Michigan are what we call an EBT in Ohio (you know Michigan, always selling that tourism!). And it makes the case that jobs are the real issue in fighting hunger. I’d argue that the student deferral for food stamps is a classic legislative “penny-wise, pound foolish” maneuver. Any budget savings you get from deferring students you’re going to end up paying over time in higher, longer-lasting outlays. They’ll take longer to graduate, you increase the drop-out rate wasting the state investment to that point in their college progress, and you’ll see additional Medicaid outlays down the road, all to save a smidgen in food stamp match for your state budget this year. Stupid.

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  4. nancy said on April 18, 2012 at 9:01 am

    The back story of this column is really the cutting-college-students angle, Jeff. Our new human-services director is a Grosse Pointe lawyer with a regrettable way of sounding like Marie Antoinette when she discusses the poor unfortunates who must depend on her for help. My colleague Ron has been doing great work tracking the people who lost cash assistance, but the food-stamp angle is another. When they announced the college-student cutoff, she said, “These students will have to get a part-time job, the way I did when I was in college.” She’s in her 60s, to give you a sense of what tuition would have been for a college student in those days.

    I’ve been accused of being too soft on my students, and maybe I am, but if I am, it’s because I’m simply astounded by the challenges so many of them face as they try to get their overpriced bachelor’s degrees. I don’t know a single one who doesn’t have at least a part-time job; most work full-time, many have children. One guy works the overnight shift as a security guard at the Faygo plant, full-time. If he’s a little heavy-lidded in class, well, that’s why. To have this woman suggest they’re collecting food assistance because they’re too lazy to work is simply galling.

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  5. beb said on April 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

    $10 million in one county for food relief? That is a staggering number. And with wages dropping it’s increasingly possible to be working and not be able to afford to put enough food on the table.

    Jeff, you should collect these rants (in the good sense) and put them together in a book. You have good things to say, can explain them with great clarity, and argue your case with great passion. Maybe under a title like “My brother’s keeper.” Seriously, I think you’d write a good book.

    I dropped back in to moan and groan about the city of Detroit’s latest kerfluffle with the State’s emergency manager position. The state wants the city to hire a chief financial officer, at a pay range up to $280,000/year and another position, I think it was Chief Operating Officer, for up to $250,000/yr. Both position are paid more than the mayor and the city council, by about $100,000. The council, looking around, noted that other similar sized cities tend to pay only about $160,000 for the CFO and COO. The state of course, insists that the higher pay scale is necessary to attract the best talent. Meanwhile city workers, which agreed to a collective $50 million in cuts to pay and benefits are being told that their sacrifice isn’t good enough. They need to come up with at least $100 million in give-backs. I don’t know how they expect this to play out but when a guy making $280,000 a year tells a guy making $40,000 he’ll have to learn to live on $35,000 it doesn’t bode well.

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  6. Mark P said on April 18, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Let’s see now, she’s in her 60s, so she went to undergrad college in the late 1960s or early 1970s. I attended graduate school at Georgia Tech starting in 1980. As far as I can tell, tuition and fees are right at 10 times as much now as they were then, so the difference from 10 years earlier would be even greater.

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  7. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 9:29 am

    There can’t be people going hungry in the USA, since everyone knows the USA is exceptional. That is what the “many claim”, and they make the same specious argument as they make about American health care. And it is the same people with the same bogus, selfish argument. RMoney and his supporters. And assholes like Paul Ryan, that would dismantle government by leaving poor Americans in a lurch they had no part in creating, while letting the perpetrators go back to a no-regulation and little taxation Adam Smith Utopia. To the clearly intended detriment of the vast majority of Americans. It’s truly disheartening that this anti-American and anti-Christian political incentive arises from a group that self-identifies as Christian Patriots, abetted by people too benighted and befuddled to see the targets plainly drawn on their Teabanger T-shirts.

    When Jeff writes “there is overwhelming agreement that hunger exists in Ohio, and that we are obligated as a society & as communities to respond” he hits on a crucial problem. The GOP has convinced too many people that society has no obligations to its less fortunate members, and community is non-existent, while publicly professing their piety, loudly and insistently. And, obscenely, as a raison d’etre for their inhummane public policy choices, as RMoney and Ryan did two weeks ago talking aboout cutting aid to the hungry and impoverished to serve their needs better. The logistical problems Jeff is talking about are quite similar to those businesses face and solve every day. Not remotely insoluble.

