What a glorious day. Just perfect, pretty much start to finish. I’d planned to get up early for a dawn bike ride, but suffered a 90-minute bout of insomnia after an already late bedtime, so that was down the tubes. But I got away for an hour or so at lunch, and ran errands on two wheels. Stopped at the pet store — the best pet store in Michigan, for my money — for rabbit food, and visited with the baby buns in their big bin. The lady said they have a Flemish giant that they turn loose for exercise, and sometimes he jumps in with the babies. This would be an alarming sight to see, especially for the babies — the sky darkening with something roughly rabbit shaped, and then a bun the size of Spriggy landing in their midst. No wonder they looked so nervous.

Then, to the library to pay overdue fines and look for something for our next family movie night. “High Fidelity” is checked out. Grr. Then down to the ATM for some dolla-dolla-bills-y’all, and back home, not even all that sweaty. I like my Lansing days for the rediscovered joys of officemates and lunch out, and I like my work-at-home days for the bike rides and the chance to get laundry done between phone calls.

Amid all the glory of listening to the birds chirp, and making those phone calls, that was pretty much my day, until Alan pulled into the driveway in this:

Alas, it shipped without the Italian supermodel. But it did have a sunroof, and yesterday was our 19th wedding anniversary, so off we rolled down Lake Shore for an ice cream sundae, and that’s all the fun you can really have when your anniversary falls on a Tuesday, but no matter.

Being online and connected all day, I did collect some bloggage worth your time, however:

One from moi, on one of those crazy urban-farm ideas here in Detroit, only this one has spinach and fish. Hit the link and keep me employed.

My old Columbus Dispatch colleague Julia Keller is leaving the Chicago Tribune to teach at my alma mater. She’s a West Virginia girl, so she’ll enjoy being more or less back home. Almost almost heaven, as we never said in southeast Ohio.

If I read Mark Souder’s stupid column right, he’s mad at Dick Lugar for speaking the truth on election night because it was “ungracious” and slavery and how can you be bipartisan unless you’re partisan first, huh? I consider the day this twit got caught with his weenis in the wrong place proof of a loving and merciful God. Certainly one with a sense of humor.

While we’re on the subject of religious hysterics, a great Charles Pierce piece on the crazy Catholic school whose baseball team refused to play one with a girl on it.

General Motors cancelled a $10 million ad buy with Facebook. Why? Because nobody clicks their ads. Ha.

A note from Kim, of our commenting crew, who is today a job creator. A hirer, anyway:

I have a couple of job opportunities and am wondering if you know of folks either in the NN.C sphere or elsewhere who might be interested. They are in Wilmington, NC and Columbia, SC – my company recently closed on groups of stations in both markets (they were separate deals) and I am at the point of immediately hiring for NC to start up an online-only daily driven by radio. SC will be later this summer. I am looking for a managing editor for both places, and a cops/courts reporter for NC.

Finally, someone — can’t remember who — already noticed a language anachronism edging into “Mad Men,” that most obsessively policed environment, or so we’ve heard. First, Joanie told someone “it is what it is,” a phrase I’d bet a paycheck hadn’t been invented in 1966. Then, this week, a character requested an “impactful” ad. Say whu-? That neologism is so fresh it’s still in diapers. Matt Weiner? You aren’t all you think you are.

Hope Wednesday is as nice as Tuesday was.

Posted at 12:08 am in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' |

39 responses to “Vroom.”

  1. Fritinancy said on May 16, 2012 at 12:18 am

    I don’t watch “Mad Men,” but I did read this quote from Ben Zimmer in Slate:

    >>I caught Roger’s use of “impactful,” too. Though the word didn’t really take off until the ’80s, it was certainly in use in the mid-’60s.<<

    He follows with four citations from 1966.

    But there's plenty of other anachronistic language on the show, and it's being documented by another linguist named Ben:

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  2. Cara said on May 16, 2012 at 1:03 am

    “I consider the day this twit got caught with his weenis in the wrong place proof of a loving and merciful God. Certainly one with a sense of humor.”

    Along that line, I know an older Democrat lady who was quoted as saying “If I had known that was all it took to haul that self righteous idiot out of D.C., I’d have taken one for the party twenty years ago.”

    Maybe we could get the Errant Mr. S a job with Our Lady of Sorrows as both are equally ill-advised and surely should enjoy each other’s company.

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  3. Kaye said on May 16, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Why does the name Julia Keller make me cringe? I remember her writing TV reviews for the Dispatch years ago but apparently I failed to appreciate her work.

