I dew.

Do you and your partner squabble over what to watch on TV in the evenings (assuming you’re so inclined; of course I spend my evenings reading great literature, and thinking deep thoughts)? I ask because I’m trying to sample the first few minutes of “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” and my husband just referred to TLC as “the hillbilly channel.”

I take offense! The L clearly stands for “learning.” And I am learning about American gypsies.

And these people are some serious hillbilly gypsies.

As a reporter, your only connection with gypsies is the semi-annual press releases issued by the police department, about traveling home-improvement scams — old women who get only half their house painted (or painted with watery paint that disappears after a single rain), people who get their wallets lifted when someone comes inside for “interior measurements,” the usual. So it’s a little odd to see a show about people who make their living by buying a load of asphalt in the morning, and go door to door throughout the day, trying to sell it. Somewhere this must work, but man, these aren’t my people. I keep yelling at the screen to slam the door and call the Better Business Bureau.

They certainly do favor a ridiculous style of wedding dress. Tonight they’re making some poor pregnant teenager drag 75 pounds of satin, tulle and Swarovski crystals around Nowhere, W.Va., and all to be married in a tiny church, followed by a reception at what looks like a VFW hall.

And that will be our dose of reality TV for the night, the week, and most likely the month, if not the rest of the year. America is such a freak show; no wonder we’re on top of the world.

Another work-at-home day, but not so much bloggage today. But a little, both rants of a sort:

First, Gin and Tacos on that magical threshold beyond which an American plutocrat cannot fail. In this case, it’s Jamie Dimon:

I guess that whole “maximizing shareholder value” thing, the Commandment that has done more to turn this country into Dogpatch than anything else in the last three decades, doesn’t apply when it comes to doling out money at the top.

We might expect that the shareholders would be inclined to save money rather than spend it, and certainly to avoid rewarding people who perform so poorly. But a stockholders’ meeting is little more than a boys’ club operating under the pretext of a transparent process of corporate governance. The kind of heavy-hitting institutional shareholders who decide these votes – mutual fund managers, fellow banking executives, and so on – are either in Dimon’s position or expect to be there someday if they can make it to the other side of the shark tank. Perhaps getting to the top, into a position like Dimon’s, is so difficult and unpleasant that the people who manage to do it feel entitled to endless compensation to make it all seem worth it.

And here’s Angry Black Bitch on just another day in the Missouri legislature, which this week honored native son Rush Limbaugh:

Limbaugh arrived with 40 state troopers (did my tax dollars pay for that?) and was smuggled into the Capitol where Republican lawmakers and their staff greeted him much like North Koreans used to greet Kim Jung Il…and then Limbaugh was honored at an invitation only ceremony on the House floor that was closed to the public.

The other day at work we were looking at the current electoral-vote breakdown for the November election, and someone remarked that calling Missouri a toss-up is wishful thinking in the extreme. It’s as much a part of the modern confederacy as Mississippi. Looks like it.

With that, the hour grows late and bed beckons me. I hope I dream of anything but gypsies, Jamie Dimon or the sex tourist from Cape Girardeau. A good Thursday to all.

Posted at 10:23 pm in Current events, Popculch, Television |

83 responses to “I dew.”

  1. basset said on May 16, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Gypsies? That’s just job creation, free enterprise at work.

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  2. brian stouder said on May 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    I watch too much cable news and C-SPAN yap-yap, but I absolutely DRAW the LINE at the endless crap-crap from TLC/hillbillies, History channel/nazis, Learning Channel/learning to be hillbillies (“what would happen if we BLOWED THAT UP!”, etc), and whatever damned channel has the professional/competitive eaters & gluttons, that go around the countryside looking for their next televised binge/purge thing.

    Yes yes yes; years ago I got sucked into Jon and Kate Plus Eight, so – I claim no moral or intellectual superiority. Anymore, I’d sooner watch one of those 30 minute infomercials where they sell miracle bras or Brazilian butt exercise machines, then some idiot who wrestles alligators in the bayou, or whatever.

    Aside from that, I saw Laura Lippman’s endorsement for the book by Julia Keller, and her favorable opinion is plenty (plenty plenty!) good enough for me. I’ve decided to mix in a little more fiction to my reading lists – in addition to whatever Ms Lippman writes. Last week I began reading one of Pam’s hardcover books, which is a single volume of Jane Austin’s good stuff. I’m 1/4 deep into Sense and Sensibility, with Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey and Pursuasion and Lady Susan and Emma all to follow.

    And aside from that, it is altogether fitting and proper that the ill-tempered pill-popping poobah of pea-brained political pronouncements hails from Missouri. That state was nothing if not a political train wreck back when the 19th century right-wing nihilists brought about the utter consitutional and societal breakdown that their modern descendants seem to want to reprise in the 21st century.

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  3. LAMary said on May 17, 2012 at 12:45 am

    I’ve given up on the food channel which is now stupid cooking competition shows. Ok, the Armenian grocery where I go to buy fresh herbs does have one aisle that looks like the source for all the weirdest ingredients in a Chopped black basket, but for the most part, I don’t give Food Channel the time I did when it had more Ina Garten than Bobby Flay. However, on Spike TV, there’s Bar Rescue. The rescuer guy looks like my old boss George from the Bronx. Really, check this show out. You can practically smell the badly kept bathrooms.