    Thinking about the no Pulitzer for fiction writing thing this morning. A Visit from the Goon Squad won the award last year. Enjoyable book, but not nearly as good as Swamplandia, nominated this year. (And yes, I’ve read both.)

    And I’m hoping for a reprise of $Palin’s history lesson on this anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride:

    And undernourished ‘Mericans should all just show some gumption, pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and go murder a moose from a chopper.

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  8. Deggjr said on April 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Reimbursement in 4-6 weeks at 50%. Still better than nothing.

    Apparently the state Medicaid cuts will include cutting dental care. Let the undeserving poor gum the food they find in the dumpsters. Nice.

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  9. Kaye said on April 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Nancy, you have inspired me to follow up on the VW ignition coil recall notice that arrived in the mail a couple weeks ago. Here’s hoping your repair is covered and that there is a great beer on draft this evening.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 18, 2012 at 9:54 am

    beb, thanks. Your better point than my publication prospects is about working and still being both poor, and hungry. Our housing coalition board members (I know I’ve probably used this story here too often) are often startled when they help with our Jan-Mar EITC push through doing volunteer income tax assistance (the VITA program thru IRS). We have an average household gross income of $14,000 among our 300-400 filings, and the breadwinners are coming in with three, five, six W-2s or 1099s, and they, as life-long fulltime, professional job holders are stunned. “I don’t know how I’d navigate the system or stay sane keeping up with all this, and they’re all working!” Yes, yes they are, we smile back at our newbies. And everyone smiles when we see the EITC refund we can get them, and unlike some [koffjacksonhewittkoff] we don’t take a penny off of it.

    And purely personally, I’m blessed by having a wife with a great job and better benefits, which allows me to take some risks. But having said that, since I stepped out of fulltime parish ministry to have more control over my schedule, I can say that each year of the last five or six I’ve been trying pretty hard to freelance my way into pulling my weight, even as I have to manage my schedule so I’m home from 3 to 5 pm — beyond that, I’ve been up for whatever my mildly useless master’s degree and odd set of skills can get me.

    And my part of this year’s taxes was three W-2s, six 1099s, and still a grand total of $27,000, no benefits. Drop my wife out of the equation, give me a complementary reason to want/need to stay in this county, and I’m not sure I’d be able over the last few years to improve on that. Which is to say, they’re me. But folks who’ve made solid incomes in a two-career home since college don’t always know what they don’t know, and so they have stereotypes of what working poor families look like, act like, and how they got there that do, in fact, get in the way of solutions.

    The college student deferral on food stamps is a perfect example of that. Don’t go to Ann Arbor or Lansing or Columbus, but come walk around (or adjunct teach/lecture!) at OSU-Newark. The average student looks like the thirty-something parent of two, and usually is. Plus working night security for one company, morning office cleaning for Servicemaster, and hopes to do some landscaping work this spring and summer unless their friend the contractor gets some house contracts, in which case they’ll drop the landscaping and halve their hours with the cleaning crew. All of which gets them . . . about $27,000 if they’re lucky, six income sources for their taxes, and barely making rent, car payment, college costs . . . whoops, forgot about food expenses.

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  11. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Happy birthday Hayley Mills. Paul McCartney’s heartthrob.

    It used to be an RMoney world, eh?

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  12. Deborah said on April 18, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Another thing people don’t understand is poverty and obesity. Eating cheap, crappy food is a big problem. When you’re going to school and working probably more than one menial job, preparing healthy meals has got to be impossible. Grabbing a bag of Doritos on the run is totally doable.

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  13. Linda said on April 18, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Yep, there are those for whom hunger doesn’t exist. And by more than one source> In fact, by a few.

    Dang it, now I’m in moderation limbo.

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  14. Dorothy said on April 18, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Heather Mills is Paul McCartney’s ex, Prospero. Not sure if Hayley was ever a “heartthrob” for him. Before Heather he was a devoted husband to Linda Eastman.

