Right to get to work.

I usually go to Lansing on Mondays, but I decided to go today this week. Apparently it’s going to be Michigan rock city; I may not even be able to reach my office — my parking space, anyway. If I can slip away, and get close enough, I might get some pictures. But I’m not optimistic. The state police seem to be loaded for bear. We’ll find out what democracy looks like.

There is so much to say about this, but for obvious reasons, I can’t say too much. My boss has compiled a few links, but there are many, many more you can find with a few keystrokes. One thing seems obvious: This is a political move, and a bold one. This Free Press editorial — 900 words and change — has a strange tone, like a wounded lover. You promised, and you lied to us! Very odd. But it gives you a sense of the emotional stew here, too.

For now, we must gird our loins for the morning. I made pie. And some soup. I’m calling it Beta Carotene Stew, made from oven-roasting a butternut squash, a fat sweet potato, a couple of carrots and, just for the hell of it and because I had them, a couple of apples. Cook down some onions in butter, add a bunch of curry powder, add the roasted stuff, get to work with the stick blender. Thin it out with vegetable broth and enjoy. It’s like eating a bowl full of vitamins. By tomorrow, I’ll be able to throw away my glasses.

So, some bloggage?

Some of you who visit don’t read the comments, so you may have missed Charlotte’s post about her grandmother, who died recently. Here’s your second chance.

I was also sorry to hear about the death of Bob Pence, a Fort Wayner who joined us here from time to time. I corresponded with him for a while, and I wrote a column about how the river was undermining Thieme Drive, where he lived. He had a sly sense of humor; by the time I met him, he’d been through a lot, including a cancer that nearly killed him. His website endures, however, and you can enjoy some of his photography, mainly of small towns in the Midwest and, um, tractors. He was a farm boy, and loved the equipment. He would have been fun to go through the Henry Ford with.

Time to gird my loins for Lansing. Fingers crossed it’s not too crazy, and if it is, that I get a coupe of decent pictures. Happy Tuesday, all.

Posted at 12:20 am in Current events |

99 responses to “Right to get to work.”

  1. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Good luck tomorrow. thanks for the Bob Pence web site I hope im not the only tractor guy. But did you see that Oliver Standard 88? Holy cow. you talk about art. I’m an Allis Chalmers guy, but that Oliver should be in a museum. Found a new desktop background. Bob has awesome taste.

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  2. Jolene said on December 11, 2012 at 4:01 am

    People visit this site and don’t read the comments? Really? How very odd.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 11, 2012 at 6:28 am

    There’s also skimming the comments very, very quickly, which has the downside of occasionally missing a gem like Charlotte’s tribute; that could have been me two days out of three, so thanks for Nancy’s editorial attentions.

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  4. beb said on December 11, 2012 at 8:09 am

    A newspaper editorial board feeling betrayed by a politician is so like the guy who kills his parents then begs for pity from the Courts because he’s an orphan.

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  5. Scout said on December 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I’m so happy Nancy posted the link to Charlotte’s blog. What a treat to read about Mamma Jane, and not only that, I now have another wonderful place to visit. So much talent here at nn.c. I’m with Jolene- people visit but don’t read the comments? That’s like eating cake with no frosting!

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  6. Suzanne said on December 11, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I heard some Michigan politician on the radio this morning lamenting that they just HAD to pass this Right to Work bill because all the jobs were positively flowing into Indiana and Michigan had to stop the bleeding. Really? I live in Indiana and I don’t see any vast job growth, unless you count the minimum wage jobs manning the cash register at Dollar General or Walmart.

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  7. Basset said on December 11, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Some really nice pics, even at phone size… will have to take a longer and closer look at home tonight. A museum near here has a Porsche farm tractor from the 50s, same Porsche company that makes overpriced midlife-crisis-mobiles now… For that matter, Lamborghini started out making farm equipment.

    Actually, I’m about due for a midlife crisis myself… a Pinzgauer or Toyota FJ45 pickup would be more my speed though.

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  8. beb said on December 11, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I enjoyed looking through Bob Pence’s photos, especially on tractors. I don’t know that I’m a fan of any one brand more than another, but I am drawn to the frequently Rube Goldbergish designs of the earliest models. As kids we’d visit my dad army buddy who initially had a pair of John Deere’s. These were the old, two cylinder diesel design that could idle so slow that you could hear the individual cylinders firing – chuff- chuff- chuff. And when they ran there was this amazing assortment of pulleys and flywheels spinning.

    The Henry Ford museum has a nice collection of farm equipment. The star attraction for me at the moment is a stream traction engine mounted in enormous iron wheels. The whole thing must stand two stories tall. It’s hard to imagine something so bulky and unwieldy used to cultivate a farm.

