Mercury is fine.

Yeesh, what a weekend. Highs and lows. We cleaned more of Riverfront-Lakewood Park. (High.) A crazy man in the park snatched up Alan’s chainsaw, leading to a few tense moments. (Low.) Went downtown for the Dlectricity, an after-dark festival of outdoor art installations, all incorporating light. (Big high.) Shoveled another dead squirrel over the fence at my backfence neighbor, who has taken to plinking at them with a BB gun. (Big low.)

Is Mercury in retrograde? No.

This was the second squirrel. This guy sits out there with a BB gun and uses them for target practice. Which would be OK — I don’t really worry about squirrels — but this is the second one to fall into my yard. The first one hit the driveway, and either died on impact or was dead on arrival. This one managed to make it to my back steps where I nearly stepped on him on my way out to do yard work. He was heaving his last breaths and did not appear to be going peacefully.

I scooped him up with the shovel and carried him to the fence. The guy was standing in his back doorway, aiming directly at me.

HEY, I GOT A DEAD SQUIRREL HERE AND THIS ONE IS YOURS, I yelled, and dumped it over the fence into his yard. He said something like OK and skittered back into his house.

I get that squirrels can be destructive and eat your tomatoes and all, but good lord, if you can’t kill them immediately, don’t even try.

Dlectricity was sublime, though. It’s done in other cities, but it was the first one for Detroit, and man, it was cool — projections on the side of buildins, LED-clad robots rolling around, a light-up bike parade and all sorts of stuff. Perfect for a fall weekend, and Woodward Avenue was thronged. My favorite was three women dancing in unison in a storefront window, in front of film projections. Take that, Art Prize.

I warm up to crazy-ass modern art, the older I get. The more it bugs newspaper editors, the better I like it.

So, some bloggage? This is a concise but on-point comment about something we touched on last week: Germany as a player in the world economy, and what we might learn about it.

Tim Burton’s career arc: What went wrong?

I got some pears at the market, along with my brussels sprouts. I think I’m going to make at least one of these salads. For the millionth time, thanks, Mark Bittman.

A good week to all.

Posted at 12:18 am in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

72 responses to “Mercury is fine.”

  1. Kaye said on October 8, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Thanks for reminding me of pear salads. A romaine/pear/stilton/nuts was our go-to for awhile; must make it again soon.

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  2. Basset said on October 8, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Don’t believe I’d care to try any of those, particularly not the one with onion. And I like onions.

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  3. Deborah said on October 8, 2012 at 4:57 am

    My ex used to kill squirrels with a BB gun and make answering machine messages keeping track of the squirrel count. He thought it was hilarious, I found it extremely embarrassing especially when someone from work would call. One time he froze a carcass in our freezer and later boiled it so he could have a squirrel skeleton. I kid you not. This is one of the many reasons he’s my ex and not still my husband. Occasionally I have nightmares that I’m still married to him and then I wake up next to my current wonderful husband and thank my lucky stars.

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  4. ROGirl said on October 8, 2012 at 5:46 am

    I found a dead raccoon by the back of my house once, very close to the property line with my next-door neighbor. I’ve always been convinced that someone over there tossed it over the fence. There’s a park behind the houses and a lot of critters come and go from it (including possums, woodchucks and deer), but it just seems strange for an animal to come out of the park and plop down dead in the open. Besides, I have found empty food containers on my side of the fence, and a few times I found used pregnancy tests when I was raking leaves. One of the 2 daughters was in high school at the time.

    If you haven’t seen this video:

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  5. David C. said on October 8, 2012 at 7:23 am

    We had a great white hunter as a neighbor, too. We called him Bwana Mike. When the groundhogs and opossums moved in and he graduated to a .22 we called the cops. He soon moved out – thank heaven.

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  6. alex said on October 8, 2012 at 8:02 am

    This place is ordinarily lousy with squirrels. We can count on them at least a few times a year to take a flying leap onto an electrical transformer out front and wipe out power to several houses. I wonder if someone around here been doing them in because they don’t seem to be present in their usual numbers. You’d think they’d be stuffing their faces with this year’s bounty of acorns and putting them away for safe keeping.

    We have another rodent mystery that goes back to when I first bought this place. In one of the bathrooms, there is always a dead animal smell emanating from inside the walls somewhere. Just when a desiccated corpse stops stinking, a new one crops up to take its place. I’m not sure if it’s mice or chipmunks nor what could be killing them — touching exposed wiring maybe? We’d sure like to find out and put a stop to it. It happens only in one room. In the last day or so the smell has a touch of cheese to it sort of reminiscent of a New York strip steak, though not in a good way.

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  7. Jolene said on October 8, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Have you had an exterminator check out your situation, Alex?