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  4. Dexter said on May 17, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Mrs. Dexter, who I call by her sorta-hillbilly name Carla Lee (her staid real name is Carol Sue)is hooked on “…Idol” and “Survivor”.
    I watch one network show, “Awake” , on NBC, Thursdays.
    The rest of the time I watch baseball…and I don’t care , as long as it’s Major League Baseball, I can watch any game. Thank you Jesus for MLB Network. How did I live without it?
    It’s also nice to have other baseball nuts to blog with.

    When there are no games available to me, I surf or I get on here and catch up with Facebook and all that jazz.

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  5. alex said on May 17, 2012 at 3:22 am

    Now, now. Claire McCaskill hails from Ozarkistan and the place tossed up for her. I don’t suppose she’ll ever get a hillbilly hero’s welcome in the capitol, though.

    No fighting over the zapper in this house because I seldom bother with television. I simply don’t have the time. Wish I could find some because I haven’t read a book in years. I dream of having a silk cocoon hammock tied between two trees and a captivating novel. Maybe when I retire. Which may be when I’m eighty if the rat race hasn’t killed me by then.

    Back to bed. Didn’t plan on such an extended piss break this wee A.M.

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  6. Jolene said on May 17, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Speaking of plutocrats, look what Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade and owner of the Chicago Cubs, is planning for the presidential campaign. Honest to God, I don;t know where people like this get their sense of reality and how they live with themselves.

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  7. Deggjr said on May 17, 2012 at 6:40 am

    The Ricketts are against socialism up until it’s time to pay for renovations to Wrigley Field. Then they put their hands out to the City of Chicago and beg because hand-outs to them are more important than warming shelters for homeless or food for the hungry.

    As Scott Adams once wrote: “And for the irony impaired, and believe me, you don’t know who you are …”.

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  8. coozledad said on May 17, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Romney’s big book of Hitler’s great ideas.
    Chapter I: The Volkswagon Beetle. Can my wife drive two of these?
    Chapter II: The Caucasus Oilfields. How many divisions are they worth?
    Chapter III: Space. Will we one day be able to use it for vengeance weapons?
    Chapter IV: Liquified coal: Fuel, medicines, and synthetic food. Is it nature’s miracle?

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 17, 2012 at 6:50 am

    LAMary, I just can’t look away from Restaurant: Impossible. I don’t know if it’s watching Robert Irvine do 30 second Dr. Phil interventions with squabbling family members, or wondering what they’ll find under the banquettes when the crew starts prying them loose.

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  10. basset said on May 17, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Food and WW2… this is on the nightstand right now, really interesting examination of how various nations ate or starved during WW2, how it happened, and why:


    I guess it’s acceptable to like it, the New York Times did:

    And I have managed to miss the gypsy wedding show so far, used to watch the redneck weddings though and that was just hysterical. particularly since one of them was in Borden, Indiana, not too far from my native area.

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  11. Jolene said on May 17, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Sounds like a great book, basset. The review is terrific. Will have to add it to my list.

    Back to Ricketts, it gives me the creeps that a guy w/ his values owns a baseball team. Seems un-American.

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  12. beb said on May 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Ginandtonic has it all wrong about executive compensation. The stockholders have no say in how much the exec’s get paid. That decision typically comes from a compensation commission which is typically hand-picked by the CEO. One of the recent, toothless reforms of the banking industry is to require non-binding votes on compensation by the stockholders. But since it’s non-binding it’s just pointless wanking. (It is interesting that a couple of these recent non-binding votes rejected the CEO’s compensation. Clearly a binding vote on CEO pay would have a striking effect on the finance industry.

    And it appears that JP Morgan Chase has actually lost closer to three billion dollars. I guess their original announcement was just to soften the blow.

    When it comes to dumb and hill-williams, nothing beats TruTV’s “World’s Dumbest … Hillybillies” God, the level stupid is appalling.

    When the President makes an “unannounced” visit to Afghanistan it’se because if it were announced in advance the Taliban would try to shoot down every airplane in sight in the hopes of getting lucky. When Rush Limbaugh makes an unannounced visit to the Missouri state capitol you have to wonder what he’s afraid of? Getting glittered? Maybe having some gays chanting “we’re queer, we’re here, get used to it”? The level of paranoia is astounding.

    We used to watch quite a bit of The Food Network when it was about cooking but now that it’s mostly competition, we don’t. It’s kind of the way A&E has drifted away from the Arts part of it’s title and The Learning Channel away from Learning.

    Where do you go from here: Time magazine has a cover of a woman breast-feeding her 4 year old son. There are so many things wrong with that but trust Mitch Albom to begin a column with the worst possible image:
    “When I first saw the new Time magazine cover of a nearly 4-year-old boy nursing on his mother’s exposed breast, I must admit it made me nostalgic.” Nostalgic for what, breast milk?

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  13. BigHank53 said on May 17, 2012 at 9:15 am


    The GOP caught their paranoia from the end-times evangelicals they decided to invite into the tent back in the eighties. The end-timers are anticipating signs that Jesus’ return is imminent, that the Beast will emerge, and that they personally will have important roles to play. If you are shaking your head over some particularly wackaloon right-wing ranting about Obama, try imagining it being shouted out under a revival tent in a hick accent. It won’t make any more sense, but the flavor will be familiar.

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  14. coozledad said on May 17, 2012 at 9:22 am

    BigHank53: Lately their rhetoric is indistinguishable from an unmedicated schizophrenic freestyling at a city council meeting.

