That’s very unwise.

You only have to visit Yellowstone National Park once to know how it goes: If the traffic’s slow, there are animals nearby. When you arrive at the park, you’re handed a thick sheaf of material with very explicit, liberally illustrated warnings about the dangers of approaching wildlife. Don’t be fooled by a seemingly passive animal! Etc. There are usually drawings of a bison, moose or elk sticking an antler into some idiot’s ass, with underlined text saying these attacks can be fatal or cause grievous injury.

And yet, talk to any ranger, and year after year, tourists leave the park on a stretcher, and the offending beast has to be put down, because of idiots.

One told me they had a particular problem with Japanese visitors, this being back when Japanese visitors were all over the Western U.S. on holiday. “I don’t know if they don’t understand English well enough, or what, but those guys act like every animal in the park is animatronic or something,” he said. (Hence the illustrated warnings.) Just that summer, one had walked up to a resting bison and plopped right down on the beast’s back, while his friend took a picture, or at least that was the plan until the thing jumped up and stuck the idiot in his hindparts.

So when someone sent me this video, and I noticed the long black hair on the tourists involved, I thought nothing could possibly cleave to ethnic stereotypes quites so neatly, that it must be a coincidence, and to be sure, it seems to be. When you hear the people talking, they speak in perfect American accents. And the kind of blatant lack of common sense that would allow a parent to walk right up to a 1,500-pound bull bison with his children, ignoring every warning sign — the raised tail, the angry head-shaking — and then still act like your kid’s near-death experience is a hoot and a half? That brand of dumb crosses all ethnic boundaries.

Out of the gene pool, Gene.

I had a tough last few days, and I’m still catching up. A good friend died, not unexpectedly but before I was ready for it, which is to say, I had dropped what I expected would be my final note in the mail to him the day before. Sigh. And I’ve been working on a short-deadline package that will require one more rewrite, so I cannot linger here.

Coupla links:

Here’s a hug for the president. Wonder how the Secret Service felt about it. Probably like that bison. Update: NYT said the guy got permission first.

Cops roust an after-hours joint/brothel in Detroit. Does any other place in the country refer to these establishments as blind pigs? (The bars, not the brothels.)

Jonathan Kozol has a new book out, looking back at some of the poor children he’s written about through the years. I lost a lot of interest in Kozol after I heard him say that the answer to homelessness was housing, but there’s no question the guy’s been a hero of the literacy movement.

Let’s try this again tomorrow, when the deadline’s over.

Posted at 12:44 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

67 responses to “That’s very unwise.”

  1. Kristen said on September 10, 2012 at 5:53 am

    My husband and I took our kids to Yellowstone two summers ago. Sure enough, we saw folks get too close to the bison, despite the ample warnings, signage, etc. This idiocy, as we recall, crossed ethnic boundaries. A lot of people are camera happy, and they don’t seem to think twice about getting too close when they feel a unique close-up shot is within reach. Me, I was even nervous creeping along through the well-known bison traffic jams in the safety of our rented RV; those animals are massive!

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  2. David C. said on September 10, 2012 at 6:47 am

    My cousin raises bison, and even penned they scare the bejesus out of me.

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  3. Linda said on September 10, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Re: Messing with wild animals. All animals have it in them to raise hell, but we’ve lost touch and respect for that. As Chris Rock once said about the rampaging tiger that mauled Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy, “he didn’t go crazy. He went cat.” As a long time owner of several domesticated 10 lbers that have mauled me in a frightened or cranky mood, I can testify.

    As for losing interest in Kozol because he said that the solution to homelessness was more homes: he was not all wrong. We see the mentally ill and substance abusing homeless (because they are the most visible to people who work downtown) and figure that’s the end of the story. There are a lot of people in homelessness or on the edge who need money or somewhere to live and aren’t mentally messed up, but are broke. In Rachel and Her Children, he met some of these people who don’t fit our preconceptions of homeless, and that’s where he got the idea from.

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  4. Suzanne said on September 10, 2012 at 7:14 am

    People approaching wildlife reminds me of our visit a few years ago to the Grand Canyon. We could not get over the number of people perching on the edge of the abyss or worse, perching their kids on the edge. It’s a looooong way down which translates into a whole lotta time to think about how stupid that was to perch there on the edge and to contemplate your meaningful last words “HEY! Take my picture!”

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  5. coozledad said on September 10, 2012 at 7:29 am

    My bull doesn’t give a shit what you do, as long as you’re not between him and something he wants. When I find myself in that place, I hear the voice of the angel Peter Falk yelling “Serpentine! Serpentine!”