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  4. Dexter said on May 16, 2012 at 2:12 am

    I love that Fiat in your driveway.

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  5. Suzanne said on May 16, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Oh, Mark Souder. Please, just go away. Please. Once you were found in a delicate situation on a boat ramp in a state park, I lost all respect for you. It also caused me to have a long talk with my daughter about how, if an affair should (God forbid) ever happen to her, she must please, please, please make sure he at least takes her to a high end hotel.

    I heard a story about Facebook ads on the radio this morning and it occurred to me that I almost never, ever click on those ads, so I guess they waste their money on the likes of me.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on May 16, 2012 at 8:23 am

    And what fool at the News-Sentinel decided it was time to rehabilitate Sounder? This is the third or fourth column by him. Blech, blech, blech.

    Too much to do this week, I’m gonna have to be a lurker.

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  7. alex said on May 16, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Amazing to think there were people running to the right of Mark Souder the last time around. I didn’t think it was possible to have one’s head any further up one’s own ass, and after reading that ridiculous sermon I’m still not convinced.

    Some things don’t yield to “bipartisan” compromise. One side must prevail. Liberals talk about abortion and how conservatives won’t allow some babies to die and others to live. But what about child abuse or spouse abuse? Should we compromise with the population in America, rather sizable, that abuse children and spouses? Of course not; there are absolute standards.

    Really? Tell that to your Teabagger colleagues who pointedly want to exclude gays and lesbians from the protection of domestic abuse laws and those regarding bullying in school. So much for your absolute standards.

    On climate change, which side lacks bipartisanship? [Lugar] implies that it is the Republican side. But that presumes that the liberal-controlled data is correct. The liberals refuse to debate the premise and then smear conservatives for refusing to compromise within their fact control. How can that be called “bipartisan?”

    Liberal-controlled data? As opposed to what? Energy industry spin? Actually, Mr. Lugar was quite a bit more gracious than you give him credit for. If he’d really spoken his mind, Mr. Souder, he would have said that climate change is not amenable to debate because it’s pointless to argue with idiots.

    I’d be glad that this hopeless yutz is out of office except for the fact that he has been replaced by another one. Maybe Cara’s friend should go take one for the party after all. At least Souder’s successor isn’t half-bad looking.

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  8. coozledad said on May 16, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Gary’s plans remind me a little of the plywood fish tanks Karl Hess used to raise fish in Adams Morgan back in the seventies. Market anarchism is probably a more workable idea right now, judging from the exodus from banks to credit unions.
    The more petroleum you’re able to remove from farming operations, the more food you’re getting versus piss in the wind. That’s the kind of libertarianism that makes Libertarians piss themselves and go whining to the government to make it stop.
    If they keep letting the petroleum industry fuck up the oceans without dragging the perps out to be shot, land based operations are going to be the sole source of fish.
    Where can we mail Gary a check?

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  9. Hank Stuever said on May 16, 2012 at 8:58 am

    My ears twitched on those “Mad Men” lines too. Was waiting for someone to say “disruptive” or “disruption” in a meeting. Every idea has to be “disruptive” now to be considered good. It’s the new “let’s think outside of the box,” only somehow _more_ annoying. You hear it all the time on “The Pitch” and, alas, in newsroom-wide memos these days.

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  10. Dorothy said on May 16, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Happy 19th anniversary a day late, and is the Fiat a loaner or a new purchase? We picked up our 2012 Chevy Equinox on Saturday. I was going to say it’s not as sexy as the Fiat, but then thought, no, it is pretty damn sexy. We love it. We’d never ordered a vehicle before so we were very happy with it as it has exactly what we want. Count this on the plus side of being in your mid-fifties with relatively good health. Here’s hoping this feeling continues for awhile!

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 16, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Cooze: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/we-could-be-heroes/

    Bittman’s right there with you; the case for less meat/livestock consumption may not be the full brief for vegetarianism, but it’s pretty compelling to this carnivorous free-market conservative.

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  12. Jeff Borden said on May 16, 2012 at 9:56 am

    The supermodel in the Abarth commercial is actually Romanian.

    Yes, it is my job to know these things.

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  13. brian stouder said on May 16, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Happy 19th to Alan and Nancy!

    And – agree 100% w/Alex, regarding Souder’s senseless yipping about partisans and compromisers, and his inept (or blatantly dishonest) grasp of American history.

    Souder points to “good” partisans like abolitionists and William Lloyd Garrison, and “bad” bipartisan compromisers like Henry Clay.

