Up too early, tunes too loud.

The watchword for fitness this year is variety. I’m putting my gym on 30-day notice. If I can’t find enough different things to do there in a month, I’m giving up my membership and going back to messing around outdoors, dropping into yoga studios here and there and maybe taking a weekly weights class. But I have to give them a full month of chances, which is how I ended up in a 5:45 a.m. spinning class, my second in three days. Saturday’s was so grueling — ghastly music, a sadistic instructor — that I couldn’t let the taste linger. I like spinning; the hour goes by fast. So I came back yesterday morning for a palate-cleanser with a different instructor.

The music was, if anything, worse than Saturday’s speed-metal. The pace wasn’t quite as brutal, but I get really irritated with what spin teachers claim is sprinting on a stationary bike. I try to ride like an actual cyclist, and folks, we don’t go so fast our legs blur; if you’re trying to go fast, you go up a gear or three. But adding resistance on a stationery bike is just like adding a 30 mph headwind. It just sucks.

And if you’re going to make me sit through “Beat It” during one of these ordeals, at least make it the original Michael Jackson version, not some soundalike.

In my spinning class at that hour, I’d play Beyoncé and the Pretenders. But no one asked me.

And have I bored you to death yet? Sorry.

The punchline of this whole story was that I slipped on black ice in the parking lot on the way back to my car, falling directly on my knee. I’m starting to feel like Joe Namath.

Fortunately, though, I have good bloggage for you today, and you can read it without having to listen to “Blame it on the Boom Boom.” You’re welcome.

From Roy’s Tumblr, a letter from Alec Guinness to a friend, discussing a part he’d been offered, “fairy-tale rubbish but could be interesting, perhaps.” Three months later, he’s on about the “rubbish dialogue.” Bet you can’t guess what crapfest he was working in.

I love a story like this, which illustrates something most of us never think about, in this case, the ghetto economy. It’s about the valuable street substance that is craved, stolen and traded — Tide laundry detergent.

I can’t bear myself to read the Elizabeth Wurtzel essay this essay is about, but I’ll read this essay. Huh?

It’s true: Jack and Rose could have both survived the Titanic sinking, but noooo.

Finally, the best column I’ve read about Lance Armstrong in a good long time:

He cannot say he’s sorry for using performance-enhancing drugs. If he wants to confess, as reported on Friday by The New York Times, he has to leave it at that. The trained-seal routine for celebrities caught in a scandal won’t work here.

He doesn’t want forgiveness for his pharmaceutical adventures.

He wants his old life back. He wants to compete in sanctioned triathlons. He wants to return to the leadership of his cancer foundation. He wants to matter again.

Tuesday. And so the week is underway.

Posted at 12:11 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

96 responses to “Up too early, tunes too loud.”

  1. coozledad said on January 8, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Gore Vidal said that when Alec was directing? a production of Hamlet, he wanted to change the stage directions so Hamlet didn’t talk to Polonius on the stairs.
    “I’ve never had an intelligent conversation on a staircase.”

    All those space operas have shitty dialog. My wife was watching some Star Trek bloopers a couple of days ago. The moment anyone speaks in natural rhythms the scenes fly apart and you notice the skeletal arrangement of the illusion is a bunch of pajama wearing adults in a motor home. The dramatic tension occurs when they’re driving through a bad neighborhood.

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  2. Brandon said on January 8, 2013 at 2:17 am

    …without having to listen to “Blame it on the Boom Boom.”

    But you tempt us with the YouTube link. Actually not a bad song. The lyrics are gloriously goofy.

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  3. MaryRC said on January 8, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Re Jack and Rose surviving, one of the commenters on the Smithsonian site brings up a point that occurred to me when I was watching the movie: for most of the latter half of the movie, Jack and Rose are sloshing around in waist-high or knee-high water inside the Titanic. It’s the same water as outside the Titanic. Why didn’t they die of hypothermia inside the ship?

    But this is moot anyway. Men who survived the sinking of Titanic spent the rest of their lives with the stigma of cowardice. Even if they were dragged from the freezing water just in time, they were treated as though they had tossed a shawl over their head, donned a skirt and cowered in the bottom of a lifeboat. Jack had to die, it was the only possible ending.

