Farewell, Ben.

I’m having a Scotch tonight for my friend Ben Burns, whose funeral was today. Half the town was there; I arrived 20 minutes before the service started and had to sit in the balcony. A bagpiper played on the steps of the big Presbyterian stone pile on the lakefront, one of those too-GP-for-words churches, although Ben wasn’t like that at all. He grew up on a dairy farm up near the Thumb and lived all over the U.S. before he came back to Michigan and worked his way up to the editor-in-chief’s position at the Detroit News. I didn’t meet him until just a few years ago, long after he’d left the paper (sale to Gannett; need I say more?). He was one of the three partners in GrossePointeToday.com.

It was a beautiful service that struck a delicate balance between sadness and celebration. Ben was 72, past the usual threescore-and-ten we consider a full life, but it still seemed too soon. He’d been living with a blood condition for 15 years when it morphed into leukemia, and he died in less than two weeks. Two weeks! He was scheduled to teach a class at Wayne this term. I got the email, went to see him in the hospital and missed him. Left a note. Called him, but he was resting and not taking calls. So I wrote him a note, mailed it and he died the next morning. Two weeks. You think you have time for these things, but people? You don’t.

This is good Scotch. Macallan, 12 years old. Like 80-proof candy.

Ben made the best of his life. He was funny in a quiet, droll way, which made his stories even funnier — like the time he took a woman he was dating to a big, loud party, lost track of her and discovered her in bed with the hostess. He had a big Spinone Italiano named Mac, after a photographer he’d worked with. The photog thought he was having a nervous breakdown, so Ben took him to the psych ward for the rest cure. They had to sit for a few hours, as even psych wards have to practice triage, and it must have been a full moon or something. The photographer watched the passing parade all the time, and when his name was finally called, stood up and decided he was feeling better and wouldn’t be checking in. I guess something in the animal’s face reminded Ben of the photographer, and every time I looked at his big, goofy muzzle I would try to see the picture-taker within. The dog laid by Ben’s hospice bed until the very end. I don’t know what happened to the photographer.

When someone dies, we talk a lot about legacies. Ben’s: Four spectacular children, a beautiful wife, career accomplishments to fill 10 glory walls. (My fave: a photo of him standing next to Arthur Ashe, autographed by the tennis star: “Ben — Stick to basketball. — Arthur.” Ben was 6-feet-8.) And a reputation for friendship and mentorship, service and all-around decency that streamed across the sky like a comet’s trail.

The opening hymn was “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.” The closing was “Lord of the Dance.” Joy. Dancing. That was his life.

(If any of you read the obit I linked to and like it, please know the best parts — the pickle fight, Kwame’s recalcitrance — were Ben’s, written as a brief autobiography for a speech introduction or something a while ago. I wrapped them up with a new top and bottom. I hope he would have appreciated the irony of writing his own obit, but who else would come up with details like being voted one of Metro Detroit’s “most woman-friendly men?”)

No links today. The Macallan is all gone, and I’m headed for bed.

Posted at 12:22 am in Detroit life, Friends and family |

61 responses to “Farewell, Ben.”

  1. Rana said on September 12, 2012 at 1:09 am

    *quiet hoisting of a glass*

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  2. Dexter Friend said on September 12, 2012 at 2:10 am

    Sorry to read of your loss. I felt bad when Neal Shine died five years ago. He was Senior Managing Editor and later Publisher of the Free Press. I only met him once, as he was waiting on someone to enter Tiger Stadium for a baseball game.
    I was a fan of his columns, so I just told him that. It seemed everyone loved him.
    Leukemia…what a mean killer that is. Two years ago my cousin was doing well, had his stem cell treatment, then he “went septic” and died in a matter of a few days.
    I wasn’t familiar with Mr. Burns but my condolences to all.
    My Scotch of choice as a young man was Cutty Sark, then as I went through my cheapo Lauder’s stage and decided to upgrade, I was torn between Glenfiddich and Glenlivet. I loved them both.

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  3. Deborah said on September 12, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Great post Nancy, I wish I’d known him. I’d like to go either instantly or in two weeks, none of this hanging on for me.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 12, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Grace and peace and the joy of the Great Dance to him. Lovely obit, bartender.