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  9. uncle rameau said on December 11, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Carrots do nothing for your vision, Ken Jennings explained on the radio somewhere in the last few days. The story got its start as the Brits in WWII had developed radar which was allowing them to shoot down planes they shouldn’t have been able to see, so they concocted carotene as vision enhancer for the gun crews as a cover story to delay the Nazi’s realizing what was what.

    You can’t believe anything you were told as a kid is the concept for his latest book, which sounded intriguing.

    On with the Wisconsining in Lansing!

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  10. coozledad said on December 11, 2012 at 9:06 am

    beb: Steam tractors weren’t common around here. It seems like you’d run into a problem with soil compaction after awhile- especially in heavy clays. The mechanical application of steam on that scale is inherently scary. If I remember right, under the pressures needed to exert that kind of force, it’s no longer steam, but a 700 degree? plasma. Those tractors are still killing people at exhibitions.

    That was a great remembrance, Charlotte. Was your grandmother acquainted with the McCormick who was the subject of Corghessian Boyle’s Riven Rock?

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  11. Jenine said on December 11, 2012 at 9:12 am

    @Basset: thanks for introducing me to the Pinzgauer, I had a good time googling.

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  12. brian stouder said on December 11, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I’m just old enough to have seen, on several occasions, people make observations (usually in an acidic way) such as “Y’know, we COULD have simply done this (fill in the blank)”; and then this is normally followed by disappointed kibitzing by silly folks who really wish they HAD done whatever it was they coulda’ done.

    And every so often, the powers that be seemingly decide “what the hell!”, and succumb to the impulse to do whatever the tempting thing is, that lays before them.

    Ronald Reagan’s firing of all the air traffic controllers leaps to mind; and GWBush’s pre-emptive war in Iraq; and (locally) Mayor Moses’ resignation from/reclamation of his mayoral office (all in the space of 3 or 4 days, if I recall correctly), to make a campaign finance conviction go away.

    Here in Indiana, Governor-elect Pence and his supporters appear to be contemplating a huge (to me!) “what the hell” political move, which would be the sacking of the statewide-elected Superintendent of Public Education Glenda Ritz (who I got to meet last night at the school board meeting, but we digress); a woman who received 100,000 MORE votes than Governor–elect Pence did.

    This action in Michigan looks like a particularly large-scale example of “what the hell” politics, and it will be for the citizens of the state of Michigan to give their “representatives” all kinds of hell in return, for their surrender to temptation.

    PS – one of the recurring themes in a biography of Henry Ford that I read a few years ago (and then lent the book out, never to see it again, but again we digress!) was that, at a young age, Henry showed he was simply not afraid of the big steam tractors; he’d jump right in there and operate them, and work on them when they would run right.

    Whereas, regular folks with common sense were terrified of those damned things

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  13. brian stouder said on December 11, 2012 at 9:22 am

    and work on them when they would NOT run right.

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  14. Linda said on December 11, 2012 at 9:25 am

    You are seeing a lot of what you saw in Michigan: the right doubling down and doing stuff they really want to do, but have been restrained by the possibility to get voted out of office. The wakeup call is, demographics and opinion is not going your way, get what you can now. So the takeaway that Republicans seem to have gotten from the last election was what burglars do when they hear an alarm go off: they know the cops are on the way, and they take as much stuff out the back window as possible.

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  15. coozledad said on December 11, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Linda: The resemblance between the Republicans and Brezhnev era Soviets is uncanny. They’ll keep thieving until they get their asses kicked out.
    Did you catch Miss Lindsey’s word salad ultimatum from a couple of days ago? Despite the election, they’re still intent on shitting the bed some more:


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  16. Mark P said on December 11, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Yeah, the comments really are like frosting on the cake. Or maybe nuts in the cake. It is kind of cool to find out what people are interested in, like tractors (nitewatcher) and Pinzgauers (Basset).

    I wish they would stop calling it “right to work” when it’s really “kill the unions”.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on December 11, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Linda, you’ve nailed it. The same thing is happening in DC.

    Yesterday had to be a skimming day for me and I’m glad I had the time to read a little more today. I loved your tribute to your grandmother, Charlotte, and was pleasantly surprised to see Leland and DeKalb pop up. My family’s roots are in DeKalb and Sycamore, and I remember discussions of the land they farmed in Leland. Small world!

    This is the only blog I read where I bother with comments. The rest seem to be people arguing or posting work at home schemes. It’s why I hate it when the sniping begins.

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  18. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Gawd, I’ve been so busy, but I did take some time to quickly browse Bob Pence’s website. Thanks for the link, Alex.