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  8. Julie Robinson said on October 8, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I find the squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and birds to be tremendously entertaining, especially the squirrels who taunt the neighbors’ dogs by running back and forth on tree limbs, tantalizing out of reach. Chipmunks sit on the wall next to the garden chomping down on cherry tomatoes and rabbits suck in petunia blooms. As long as they leave enough for us, I’m content to share my bounty. They force me to slow down for a few minutes and enjoy the wonders of creation. They make me smile.

    I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to confront a neighbor who carries, though.

    I’ve been thinking about our California cohorts all weekend and wincing in sympathy as I hear news about the gas prices. That’s really gotta hurt.

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  9. Jen said on October 8, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Good article on Tim Burton’s career, though the movie-snob writer is a bit hard on some of Burton’s schlockier films, some of which I really love for their cheesiness. “Mars Attacks!” is wonderfully weird, and I enjoyed his creepy take on “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” if only because it feels much more like the novel than the 1970s movies.

    However, I agree with the writer about “Ed Wood.” It’s a fantastic movie. “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice” are wonderful movies that deserve to be as popular as they are, but “Ed Wood” is one of my favorite movies of all time. If you haven’t seen it, watch it.

    I’m also glad when I read about other people who really appreciate Burton’s “Batman.” Michael Keaton is still my favorite Bruce Wayne/Batman. Yeah, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is great, but I still like Tim Burton’s interpretation better.

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  10. Prospero said on October 8, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Willard been shootin’ varmints by Alex’s house.

    Mitt Romney has caused a tiff with Spain by saying that its economic crisis was caused by government over-spending and saying he doesn’t want the US to end up like Spain. The Spanish are bewildered, since Romney’s charge (like most of the things he said in last week’s debate) is simply untrue.

    Nicely put and exactly the right fine point on it, Professsor Cole. A committed and shameless prevaricator is a formidable opponent in a US Presidential debate. If you try to explicate the lies, you lose to MEGO, and general societal ADHD and stupidity. If you call him a liar, you lose, because you’ve been rude. On taxes, RMoney might just as well have said “Read my lips.” The Medicare lie is probably the most audacious, but its just one loop of yarn in a gigantic tapestry of mendacity.

    A neighbor once shot one of our dogs when I was a kid, with a pump action pellet gun. Broke his tail so that forever after it made a right turn about 6 in. from its tip. My dad was incensed and confronted the bastard at his front door, where the dick was still holding his weapon, which my dad broke in half over his knee. The guy had the nerve to call the cops. When the Birmingham copper showed up, my dad said “He shot our dog. It could have been one of my kids.” The cop nodded, got in his car and left. Intelligent policing.

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  11. beb said on October 8, 2012 at 9:14 am

    My brother’s first rifle was a half size, single-shot .22 which everyone called a squirrel gun. I think we even had squirrel shot by it, but I could be wrong. In any case I think Nancy should count herself lucky that her neighbor is being an ass with just a BB gun. It could be much worse.

    For a while Dad was shooting ground hogs on his property with a rifle. They were digging into the barns back of the house ruining the floors there. He also set live-traps and drowned the pests in a horse trough. The problem as near as he found figure out was that animal control was trapping the buggers in the city and releasing them out in “the country”. The country in this case was just outside the city borders. And Dad lives just outside the city border….

    I did not know that Frankenweenie was a remake of a Tim Burton short that got him fired from Disney. On the other hand I’m not surprised to learn that it under performed it’s first weekend. Every trailer I saw about it looked gloom and melancholy. I have seen the other twio movies mentioned in the article about Burton, ParaNorman and Hotel Transylvania. ParaNorman was a mixed success. It had some genuinely scary moments and some outrageously funny moments. I’m surprised to find that’s it’s still in theaters, though with only a couple showing a day. Hotel Transylvania apparently was made for $85 and made $50 its first weekend. And its drop-off on the second weekend was much less than 50% which mans it’s probably going to have pretty good legs and more than earn back its costs. The movie itself has a minimal plot, basically hide-the-human-from-the-monsters. But there are a lot of good gags delivered at a rapid pace. It’s a funny, happy movie.

    One has to wonder how much Tim Burton has contributed to Johnny Depp’s failed movie career. Burton featured Depp in so many weird movies that it seems like all Depp does any more are weird characters, like Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Now he’s starring in a remake of The Lone Ranger. But not as the ranger but as Tonto, who apparently now is an Indian shaman who wears a giant stuffed crow on his head. That alone suggersts this will be another movie DOA.

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  12. brian stouder said on October 8, 2012 at 9:27 am

    So speaking of bizarre theatrics, our Bobby Knight look-alike candidate for governor is running a commercial wherein the tagline is “Indiana solutions”, and wherein the visuals emphasize a ‘made in Indiana’ sticker on a new red Chevy pickup, that Mike Pence drives off in, as the commerical ends.

