Around the world.

Watching the National Geographic Geography Bee, hosted by Alex Trebek. Of the 10 finalists, only one is a white male and one is female; all the rest are Americans of Asian (or south Asian) descent. The first ones eliminated were? The white boy and the girl (who is Indian). Hello, future masters! Enjoy this crazy country.

This is ridiculously hard. I’m getting about one question in eight. I really need to brush up on my Asian peninsulas.

It’s killer when they get eliminated, too. I imagine a Tiger Mom screeching backstage about how they’re going to get into Harvard NOW, eh, Mr. Smart Guy?

And with that, I will dispense with the ethnic stereotypes.

The four finalists left were asked the capital of Uzbekistan. Or, as we know it, Uz-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.

The answer is Tashkent.

I’m already feeling weekend-y; are you? What I mean by that is, I’m just thinking about reading, doing a little biking, hoping the air-conditioning doesn’t break down and stopping in at Movement, aka the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, for a little dubstep.

Or, as my boss says: It’s potato-salad season! And I’ll be making some.

A note about next week: Light posting, maybe non-existent posting, maybe some pix. I’ll be on Mackinac Island, attending the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual public-policy conference. It’s Tuesday through Thursday, so with travel and all the rest of it thrown in, I’ll be lucky to crank out a few shots of the Grant Hotel and blue coastlines. But you never know.

Until then, some bloggage:

The peculiar smarminess of online mourning, by the great Monica Hesse at the WashPost.

The best of prom 2012, compiled by Buzzfeed.

Have a great long weekend, all.

Posted at 12:05 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

91 responses to “Around the world.”

  1. Brandon said on May 25, 2012 at 1:53 am

    I was a contestant in the Hawaii state geography bee (1989). I almost lost when I answered “Liberia” to the question, What was the first nation in the Western Hemisphere founded by freed slaves? Although Liberia is in the Western Hemisphere, it was founded by freedmen in 1822, several years after Haiti’s establishment in 1804 after a slave rebellion.

    359 chars

  2. Dexter said on May 25, 2012 at 3:00 am

    My two brothers are riding Chicago’s “Bike the Drive” Sunday. My younger brother is riding the Amtrak from Waterloo to Chicago. It’s going to be 97 degrees Fahrenheit.
    I have been doing between five and ten miles in the evening, timing it so the last couple miles are ridden in darkness. LED lighting makes me light up so much better than the somewhat unreliable generator lights of yore.

    I am going to try to get to Williamston, Michigan, near Lansing, on Monday. My Army buddy from Haslett was killed in Vietnam in December, 1970 when his observation helicopter was shot down. The entire crew were killed. I have had information on the gravesite for eight years now. It’s time.
    What was keeping me from this visit? Hell, I don’t know.

    798 chars

  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 25, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Nancy, a short story, written not long after the Grand Hotel was built, but set in the 1700s, telling a tale of a geological formation just down the path from either the village to the west, or just below the far end of the porch of the hotel. The writer was a best-selling author of the 1890s born and raised right here where I live, but spent most of her adult life and writing career in Chicago (but began her marriage & publishing career in Hoopeston, IL where she’s buried). Thought you might enjoy some local Mackinac Island color:

    579 chars

  4. Linda said on May 25, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Loved the Monica Hess article, where she briefly touches on “(The inverse of BIRGing,,, is “cutting off reflected failure” — or CORFing), which you also see when celebrities die, when people make a big, fat, hairy deal about how much they DIDN’T love the celeb, and everybody who did is a big old poopyhead. Either the fake public mourning or the snotty little blowoff crack me up.

    387 chars

  5. beb said on May 25, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Is geography even still taught in school? How can kids be expected in win in an Alex Trebec hosted contest when the subject is not taught in school.

    Monica hesse articulated something I’m kind of sensed without quite understanding what it is, the competitive native of on-line mourning. I’d seen in at an on-line group I’ve stopped saying anything when someone dies because I never really knew them and there was something boastful about writing as if you did know them.

    The Buzzfeed list of prom photos was fun. I had to laugh out loud when I saw the “Best looking down your date’s cleavage photo.” That kid wasn’t even trying to not look like he was looking down her dress. Then again she all but had her boobs served up on a platter so I guess gawking was the desired effect.

    Boingboing mentioned a cop who was arrested for driving 143 MPH while drunk won his job back from a review board. This raises the question: “what does a cop have to do these days to get fired?”

    Something not much in the news but Montreal has had a student strike for the last month or so, after the province all but doubled college tuition. The legislature responded to this protest by outlawing any protest that doesn’t have prior approval by the prov. government. This is Canada. When did they start taking lessons from Putin?

    1344 chars

  6. heydave said on May 25, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I miss Herman Cain. He was such a bright spot in our national milieu.

    70 chars

  7. basset said on May 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Mackinac? For those who missed it, an excerpt from the George Romney campaign story link earlier this week:

    Spring, 1967.

    As he began his presidential campaign, George Romney had never held office outside the state of Michigan and had rarely had to think about international affairs. When policy questions were made tangible, he could handle them nimbly, but he sometimes struggled when they grew more abstract. There were, everyone on his staff acknowledged, certain gaps. And so in the spring of 1967, De Vries scheduled a series of weekend seminars, importing experts to meet with the governor at his summer home on rustic, carless Mackinac Island. The Romney camp had hired a young foreign-policy aide named Jonathan Moore, who one Friday evening arrived at the ferry dock to collect Henry Kissinger, and with him the machinery of the modern presidential campaign. They were to return to the Romney home on a horse and buggy, and Moore signaled Kissinger over; the horse released a “warm, moist” fart right into the professor’s face. “Kissinger gave a little cough,” Moore says, “and then sort of looked off into the distance and said, ‘I see we have a lot of ground to cover.’ ”

    Be careful out there.