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  4. Dexter said on January 8, 2013 at 2:57 am

    I didn’t know what spinning was until it was shown on an episode of Six Feet Under. I know I would never have the patience to do it. I am impressed by anyone who goes to gym and sticks with it. I think I quit going to gym when my daughter was born; I was 28. That’s when I quit playing basketball at the Y and so I also quit working out on the equipment there. For anyone over 50 who can still motivate themselves to get to gym, full speed ahead. For years my wife would get all excited as her sister and she would join a gym and work like hell and begin to see the pounds drop off. Then something would come up, and they didn’t go that week…then they’d miss two workouts in a row…and after a few weeks they had quit altogether. Every year.

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  5. Deborah said on January 8, 2013 at 3:02 am

    I used to frequent the gym at the Y many years ago when I lived in St Louis, I didn’t mind it. But it was the only gym I could stand. I find gyms so boring, I’d much rather be outside, so I walk for exercise. Now that I’m retired I try to walk 50 miles a week, or about 7 miles a day. I rarely get up to that, but it’s a goal. I break it up to 2 or 3 walks a day and usually while doing errands. It’s hard to walk that many miles a day in Santa Fe unless you hike up in the mountains which you first have to drive to, which is a pain. Actually trying to walk while doing errands in Santa Fe is surprisingly unpleasant. The only pleasant place to walk is around the plaza area and there are no grocery stores or drug stores around there. The places where you need to go to do those things are on roads that are just awful with narrow sidewalks next to 6 or 8 lanes of speeding pick-up truck and SUV traffic. I have decided to become an activist for better walking conditions there, don’t get me started.

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  6. Sherri said on January 8, 2013 at 3:22 am

    When I tore my ACL a couple of years ago, I was determined to get stronger, so I hit the gym and started working with a personal trainer to do weight lifting. Best thing I ever did. It was amazing to me how getting stronger made all those joint aches and pains go away, or at least get much, much better. I turned 50 last year, and while I haven’t magically turned into a 30 year old, or even a 40 year old, I do feel better.

    And the knee with the reconstructed ACL? It’s strong, stable, and except for some occasional stiffness, it doesn’t bother me at all.

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  7. ROGirl said on January 8, 2013 at 5:40 am

    Alec’s letter was hilarious and charming — the confusion about Harrison Ford’s name, the resentment of the old codger treatment, the line about the dwarf washing in the bidet. What a contrast with the douche bag that is Lance Armstrong. No doubt he will continue to throw his former teammates, flunkies and their associates under the bus as he starts the confession phase of his life. After all, he’s only 41. What’s he gonna do for the rest of his life?

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  8. David C. said on January 8, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Our Y has a spinning bike set up in the room with the treadmills. It never seems to get used except by me. I ride it at a pace and tension that feels like normal bike riding to me. It works out much better with me as my own galley slave rather than the instructor’s.

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  9. Linda said on January 8, 2013 at 7:07 am

    I’m getting ready to hit the gym in about a half hour. I like moving around outdoors, but I have to be honest–in the winter, I won’t do that, period. I reluctantly started going six years ago to maintain a big weight loss, because all the evidence says that that’s what successful maintainers do. But I have to say that it was like drinking from the fountain of youth. I feel really good on a regular basis. Also, it really seems to help your immune system. I shake off infections a lot better than I used to.

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  10. alex said on January 8, 2013 at 7:17 am

    If only it were as easy to quit cigarettes as it is to quit going to the gym.

    Re: Tide, I don’t think I’ve purchased the brand in years. I don’t think it had anything to do with the price but the contrived “fragrance,” which I always thought of as floral tomcat. (I’m similarly not a fan of scented candles and potpourri and Glade.) It didn’t bring out my maternal instincts or make me feel like I’d arrived at the top of the social pecking order, two of the supernatural powers being attributed to that ghastly smell by the marketing people. Sometimes I think the marketers are hoodwinking their employers more than the consumer.

    I do recall that when I used Tide, I’d be told by older women in particular that I must be using way too much detergent and that it was not becoming.