    It is almost tempting to think that ol’ Mike is becoming pensive about Mourdock’s chances, and is distancing himself (ever so slightly) from the anti-anything-Obama-has-ever-done (including the auto bailout) mob.

    Or, maybe not.

    Afterall, the purpose of being all cutesy/subliminal (as opposed to forthright and firm) would seem to be that it allows Pence to go either way, depending whether Mourdock or Donnelly wins.

    But, the straw I’m grasping at is that half-wit Pence sees trouble on Mourdock’s horizon (and Mitt’s, too), and wants to be ‘right’ with them.

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  13. Jen said on October 8, 2012 at 9:45 am

    beb, would you really call Johnny Depp’s movie career “failed”? Yeah, he’s done some flops lately, but if you look at the span of his entire career, the flop-to-hit ratio has stayed pretty steady. He still makes a lot of money per movie, which has allowed him to 1.) be choosier about doing only the roles he wants to do (whether they’re good ideas for his career or not) and 2.) do other things that make him happy, like play his guitar and hang out with his kids. And as somebody who started out as a teen idol, I think he’s happy he broke out of that mold and that he has the freedom to do weird movies and make some bad choices now and then.

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  14. Prospero said on October 8, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Here’s a shocker. Improved access to contraceptives reduces numbers of abortions. Who’da thought something so counterintuitive might be true in real life? Makes you wonder whether it’s really the abortions that bother the fundegelicalictment thang or just the sex that produces the pregnancies.

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  15. Dorothy said on October 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I keep a plastic bag in the back seat of my car filled with peanuts. I toss them to the squirrels when I park my car at work in the morning. The campus is full of squirrels, and trees with falling acorns. Oddly, I never see them on our 3 acres at home but we get lots of groundhogs, bunnies, deer, roaming cats and birds who love all the seed we have in 3 feeders. One thing that always amazes me about squirrels: I see so many of them smack in the middle of the road, engrossed in examining something (what would be edible or fascinating?!). I can never tell if they’re dead or alive until I hit the horn, and then the race is on. Will they or won’t they make it to the side of the road before my tires surround them?!

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  16. Prospero said on October 8, 2012 at 10:25 am

    What do Willard Windsock and Joe DiMaggio have in common? Both set records that will never be eclipsed. Nobody is going to surpass the Yankee Clipper’s hitting streak and no politician is going to manage to tell more flagrant lies in 90 minutes than Willard did in that debate. Well, I suppose Mittens might break his own record, but nobody else is going to come close.

    Dorothy, the bushy-tailed little rat buggers do the same thing on my bike paths.

    To my way of thinking, Burton and Depp made a couple of near masterpieces in Sleepy Hollow and Edward Scissorhands. I think they made a pile of cash with those two movies parbly. As for Tim Burton, Beetlejuice is an astoundingly imaginative movie, as is Big Fish. I’m also a fan of 9. Tim Burton has certainly made a boatload of geld for somebody whose career has supposedly gone wrong, and he’s blessed the world with the brilliant movie music of Oingo Boingo’s Danny Elfman.

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  17. Heather said on October 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Here’s something you can do with those squirrels. Fun personal fact: written by an ex of mine. He was a great cook but thank God I got out before this.

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  18. Prospero said on October 8, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Worst dickhead boss around. And this mofo makes auoto parts. Yeah, you built that by yourself, you fracking clown.

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on October 8, 2012 at 11:28 am

    To me, Burton is like a hitter who always swings for the fences. He strikes out more than his share, but when he connects, look out.

    That’s not a perfect analogy, because hitting that way can be selfish, and of course movie directing is not a team sport. What I’m trying to say is, whatever else he is, Burton is original and definitely not derivative. In fact, a lot of other stuff is now derived from him, always the sign of a truly innovative thinker.

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  20. LAMary said on October 8, 2012 at 11:38 am

    My next door neighbor doesn’t kill animals but she is plenty obnoxious in other ways so I fling my cat’s morning rodent offerings over the fence into her yard. Albert (the cat) has moved up to tree rats now. He was bringing me little field mice for a while.
    I like squirrels, but I just went through six weeks of not having reliable phone or internet because the little furry guys chewed on the wires. ATT kept telling me it was fixed. It wasn’t. They had to replace a lot of cable before things were right.

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  21. Sue said on October 8, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I don’t go out of my way to watch Tim Burton movies, but the ones I like, I like a lot. A good Tim Burton movie almost has a pulse is the only way I can describe it.
    I didn’t like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in part because every time I watched Johnny Depp it was like watching Carol Burnett in one of her campy skits. To me, he looked like her and talked like her and even used some of her mannerisms.