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  15. Icarus said on April 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Don’t know how old you are but if you are not past or with a 1-2 of 40, Lasik might be the way to go. It was one of the three Best Decisions of my Life.

    At or around 40 it’s deemed not worth it by most eye doctors because the eye tends to develop a stigmatism and you end up needing reading glasses.

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  16. coozledad said on April 18, 2012 at 10:58 am

    A disjunctive syllogism:
    Either Ted Nugent is your typical dick-swinging Republican coward, or he’s not.
    He is not not a dick swinging coward.
    Therefore he is (a Republican).

    Here I come again now, baby
    I got to hit the road
    Done smoked ’em out at the draft board
    with a diaperload

    Been stretchin’ my nubbin for so long
    I can’t tell the truth
    Is that a turd in my trousers
    or just a Baby Ruth?
    Tryin’ to find my balls now baby
    at my own canned hunt
    The Secret Service came to my office
    and they shaved my cunt.

    You know I’ve been running for so long
    Don’t know who I am
    A superannuated soul-patch creep dad?
    A rotten can of ham?

    (follow by ten to twelve minutes of the most excruciatingly numbnuts guitar abuse you’ll ever wish you hadn’t heard)

    It’s hard to even begin to top the unself-awareness of “stranglehold” when the actual song is a catalog of sexually stifled adolescent torture fantasy.

    you ran that night that you left me
    you put me in my place
    got you in a stranglehold now baby
    then i crushed your face

    In a just world, Ted would be both dead and in jail.

    I remember Bob Seger saying something about the survivors of the 60’s Detroit music scene being the ones who avoided drugs, and listed Ted among them. No, Bob. Ted is a brainstem baby. That’s not surviving in any meaningful sense.

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  17. MichaelG said on April 18, 2012 at 11:14 am

    MMJeff says “you know Michigan, always selling that tourism). The Michigan Tourism Board or whomever has been running “Vacation in Fab Michigan” commercials on TV here in Sacramento for several weeks. Among other things, they’ve featured some attractive shots of the Henry Ford Museum.

    When I went to school at the University of Illinois in the early sixties and San Francisco State in the early seventies tuition and fees ran about $300 per semester. I haven’t closely followed dollar amounts lately but it seems to me that things cost more than $3000 a semester at a state school these days.

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  18. LAMary said on April 18, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I have had, since February, three car repairs adding up to 1500 dollars, a washing machine repair and a dead dishwasher I had to replace for 420 dollars. Combine this with the ex suddenly getting very nasty about the house we own together and the need to hire a lawyer and it’s been a sucky year financially so far. Things have to get better soon.

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  19. Kirk said on April 18, 2012 at 11:38 am

    You’re getting me and Sir Paul mixed up. Hayley Mills was my heartthrob when I was young enough to see “The Parent Trap” and “Pollyanna” at the time they were released to the theaters.

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  20. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Welcome to the ether, Linda. Glad for once it ain’t me. The Thomas L. Burnett is a Montana Teabanger Montana House rep., and the faux analysis of hunger in America was undoubtedly written by a staffer for him to claim authorship of. Burnett apparently made his money from cattle ranching, which is a massive federal welfare system, allowing grazing for next to nothing on taxpayer-owned land.

    From Linda’s second link: A desire to help others that prompts well-meaning people to address nonexistent problems isn’t so much noble as it is misguided and, possibly, dangerous. If only these people would see the connection between this logic and the monumentally phony “vote fraud” claims from GOPers and ALEC and the superpacs.

    Dorothy: When Paul was young, long before he met Linda, the Beatles all came on to Haylley Mills in their press conferences, Paul most of all. Girls at the time were nonplussed by the situation. They loved Hayley, but they really loved Beatle Paul. They were both constant teen mag fodder and there was a lot of gossip about the two. But maybe Paul didn’t always get the girls:

    And I personally witnessed Ted Nugent both drunk and high as a kite, at the same time, more than 40 years ago. So his claims of lifetime abstinence strike me as just plain funny. And Jim Osterberg sure survived, without abstaining from drugs or alcohol.

