Sunday night, again.

So, let’s try this again:

In our time together, Alan and I have stayed in a few dumps. At least until Kate was born, we preferred a less restrictive type of vacation, unbound by too many plans. We had a destination, but getting there was part of the fun, and we never knew where, exactly, we’d be stopping.

In those pre-cell phone, pre-internet days, our method was to find a quickie-mart on the outskirts of town, check the Yellow Pages for hotels/motels, and call from a pay phone until we found a vacancy. Ninety percent of the time, everything was fine; I still remember the night we spent in Rochester, Minn. — with many, many lodging options, thanks to the Mayo Clinic — as the one and only time I’ve been convinced a ghost was in the room with us. I woke up, heard footsteps on the scrunchy carpet, was able to see the whole room clearly with my night-dilated pupils, had no fear whatsoever, thought hmmm, I guess someone died in the clinic with unfinished business in this hotel, went back to sleep.

Maybe it was a dream. DON’T THINK SO.

The worst was in some Wyoming town — Cody, maybe — where we were delayed getting into Yellowstone. It was raining in Cody, snowing at the east entrance to the park, and all we had to do was kick around this ersatz wild-west town and wait for it to stop. The first night, I found the Yellow Pages ad: For all your tropical fish and lodging needs, it read. Ha! Hipster adventure dead ahead! We arrived at a weird, rambling house, full of fish as advertised, but more of a bed-and-no-breakfast than a hotel. Our room was in what had been the dining room. The ceiling over the bed bulged with water stains. Every time the toilet in the room above flushed, I heard dripping noises. I slept fitfully as the guest above drained his or her bladder repeatedly, and I waited for the ceiling to collapse and dump a load of human shit on our heads.

We found a far better place the next night. Went to the rodeo.

Another memorable place was in Iron Mountain, Mich., where we stopped on our way home from Isle Royale. “In-room movies,” the sign outside advertised. I figured this meant HBO. It did not. It meant that if you wanted to watch a movie, you went to the desk and were given a VCR and allowed to choose from a cardboard box of tapes. Actually, you could choose from two boxes — the second one held the porn. No judging! We didn’t watch any movies, but admired the carved bear out by the road.

This trip, Alan made a reservation at what looked like a charming place on the Muskegon River, near Newaygo. The plan was to drop Kate off at camp, towing the drift boat, then cut east to the big river and float it for a couple of days. Things were going just fine when we arrived; there was a big gazebo in the back, overlooking the river, with a burbling water feature full of frogs. I settled in with “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” and the time passed. Some more time passed. Where was the clerk? She was supposed to be a few minutes late, but… Alan checked the note on which he’d scribbled the details. He’d made the reservation for next week, not this. Oops. Well, we know how to handle this, although now we do it without the Yellow Pages.

We ended up at another riverfront place, a kozy-kabins deal right out of “Lolita.” The choices were: Big smelly room, smaller smelly room, “new” smelly room. I chose small-smelly when it became clear there were no queen-size mattresses in the place, no matter how big the room was. We checked in — cash only — and the owner told Alan it would be $5 extra for the TV. No, I don’t know why; probably something to do with the dish.

“Are you sure? Don’t come asking me after 8 o’clock,” she said.

Finally, we got into the room, where I washed my hands and discovered? No towels. Back to the office.

“I don’t normally provide those,” she said. But she found some. They were clean, something I was absurdly grateful for.

We headed out, launched the boat, and found it was a lovely day for a float, if only there had been more water in the river. We had to drag over about a dozen gravel bars, but otherwise, it was Wild Kingdom — a dozen great blue herons, even more kingfishers, a mink or two cavorting streamside and the coup de grace of two bald eagles, although the second one might have been the first one, circling around for another fly-by. That picture yesterday was a deep, slow stretch. Lotsa cliff swallows in that sand bank.

Back to the dump, and guess what we discovered? No soap, either. Well, it’s always fun to visit a Walgreen’s in a strange place. You really get a feel for a town that the tourist places don’t give you.

Day two we walked around Pentwater and Ludington, just to see what the sunset side was like. (Answer: Hot. Sunny.) And then home. Just a couple of days, but it felt like longer. In a good way, honest, although we’re not making that mistake with the hotels again.

So, some bloggage?

If you read only one more Paterno story, read this one from the New York Times.

In Coozledad’s world, “In the Heat of the Night” is a documentary.

And if you read nothing more about Mitt Romney’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Weekend, make it this. Funny.

Finally, the lifeguard’s dilemma as a parable of outsourcing.

I’m off to bed.

Posted at 12:38 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

49 responses to “Sunday night, again.”

  1. Dexter said on July 17, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Summer 1977. Brand new Honda CVCC. Heading to Boston with girlfriend and her two kids for history tour. I-80. No motels, all full. I drove into the center of Milton, PA. I went into a bar in an ancient hotel and asked if anyone knew of any B&B or any place to stay. OK, getting weird here…barkeep sizes me up, asks my story…two little kids, woman, small car, on vacation…and she tells me the place keeps a room with clean sheets for when a customer gets too blitzed to drive. The customers just crash there. It was the only room still functioning as a hotel room after the place ceased operations years before…I asked how much…she said “Is ten alright?” I was so happy to have a room for the night I gave her fifteen dollars and stayed in a 1920s style room and roasted my ass off…no a/c, no fan…oh well.