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  6. brian stouder said on September 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

    I think that “animatronic” remark that Nancy mentioned is the real key.

    People are so used to snapping photos and experiencing controlled proximity to animals – such as the snow leopard and I at the Cleveland zoo – that they immediately buffer the natural (and CORRECT) impulse to leave lots of space (if not leaving things alone altogether!)

    As it happens, when I water the flowers and/or Shelby’s water melons, a small black critter – possibly a mole? – charges out and scampers toward the fence and the grape vine, there to disappear. I generally jump and mutter and expletive or two, and often spray in his direction before he disappears. ( think I’ve at least gotten him wet a time or two.)

    Usually, in those moments, I’m bare-footed, and Pam suggested I wear shoes when I water, and stomp the little fellow.

    Frankly, I don’t like that little being (or those little beings); the lawn has lots of annoying dirt mounds and dead spots thanks to his (or their) efforts.

    But – stomping him? The chances of me trying that are somewhere between zero and zero-point-zero-zero-one.

    By way of saying, fooling with a moose or elk or bison? notgonnahappen!

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  7. Julie Robinson said on September 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s death, Nancy, and hope that when you have time to reflect and mourn, you will also have many fond memories and smiles.

    When I was young my grandparents still kept a bull at their dairy farm, and that thing scared the crap out of me. So I wouldn’t be so dumb as to approach any big critters. Of course, the chickens also scared the crap out of me, but we digress.

    We had absolutely perfect weather this weekend and I spent a couple of hours wandering around two of our lovelier gardens (Lakeside and the Extension Service Display gardens). With the cool-down and earlier sunsets, I know what comes next, and I’ll need plenty of flower photos to see me through.

    In other news, some idiots at the local always-in-the-paper-for-violence-joint decided to follow their victim to the hospital, and just for good measure, start shooting at the victim’s family car and the ambulance. Management at the bar pointed out that no shots were fired at his establishment, so there.

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  8. Dorothy said on September 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I’m nervous around the hummingbirds who flit back and forth between my two feeders, so I dare to say I would never come remotely close to a bull, a bison, an elk, whatever. I have photographed the bulls who occupy a field a mile from my house, but there’s an electric fence between me and them and I still stay out of the grass and only shoot from the road (I am highly allergic to poison ivy and the place is crawling with it.)

    I’m sorry to hear about your friend, too, Nancy. My condolences.

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  9. basset said on September 10, 2012 at 9:57 am

    We had something similar happen in Anchorage a few years ago – pulled over to look at a moose in a park, we’re standing there watching him from maybe ten yards away when a minivan unloads next to us and the apparent dad of the bunch starts throwing rocks at him.

    “Uhh, you need to stop that.”

    “But he ain’t DOIN’ nothin’!”

    Finally got through to him that he did not want to make this animal angry, still a bad example for his kids though.

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  10. Connie said on September 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

    In unrelated news Wikipedia tells Philip Roth he is not a “credible source” on the book he wrote.

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  11. brian stouder said on September 10, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Wikipedia tells Philip Roth he is not a “credible source”

    Connie, I guess that’s fair enough, since everyone knows that Wikipedia ain’t a “credible source”, either; or at least – not more credible than “A guy at the diner told me”.

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  12. jcburns said on September 10, 2012 at 10:24 am

    When Sammy and I were at Old Faithful, the bison would kinda double-step up onto the boardwalk and, depending on their moods, make kind of a half-feint towards a visitor or two. They looked darn dangerous.

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  13. Bitter Scribe said on September 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I think Wikipedia gets an awful lot of undeserved dissing. I’ve never known it to have accuracy problems. And when it does, it’s usually because of some political or other partisans taking sides in some controversy. For example, Sarah Palin’s fans tried to rewrite the article on Paul Revere to reflect Palin’s views that he had really made that famous ride to warn the British not to take away our guns, or something.

    As for Kozol, I respect his passion but he doesn’t seem very practical-minded to me.

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  14. Sue said on September 10, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I don’t know about Kozol’s comments on homelessness, but let me throw in a little factoid here – at a fundraiser for the women’s shelter where my daughter works, the director pointed out to the crowd that the deal-breaker for most women being able to leave their abuser is only $600, the chunk of money that covers either the first month’s rent payment OR the security deposit on a little apartment. Many women (and their children) stay in an abusive situation for want of the few hundred dollars that would get them into housing.
    Brian, I have a pretty nice yard and garden, but I will never be a good gardener because I see the hordes of squirrels and chipmunks and rabbits and birds and think “oh how cute”. They should be scampering at my feet and landing on my outstretched finger while I sing in an annoying soprano, I’m that bad.
    Nancy, I am sorry for your loss.