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  21. Charlotte said on April 18, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    You’ve had the same glasses for 5 years? I’m jealous — my prescription has changed just enough year to year (in combination with the post-40 issues, which are reversing my lifelong astigmatism) that I wind up buying glasses annually. Thank god for Costco (also, cute frames!).
    And the hunger thing drives me crazy. I’ve been POA for my mother for the past 5 years, and if it wasn’t for her rich brother kicking in, and what I contribute, she’d be going hungry. When all you have is social security, there’s just NO MONEY at all. (And yes, she should have saved — but a lifetime of alcoholism and depression are not a good basis for life planning). I’m not religious anymore, but when she annoys me Jesus’s admonition that “the poor are always with us” pops to mind.
    So how come these “Christian” right-wingers ignore that part of the Jesus message?

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  22. Bitter Scribe said on April 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Whenever I see somebody like Jonah Goldberg pointing to that study about how conservatives donate more to charity than liberals, I think, “Yeah, donating to pay someone to polish the stained glass windows of your church is just like donating to a food bank. Idiot.”

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  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Yep, polishing the stained glass. Okay.

    Anyhow, total digression, but before I forget – a book back in print that I suspect would be beloved by anyone here in these parts, and the link comes (I’m pretty sure) Kickbackified for the NN.C Lounge:

    Set in 1955 Paris, and written by a woman who was not too far removed from her subject (“all the unwise things in the book, I did; anything sensible or constructive she does, I made up” or something like that is what Elaine Dundy said), and was married at the time to Kenneth Tynan. They divorced, sadly, because she managed not only one but two best-sellers in the 50’s, and he threw them out their window and shortly after she left before following them. But critics are like that . . .

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  24. JWfromNJ said on April 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I need a literary agent for a great memoir by a member of a very well known American family. Likely the family you are thinking of right now. Their story is beyond belief except it’s true. Our hostess knows what I am talking about and how to contact me.


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  25. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Scribe, I avoid Jonah Goldberg like cigarettes. Asshole is toxic and deleterious to my health. Didn’t fall far from his odious mom’s scabrous pudenda. I do read comments on his drivel sometimes in LAT, because reading his shitheels claiming Jonah is an example of how LAT is “lamestream liberal media” is as much fun as nitrous oxide.

    RMoneys give a 1/10 tithe to LDS. I’m betting that went a long way to creating jobs defeating Prop 8 in California. And isn’t it great how that charitable donation tax deduction survives flagrant messing in politics by the tax-exempt institution?

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  26. Jeff Borden said on April 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    The amazing Charles Pierce has a wonderful and moving essay up on relating to Levon Helm and The Band. Apparently, Helm is in the final stages of cancer, which prompted Pierce to revisit a night in 1968 when he saw Helm playing at a bar beneath Harvard Square. But the piece is really about what America was like in that horrible, horrible year. . .and how somehow the music created by the Band in “Music from Big Pink” was a salve for those times. This is writing with a capital W. . .far, far, far above my modest pay grade.

    As terrible and traumatic as the late ’60s were, domestically and internationally, at least there seemed to be some potential for hope, some belief that maybe these awful times would lead us to someplace better. Or maybe it was because I was just 17 years old and not yet wise to the world.

    After the heady feelings associated with the campaign and election of Barack Obama, things seem gloomir than ever, at least to me, and maybe that’s because I’m now 61. Even if Obama is reelected, the GOP likely will hold the House and probably retake the Senate, which means four years of gridlock, at least when the assholes aren’t refighting the culture wars, castigating the poor and dispossessed, applying copious amounts of lotion to the nether regions of the 1% and looking for new wars to start while cutting taxes and eliminating food stamps, Medicare, HUD and God knows what else.

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  27. Dexter said on April 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Yes, Levon is about to take this next step in his journey, said his family in a release to the press. Don Imus, for the first time ever more than likely, broke down and sobbed this morning when he mentioned his late brother Fred and Levon in the same sentence-remembrance.
    Levon was a supporter of The Imus Ranch for Kids With Cancer, and he was a great friend of the show for years.
    I thought it was a miracle when Levon beat throat cancer and returned to drumming and singing, even went on tour, and continued his midnight jams in his studio / theater in Woodstock, NY. Hellish jams they were, too…everybody jammed there if they could possibly get away and get up there.