    So, Mr Souder, what’s missing from this paradigm? What is the “dark matter” (so to speak) that rips apart your fantasy universe of American political history?

    What are we to think about partisan fireaters like John C Calhoun (et al) or (for that matter) Chief Justice Roger Taney?

    Remember them? The ones who went on and on about their sacred Constitutional rights to buy and sell and transport and otherwise do whatever they wanted with enslaved human beings? The folks who accepted compromise, until they decided – what the hell! – the deal is that we get to do whatever we want, wherever we want, and the United States can – literally – go out of existence if you disagree.

    If we make an absolute point of disregarding the rigid partisanship of THOSE people, the better to polish up “good” partisanship and tarnish “compromise”, then we end up with mish-mash and nonsense. Mark Souder is amazingly (willfully?) ignorant of American history, if he thinks that pointing to antebellum America furthers his argument about the virtues of ideological certainty and unbending political aggressiveness.

    Souder says ‘we’re lots more bipartisan now than we were then’ – which is like saying to Mary Lincoln “Other than that, how was the play?”

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  14. Bob (not Greene) said on May 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Jeff B., I thought it was brian stouder’s job to know those things. Glad to see he’s delegating.

    Kim, If I lived in NC, I’d apply!

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  15. coozledad said on May 16, 2012 at 11:04 am

    From the department of life imitates the Simpsons: A living “Bottomless Pete”.

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  16. Kim said on May 16, 2012 at 11:21 am

    BobNG – if you ever want a job I will hire you in a heartbeat, no app necessary.

    On that job topic: It’s a model we’ve been doing in VA for nearly four years and is very successful, the idea being you can do without the paper; you can’t do without the news. We are an online-only daily and our reporters write for online and go on-air at our stations with local news that matters to locals, then point them online to where they can read these stories for free, anytime and anywhere they are. We have been extremely profitable, proving when you have a driver (radio, the original digital) to send folks to the web (the neo digital) you can bundle on-air with online advertising; in other words, “monetize” the Internet, something few in the news world have been able or inclined to do. Our success had led to stations in the Columbia, SC and Wilmington, NC markets, where we’ll follow the model.

    I could go on. Please email me (Nance can be the broker, and I thank her) to keep me wound up.

    On the Bridge story: Cool idea, and the tilapia farming reminds me of the Delta Fish Market on Kedzie and Jackson (I think) in Chicago. This guy ran the fish market from a former gas station, with bays filled with tanks of flopping catfish. He’d built a grandstand in the parking lot, where local blues musicians would perform. See a video of Sunnyland Slim by Bob Sirott (the hair!).

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  17. adrianne said on May 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Nance, I remember your wedding day like it was yesterday! Mostly, I remember dancing up a storm despite my eight-months-pregnant figure. I was grateful for finding a maternity dress that wasn’t hideous for a semi-formal occasion.

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  18. LAMary said on May 16, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I have a problem with tilapia. A few years ago my son was watching Dirty Jobs, and that week’s gross out was a fish farm in the desert in CA. They raised some sort of mutant striped bass in big pools and after they harvested the bass, they put in tilapia to clean out the pools. They fish farm guy pretty much said they feed bass shit to the tilapia. I can’t make myself eat tilapia now and they have it in the damn cafeteria here at least three times a week. I bring leftovers from home.

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  19. Charlotte said on May 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Wow — very cool car! My mother got a Fiat Spider when we went to live with our dad in high school. It lasted until I killed it 6 weeks after getting my license. Good thing I cracked the windshield with my forehead or she might not have forgiven me.

    And I love love love the addict farm project! It’s exactly the kind of thing I’ve been watching develop for several years. Despite what big ag tells us, I firmly believe we *can* feed ourselves on good, clean, local food. Plus give people something rewarding to do — my garden saw me through a couple of very dark years after a death in the family.

    My grandmother was one of the first white people into China after it opened again — she went on a tour with the Chicago Farmer’s Assoc. and came back raving about the integrated fish-pig-vegetable farms she’d seen.

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  20. Prospero said on May 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    That baseball team was just a bunch of adolescent boys that were sick of getting they ass kicked by a team with a girl.

    Since Mad Men’s inception I have been waiting for the inevitable anachronistic “high five”.

    Shrub’s semi-enthusiastic declaration for Romney while Exeunting Stage Up, a la Thnaggleputh, behind the closing elevator doors, was a bit worthy of Peter Sellers. Heavanth to Murgatroid.