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  5. brian stouder said on September 12, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Agreed – that was a lovely obit. I especially liked the photo of he and his wife; there is something in that image that is just pleasant.

    Say – did his wife get a co-author credit for his book about the law and the newsroom? (Surely she had a role in the production of a book like that)

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  6. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Gorgeous tribute, Nancy. My dad’s last call musically was The Minstrel Boy (my choice). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPbrsC6rOFQ

    He was the (so-called) Greatest Generation, and roundly despised that term, and hoped ours would do better. He didn’t think fighting a war against bigotry was anything to be proud of. It was his idea that his offspring were the Greatest Generation. He taught us that being Christian meant social justice and that being a man meant never letting racism pass without confronting it. He taught us that upholding these beliefs might cause confrontations, but confront we must.

    And Deborah, I think I’ve been clear on my intentions for hanging it up. Acid, heroin and Space fracking Mountain. Over and over. (Crimson and Clover reference intended.) And i’d be fine with a picture with Arthur Ashe, but I’d like Herschel Walker and Julian Bond in there too. And photoshop RFK in there too. Greatest generation.

    And the balcony is where Scout and Jem sat.

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  7. Dorothy said on September 12, 2012 at 8:44 am

    So well written, Nancy. I feel a little like I know him. And what a doppelganger he is for James Cromwell! I had a friend succumb the same way with a blood condition, which she knew would probably become leukemia eventually. She was one of my Wednesday night quilting buddies back in the late 80’s/early 90’s. Crystal went into the hospital in June and died in September. One August Saturday I stopped by the hospital early for a visit, and to bring her something home made (she was so tired of hospital food). By happy coincidence, she had asked her doctor for a day pass to leave the hospital and I just happened to be the lucky one who got to take her out and about for a day! She had to be masked as a precaution. Thank goodness she had some clothes there. We went to two quilt shops, a pizza place for lunch and a bookstore. She bought a book about picnic foods and was so enthusiastic about when she might get a chance to try some of the recipes. That made me weep later that night once I was home. That was the only day she was outside the hospital walls during her 3.5 month stay.

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  8. nancy said on September 12, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Yes, Ben had to choose at the end regarding treatment like that. As I recall, the calculus was 3-6 more weeks in the hospital receiving chemo-as-carpet-bomb, to potentially buy six more months, or home to hospice and be gone in one month. He chose the latter, but as I said, didn’t even get that much time.

    Oh, and Brian — while Beverly was a journalist before she became a lawyer, her specialty is labor and employment law. When some people leave the newsroom, they never want to go back.

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  9. Dorothy said on September 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Crystal was very young (in her late 20’s I believe) and she wanted a fighting chance. She had recently separated from her husband and another quilter invited Crystal to stay with her. It was during the move into Marge’s house that Crystal bumped her leg on some furniture, and the wound wouldn’t heal. That is how she found out about the leukemia. We used to have our Wednesday night quilt-togethers in the lounge on her floor – the doctors and nurses would stop by and got a huge kick out of all of us crazy women.

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  10. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I’m confused by the discussion of Leukemia. My little brother died of leukemia years ago, and my understanding way back then was that it was mainly a childhood cancer. I mean Jimmy Fund and like that. Here’s a very fine Rolling Stones performance, from back when they had a serious guitar player. I mean Keef is Keef, but the guy is not a great guitar player. Brian Jones wasn’t either. Woody’s better than Keef, and Mick Taylor put all those guys so far in the shade you couldn’t find them. I’m not sure I want to know.


    For Scotch, which I mostly abhor, I’d take the lap-frog. Actually, I consider Scotch seasonal. Like Halloween and that’s it. It ain’t actually whiskey.

    The blacker the Johnny Walker, closer I get to liking it.