    Those tractors are very impressive and whenever I see such artistry, it makes me lament that I do not have more time to reflect and geek out on machinery of yore. I spend about 60-70 hours a week designing stuff for the here and now and I doubt designers and aficionados of the future will be geeking-out to my designs.. but you never know. I do strive for elegance.

    beb, your description of “Rube Goldbergish designs” is spot on. Very well said.

    And Cooz and Brian, you guys are so right about superheated steam as a working fluid. It is not to be trifled with lightly.

    Charlotte, condolences on your grandma. I lost mine a few weeks ago (at 92) and she was my heart. In the end, she was surrounded by four of her remaining five children (my one aunt was on vacation and my father’s passing preceded hers). Her last two years were spent in a nursing home on the eastern shore of Maryland, but it seemed like a good one and she was visited daily by my one aunt who lived nearby and almost weekly by my other two aunts and two uncles.

    Since my grandfather’s passing in 2003 (they had been married 63 years!) she lived with my three aunts in succession. This is part of the reason that I think she lasted so long after her dear husband’s passing.. she was surrounded by love.. love that she had given her entire life returned to her manifold.* It wasn’t until the last two years that it got to be too much.

    Della, as you go to care for your loved ones, beware the rotator cuff injury. I hear that it is frequent among in-home caregivers. Lifting at odd angles is very hazardous.

    * I think I have just disproved the Beatles equation – “the love you make is equal to the love you take.” It is definitely more than that…

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on December 11, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I hope every single Michigan union member who voted Republican because the Democrats are the ni-clang party now feels like a complete schmuck.

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  20. alex said on December 11, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Here in absurdly gerrymandered Hoosierland, the state legislature already crammed right-to-work-for-less-money legislation down our throats and pretty much always does whatever it pleases without much pushback from the voting public. Today there’s a report out that the crown jewel of Mitch Daniels’ gubernatorial tenure is the big ripoff we already knew it was.

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  21. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Good morning from Idaho.:) A right to work state. No biggie to me im retired. Back when I was a younger fellow I answered an ad in the paper for a brick hod carrier. fancy name for you pack mud/mortar. I did not know it was a union shop, didn’t matter either way I needed a job. So I start paying my dues. I think 40 bucks a month or something like that. I attend my first union meeting. It had to have been in the fall of an election year because up front on the counter was all these pamphlets for democrats with the union local 19 logo. I mean left wing bomb throwers to me pelosi, woosley, stark. the most anti 2nd amendment bunch on the planet. So I ask my rep about it. He says oh yeh 5 bucks of your union dues go to election funding. So I say yeh but these 3 here are anti-gun I’ll never vote for any of them. And I remember his answer like it was yesterday. Eric was his name. “We care don’t care about your fu&%ing guns we care about strengthening this union. If you don’t like it go work someplace else”. So there are 2 sides to this issue. To me the 2nd amendment is the most important thing in this country. For others not so so much. But neither of us should be forced to pay money to have a job only to see that money being used for something we would never support.

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  22. Bitter Scribe said on December 11, 2012 at 11:34 am

    nitewatcher: Then how is it fair that you would get the benefits of union protections, work rules, wages, etc. and not pay a penny for them?

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  23. Kirk said on December 11, 2012 at 11:36 am

    “Right to work” is bullshit as Orwellian as “pro-life.”

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  24. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I didn’t have a problem paying dues. The election funds they used for bomb throwers is where i was upset. We should have at least been able to opt out of the election fund part of the dues. Didn’t matter anyways I went on to become self-employed. That was just a stepping stone.

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  25. Jolene said on December 11, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Brian, how can the governor sack the superintendent of public education? She’s an elected official, too, right? What authority do they have to get rid of her?

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  26. Charlotte said on December 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Wow — I made it above the fold — Thanks everyone for the kind words. She was something. It was much better to be a grandchild than a child though — the two of her three surviving children who didn’t speak to her are having a very hard time with this transition.

    Loved Bob’s tractor photos. I keep wanting a tractor, but there’s no point on a city lot and since I’m closing in on paying this house off, looks like this is where I’m going to stay.

    And for those of you clicking over to the blog — there’s a lot in the archives. I’m not blogging much these days as I’m working on a book proposal based on (but not reprinting) the territory I’ve been writing about there since 2002. Keep your fingers crossed. It would be nice to sell another book after 12 years.

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  27. brian stouder said on December 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Jolene, I was amazed and happy when I saw Ms Ritz had WON the office; I never thought she had a chance…and apparently neither did her predecessor.

    Then, after the election, I was stunned (and remain amazed) by the brazen assertions by our governor-elect and our outgoing governor that this uppity woman better NOT think she has any sort of “governing mandate” – despite that she OUT-POLLED our governor elect, too!