    1237 chars

  8. Prospero said on May 25, 2012 at 9:34 am

    beb, Canada elected a Pretzeldent Shrub clone PM and has been lurching over the Segway handlebars ever since. Australia has their own stunted, stupid version.

    Doesn’t Alex Trebeki-beki-stan-stan have an incredibly supercilious manner when acting as if he knew all those answers himself. He is not now, and has never been, Art Fleming.

    For the gun-deprived or suicidal.

    567 chars

  9. alex said on May 25, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Mackinac’s permeated with warm, moist farts, and not just from horses. One day when I was there I rollerbladed around the island and stopped for a snack from a concession stand. As I sat on a bench and ate, a seagull was barking at me to share my food. When I didn’t comply, the bird flew at me and let loose a stream of herring and cream in my face.

    My other most haunting memory of Mackinac was a visit when it happened to be unusually hot and humid there; it’s typically quite cool and dry. During my entire stay, I kept noticing the same odd entourage at the Grand Hotel and all around the island taking in the scenery: An Arab sheikh accompanied by a half dozen women covered in black from head to toe, their faces invisible. On one particular scorcher of an afternoon, I was up looking at some of the old fort remains in the full sun when I happened upon the Arabs. The man was dressed lightly in western clothing while the women were in their full black regalia. They were being chauffeured around in a carriage. Even though I couldn’t see the women’s faces, they looked absolutely miserable.

    What’s amazing about that place, also, is that I’ve never gone there without running into at least one familiar person from back home.

    I love northern Michigan and my other favorite place is Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Leelanau peninsula. Friends and I would go camping there, float around on rubber rafts on the shallow Lake Beulah and roadtrip around bombed while taking in the local wineries. I’ll say yes to Michigan any day.

    1541 chars

  10. Julie Robinson said on May 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

    The unabashed delight and anticipation on the cleavage-staring boy’s face was captured perfectly. It gave me a good laugh.

    For Little House on the Prairie fans, a modern take on the courtship of Almanzo and Laura, also hilarious:

    The heat is here but I’m hoping to get the rest of my flowers planted and the hubby is making noises about Men in Black. As always we’ll be attending the Memorial Day parade and watching the PBS concert. Also, one last party at the house where Dennis grew up, which has been sold now that both parents are gone.

    Y’all drive safely this weekend, and if you bought fireworks, stay out of my neighborhood!

    733 chars

  11. Randy said on May 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

    If I can offer some in-country perspective about the student demonstrations in Montreal, they are now past Day 100 this week. The school year is a write-off for several thousand students. The new and amended laws and bylaws do nothing to deny the right to organize and protest. But now you cannot conceal your face. The protesters with masks may or may not have any interest in the students’ concerns, but by and large they are committed to destroying property, and downtown Montreal is a wasteland these days. Something had to be done to contain the damage.

    Wading into the merits of their protest, even if the five-year phased in tuition increases happen, Quebec will still have the lowest tuition fees in Canada. One way or another the post-secondary education system there needs to be properly funded. This appears to be part of the plan, but not the whole plan.

    869 chars

  12. Prospero said on May 25, 2012 at 9:55 am


    Kissinger was thinking “Nixon followed me here.”

    I have always wondered how hyper-Xenophobic GOPers put up with the fact that Kissinger has been here all this time and never lost Dr. Strangelove’s accent. Kissinger’s senior thesis at Harvard is reputed to have been 800 pp.

    287 chars

  13. Bitter Scribe said on May 25, 2012 at 9:59 am

    When I edited a community newspaper in Skokie, Ill., the honor roll lists were almost evenly divided between Jews and Asians (eastern and southwestern): Goh, Goldberg, Hirchfeld, Hee, Khan, Mandelbaum…

    Now, every time I read or write about a classical musician, engineer, chemist, biologist, or anyone else whose vocation requires some discipline and brainpower, they’re almost invariably foreign born: Asian or Russian/Eastern European. Don’t Americans know how think and study anymore? Sometimes I think this nation is devoted entirely to self-hype, with no effort toward building up something to hype.

    616 chars

  14. brian stouder said on May 25, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I disagree with the overall condescension and arrogance in the “online smarminess” essay, for two reasons.

    1. This bit of human nature, which she addresses more honestly toward the end of the essay, is nothing new or unique to the on-line community. It is also not limited to when celebrities die; plenty of small agendas get served at “real” funerals where the nobodies that we really know are remembered.

    2. People really and truly DO feel the loss of certain famous people, when they die; and there is nothing at all wrong with expressing that publicly (even as others may well simply want to be “first” or whatever).

    This woman’s essay seems to be offering three cheers for emotional repression.

    And – especially with Memorial Day upon us – I say “nuts” to that!

    779 chars

  15. Connie said on May 25, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Alex, there are still a couple of weeks available to rent in August at our Glen Lake/Sleeping Bear cottage. Downscale, Empire, not Glen Arbor.

    Sleeping Bear and Leelanau County, my favorite place in the world. I think I’ve told you all that before. Several times.

    269 chars

  16. alex said on May 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Easy, Tiger, or you’ll be in the doghouse with John Travolta.

    Speaking of Travolta, I just read somewhere that Mitt’s on the record saying his favorite book is some piece of crap by L. Ron Hubbard. (Not his description, of course.) Evidently both Mormonism and Scientology were founded on space alien fantasies written by con men, so perhaps that explains the crossover appeal.

    511 chars

  17. Prospero said on May 25, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Those prom photos: What the hell is with those 50-lb. shoes the young women are wearing? Did somebody convince them that wearing weight training equipment on their feet is attractive. That is why that dock collapsed.