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  15. Bitter Scribe said on May 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I tried watching a little of the Kardashian thing when Kris Humphries was in it, but couldn’t get through more than five minutes. As far as I can tell, reality TV basically consists of watching people make utter fools of themselves. What’s the attraction? Schadenfreude? For me it’s just embarrassing.

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  16. Kirk said on May 17, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Bad news, Dexter: The cable company finally figured out that my free trial of the Extra Innings package (basically, every baseball game not on “regular” cable TV) hadn’t been cut off after the week or so of the season. Until this week, I could see them all. They never did figure out that I got free hockey on the same channels during the whole season.

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  17. basset said on May 17, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Jolene, the most interesting part of that book for me has been learning how England treated its colonies and territories… and how the Japanese let so many of their own soldiers starve in the field. My mother was just turning ten in London when the war started, she had many stories of bombing raids, rationing, and eating whale meat and Spam.

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  18. Judybusy said on May 17, 2012 at 10:29 am

    cooze, comparing those eejits to people with schizophrenia is disrespectful to the mentally ill. At least medication can help the latter….

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on May 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Basset: Apparently one of the hottest-selling books in Greece is a recounting of how they ate during the war, complete with recipes. What’s scary is that people are buying it not as history, but as a how-to manual.

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  20. coozledad said on May 17, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Judybusy: And unlike Republicans, schizophrenics are frequently inventive and creative. But they seem to share the same paranoid theory flashcards.

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  21. adrianne said on May 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Not to worry about that $2 billion – wait, make that $3 billion – trading loss by JPMorganChase, sez Mittens. After all, it’s someone else’s gain!

    Here’s Mittens’ explanation du texte: In an interview with conservative blogger Ed Morrissey, Mitt Romney defended banking giant JPMorgan and its CEO Jamie Dimon from criticisms from Wall Street reformers after the company lost $2 billion betting with customer money.

    “A trading loss of this nature is something from which JPMorgan should learn, and I think as well regulators should look at it just to understand what happened and why it happened. But…this was not a loss to the taxpayers of America. This was a loss to shareholders and owners of JPMorgan and that’s the way America works Some people experienced a loss in this case because of a bad decision. By the way, there was someone who made a gain. The $2 billion JPMorgan lost someone else gained.”

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  22. Jeff Borden said on May 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Like most Cubs fans and season ticket holders –I’ll be watching them play the Phillies tonight– I wanted Mark Cuban to buy the team. He had no chance, of course, because the old boys who make up the MLB owners aren’t real fond of big-talking and big-spending dudes like Mr. Cuban.

    So. . .we got the Ricketts. Brother Tom is the public face of the franchise, but I always assumed as rich mofos, the Ricketts’ politics would skew right. I did not assume the family would use its vast riches to retry President Obama for every right-wing slur hurled at him the first time around.

    Folks, until we figure a way to drain the money swamp, our national discourse is going to be bought and paid for by rich fuckers like Ricketts. Look at what the Kochs are doing in Wisconsin, where the slack-jawed goober governor who has run the state into the ground is actually leading his recall opponent by five points. The tens of millions of dollars pouring into Walker’s coffers come almost exclusively from outside America’s Dairyland.

    These wealthy old bastards aren’t patriotic. They’re dangerous.

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  23. Icarus said on May 17, 2012 at 10:52 am

    nobody watches reality TV, yet it makes billions, like porn.

    We don’t have cable but there is enough over the air TV to keep us busy. And I’ve also hooked up a spare computer to the TV to get DIYnetwork and my wife’s DailyShow and Colbert Report fix. Instead we use the money we would pay for cable to hire a cleaning lady to come in every other Tuesday and clean our condo.

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  24. Joe Kobiela said on May 17, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Do you include those “rich fuckers” on the left also?
    Pilot Joe

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  25. Deborah said on May 17, 2012 at 10:59 am

    The very name Ricketts sounds horrible like the disease itself. This creep was a client of the company I work for, maybe still is. I’ll probably get fired for writing this on company time (lol). The strategy to exploit blacks to participate in the scam, is such a carpetbagging ploy. Of course getting caught out by the NYT will just make them double down and come up with something twice as dirty. It makes me want to vomit.

    edit: I forgot to mention that the title of Nancy’s post today makes me think of our very own lovable character who comments here.

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  26. Bitter Scribe said on May 17, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Let’s hope the Rickettses are as successful with this as the Cubs have been so far this season.

    Regarding Jamie Dimon: Over on Eric Zorn’s blog, one of the right-wing nitwits I regularly debate with was carrying on about how Jamie Dimon is this great banking genius, and anyone who criticizes him is an ignorant fool. I finally asked him how much money he had with JPMC, and why was he wasting time calling me ignorant on the Internet when he could be scraping up his last dollar to send to Dimon? He prissily informed me that his money was “carefully invested” elsewhere and he didn’t need to pay for advice from JPMC. Translation: Either 1) he doesn’t have the courage of his own asinine convictions, or 2) his wife or someone else managed to talk some sense into him.

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  27. coozledad said on May 17, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I know I’m gonna get flamed for this but Jeremiah Wright Black Panther Muslin Communist Hitler Taxes Jeebus.
    Why you hatin’n on the rich? Just sayin’.

    Autopilot Joe.

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  28. Bitter Scribe said on May 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

    cooz: OMG, as the kids say. You’ve reduced our resident troll to his essence. Well done.