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  15. Sue said on September 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

    That Joe Biden, washin’ the Trans Am in the driveway of the White House, hangin’ with biker chicks…

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  16. MichaelG said on September 10, 2012 at 10:55 am

    In line with those Jellystone stories: Why is it that so many folks feel compelled to touch other peoples’ dogs?

    I think I might have mentioned this before but hummingbirds make me nervous too. I always imagine one stuck, quivering, in my forehead like a dart.

    Basset, if you enjoy putting out cameras out to photograph animals, here’s a website you might like:

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  17. Julie Robinson said on September 10, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Whoa, Mr. Vice President, get a room.

    Sue, I find myself way too entertained by the critters to get upset when they poach from my garden. I have plenty; who am I to place my needs above theirs?

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  18. Jeff Borden said on September 10, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I hate to say this after 30-plus years toiling in the newspaper industry, but Jesus H., where are the real political reporters these days? Doesn’t anyone do any research. . .listen to stump speeches. . .keep track of what is said and what is not? Does anyone care?

    Willard the Windsock embraced FOUR different positions on portions of Obamacare yesterday. Fucking four! Why didn’t one single scribe call him on it? This man still has not offered up one word about how or what he would replace Obamacare with and what provisions he might condescend to keep. Of course, we have yet to learn how he will make his budget proposals work, what his foreign policy would look like, where he will turn for advice and direction, etc. What little I know about this chump and his advisers –Robert Bork, John Bolton, Dan Senor– comes largely from the Web.

    And what the fuck were Ryan and Romney doing on all the gabfests the weekend after the DNC? I did not see Obama or Biden in evidence on the weekend after the RNC. This allowed the GOP mouthpieces -including Newticles– to judge Bill Clinton a titan and Barack Obama a pygmy. Listening to that bag of Georgian shit praise Clinton after he had devoted his life to smearing and ruining him was enough to gag a maggot.

    Liberal media my ass.

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  19. JWfromNJ said on September 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

    The motorcade ran right down US 1 in my town – they detoured off of I-95, the local police got about a half hour warning. The daily missed it entirely, a local weekly got wind of it and shot some stuff.

    The pizza place is one town away over the county line. All the asshats in the comments boards saying they will boycot the guy’s business after being long term patrons has me planning a trip to Ft. Pierce for some pizza ASAP.

    I am an Obama supporter but I question the costs of these trips for any prez. OK, so assume Air Force One or one of the smaller ones was waiting in Palm Beach. His first speech was at Florida Inst. of Tech in Melbourne. So about 120 miles apart. So some huge transport planes had to drop the bus and motorcade in Melbourne. Did they fly the Prez to Palm Beach, then helicopter him to Melbourne, or did they drop him off there and then shuttle AF1 to Palm Beach?

    Either way I’ll share a slice of Big Apple Pizza with you guys in spirit.

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  20. Judybusy said on September 10, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Nancy, I’m very sorry to hear about your friend. I am very sure you were a good friend and support to him.

    As for the seemingly simplistic comment about more housing, well, yeah, that’s pretty much the solution. I would add affordable housing with services. In the short run, it costs money, but over a person’s lifetime, their quality of life goes way up, and it costs less in ER visits, hospital admissions, nursing home days, ect. It’s very complicated to get funding to build more housing, and it takes skilled people to then run the place, but it’s being done all over the country. There are many good models out there, and I find it very frustrating that such a common sense solution is not pursued as a larger national policy–it’s all very piecemeal, and often dependent on a few people having vision and determination to make it happen.

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  21. LAMary said on September 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    There’s a bison herd just outside of Denver. I’ve seen it a few times from about as close range as I care to get. Those animals are HUGE. Last time I was there it was snowing, and the big males reminded me of steam locomotives. Lots of vapor coming from their noses, about 6 feet tall at the shoulder and about a long as my kitchen. Why on earth would someone tell their kids to go say hi?
    I hike in some of the canyons around LA. In the spring the little creeks running down those canyons can be big and wild from the mountain run off. I see people getting right up to the edge of white water. Holding kids hands while the kid touches the water. It makes me crazy. If someone falls in they’ll be a half mile away and dead in no time. I think folks are so out of touch with the realities of nature that they have no respect for animals, water, weather.