    216 chars

  18. alex said on May 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Connie, I’m tempted to take you up on it. Of course, I had to cancel a planned vacation to Santa Fe in February because a taciturn boss decided he needed something urgently and I’m concerned the same will happen again. (So I stayed and finished his damned project, only to be asked about a month after the deadline whatever happened with it, never mind that I’d e-mailed to announce its completion in advance of the deadline. I probably could have taken my vacation and then some.)

    481 chars

  19. Judybusy said on May 25, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Oh, the prom photos were a delight. I shared them with a co-worker, who said of #2: “He forgot to bring a saddle and reins!”

    If you’re looking for some variations on potato salad, Smitten Kitchen has a good one today, with links to past recipes.

    Dexter, I hope you gain some peace during your visit.

    361 chars

  20. basset said on May 25, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Yes to Michigan… deer camp in Newaygo County, west of Big Rapids.

    67 chars

  21. nancy said on May 25, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Seeing how those super-devout Muslim women have to go about in public just chaps my ass. My Muslim students at WSU were firecrackers, smart girls who probably gave their fathers as much crap as they did anybody else, and if you saw them from the neck down, were indistinguishable from the other women on campus.

    I don’t even mind the covering up — it’s their choice, and it’s a free country. But in the weather we routinely get around here, could they at least be allowed to choose a white abaya? The men all wear white, with a few rare exceptions. It just seems unspeakably cruel to make a person go around outside dressed to invite heatstroke.

    Oh, and Connie: Email me dates and rates for your cottage. Seriously.

    723 chars

  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 25, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Connie, last summer convinced me. But I still love Mackinac Island. Heck, I like Mack City.

    Brian’s note as to “plenty of small agendas get served at “real” funerals where the nobodies that we really know are remembered.” Let me silently nod my head in fervent agreement with that statement. Vigorously.

    310 chars

  23. Joe Kobiela said on May 25, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Have a great time on the island, if you need a quick trip home let me know and I’ll be glad to fly up and get you, they may not allow cars but you can and I have flown onto the island.The mightey Mac burgers are great downtown. Alax, in all seriousnes I read your posted link, how, as a gay man does that make you feel. I would think its a no no just as it would be in the straight world,yes? Final note, there flying in the remains of one of our home town soldiers Saturday into my airport. I plan on standing at attention on the tarmac, he leaves a wife and 6 month old, thoughts and prayers please.
    Pilot Joe

    622 chars

  24. Charlotte said on May 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Keep your eyes open all, John Waters is hitch hiking cross country:

    Also, ye journalist types — what about the sad news from the Times-Picayune?

    275 chars

  25. Suzanne said on May 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

    The geography bowl reminds me of one of my daughter’s classmates, in a high school honor’s class, amazed to discover that England is an island. Absolutely AMAZED! So, no, I don’t think they teach much geography in school anymore.

    229 chars

  26. Jeff Borden said on May 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I’ll second Nancy’s comments about young Muslim women. I’ve yet to teach any women wearing burquas –there were three burqua-clad women at Target the last time I visited and they were dressed as the sheik’s ladies had been totally in black– but many with head scarves and abayas. They’ve generally been smart, funny and sometimes outspoken in ways that might surprise. (One of my students in her speech about herself, for example, regaled us with tales of her Syrian family and said Syrians were kind of the loud-mouthed, pushy Middle Easterners –Syrians are the Americans of the Arab world?– though Nahrin herself was quiet to the point of painfully shy.)

    One thing I learned while doing my student internship at the Albany Park Community Center, where several of our students were young Yemeni women. I’d start to ask a question or pose a problem and one of them would invariably shout out the answer before I even finished the question. Luckily, my master’s work focused on “different ways of knowing” and “different ways of learning.” It turns out that in their native land, that’s a sign of respect and engagement. They’re demonstrating how much they are into the class.

    1181 chars

  27. Bitter Scribe said on May 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Nancy: I used to live across the street from a park and not far from a Christian elementary school. I don’t know exactly what sect it was, but it evidently was one that takes “modesty” seriously, at least for women. Teachers, who were almost all women in their early 20s, would herd the kids to play in the park, and they always wore long-sleeved blouses and ankle-length skirts, on even the hottest days.

    For me, when a religion issues severe proscriptions and restrictions on dress, that’s a huge red flag.

    511 chars

  28. nancy said on May 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I’ve told this story here before, but bear with me: When Kate was little, I used to take her to the Foster Park playground in Fort Wayne in the mornings sometime. There were a couple of older girls who were usually there, waiting out their brother’s tennis lesson. After living in Indiana a while, I’d come to recognize the Christian/homeschooling types, and they had all the signs — the girls always wore dresses, the dresses were obviously homemade, etc. The girls were polite but outgoing, and would talk to me about the homemade merry-go-round their dad had made for them out of an old satellite dish, etc. Nice kids.

    Their faith must have been a journey, as they say, because one day I showed up, and they were both wearing some sort of Christian-y head covering, somewhere between a Mother Mary veil and an Islamic headscarf. The change in them was obvious and heartbreaking — they didn’t seek out other kids to play with, kept their eyes downcast, only interacted with one another. It’s like they knew, once and for all, that they’d been branded as freaks, and the sooner they could get home to their homemade merry-go-round, the better.

    1150 chars

  29. MarkH said on May 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Nancy, Jeff – There are differences between countries in the Arab and Persian world as to how Islam is followed, particulary in female dress. The man and the burqua-clad women on Mackinac were almost certainly Saudi as that is standard atire there. I lived and worked there for a year, ’92-’93, and I can tell you the weather, 120 deg. or not, is not an issue; total burqua, black, head to toe. And, Nancy, if they are Saudi, and perhaps even if they’re not, the DON’T have a choice. The sheik, or whoever he is, won’t have it as it violates strict Islam. Ask some your students from more secular Islamic countries, like Syria, Iraq, Turkey about this and why the differences. Now, how they can dress when they are outside of “holy” soil and airspace could be a different thing. When flying into Dharan, 30 minutes out, an announcement comes from the crew that we are about to land in Saudi Arabia and all western items, liquor, magazines, etc. are collected and stowed away. At the same time, stylishly dressed Arab females break out their black dress and burquas and don them over their more western dress. Entering holy air space means following the rules in Saudi, the most strict followers of Islam. The opposite happens when you fly out; 30-45 minutes after wheels up, it can be party time. Females travelling away from Saudi unattended may have more latitude, but when the men are around, they call the shots.