    “Good” partisanship is indeed possible. But, surely, it necessarily involves well thought-out alternative ideas and concrete policy proposals. If Paul Ryan’s gutted budget and the meaningless “Jobs, jobs, jobs” slogan are all that’s on offer, current GOPer partisanship is nothing but a sort of political autism, expressed as incomprehensible nihilism.

    Souder’s resignation statement was a truly odious piece of shit:


    It could be clipped and stuck on the refrigerator door next to the Poison Emergency number. Reading would induce emesis faster than Ipecac in case of swallowing anything evil.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on May 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Have any of you seen the polling on how members of the armed forces are likely to vote in the presidential election? Right now, Obama leads Willard the Windsock by 7 points. Apparently, the reckless, endless wars engineered by the neoconservatives and run by some of the most inept civilian military planners in recent history have soured our warriors on the GOP brand. And with Romney talking tough and already brandishing his saber, they understand they’ll soon be fed back into the meat grinder. I’m afraid Mittens’ advisors (including John Bolton) and one of his BFFs (Bibi Netanyahu) will insist.

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  22. Joan said on May 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    “It is what it is.” According to William Saffire (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/05/magazine/305wwln_safire.1.html?pagewanted=print): “The first use I can find is in the Newspaper Archive, from a column by J.E. Lawrence in The Nebraska State Journal in 1949.”

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  23. Bitter Scribe said on May 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Kaye, I’m glad to see someone else feels that way about Keller. I just don’t get her. Maybe it’s her breezy way of taking dubious assumptions and acting like they’re something everyone takes for granted.

    (And no, I don’t have specific examples and I’m not going to hunt up any, because frankly I just don’t care that much.)

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  24. Jolene said on May 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve seen those articles, too, Jeff. Here’s the Reuters piece that I think you are referring to, and here’s a comment from someone who is skeptical of the reported seven-point difference.

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  25. Peter said on May 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Jeff B, that model is Romanian? really?

    I never saw anything even remotely that good looking when I was in Romania.

    My lovely wife said I could go there all I want – no reason to worry that I’d run off with one of the natives.

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  26. Dorothy said on May 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I have never once clicked on an ad in Facebook, but I’m assuming they are still able to make money from my presence there. My hand might not click but my eyes do take in all the crap that runs around the page on the sides. I try my best to not be influenced. I’ve been that way for years – contrariness at its level best!

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  27. Prospero said on May 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    The idea of US military action against Iran is unthinkable. Remember HW war on Iraq? Propaganda held that Saddam’s military was the “fifth most formidable” in the world. Yeah, right. Well, they were tougher than Kuwait, anyway. By the time of the PNAC invasion, Iraq was destitute militarily and entirely unable to defend itself. Iran appears to be more of a challenge militarily:


    And how would US forces be supplied? Through Afghanistan or Pakistan? Through Turkmeni-meni-stan-stan-stan? Through Iraq? I’m sure the Badr Brigades (ISCI) and Bani-Sadr’s militias wouldn’t present problems. Eastern Turkey? Well, sure, but that is really Kurdistan-stan.

    It seems obvious that American military intervention in the Israel-Iran nuclear embroglio, other than bombing Iran back to the Stone Age (probably counterproductive with our civilized allies) would be far more expensive and damaging to the USA than the PNAC invasion and occupation of Iran. The intelligent thing for the US would be to pressure Israel to disarm the nuclear arsenal at Dimona in return for verifiable assurances of no nuke weapons development by Iran.

    Jolene, The point made by the author of that FP piece seems to be that Democrats do not have a historical edge with vets, so the poll showing Obama +7% is questionable. I say, vets and their families have never been forced through a sausage maker like the PNAC/Shrub invasions and occupations by the GOP and then had their veterans benefits attacked as the Ryan Budget attacks the VA. It’s easy for me to envision a vet that lost comrades following the USS Abraham Lincoln trick deciding never to vote for a GOPer again. And then, there is self-preservation. When it comes down to it, GOP is the party of “Let’s you and him fight. I’ll watch your stuff.” Which, not coincidentally, is very like the Israeli strategy concerning Iran and the USA.

