Please pay at time of service.

You know how we’re always talking about the importance of learning from one’s mistakes? And how important — and difficult — it is to teach this lesson to our children? A story came across my radar today that’s one long teachable moment.

This is a TV story, but I can give you the rundown: Football boosters at a local high school decide the team needs a new playing surface. The usual procedure for this would be to make a plan, set a budget and start raising funds.

But no. Five boosters banded together, mortgaged their houses for the cash, paid $300,000 for the turf — in blue, if you can imagine — and then started raising money to get their houses out of hock.

You can guess the rest. The fundraising isn’t going so well. In fact, it’s going spectacularly badly, and now five families expect to be facing foreclosure in less than a month.

I think the TV piece was designed to build sympathy for them, but even the TV reporter couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for it. It didn’t help when the one booster/homeowner said he did it “for community.” God save us from people who think the basis of community is blue Astroturf. The guy’s affect was so flat that I have to think the wolf isn’t all that close to the door. Because nobody could be that dumb, could they? And if this guy was really in danger of losing his house because of a titanically dumb wager on the willingness of the community (which he helped build with that turf) to join him in his quest for blue turf, why isn’t he under his bed crying?

Now you know why prostitutes get the money up front. There’s nothing like getting something before you’ve paid for it to cool someone on the idea of, well, paying for it.

The weekend awaits! As does a low-key week off for yours truly. Kate and I will be doing a little traveling, first to the Hoosier state and then to the Buckeye. Jeff, you know how to find my number; buzz me if you might want to share a soda pop.

Some linkage? Sure:

Me, on a new idea about teen pregnancy and its relation to poverty.

Some eye candy for the ladies and the homosexshul gennlemens: 33 things to love about men’s water polo. Rawr!

Finally, Kate and I saw “Beasts of the Southern Wild” tonight, and so should you.

Great weekend, all. Spotty blogging next. But I’ll be around.

Posted at 12:06 am in Detroit life |

63 responses to “Please pay at time of service.”

  1. Dexter said on August 10, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Yeah, I learned life lessons early, as in my youth when I had a paper route, I had to collect house-to-house. For two dimes , the cost of a Sunday paper, I would get stiffed frequently.
    Years later at work, when I would stop at a Hardees for meat & egg biscuits for my pals, nobody got one unless I had been paid the previous day. I did learn a little bit.

    This is the third Olympiad since I retired, and it must be age, as I only watch a little of the coverage these days. I do click into a station showing action from London , but only between innings of whatever baseball game I might be watching.

    The new guy on FX Network, who follows “Louie”, is pretty damn good.
    He’s SO MUCH BETTER than than horrible Russell Brand.

    827 chars

  2. Dexter said on August 10, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Nuts to the swimmers! The GB lads reminded me of someone…then it came back to me…remember the explorer John Torrington, who’s corpse was exhumed in 1984, perfectly preserved in the permafrost? Those swimmers look like John Torrington’s corpse.

    327 chars

  3. JWfromNJ said on August 10, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Ahh the paper route. I guess that was my first job and it was for a newspaper chain that I would write for about 14 years. But it started on the bike, running a route through my town’s hilly neighborhoods. I knew who was sleeping, who was up and drinking, who was going to pay and tip, and who was going to do whatever it took to beat a 13-year old kid.
    I can’t imagine my son doing the same job. Weather was not allowed to be an issue.
    I had to ride two blocks to pick up my bundles, then take them home and bag or band the Ridgewood News twice a weeek.
    I remember having a portable FM radio – we’re talking before my first walkman. ELO’s Don’t Bring Me Down is the big song I remember, I also have this weird memory of thinking this one neighborhood was Jewish (if 3-4 hours is an enclave).
    On really cold or rainy days my dad would drive his old Chevy van slowly through the area off of Harristown Road while I lobbed newspapers into the driveways.

    955 chars

  4. Dexter said on August 10, 2012 at 2:24 am

    JW-NJ, After a couple years I had saved enough to buy a Honda 50 mc. It was the first wave of Japanese motorcycles. It made delivering Journal-Gazettes (Fort Wayne, IN) so much easier. The town cop caught me a few times riding up on the deserted sidewalks of Waterloo , Indiana , throwing papers onto porches, but his stern warnings only made me a sneaky road rules cheater.
    I kept my route too long…one afternoon in the summer of 1964 when I was 14 , I knocked on the door of the hottest girl in six counties to collect for the papers…and this sixteen year old knockout beauty answered the door, fresh out of the shower, with a skimpy towel wrapped around her, only barely covering her breasts and bikini line. I was never the same after seeing that.
    And maybe you heard the story of the teacher in Kentucky who is doing 90 days for raping a boy multiple times.

    We , as teen age boys, did indeed talk of how we would do such nasty sexual things to a couple of our young lady teachers, but if one of actually had ? I can now see how we would be scarred emotionally by that activity.
    Like many others, I was shocked that for multiple rapes, she got ninety days. What the hell?