    1417 chars

  30. beb said on May 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I work with a lot of people from India. My wife works with a lot of people from the Phillipines and we’ve both noticed that same thing. It might be a hot day for us but they’re still wearing sweaters! So those Saudi women might not find Mackinac Island in the summer that sweltering.

    Speaking of strange lawsuits, boingboing mentions a couple. In one a New York lawyer is suing a fitness center because breakfast menu has eliminated yogurt and cereal. The lawyer is claiming damages in excess of $100,000.

    The other case is a dispute between Fox TV and satellite based Direct-TV. Direct is advertising their auto-skip feature which will automatically fast-forward over recorded TV programs, blanking the screen so you don’t have to see any part of a commercial. Fox is alledging that should a skip feature violates a contract (which maybe it does) but also that it’s a violating of copyright law. The argument here is that a TV program and commercials shown during it are all art of one copyright. This is an outrageous claim since any collection of TV shows on DVD never include the commercials.This is like the comment from a few years back that skipping over the commercials in a program is like piracy. No. There is no contract between viewers and broadcasters over what people will or must watch. The only contract is between broadcasters and their advertisers. But viewers are not a party to that contract.

    1419 chars

  31. Prospero said on May 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    No one personifies the seriously evil, serial killer hitchhiker from hell nobody should pick up more than John Waters. Maybe Rutger Hauer. I’m serious about those prom shoes. They all look as if they were stolen from David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain, Johnny Thunders:

    or Fee Waybill:

    UGA women’s hoops used to have a very good player who had a custom uniform. She was devout Jehovah’s and wouldn’t wear shorts, so she had a skirt. She took a lot of shit from spectators at away games at places like Bama and Ole Misstake. There were Muslim women in my Masters program at Suffolk U. in Boston. The running joke was “Why get an MA in public management when you’re a second-class citizen in your own country. These women were Iranis, and tended more toward provocative than traditional in their style of dress. It was the time of Iran-Contra, so they got some grief, but gave as good as they got. Classmates were dumbfounded to learn of how the USA fucked up Iran in the 20th Century.

    1101 chars

  32. MarkH said on May 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Much as you might hate to see this, beb, you’re wrong. It’s DISH Network, not DirecTv. And Fox is joined by CBS and NBC/Comcast, who are equally vehement about the claim.

    This is very murky, legally, in my mind. The dvr by itself is a tool to skip commercials, everyone does it. The installation of a Hopper device seems a little redundant. A Hopper would not get me to switch to DISH, as I’d still like the choice.

    496 chars

  33. MichaelG said on May 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Couple of Muslim world stories: I have a friend who was in the Air Force reserve. She was the First Sergeant in a reserve tanker unit out of Beale. Nadine is black, about 5’10” tall and a straight talking, take no shit woman. Not unexpected in a first shirt. Nadine ended up spending a year in Saudi with her unit during the first Gulf war. Months after coming home she was still seething at not being able to drive, having to be escorted by a man to go anywhere, dress restrictions and the dozens of other indignities to which she was subjected even as a non-Islamic American woman.

    About twenty years ago when we were living in Midtown, we had Pakistani neighbors two doors up the street. Father, two teenage sons, mother and teenage daughter. The father and the sons wore robes and those little hats exclusively. In the couple of years we were there we never saw the daughter and only saw the mother once or twice. The daughter stayed in the house 24 – 7. She never came outside, didn’t go to school, didn’t go to the store, nothing. Lord knows how they treated her in the privacy of their home. I still wonder if maybe we should have reported them to child protective services or something.

    I see no merit in a religion that treats half its members the way Islam does.

    1291 chars

  34. Peter said on May 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    My son knew Uzbekistan in the 6th grade – at the regional bee he was asked to name a country that borders Kazakhstan, and he launched into a Borat bit. Dad was proud, Mom was nowhere to be found, and if those Tiger Mom’s looks could kill….

    I think one of the reasons I did so well at Geography is that I was stamp collecting big time when I was a tot, and you just start looking up stuff on the countries when you collect. It’s true: one time my wife was watching a Nova special on Richard Feynman, and I was working late. That episode was centered on his futile efforts to visit Tannu Tuva; my wife calls and asks me the capital of Tannu Tuva – well, any stamp collector would know it’s Kyzyl, which means Red, and is on the banks of the Yenesei River.

    Speaking of stamp collecting – I’m thinking those collections have to be marginally more valuable than a box full of Beanie Babies.

    896 chars

  35. Linda said on May 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Bitter Scribe:
    Yep, many hardworking go-getters are foreign born. It’s not like Americans got lazy all of the sudden. It’s long been the secret of our country’s strength. We offer incentives to hard-working go-getters–indeed, much better incentives than they can get in their country–so we essentially buy up the competition. In the early to mid 19th century, a lot of Yankee ingenuity actually came from Yankees, but sometime later it came here from abroad. That’s why they started the sort of quota on Jewish students at the Ivies in the early 20th century, and Asian students were seen as a sort of internal menace even 20-30 years ago.