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  22. Catherine said on September 10, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Agree, Mary, the bison petting and the white water wading are symptoms of lack of time spent in the natural world. A family member runs a survival training program for the Air Force. The people that are successful in it are those who were Scouts and/or from rural areas. It doesn’t matter as much how “tough” you are. His feeling is that many of the AF recruits today start with such a nature deficit that it almost can’t be overcome.

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  23. Dexter said on September 10, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Sometimes Matt Taibbi is just preaching to the choir, but this one hits with a punch.

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  24. Prospero said on September 10, 2012 at 11:53 am

    The ethnic stereotype I see in the video, is that the Japanese group seemed to think they were required to stay on the footpath. Like what happens when the rail system goes on a one day strike in Japan. The salarymen all march to work in single file carrying their briefcases, right down the empty railway line. Ridiculous and sad at once.

    A UGA wide receiver, Marlon Brown was asked after beating Missouri, “How did you guys manage to get your passing game going?” Marlon is being mocked for his answer, which is much like Kozol’s: “Coach Bobo started calling passing plays.” I’ve met this kid and I’m pretty sure he was making fun of a stupid question.

    Jeff, the reporters are all straining mightily and producing gnats of equivalency. Everybody but Ezra Klein seems to want to be Howard Kurtz, the panjandrum of squishiness.

    I love our signs here in HHI: Please do not feed or molest the alligators. I understand, but it’s my strong belief that it’s better for the future of mankind if the DNA of alligator molesters is removed from the shallow end of the gene pool where it resides. When the gators start ringing the doorbell damn touristas have been feeding the gators again. Gators fed by humans get hit by cars, and have to be destroyed, so I’d make feeding a gator a crime with a huge fine attached. Quite a few three-legged dogs ’round here too. We also like to change the “or” to “nor”.

    JW, time limits and spending limits would do the trick, and screw phony originalists like Scalito that think money is speech. USA would end up with better civil leaders.

    I believe the bison are parbly terminally pissed off about what whites did to Indians, who, after all, worshipped the Bison.

    And you’ve got to be careful when the feds get involved with housing. Look at how federal laws regarding mortgages put in place back in the ’70s by “community organizers” forced Fannie and Freddie to invent the bundled bad mortgagederivatives that crashed the housing bubble and the economy. Ayn Ryan said so, and it was all Obama’s fault. Those responsible lenders at WaMu and Countrywide never had a chance to do the right thing.

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  25. brian stouder said on September 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Pros – when the gators ring the doorbell, do they bark out “Candy-gram!”?

    And aside from that, let me say that I liked the biker woman’s chaps – but the look on the fellows’ faces made me think that Biden’s chit-chat was the diner-equivalent of throwing rocks at the bison out on the plains

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  26. beb said on September 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Brian Stouder – Yeah, the guy’s eyes were riveted on Biden and not necessarily in a friendly manner.

    Philip Roth”s problem with Wikipedia – Wikipedia tried to run by simple rules. One of which is that assertions must be backed by a citation to a printed statement. So Roth can not correct his own entry until his has a printed interview going over the flaws in the wikipedia article. I’ve heard this same complain on the “NASA SpaceFlight” webpage. A group proposing an alternative to the (since canceled) Constellation space program couldn’t just correct errors on their wikipedia entry since they weren’t a authoritative source.

    I did read today that Romney had flip-flopped on health care four times since Sunday. It was stated on Americablog. So some people / reporters are paying attention.

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  27. A.Riley said on September 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    A few years back, someone crept under the fence at Brookfield Zoo to pet a wolf late one night because it would be a spiritual experience or some such woo. As I recall, the wolf didn’t appreciate the intrusion and bit her (how’s that for spiritual?). And of course the wolf — who was only being a wolf — was put down.

    Stupidity isn’t limited to national parks.

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  28. 4dbirds said on September 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    So sorry about your friend Nancy. I lost a friend in April and it hasn’t sunk in totally that I’ll never see her again.

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  29. Bob Friend said on September 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I saw the video in question. That dad is stupid beyond belief. And the local (Chicago) TV commentators did not seem to grasp the gravity of the situation. I have a theory, not entirely original, that, with all its benefits, the Internet (especially the social sites) is causing an information/disinformation overload that is making people stupider.

    I used to do a good amount of backpacking between the mid-’80s and 2000, with the most common destination being Glacier National Park in Montana. Early on I learned the importance of, above all, not surprising potentially dangerous wildlife, e.g., grizzlies. We were taught such tactics as calling out “Hey bear!,” ringing bells, banging on a metal pan, and so on — especially when hiking in low-visibility (e.g. brushy) areas.