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  22. Scout said on October 8, 2012 at 11:42 am

    My parents live in the woods and for 40 years my Dad had a non-violent Wile E. Coyote / Road Runner relationship with the local squirrel population. God knows how much money he spent on bird feeders and other paraphernalia, not to mention genius time trying to outwit them. And then he found the Yankee Flipper. After one or two of them took a ride on it (and presumably the rest of them watched) the squirrels in that neck of the woods now just sit and wait for the birds to drop stuff to them.

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  23. Kirk said on October 8, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I ate squirrel at my grandma’s house once, when I was in elementary school. I don’t recall how it tasted, but I was a picky eater and it didn’t gross me out. It wasn’t the main entree; she also served chicken and roast beef that day.

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  24. JWfromNJ said on October 8, 2012 at 11:50 am

    My neighbor – the former NFL player who was out on $45k bond for felony battery on a laaw enforcement officer – went on a bender yesterday, and decided it would be a good idea to point a gun at my 13-year old son.

    suffice to say I didn’t take that lightly. When the police arrived he refused to come to the door, so the police left to go get a warrant. That is very reassuring to know a drunk armed giant is across the street and wants you dead. I went off on the cops – reminded them that when he took on the officer last year I had to jump in because they took 11 minutes for backup.

    But this guy is his own worst enemy. He comes out right after they leave, and trips in his driveway, passed out. when he comes to he’s staring at the cops, and fights them, gets tasered twice, runs into his house and goes for a gun.

    His bond is now revoked and I don’t have to sleep with one eye open for now. Try having this guy glare at you all the time…

    His other mugshot is a classic.

    And I left out the part where he grabbed my Obama sign out of the lawn and shredded it, along with some choice comments about the President and me being a pussy.

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    • nancy said on October 8, 2012 at 11:55 am

      John, you have the worst luck with neighbors I’ve seen outside of a trailer park. Hope it changes. BTW, why is that guy dressed in what appears to be a hairdresser’s smock in his mugshot? Was he arrested naked?

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  25. alex said on October 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Heather, now that’s the kind of rollciking good writing that I remember the Reader for. But I wouldn’t eat urban squirrel for the same reason I wouldn’t eat pigeon — there’s no telling what sort of filth those critters got fat on but it probably wasn’t stuff you’d find in nature.

    Jen, I’m in complete agreement with you about Ed Wood, one of my favorite films of all time. I’m particularly fond of the scene where poor, broken Bela Lugosi resignedly consents to mud-wrestle in a creek in the dark with a laughably lame simulacrum of a reptilian monster. Oh, the indignity. The new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I wasn’t so excited about, but maybe because I read the book and saw the movie in the ’70s when I was a kid and remember Gene Wilder as sort of warm and fuzzy whereas Johnny Depp’s Willie Wonka was downright creepy.

    JW, that’s one nasty looking sumbitch and I hope they’ll put him away for a while, or at least get him into rehab.

    Jolene @ 7, I haven’t tried an exterminator yet but it’s on the to-do list. Previously I removed the toilet paper holder and placed open boxes of baking soda inside the wall, which helped somewhat at the time. At one point, some animal either clawed or chewed a new hole along the edge of the toilet paper holder from behind and I had to put a metal plate there to prevent it from causing further damage.

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    The recurrence really does make it sound like you have not only a rodent problem, but an exposed wiring issue . . . which said rodents may well have created by chewing, each goner taking just a bit more off before the current rendered them past. I’d have an exterminator . . . I mean, pest control specialist take a look.

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  27. JWfromNJ said on October 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    That’s a collar thing they use here for all the mugshots. The last time he was arrested he fought them about it, said he wasn’t putting his head in that f’ing thing.

    This neighborhood is plummeting downhill. Grow houses, meth labs, but my neighbors on both sides are wonderful.

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  28. Sherri said on October 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    JW, he played his college ball at UT. Maybe he did a little too much butt-chugging!

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  29. Jeff Borden said on October 8, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    As a deep blue state where Mittens is not competitive, there have been very few political advertisements in the Chicago area until a week or two ago, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce began airing attack ads aimed at Democratic Congressional candidates. It’s the usual bullshit -they support Obamacare, which is destroying America’s small businesses– but they’ve been in heavy rotation.

    So I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I saw an ad for one of the Democratics under constant attack featuring one of the most terrifying visages in American politics. Yes, the Dem is linking his foe to SheWho of Wasilla. Who says Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods is no longer a factor, LOL!