    1333 chars

  5. ROGirl said on August 10, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Maybe the back story that the TV reporter conveniently left out holds the key to why they’re in this situation now. Factions, rivalries, turf issues (off the football field).

    174 chars

  6. alex said on August 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Ninety days for a woman fucking a juvenile. But that’s Kentucky. Ninety years when the teacher’s a man.

    103 chars

  7. Scout said on August 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I second Nancy’s motion that everyone should see Beasts of the Southern Wild. It was probably the best film I’ll see this year.

    Speaking of paper routes, a couple days ago TBogg wrote an amazing post called Mansion on he Hill. This reminded me of that. Sorry not to provide linkage, I’m tapping this out on my phone.

    Happy weekend, all.

    342 chars

  8. coozledad said on August 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

    In the schools I attended, the likelihood of s a student being nailed by a teacher could be neatly represented by a venn diagram.
    One field would be nubile girls with abusive fathers. Another field would be the assistant football coaches who might or might not teach a social science, like driver’s ed or “Americanism vs. Communism”. The third field would be itinerant band instructors.
    The intersection of the first field with either of the other two was a strong predictor of statch rape.

    492 chars

  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I’m both wistful, and relieved that my son won’t have a paper route. Not sure how to sort that out. I had one from 11 to 15, and I’m still proud of having built it up from 26 or 27 customers to 61 when I turned it over to my younger brother. 21-031 was my bundle and route number, Gary Post-Tribune. The collection door to door, oh my.

    Then in college I spent a summer answering the complaint line, and it was fascinating to hear the other side of the circulation narrative. All in all, you could just feel the inevitability of auto-pay and driving routes building up. You put millions into reporters on computers, high speed presses, union delivery truck drivers, and then the whole operation is dependent on a teen age (barely) kid with a canvas bag and their adolescent sense of obligation, a weak reed indeed.

    But what I learned about human nature, economics, and how to make change — it’s been one of my most formative experiences from youth, way beyond the majority of junior high and high school classes were.

    1023 chars

  10. coozledad said on August 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Scout: TBogg’s Mansions on the Hill is excellent, as was his takedown of NPR’s “Planet Money” bullshit.

    It all boils down to the rich refusing to pay their bills. Who’s going to weep for the bastards when their heads are dropping in the basket this time?
    Edmund Burke would be cheering on that slaughter.

    400 chars

  11. Linda said on August 10, 2012 at 9:05 am

    “They don’t really see a cost to becoming a mom. They don’t plan to go to college. The odds of finding a good man to marry are very bad.”

    Well, yeah. It’s not only the poverty of girls, but overall poverty and lack of prospects that drives out of wedlock pregnancy. Once, when even a high school graduate could get a good-paying factory job, a girl would be a damn fool to not hold out for marriage to a guy who could support her and her kids. Now most young men can’t do that, and THEIR prospects are lousy. So why hold out? To be a nun?

    551 chars

  12. Linda said on August 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

    My bro in law has his own business (pest control), and rich people are the hardest ones to get to pay their bills. Poor people are happy to pay and get rid of bugs–rich people will dick you around forever before paying up.

    236 chars

  13. nancy said on August 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

    There are many exceptions to the rich-skinflint meme, but in general, I’ve found that the wealthier a person is, the less likely s/he is to say, “Keep the change.” But that might be because I simply notice it more when someone is loaded.

    I notice the first comment on the piece is about a man whose mother was left a small bequest by a family she’d worked for as a domestic. It reminded me of a column I wrote, about a man who spent most of his life in service to one of those batshit Dallas rich ladies. He was her right-hand man, and did everything from house management to cooking to picking out her outfits for the day. He told lots of funny stories about her, but the one that stuck with me was the one about the will. After paying a pittance for years — he lived in her house, after all, and ate the household’s food — she left him $25,000. He spent the last year of his life living with his sister before dying of lung cancer. An unhappy ending, but I guess it wasn’t a terrible life, if you enjoy rich ladies.

    1023 chars

  14. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

    The entire point of blue astroturf is to have home blue uniforms so that players disappear into the turf. It’s cheating, and Boise State is proof it works:

    Related to Dale Gribble by marriage, Linda?

    In Kentucky, the hypothetical male teacher would likely get a heavy load of buckshot in the “groin area” and a .22 behind the ear, and undergo thanatopsis back up some holler.

    Water polo is the dirtiest sport ever devised. Speaking of the “groin area”, groin areas get kicked, punched, and grabbed and squeezed hard. It’s like ducks, 95% of the action is underwater.