    There were two fellow Sierra Club members, both ca. 20 years my senior, who went on many of these trips. One was a real character by the name of Charlie Day. Here is an excerpt of something I wrote about a solo day-hike at West Glacier for a Club newsletter 12 years ago:

    Charlie, when traveling in bear country, has been known to holler out a little sing-song ditty along the lines of “Hey bear, ho bear; Charlie Day is on his way.” As I walked, the memory of his voice inspired me to pen the following, sung to the tune of the old standard-issue military chant “Sound Off”:

    Hey bear, ho bear, go away;
    Come again another day;
    I have heard you play too rough,
    And my meat is way too tough.

    Hey bear, ho bear, hear me say:
    Don’t eat Bobby Friend today!

    I amused myself in belting out this tune, especially in thickets or other limited-visibility areas. Grizzlies will generally leave you alone if you don’t surprise them or (worst of all) find yourself between a sow and her cub(s). I was plenty noisy!


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  30. LAMary said on September 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    That video was on our local news too and they didn’t get how bad it was. They laughed it off.
    Agree with the above statement about petting strangers dogs. Please don’t let your little kid pet my dog without asking me. I’m all big and grown up and I know about dogs I’m very cautious about any unknown dog until the owner says it’s ok and I let the dog sniff the back of my hand, not an open palm.

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  31. Jolene said on September 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I find it very frustrating that such a common sense solution is not pursued as a larger national policy

    Judybusy, Nancy’s question prompted me to google “Housing First”, which I’d heard about on the news. This Wikipedia article seems to indicate that there is at least some federal support, through HUD, for housing-first approaches. I’m sure, of course, that it’s not enough. Pray that the Paul Ryan budget doesn’t ever get enacted. With all the cuts it entails, we’ll see homelessness like never before.

    Very interesting and important point, Sue, re the modest sums needed to give someone a new start. Wouldn’t apply to some of the mentally ill and addicted people we see on the streets, but could make a difference in many cases, I’m sure.

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  32. Jolene said on September 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    JB, I was watching on Twitter yesterday as reporters tried to figure out what Romney had or had not said w/ regard to coverage for pre-existing conditions. Here’s where he ended up, according to Sarah Kliff, who follows health care policy in excruciating detail for The Washington Post. So, people are pursuing this, but he got to make the original statement in a clear, forthright–and greatly misleading–way on Meet the Press>, and, as always, the truth gets sorted out in the back pages hours or days later.

    Public opinion research shows that providing coverage for Americans w/ pre-existing conditions is popular among both R’s and D’s, so his ability to claim that he supports this goal, without immediate challenge and clarification, is infuriating.

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  33. Sherri said on September 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    As I said yesterday, do not believe anybody who says they will keep the coverage for pre-existing conditions part of Obamacare while getting rid of the individual mandate. The individual mandate is how the pre-existing coverage stuff gets paid for. On the other hand, the Republicans seem to have abandoned the concept of basic arithmetic in their claims, so they can cut taxes and cut the deficit while increasing defense spending because, magic! And Rand Paul can’t believe that anyone could possibly argue that there are fewer government workers under Obama than there were under Bush (he evidently has trouble remembering which direction that less than sign goes.)

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  34. Prospero said on September 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Pray that the Paul Ryan budget doesn’t ever get enacted. With all the cuts it entails, we’ll see homelessness like never before.

    Got that right. I’ve been thinking about the subject of Willard and Ryan lying they ass off, and I’ve decided that the biggest GOPer lie is the fundamental claim to Christian values. Yeah, right, you bastards. Ever read the Great Commandment? Matthew 22:36-40.

    36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”Sound like John Galt’s approach to life, Ayn Ryan? In a pig’s ass.

    Down here, a blind pig is a shot house, and people that run them are invariably referred to as The Bootlegger, though they don’t make the liquor. These places are social whirls on Sundays in BaptiBapti-stan-stan for the package stores are all enjoined legally from operating.

    I’m thinking the woman sitting on Biden’s lap must be named Jemma, because the guy to his right sure looks like Jax Teller.

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  35. Joe K said on September 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I know there is a joke about grizzley bear poop having bells and pepper spray in it but can’t seem to remember it.
    Sorry for the loss Nancy,
    Pilot Joe

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  36. Prospero said on September 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    All the assessments of Obamacare’s unpopularity are fallacious. They conflate people not satisfied with anything less than single payer, with people feeling betrayed by the exclusion of the public option (which was a very late addition to the entire arguent, not its heart), and with those who hate Obamacare because of the first five letters. So disapproval poll numbers are basically a politically driven crock o’ shit, like a plate o’ shrimp. What matters, as I’ve said before, is the camel’s snout is in the tent.