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    The “collars” or smocks are because defense attorneys were making too much headway too often on how mugshots were creating bias for their defendants — not even so much nice clothes vs. street clothes, but the guys who (you’ve all seen a bit of “Cops,” right?) are brought in shirtless, and were given orange as they were processed. This was said to create a presumption of guilt, and the end of the legal debate was that everyone should look the same. So we assume the next development will be some sort of tooth-mouth-insert, since dental work is the last reliable class and status marker now that Masters of the Universe get neck tats and wear Kanye’s latest clothing line.

    You think I’m kidding about the mouthguards for all mug shots . . . just wait. When it’s successfully litigated, you’ll see the Corrections Association recommend some remedy to all accredited lockups, like a mouthguard.

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  31. Prospero said on October 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Darrin Miller is a product of the Phullup Fulmer golden era at Tennessee.

    Jeff Borden: US Chamber isn’t just the usual thing. The organization is a huge funnel for foreign money into American elections, and a major beneficiary of the no ID donation crap that came out of Citizens United.

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  32. Jolene said on October 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Did any of you pay to stream the Jon Stewart vs. Bill O’Reilly debate held at GWU this past weekend? It was pretty interesting–worth both the time and the $5.00. I think you can still buy it at this link.

    Lots of humor, of course, but some pretty good discussion too. O’Reilly is only about 50% as much of an asshole (OK, maybe 70%) as some of the more benighted Fox personalities. He has actually thought somewhat seriously about US policy, is not a birther, and does not hate the president. Low standards, I know, but we’re talking Fox here. Still, Stewart had the better analyses of what besets our troubled polity, and his remarks resonated w/ the article re Germany that Nancy linked to above.

    In particular, he talked about the idea that we are living in alternative universes with, especially, the right believing catastrophic things about threats to freedom that have no basis in the kind of threat anyone is imposing. He argued that what we ought to do is stop the B&W arguments about truth, freedom, justice, and the American Way and focus on the idea that we are a social democracy with decisions to make about how to manage and fund the government we want and need.

    The piece on Germany suggests that there is, more or less, a national consensus on what sort of country they are–on what the government ought to do. That we are still arguing about the role of the government in health care when, in fact, the government is already the largest single health care purchaser (am pretty sure of this, w/ Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and Tricare taken into account) is bizarre.

    Americans sometimes seem very childish to me. Our ideas about ourselves and our society seem not to have changed since we were frontierspeople settling the West, relying then on superior weapons and finances and our sense of ourselves as having more or less divine rights to the resources of the land. But we are more than 300,000,000 people now. We can’t act as if our actions are not inextricably linked to those of millions of others.

    Our ideas about our relationship to the rest of the world seem equally simplistic. In Saturday night’s discussion, Stewart pointed out that the GWB administration thought that it was just dandy to spread democracy by gunpoint, but now that people in the Middle East are throwing off their dictators–that is, choosing new leaders for themselves–people are criticizing Obama for not having engineered the whole enterprise to ensure that those new governments would be compatible with our interests. This criticism reflects the same stance toward the rest of the world as that of the early U.S. settlers did to the native peoples and their lands–that is, we know what’s best and we are here to exert our will. In fact, the rest of the world belongs to itself. It’s not up to the U.S. to decide who the president of Egypt or any other country will be. We can talk, we can advise, we can act to protect ourselves where necessary; but we can’t control the choices of the other 6.7 billion people on the planet.

    Anyway, check out the Stewart vs. O’Reilly video if you have time. It’s fun and worth thinking about.

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  33. Kaye said on October 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Dexter & Kirk: I was expecting to read happy baseball stories from you guys today. Looking forward to Tuesday’s game, at a more civilized hour (for me), ending with fireworks over Cincinnati.

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  34. Dexter said on October 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    kaye, Bronson Arroyo was just a Red Sox reject a few years ago, but he just gets better and better, and he was really “on” last night…I watched about 140 Reds TV games this year (and one at the ballpark) and I have never seen him this good. Joey Votto is hitting, Ryan Hanigan is clutch-hitting, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, and Arroyo are doing great, Ryan Ludwick is about the most dangerous clutch power hitter in the game, and Johnny Cueto’s back spasms are being treated…Cueto and Homer Bailey flew back to Cincinnati yesterday afternoon to rest up. The Reds have their best chance to actually win the World Series since 1990.
    I really want to see Detroit Tigers vs. Redlegs World Series.
    I follow every team I can see on my TV or hear on my radio, and I also love the Tigers. If they meet in the Series, I will be happy as a hog in slop.

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  35. Kirk said on October 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    I’m definitely fired up about the Reds. They are good enough to go all the way, unlike two years ago. Cueto worries me. I hope it’s just back spasms, but pro sports teams aren’t known for being honest and forthcoming about such issues. I look for Brandon Phillips to be huge from here on out.