    Dorothy, I’m captive, and I know I’m a dupe, but …

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  11. Dorothy said on September 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Not sure what you mean, Pros, and I’m probably not the best person to explain leukemia to you. I can only tell you about two people I knew who had it. Since I was not a very close friend or relative of Crystal’s, I was not at liberty to know anything more than the very basic stuff and what other friends told me. On the other hand, my husband has a cousin who lost her husband (Rich) to leukemia more than 20 years ago. He had been to Vietnam – there was some talk about the possibility that he’d been exposed to Agent Orange, but I don’t think it was ever proven. Rich was not quite 40 when he was diagnosed. And like Crystal, it was a wound on his arm or leg that just wasn’t healing that sent him to the doctor’s. And then blood tests confirmed his illness. This was November 1986 – I’m sure of the date because I know Rich died in March 1987, a month before my son turned 2. Rich’s brother Charlie was a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant, which Rich had after he went through chemotherapy. All I can recall is that his liver became inflamed (or something) and he was very jaundiced after the transplant. He died within a couple of weeks after the transplant. I was in his hospital room with his wife the day before he died. He was the first person I had ever seen who was so very, very sick and close to death. I was 28 years old and it was quite an eye opener for me.

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  12. nancy said on September 12, 2012 at 10:03 am

    There are different types of the disease, too. Ben had acute myeloid.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on September 12, 2012 at 10:11 am

    All of us should aspire to deserve such an obituary.

    I’m just catching up on yesterday’s comments and caught these thoughts: lots of us have trouble sleeping (me too–pain), LAMary’s ex is a sh*t who ought to have trouble sleeping, and Dorothy’s son is being deployed, which will give her trouble sleeping. And one bit of good news, a wedding. Also, welcome back Jefftmmo.

    Prospero, as I understand it there are lots of varieties of leukemia with very different treatments and outcomes. But it’s never a diagnosis you want to hear. My aunt has the same type as Robin Roberts but is not strong enough for aggressive treatment. She gets transfusions every three months to perk her up and leads a very restricted life in between.

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  14. brian stouder said on September 12, 2012 at 10:51 am

    We contributed a triple-unit batch of platelets last night, and indeed, Pam reminded me that the thing that impelled me to do something – aside from my zealous older brothers, who were already regular donors – was the fairly sudden illness and then death of one of her closest friends, a decade ago.

    One thing I was happy about, at Red Cross last night, was – I got the TV, and did msnbc for 2 hours, while the newcomer/old guy next to me sighed and otherwise quietly complained.

    But, while I’ve been Mr Niceguy before, and surrendered control of the TV*, more recently I’ve been stuck with (relentless) Fox News; so msnbc/Chris Matthews/Al Sharpton it was – and to blazes with anyone who wasn’t entertained!

    *they have 6 or 8 TV’s mounted to the ceiling, and each serves 2 or 3 chairs. The prevailing custom is, whoever gets there first, gets control. Generally, I’m a push-over and will surrender control (when I have it) – so long as we don’t have to watch hillbillies wrestle alligators for 90 minutes. But nowadays – and particularly in political season – that ain’t happenin’. (Just sayin’)

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  15. alex said on September 12, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I lost a friend to leukemia almost two years ago. I’m not sure what type it was, but he underwent aggressive chemo with promising results at first, then it failed to help. There was talk about marrow transplants if he managed to survive the first course of therapy, but he didn’t make it. Toward the end he didn’t want to see his friends because he didn’t want to be remembered looking thin and frail and distressed. His widow gets asked out on dates a lot lately but she says she’s still not ready.

    Brian, regarding TVs in public places, I’m much less hesitant these days to express my disdain for Fox News and most businesses are pretty obliging. Fox News was on with the sound off at my fave tavern in Auburn recently and a lady sitting next to me started going off about Fox. We had a very nice conversation. She and her husband are in the donut hole without insurance until Medicare kicks in and they’re both quite concerned about what the Republicans are doing, enough so that they’re actually considering retiring to a place that has nationalized health care. She was particularly irritated with her dentist, whose office has Fox on in every room and who wouldn’t change the channel at her request, so she told him at the end of her cleaning that she would be changing dentists.

    At one of the Casa Grilles the other day, I was seated at the bar when one of the employees came up and told the bartender that the manager was demanding that she keep two of the multiple monitors in the room on Fox. I chimed in that if it were up to me, Fox wouldn’t be on in the place. The bartender wholeheartedly agreed and we had quite an interesting conversation. She has an advanced degree in anthropology. That’s why she’s a bartender.

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  16. Sue said on September 12, 2012 at 11:10 am

    That was a lovely obit. I’m doubly sorry for your loss.
    Last week (I think) I linked to a story about the possible finding of a king’s grave under an English parking lot. Looks like they think they have their man. History is so cool.