    Even if, a big if, Iran represents a real threat to Israel, Iran presents more of a threat to the security of Petroworld than to US security. Of course, Israels Nukes in the Negev are currently the most volatile threat to the World petrochemical economy than anything Iran has accomplished with its faulty, software-damaged centrifuges. Hell, there could be some pillar of American corporate society that presents more danger than Iran does at this very moment:


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  28. coozledad said on May 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Jolene: Peter Feaver is a former Bush Adminstration hack in the Kagan mold. They’re still trying to write themselves out of the serial foreign policy disasters they oversaw, while simultaneously denying their objectives were doomed from the start.
    Their argument comes down to “We should have kissed Bush’s ass harder, and the magic freedom genie would have given the world a United States of greater Israel”
    I watched Feaver at a presentation at Duke in the run-up to the war, and his students nearly booed him off the stage. He’s a complete charlatan, devoid of any self awareness.

    EDIT: I have never witnessed a handful of students demolish the arguments of their instructor so thoroughly. It was acutely uncomfortable to watch. He was unfit to teach an entry level course.

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  29. Angela said on May 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    “It is what it is” and Souder in the same blog post, and no one has cracked on this yet? Unless I missed it, allow me: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/iteam/2012/04/clemens-trial-rewind-it-is-what-it-is

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  30. Jeff Borden said on May 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm


    Everything you say is correct, of course, but many people spoke the truth about Iraq before that war began and it meant nothing. And as noted before more than once, Mittens has surrounded himself with the hawkiest of the hawks as advisors and he’s close friends with Netanyahu. We more or less walked blind into Iraq. Why would we think the next conservative president wouldn’t do the same thing? These are, after all, the “shoot first, ask questions later” people.

    I despise the conservative movement for what it has done and continues to do to this country. Whether it’s goobers in Virginia denying a highly qualified jurist a judgeship because he is openly gay or racists in Arizona asking that anyone who looks brown be stopped for immigration papers or a multi-millionaire pill-popping junkie radio host sliming a woman for three straight days, the movement is foul and putrid and driven by the rage of those who don’t like the way the future looks and are willing to do just about anything to prevent it from happening.

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  31. Prospero said on May 16, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    An amusing non-baseball baseball story, or, professional athletes aren’t all spoiled, self-centered brats. I’ll be rooting for success for this guy:


    And here’s a bad baseball play that must be seen to be believed:


    Those HS ballplayers with the chickenshit coach and school administration probably said “It is what it is.” after they forfeited the state championship. W would have invited the Pius X team to the White House. The term means, “Move along, nothing to see here.” Or, “Fuck it.” Not to be confused with “What it is?”

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  32. Prospero said on May 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Another urban farm in repurposed space: perch and hydroponic vegetables.


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  33. Peter said on May 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Prospero (and anyone else who knows baseball), could you help me out on the twins clip you sent?

    Specifically, wouldn’t they have called the infield fly rule on that one? Could someone have dropped the ball on purpose and tagged the runner out?

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Prospero, I can’t believe you’d endorse bombing Rochester, NY. Kodak is no threat, and don’t listen to those Fujifilm guys trying to tell you otherwise.

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  35. Prospero said on May 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm


    It appears there was a runner on 1B, who took off, rounded 2nd and 3rd, and headed home, so there must have been 2 away already. So infield fly rule was off.

    Heaven forfend, Jeff, but I’d like to know what happened to all of that weapons grade fissionable material.

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  36. Prospero said on May 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Infield fly rule only pertains with fewer than two outs. It’s intended to prevent phony double plays by dropping easy popups and forcing runners who have been waiting to tag up.

    The SS should have called everybody else off and made the catch. God only knows what the catcher was doing.

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  37. Deborah said on May 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Disruption or disruptive as a positive is a new one on me. I haven’t heard that one yet. Can you give an example of how it would be used in a sentence?

    Edit: I guess I could watch The Pitch to find out what you mean, but I don’t want to do that.

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  38. Laura Lippman said on May 16, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    I had the immense pleasure of reading Julia Keller’s first novel. (Her agent is a dear friend.) It’s quite good.

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  39. Catherine said on May 17, 2012 at 12:28 am

    My grandfather worked for Kodak for decades. He and those co-workers of his I met impressed me as pure geek. They were interested in trying stuff, tinkering, satisfying their curiosity, finding solutions, declaring them nifty, and moving on to the next thing that sparked their curiosity. Exactly the kind of people who would think that it’d be very helpful, and cool, to have their own nuclear reactor, and who would max out the safety measures, while not having a clue about how the whole thing might look to others. Not a sustainable business strategy in the long run, unfortunately, but interesting work if you can get it.

    Loved the urban farm story. I think that whole movement is going to wind up being one of Detroit’s big contributions to the 21st century. Plus the money quote: “The fish don’t care if you’re a felon.”

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