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  2. Deborah said on July 17, 2012 at 5:34 am

    Little Bird and I ended a trip abroad with a morning flight from Milan but no place to stay in Milan the night before. Every hotel was full, some convention or other. At the train station we were directed to a desk where they found a place for us. A room in a private residence. It turned out to be charming. We had to get up at the crack of dawn to make the flight out, and took the most expensive cab ride of my life to the airport.

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  3. Dorothy said on July 17, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I slept fitfully as the guest above drained his or her bladder repeatedly, and I waited for the ceiling to collapse and dump a load of human shit on our heads.

    Don’t ask me why but I’ve read that brilliant sentence over and over again at least three times. It just reminds me why I love being here.

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  4. coozledad said on July 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

    There is nothing line a Crane
    Nothing in the world
    There is nowhere you can aim
    That is anything like a Crane.

    When you step into the head, mates
    You don’t want to genuflect
    You want to whip that shipman out
    And hose down the quarterdecks
    You want to hit that urine cake
    And bore a hole in it.
    The porcelain bowl? That’s just for shit!

    When you’re “crossing the equator” now
    You might get nailed by queers
    Instead of the mechanics and the middies and your peers
    They’ve taken the traditions and they’ve dumped them in the trash
    Rum (aye) Sodomy (aye?) and now the splash!

    We’ve got nothing to put on a scuba suit for
    We’ve got nothing hit the floor for

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  5. coozledad said on July 17, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I forgot they used “Uncle Martin” so roughly in this film.

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  6. beb said on July 17, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I think the worst hotel we ever stayed in was a Hojo in Louisville. We were on our honeymoon, traveling much like Nancy was, you know, calling up a hotel when we were ready to retire for the night. We had gone to Mammoth Cave, and the Smokey Mountains and on the way back stopped in Louisville for the North American Science Fiction Convention being held there. Since we couldn’t afford the convention hotel we picked this cheap Howard Johnson’s instead. Apparently it was the hotel of choice for army recruits on leave. We actually braced a chair against the door just in case….

    It’s hard to know who’s worse, Paterno for demanding a Golden Parachute once he knew the shit was about to hit the fan or his family who demanded the University pay up the $5.5 million after the shit hit the fan.

    The people at Americablog are pushing the idea that after John McCain looked at Romney’s 23 years of tax returns they purposefully choice Sarah Palin instead. But that is just a load of bs. McCain was a largely unlovable candidate that was going to get trounced if he didn’t do something to ignite his base. Picking Romney, another intensely unlovable man, as his VP was certain death. Palin would have worked but for the fact that she was as dumb as dirt. That said it still remains true that whatever if in those tax returns must be a lot worse than the heat Romney’s getting for not disclosing them.

    Over the weekend Brian Stouder wondered if Romney was just a placeholder the way Hubert Humphrey was in the 1968 election. It been 44 years since but I seem to recall that I was positive about voting for Humphrey and not simply because I detested Nixon. I’m not sure, though that we can call Romney a “placeholder” even though he has sparked no enthusiasm anywhere among the party. The assumptino being made is that all the A-list Republicans decided to sit out this election. Presumably because they thought Obama was unbeatable even with 8+% unemployment. My question would be: who are these a-listers? Guilliani was a joke last election. Mike Huckabee was also tested and found wanting. Chris Cristie? The man is repulsively fat and acts like a thin-skinned bully. There are no A-list candidates around. Romney was as good as the Republicans have got.

    I never understood the appeal to outsourcing work. How can a company pay competitive wages and do the work for less, while still paying a profit to the owners? The answer is that they don’t pay competitive wages. But if you’re going to screw the workers why not have the city do it and cut out the middle man. As a city worker, though, I am opposed to any plan based on screwing the workers. The idea that outsourcing companies can provide limited skills in a specific area is new to me. But it seems like the lack of flexibility these outsourcing companies allow their workers is a better problem that over-balances their cheapness.

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  7. Deborah said on July 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

    The only time I ever had that feeling that another presence was in my hotel room, was at the Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley. It turned out to be a big old desert rat. We changed rooms in the middle of the night. Creepy.

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  8. Peter said on July 17, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Holy Cow, Nancy, Newaygo? My son is working this summer outside of Whitehall; we’re visiting this weekend and the only room we could find was outside of Hart. Sheesh, even the run down hotel in Whitehall I remembered from 40 years ago is booked this weekend, and I would rather sleep in the trunk of my car than in that place.

    I can understand a lot of Michigan towns being booked with summer travelers, but Whitehall? Muskegon??? Do people actually surf the net, find out that Traverse City is booked, and figure, what the heck, Muskegon’s the next best thing?