    The “groin area” also reminds me of a story from Bill Cosby before he became Crotchety Old Fart, when he was funny (I’ve still got the vinyl albums):

    I delivered the Detroit News for two years, and quit when it became the racist rag. Wintertime in lake effect Detroit with ice storms, that was one horrible job. Not as bad as stacking transformer cores in a Westinghouse plant, because my dad was great about driving me when frostbite conditions were obvious. There was a hill on my route so high, steep and treacherous it should have had T-bars and a black diamond sign. Ascending was like my personal Calvary despite my two-speed Schwinn, the kind where the trans was in the hub and you back-pedaled to change gears. Descending, no hands, at mind-boggling speed was incredibly exhilarating. At the top of the hill was a guy that lived in the first McMansion I ever saw, though they were not yet called that. At the time, there was no conceivable bad connotation to MacDonalds. That bastard could have two cars in the garage and one in the driveway and nobody would answer the door on collection day. I shrugged him off and started stealing his subscribed Playboy from his mailbox when he stiffed me.

    As far as tipping waitrons, the grand division is between those that have suffered the idignity of waiting tables and those that never had to.

    2069 chars

  15. Judybusy said on August 10, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I’ve done quite a bit of fundraising for non-profits over the years, and found the richest usually gave the least.

    When I was on the board of a non-profit, I was the second-highest donor on the board of about 14. Me, the social worker sitting there with doctors, lawyers, and financial managers.But I will say that being wealthy led to connections, of course, and some of those people were very generous.

    408 chars

  16. basset said on August 10, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I had two afternoon paper routes from about 12 all the way through high school, threw about 150 papers a day total… got a bundle of Bloomington Herald-Telephones at home, walked to the other end of town emptying my front and back canvas bag, picked up the Bloomfield Evening Worlds at the grocery store and handed those out on the way back. Just the H-T on Sunday mornings, that was easy.

    In those days you were expected to walk up to the house and put them in the screen door. Don’t recall getting stiffed by anyone, it was an entirely working-class area, only got one dogbite the whole time and that a minor one.

    621 chars

  17. Julie Robinson said on August 10, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Nowadays most paper carriers are adults and payment is by mail. Having a paper route was not possible for me as a kid since we lived way out in the country. Also denied to me: being a school safety crossing guard (can you believe they let kids do that?), having a lemonade stand, and buying ice cream treats from a truck.

    Has anyone here heard of Kabbadi? According to the BBC, some would like to make it an Olympic sport. It developed in India, and is a combination of tag, wrestling, and holding your breath, proven by chanting Kabbadi, Kabbadi, Kabbadi. This video is highly entertaining:!821338FD-548A-4F88-84DE-1D59A2EE1E4B

    739 chars

  18. Peter said on August 10, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I think one reason there’s way fewer kids with newspaper routes is that circulation is way down, and as a result there’s a lot more mileage involved in delivering the same number of papers.

    I had about 50 papers in my route, and it was about six blocks long – and that’s for an afternoon paper, which had much lower numbers than a morning paper. Now, I’d hate to think how many miles my delivery man has to drive each morning.

    430 chars

  19. Peter said on August 10, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Julie, you’re not kidding about crossing guards – I was a crossing guard in fifth through eighth grades, and the older kids would work Ashland (four lanes), Clark, and Foster, all busy Chicago streets. If I had a buck for each time a driver flipped me off I could have paid for college.

    287 chars

  20. Judybusy said on August 10, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Julie, that video was great–my favorite part was the guy explaining that it’s the only sport where you say the name of the game while playing. When he went into talking about chanting “hockey” while playing, I burst out laughing.THAT would be funny.

    250 chars

  21. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Mansion on the hill:

    Springsteen acoustic American Gothic.

    The big news in wingnuttery whooshing through the tubes yesterday was all about how Caroline Kennedy despises President Obama. Some of my DNC-type Facebook friends were mighty upset. Well, more delusional, wishful thinking from Teabanger Central. Ms. Kennedy-Schlossberg is going campaigning in Mittens’ yard, from today’s Globe:

    Seems like Newsmax was recycling regurgitated bullshit from a Regnery-published opus called The Amateur, by somebody named Edward Klein whose nom de Plume is Walter Scott, as in the Annenberg GOPer staple Personality Parade. He’s also done hatchet-job cut-and-paste-ups about all of the surviving Kennedy’s so why wouldn’t everyone just buy his second-hand account of C. Kennedy’s opinion of Obama? A right-wing gossip columnist. He’s characterized as a “best-selling” author, but nobody tells you how many copies of his books are sitting in unopened crates in one of Richard Mellon Scaiffe’s warehouses. This is echo chamber par excellence. They come out with bullshit, let it steep for a few months, then send it to each other in chain emails asserting its absolute veracity.

    Julie, I’d vote for kabaddi to replace synchro swimming in a trice. Those guys look tough, but not scary like the painted lady water ballerinas.

    1519 chars

  22. Sue said on August 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I recall reading that Ethel Kennedy’s household became so notorious for ripping off plumbers (all those emergency calls because the kids kept flushing things down the toilets) that eventually they ran out of plumbing companies willing to accept the (non-paying) business.