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  17. Dorothy said on September 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Brian Turner Classic Movies had the Marx Brothers “Monkey Business” on last night. That would have been fun to watch while hooked up to the platelet machine! And the old dude would have loved it!

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  18. Kim Ellis said on September 12, 2012 at 11:17 am

    May we all live life so well. It was touching to see, under the obit and comments, Ben Burns’ email link.

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  19. brian stouder said on September 12, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Sue – that is definitely an interesting article (the “cleaved skull” detail caught my eye).

    Agreed about history.

    Next week, the 150th anniversary of the bloodiest single day in American history comes around; the day that the Civil War came to Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek.

    And I did not know – and only just learned, from some TV show Grant was watching in Cleveland last weekend – that on that exact same date, there was a series of terrible explosions at a Union arsenal near Dorothy’s town (Pittsburgh), which killed maybe 100 people – mostly women and girls.


    If that had happened on almost any other day – one without a massive set-piece battle (let alone one of the worst battles Americans have ever engaged in) – presumably it would be remembered.

    I never heard of these girls, and I want to learn more about them.

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  20. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Am I nuts or was Leukemia thought in the 60s to be a childhood disease.?

    And Sue, the bunch-backed spider is alive and spewing venom from WaPo. Long live Krauthammer.

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  21. beb said on September 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Prospero, maybe you’re thinking of polio?

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  22. Sue said on September 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Prospero, I remember reading an article in one of my mother’s lady’s mags in the mid-sixties about “Little Sal”, a child who died of leukemia. Of course there was no context from a kid’s point of view since it was meant for an adult readership, so all I got out of it was ‘hidden killer/suddenly sick/fight for a while/die/poor little boy’, and it freaked me out so much that to this day I can remember not just the kid’s name but his picture from the magazine.
    You might be thinking that about the ’60s because at the time there was no cure for childhood leukemia, making it scary and more memorable than an adult who’s had his time on earth and dies of one of the ‘wasting diseases’ that we forget were more common then. Now kids have a fighting chance for at least one of the forms of childhood leukemia, but back then it was one of those things that came out of nowhere and took a kid fast.

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  23. Bitter Scribe said on September 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    My jaw just dropped when I read Romney’s opportunistic response to the murder of the ambassador to Libya. I used to think of Romney as a misguided but decent guy. Now I’m seeing him for what he really is: an utterly unprincipled, despicable jerk.

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  24. Charlotte said on September 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Prospero — my youngest brother died in 1972 of leukemia, which was then a real childhood killer. Now, they can control/cure it … we had a real cancer cluster in Lake Forest (dioxins from Great Lakes, Zion nuclear power plant, agricultural runoff, got our water from the lake) but of course, the titans of industry wrote it off as just a lot of “individual bad luck.” Sigh — lots of leukemia, brain tumors, breast and stomach cancer …

    Now it doesn’t kill kids that much, but there’s a slow-growing one that a few of my older relatives have that seems, like Nancy’s friend, to be something that can be controlled with medication, until it can’t be, and then you go.

    Personally, I’d choose the hospice option. I saw too much chemo in my childhood to ever want to do that …

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  25. Jeff Borden said on September 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm


    I’ve come to the same conclusion. His ambition is so outsized that he will say and/or do anything to attain his goals. His campaign has been nothing but lies, half-truths and pie-in-the-sky horsehit lacking in any sort of detail on everything from what he would replace Obamacare with to what he would do regarding Iran. He’s a rich, smug, self-centered creep.

    I hate leukemia. One of my best friends beat it once and was cancer-free for more than 10 years, but then it returned with a vengeance and he was gone in less than 12 months at age 54. He was one of my artsy friends who loved live theater in all its forms and who had more than 8,000 songs of every description on his iPod, which the rabbi mentioned during the memorial service. I’ve never had the heart to delete his phone numbers from my cellphone. It has been two years –in fact, I learned I had prostate cancer just a couple of days after Jeff’s funeral, so I recall it all in explicit detail– but I still get the urge to call him up and talk music every once in awhile.