    Deborah, I stayed at a real nice place in Milan for very few lira. My cousin taught me a trick – if you don’t have a room in a European City, go to a real fancy hotel right by the train station and ask for a room. When the clerk informs you what the price will be, pretend to drop your jaw (although every time I saw the price, I didn’t have to pretend) If the desk clerk decides you’re not a pervert and can afford something, he’ll refer you to a nice cheap place instead of a flophouse. He’ll probably get a tip from that hotel, and everyone wins.

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  9. Julie Robinson said on July 17, 2012 at 9:22 am

    My experiences with spontaneous travel have been 98% horrible and now I stick with advance reservations at the bland but clean chains of Mariott, Hilton, Country Inn, or the like. I’ll happily pay more for a clean room and economize by schlepping in my own food. We stayed at two older, non-chain places while in Canada, and they were charming and lovely and clean. The difference was that we had recommendations from locals.

    On my last trip home my preferred place had no online reservations available, and my wise husband suggested calling them directly, that hotels usually hold back a few rooms. So I did, mentioning my previous, lengthy stays, how much I liked their property, that I was looking for a 10 day long reservation, and they did indeed find me a room. What a relief! It’s the only place around there that meets my standards of being clean and safe. For me, clean and safe are not too much to ask for.

    For a palate cleanser after the politics, here’s story about a woman who locked up her Paris apartment on the eve of World War II and continued to pay the rent, but never went back. It was opened only after her death, and it’s a fascinating time capsule.

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  10. Maggie Jochild said on July 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Excellent, excellent bloggage today. And thanks extra much for retelling the story, it warranted the effort.

    (My mind won’t let go of the phrase “Cram it with walnuts, Ugly.” Not charitable.)

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  11. JWfromNJ said on July 17, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Our two oldest kids were in Ft. Wayne visiting family and we set out from New Jersey on a snowy December morning to pick them up, with out then three year old son and our long deceased then 11-year old Rottie-mutt mix Millie. It snowed so hard we couldn’t see, so I straddled the lane markers listening to the bump-bump-bump of the reflectors at 30 miles an hour for a good three hours into Pennsylvania.
    The weather broke and the snow stopped and I pushed it up to 65-70 on Rt. 80. I was thrilled to be in the clear, and we decided to hit the bathrooms at a service area near Centre County, yes that one, home of Jerry and JoePa.
    We went down the ramp and my Jetta felt sure footed, then as we arced to the right we hit black ice and slid – hard – into the curb. Our half shaft was snapped and our coolant was everywhere. The left wheel hung at an awkward angle. We were fine but stranded halfway between DuBois and Belefante. We called for help and a Pennsylvania trooper who covered an astonishing 180 square mile area showed up, along with a tow truck. We were given the choice of duBois or Belefante and having had the misfortune of a snapped fan belt in the latter two years before we opted to go backwards to DuBois.
    the dog and I rode in the flatbed, and my wife and son rode with the kind trooper. We didn’t have a lot of hotel options due to our furry friend. We ended up at a Holiday Inn near the exit, with a travel plaza across the street. It was a saturday afternoon. The hotel gave us a dog friendly room, which was in the musty old wing.
    We made the best of the next 3o hours. Our son, as kids do, played car wreck. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh bam. fuck. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh bam. fuck. over and over again with his matchbox cars being the hapless jetta.
    We had KFC from the travel plaze, sandwiches from our cooler, depleted my tiny beer and pint of vodka supply. The car was entrusted to a very god local body and repair shop. I was pissed to find there was a box-like Super 8 across the street from the shop with an indoor pool and a pet-friendly policy.
    On sunday morning the hotel had a brunch popular with the locals. It was meh, but something to do. We still talk about the soggy garlic bowtie pasta. but they were friendly folks.
    On Monday morning we picked up a rental Ford Taurus, set off fot the Fort without further drama, and five days later returned to DuBois. I found out the daily was hiring so I popped in and had a decent interview, my thoughts were muddled – it was midway between my folks and hers, and the downtown was cute. The body shop owner was Italian and encouraged me, as vampire recruiters do for small towns, to apply.
    We picked up the polished and fixed jetta, now with three kids and an 80 pound old dog – don’t ask, and rode back to sussex county NJ without anything noteworthy happening.
    no ghosts were involved though, that’s a story for another day involving my in-laws old hotel in North Manchester, the Manchester Inn, and a very civil spirit named Ben.

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  12. Icarus said on July 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Thank you for the link to the Outsourcing parable story. it hit home or I should say work as I’m dealing with some in-house workers who “are discouraged, if not prohibited, from exercising their own discretion.” Though it comes off less as “not impowered to think critically” and more as “not competent enough to realize it’s raining and the umbrella in their hand would keep them dry.”

    I’ll pass on the terrible vacation stories, like their first car accident, everyone has a story and mine are less interesting than the ones shared here.

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  13. 4dbirds said on July 17, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I love this blog. Nancy’s great post and now a delicious day of horrible hotel/motel comments. I have a few myself.