    Here’s their “what the hell” rationale:

    a. The office of the Superintendent of Public Education is not in the Indiana constitution – as, for example, the governor’s office is.

    b. The office was created by the Indiana legislature

    c. really, the superintendent oughta be an appointed office, y’know?; appointed by the governor, that is.

    d. Say, since the legislature created the elected office of Superintendent of Public Education, and since our gerrymandered-all-to-hell state legislature now has a walk-out-proof Republican super-majority majority, we can do whatever the hell we wanna do; If we’re losin’ the game, let’s change the rules!

    And now, they sit there, thinking out loud – while Ms Ritz gamely marches ahead.

    And, I think our contingent of maroons down in Indianapolis just might push the button

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  28. Jeff Borden said on December 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm


    The Republican maneuvers in Michigan are going to take away yet another state where I can’t vacation this summer.

    When the Koch Brothers puppets in Wisconsin started taking away the rights of workers, I vowed never to spend one thin dime in the Cheese State until Scott Walker and his odious laws were sent packing. This still left me with Harbor Country in Michigan, but now this. . .and suddenly it’s looking to me like Pure Michigan will become Puke Michigan.

    Ah, well, there are worse places than Chicago to enjoy the summer. Looks like we’re staying home. . .again.

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  29. Jolene said on December 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks for the explanation, Brian, though I can’t say it improved my day. Am so tired of hearing about GOP skullduggery. Am hearing that, in Pennsylvania, there is an effort afoot to change the way electoral college votes are allocated in presidential elections. Apparently, they’re disappointed in the results of their voter suppression efforts and want to try a new approach.

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  30. Sue said on December 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I don’t envy what you’re about to go through, Nancy. Wisconsin fought the good fight, but it wasn’t enough and we’re about to get our democracy good and hard, as the saying goes. Right to work for less, among lots of other scary things, is almost a certainty in the next session.
    And at least you have a paper that’s acknowledging betrayal. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is almost schizophrenic in its coverage, with reporters (finally) covering the John Doe while the editorial page still hasn’t gotten past its itsy bitsy case of the vapors over the fact that Walker & Co. may not have been entirely upfront with the citizenry.
    MJS has managed to piss off its base readers without a big uptick in subscriptions from conservatives.

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  31. DellaDash said on December 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Danny @18 – The first time my Grandma broke her hip, I lifted her up and carried her to her bed. It did a total number on my back…but, as I said, I was young and fit, as well as pumped with adrenaline. Shortly after she died, I took up weight training, emphasis on ‘dead lifts’, at which point, after the horse had left the barn, I learned how to lift with my strengthening legs.

    This time around, I will not be living with my mother, but finding a place to suit me nearby. My counter-condo-culture lifestyle is probably the furthest from hers of any of her children. Furthermore, while lavishing daily doses of TLC on her, I fully intend on leading a fulfilling life for myself. A cousin has brought my attention to the ‘revitalization’ of the historic warehouse district in downtown Davenport by the river, where several buildings have been converted into ‘lofts’. We’ll see. Nashville has turned out to not be the place to pursue a penchant to create with light and stained-glass; and my design for a double-dragon fan in six graduated panels, with all the scales made of custom bevels, has stayed rolled up in a closet for 8 years now. A satisfied owner of a piece I made for her home in Miami didn’t blink when I gave her a $10,000 quote for the dragon panels. Then I took a 6-week programming contract in Nashville, which turned into a year, broke up with my live-in lover, and left Miami Beach with only a few looks behind behind.

    No longer a spring chicken, and with the wisdom of experience, I’ll be leaving the heavy lifting of my mother to the professional rotator cuffs, if and when the necessity arises.

    Okay, this is therapeutic and self-indulgent of me to carry on about my personal upheaval when bigger things are popping up Nancy’s way.

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  32. Bitter Scribe said on December 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    …reporters (finally) covering the John Doe…


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  33. Jolene said on December 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Gene Weingarten conducted an online chat regarding his Sunday article on the Jeffrey McDonald murders. If you read the article, you’ll be interested in his discussion of how he came to write it, more thoughts about the case, and so on. If you missed the article, give it a look. Very much worth your time, especially if you’ve followed the previous journalistic treatments of this horrible, long ago murder by Joe McGinniss, Errol Morris, and others.

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  34. Jeff Borden said on December 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm


    There is an ongoing if slow-moving investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R-Koch Brothers) relating to shenanigans when he was an official in Milwaukee County, most of it tracing to his use of his toadies to do campaign work on the taxpayers’ dime. Little Scotty continues to preach his innocence, but he lawyered up with a hotshot criminal defense attorney and his chief aide, Rebecca Rindfleisch, from his county days, was found guilty on a felony count and sentenced to six months in prison and three years of probation.