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  26. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks Sue, I was my brother’s constant companion, and somehow, I knew he was dying. It was extremely horrible, and the toll on my mom and dad was horrendous. A doctor and a nurse that couldn’t do anything but grieve in advance for an angelic child. And no, beb, my little brother had leukemia.
    And it killed him when he was little. I was not in the least thinking of polio.

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  27. del said on September 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I’m with you Bitter Scribe.

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  28. Sue said on September 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I am sorry for your loss, Prospero.

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  29. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Borden,Scribe, et al. Y’all make the error of assuming Willard Windsock has some sort of heart. No brain, no heart, apparently. If I’m wrong, display it.

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  30. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Thank you Sue. That is gracious. It’s a terrible thing for a kid, I couldna describe how awful. I wished to trade places, then. Parbly still.

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  31. Jean S said on September 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    The old medical writer has to weigh in (sorry, I can’t help myself): Yes, childhood leukemia was once considered a sure killer; nowadays, most kids and young adults do amazingly well. And yes, several kinds of leukemia, and outcomes vary widely according to a host of factors (type of disease, underlying immune system issues, yadda yadda).

    But still: Prospero, what a terrible loss.

    And Ben Burns sounds like he was a great guy, and the obit was lovely and, I’m sure, much appreciated by his family and closest friends.

    Also, I’m with Prospero on the Romney front: I keep hearing about Romney’s religious faith, but he comes across as a man who does not have a moral center.

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  32. del said on September 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Was wondering about Bain Capital’s attempted purchase of Clear Channel radio some years ago. A quick googling shows that it was accomplished. Rush Limbaugh got a $400 million contract out of the deal and Hannity et al also profited:


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  33. Sue said on September 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Charlotte and Prospero:
    My mother’s brother died during the Depression of meningitis. She was so scarred by the experience that she inadvertently passed on the horror of the experience to me, so that I equated the Depression not just with economic hardship but the absolute devastation of helplessly watching a death. As a child I grieved for my uncle, 40 years removed from the fact of it, and I just can’t imagine what you or my mother went through.

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  34. LAMary said on September 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    My overachiever nephew is now a hemotological oncologist because his best friend died of leukemia when he was ten years old. His life from that point on was a straight line to his career.

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  35. Bitter Scribe said on September 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    My sister once befriended a family whose 6-year-old contracted leukemia. One of the things I remember is how this kid’s kindergarten teacher volunteered to come to his house every Saturday, on weeks when he had to miss a lot of school, to catch him up. (This was especially important because his family was from Mexico and he was just beginning to learn English.)

    Every time some right-wing jerk sneers at how teachers make all that money for nine months of six-hour days, I think of that teacher.

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  36. Dorothy said on September 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Wow Mary. AND Bitter Scribe. Two amazing revelations. Very cool.

    Mary I just wanted to add that when I read what you said yesterday about what you’re going through with the ex, all I could think was my gut feeling says you will persevere in this matter. I don’t know what to call it – hopefully it’s not just wishful thinking. But this voice in my head is saying you’re going to win in multiple ways. I’ll be having lots of good thoughts for you about this and hope it works out in your favor. XOXO

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  37. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Scribe, undoubtedly that teacher was an eveil union member out to steal money from hard-working folk, like the evil first-responders RMoney wants to rid society of because he likes to fire people. He did say that right, Danny? Well shit, he did say that first’responders and teachers were leeches, so hell with your opinion Danny. In the unChristian battle about the Brown Guy and health care, I’m rminded of my mom and dad trying to fight through Matt’s death throes. And all I can think is Fuck You bigtime Ayn Ryan. I know that at that time my dad’s salary was in the vicinity of $18grand, hardly upper class, in the early 60s. Not Don Draper cash. God know’s who paid our health care. I suppose Kaiser Permanente, that paid his salary to treat sick kids of laid-off miners. I believe my mom and dad paid to take Matt to the Farber Institute, funded by the Jimmy Fund. I remember meeting Dr. Tock, that my dad idolized for his way with patients, though my dad could innoculate a kiddo on it’s mother’s arm with nobody the wiser. One awesome guy, my dad.

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  38. LAMary said on September 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks again Dorothy and everyone. You have no idea how much all your suggestions and encouragement has helped me.
    I have three brothers and I’ve had a dicey relationship with one of them for years. He came forward today with help and reassurance I never expected so this mess is having some positive effect.