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  14. Connie said on July 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Finding an available room without a reservation on the west shore of Michigan this time of year is pretty unlikely. Even finding a campground spot can be iffy. Which isn’t to say there might not be something right along the freeway exit in Muskegon.

    As to Saugatuck, not the place for quiet beach time. Think restaurants, bars, art galleries and big boats. And it is on the river not the Lake.

    Don’t think the drift boat would have worked but somewhere near Newaygo there is a state campground on a small river which you can jump into with your tube and after 20 minutes of fine floating fetch up against the other side of the same campground.

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  15. Prospero said on July 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Lat refuge? RMoney has decided the way to fight back is to question why Teresa Hein Kerry’s tax returns weren’t published. What a gaping hemmorhoidal asshole. She wasn’t running for President, Mittens with no claim to qualifications but Bain Job Destructors, Inc. and the Salt Lake Games saved by the gigunda Federal Bailout. When in doubt, attack a woman, right Mitt? See GOPers, he really is one of you. Meanwhile at least 20 years of Kerry’s tax records are public domain. RMoney SOP: See a problem. Identify the worst possible response. Get ‘er done.

    Nancy and Alan’s boat excursion reminds me of my favorite Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, or as we called it in my Thoreau Emerson seminar freshman year at Holy Cross, Thoreau Goes Wild, for Him. The walnuts remark puts me in mind of Clive James’ infamous description of Schwarzenegger: A big brown condom stuffed with walnuts.

    Beb, the conundrum of outsourcing is, when you send the jobs away, who will buy your products? A simple algebraic proof that the middle class creates jobs, not hedge fund managers and assorted rich tax scofflaws whose unpatriotic behavior Windsock wants to render legal.

    As far as that lifeguard FUBAR, ask the tub o’ guts thug Chris Christie how privatization has worked out for Jersey halfway houses.

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  16. Joe K said on July 17, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Another view on out sourcing
    Pilot Joe

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  17. Charlotte said on July 17, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I loved loved loved Jacob de Zoet. One of those books I wanted never to end ….

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  18. basset said on July 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

    We have something similar outside Nashville… about a five-mile scenic river loop which bends back on itself, takeout is maybe a quarter-mile from the putin:

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on July 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Obama has apparently uncorked another devastating attack ad. I’ll have to wait until I get home to see it, but it seems to be of the “it would be irresponsible not to speculate” variety. Sounds mean, unfair and delicious. I’m loving this.

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  20. Dan B said on July 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Rana and I were moving from Indiana to Virginia a few years ago. We were taking smaller highways and deciding in the afternoons where we would be stopping for the night, and then using her Motel 6 directory to find a place and make a reservation (idea being cheap and pet-friendly, since we were traveling with a cat). The first couple were pretty much as you’d expect; the one in Seymour IN was even really nice. Then we hit the leg where it looked like the best stopping point was Richmond, VA. There were two Motel 6s listed there, so we made reservations at the one that looked more conveniently located for our arrival.

    When we got there, it turned out not to be a Motel 6 anymore, but an “Americas Best Value.” I’m guessing they didn’t even meet the standards for the Motel 6 anymore. It was in a decaying commercial area, next to an almost completely dead mall. The room was dingy and smelled a bit off; there were holes in the sheets. Definitely not our most restful night’s sleep.

    Probably the worst place I ever stayed, though, was a cheap place in Seville, Spain. I was living there for a year, and my friend and I had just found an apartment, but we couldn’t move in for several days. My friend went up to stay with his girlfriend in Madrid; I was stuck finding a place to stay at time when an influx of visitors had hit the city. The place I was staying in had run out of space and I had to leave. So I poked my head into various cheap places to see if they had space. I finally found one that did-the Hostal-Residencia Monreal. Small, almost institutional room; sheets had cigarette burns in them, though everything was clean. I expected shared bathrooms-that’s par for the course in a cheap hostal. But the one on my floor had a toilet that didn’t work (but people had used it anyway…) so you had to use the one downstairs, along with all the other guests. I had to spend three days or so there.

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  21. Jeff Borden said on July 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I guess racism will be a curse upon our nation for eternity. Every time I think substantial progress has been made. . .not just a black man in the White House but the growing number of black business leaders, entrepreneurs, military and political officials. . .I read something like Cooz’s blog and whatever faint hopes I cling to melt away. The GOP is gleefully purging voting rolls across the nation of blacks, Hispanics, students and others who tend to vote Democratic, which makes me fear yet another election will be stolen by the rightwingers.

    Regarding Rmoney, it’s been a gas to see some advertisements from Democrats that actually draw blood from this mayonaisse sandwich that walks like a man. It has clearly unnerved Willard and his backers including that loathesome tub o’ goo John Sununu, who today is screaming about Obama’s teenage drug use and sneering that the president needs to “learn how to be an American.”

    And now we learn that while Willard was running the Salt Lake City Olympics, the uniforms for American athletes were produced in the dictatorial nation of Myanmar aka Burma. Attaboy, Willard!