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  29. Charlotte said on May 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

    MLB.com is the greatest thing ever — I live with a self-described Masshole, and MLB.com + Roku (or Apple TV) means we can watch more Red Sox games than anyone could ever want — *and* we get the NESN feed, so we get the local coverage. It has made my man a happy man. And although I grew up in Chicago, I’m only a vestigal Cubs/White Sox fan (although I’m sentimental toward the Sox since I dated Veeck’s youngest in college — he was a disasterous boyfriend but a very very sweet guy).

    I got rid of cable a few months ago — between my 2 over-the-air networks, and Hulu/Netflix/MLB.com/NBA.com we haven’t missed much. Sports playoffs are a problem, but Himself had to get cable at his vacation rental cabins, so we watch there.

    As for Jane Austen — I have to confess to being one of the tiny minority who loves Mansfield Park. My academic work in grad school was all ecocriticism and ecofeminist crit (I got waaaay out on some interesting limbs) and Mansfield Park, with both the sugar trade and the episode in the “wilderness” was right up my alley. Also deeply fond of Persuasion, the book for ladies who found love late in life …. Hate hate hate Emma and Pride and Prejudice. They both annoy me.

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  30. Connie said on May 17, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I used to say I don’t watch reality TV but then I figured out I was watching Dancing and Pawn Stars, so couldn’t say it anymore. Then I realized I was watching Storage Wars and Auction Hunters and was dismayed with myself.

    I miss the old Food network, have no interest in chef wars. Where’s Alton?

    And as to Jeremiah Wright as a political tool: Do you really think everyone sitting in those pews believes in and supports every single thing the pastor says? Ha.

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  31. Bitter Scribe said on May 17, 2012 at 11:36 am

    So…Obama spent time in the presence of someone who criticized America, and this is relevant.

    But Romney rounded up a posse to hold down a fellow student and forcibly cut his hair, and this is proof that the MSM is being mean to him.

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  32. nancy said on May 17, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Please don’t call Pilot Joe a troll. He’s a pretty good egg, considering all the yolks that are thrown his way.

    Dwight/Jimmie, however? He’s a troll.

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  33. Prospero said on May 17, 2012 at 11:52 am

    How will Jamie Dimon leave JP Morgan? Pleasant trip down and a very soft landing. It’s obvious Jamie Dimon’s talent is lying his ass off with a straight face about the necessity of government regulation of banks, independent of the financial industry. Teduced to absurdity, the argument seems to be that drunk driving laws lead to more DUI arrests and convictions. Stop regulating before you force me into boneheaded, greed-driven foolish risk and failure again. Dimon has the utterly clueless gall to whine that current regulations wouldn’t have prevented the recent FUBAR at JPM/C, when the bankers have spent the last three years and millions of bucks lobbying to water regulations down and launch personal vendettas against people like Elizabeth Warren, with the GOP aiding and abetting like nymphomaniacs with a penchant for guys that wear garters, duck suspenders and silk boxers. Protestations from the bankers about regulation are as convincing as the kid who kills his parents and asks mercy from the court because he’s an orphan. STFU, robber barons. And take your medicine.

    I’d say GOPer behavior is more autistic than scizophrenic. With Tourette syndrome.

    Basset, there is a great Japanese movie about the abandonment of Japanese troops on Leyte at the end of the Second World War, called Fires on the Plain:


    Closest I get to reality TV is watching the Mythbusters about once a month, steeped in envy that somebody gets paid to do that whack stuff. And we do watch Chelsea Handler occasionally. Somewhat rude and crude, but not stupid and the scourge of idiots like he K family.

    People that get so hyper about Jeremiah Wright would, conversely love to get his white predecessor, Fr. Coughlin back in the pulpit at the Shrine, and on the radio. Tailgunner Joe in a Roman collar was All-America. And has anybody ever managed to locate leadership of the New Black Panthers? I remember the original Black Panthers like Eldridge Cleaver and Bobby Seale being very public figures. I believe those two thugs from the polling place (in a black neighborhood) in 2008 were enactors, paid by Breitbart or O’Keefe.

    I’d rather read anything by any Bronte than Jane Austen. I’m a philistine. I’d rather read more imaginative modern novels in similar style, like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, or Possession than either.

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  34. Joe Kobiela said on May 17, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Thanks Nancy.
    Pilot Joe

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  35. Joe Kobiela said on May 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Tmz, reports Donna Summers has died.
    Pilot Joe

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  36. nancy said on May 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Beep-beep, toot-toot.

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  37. Charlotte said on May 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    The Donna Summer news appears to be true — the soundtrack of my middle school years — flashbacks to the rawly new condo complexes of Madison’s west side, the allure of 7-11, the smell of “Love’s Baby Soft,” slow dancing in the gym at recess and fruitless longing for straight, blond, Scandanavian hair, cut in a Dorothy Hammill wedge.

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  38. Jeff Borden said on May 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm


    Yes, I would include left-wing money bags, too, though there seem to be a lot fewer and they don’t spend their billions trying to fuck over the lives of lesser mortals like the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins, et.al. Still, no one should be able to buy politicians.

    It really doesn’t matter, though. The system is gamed while we fixate on things like hillbilly gypsies. We’re getting what H.L.Mencken called for long ago. . .and we’re getting it good and hard.

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  39. Prospero said on May 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    I want to be adopted by Neon Deion Sanders and his estranged wife.

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  40. LAMary said on May 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Alton is on the Cooking Channel, which at least on my DirecTV line up is one number higher than the Food Network. He’s also on Iron Chef America and the new Food Network Star competition that just started. You can see reruns of the old Good Eats shows on the Cooking Channel. I saw one about nuts a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been building up to making a pistachio/lemon thyme/sage pesto since then.