    And, for the record, the squirrel I ate as a kid was definitely back-country near-Appalachian rural squirrel.

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  36. MichaelG said on October 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    With the Giants and the A’s both starting to look like toast, I guess there will be no Bay Bridge series this year. Oh well, I suppose it’s for the best. Last time they played, there was an earthquake.

    Jeff B, we are getting the same riff in ads for congressional candidates here. I’m sure that stuff is all written and coordinated in some central clearing house. I’d bet they’re using the same narrators as well.

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  37. coozledad said on October 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    JWfromNJ: That guy’s got seriously crazy eyes. Can you imagine the bastards he’d get on Michelle Bachmann?

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  38. Danny said on October 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Wow, JW, sorry to hear about your experience with your neighbor yesterday. That is frightening. And about all the anger my post stirred up yesterday: Dude, chill. I am not your enemy. No harm intended. Just pointing out that for all of the supposed sensitivity around here about racism, the knife doesn’t seem to cut both ways and a few of you (cough, Jolene, Brian, Cozze..cough) seem unaware of the hypocrisy. So be it. The unexamined life is not worth living and all that rot…

    Anyway, not much lava yesterday… but some. Hilariously, some on Yelp complain about this, as if the park service should be able to flip a switch on the volcano.

    Today we visit Mauna Kea. By all reports, this shuld be an absolute highlight. We packed our winter gear, so we should be ready for some twilight stargazing!

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  39. brian stouder said on October 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Danny – Joe Biden has expressed a condescending racism wherein he expects to see Indians running gas stations; and that the president doesn’t speak like Biden thinks black people normally speak.

    I don’t recall him speculating about whether or not the president is an American, or a Christian, or whether he really earned his degrees in college, or whether he has rythym, or needs a lot of sleep, or is lazy.

    Did Biden say ignorant, racist things?


    Possibly you might agree that there is a qualitative difference between the vice president’s thoughtless, casual racism, and Donald Trump’s or Newt Gingerich’s or Mitt Romney’s calculated, calibrated, concentrated and crystalized brand of divisive racism-for-political-profit.

    That’s the thing about racism – no one can really escape it.

    By way of saying, if you’re trying to assert that anyone here has said that only Republicans are racist, then that’s just a humbug and a strawman. What many hereabouts have commented on is the particularly nasty, mean-spirited, spiteful, and politically motivated racism of much of the 2012 Republican party, and of the Flying Monkeys of the rightwing airwaves. If it is “hypocrisy” to see a genuine difference between the racism of Vice President Biden, on the one hand, and of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingerich (for example) on the other, then indeed you and I have nothing further to discuss. (or put another way, it is the same as the difference between a chestnut horse and horse chestnuts)

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  40. Danny said on October 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Brian, what about Reid and Maher’s comments? And what about JW calling Allen West a “House Nigger” and Alex saying that West and other black conservatives deserve every vile epithet thown at them… racist or not. Convenient to ignore, but foolish, if you ask me (and hopefully some silent lurking majority here).

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  41. Jolene said on October 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Danny, your charge of hypocrisy is pissing me off–and on my birthday too. First, I did not call Allan West anything, racial or not. If asked, I would, though, call him an asshole, which is an equal opportunity category.

    Second, in using the term “Uncle Tom”, I was quoting someone else. I didn’t choose the term myself, and I doubt I would have, had I been writing about the topic in question. I do, though, agree that the behavior in question–abjectly serving a master that denigrates you–fits the Log Cabin Republicans, which is who I was discussing,

    For the record, I believe this term differs from, say, the N-word in that it relates to behavior rather than an individual’s immutable characteristics. This distinction is supported by the fact that, even though “Uncle Tom” was derived from a story about a black person and is generally used to refer to black people who behave in a certain way, the group in question in this discussion, the LCRs, is almost entirely white. When Barney Frank, who I was quoting, used it, he was referring to gay people behaving obsequiously in relation to straight. There’s nothing racial about that.

    Neither my intent nor my language involved ascribing negative characteristics to people on the basis of race, which is what racism is. It’s possible to say something negative about a black person or a gay person w/o being either racist or homophobic.

    In other words, drop it. You’re just trying to cause trouble, and it’s tiresome.

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  42. Sue said on October 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Danny, no harm intended on my part either but I call B.S. If you’re intentions are so benign, then what’s the point of anything you said after ‘no harm intended’? C’mon. This is either mischief (good natured I will assume) or malice, but it’s not innocent. Otherwise you wouldn’t be attempting, probably successfully, to start the argument again.

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  43. brian stouder said on October 8, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    and since we’re allowed two links on a post here in the nn.c cheap seats, here’s the difference:

    Horse chestnut:

    Chestnut horse:

    (just sayin’)

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  44. Sue said on October 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    YOUR intentions.
    Put me among those who want the edit function back, and can we have like buttons too?