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  22. Heather said on July 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    My worst place was also in Spain, in a tiny beach town called Aguilas as I recall. It was recommended in my Rough Guide, but even the guy who showed me where it was when I got lost suggested I not stay there (he seemed a bit racist about Moroccan immigrants, so I dismissed his concerns). It was tiny and rough but clean enough. However when I opened the door to leave and caught some guy trying to peek through the cracks into my room, I decided he was probably right, and paying for a $30 room at the “deluxe” hotel versus the $12 for the scary dump was probably a good investment.

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  23. nancy said on July 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Alan vetoed Motel 6 for a long time, on the grounds that a friend of his got scabies there. He changed his mind when we went to Santa Fe, and it was the only reasonably priced lodging choice, and actually a pretty nice hotel, all things considered.

    My favorite gone-private hotel, however, is in Lansing, where some cheapskate bought a Day’s Inn and changed its name to Dad’s Inn. The new letter is only an approximate match in color and typeface, and makes me chuckle whenever I see it.

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  24. Charlotte said on July 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I stayed in a terrible cheap hotel just off the Place St. Germain with my boyfriend when I was 20 — saggy bed, neon light outside our window, dinge dinge dinge, bathroom down the hall. Loved it. Felt SO bohemian. (Now I just rent a flat when I travel overseas.)
    My brother had a good friend on the California Highway Patrol who warned me not to stay in motels where you can drive right up to the door of your room — he said they’ve cooked so much meth in those places that the carpets and bathtubs are toxic. Told me only to stay someplace where you have to walk past a front desk to get to your room. Sigh.

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  25. Dexter said on July 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    nance, that reminds me of a 1972 trip we took in my 1966 VW microbus. I had reservations at a Holiday Inn in Hyannis, Massachusetts. I thought I did. I had rooms reserved at the Hyannis Holiday Motel.
    Very disappointing Motel Six or less-quality place with zero amenities back then. I felt cheated as well as stupid. And the old bus made it back home and then died. Oh well, we did take a beautiful day trip boat cruise on the ocean and bay where I met and made small talk with an old guy, a millionaire from Providence, Rhode Island, who told me to get into the insurance business if I wanted to make a good financial life. Of course I never took his advice. Yep, he was the president emeritus or something like that of one of those giant insurance firms. One very nice capitalist.

    One more: I stayed at the famous / infamous Chelsea Hotel a few times back in the 1980s. The manager was a cool old guy named Stanley Bard. He would sometimes let people stay there for ridiculous cheap day rates. I would stay there for a few nights with my baseball fan friend, and we would go to a few Yankee games…and we paid eighty dollars a night and usually got a pretty decent room. Once we got a broom closet, but Stanley only charged us $60 for that as I recall. This was before Chelsea became gay-central in NYC. It must have been the early 1990s before gays migrated en masse out of The Village.

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  26. Prospero said on July 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Those folksy Tom Bodette radio ads did in Motel 6 for me, something about that guy’s voice and vocal manner always makes me hear dueling banjos in my head, and Days Inn is owned by the hotelier family version of the Kochs and they don’t have bars. Christian Coalition accomodations. I always found Red Roof Inns reliable, though the one here is a frequent setting for shootouts and meth lab busts.

    Joe, I’ll refrain from mocking Spinmaster O, in deference to his imaginary Peabody Award, but comparing Obama’s connection with Immelt to Willard’s off-continenting cash farm is ridiculous. Bain bought struggling bidnesses, mortgaged them to the hilt, dumped assets (workers) offshored as a matter of course, sucked the borrowed funds out, and watched the firms wither and die. How the Loofah brain equates that to Westinghouse, a gigantic multi-national, is beyond me but I’m sure it’s Wagnerian opera in his little rodent mind with the huge reptilian hind-brain. Aside from anything else, we have RMoney’s stated intention to make off-shoring of jobs more attractive with tax incentives. Windsock made a fortune doing this shit, and he wants his cronies to do so too. He wants to start a war with Iran over imaginary nuclear weapons while further cutting taxes on ridiculously rich people. Sound familiar? He wants Bork on the Supreme Court. He aims too institutionalize the worst mischief the GOPers have perpetrated on the USA for 30 years, which anyone honest would admit created the current economic morrass. He offers nothing but Bain and the Salt Lake City games as a resume, then whines like a stuck varmint when it’s pointed out that the Games were saved by a massive injection of federal money with Clinto to thank, and that Bain, when it came to jobs was Destructor. On the tax returns issue, he bitches about Teresa Heinz. Who would vote for this hoity-toity, anti-American rich prick?

    Anyway, O’Reilly’s argument about Westinghouse is just about as convincing as “Pallin’ around with terriss.” Smells like the same bullshit.

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Connie, the lake is just a chain ferry ride and a climb/descent of Mt. Baldness from downtown Saugatuck! As long as you don’t think about the dune climb heading back, it’s a lovely beach.

    beb – A-list Republican candidates for POTUS? Please introduce me; I’d love to meet them.