    647 chars

  36. paddyo' said on May 25, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    De-cloaking from vacation to say thanks, Prospero @31, for that great flashback to my fave rock band, The Tubes. Quay-Lewd! (clap-clap) Quay-Lewd! (clap-clap)

    And Charlotte @24, the un-daily’ing of the Times-Picayune is sad, indeed — I covered the first eight days of Katrina on the ground in New Orleans and, when I could get to an Internet connection, was blown away by their resourcefulness.

    But I wonder if this tactic might become part of the strategy in staving off out-and-out closure as newspapers try to make their belated transition to the online future. Not that every newspaper need do it, but if it has to happen, having a printed paper thrice-weekly would be better than none at all, particularly if it makes the printed edition a more in-depth and meaningful read, to go with the 24/7 Web presence. (Otherwise, see: Rocky Mountain News, Tucson Citizen, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.)

    And it sure would beat the seriously delusional tack that one of my old papers, The Denver Post, is now deploying to cut costs. It is laying off two-thirds of its copy desk (about 17-18 out of 25 or so) and foisting that role upon already overworked line editors/assignment editors. An iconic headline to memorialize that misteak (heh) ran recently in The Post‘s sports section:
    “Rockies: Downward sprial continues”

    Yeah, downward all right . . .

    1413 chars

  37. Prospero said on May 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    OK Peter. Capital of Tuvalu?

    28 chars

  38. MaryRC said on May 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Last weekend I was standing in line at the service desk at a department store behind a couple of young (at least I think they were young) women who were completely covered up except for their eyes and hands. They wore black floor-length dresses with wrist-length sleeves and their hijabs covered their heads and faces except for their eyes. I wasn’t close enough to hear if they were able to talk clearly to the salesperson but they seemed to be doing OK.

    They were each buying a pretty, flirty little summer dress with a fairly low neckline and little cap sleeves — something you might wear to a summer wedding. I assume that these women don’t cover themselves up when they’re alone with each other or their own husbands, but I wondered if they would have many opportunities to wear these dresses.

    They had three children with them — two babies in prams and a little girl of about 3 who was skipping, twirling and humming to herself the way little girls do. I couldn’t help wondering what she would be wearing 15 years from now.

    1042 chars

  39. Dexter said on May 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Well, the doc said I was doing alright but I have to tighten up my diet, of course, and start checking my blood glucose more often because my A1C was OK, but on the high side of good. That ain’t really good, as we all know.
    We have lost Moe and Whitebeard and earlier Ashley a few years ago, so I have no reason to come on here and bore people with my boring medical reports, except to encourage everyone to get regular checkups with blood work. My spirits have lifted since the doc told me all body systems are functioning well, and I’m OK for another six months or so before I have to go back again. Like I said yesterday, I was nervous about this checkup and now that’s all gone. It’s worth it to find out, good or bad.

    728 chars

  40. beb said on May 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    MarkH $32: Oops. Thanks for the correction. The advantage of the hopper is that you can skip the commercial entirely. Fastforwarding over a commercial still means that you have to watch it to spot the return to programming. So in a way you end uo watching the commercial more intently then if it were just running. But it’s also like that FBI Copyright warnings that you’re unable to skip over. Once you buy a DVD you owe a physical copy of the feature and ought to have the right to skip over any part you want.

    paddyo’ – hope you’re having a good vacation. I forget where I read about the Times-Picyune going thrice- weekly but in the comments was the note that a lot of the owner’s newspaper had also switched to three editions a week. Whether it will stave off bankrupcy remains to be seem. It sounds to me like a typical deathspiral. Detroit’s newspaper still produce daily editions but that’s limited home delivery to only three days a week. That was the final straw for us, causing us to cancel our subscription. So in our case by not making the effort to deliver daily news coverage they’ve lost a subscriber. That seems counter-productive.

    And SpaceX has delivered their first cargo capsule to the International Space Station. This is the first American space craft to rendezvous with the ISS since the grounding of the shuttles. In the words of Slim Pickens in an unrelated situation: “Yeeehahhhhh!

    1417 chars

  41. Prospero said on May 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    What in the world were the insurance arrangements for that SpaceX ISS docking? What if they damaged the station?

    beb, you mean Major Kong:

    Toe to toe combat with the Russkis.

    226 chars

  42. Prospero said on May 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Another newspaper that has cut back editorial staff.

    187 chars

  43. basset said on May 25, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Nance, I see one of your local Detroit tv stations has just quit doing news, not that they appear to have done much in the first place:

    any thoughts on that? I have worked at some massively dysfunctional tv operations in the past, not least one located in part of an abandoned Kroger store where… don’t get me started… but this one seems to be right up there with the worst of them, going by some of the links. I mean, I’ve been fired before but never thought anyone was threatening my life.

    613 chars

  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Prospero — Funfutti?

    21 chars

  45. MichaelG said on May 26, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Basset, I’ve always been under the impression that news was very profitable for a TV station. It had (I understood) a relatively low production cost against a high viewership and as a result the TV station could charge a good dollar for commercial time. This is a pretty much uninformed impression. Please set me straight.

    325 chars

  46. Prospero said on May 26, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Funafuti. Like non-dairy ice cream. What a great name. Tuvalu means “group of eight” in Tuvaluan, for the eight islands above sea level that comprise the country. Fortunately, those of us that are geography-challenged have the CIA World Book of Facts on our computers.

    Friday was Paul Weller’s birthday. I always thought the Jam were as good as the Clash.

    Even Willard Windsock knows GOPers are fracking idiots where the economy is concerned.

    642 chars

  47. jerry said on May 26, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Suzanne @25: I know what you mean about England being an island but the Scots and Welsh would be a little upset to hear that! Personally I think Britain is on off-shore island to Europe and we should be aiming to properly be part of Europe. We have to accept we are no longer a dominant world power; those days are long gone, and just as well.