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  39. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    You know, every teacher fired makes th unemployment numbers look worse for th Kenyan Manchurian. What GOPers believe. Say it ain’t so Danny. It’s a fact Jack.

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  40. adrianne said on September 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Nance, what a lovely tribute to Mr. Burns. The Irish know that there’s nothing like Scotch for grief.

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  41. brian stouder said on September 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    And indeed, Scotch must therefore be flowing freely at the on-the-rocks (so to speak) Romney HQ.

    I wonder whether, after the November election, Mitt will still be able to dip into the lecture circuit, and scoop up the pocket-change (couple a hunderd-thou/year) that he used to get?

    I bet that his inartful/etch-a-sketch brain-trust will make more money than him, on their post-election books and lectures (although one suspects Mitt’s dark-matter assets in the Caymons will still be doing fine)

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  42. Sherri said on September 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Apropos of nothing, an article about the nerdiest preposition: http://www.economist.com/blogs/johnson/2012/08/grammar. And yes, nerd that I am, I use it regularly.

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  43. Mark said on September 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Bitter Scribe, the photos of Romney’s smirk during his press conference was sickening. He was tickled pink that the death of some Americans gave him a chance to make some political points. Just tickled pink. Why, he probably loved that even more than firing people.

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  44. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    We Irish only let that nonsense pass our craw on special occasions, It ain’t whiskey by a long shot, but it has its uses. Slainte keedo, and a Wellers to your good friend. These times are coming Nancy. We be getting old. The idea that S. would leave this coil before me is inconceivable, but I wonder. Who will take care of her if I’m not here? I know I couldn’t deal with that. So bring me the voucher ahole. I’ll buy a Kevorkian machine and load it with China White and Purple Haze. Would be a damned-site better than ever seeing RMoney elected. And as much as that subheman disgusts me, living in this country when jacktard shits like that run it? That disgusts me more.

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  45. Dexter Friend said on September 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Dewar’s White Label, Johnny Walker Red , Grant’s, J&B, Chivas Regal…I have fond memories of all, but no desire to ride the crazy train again. Yes, all these and many more brands I have sampled, a dram at a time, but none really earned my love and respect as did Wild Turkey 101 bourbon and George Dickel bourbon. That stuff was the true nectar of the gods, and maybe it still is, I’ll have to trust you to tell me. And prospero, I looked for some back-up to my claim that Jack Daniels went through a major recipe change about thirty years ago but all the sites say it never changed, so you are right…on paper. I remember the revolt among my Jack-drinkin’ friends, though, and I could taste the difference, too, because I drank it out of a shot glass, but I can’t prove it and all my old bartenders are dead. I am sure it was 86 proof then, however, and now it’s 80 proof. But…you win…I have nothing else to back me up.

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  46. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    So we say:


    And bedded for head, or whatever. And Mark, Mittens is just Lying for the Lord. He chose the world’s most loathsome 150 year old religion, as it chose him to fulfill the White Horse prophecy. Panhandlers and crooks. Wearing magic u-trou.

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  47. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Dexter, the flavor never changed when they amped th APV, that is a myth. I still love a shot back of Jack when them Dawgs kick ass, but more lately, I kike WLWellers. Death may stop me from drinking Dex, and maybe not. It’s a pleasure and etc. And Jack is a proper 86 proof these days. It sure as hell always tasted the same.

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  48. Michael said on September 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I hope there is a chronicler present, when my time comes, whose gifts come close to yours.

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  49. MaryRC said on September 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Mark, that smirk of Romney’s was unbelievable. Americans diplomats died and to him it’s a Gotcha! moment. Sickening is right.

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  50. coozledad said on September 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Romney hasn’t got what it takes. This is what it takes:
    Willard Mitt would have to be hospitalized after a few days of it.

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  51. Deborah said on September 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Today was weird. A couple of things happened, first I almost got wiped out by a car while crossing with the light, a turning car of course. There were 2 other cars waiting for us all to cross and then this asshole just careened around them and plowed on through, there were at least 6 of us in the crosswalk at the time and it is a miracle that no one was hit. I was so shaken I had a mild form of PTSD the rest of my walk. Then a couple of people in my department quit, both were having problems so it wasn’t completely a surprise. And finally I had a visit to the dentist late this afternoon and I never had so many shots to numb the area before. They had to do it two separate times and multiple locations each time. I am so numb now it will take hours to wear off. But only 17 working days left, so yay.