    But here there is joy in our house; it is Mrs. Dexter’s birthday. Her name is Carol Sue, but I call her Carla Lee just for the sound of it. She’s a peach. I made her “breakfast in bed”…bacon, fried parsley’d potatoes and onions, and eggs over hard.
    She then gave me hell for hollering out “FUCK!” when my live-in grandson (age 19) stole her bacon off her plate before I could take it in to her…she had demanded a swear-free day, but this foul-mouthed grandson is a provoking individual.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Play it loud, the man said.

    All that, plus Loretta Lynn’s father in “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” and his perfect pairing with Sam Shepard in “The Right Stuff” as Chuck Yeager’s R2D2, Jack Ridley, and offering another stick of Beeman’s gum with his sawed off broomstick.

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  29. Dexter said on April 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    “…through every Middlesex village and farm…”
    April 18, in seventy -five.

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  30. Charlotte said on April 18, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    The Dud Avocado is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve given a lot of copies away as gifts — I’m currently reading this NY Review reprint, also fabulous:

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  31. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I wouldn’t give up on Dem gains in the Congress yet, JeffB. Consider Bernie Sanders kicking GOPer ass. Seems to me, retaining control of the House will require a monstrous cognitive disconnect created by GOP toxic smog, and it seems to be dissipating. The Buffett Rule the Senate just torpedoed without a majority was favored in polls by 72% of Americans. If GOPers can act in such a dysfunctional, obstructionist manner against not only the Black Guy in the White House, but also against the overwhelming will of the people, they cannot continue to pull off their charade.

    Happy birthday Mrs. Dexter.

    My everlasting impression, based upon Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, is that Levon was the grown-up responsible member of The Band. But then, I hear the pure lust and lechery in his vocal on Jemima Surrender, I’ve got to wonder about that. Glorious raunch. Well, he was the soberest band member in the movie, anyway.

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  32. Dorothy said on April 18, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    JW – couldn’t the esteemed Laura Lippman hook you up?

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  33. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    How The Band made Up On Cripple Creek, with a great explanation of the curious drum figure and how it made the song work, with Levon Helm.

    And Who knew that there is no Jew’s Harp played on this song. Coulda fooled me. That’s Garth Hudson playing a clavinet.

    A great Levon Helm vocal of some of the funniest lyrics B. Dylan ever wrote. Garth Hudson concertina, gorgeous mandolin, either Danko or Levon.

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  34. LAMary said on April 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I saw The Band in Philadelphia in 1971. I had a great seat. I remember Levon Helm hopping around with a mandolin on Rag Mama Rag. And his vocals are all wonderful. The Band has been my go to music for forty years.

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  35. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Clever song with lyrics made up old rock song titles, with Levon Helm playing drums with Max Weinberg. And good interview with Conan O’Brien.

    That Charlie Pierce piece is a tremendus pleasure to read, took me back to his days as a kind of wild man-about-town bar-hopping sporstwriter. The best writer ever employed by the truly dogass Boston Herald-American. And I’ve drained many beers in J. Swift’s in Harvard Square. Thanks very much for pointing that piece out Jeff B. Made my day.

    Levon Helm’s last film role was a small part in one of my favorites of the last 10 years, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, so I’m kinda guessing he was a compadre of Tommy Lee Jones. This movie is very nearly great, and highly recommended for anybody that liked No Country for Old Men.

    The Last Waltz Theme. My choice for funerary music (or Black to Comm) when they convey my dead ass into the pyre. Levon playing mandolin, Robbie playing a harp guitar.

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  36. Jolene said on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    The Band was one of my favorites too. Have played and sung along to their albums many, many times over many years. Just did a bit of reading about them on Wikipedia, and, wow, I shouldn’t be surprised, but there was a lot of hard livin’ going on back then. Both Richard Manuel and Rick Danko essentially died of drink. Sad.

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  37. Joe Kobiela said on April 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm
    Levon Helms as Jack Ridley, this still gives me chills, I could not imagine how that climb must feel.
    Pilot Joe

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  38. Deborah said on April 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    My husband is a huge fan of The Band. He watches the Scorsese directed The Last Waltz, over and over again. I’ve seen it a few times, it’s good film but I don’t need to see it again and again. It records the last concert they made as The Band. It’s definitely worth seeing if you haven’t seen it. My favorite is The Weight. I always thought the lyrics were “take a load off Fanny”.

    edit: I’ve seen it “take a load of Annie” which is it?