    After trying in vain to read The Human Stain, I wonder about Phillip Roth’s credibility too. But being told by WIKIpedia that you aren’t credible must be jarring. Nobody knows “not credible” like Wikipedia.

    The Pauls? Dad is looney but not stupid. Sonny, dumb as grunt.

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  37. Bob Friend said on September 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    FWIW, “Dexter,” who apparently comments here regularly, is my brother — and the one who turned me on to this blog. I have avoided a number of blogs because those who comment seem to have more venom than all the combined vipers in that Indiana Jones scene wherein Harrison Ford says, “I hate snakes.”

    I obviously have not read all the comments on all of Nancy’s past entries, but a sampling tells me that folks, while not always agreeing, are generally not disagreeable. I will try to check in regularly from this point forward.

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  38. Deborah said on September 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Dexter that Matt Tabai piece about Romney is pretty damning. Some of it seems overblown, but the basic idea that here’s a man with very little empathy for the average person comes across loud and clear.

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  39. Sue said on September 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    “I find myself way too entertained by the critters to get upset when they poach from my garden”
    Julie, I quite agree.
    Except, this year they got: all my grapes, select lilies, zinnia seedlings, poppy seedlings, sunflower seedlings, bean seedlings (twice), roses down to the ground, hollyhocks, lettuce, spinach, and gerbera daisies. We had bare patches of ground that had nothing to do with the drought. They got some tomatoes but we ended up with enough anyway, and I think they were going after the tomatoes for hydration so who’s to deny them that? On the plus side, there were very few maple seeds around to self-sow baby trees because apparently chipmunks love the seeds and eat them all. So there’s that.
    I’ll be spending the winter making wire cages of various sizes, I think. Also, I’ve found that laying a biggish square of cloth-style window screening over the cukes keeps both the critters and the bugs away while the plant is establishing itself, without a lot of fussing with anchoring it. It’s heavy enough to lay there without blowing away but light enough not to harm the plant. The plants eventually grow past the screen but the beetles don’t ever seem to get at the root area.

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  40. Kirk said on September 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Ever pitch for the Pirates, Bob?

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  41. Bitter Scribe said on September 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    FWIW, I thought The Human Stain was a fine book, perfectly representative of late-life Roth (when he’s been doing some of his best work ever). My only quibble was that the crazed-Vietvet stuff was overdone to the point of being insulting.

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  42. Sue said on September 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Welcome, Bob Friend!
    “I obviously have not read all the comments on all of Nancy’s past entries”
    Re the venom, yes, obviously you have not. Please don’t let the venom eruptions drive you away. We’re all still recovering from the last one, about which I can only say, “puppies”!
    And, “really weird puppies”!

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  43. Connie said on September 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Sue, I learned years ago that I couldn’t grow sugar snap peas without nets to protect their little shoots from the neighborhood bunnies.

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  44. Sue said on September 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Oh yeah, peas. I forgot peas. All gone. Little shits got past the remay.

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  45. Scout said on September 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Nancy, so sorry to read about your friend. Maybe when you’re ready you can write one of your most excellent eulogies for him.

    I read the Taibbi piece and tried to observe where someone might find it overblown. I couldn’t see it, myself. It appears quite facts-based, even while knowing that Matt T is definitely not a Mitt fan. I think he was even more careful to keep personal observations out of it in order to get his research across and out to more people.

    Bob, welcome. Things can get heated sometimes, but in defense of our regulars, the last time it happened was because someone purposely trolled to churn the waters and then feigned hurt outrage that he was treated so poorly. But mostly we are a respectful bunch despite being opinionated as hell!

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  46. brian stouder said on September 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Say, a question for you & Dexter: are you related to Kathy Friend – the CFO of Fort Wayne Community Schools?

    She seems to me to be tremendously intelligent, and also quite well-spoken; she always has sensible answers and explanations when questions arise…which is front-of-mind, because tonight’s school board meeting will address the scheduling and timeline for FWCS’s $119 million repair and refurbishment project – and she will surely be busy!

    edit: unrelated question: do you suppose “blind pig” has anything to do with the old saying that even a blind pig will find an acorn, now and then? (so that the after-hours bar would be the excellent acorn that people might stumble upon?)

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  47. Deborah said on September 10, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Scout, while Taibbi’s facts might be on his rhetoric can be overblown, which can turn people off before they even get to the meat of the piece, like my husband who is no Romney fan by any means but couldn’t get past the rhetoric. That’s what I meant. Charles Pierce does it with humor which goes a long way.