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  41. Joe Kobiela said on May 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Peach cobbler at the Greenville Greer, South Carolina airport is very yummy. Just saying if your ever passing through.
    Pilot Joe

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  42. Prospero said on May 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Good Eats and The Barefoot Contessa are the two greatest cooking shows since Martin Yan stopped making Yan Can Cook. And since Justin Wilson’s belt and suspenders gave up the ghost. Although, those high camera angles on Giada’s show can be entertaining as they are shameless. I never got Emeril, because he never seemed to know WTF he was doing, and Sandra Lee is like a single mosquito that got into your tent when you’re rrying to sleep after a long day’s hike.

    Jeff, don’t forget the great Nazi, union-busting piss beer dynasty from CO, the Coors family.

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  43. beb said on May 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Dammit, Joe, Now I’m hungry for Peach cobbler. Though I’ll argue that you can’t make it badly. It’s got peaches it! And if the cobbler part doesn’t work you can always scrap off that and just eat the peaches.

    They’re dropping like flies it seems. Besides Donna Summers just today, BoingBoing announced the death at 75 of Chuck Brown, the godfather of go-go music.

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  44. alex said on May 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    And has anybody ever managed to locate leadership of the New Black Panthers?

    Yeah, they meet monthly with President Obama’s Death Panel to to issue forged Harvard law degrees and Hawaiian birth certificates to Kenyan Muslim communists sneaking into the country to take away all of whitey’s guns and ammo and rape his wimmins and maybe run for senate.

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  45. Jolene said on May 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    No doubt Alex’s claims will be proven in these movies.

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  46. Bitter Scribe said on May 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Somewhere I read about Donna Summer that she was actually a good Christian girl who got pushed into that sexy image and was uncomfortable with it. Dunno if that’s really true.

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  47. Deborah said on May 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    It’s hard to believe that Americans could be so gullible as to fall for those movies, Jolene. But then I slap myself on the forehead and think about my right wing sister and of course I see how it’s possible.

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  48. Prospero said on May 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Pretty funny takedown of trivreality TV drivel:


    What GOPers, particularly Teabangers are scared shitless of.

    Funny, Alex. I believe they’s called Mandingo.

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  49. JWfromNJ said on May 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    About 15 years ago I had frequent dealings with a large Gypsy (they prefer Romani) family that owned an amusement pier in Wildwood, NJ. They had a legitimate business but everything about them was downright shady. Family name – nickels, although given inflation they would have chosen dollars. I always had them figured for money laundering schemes, they were involved in some partnership with native americans to bring in a casino, they stole from each other as a matter of business, with scores ranging from 50 cents in a brother’s desk drawyer to breaking into a brother’s video games to loot the coin box.
    They didn’t bother to hide their antics, they reveled in thinking they were ahead of the curve. One tradition they told me about involved a stew or soup that HAD to be made with a stolen chicken… and since they were too well known to rip off A&P, and the stores were all wise to them anyway, they would all keep extra chickens in their freezers, so the tradition could be honored.
    At some point I started seeing $19.99 calls from my home to a 900# fortune teller hotline. I blocked the 900 numbers and got the charges reversed, but the phone company insisted the calls were made from my house. I knew it wasn’t my wife and my kids were in diapers. The whole thing dogged me. So I tracked back the number to the owners – a daughter of the Nickels clan, with a business address on their pier.
    I confronted them and they laughed and shrugged it off. They had been making the calls from my phone when I was in the bathroom, or in the kitchen getting us snacks during meetings at my house.

    EDIT – apparently the most crooked and ruthless member of their clan was also an advocate for the plight of the gypsy people, at least according to this article which ran right around the time they were scamming my phone bills:


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  50. Dorothy said on May 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Have to put in a good word for someone else named Ricketts. These were our across-the-street neighbors when we lived in Cincinnati. Salt of the earth folks they are. Mike and I are still very close with them. These are the kind of neighbors you want to take with you when you move. I miss them so very much. Fortunately we visit a couple times a year. Plus Mr. Ricketts shares my birthday so he’s got that going for him, too!

    Oh and Joe – you made me homesick for Greenville, my home of 3 years! Henry’s, our favorite barbecue place in town, had really good peach cobbler. sigh.

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  51. Hattie said on May 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Yes! It’s those darn gypsies!

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  52. basset said on May 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Joe, SC peaches are better than GA any time… some of my recent ancestors around Greer/Spartanburg used to deliver peaches in a Model A Ford pickup with jars of liquor under the fruit.

    And these deaths come in threes… Doug Dillard died overnight.

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  53. Prospero said on May 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Chuck Brown’s greatest hit:


    Scribe, Donna Summer was indeed from a church singing family and background, and she did take a lot of grief for the faux orgasmia in I Feel Love and Love to Love You. Damn I hated Disco. Not Steve “Disco Demolition Night” Dahl hatred, but I just thought disco was awful crap. Here’s a Donna Summer rendition of a Jimmy Webb classic that’s new to me:


    Ms. Summer also did a record with La Streisand. She had a far better pipes than later performers like Madonna and her army of pop tart clones right up to GaGa.

    A few years ago, there was a hilarious TV show starring Eddie Izzard and the great Minnie Driver called The Riches, about a gypsy (Travellers) family that witnesses a fatal crash and takes over the identities of the dead family to “go straight”. Good show, cancelled way prematurely.