    271 chars

  23. Dave said on August 10, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Why is it that the rich are like that? I was the substitute rural mail carrier in my hometown in the summer of 1971. There was one family on my route who were very well off, they had a private pool and a tennis court, not common in our rural area. The mailman told me they would never pay their fees, this in the days when the mail was delivered and if the postage was short, the receiver was supposed to make up the difference. He was right, they didn’t. Certainly colored my view of the well off.

    The other well off folks on this route did pay, they lived in a large mansion (perhaps a McMansion) built on a hill in the early 1960’s, today covered up by a huge Kroger’s, and the son (and only child) did himself in while still in his twenties, rich certainly isn’t always better.

    So, that’s who Edward Klein is, thanks, Pros, I had wondered.

    856 chars

  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Prospero, thanks for that insight on blue-on-blue with the weird football story. This is where you get some of the most angrily defiant attitude from parents of athletes: the defensiveness over gaining an advantage that they know skims the rules, but they won’t even admit is an advantage.

    289 chars

  25. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I want some of those kabaddi shoes. Very cool.

    This is for a comment from Sherri:

    The NCAA apparently shot its wad on Penn State. This is absolutely outrageous, but par for the course for Coach Saban. Alabama has instructed a recruit to transfer to a HS in Alabama for his SR year so that his grades can be monitored and “taken care of”. Obviously in the kid’s best interest, right. Relocate for SR year. If other schools did something like this it would be “death penalty” forever, but Bama will get away with it.

    Dave: Another hack in the house of Scaife. If the publisher of anything is identified as Regnery, it is absolutely certain to be a pack of lies, smears and total bullshit. And Scaife buys enough of the books to get them on NYT best seller lists. Then he donates them to campaigns where they are handed out at coven meetings and seances like the Celebrate Freedom America–Spring Conservative Coalition and Tea Party Convention back in 2011. The books are autographed by odious folks like $Palin and given out as a sop to the dupes that paid a bundle for their places at the table.

    Jeff, anybody that ever played football can look at the picture of the Boise Broncos and see the enhancement to homefield advantage. It’s camouflage. I wonder if those foolish parents can still get their money back on the blue unis.

    1451 chars

  26. LAMary said on August 10, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Sue, the nicer restaurants in the part of Westchester County, NY where Ethel Kennedy and her clan live have all be burned at least once by Ethel throwing a party or whatever and stiffing them for the bill. One place claims she put them out of business with a big wedding rehearsal dinner party she never paid for.

    313 chars

  27. Charlotte said on August 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Here in Livingston we still have kids delivering the afternoon (local) paper — they don’t collect the $$ though — along with our local Mark’s In & Out hamburger joint (not the chain) they seem to be the two biggest training venues for teaching local kids how to work.

    As for “trickle down” — I grew up around rich people and especially the ones living on inherited income are the worst — scarcity economy — when you don’t know how to make any money yourself, you get skinflinty —

    493 chars

  28. Deborah said on August 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I’ve had those same experiences having lunch with rich co-workers. I always paid the check and they never did, ever. When we would go out in groups to celebrate someone’s birthday, the former debutantes always weasled out of paying anything.

    241 chars

  29. LAMary said on August 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    How about the combination of inherited wealth, cheapness, and the attitude that somehow they earned or deserve what they have? I know one of those. She bought her first house when she graduated from a very expensive private university. She says it was by being careful with her money she could afford it. By careful I guess she means she only had a BMW 325, not a 7 series.

    373 chars

  30. Sherri said on August 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Pros, I have a hard time getting too worked up about the Alabama story. Yes, it’s a bad thing, but compared to the “prep” schools that have appeared on the scene the last few years in basketball and football, it’s not horrible. The NCAA has done next to nothing about those.

    For those of you not familiar with these “prep” schools, here’s an article on Findlay Prep, one of the more well-known basketball academies:

    495 chars

  31. Dexter said on August 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    The Bryan Times is our local; it’s delivered to houses these days by an ever-changing aggregate of well, weirdos. Adult weirdos, albeit.
    The latest one drives a chopped old Oldsmobile, no muffler, duct-taped busted out rear window, license plate dangling by one bolt, the whole car just plum-crooked, definitely broken struts and probably very little left of the shock absorbers.
    Hoopdee indeed.
    The paper delivery man wears (duh!) his baseball cap on “backards”.
    I noticed a black tee shirt that hangs to his knees. Some sort of huge medallion a-swingin’. And de rigueur, of course, a long chain hooked onto a trucker’s or biker’s giant wallet/billfold. To make himself the perfect new-age paperboy, he tops off his ensemble with a blazing filtered cigarette. (I know it’s filtered because the filters end up in my yard at times.)