    The sniveling little shithead evaded recall, but with luck, he’ll eventually be brought down by this probe. Of course, his masters the Koch Brothers will probably help him out, but if he is removed from office, it will be a sweet victory.

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  35. Sue said on December 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Bitter Scribe –
    Dan Bice has been doing very good work on this, but he’s about it and his work didn’t make front page until just before the recall election. A recent editorial following one of the sentencings included a sentence along the lines of ‘There’s no way of knowing what really happened’.
    That kind of commentary is irritating, when Wisconsin blogs have been putting the dots together since this started (years), in a much more thorough way than a paper that has gained a reputation in the last decade, including pulitzers, for investigative reporting.
    There is a lot of lefty disgust with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel over this and it’s probably not a good idea to dismiss it as simply sour grapes if they want to be around to pick up the pieces once this is over.

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  36. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Since part of the topic was about Nancy’s eye soup, heres a bit of helpful eye nutrition, dietary supplements news. I learned about these when I found out I have AMD in my left eye. (always something with the left) 🙂


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  37. Swimmerboy said on December 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Michigan State Senator Gretchen Whitmer rips GOPers a new one regarding right to mooch and the Governor’s pure bullshit rosy view of Indiana’s economic success by union bashing.

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  38. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Swimmerboy!!!!! Hilarious, Prospero!

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  39. DellaDash said on December 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Good one, SwimmerPros @37!

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  40. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    #37 🙂

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  41. MarkH said on December 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    In non-union, non right-to-work news, may I say I am having a surprisingly terrific day. I didn’t expect it, as waking up realizing it was my 61st birthday brought some dread. But hey, after a seeing my family, a couple of really good client meetings, and taking in my reasonable good health, by lunchtime it was all good.

    So, I thought I’d share with all y’all the electic list of notable fellow birthday celebrants today.

    Let’s start with two close to home in the literary crowd Charlotte runs with in or near Paradise Valley: Tom McGuane turns 73 and Jim Harrison turns 75 today. These two have GOT to be getting together for a party somewhere, either Chico or the Grand Hotel.

    Also born on Dec. 11:
    Max Baucus, Montana US Senator just up the road
    Betsy Blair, the female lead in “Marty” opposite Ernest Borgnine
    Doc Blanchard, Heisman winner 1945
    Ron Cary from “Barney Miller”
    Mos Def
    Stein Erickson, skiing legend.
    Teri Garr, who I will pine for forEVER (yes my wife is aware)
    David Gates
    Lynda Day George
    Tom Hayden, former Mr. Jane Fonda
    Jermaine Jackson
    John Kerry, Secretary of State, er, US Senator (ahem)
    Fiorello LaGuardia
    Brenda Lee
    Victor McLaglen
    Donna Mills
    Rita Moreno
    Christina Onassis
    Carlo Ponti, Mr. Sophia Loren
    Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (didn’t we discuss him here last week?)
    Gilbert Roland
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn
    Hailee Stanfield
    Jean-Louis Trintignant

    …and others too insignificant for recognition here. Hope you’re all having a great day.

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  42. Suzanne said on December 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Amen @37. See #6 above. I live in Indiana. We aren’t booming that I can see.

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  43. Scout said on December 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Jeff B @ 28: I’d tell you to come visit Arizona, but we are also a “right-to-work” (what utter BS that term is!) state governed by none other than the terminally tipsy Jan Brewer, aka Governor Bonefinger.

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  44. Hattie said on December 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    We haven’t gotten back to slavery yet, but we’re working on it!

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  45. Prospero said on December 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Almost, Hattie, but what people like the RMoney-Walkers want is enless indentured servitude, or sharecropping, or a restoration of the glorious days of American idustrial feudalism and enthrallment of the working class to the Company Sto:


    I still think that guy was way cool.

    This bridge would have been fixed last year had Boner and the asshat GOPer obstructionists in the House passed the President’s AJA instead of refusing to bring it to the floor for a vote in favor of their 45th or so asinine vote to repeal ACA. Which never had a chance in the senate. It’s franking difficult to understand what might get NJ voters to vote for a GOPer any time in the near future. I wish I knew Pawlenty’s email to send him this article and photo.

    I’m planning to swim across Port Royal Sound Christmas day, over to Parris Island, if anybody that thinks swimming isn’t a demanding athletic endeavorwants to come down and try to make the four miles with me.

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  46. Peter said on December 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Cooz at #15, that comment brought back memories. I did a project in Evanston once, and getting the building permit was like pulling teeth. At least someone at City Hall felt my frustration; he told me that now I know what the Soviet Union would be like if it was run by Republicans.