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  39. Julie Robinson said on April 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Hey y’all, I’ve nothing intelligent to say about rock but I will pop in to wish Mrs. Dexter a happy, happy birthday.
    We’re off to visit our daughter so I’ll be scarce around here. Hoping for clear skies tomorrow!

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  40. adrianne said on April 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Here in the land o’ Woodstock we are preparing our tribute to Levon Helm – not only a great musician – try listening to his recent stuff, “Electric Dirt” and Dirt Farmer” and you realize that he hasn’t lost a beat – but the go-to guy when folks around here were pulling together a fund-raiser for flooded farmers or hungry folk in our area.

    Here’s our latest:

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  41. Jolene said on April 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    In other news, Dick Clark has died, and, Pat Summitt has resigned, stepping off the stage and onto the hard road that is Alzheimer’s.

    Lots of grimness lately.

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  42. LAMary said on April 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve had Dirt Farmer in the cd player in my car for a long time. Great CD.

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  43. Dorothy said on April 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    A co-worker just told me that Levon Helm died today, too. But I think he’s jumping the gun. I see nothing on the news sites saying this.

    What a week…

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  44. Jolene said on April 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks, everyone, for all the links. Especially enjoyed the interview w. Conan that Prospero linked to at #35, Adrianne’s collection #40, and, of course, the Pierce essay that Jeff cited at #26. Great stuff.

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  45. Sherri said on April 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I’m glad Summitt resigned. It was painful to watch her on the sidelines this past season. She was so diminished from her former dynamic, forceful personality. I feel for her son, though.

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  46. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Adrianne. That is great stuff on that link. Levon’s version of Tennessee Jed sports a better vocal than anybody in the Dead was capable of once Ron McKernan died. Tremendous. I mean I like the dead, but Jerry always sounded like he was singing through a kazoo, and Weir talks more than sings. Anyway, excellent vocal on a song I always liked a lot.

    ACA and the individual health care mandate for fracking dummies, so even Long Dong can understand how it works.

    Dick Clark died? What, the painting went up in smoke? Did Ryan Seacrest get him in the end?

    Pat Summitt was one of the greatest coaches of any sport at any level, ever. Tennessee has usually got the better of UGA in women’s hoops, so I was always somewhat antagonistic towards Summitt. But one of her best friends is the Georgia coach, Andy Landers, who’s almost in that renowned level of coaching. So her leaving TN seems kind of sad.

    And, Jolene, Cheney got a new heart. Grim, OK.

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  47. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Sherri@45: Even the refs weren’t intimidated any more.

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  48. Jolene said on April 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Prospero, your ACA link doesn’t work. Want to try again?

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  49. Judybusy said on April 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I’ll add my Happy Birthday wishes to Mrs. Dexter!

    On edit: Moe lives on. I have been sharing that British-voice-over-talking-animals video with my co-workers and it’s brought joy to all during a stressful time.

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  50. Sherri said on April 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    If only Alzheimer’s could be defeated by sheer will and hard work, Pat Summitt would beat it. Prospero, she usually got the better of most teams in women’s hoops, but no one did more for women’s hoops than Pat.

    (I did have a slight connection with her – her grandfather and my great-grandmother were brother and sister.)

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  51. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    ACA link:

    Sherri I did say she was a great coach, but she was more effective browbeating refs than Petino standing on the court in his KY prime in his $3000 sharkskin suits and $500 tassel loafers.

    So Coach Summitt was your Aunt Cora, right Sherri?

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  52. David C. said on April 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    The 1%ers are going to keep proclaiming all is well until about 2 seconds before their heads hit the basket. The House of Bourbon – the Sequel II.

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  53. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Jennifer Lawrence is on David Letterman tonight.

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  54. Sherri said on April 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    She is my first cousin, once removed. (I’m southern, I know how those removed thingies work!)

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  55. Dorothy said on April 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    *LIKE* Sherri’s statement.