    842 chars

  32. Deborah said on August 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I can’t edit for some reason, so I’ll add to my comment above that the debutantes I worked with got thier designer jobs through thier dad’s connections to our boss, not because of skills or abilities. So it really rankled.

    222 chars

  33. Dexter said on August 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Deborah…last week I could not edit at all…but just seconds ago I edited my last comment and it worked instantly. Good luck.

    127 chars

  34. Dorothy said on August 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    My brothers had paper routes and occasionally I’d fill in or go along to help. I have a question for those of you who had trouble collecting from certain households. Did you discontinue delivering to them when they withheld payment? I just wondered how that was dealt with by the newspaper company – if they supported their delivery boys or girls, and would allow those non-paying customers to drop off their subscribers list.

    429 chars

  35. coozledad said on August 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Damn. David Rakoff died yesterday.

    34 chars

  36. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Our “paperboys” for the NYT on Sundays are a beautiful and nice lesbian couple. They left us a Christmas card with a cool reindeer ornament in the envelope. Now that is aslemanship and I gave a Christmas tip larger than I originally intended. How does anybody figure out what’s appropriate. Of course, having met them made that more likely too. I also figured anybody delivering papers at 5:30 am is working hard and would rather be doing something else. Our mailman is a gem. Brings the mail up to the door when the box gets too full, and always has time to ask how things are. Got him a loaded up Starbucks card at Christmas, and a Longhorn prepaid card when I heard his wife had just gotten out of hospital.

    Another thing waiters know, as a matter of course. If a group of women asks for separate checks, your tip will be dogass. And you will probably have to do the checks more than once.

    Sherri, it seems to me Bama is messing with that kid’s happiness. He wants to leave the kids he’s been at school with since Head Start? And you know, Saban threatened to pull his scholarship offer if he didn’t comply. Those prep schools are generally the choice of pushy parents Like Boo Boo’s mom, and many are superior academically to other schools available to the kids. I’m thinking about Hoop Dreams. One of those kids got a better education than he would have otherwise. I’m sensitive to this because UGA takes a load of grief over early enrollments, which I find astounding. Give a kid a semester to get college acclimated before a football season, and things like study habits and more normal colleg lifestyle are going to improve graduation chances. Once again, kids make the choices to get out of HS early if they have the credits. That’s a lot different than Coach Saban saying “Well your scholarship might not be here if you don’t transfer.” No, I can’t prove that happened, but given his grayshirting and “running off” history, I’d be a fool to think anything else.

    And how is it possible that no followup movie has been done catching up with William Gates and Arthur Agee? Well Steve James did, and it’s called, fittingly, Hoop Reality. And Findlay Prep should be run out of business, But those kids will be 1/2 and done at best in college. I’ve never heard of a football equivalent, unless it’s the Bolles School in Jax. Verdict’s still out on them, but they turn out good players that are also good students.

    2427 chars

  37. alex said on August 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Dex, by “chopped” do you mean made into a poor man’s El Camino? Around Hamilton and Edon I’ve seen an ’80s front-drive Delta 88, kind of liver colored, that looks like someone took a chainsaw to it. Wondered if it might be the same one.

    236 chars

  38. Charlotte said on August 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    My morning paper is delivered by two great older ladies — I’ve only met them once, when they rolled up “late” having driven through a killer snowstorm. Both smoking like chimneys, but they made it … most mornings my paper is on the porch at 5:30 am and yes, they get a good tip at Christmas.

    And Prospero — my mailman is a gem. Dan. We chat about politics (he’s a union man) and the ever-astonishing manner in which Wall Street is willing to rip off the rest of us. UPS man also a gem (also named Dan) — gave me a Christmas card this year with a photo of his family — looked like 3 biological kids and 5 adopted ones. On a UPS salary.

    643 chars

  39. Mindy said on August 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I know someone who had a paper route as a kid and worked without pay for a year after his collections were stolen. His dad was the thief. Lousy way to learn to be careful.

    173 chars

  40. LAMary said on August 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Mindy, wasn’t that part of the plot of “This Boy’s Life?”

    57 chars

  41. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Before I’m asked to prove what I said about the bulk buys of all these rightwing masterpiece best sellers:

    Check the best seller lists when one of these works of stunning genius hits. The NYT figured this shit out, and now notes when best seller status is achieved by massive bulk buys. RMoney’s technique for getting there is more refined than Scaife’s idiot method, and more crooked. He extorts money.