    343 chars

  48. coozledad said on May 26, 2012 at 5:48 am

    jerry: I was just reading about Doggerland. Until about 6200 BCE the Thames and the Rhine flowed into a big land bridge between Britain and the Netherlands (during the last big glaciation?). Rising sea levels have swallowed WWII coastal batteries and fishing villages.

    Anti-government global warming deniers here build their beach houses right up against the water and expect the government to build sea walls and jetties or dredge sand to protect them.

    525 chars

  49. jerry said on May 26, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Cooz: we have people here living in houses right by the sea and expecting someone to save them. When my mother moved into a home a couple of years ago I sold her bungalow for a fairly large premium (about 25% extra) because there was only a footpath between her garden and the beach. I’ve no doubt its all fine for a few years but I’m still glad we don’t have to worry about rising sea levels.

    393 chars

  50. beb said on May 26, 2012 at 8:56 am

    basset, wadl is the smallest, and least of detroit’s independent tv stations. it exists on reruns of very old tv shows like adam west’s batman. honestly \, i didn’t know they had a news department.

    197 chars

  51. nancy said on May 26, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Actually, WADL was unique in another way, too — what news they had was produced out of, wait for it, Fort Wayne, Indiana!

    I remember driving here one day and seeing a billboard featuring the lavishly paid, lightly worked grande dame of northeast Indiana broadcasting, along with her longtime sports sidekick and two other people I didn’t recognize. This was an experiment in which anchors in the Fort read the basic wire-service news items, supplemented by two local reporters who operated as one-man bands. Very bare-bones, very low-cost. I watched the newscast once, and after I got over the shock of seeing blondie say things like “Kwame Kilpatrick,” the overall impression was of a ghost ship, sailing along without an actual captain or crew.

    My next thought: Well, at least she has another job duty. (She was one of those lucky souls who basically showed up at 5:30, read through the script others had prepared for her, did the news, left and returned at 10:45 for the same thing. The few times I saw her “report” were jaw-droppingly bad.)

    1052 chars

  52. alex said on May 26, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Joe at 23—

    To answer your question, I think Travolta and Roy’s behavior gives gay people a bad name, although heteros certainly are known to force themselves on hired help in the same manner. I imagine some people learn to behave this way because money and fame have gone to their heads and they’re accustomed to opportunistic trysts with subordinates who are more than willing to have sex with a star.

    I would bet the farm that Arnold Schwarzenegger had his way with a whole lot of other servants besides the one whose love child he was forced to acknowledge. Before that came to light, he was accused of manhandling women who worked around him in his job as governor, but it was probably a calculated risk that if any of them said anything to the media, it would be treated as hearsay and the women’s motivations would be called into question rather than his behavior, which was the case.

    On edit: I’m guessing Miss Jilly pronounced Kwame “Quaim,” no? She fucks up names all the time. Probably doesn’t get information about the world from anywhere but her husband, a Republican statehouse stooge who gets everything he knows from Fox.

    1149 chars

  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 26, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Another matchless Telegraph obit.

    107 chars

  54. Prospero said on May 26, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I’d like to here Babawaw Waawtews say “Kwame Kilpatrick”. We used to live across the street from a kid named Witsuh Towbit Bawnes that talked just like her in Bloomfield Hills. Or Brokaw. Not making fun of their impediments, but damn, the irony is just dripping raw corn syrup.

    Schwarzenegger (which is more odious?):

    “I saw this toilet bowl. How many times do you get away with this, to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl? I wanted to have something floating there … The thing is, you can do it, because in the end, I didn’t do it to a woman, she’s a machine! We could get away with it without being crucified by who-knows-what group.”
    Arnold Schwarzenegger describing a scene in Terminator 3

    “As much as when you see a blonde with great tits and a great ass, you say to yourself, ‘Hey, she must be stupid or must have nothing else to offer,’ which maybe is the case many times. But then again there is the one that is as smart as her breasts look, great as her face looks, beautiful as her whole body looks gorgeous, you know, so people are shocked.”
    Arnold Schwarzenegger in an interview with Esquire

    Jeff @53: Them Metcalfes had ’em some great nicknames, eh?

    1221 chars

  55. beb said on May 26, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Those quotes from Schwartzenegger are astounishing. It as if at some point in their life the self-censorship lobe in their brain died and they just say whatever they damn well please.

    183 chars

  56. Prospero said on May 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    beb, That’s probably a side effect of extreme juicing. What’s really astonishing is that an accomplished woman like Maria Shriver married that bonehead. How ’bout this explanation of his shortcomings:

    The c**k isn’t a muscle so it doesn’t grow in relation to the shoulders, say, or the pectorals. You can’t make it bigger through exercise, that’s for sure.
    Arnold Schwarzenegger

    He’s got a million of ’em:

    My favorite current news story, by a fracking mile. I love it when the Ayn Rand Teabanger types decide they want a Big Gulp from the government teat. Phony POS with a really big mouth. Funny how rightwingnumbnuts think Sean Penn should be seen and not heard, but asshats like Schilling should be all over the radio dial. Dittohead jerkoff.

    1008 chars

  57. Linda said on May 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    JTMMO, thanks for the obit link. I’m a connoisseur of fine obits. The Brits have a way with this–just smartass enough. In America, writers are all gloomy, like somebody died or something.

    191 chars

  58. Prospero said on May 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Funny line, Linda.

    I love Cape Cod. Can anybody identify the creature in the first photo? Crinoid Girl, it’s a fellow denizen of the Deep.

    302 chars

  59. Dexter said on May 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    prospero, We always stopped and walked out past Marconi station; the vibes there are great, and one can spot seals down the cliff. There are nothing like the Cape Cod Kettle Ponds, either. Fantastic peaceful swimming. I was last there 12 years ago…it’s time to get back again. The bike path was scary wicked bad then…glad to read it’s been upgraded. And oh yes, Provincetown is fun and a great place to catch a whale watching cruise. We did that a couple times and we saw whales everywhere, stern, port, and aft.