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  47. Prospero said on December 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    The great thing about the asinine claims from Pence and Snyder are making for the Indiana economic rebirth, aside from the fact they just made that shit up, is that they don’t want to talk about “the rest of the story”, as that pretentious twat Paul Harvey would say. They are talking about allegedly similar salubrious effecrts in Bama and SC too. In both states, GOP goober-nors gave away the farm and the tax base to corporations to ameliorate their bad jobs numbers in a small way. Like Rick Perr bringing his friend to Tejas to fill a few hundred thou acres of Texas hardscrabble withh radioactive waste. Bastards do rape and pillage like Fifth Century Vandals sacking Rome, but they lie their asses off even more wickedly.

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  48. del said on December 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I vaguely recall a U.S. Supreme Court that seemed to let union members avoid having their dues go to political causes they disagreed with, the Beck case. Here’s a link to an article explaining it (which I haven’t read, so it might not be as I recall): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Workers_of_America_v._Beck

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  49. brian stouder said on December 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Mark H – Happy birthday!

    Here’s hoping your day continued on a pleasant path, and that you have a a nice prime rib (or whatever your fave is) with your significant other, as the day becomes evening

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  50. Deborah said on December 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I heard some guy on NPR this afternoon say that they’ve had Right to work in Oklahoma for at least a decade and there is no evidence whatsoever that it has brought any jobs to the state.

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  51. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    And a vaery happy birthday to you, Mr. Mark.

    And Rush finally makes it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Geesh, took long enough!


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  52. Deborah said on December 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Oh and happy birthday Mark H, enjoyed your list of birthday notables.

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  53. Charlotte said on December 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Mark H — Jim Harrison also shares a birthday with his grandson Will Potenberg. Mine was yesterday — me and Emily Dickinson. I’d forgotten about McGuane and Harrison sharing a birthday — Livingston is so full of writers with Sagittarius birthdays that it gets pretty darn festive this time of year. Also, lefties. Lots of lefties here — not me, but Himself.

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  54. MarkH said on December 11, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Happy belated, Charlotte, sorry I didn’t chime in yesterday, along with condolences for you on your grandmother. Very poingnant remembrance.

    Literary Livingston; it has ever been thus. Or, at least since the time 40 years ago or so it was discovered that McGuane (now over to the east in Boulder River Valley, I understand) and Brautigan called it home. I’m pretty sure Harrison has been there all that time, too.

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  55. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Looks like the free people in Illinois got some good news today. About time you state gives you back a right they should have never taken. Happy happy joy joy !!


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  56. Sue said on December 11, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    So I was Christmas shopping today, checking out the bookstore, and came across a boxed set of something called “Elf on the Shelf”. And picked it up and read about it a little.
    Anyone heard of this? Is there anyone besides me who thinks this is creepy? Like, clown creepy?
    I feel un-Christmas-spirity admitting it creeped me out. Apparently it’s heartwarming.

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  57. LAMary said on December 11, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    “…And Rush finally makes it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Geesh, took long enough!”

    Seriously? Is it in recognition of his rock an roll DJ days in Cape Girardeau?

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  58. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Sue, it’s called the “uncanny valley” and you just walked through it.


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  59. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    No, Mary, it’s recognition for when he was in the Canadian rock power trio and weighed half as much as he does now, had twice as much hair, and could hear out of both ears.

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  60. Deborah said on December 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Wait a minute, are you talking about Rush Limbaugh? What’s wrong with this picture?

    Charlotte, I have bookmarked your blog, have been perusing your past entries, love it.

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  61. Jolene said on December 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Pretty sure LAMary was joking. It’s Rush–not Rush–that is to be inducted into the R&R HOF.

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  62. alex said on December 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Bet we know which Rush did more drugs.

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  63. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Alex, you are probably very right about that. I own a few of the band’s DVD’s. In one of them, “Beyond the Lighted Stage,” it is quite apparent from interviews with them and others who toured with them that they were very introverted and focused on their music. While the other bands would be killing it with groupies, the boys from Rush would retire to their rooms to read books, watch hockey or play music. They were quintessential geeks and I love them.

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  64. paddyo' said on December 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Happy birthday, MarkH, from south of you in Mountain Time, AC 303 sector . . .

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  65. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Sorry, Deborah. I knew Mary was joking and figured others would be in on it too.

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  66. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    maybe this help with which “Rush” is going to the rock hall…


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  67. Bitter Scribe said on December 11, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    nitewatcher: Yes, how happy happy joy joy that the next guy who thinks I looked funny at him in a parking lot might blow me away.