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  11. Jolene said on January 8, 2013 at 7:49 am

    There are actually several different Tide scents, alex. Maybe you just got the wrong one.

    Great article. I’m fascinated by the idea of shoplifting something as big as a bottle of Tide–not to mention multiple bottles of Tide.

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  12. alex said on January 8, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I realize that by posting this, I’m giving an untalented hack a wider audience than he deserves. But it’s an interesting case study in how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. When did Social Security become a handout? We pay into it, dick brain, so that when unregulated free market capitalism gobbles up your long-anticipated pension on the eve of your retirement you won’t die destitute under a bridge.

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  13. coozledad said on January 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

    For a feminist, Elizabeth Wurtzel sure does raise the question whose prostate she tonguehumped to get that tripe published.
    Does she even have an ear?

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  14. nancy said on January 8, 2013 at 8:36 am

    The Tide story interested me because it reminds me that there are wheels upon wheels turning in the poverty economy that most of us never think about. A couple years ago, police busted a shoplifting ring where homeless people were stealing high-end champagne from the wine section of a Kroger — Perrier-Jouet, Dom, the works. The cops tracked them to a Detroit liquor store that was giving them $5 or so per item, then putting the bottles in their own stock. This is common all over the city, and not necessarily just with champagne. Baby formula, Red Bull, all that stuff is routinely stolen from groceries in quantity. I had no idea.

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  15. Basset said on January 8, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Well, at least she’s not calling herself a brilliant, castrating ball buster like what’s her name a few days ago.

    Rebuilt ACL here too, Sherri, tore it clean off and did a bunch of cartilage as well. no more basketball for me.

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  16. brian stouder said on January 8, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Alex, I gave up on Lenninger’s column when he called the Emancipation Proclamation that “did nothing”.

    What a dope.

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  17. brian stouder said on January 8, 2013 at 8:48 am

    “a brilliantly cynical ploy that “did nothing”.

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  18. Peter said on January 8, 2013 at 8:54 am

    That Tide stuff is something: last year a close friend of mine – who works for Walgreens – and I were driving through the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago and we saw this roadside stand where they were selling Tide in baggies – both liquid and granular. He calls a state hotline, and he asks that we circle back, which I did. Pile of cop cars; he gets out and photographs license plates. I didn’t know that Tide was the #1 item being stolen from Walgreens – more than cosmetics, batteries, liquor, you name it. He also told me that Walgreens thinks is bizarre is that they don’t appear to be inside jobs, which you would think would be the case, since it’s kind of hard to smuggle a whole case of laundry detergent out of a store. It got so bad that the state police set up a hotline with major retailers in the area to report detergent thefts.

    And, in my never ending quest to feel old: Happy 66th Birthday to the Thin White Duke. As we would say in high school, we can eat gyros, but just for one day.

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  19. Peter said on January 8, 2013 at 8:59 am

    And another thing: Great job putting up the Tide article after last night. Ooh wee that was the next best thing to seeing the Pack get slammed.

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  20. Jolene said on January 8, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Peter, after reading your comment, i clicked on my Facebook page and found this link from NPR.

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  21. Deborah said on January 8, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I wish the article had described how they smuggle the Tide bottles out. Under clothing, in plain sight?

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  22. alex said on January 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Brian, I’m amazed that no one on the staff at the News-Sentinel seems to realize just how offensive that column is. To equate the New Deal and Great Society with chattel slavery is every bit as thoughtless and gutless as making inapt polemical comparisons between [name your bugaboo here] and the Nazi holocaust. I bet he’d have a quick change of mind about Social Security if his wife and his employer were to dump him.

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  23. Prospero said on January 8, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I’m guessing Star Wars, without looking at it or any comments.

    I’m not much for comparative scores, but how does anybody vote that ND is better than UGA after TD Jesus got completely trashed by Bama and the Red Elephants hung on by the skin of their teeth vs. them Dawgs? And much as I find Johnny Football a cheap redneck trick, how is ND better than a team that beat the Tide? Mystique? The Gipper?

    I have watched bits of Titanic, but never the entire epic. I already knew how it comes out:


    Alex, Leininger serves a similar purpose in God’s universe to that served by mosquitoes. He validates the “not stupidest columnist on the face of the earth” status of Cal Thomas and Maggie Gallagher.