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  28. Deborah said on July 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I stayed in a Motel 6 outside of Peoria one horrible winter night on our way back from a client meeting in Des Moines, IA. We always drove from Chicago because our client was a not-for-profit and anyway by the time you got to O’Hare, went through security and waited at the gate and then your flight out, it took the same amount of time to drive. There were 5 of us, 3 guys, another woman and myself. We left Des Moines at about 3pm after our meeting into a huge blizzard. We got as far as that motel 6 near Peoria at about 1am, after doing some scary fishtailing on the ice we decided to stay the night there. There were only 2 rooms available, so all the guys stayed in one and we ladies in the other. We all slept in our clothes, the place reeked of Indian food. I will always associate Motel 6s with that place, that night.

    edit: Dexter we stayed at the famous Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan once too. We thought it would be interesting since so many artists and writers had lived there. What a dump. There were hairs on ou pillows, I called down and asked them to send up new bedding and some disinfectant. I then changed the bedding and scrubbed the bathroom.

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  29. del said on July 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Worst accommodations? A piece of cardboard in a subway station in Italy. Woke up to commuters stepping over me.

    (All the fault of my traveling partner who had me out late as he pursued two women at a bar with actor David Keith.)

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  30. paddyo' said on July 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Nancy’s Day’s Inn/Dad’s Inn story reminds me of the seedy motel one block past the offices of my first newspaper job at the Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal back in the mid-1970s.

    It was called the B-Gay Motor Lodge. Then, at some point — probably after AIDS hit and got labeled the “gay plague” — they changed the name to B-Jay Motor Lodge. Hey, I guess they were thinking, lemonade out of lemons . . . or something.

    Never did learn whether they realized they were going from one double-entendre to another. But at some further point, they tossed that name out, too — or should I say, cast it away . . .

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  31. Prospero said on July 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Todays the 45th anniversary of John Coltrane’s death from cancer (not drugs, Charlie Parker). Here’s proof that even a drippy broadway song can be something else in the hands of a genius with a (gasp!!!) soprano sax, and the help of Elvin Jones (not breaking a sweat, somehow) and McCoy Tyner. Don’t know who plays the flute solo (Eric Dolphy?) Incredibly fine bass by Steve Davis. The shear genius of this impovisation is almost overwhelming.

    Today’s also Spencer Davis’ 70th birthday, who introduced Steve Winwood to a grateful world:

    Winwood was about 17, when this great B&W video was made, and Spencer Davis had hired a bass player so Steve didn’t have to play bass on the B3 pedals, as he did on original recordings of I’m a Man and Gimme Some Lovin’ and So Glad You Made It. A terribly underappreciated band that would have been royalty in Detroit late 60s. Hell, people thought the Rationals were great blue-eyed soul.

    How long is RMoney going to leave himself “twisting slowly, slowly in the wind” like L. Patrick Gray before Sanitarium and Newticles start salivating. Shit, this could Pizza Man back. Good Times. Great hilarity. Jocularity.

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  32. Jolene said on July 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    The NYT has two interesting articles re Romney today. The first is about his ties to the “first families” of Mormonism and what it means to them that he is a candidate for the presidency. Some of their quotes convey a sense of excitement that reminds me of the excitement that was apparent among African Americans in 2008.

    The other is a description of the process he is going through to select a running mate, which is obsessively thorough.

    I find the prospect of him being elected horrifying, but I have to give him props for competence. Of course, the events of the past few days do detract somewhat from that impression.

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  33. brian stouder said on July 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I find the prospect of him being elected horrifying, but I have to give him props for competence.

    Agreed, Jolene. Rachel Maddow, whose show I love, has had a little fun from time to time, referring to him as Thurston Howell III; and – while that comparison works, I begin to think that the best 1960’s sit-com figure that best captures him is Darrin Stevens on Bewitched. ‘Course, it’s politically incorrect to refer to a major candidate’s significant other as a witch*; but on the other hand, Samantha was clearly the brains (and the power, albeit wiccan) in the Stevens household, just as Anne Romney is.

    Plus, Anne Romney looks a bit like 1960’s Elizabeth Montgomery….and Mitt looks very (very) like Dick York (the original Darrin). Come to think of it, Darrin’s character was always, always changing his tune to agree with his boss, who in turn was always changing his tune, to agree with what he thought their customers wanted to hear….

    (but I bet Darrin’s backstory would not include homophobic sadism, nor a power fetish wherein he dresses like a state trooper…but we digress!)

    *actually, this may be a step-up from the vagaries of Mormonism, but we’re still digressing

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  34. Prospero said on July 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Oh, and John Lord died, the keyboard player for Deep Purple, at least partially responsible for this:

    Godzilla vs. Mothra version. Kind of like it better this way.

    Some of their quotes convey a sense of excitement that reminds me of the excitement that was apparent among African Americans in 2008.

    Except that those African Americans didn’t hold themselves beyond the authority of the Constitution or pass down the White Horse Prophecy as doctrine. As for the USA electing RMoney, two words: Robert Bork. Two more: John Bolton.