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  68. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Bitter Scribe, you know your right. Ive been reading everywhere that people looking funny at people are just getting mowed down. Especially in parking lots. Shame on the 4th. Good thing they didn’t look funny at plaintiff.

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  69. Sherri said on December 11, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Sorry, not parking lots, just malls: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/12/at-least-2-killed-in-shooting-at-clackamas-town-center/

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  70. James said on December 11, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Nitewatcher… You’re new here, so I’ll let you know the rules around here. Trolls like you are tolerated, but only if they’re grammatical and punctuate correctly. It’s “you’re” and “I’ve.” And it’s “the plaintiff.” Use articles.


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  71. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Yeh I saw that. Horrible tragedy. Not much can be done to stop some wacko bent killing,except kill him first. To bad someone there close in that mall didnt pull out or have a gun on them to smoke this SOB. I NEVER leave home without my pistol. I refuse to be a victim. I will shoot back.

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  72. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    James im sorry is there a FAQ page or something i should read over first? news to me man. anything else you want to have a hissy over Sheeshhhhhhhhhhhh

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  73. brian stouder said on December 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    See, the first rule of individual gun control (it would seem to me) would be individual self-control.

    Guns hold no allure for me. I’m a city boy, and I’m spoiled on the idea that if I dial 911, the cops are gonna be here pdq…even if I never say a word to the 911 operator.

    So, I keep my cell phone handy, and I’m as safe (or much, much safer) than any gun-totin’ chuckle-head could possibly be.

    The thing about depending on a fire-arm for safety is that, first, the gun has to be loaded; and second, it has to be readily accessible.

    So, if I’m at home and it’s 3 in the morning, and an intruder comes in, I have to be able to grab up the firearm and be ready at that moment to shoot someone.

    But what if our 8 year old gets up at 3 in the morning, and finds my loaded, accessible weapon? (or at 3 in the afternoon, for that matter)

    Or, if I’m packing heat at the mall, and something begins to happen, why then I should shoot any shooter, right? But what if another well armed citizen has the same idea, and the bad-guy is in Sears while John Q Citizen and I are exchanging fire at the food court, because we each think we should be heros?

    You wanna own a gun, God bless you. But also, I hope God humbles you a little, too

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  74. Suzanne said on December 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Someone in the crowd when Gabby Giffords was shot DID have a gun…he never got it out. I saw him interviewed at the time, and he said it all happened so fast, and there was such chaos, that he was afraid to start shooting too. Had he done so, no doubt someone else in the crowd, or the cops when they came, would have thought he was part of the plan and shot him, too.
    Having everybody armed sounds like such a good solution until you think of the details.

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  75. alex said on December 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I can’t imagine being so paranoid that I’d need to carry a gun with me anywhere. And I’m a fucking faggot in the reddest state either side of Dixie. I wouldn’t have one in my home or on my person. I don’t want to bear the responsibility for the horrible things that could happen with it.

    I don’t buy the rationale that if everybody was packin’ nobody’d be shootin’. I know too many gun owners. And I think there ought to be a mental status exam as a qualification for owning one.

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  76. Jolene said on December 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    anything else you want to have a hissy over

    I’m a fan of capital letters at the beginning of sentences and a punctuation mark of some sort at the end. One of the pleasures of this blog is the high level of literacy of the commenters. Try to keep up.

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  77. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Brian & Suzanne, Your both right. For some reason we humans love to kill. I keep wondering when it will all end. I f ever. It started from the beginning of time when Cain slew Abel. We are a cruel violent people. Im sure when God has seen enough he will end it.

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  78. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Alex carrying a gun doesn’t make me paranoid. In fact it has the opposite affect on me. I don’t carry a gun because i’m looking for a fight. I do so because I want to be left alone.

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  79. Deborah said on December 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    You know what, this is getting creepy. I may need a hiatus. Love you Nancy and all the commenters but there is beginning to be an undesirable vibe. This is the wrong season for that.

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  80. basset said on December 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Nitewatcher, here’s the FAQ:

    Have something to say. Recycled Rush and Faux News talking points don’t count… not because they’re right-wing, but because they’re not original.

    Be civil.

    Think you can handle that? Good… now prove it.

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  81. Dexter said on December 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Fuck you Rick Snyder, you goddam snake. Of course you now can’t be re-elected, and you knew that all along, didn’t you? You knew this, you planned it, you’re the fucking sacrificial boy who sold out to the worst elements of ugly capitalism, the part that tramples workers , sets new rules, caps wages, cuts benefits…hell…doesn’t even negotiate with workers at all anymore, just shoves the shit-pie down their throats, take it or leave it, or as Reagan said, “vote with your feet”.
    You and your kind make me and my kind sick..sick with rage and disgust… from Jennifer Granholm: “Workers in states with “right to work” laws earn about five and a half thousand dollars less, per year than workers in states with collective bargaining.