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  54. Dan B said on May 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I don’t know why it is that the subject of reality tv is what drives me to actually post here (I think it’s that I just don’t like talking politics, but I assure you that I do think about a lot more than just reality tv), but all the semi-embarassed talk about what reality tv shows we do or don’t watch drives me to want to make this point again.

    A formulaic police procedural, a semi-soap opera like “Greys Anatomy,” “A Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men” are all hourlong dramas, but we all recognize them as fitting in different categories. Just sticking with network stuff, you can talk about how great, say, “The Good Wife” is without having it associated with “Gossip Girl.”

    Somehow or other, though, we’ve lumped together “The Amazing Race,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “The Bachelor,” “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” “Ace of Cakes,” “Top Chef,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” and “Storage Wars” into one thing. They share certain characteristics (including not being particularly “real”), but they vary tremendously in content and quality.

    I enjoy the competitive shows, particularly those that involve talented people doing creative things. You couldn’t pay me to watch boring people pretend to fall in love with each other, or minor celebrities fight with each other. Enjoy what you enjoy and don’t let the existence of bad shows you don’t watch embarrass you.

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  55. basset said on May 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Best cooking show ever is still “Two Fat Ladies,” which Cooking Channel is now re-running.

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  56. Dorothy said on May 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Very, very well said, Dan. You should pipe up more often. And I’m a devoted fan of “The Good Wife” so thanks for that. It’s supremely delicious. Kalinda is my favorite character, and I adore Christine Baranski’s laugh, which we don’t get to hear often enough.

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  57. Jimmie Cracked Thornes said on May 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Hypocrisy check:

    If one of your buddies stops by an Amsterdam Coffee House on their way through Europe, are they then and forever a “Drug Tourist?”

    Just wondering.

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  58. Prospero said on May 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Basset: The Dillards as “The Darlings” on the Andy Griffith Show:


    Stellar banjo by Doug Dillard.

    Disco Demolition Night:


    Comiskey’s finest moment. (Sorry, but as long as they employ AJ, I will despise the White Sox.) Jimmy Piersall is the perfect commentator for this loony disturbance.

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  59. Bob (not Greene) said on May 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Prospero, thanks for the disco Demolition footage. I remember watching that live at my job as a lifeguard. Also, bonus footage of Jimmy interviewing legendary columnist Bill Gleason, whose daughter was my future wife’s roommate at Purdue. Can you imagine anything like that even being seriously contemplated much less acted on now? Man, the 70s were a LOT looser.

    As for the Dillards, as Briscoe Darling would say, “Those boys sure can render.”

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  60. Prospero said on May 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Concerning yesterday’s discussion of the nationality of the model in the Fiat ad, here’s a picture of a Romanian movie star from decades ago:


    Seriously, visiting a hash bar in Amsterdam is equivalent to trying to return to the USA with boocoo (intent to sell quantities) of non-prescribed Oxy after a sex-tourism trip to the Caribbean? Lush Rimbaugh is a drug addict that used a national soapbox to fulminate in favor of life sentences for people like himself. That is hellfire damnation hypocrisy. If the dickhead had a functioning frontal lobe, he’d have self-deported out of sheer embarrassment.


    Bob, that DJ was royally pissed off because his radio station let him go when it changed formats from rock music to disco. And Bill Veeck’s team was the natural choice to sponsor such a ridiculous exhibition. Too bad they couldn’t get Eddie Gaedel to be the Ringmaster.

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  61. MichaelG said on May 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    The Food Channel has well and truly gone down the tube and the Cooking Channel is following right down the same road, although they still have Laura Calder, Lorraine Pascale and Ching-He Huang on Saturday AM. If any of you guys like Giada’s goodies, check out Laura. Giada has ‘um but doesn’t seem to know what they’re for. Laura knows.

    The best peaches I’ve ever had come from a roadside stand off I-5 down in the Valley at Patterson just below Stockton. Right off the tree, still hot from the sun, the juices running down my chin and my arm, so sweet and flavorful, mmmmmmmm.

    One feature of European public transportation that nobody seems to mention is the gypsy singers and beggars who inhabit subway cars.

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  62. Dexter said on May 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Charlotte, Bill Veeck’s “Veeck As In Wreck” was a great book , and I read it when I was a teen. Old man Veeck ran the Cubs at one time and young Bill crafted himself a crude apartment withing the structure of Wrigley Field . He lived there one whole summer…what a life. Of course you know after Bill returned from the war he became a baseball entrepreneur and ended up buying the Sox in 1960. He built the exploding scoreboard…and way back when, when he still worked for the Cubs, he planted the first ivy at the base of the brick walls of Wrigley Field. Bill’s son Mike was the architect ot the 1979 “Disco Demolition” fiasco, MC’d by Steve Dahl.
    I met Mike one time in Charleston, South Carolina, when the ballpark there was brand new.
    Bill Murray is/was a partner in ownership of that club, and the concourse is decorated with lots of memorabilia from the old Chicago White Sox home, Comiskey Park.
    Bill and his family maintained homes in Easton, Maryland as well as in Hyde Park, Chicago.
    Bill used to hang out in Miller’s Pub by the Art Institute, sipping draft beers and talking to anyone and everyone. He also was a notorious short-sleeper, going on just two or three hours per night.