    522 chars

  60. Prospero said on May 26, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Dexter, I’m quite partial to Cape Cod League baseball. I saw Chris Carpenter throw a no-hitter in Chatham many years ago. And it’sbring-your-own brewskis. Idyllic way to spend a Midsummer’s Night. Marconi Light Beach is also a fovorite (really part of Nausset beach. The ponds are perfect for days when the beach is just too hot. There was a great B&B we used to frequent in Orleans, called The Nausset House. Amazing breakfast fare and brilliant late night conversation with reel-to-reel tapes of NYC jazz clubs from back in the days of Coltrane and Charlie Parker. We like Nantucket, but Orleans and Truro are the best. Chatham Bars Inn is a great place to stay, and has some rooms for <$100/night, and the food is spectacular.

    738 chars

  61. Julie Robinson said on May 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    In support of Linda’s comments about foreign born hardworking go-getters upthread at 35, I offer this story from Nance’s former paper:

    These young women, all refugees, have earned four of the top ten spots in their high school class. All are Asian and all want to be doctors. The obstacles they’ve overcome are pretty staggering, from the predictable–not knowing English, to unfathomable–being part of a culture that doesn’t educate girls.

    526 chars

  62. Prospero said on May 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    CEOs managed to sell more, and squeeze more profit from each sale, despite problems ranging from a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating to an economic slowdown in China and Europe’s neverending debt crisis.

    Still, there wasn’t much immediate benefit for the shareholders. The S&P 500 ended the year unchanged from where it started. Including dividends, the index returned a slender 2 percent.

    Let’s hear RMoney ‘splain this revolting development away. And many of these job-creators are barely competent, when they aren’t downright inept. It’s like the hierarchy in architectural firms. Low on the totem pole: recent archschool grads that still know how to draw a construction detail that meets odes and can actually be built. Top end? Principal’s and partners that market, colorize renderings, and hang around the fax drinking coffee, waiting for their year end pieces of the profit pie. Fracking backward.

    A great tune in the tradition of Ray Davies and Lola.

    1238 chars

  63. coozledad said on May 26, 2012 at 9:43 pm


    81 chars

  64. basset said on May 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    MichaelG@45, doing news right is actually quite expensive on the local or national level – but doing in-studio talk and calling it news is much cheaper and a mainstay of our cable environment. Going out into the field and actually covering stories costs money, sitting in the air conditioning and running your mouth about it doesn’t cost much at all once you get past paying the talking heads.

    When I started in TV news in the late Seventies, it was essentially a loss leader in most places – you did news basically to hold up your local reputation and keep your license, with a few exceptions. Once the suits saw they could make money off it, though, everything went the other direction; just another way to attract eyeballs, same as the game shows and sports matches, and it didn’t take long to get louder, faster, and stupider, which largely continues to this day. The storytelling tools are far better, but the stories don’t convey any more real information than they did back when we shot film.

    1005 chars

  65. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Psalm 88 & 90 are right in the ballpark. Joe’s speech was one of the finest pieces of pastoral rhetoric I’ve heard in a long while.

    172 chars

  66. Dexter said on May 27, 2012 at 1:35 am

    prospero, there is a new Chris Carpenter now. He played last year a bit for the Cubs and he is now on the 60 day DL for the Red Sox. He is from my town, where I have lived now for 35 years.

    271 chars

  67. Prospero said on May 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Eloquent reflections on Memorial Day.

    Walking Dead.

    And that Joe Biden speech? Long way from “Mission Accomplished”.

    458 chars

  68. Prospero said on May 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    If corporations are people too, my friend, they certainly make for dissociated and careless citizens.

    239 chars

  69. Prospero said on May 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Mr. Judd wins at the brickyard.

    31 chars

  70. brian stouder said on May 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Mr. Judd wins at the brickyard.

    We were there; it was very hot, the crowd was huge, the event was suitably spectacular, and although I was rooting for Sato, Mr Judd’s win was OK.

    I used to like seeing all the huge variety of women and their wardrobe choices; but anymore, all I can think is “that could be my daughter”.

    333 chars

  71. Deborah said on May 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Back in Chicago after a week in Santa Fe. It’s ridiculously hot here, it was 97 last I looked. And this after a slightly chilly morning in NM with a high of 66 expected in Santa Fe. It was windy there most of the week and smokey. There’s another huge fire somewhere in southern NM as usual. We have a little more than 3 weeks to get everything squared away for my daughter to move to the great place we found in Santa Fe. But what a lot to do between now and then.

    464 chars

  72. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 27, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Mr. Sato just found the wall a little too interesting.

    By the way, tonight’s “Mad Men” was simply spellbinding.

    114 chars

  73. Dexter said on May 28, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Pilot Joe, did you know Joe Hardenbrook? We shared a lot of laughs at Eaton for thirty years and now I see he has died of brain cancer.
    We didn’t socialize out of the workplace so I hadn’t even seen him in ten years. It seems like 63 is too young to die, but we also know we just never know. Joe had some hellish stories of his service in Vietnam, and mine couldn’t top them.
    I wasn’t going to post this here, but only because it’s Memorial Day, I thought it’s OK.

    469 chars

  74. Brandon said on May 28, 2012 at 3:32 am

    “OK Peter. Capital of Tuvalu?”


    43 chars

  75. Joe Kobiela said on May 28, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Knew who he was, but didn’t know him personally,I think his brother in law is Arnie Placincia, from what I understand ,he should have the medal of honor.
    Thanks for your service Dexter.
    Pilot Joe

    207 chars

  76. Joe Kobiela said on May 28, 2012 at 7:39 am

    It was Ed not Arnie.
    Pilot Joe

    41 chars

  77. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 28, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Thorough description of last lap action at Indy yesterday:

    146 chars

  78. MichaelG said on May 28, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Mr. Judd? Not hardly. Franchitti is nobody’s boy toy.