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  52. Dorothy said on September 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I love your countdowns, Deborah, and enjoyed the recitation of your day. Glad you didn’t get hit by the asshole!! (or anyone else in the crosswalk).

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  53. Deborah said on September 12, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Oh, and another thing I found out today when I was going through marketing folders at work looking for an image. The company I work for, our NY or Boston office recently finished designing the interiors of the headquarters for… Bain.

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  54. Kirk said on September 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I hope it’s real nice, because it’s hard to figure out how to bleed companies dry in a crappy office.

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  55. 4dbirds said on September 12, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    A lovely post, Nancy, for and about your friend. Pros, I know more about leukemia than I care to think about. There are several kinds and different risk factors. If you have ALL (the common childhood kind) it helps if you’re a girl and it is b-cell. If you’re a boy and have t-cell, its a different protocol and you’re on it longer. Then you have the myloids, chronic or acute, or something called myelomonocytic which is what my daughter had. No treatment for myelomonocytic except for a bone marrow transplant. Then you have Hairy Cell and APL which is treated with arsenic. Its a nasty business and it sucks. When you’re in the cancer world, you don’t think in terms of 20 percent or 90 percent odds to live. You think 0 or 100 odds. That was our goal during my daughter’s treatment. 100 percent.

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  56. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    And my undying hope fr you 4d, 100%. That was a horrible thing for a kid to go through. And it was worse for me, since my little brother Matt and I were blonde-headed blue-eyed boys in a family of brown-hairs, with an auburn and green-eyed mom. I’m sure I annnoyed my mom and dad as I identified with Matthew. But I coudn’t help it. He’s buried on a beautiful holsode outside of Malone, NY, and I visit his grave occasionally. He has a beautiful white marble stone with a lamb atop it. Next to my Grandma who has an impressive Celtic Cross. I’m thinking of going to sleep there when I do. But I’m adamant on the drugs and the song:


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  57. Dave said on September 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    For better than forty years now, I’ve thought that a girl that I grew up with had leukemia, which she successfully fought off as a child but came back when she was about 17, killing her at 19. Reading the remarks here today, I wonder if my memory is faulty, would this have been possible in the late 1950’s, early 60’s?

    Comments and stories of the bad things that sometimes happen have had me thinking about her all day, the life she never had, living long enough to graduate from high school and attend college just briefly. Karen Hale was her name.

    My sympathies and best thoughts to all who have suffered losses, which is all of us. This year seems to be especially bad, there have been several people I know who’ve gone, I think it a sign of my own advancing (62) age.

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  58. Prospero said on September 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Deborah, Strange Days:


    Weren’t The Doors best when they were weirdest? When the Music’s Over?


    When they’re strange. Manzarek, creepiest keys ever. Krieger, loony tunes guit. Hitler drums from Densmore. Whackos with Xoaxocotl singing. A great band. And Dexter, glad somebody’s older than I. By a little. I figure we parbly shared a half-pint of Ancient Age in the Briggs bleachers woth the old-timers back in the day. They just went up and down the rows, and the stories were awesome. My favorite game ever, Earl Wilson two-hitter and he Hit two out, one on the roof. Warmups were electric. Freehan’s glove was popping out in dead center. Damn that guy was a good catcher. Lumberjack build and arrogant attitude. Kinda Pudge Jr. I know y’all worship at the Johnny Bench, but hell, any Dodgers fan knows for a fact Yeager could throw better. Picked guys off 2nd base. Bench never did that.

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  59. Deborah said on September 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Not sure why Pros but I could not load the Strange Days link on my iPad.

    It’s over 5 hours from when I got out of the dentist office and I’m still numb in places,

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  60. Ann said on September 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Totally unrelated, but since Bob Greene is the reason I started reading you, I thought you’d be amused by this totally meaningless piece marking the 10th year of his firing. http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/chicago-media-blog/15686131/bob-greene-10-years-later-%E2%80%98trying-to-do-the-best-job-i-can%E2%80%99

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  61. Kirk said on September 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    10 years later: Still a wig-wearing horse’s ass

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