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  63. alex said on May 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I don’t know why people were so quick to assume that there’s no such thing as a beautiful Romanian woman. Or that it’s not a beautiful country. *SNORT*

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  64. alex said on May 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Dex, I got to meet Bill Veeck’s wife once and thought she was quite a vibrant little lady. She was a member of Chicago’s Friends of the Library and chatted me up one year at the Printer’s Row book fair about the new downtown public library that had just been completed at the time–particularly about all of the graft surrounding its completion and the lack of actual books on the shelves. She was a stitch. This would have been in the late ’80s.

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  65. basset said on May 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I actually got to pick with Doug Dillard once, over at a mutual friend’s house… informal gathering, you sit in a circle and take turns calling the next song. I saw a banjo player I didn’t know, after awhile realized it was him and immediately became furniture… ahhh, I’ll just kinda chop along here, you guys go ahead and take all the breaks… seemed like a nice guy, though.

    And a few years later, I copy-edited, probably not very well, a vanity press book about the Dillards. Small world.

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  66. coozledad said on May 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    JCT:If someone has to point out the rather unsubtle difference between smoking hash and using the levers of your cash and influence to fuck a child, then you should at minimum be wearing an ankle monitor.

    The inmates in a prison have even harsher remedies for this species of false equivalence.

    EDIT: I just realized who Jimmy Cracked Thornes is. He’s Timothy Dolan!

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Does anyone show re-runs of Graham Kerr’s “The Galloping Gourmet”? That’s a vivid memory from the downstairs black and white set on PBS, when I was home early from school, waiting for WGN to start the re-runs of “Gilligan’s Island” & “I Dream of Jeannie.” It got me interested in cooking when I was still in single digits, and before I’d seen a Julia Child ep (she was on earlier in the day, and I didn’t watch her until much later). Last I’d heard, he was still alive and still quite the bon vivant with the energy to gallop at 70-something or more.

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  68. Deborah said on May 17, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    When I was in college, home for the summer in Miami, I worked in a department store that was often frequented by gypsies in full garb. We would all be alerted when they walked in the door to watch them like hawks. Sure enough when they left we would see that a lot of stuff was missing and we never saw them take it.

    Traveling in Europe (Paris, Rome etc) we would sometimes be confronted by a crowd of what looked like dark haired, dark skinned little girls (they were probably much older than they looked). They would try to engage us in a game with a board of some kind covered with scarves. They would push the board right into you, hard. Then they’d pick your pocket. We saw it happen to others so we learned to stay well clear of them. When we were in Finland people there were quite sympathetic to them and called them Romani.

    edit: Oh good one Coozeldad! I was just waiting for something like that from you.

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  69. Rana said on May 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Between no longer having cable, and having to roll the tv out to use it (small apartment, large tv), Dan B and I don’t watch too much television unless it can be viewed online. So we don’t argue about it too much; about the only thing I watch he’s uninterested in is Doctor Who, and he’s okay going into another room for the hour or so a week that it’s on.

    I agree he should comment more. 😉

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  70. Prospero said on May 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I read somewher, long ago, that Bill Veeck had a compartment built into his artificial leg to carry around a bottle of bourbon. He supposedly also had ashtrays carved into the wooden legs. He was also largely responsible for bringing Max Patkin to the Majors:


    Graham Kerr went through rehab and a period of cooking for Jesus, I think.


    I remember best the GG’s episode on making Spotted Dick. Hilarious. Julia Child was a pleasure to watch, but her best shows were those she did with Jaques Pepin. My Sister in Law is a Nathalie Dupree fan. My favorite will always be Justin Wilson.

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  71. Prospero said on May 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm



    Justin’s best cooking tip: always 1-1/2:1, water to rice.

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  72. Jimmie Cracked Thornes said on May 17, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I am – indeed – a troll.

    I came here a long time ago with the intention of looking for smart Liberals who could articulate the Liberal mindset and make me understand. I REALLY WANTED to understand y’all. Maybe there was a better answer. Maybe there was something I was missing. Teach me. My mind was open.

    Instead all I found was hate. Insightful responses like “ ___source you don’t like ___ is full of shit.” Wow. I can feel the enlightenment burning away my retinas.

    It really started the day Nancy told me that she didn’t want to hear my “fucking bullshit about self-reliance.”

    ??? Okaaaaay. What in the world is bad about self reliance?

    Dunno. Nancy didn’t articulate WHY it was a bad thing. She just spewed hate and rolled her eyes. Lot of insight there, fer sure.

    And then there was more hate. And hate. And then some mild hate. And then some white-hot hate.

    And then it FINALLY dawned on me: Find a rational rationale for liberalism? “Wishful Thinking.”

    Of course once Mrs. I-don’t-Ban Commenters-I-Did-It-Once-And-I-Felt-Terrible banned me… Well hey. At that point it was on like Donkey Kong. Decorum and mutual respect, meet Mr. Toilet.

    So yeah. I’m a troll.

    If there was a little clubhouse of racists, I’d want them to feel uncomfortable in their fellowship.

    If there was a little clubhouse of pedophiles, I’d want them to feel uncomfortable in their fellowship.

    And if you are going to foster a little clubhouse of deranged hatred… Well… Ask not for whom the blog trolls. It trolls for thee.

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  73. brian stouder said on May 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Wow! you’re breaking my heart, Jimmy!

    My only question is, are you older than 30 yet? I ask because your argumentation is so flat, and so (forgive me, but I do mean this sincerely, and not spitefully) narrowly self-centered.