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  35. Connie said on July 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Jefftmmo, the last thing we were going to do as teenagers going to the beach was climb Mt. Baldy. We only climbed Mr. Baldy for a family outing – usually on a Sunday afternoon.

    Nancy, Dad’s Inn makes me laugh every time I pass the Fowlerville exit.

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  36. Prospero said on July 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I know this sounds intemperate, but the more I read about LDS, the more it seems to have more in common with Branch Davidians filtered through Rotary than an authentic religion:

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  37. Sue said on July 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    So, about that outsourcing…
    I work as a cleaner for my second job. I work for one of those outsourced/privatized/contract cleaning companies. I am on my third company in five years and I’m making about the same as when I started five years ago, because when the company you are working for is outbid by someone else you either get to start at the bottom with the someone else company – if they decide to hire you – or go out and start at the bottom with another company. I was hired on by company #2 when they outbid company #1, but kicked to the curb when company #2 was outbid by another company. At the interview for my current job, the HR guy said that cleaning companies are starting to bid below cost, just to get the accounts.
    As a second job, cleaning for an outsource/contract company is just fine. The only thing they can really offer is flexibility in hours, so it works out well for my needs. As a primary job – and it is for a lot of people – it sucks, sucks, sucks on the lower rungs. Poor pay and usually no benefits. Company #2 offered paid holidays and I’m pretty sure that their losing bid was just that much higher because of it. No sick time, so if you are cleaning in a medical clinic like I was with companies 1 and 2, and you cannot afford to take the time off, you go in and clean exam rooms and break rooms while you are ill. I could afford to call in; most of the people I worked with couldn’t. How about that?
    But the thing is, if we outsourced cleaning at my day job, the place would look better. That’s the kicker: contract cleaners are poorly compensated, but have to be focused and really good or they’re gone. This is targeted work, planned down to both the minute and the penny for what needs to be done, and contract cleaners can’t risk a complaint. I don’t think outsourcing the cleaning would actually save a company that much money, because after all the administration layer is basically reproduced in the contracted company. The savings/profit mostly comes from the lower-paid and under-benefitted account managers and the lowest paid and un-benefitted front-line workers. I suspect the ‘convenience’ aspect is probably a large part of the sales pitch. You don’t need to hire your own people! Or worry about whether they have benefits! Or deal with turnover when they quit because they hurt their back! Or invite them to the Holiday party and company picnic! They’re anonymous and invisible!
    All of which is explanation for one of the reasons I am so strongly in favor of Obamacare. More and more people are losing benefits that were considered pretty basic not too long ago. Cut a job into two part time positions and take away the benefits. Or outsource an entire department to a contract company and look the other way when contract employees come in sick or get injured and have no health care. Or offer health insurance but pay so poorly that no one can afford it. That may be the way of the future. That doesn’t mean we need to leave more and more people out in the cold because for some reason we still think that the bulk of our benefits should be provided by employers, unless it’s not a worthy enough job and then screw you. What the hell silly kind of reasoning is that?
    I have benefits with my day job and much sympathy for my co-workers at my night job.

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  38. Judybusy said on July 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I finally had a chance to get back here and read all the great suggestions for DC! Thanks very much to all who pitched in. My honey and I went out for pizza last night with guidebooks and note pad and sketched out the four-and-a-half days. Not surprising, we won’t be able to see every thing.

    Jolene, the Torpedo factory looks right up our alley, but we aren’t renting a car, which means we won’t be able to meet you either, sadly.

    Nancy, could you please give my contact info to 4dbirds? It would be great to meet up!

    As far as accomodations, I’ve always planned ahead and had good luck with savvy readings of TripAdvisor reviews to pick places. The exception was in Rome, but it wasn’t horrible, just annoying.

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  39. paddyo' said on July 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Wow, Sue, your story would be the meat for a great expose on the realities of outsource companies — at least in the cleaning biz, anyway. Third company in five years, and bumped back to “start” each time? Simply outrageous. A parody of “free enterprise,” except “free” means what the workers practically work for. “Anonymous and invisible” is right — just like . . . plantation slaves.

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  40. coozledad said on July 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Mormonism reminds me of the free love sects of the middle ages, or the Swedenborgians without the doctrine of universal love, or the godhead of man. When you get right down to it, they’re more like Alistair Crowley or the Manson family, a facile, juvenile, and historically bloody response to the accords of a restrictive code of morality. It’s more bratty libertarianism with a penchant for murder. They were the fringe hippies of their day who provided the authorities a ready excuse to wipe out the lot.
    Just consult Albert Sydney Johnson or Ulysses Grant.
    There’s probably a good thesis tying the Mojave “revelations” of Charles Manson to similar huckster dipshittery a century back.

    If Charlie had just learned how to pass a collection plate, we’d probably be talking about running a “family” candidate in another forty or so years.

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  41. Prospero said on July 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    McCain to Willard: Get off my lawn.