    HBTY Mrs. Dexter!

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  56. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Damn, I meant Aunt Clara.

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  57. JWfromNJ said on April 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    @Dorothy – I’m getting as much guidance as I can from the right people here, as usual a great group. Spent a few hours today peering into a world we’ll never fully comprehend. This is a daunting proposition even if i keep telling myself it’s the same as a good feature, just a lot longer.

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  58. Minnie said on April 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks for all the links to Levon. A good friend with whom I’ve listened to The Band and Levon’s later work for four decades emailed me this morning with news of his impending death. Since I had to drive around a lot today, I slipped “Ramble at the Ryman” into the car CD player. It cheered me up to hear Levon and his musician friends having such a good time together, but when cut seven came around, Buddy Miller singing “Wide River to Cross”, I lost it.

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  59. nancy said on April 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Levon will always be Loretta Lynn’s dad to me.

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  60. Prospero said on April 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    We could be relaxin’/ In my Sleepin’ bag/ But all you wanna do for me mama is/ Rag mama rag.

    Great Danko + Helm harmony on Long Black Veil, following Mitch Davis’ vavorite song by The Band, and that chorus vocal sounds ominous:

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  61. Jolene said on April 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Apart from knowing their names, I hadn’t known too much about the members of The Band as individual performers, but check out Rick Manuel singing You Don’t Know Me. Man, that is some singin’.

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  62. Dexter said on April 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    This song kills me…Richard Manuel was the shit.

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  63. Dexter said on April 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    This one too…this one is beyond description:

    Tears of Rage

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  64. Jolene said on April 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Dexter, someone has assembled a playlist of Manuel’s numbers. See

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  65. alex said on April 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Pat Summitt could sure rock a mullet. Any woman she went down on could grab onto it and fantasize they were bein’ et by Ted Nugent.

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  66. basset said on April 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Ray Charles had the definitive version of “You Don’t Know Me.” No question. Didn’t know till just now, though, that it was an Eddy Arnold song:

    Some of Arnold’s former property came up on the planning commission agenda here in Nashville last week – his heirs wanted to develop it, there was some opposition, the commissioners said go ahead.

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  67. Deborah said on April 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    We watched Easy Rider tonight for the umpteenth millionth time and the The Last Waltz one more time. When Neil Diamond sang Dry Your Eyes we were definitely drying ours.

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  68. Dexter said on April 19, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Thanks, Jolene, a bunch.
    I am glad to read that Robbie Robertson and Levon can be in the same room once again together. I am not, never was a real fan of the lives of the rock and roll heroes, so I never understood why Robbie Robertson didn’t attend Richard Manuel’s funeral in 1986.

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  69. Jolene said on April 19, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Apparently, there was bad blood between various members of The Band at various times. Helm’s Wikipedia entry says that, despite being a central figure in The Last Waltz, he distanced himself from it and, in his autobiography, wrote scathingly about the film and Robbie Robertson’s role in creating it.

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  70. Dexter said on April 19, 2012 at 12:20 am

    I have heard at least a dozen versions of “You Don’t Know Me” and my favorite one is by John Legend.
    But, man…gee, when Ray Charles and Diana Krall teamed up…wow

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  71. alex said on April 19, 2012 at 12:20 am

    See Basset? Not everyone starts a conversation but everyone makes their best effort at contribution. And all these lurkers who pop out every now and then are being entertained and that alone makes it worth being part of this family.

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  72. Dexter said on April 19, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Oh damn…I am not used to eating huge super-dinners, especially Mexican food with the re-fried beans. I feel like I have a big ball of lard in my gut and the feeling ain’t good.
    I was a good soldier and took Carla Lee where she wanted to go, when I was hoping for Chinese. Instead I got a burrito, a taco, some chiles rellenos, those goddam beans, and whatever else that stuff was on the plate. Uhg!

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  73. alex said on April 19, 2012 at 12:55 am

    So which Mex, Dex? Acapulco in Hamilton? Their sister store called Cebolla’s in the Fort had a norovirus outbreak recently. On the bright side, this is what the health food store people call a good cleansing and they sell you shit that makes you do the same thing and think it’s fantastic.

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