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  48. Prospero said on September 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Village Voice interview with Ian Hunter, who’s 73 years old, and has a new album coming out. This guy was astounding back in the day in Mott the Hoople. I saw him open for the Kinks, with Mick Ronson (guitar-slinger) outdoors in the Berkshires years ago. Scorching version of All the Young Dudes. There’s a video embedded on p. 2 called When I’m President and it is terrific.

    Deborah, agreed on Taibbi. He seems frequently to be trying to out-gonzo HST to me, and it can get old quickly. It always leaves me wishing the real deal Dr. Thompson were still around to bedevil scum like RMoney.

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  49. Danny said on September 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Bob, welcome. Things can get heated sometimes, but in defense of our regulars, the last time it happened was because someone purposely trolled to churn the waters and then feigned hurt outrage that he was treated so poorly. But mostly we are a respectful bunch despite being opinionated as hell!

    If by “someone purposefully trolled” you mean “someone made a mildly sarcastic comment that disagreed with the usual liberal mindset around here,” then that would be accurate. And if by “a respectful bunch” you mean “a disrespectful bunch who not only repeatedly questioned Joe K’s intelligence while calling the rest of us a bunch of racist nazis and, in the process, pissed off Pastor Jeff so much that he decided to take a break from you all,” well again, that would be accurate. Just a bunch of opinionated bon-vivants! Way to go. Got it!

    When all that went down, beb seemed to be the only one who saw it for what it was and who accurately saw who indeed had crossed a line. Oh yeah, you all thought that I had crossed a line by sarcastically (yet accurately) predicting how you all would circle the wagons about Biden’s and Toure’s asinine comments. And that one small, humorous comment seemed to really screw with everyone’s day. And then I really “trolled to churn the waters” by (gasp!!!) using Derrick’s real name after he and others called Joe a fucking retard who “spewed fartbubbles”(even though I had used Derrick’s real name several years ago and no one including him cared at that time!!!). No instead, it was “How dare you, Danny!” and “OHHH Cooze, our flamboyant, lyrical profane bard. Smooch-y, smoooooch-smoooooooch” Geesh. What an absolute crock.

    Bob, I am sure you are a nice guy like your brother Dexter seems to be. This will probably be a nice place for you to hang out as long as you are fairly liberal or if not, you do not voice your disagreement. Many here like it all echoe-y and for the most part, we leave them to it.

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  50. A.Riley said on September 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I sang a skunk out of my yard the other night — we were hanging out on the patio, and a skunk toddled into the back yard from the alley (he seems to have a regular route), so I sang real loud. (“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” if you must know.) I barely got through the first couple lines before he turned around and toddled back out of the back yard as fast as his short little skunk legs would take him.

    That was the desired result — skunk went away, but he didn’t go away mad. Three cheers for George M. Cohan!

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  51. Bitter Scribe said on September 10, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Danny, if self-pity were cornflakes, you’d be Kellogg.

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  52. del said on September 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Oh hell, vive le difference (of opinion)! It’s all in good fun, right?

    Joe K, here’s a marathon storyteller to beat all storytellers:

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  53. Little Bird said on September 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I used to be a regular on a humor blog, and wee had this one guy who always stirred up shit then claimed we were attacking him. He didn’t get much sympathy from us either Danny.

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  54. del said on September 10, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    On Facebook I just saw a poster of a goat sticking its tongue out with the caption: “Be yourself. They don’t have to like you, but you don’t have to care.” Like that one.
    I don’t mind the difference of opinion, but I’m from a big, boisterous family.

    I don’t mind some affirmation now and then but I don’t want to read comments that sound like an echo chamber either.

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  55. brian stouder said on September 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Say – speaking of stirring up shit, here’s an email that a guy I genuinely respect forwarded to Pam and I today:

    In all the years since D-Day, there are three occasions when the president failed to go to the D-Day Monument that honors the soldiers killed during the Invasion.

    The occasions were:

    1. Barack Obama 2010

    2. Barack Obama 2011

    3. Barack Obama 2012

    For the past 68 years, all presidents, except Obama, have paid tribute to the fallen soldiers killed on D-Day.

    This year, instead of honoring the soldiers, he made a campaign trip on Air Force 1 to California to raise funds for the upcoming election.

    That text follows after a photo of a guy looking across rows upon rows of soldier’s tombstones, with the bold-faced statement (and bald-faced lie) “I have never met one Veteran who enlisted to fight for Socialism” – and who is wearing a jacket with artwork across the back, and the saying “Freedom Isn’t Free”

    I replied to the guy thusly:

    Just a note – for what it’s worth; this email is just wrong.