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  42. paddyo' said on July 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Penchant indeed, Cooze. Three more “M” words for some pernicious dipshittery a century and a half back: Mountain Meadows Massacre

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  43. Jolene said on July 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Judybusy, I think 4dbirds lives further from DC than I do. No car needed to get to Alexandria; the Metro goes there. But, it’d also be possible for me to come to DC. But, whatever. Vacation time is always too short, so I won’t be offended if we don’t get together.

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  44. Prospero said on July 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Whar them GOPer wimmen come from:–asshole-dont-send-her-to-rushbiddies?utm_source=Gawker+Newsletter&utm_campaign=c357475370-UA-142218-2&utm_medium=email

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  45. JWfromNJ said on July 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Covered a county hospital district board meeting tonight. They are a tax entity that owns land for hospitals and covers indigent care, but they control the county medical center, who leases the land and building from them.

    Crazy issues at hand – a public land swap to build a private wellness center owned by the hospital but run by a private firm from Philly. Pissed doctors in private practice who don’t want the hospital to compete, anyhoo, thats not my point.

    The bean counters for the hospital and the district both predict a sharp drop in medicaid reimbursements and a steep reduction in charity care. Only 2% of the patients. Why?? Because they feel with the mandate they will only see 2% unisured, and also a select group of young healthy people who don’t insure, pay the penalty, and jump back on the ship in 2014 when pre-exisiting conditions are ok.
    The very Republican, wealthy Vero Beach community leaders THINK “Obamacare” is going to work!

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  46. Suzanne said on July 17, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Wow. That rushbiddies story has left me speechless. But, isn’t that the way almost everything is now? When you are job hunting, most of this advice is how to shock and awe in the interview, but nobody seems to much care if you actually know anything. Listen to almost any political debate, and the post-mortem will consider who had the best performance, not who actually said anything meaningful. I’ve been to far too many funerals full of people who showed up not because they cared, but wanted to be seen caring. So, I’m not surprised that there is someone out there to coach on how to be sorority material. Or maybe I’m just getting crabby in this heat.

    We stayed at an off-the-main-drag motel once in I don’t even remember what state. My first clue that it would be bad was when I called to make reservations (hey, it was in a travel book!) and they weren’t quite sure how to do that but they guessed I could if I wanted. The crib they gave us for our baby fell apart so he had to sleep in bed with us, and the first thing we saw when we got up in the morning was two dogs in the parking lot having an amorous encounter. I didn’t live that one down for years.

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  47. Deborah said on July 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Prospero that sorority rush coaching link is nauseating. I was in college when it was, thank god, decidedly uncool to be Greek. My school did not allow it (again, thank god, one of the few things that I am thankful for from my college years). I just think all of that stuff is just wrong, wrong wrong. Sororities and fraternities are a huge part of the problem in so many ways. What could be worse?

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  48. brian stouder said on July 18, 2012 at 12:22 am

    I liked Nancy’s life-guard/Outsourcing parable link, although the essay becomes a bit incoherent at the end.

    The out-sourcing issue has created an interesting little historical opportunity for President Obama; he has the opportunity to roll into Freeport, Illinois, and ask a brand new 2012-edition “Freeport question” for his opponent to answer. Larry O’Donnell had the mayor of Freeport and a councilman and a soon-to-be jobless woman on his show, speaking about a Bain Capital investment into a local firm is leading directly to the out-sourcing of all 170 jobs at Sensata, in Freeport

    Speaking of the Land of Lincoln, I can add one odd hotel experience anecdote. A few years ago, I went to Springfield, Illinois for a Lincoln Colloquium, and had a room about 20 floors above street level in that town’s one sky scraper (the hotel looks a lot like a golf tee, as you approach the city from the prairie). The event itself was spread over two days, and was held in a conference room at that same hotel, and therefore afforded me a break on the room-rate.

    The room offered a beautiful view of the city (and most of the county, no doubt) and it was a little….shakey. It seemed that the hotel rattled a bit, but that was OK.

    But THEN…at about 9 pm, I was gabbing on the phone with Pam (she opted not to come to this particular colloquium, although I’ve dragged her off to a few others, including beautiful Galesburg, Illinois, at Knox College, but we digress), and meanwhile the folks in the next room were apparently (and completely) overcome by passion. I’m not kidding – the walls were rattling and the exclamations of pleasure (and impassioned invocations of God Almighty, in various ways) were loud enough that I made a point of telling Pam “That’s not anyone in this room!”

    Really, things were so ‘over the top’ (so to speak) that I still almost think that it was some sort exhibitionist stunt, or else a put-on. Clearly, the dynamic at work is much the same as when someone insists on driving an extra-extra flashy car; an ardently public statement that says ‘look at us’. When Pam and I were done talking (and chuckling) I headed for the elevator and went to the lobby for a newspaper and a Diet….might’a been a Diet Coke. (gotta love local newspapers when you’re travelling here and there, yes? What are the locals yapping about on the editorial page? What stores are in town? What local controversies are simmering along? etc etc – good stuff!)

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  49. Prospero said on July 18, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Just what them RMoneyites called for:

    Remember the Pottery Barn, Shrub. You bought it because you sure as shit broke it.

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