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  45. Danny said on October 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    ADDITION: Oh, and then there is the way that Cooze freaked out about MarkH’s “schoolboy” refernce, which was not racist, BTW, but none of you batted an eyelash over JW’s comments. Hilarious.

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  46. Danny said on October 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Jolene, go back and reread yesterday’s thread. I wasn’t even talking to you, but to JW. Should have been obvious from his three responses to me before yours at #61, but reading comprehension is not a strong fro some of you at times.

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  47. Jolene said on October 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Jolene, go back and reread yesterday’s thread. I wasn’t even talking to you, but to JW.

    Maybe you should have go back and read. You used the initials “JG” rather than “JW” in your initial post. Since I had used the term “Uncle Tom” in discussing Barney Frank, I guess I thought you were referring to me. Perhaps you could have cleared up that confusion yesterday rather than insulting me as you did @ 38 in today’s discussion.

    You are not an honorable player, Danny. You come not to disagree, to discuss, to learn something, or to present a point of view that you want people to consider. You just come to poke at people. I can’t imagine why you’d think that would be welcome.

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  48. coozledad said on October 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I definitely don’t have a strong fro. I’m nearly in Isaac Hayes country.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Jolene, I’ve read as much as 70% of health care is essentially already purchased by the government, one way or another. No idea how to pin that factoid down, but especially if you add in the employer tax credit factor, I’d say it’s that high a percentage and higher. And again, happy birthday!

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  50. alex said on October 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    The unexamined life is not worth living and all that rot…

    From someone who obviously wouldn’t know.

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  51. Bitter Scribe said on October 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm


    It’s getting tiresome. I wish the dumbasses would at least set it to music or something.

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  52. coozledad said on October 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Alan west is a war criminal, booted out of an army desperate for re-ups and new enlistments.
    But he’s good enough for the Republican party. Just mumble some shit about Jesus while you’re torching a car full of civilians at a checkpoint, or distribute some dead fetus pictures while you discuss the biblical punishments for disobedient, yet sentient beings, and the Republicans welcome you with a shower curtain party of sweaty fundie-on fundie love wrasslin’.

    Sick, stupid fucks, the lot of them.

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  53. Prospero said on October 8, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I don’t know, I guess I’d trust some wanker that claimed Biden’s comment about big banks keeping people in chains was racist, to be able to spot actual racism, and save me from hypocrisy.

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  54. Danny said on October 8, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Well, happy birthday anyway, Jolene. Sorry to piss you off on your birthday (or any day).

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  55. JWfromNJ said on October 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Danny, I am sorry and I would’t tolerate that language about the President and I was wrong to spout it about Rep. West. If his new district elects him so be it. You were very gracious and I don’t know if I would be if the roles were reversed.


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  56. Danny said on October 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Love this, more of your so-called liberal non-racist racism. Enjoy:

    The very first tweet they have to Stacey Dash was “She’s an indoor slave, you know that, Sis (to Beyonce?) Ready to head back to the fields, jiggaboo? (from Beyonce)”

    Twitter is not really on my radar (because I don’t care what everyone had for breakfast), but these tweets seem to indicate that everyone is having a grand old non-racist time.

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  57. Danny said on October 8, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    JW, no problem. Appreciate the apology. I have had to apologize on this forum a few times over the years. Probably will have to again. Sorry I am in a hurry today. Gotta make Mauna Kea now! I’ll post some pics if I get a chance.

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  58. Prospero said on October 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    OK, I know who Beyonce is, but who the hell is Stacey Dash? One way or another, comparing that bullshit to institutionalized GOPer and Faux racism is a classic in the GOP art of false equivalency. Stacey Dash? If she’s an actress of some sort, don’t GOPers claim she has no right whatsoever to comment on politics? And who says anybody involved is a liberal? And isn’t it pretty much metaphysically implssible for a black person to make a racist comment about another black person. One way or another, none of that comes remotely close to RMoney campaign poobah saying of the President “When you aren’t that bright, you can’t be well prepared.”

    Allen West is certifiably nuts, and has made public statements while a member of Congress he could have been courts martialled and hung for were he still in the military. His famous claim to having a more stringent security clearance than the President is clearly a case of non compos mentis. It’s disturbing when a major political party runs a full goose looney for national office.

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  59. del said on October 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Happy birthday Jolene.

    For a time I believed that the unexamined life was not worth living.
    Then I examined my life, deliberatively.
    Now I cling to the notion that it is the examined life that may not be worth living.

    This may simply reflect on my life, or about the perils of contemplation and rumination, but it is something to consider.

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  60. Scout said on October 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jolene!