    We also have a terrific UPS guy. Here’s another thing to consider in the coming election: The GOPers in Congress contrived legislation that requires USPS to fund it’s employee pension fund decades in advance is an astounding affront. It’s a deliberate attempt at killing the Postal Service. The services provide by USPS at the costs to individual users are astounding. Try getting Fed Ex to move your letter in two days cross-country for 41 cents. They’ll do it for $12.95. The first American postmaster Ben Franklin was right. This is something government obviously does better than private entities. Anyone requiring proof of that, I’d suggest considering the performance of Xe and Halliburton in Iraq. Not only was their perfomance terrible, but it was always unaccountable and frequently criminal. Where’d all that cash on the pallettes you crooked yeggs? Who killed the service members electrocuted in the badly constructed base showers? How ’bout all those sand filled oil taankers that fattened Cheney’s wallet? Who murdered all those Iraqi civilians, Erik Prince? How happy them Teabangers gonna be when they realize, if they ever do, that FedEx and UPS have a virtual monopoly and will charge whatever they damn please? This is unbridled stupidity in government, caused by kneejerk anti-unionism.

    So if RMoney is elected, he sure has hell better not get a compliant Congress.

    We’re looking at RE in La Libertad, Ecuador, on the beach, and this condo is gaining value back all the time. Just in case. COL less than a $1grand /month. Stable oil-exporting economy limits taxes which are further limited for foreigner residents.

    2132 chars

  42. MichaelG said on August 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I delivered papers for four or five years when I was a kid. I had various morning and afternoon routes delivering the Sun Times, the Trib, the Daily News and the Herald American. Remember them?

    I’d say delivering papers is character building but since I don’t have any, it must not be. Boy there were mornings I didn’t want to get out of bed and face that freezing cold.

    I gave my paper guy $20 last year. He’s a Vietnamese immigrant.

    I love my mail delivery lady and I miss her. She’s off on maternity leave. I don’t know when she’ll be back.

    560 chars

  43. Crazycatlady said on August 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Being a Indiana resident for the last few weeks, I stumbled upon a TV ad for Fort Wayne tourism. They made it sound like some sort of Florida Luxury Resort! The most exciting thing I’ve seen in Indiana is getting all the pigs out of the Hog Barn at the Indiana State Fair because of the heat and a strange contagion making hogs sick. Oh, yea. And Amish bakery goods. Brown Sugar tapioca pudding.Lemon iced cookies. Home made egg noodles. This stuff is killing my diet.

    468 chars

  44. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Sherri, if you’re around, did you see that Les Miles booted Honey Badger Mathieu off the team. He must have committed homicide, or rape. Kidnapping? My brother says HB stole all the Hatter’s pot and smoked it all up.

    Claire McCaskill is no picnic, but her opponent is pretty close to horrifying:

    376 chars

  45. Sherri said on August 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I’ve been away from my computer Pros, and just now saw that. My guess is stealing,maybe from his teammates. That’s the only thing I can think of that seems to be automatic grounds for kicking a Heisman trophy finalist off the team. Rape alone would never be enough; maybe a “dead girl or a live boy in his bed,” to quote the immortal Edwin Edwards?

    Here’s an article about a football prep school I read about: They’re not as prolific as the basketball prep schools, but give them time, I’m sure they’ll show up. Heck, with the new voucher rules in Louisiana, it should be easy to start a whole league of them there.

    765 chars

  46. Julie Robinson said on August 10, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Prospero, I agree that USPS is a bargain, and your mailman must be a true gem if he lets you send out letters for 41 cents!

    123 chars

  47. brian stouder said on August 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    What a day – it’s been a blur.

    But let me just say – do NOT miss Nancy’s linked article about the misunderstood correlation between teen pregnancy and poverty; it is particularly timely, considering the meta-attitudes on display toward women (and in this case, young ladies) in our ongoing presidential race. I especially liked this:

    Terry repeats a mantra among those who work with at-risk teenagers: “The best contraceptive for kids is hope.”
    At Catherine Ferguson Academy, 39 girls graduated this past June, a number Andrews wishes were higher. (Detroit Public Schools nearly closed the school before it was shifted to a charter, and Andrews believes the publicity led some prospective students to believe it was no longer open.) But she can always count on at least some students, because the girls they help are part of one of the oldest stories in humankind – the sadder but wiser girl who learned a lesson too late. Andrews means to teach them this lesson is not the end of anything.

    Ms Maddow has featured the Catherine Ferguson Academy several times on her TV show, and she’s interviewed the principal there, too (although I missed that it went from being a public school [yay!] to a charter school [booo!])

    And on the other subject today, my older brother was a paperboy, and I remember that he always had cash. Plus, he got a fair amount of lawn-mowing business from the paper route, and he once got a puppy – which went on to live with us for 14 years.

    Although I was never a paperboy, I was a carryout boy at a supermarket when I turned 16 years old; and when I was 20, I bought the only brand new car I’ve ever had.

    …a TV ad for Fort Wayne tourism. They made it sound like some sort of Florida Luxury Resort!

    If you’re in Fort Wayne and only see one thing, hit the zoo! It is flat-out the best zoo in this part of the United States. Back in the old days, I’d have said “see the Lincoln Museum” but alas, it no longer exists. And indeed, the Big Hole in the Ground is worth a gander, if you’re near the airport.