    If you visit

    it outlines how incorrect all the claims are – from top to bottom.

    Thanks —

    Brian Stouder

    I didn’t do a “reply all” and try to embarrass him (any more than he has already embarrassed himself), and Pam edited me down to that sentence, because I was really rarin’ to just let him have it.

    But anyone who was going to nod in agreement with his email isn’t going to change his mind anyway, right? So, I simply satisfied my own need to call “bullshit” on that, to a guy whose specific opinion I really do value.

    I think that’s how we operate here in the cheap seats at; I genuinely like to see what all y’all are thinking about current events and everything else. I like Danny’s and Jeff’s and Cooze’s and Pros’s takes – and I especially like the women’s POVs; when Julie and Connie and Jolene and Dorothy and Scout and Rana (and all the folks I’m forgetting right now!) analyze a thing, then at the end of the discussion, you cannot help but appreciate that thing in a different and fuller way.

    We’ll see if he answers me back

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  56. Scout said on September 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Deborah, agreed about Charlie Pierce. Still thought the Taibbi piece was a pretty good expose’, though, so hopefully your husband (and anyone else who didn’t like the tone) will give it a second look.

    I thought Jeff was busy with his new pastor position. I can’t imagine there is anything any of us could say that would keep him away. I hope he knows we miss his voice. Maybe Nance could pass that sentiment on to him.

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  57. Sherri said on September 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    George Will hates progressives. George Will hates football. Ergo, progressives are to blame for college football.

    I’m not kidding.

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  58. del said on September 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Brian, you’re very gracious. I’d hit reply all in most cases, pot-stirrer that I am.

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  59. Rana said on September 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    @51 Bitter Scribe

    That’s a phrase I’m going to remember for future use!

    Nancy, I’m sorry to hear about your friend. And the letter: I did something similar with my grandparents, and eventually came to comfort myself with the knowledge that they already knew – the letter was just a formal expression of it. I’m sure it was the same with you and your friend.

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  60. coozledad said on September 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    If I had to make a blog diagnosis of what the irreconcilable differences between Bill Frist and his wife might be, I’d have to say the typical etiology for a sitting Republican senator is 32 oz of latex up his ass, a disproportionate household expenditure on “adult baby” furniture, or both. But I’ll have to wait for the videotape of the deposition to confirm these findings.

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  61. Joe K said on September 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Del@52, I heard that story before but not in that much detail.
    Thanks for the link.
    Pilot Joe

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  62. Suzanne said on September 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Brian @55. What scares me is that I have hit “reply all” to emails like the Obama lie and attached a link to Snopes. I invariably get a snide reply from someone that Snopes, or any other fact checking site, is biased and has an agenda; thus, cannot be believed.

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  63. Deborah said on September 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Coozeldad that is so funny (sad) we were just recently wondering whatever happened to that jerk, Frist, like he just fell off the edge of earth. Sure enough…

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 11, 2012 at 12:20 am

    “It is so much easier to criticize the present than to construct the future. The one requires merely an open ear and eye for the evils thick about us, and sympathy enough to hate wrong. The other requires a very rare faculty, a constructive imagination.”
    ~ Walter Rauschenbusch

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  65. Jolene said on September 11, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Actually, Frist has been doing humanitarian work in Africa, sometimes as a doctor, sometimes as an observer and advisor. Google his name and Africa for details.

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  66. Dexter said on September 11, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Kirk: I was hoping Bob Friend, my brother, would answer you, but he already signed off, I guess. Bob even calls himself “Pirate Bob” in his bicycling activities, sometimes sporting a pirate do-rag and such. Bob Friend of the Pittsburgh Pirates 1960 World Champions is probably no relation to us, even if he did come from Lafayette, Indiana, and we are also Hoosiers by birth.

    Brian: Kathy Friend is likewise probably not closely related to us. Apparently the name “Friend” was anglicized from the Swedish “Frand” and the German “Freund”, and kept as “Friend” from the English as folks moved about and came to American shores. We tried to track-back with the ancestry tools, but it seems to be impossible to find out exactly which path takes us back across the Atlantic. A great great uncle threatened to beat anyone who said we were Germans, it was told to me. We track back to a fork in the road…one points to Sweden and one to Germany, and then another side branch indicates we came from a village just north of London. Bob saw a statue of a Friend in England many years ago.

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  67. David C. said on September 11, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Suzanne, I’ve done the same thing with Snopes and was told by the person who sent me the screed that it may not have been factually correct, it was essentially correct. After that, I gave up.

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