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  61. MichaelG said on October 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jolene! It’s a vintage week.

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  62. alex said on October 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Happy birthday, Jolene!

    And no, JW, Danny is not gracious. He’s a troll. I think Brian put things quite well above — the slip-ups of people who feel awkward around minorities, fearful of making mistakes, that’s a very different thing than people who calculatedly pander to animus as the GOP does. So does Alan West and he knows what he’s doing. If it were his ass and not his race he were selling, he’d be called a whore.

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  63. Julie Robinson said on October 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Jolene, I hope it’s been a happy birthday, and please, pay no attention to troll in the corner.

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  64. Sherri said on October 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    As far as racism goes, actions speak louder than words. It’s not liberals who are trying to keep minorities from voting.

    But I did get a chuckle Danny’s Nixonian call-out to the silent majority back at #40. Conservatives never can make up their mind; are they really a persecuted few, or do they really represent the majority of right-thinking Americans?

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  65. Jolene said on October 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I’ve had a lovely birthday and hope ROGirl has too. Thanks for all the good wishes. You, my pals are, indeed, among the delights of my life.

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  66. JWfromNJ said on October 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    alex, I’m speaking for myself. I was wrong to call Allen West a “house nigger,” and an uncle tom, even if those are fair descriptions. I have to worry about my professional standings and I managed to piss off my new publication. Plus we’ve seen trolls come and go but danny has been here for a while, and I like Joe the Pilot too even if I hate his politics.


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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I may have told this story here before, but once at a previous congregation where I was pastor there was an elderly matriarch with an assortment of sons, some of whom no longer went to church anywhere, and one of whom went to the most hardshell, hellfire and brimstone, traditional values-ish church in the area. Mom and I had a difference of opinion on a subject having to do with youth, and their place, and how they should be involved in worship (me, I like a little chaos in the chancel). So one day I got a call, asking me to come to non-member Son-of-matriarch’s home for “a talk.”

    When I arrived, his wife was expecting me, met me in the drive, and asked me to meet her husband out back by one of the sheds. As I rounded the corner, he was standing near an outdoor worktable, with a blue bucket nearby. He sat down as we talked, but didn’t offer me a seat as none was in sight, unless I sat on the gravel.

    He had been out “checkin’ on the varmints” as he put it. There were, on the workbench, about a half-dozen deceased squirrels. He had a short curved knife, heavy bladed. As he explained to me what his mother (the lady, may she rest in peace, was then pushing 90 herself, and the son was doubtless 60-ish) was concerned about, he would remove the squirrel heads with a swift movement of his hands against each other, the knife itself not moving. Then, still speaking, he would run the blade along the belly of the headless carcass, set it aside, and tug the furred skin off the red and buff meat of the matter. I will never forget the popping sound as he would invert the grey and white skin, like removing a glove, tugging it one limb at a time away from the meat, pop, pop, pop, pop for each squirrel.

    He rarely looked down at what he was doing, out of regular practice I presumed, while I found myself largely unable to avoid looking at the bloody four-fingered hand being removed from its furry glove. He kept a steely glare fixed on me, as he explained what was displeasing his mother, and by natural inference, displeasing him, although he never really said that. I stammered my best defense of what I thought was right and appropriate for youth to do in worship.

    Finally, he said “So, do you really think women should serve at the Lord’s table?” “Yes, I do. When Paul says . . .” and I went on to explain how I understood egalitarian roles in worship and in the family. He was respectful enough to let me finish, then said softly “If you think that, then it’s no surprise you think mere children can serve at the table,” and tossed the handful of squirrel carcasses with a wet thunk into the blue bucket, having flipped the pelts onto the worktable. “Well, if you can go pray with my mother and ease her mind, I know that would be a blessing to her.” And I was dismissed.

    What I didn’t ask him, but wished I had, was twofold: was he using the meat and not the fur, or vice versa; or was this whole squirrel skinning thing purely done as a way to intimidate me, city boy and college punk preacherman?

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  68. del said on October 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I can hear the dueling banjos Jeff.

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  69. Brandon said on October 8, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    @Prospero: Stacey Dash is best known for her role as Dionne in Clueless.

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  70. Prospero said on October 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Oh, Cher’s token black friend, in a movie about moron valley girls. Quality endorsement. Besides. I could have sworn GOPers” opinion is that actors should STFU about politics. I mean, Sean Penn created an NGO in Haiti that has done more for rebuilding than any other entity, but he’s got no right to a political opinion according to the reactionary aholes.

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  71. Sue said on October 8, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Prospero, Clueless is a movie about a rich girl of the leisure class who thinks she knows everything, and her misadventures in matchmaking and love.
    You know. Emma by Jane Austen.

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