    (And as for ‘a Florida resort’ – let me just add that the bugs in Fort Wayne aren’t nearly as big, and our crazy Republicans aren’t quite as crazy as theirs) (yet)

    PS – and once again, I was completely wrong! I thought for sure we’d get BREAKING NEWS today about Romney’s VP pick….and all I hear are crickets.

    But the crickets STILL seem to be warbling “porrrrtman; porrrrrtman; porrrrrrtman”

    2536 chars

  48. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Julie, they don’t print the denomination on the stamps anymore. I buy rolls and use a very cool wood and brass dispenser my dad used to keep on his desk. I use the mail a lot. And I think of my dad whenever I strip out another stamp. The slower pace than the internet helps me keep clients’ idiocy under control. For instance, when some fool architect wants to use some endangered wood species (pau lope, from Brazil, so hard, you need a drill press to make holes in it) to build custom carrels for a public library, I pretend my internet is down and mail him a spec for standard (and beautiful) red oak carrels, which cost about 25% of what the fool was thinking and he never knows, and we don’t get raided by the Feds like Gibson Guitar Corporation. But, nope, I don’t know what the price of a stamp is any more, but I sure as shit know it’s remarkably cheap for what I get for it. I just write a check for a whole big roll, leave it in an orange envelope from the post office, and get stamps in my mailbox next day.

    If North Carolina has a football prep school, why the hell can’t any school there play worth a damn?

    My brother said that he figures Tyrann stole Coach Hatter’s pot stash, smoked it all up, and, when confronted, said “Honey Badger don’t give a shit” and ate a snake.

    The Guardian music page has an excellent interview with Ry Cooder, mainly about the political season. About Obama, Ry is pretty clear:

    On the new album, the song Cold Cold Feeling pictures President Obama pacing the Oval Office on his own in the dark. Is he a good man trapped in an impossible situation?

    Yes, 110%. He’s set upon by dogs. He’s prevented from doing anything because the Republicans ensured that no president and no Democrat president can ever do good again. That’s what Bush was sent in there to do: destroy the presidency, and that’s what I think he did. How do you come back from that? How do you make the presidency good again? They talk about bi-partisanship but that’s an empty word, doesn’t mean a thing. So what is Obama supposed to do? How can he operate? This healthcare thing is really quite something, if it lives. They’re going to go after it and try to destroy it, that’s the leading end of the Republican effort right now, that’s going to sink the Titanic, you know?

    I mean, I think he’s a good man. He’s a smart man. He understands the constitution, therefore he must respect it. They don’t. I believe that he does.

    Link for the whole interview:

    I know the guy isn’t entitled to his political opinions. I mean he’s a celebrity musician, sort of. And he works a lot in the movies. But he’s an accomplished American historian and a brilliant musicologist, so I’m taking his opinion seriously. For one thing, describing the President as “set upon by dogs” is a perfect characterization of GOPer behavior over the last four years.

    2977 chars

  49. JWfromNJ said on August 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Stouder is right on bugs but Pence and Dour Dick Mourdock against Gov. Montgomery Scott and Allen WEST. Hmmm. Pretty well matched.

    130 chars

  50. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Mitt’s impersonation of a weasel whose mom was a possum:

    I sure want to hear Willard’s views on this subject in the first debate:

    You know GOPers are aching to end Title IX. And the Dems are nuts if they don’t explicitly state support for Title IX in their platform.

    JW, Scott is a major league criminal that some how got away with it by leaving his associates twisting slowly, slowly like poor L. Patrick Gray.West presents as certifiably sociopathic. West is unquestionably a pathological liar unable to control the affliction. Pence and Mourdock are more like run-of-the-mill cretins. As a proud resident of SC, I’ll put Joe Wilson and Jim Demented against any of them.

    808 chars

  51. coozledad said on August 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Attack, attack, curl up into fetal position, and cry.
    I never thought I’d live to see karma nut-punching these people so thoroughly.

    But I know it’s not just karma. They’ve been outrun and outclassed in every way, and they’re cut to fucking pieces.

    355 chars

  52. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Wah, wah,wah. Well, dickhead won’t run on his brief Goobernatorial record so what’s left but his business? Fracking jerk. The campaign fired a spokesperson that defended Romneycare. I want him to explain about starting Bain by laundering money for D’Aubisson and the rest of the oligarch thugs in the ARENA party, aka the Contras. Want to talk about “war on religion” Willard. How about financing death squads that shot priests, raped and slaughtered nuns, shot Archbishop Romero, the most popular man in El Salvador, while he was saying Mass, 10 minutes after he spoke out against the rampant violence of the death squads. Were you working with the traitor Ollie North? Helping to funnel cash from selling weapons illegally to America’s enemy Iran, to fund the great anti-Castro stuggle in “Salvador” by killing everybody that thought people should live happy decent lives? Damn, say it ain’t so Willard. Explain that vile and vicious mess of associations and you can hold onto the tax returns even though you haven’t produced a whole return yet. Ever had an account in Banco Nationale Livorno?