    Not for nothing, but 20-30 years ago I used to love love love arguing in favor of the virtues of Ronald Reagan and conservatism and how wrong-headed everyone who disagreed with me was, and how “libruls” were so darned stupid.*

    But, that was a long time ago, and one thing I learned was, the more I read, the less black-and-white everything became.

    And not for nothing, but even when I was as far to the right as I could be, I still always recognized how marvelous Nancy was (and remains!); truth be told, I always had a crush on her. So – I was a pest and argued with her, but I also paid attention to what she wrote, and…..it became apparent that I had much more to gain by taking in her arguments and points of view, then by always and automatically disagreeing with everything she might ever say, on the spot.

    Here’s a little “breaking news” – speaking of people who write in the News-Sentinel and make me want to answer back; and swear to God it’s true: Shelby (our almost-14 year old) and I stopped in at Fort Wayne’s Apple Glen Wal-Mart to pick up a few things for supper within the last hour, and when we went to the express checkout, who was directly in front of us but?……Mark Souder! Looked older and shorter in person than I’d have thought. And I believe he was with his wife, who must have the patience of a saint. And we won’t divulge what he was buying….and I thought of greeting him, and thought again, and decided to leave him be unless he said hello. I did smile and nod to his wife, as their transaction ended and we placed our goodies on the counter. The world – or at least Fort Wayne – is often a strange place, eh?

    *and indeed, a hero of mine was Jeane Kirkpatrick, who had been a Democrat before seeing the light and becoming a Republican. Of course, this was back before the Republican party went became whatever the hell they are now.

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  74. del said on May 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    We love you Pilot Joe. And here’s the nut graph from Ginandtacos (my new favorite blog name for obvious reasons):

    Or maybe it’s just a bunch of assholes born into money, rooming together at prep school, getting the same Gentlemen’s B at Harvard or Yale, and using Old Money and family connections to land jobs for which they are woefully unqualified, emerging from their life of privilege with a profound sense of entitlement and a belief in their own greatness that borders on sociopathy. In either case, like so many aspects of our political, economic, and social systems the idea of performance-based compensation and employment standards apply only to the little people.

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  75. del said on May 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Brian S, this made me laugh:

    Learning Channel/learning to be hillbillies (“what would happen if we BLOWED THAT UP!, etc.”)

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  76. Joe K said on May 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Last thing a redneck says,”hey y’all watch this”.
    Pilot Joe.

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  77. Charlotte said on May 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I dated Chris — the youngest Veeck when we were both at Beloit — not for long. Like I said, he was a sweet guy, but not a great boyfriend. He grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and came to Chicago at about 13 — had a very funny story about following his dad and Royko from bar to bar on lower Wacker and wondering what was up with Chicago that it was all underground. Mary Frances Veeck is still alive and still a pistol (one thing Chris and I had in common was that I grew up with some of his cousins — so I still get the family gossip). I met the old man once, but I was about 10 and it didn’t really register.
    And the first ballgame I ever went to was a no-hitter at Comiskey Park. Our dad took us, right after the divorce, so we were probably 7 & 9. He told us all about the exploding scoreboard, and we were so stoked. A no-hitter is pretty exciting for a grownup, but for little kids — not so much. My poor dad, he was so mad that we were bored and fidgety and wanted to go home.

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  78. coozledad said on May 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Yup. It’s Dolan. He’s all lachrymose because he can’t get a reduction on the statute of limitations, and he’s been hitting the sherry since lunch.

    But honestly, nice go at that awkward “delusional youngster” voice, Tim. All those years of being surrounded by ephebophiles has given you an ear for hormonal imbalance.

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  79. alex said on May 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm


    Anyone who frequents this site can clearly see this is not a community of deranged hatred, unless like you they are blinded by ideology. The vitriol pales compared to what appears on right-wing sites, but the snark is always assuredly smarter and stings with the ring of truth, which is probably what chaps your wanton itchy homophile hoo-ha. Take your aberrant politics and go sit on a flagpole with them, honey buns.

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  80. brian stouder said on May 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Tonight Fort Wayne is a bit of a chaotic battlefield; it appears that shooting warfare is rippling across several neighborhoods. The other evening there was a short, massive gun battle in a residential area not far from Southgate (50 shots fired, by some estimates, with one dead and one wounded) and this evening a drive-by shooting at a house that left another guy dead, and then (within 90 minutes) yet another big gun-battle leaving yet another dead person in a residential area.

    Aside from that, what Alex said.

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  81. basset said on May 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Jimmie, I don’t care to hear what Nance accurately describes as your “fucking bullshit” on any topic, including self-reliance. I don’t always agree with Joe but at least we can have a halfway intelligent conversation, you appear to be incapable of that.

    Nance, drop the hammer on him.

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  82. Deborah said on May 17, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    You know, as much as I complain here about my rightvwing sister, I love her. I think about her all the time. She drives me crazy with her beliefs. But she’s the only person in the world who knows what it felt like for us to lose our mother at the ages of 14 and 15. And for that I will forever find a place for her in my heart.

    So as much as we may rant and rave here, it is to some degree a vent. Venting doesn’t change anything but it can give a release from frustration that however fleeting is sometimes helpful. And sometimes the opposition (let’s face it, the Republicans) really deserve some serious criticism.

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  83. Brandon said on May 20, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Madonna love is scarce on this site, but I’ll proceed with my defense of her singing anyway. Though Donna Summer’s voice is more powerful than Madonna’s, Madonna has her own strengths. Her voice has matured over the years, so even by the time of Like a Prayer, it was fuller and richer.

    Here are their vocal profiles:



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