    The only controversy about that last lap pass attempt is in Sato’s mind. He was overly aggressive all day with even Rahal (his car owner) telling him to cool it at one point. He was pushing it in his attempt to get by Franchitti. He also seemed to be in the grip of some sort of empty fantasy that Franchitti should move over and wave him past. They were racing for the win on the last lap of the Indy 500. That wasn’t even going to happen. Dario may not have given Sato the pass but he didn’t block him either. Nobody, not the officials, not the TV commentators, not the other drivers, nobody other than Sato had any criticism of Franchitti.

    716 chars

  79. Prospero said on May 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Check out p.2 of this Peter King column for a bittersweet comment on the NOLA Times-Picayune. A few grafs down, there is some interesting information about Peyton Mannings charity connections. Some ineffably sad details. I read The Rum Diaries last month, and will never hear about the demise of a paper without thinking about the sad enterprise at the center of that novel. I was surprised at how good that book is. Ante-Gonzo, so to speak.

    I’m not big on auto racing, but it seemed fairly obvious to me that Sato lost control of his car and hit Franchitti’s car. MichaelG, I meant no disrespect for Franchitti, but for a casual fan, Ms. Judd makes a more lasting impression than her hubby. Anyway, Sato admits he was driving in the infield. Sayonara, bub.

    edit: Do the rules actually say you have to give room to pass on the inside? That is fracking lame. Imagine how that would work in track or horse racing. Bovine fecal matter.

    1016 chars

  80. Prospero said on May 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Indy photos:

    113 chars

  81. Dexter said on May 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks, Pilot Joe. I used to see Ed at parties around Auburn because Ed’s wife was the sister of my buddy’s wife. Joe was really quiet about what happened to his brother Mark, but I know he was so sad about it.
    I called Dave Helbert but no answer.

    251 chars

  82. Prospero said on May 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    The great screaming meme-ies on the wingnutnets over the weekend had to do with Obama bullying poor Mittens over Bain, and the wicked NYT hit piece on Mrs. RMoney’s dressage hobby. Pardon me you wimpy jerks, but isn’t it Willard that made his Bain experience the sole criterion for evaluating his suitability to be President? And what do you have against bored rich housewives dabbling in Robin Leach style sports for the filthy rich, O, You Teabangers? You think making incredibly expensive horses dance didn’t prepare Mrs. Windsock for being hubby’s chief advisor on women’s issues? You’d prefer she wore King Louie fashions to $1200 Tshirts? Tough chit, Chui. You dance with them as brought you. This kind of whining from the party of Roger Ailes and Lee Atwater, not to mention Tricky Dick Milhous, is fracking bizarre. Just STFU, you chickenshit crybabies. You’re embarrassing yourselves.

    896 chars

  83. Prospero said on May 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Great song for Memorial Day:

    Especially with the third verse, written during the War Between the States:

    244 chars

  84. Prospero said on May 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    An even better Memorial Day song:

    99 chars

  85. MichaelG said on May 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I can certainly understand that, Prospero. Ms Judd is a very attractive and very sexy woman. I wrote an admiring comment about her here two years ago when Franchitti last won the 500.

    185 chars

  86. MichaelG said on May 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Courtesy of Nancy’s archives, here is what I wrote on 05-31-10:

    “I am entirely with you on Ashley Judd. She’s a beautiful woman. I watched her yesterday after the race. Laughing, crying, sweating, happily running barefoot down the pit lane totally being herself and totally not giving a shit that she was on national TV. I can’t think of very many women who would behave so wonderfully. Dario’s a very lucky man and not a half bad race driver.”

    453 chars

  87. Prospero said on May 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    On this day, 35 years ago, the Sex Pistols released Never Mind the Bollocks, including a tribute to the Queen’s silver anniversary:

    And I think Ashley Judd is a good enough actor she makes mediocre movies like Kiss the Girls and Double Jeopardy worth watching. Her only failing from my point of view is rooting for UK hoops and Coach Calicheater.

    395 chars

  88. MarkH said on May 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Prospero @79 — The answer is No. In all motor racing, it is the responsibility of the overtaking driver to conduct the pass safely. You and MichaelG are correct. Franchitti had the line through the turn and regardless of how Sato made his decision to dive inside, he has to be aware of and respect that. This is especially true on high speed ovals and especially at Indy. Sato admitted he was down inside the white line, almost on the grass. Franchitti saw him coming and moved ever so slightly to the right, but he, rightly, kept the line that was his. Sato came loose, touched Dario and that was it. A similar incident happened at Indy in ’89, with the opposite outcome. Al Unser, Jr. had blasted by Emerson Fittipaldi in the waning laps to take the lead. On the last lap in turn3, Fittpaldi saw an opening and dove inside Little Al, shoving him into the wall and taking the win. On the victory lap, Fittipaldi received a very sportsman like thumbs-up from Al, indicating all was ok and that it was a racing accident. Same as yesterday with Dario and Sato.

    1061 chars

  89. beb said on May 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Republicans whining about their feelings being hurt is some dog-bites-man commonplace that the media should just stop reporting it. If Romney starts crying because Obama slams him on Bain,, how is he going to deal with the China, or the Germans, Iran… well, most every body in the world? The pouncy-boy needs to man-up.

    321 chars

  90. beb said on May 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Digby writes about another Memorial Day celebration…

    114 chars

  91. Minnie said on May 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Here’s another Memorial Day song. It closed out “Folk Sampler” on NPR last night. Made ME cry. I wonder if the writer knew my father, who served as a medic in the Philippines.

    245 chars