    Explain the people that helped you get Bain off the ground, Willard. Did their ruthlessness rub off on you? And the whining is unseemly for a GOPer, boy. You’re the party of the Swiftboaters Party.

    1297 chars

  53. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    It’s just like getting a haircut you didn’t want, Mittens.

    58 chars

  54. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Boner rower, meet balls out metric miler:

    148 chars

  55. Suzanne said on August 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I inherited my older brothers paper route. We delivered to a very wealthy area of town. Some were generous, some not so much. I did learn how big of jerks people could be, but how nice some could be. One guy was completely anal retentive about his lawn. If we walked on the grass, he’d notice our footprints in the dew, call and chew us out. If there was a raging blizzard, or an atomic attack by the Russians, he’s be sure to call and wonder where the heck his paper was.

    Certain people had their spots, too, where the paper had to be. In the little box by the garage, in between the screen door and the front door, on the chair on the porch, etc. God help you if you put it somewhere else.

    When going door to door to collect the money, my favorites were the young surly males who would answer the door and say “Sorry. Nobody is home” and then slam the door in my face. Or the people who would answer the door and go to get the money while I stood out in the rain/sleet/snow or whatever it was doing, getting drenched or frozen.

    1047 chars

  56. Kirk said on August 10, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I had a paper route for about a year. I finally gave it up because it was interfering with my work as a part-time, 13-year-old reporter, though the paper route paid more.

    170 chars

  57. Prospero said on August 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I wonder how much these two things have to do with each other?

    227 chars

  58. alex said on August 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I had a paper route too. I delivered the News-Sentinel, back when it was a paper of substance and the fact of it being a Republican organ didn’t make it insulting to anyone’s intelligence or offensive to their sensibilities.

    Oh, the stories I could tell if I hadn’t washed down a couple double Jacks tonight, lordy, lordy.

    It was certainly a coming-of-age experience. Never before had I been dumped upon by so many dysfunctional adults who seemed to think it was okay to talk about all manner of subject matter to a child. The tutelage in racism, the obsessions with neighbors’ sex lives and financial statuses, the woe-is-me depressives. I grew up fast in just one summer.

    The most dreaded part of it was dealing with a burly Mexican high-school dropout who used to strong-arm me for a paper when I’d pass by his family’s ramshackle neon-green bungle. Cyrillo was his name and Gorilla (Guerrilla?) was what everyone called him. He probably wanted the paper to just see his name in the crime reports. I remember when he knocked up the neighborhood slut who lived across the street from him. They had a shotgun wedding—and a shotgun reception too, from the accounts in the News-Sentinel, anyway. When it came time to pay up for the reception hall after the party—that dump on Ardmore, whatever it’s called—all hell broke loose and the bride and groom and their guests were arrested for battery on the police officers who showed up.

    1447 chars

  59. Dexter said on August 11, 2012 at 12:36 am

    alex…”The Lantern”…my ex-in-laws lived just off Ardmore and my buddy had his wedding reception there. The family who managed The Lantern were from Corbin, Kentucky, which coincidentally is home to the original Kentucky Fried Chicken joint. The little hillbilly children were employed as sandwich makers, veg-tray assemblers, salad makers, and punch makers…all that sort of thing.
    I attended several functions there over the years and I remember the Swedish meatballs were always a staple of the buffet. Bon appetit!

    527 chars

  60. alex said on August 11, 2012 at 1:40 am

    And a belated fuck you to Apple, whose automatic spellcheck changes bungalow to bungle.

    Dex, did you see my comment upthread about the, er, customized Delta 88?

    163 chars

  61. Dexter said on August 11, 2012 at 2:35 am

    alex, “chopped” wasn’t a good choice of words on my part there.
    By chopped I meant smashed, like he must have rear-ended a flatbed truck and pushed down the roof a little bit…kind of difficult to explain, but definitely not the chainsaw job you mention .
    I never had access to car shops where the gearheads chopped their cars. One of my brother’s friends chopped a Hudson Hornet and custom-painted it with flames and ever’thang. I loved that car with its lowered (“chopped”) roof. Later when I read “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, I was thrilled to read where one leg of his trip from NYC to Denver was thumbed in a brand new Hudson Hornet. (“We drove 70!”)
    Lee Pontius from Auburn, who owned the NAPA store between Indiana & Brandon Streets in Auburn, drove an old Hudson around town during ACD Days and on nice summer days. Great looking cars.

    921 chars

  62. Dexter said on August 11, 2012 at 2:41 am

    By now the world knows Romney is announcing that Ryan is his veep , and this will happen in mere hours.

    172 chars

  63. alex said on August 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Good choice. The guy who wants to gut Medicare and Social Security. The only people who will be more overjoyed at this news than the Teabaggers are the Democrats.

    162 chars