    And it’s not just pay: right-to-work states spend almost 27-hundred dollars less per pupil on elementary and secondary education and the rate of workplace deaths is 52-point-9 per cent higher .

    That’s bad news for America’s workers, but great news for McDonald’s, Walmart or any corporations paying full-time employees so little they’re poor.

    It’s true – global businesses want places to easily pay less to workers without clout, just like do in their home countries. But their countries also don’t have our minimum wage or child-labor laws or safe-fire proof factories. Should america be in a race to the bottom, or lead in the treatment of workers with, dare I say, fairness and equity?”

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  82. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Jolene I do not have your high level of literacy. But I will not apologize for that either. To you or anyone. 😛 I was good enough at what I did for a living to retire at 49 and move to my ranch in Idaho. So maybe you should be the one trying to keep up?

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  83. basset said on December 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    (smiling and shaking my head) Dude… quit before you dig yourself in any deeper.

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  84. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I don’t know what to do about gun violence, but I really don’t think everyone being armed is the solution. I’d probably shoot my eye out.

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  85. nitewatcher said on December 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Oh come on basset. You keep poking me. Maybe your one of those people who can’t help but look when your going by a car wreck. Hell I don’t know if I could make anyone happy here. Some people just don’t like others who aren’t like them I guess ? But this is who I am. And i’m digging this place.

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  86. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Dexter and you other union backers, you make some good points. I’m certainly sympathetic to people having a living wage and having a safe working environment. But there is one thing that everyone seems to be ignoring: Union dues are used mainly to contribute to only one party…the Democratic party. This muddies the waters, doesn’t it?

    Corporations also contribute to political parties, but at least they tend to cut both ways in their contributions. Perhaps no corporate entity (corporation or union) should be allowed to make political contributions.

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  87. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 11, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Happy birthday, MarkH. The Indiana Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends used to have an annual question for discussion & discernment, and one year it really grabbed me. The question was “Does the locking of our doors actually contribute to an atmosphere of anxiety and promote the crime it supposedly deters?”

    No one among the Quakers of Indiana was saying it should become a doctrinal issue that you don’t lock your doors at home or at the meetinghouse, but not a few became a little less obsessively concerned with making sure everything was locked up. I can’t do justice to the meeting’s deliberations in this sort of venue, but the interesting part, I thought, was the mere fact that a roomful of “weighty Friends” were able to calmly take seriously the possibility, and weigh the implications of “what if” the question were the case.

    Just for our own considerations here.

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  88. DellaDash said on December 11, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Deborah @79 – was just getting ready to say how totally creeped out I am by the new gun guy, and all the attention he’s getting…enough to make him feel like sticking around…when I came to your reaction. Ribbit that!

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  89. Danny said on December 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Jeff, don’t try to Jedi-mind-trick us into equanimity. We don’t truck with that.

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  90. Minnie said on December 11, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Deborah, DellaDash. I’m with you. Check y’all later.

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  91. Minnie said on December 11, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Oh, and it’s not the gun talk that sent me over the edge. It’s the damned emoticons.

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  92. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm


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  93. Scout said on December 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I guess I have to question exactly what there is to “dig” about hanging around a comments section full of people who have a completely different world view. I’m with Deborah and DellaDash – It’s starting to get weird in here.

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  94. Sue said on December 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Deborah, DellaDash and Minnie, reconsider please?
    Personally I think nitewatcher has made some interesting comments, but he won’t stop needling and he keeps getting reaction, so why should he stop? We’re letting him control the conversation and consequently he’s built an outsized influence within this group in less than a week.
    We can deal with him by refusing to rise to the continual baiting, or take ourselves away from the blog and give Nancy fewer and fewer pageviews.
    I’m sticking around, but asking everyone not to reinforce trollish behavior. I want to be reading this blog a year from now, not lamenting its closing because everyone bailed and Nancy decided it wasn’t worth the crap she was dealing with.

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  95. DellaDash said on December 11, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Sue – I’m too addicted to stay away completely. Always interested in what you and several other regulars have to say, let alone nn. If someone is actually making me shudder, though…gotta take a step back for awhile.

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  96. Danny said on December 12, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Hilarious, Jeff.

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  97. Catherine said on December 12, 2012 at 12:35 am

    You want to go home and rethink your life.


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  98. Little Bird said on December 12, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Nitewatcher is a shit-disturber who only wants to do just that. The kid who used to pull the wings off of flies. He might’ve grown older, but did he grow up?

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  99. Basset said on December 12, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Exactly right. NW, I am ignoring you as of right now.

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