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  24. nancy said on January 8, 2013 at 9:27 am

    From what I hear, circulation is well below 20K now. Before too long, Leininger will be alone in a darkened room, talking to himself.

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  25. Prospero said on January 8, 2013 at 9:32 am

    The same poll ranks FLA above Louisville. Fracking morons.

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  26. Jolene said on January 8, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Two notices for history buffs. First, tonight PBS will present the first of a three-part series re the abolitionist movement. Second, on Fresh Air today, Terry Gross is interviewing Civil War historian Bruce Levine about his book The Fall of the House of Dixie and the crucial role African-American soldiers who enlisted in the Union Army had in winning the war.

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  27. Prospero said on January 8, 2013 at 10:18 am

    New David Bowie song. I think it’s pretty good, if strange and Kraut-centric. Best Bowie song is Heroes. Whole new album in March.

    Who decided to call it spinning? Odd as ducks.

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  28. LAMary said on January 8, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I’m really picky about how my laundry detergent smells. At least in part because I like perfume and I hate it when I can smell my shirt and it’s fighting with the Prada Iris. My current favorite laundry detergent is Trader Joe’s lavendar scented laundry detergent. It’s subtle and actually smells like lavendar. Laundry and lavendar are words from the same root. The other good detergent is Costco environmentall friendly liquid detergent. It smells clean.

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  29. Heather said on January 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I hate gyms and I decided that engaging in exercise that I hate is stupid. I swim and ride my bike. The latter is harder in the winter months, but I think I may have hit on a substitute: ice skating. There’s an indoor rink about a half mile from my house. I may write a book: “Get in Shape by Acting Like a Kid.” Don’t steal it.

    The only thing I have to say about the Elizabeth Wurtzel essay is that who has a “pure heart” and decides to become a lawyer? Ba dum dum.

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  30. brian stouder said on January 8, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Regarding the continuing decline of the N-S; let me just say, one revenue stream they still have (although it is literally dying) is the obituary thing. I won’t be gauche and say what we paid, but it amazed me.

    Meanwhile, the Bryan Times and the Logansport Pharos-Tribune were much less – and I’m betting their combined circulation exceeds the rumored 20k of the N-S (although I suppose one must factor in the J-G, too, as FW Newspapers prints them in both).

    And indeed – the good ol’ Pharos-Tribune left my paragraphs intact, instead of mashing everything together.


    PS – Jolene, thanks for the heads up. I’ll keep an eye out for the abolition shows. I’m reading a book called Hanging Captain Gordon, about one of the very few slaver/traffickers who was ever actually tried and convicted, and then (as the title informs us) executed.

    Of course, all the financial backers simply skated along, reaping their profits

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  31. Deborah said on January 8, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I like Method and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day. Thanks for the tip about TJ’s Lavender detergent, I’ll have to try that. Now that I’m retired I do the laundry.

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  32. Deborah said on January 8, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Brian, nice obit. I liked the part about how she seemed to know everything, in a good way.

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  33. adrianne said on January 8, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Brian, sadly, I think all newspapers now charge for obituaries. On the bright side, at least in my neck of the woods, that allows the family to put in practically anything this side of libel about their loved one. So we would have happily allowed your tribute to your mom to run pretty much untouched.

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  34. alex said on January 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Brian that was a beautiful tribute.

    Regarding laundry detergents, I’ve been using a non-scented Arm & Hammer product for many years now.

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  35. DellaDash said on January 8, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Still reeling from the nn/Cooz ‘jinx’ yesterday. The same post at the exact same time…how often does something like that happen?

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  36. Julie Robinson said on January 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Brian, my condolences; you’ve been writing about the long goodbye but I didn’t realize it had happened. Your mom sounds like so many of her generation, an overachiever in her own right. It seems she passed her love of knowledge on to you, and that reminded me of my own mom. She’s 80 and has slowed down physically, but spends hours every day online reading news sites.

    The Tide/crime story was fascinating, and something to think about every time I use it. It’s on my grocery list today. We don’t have a TJ’s or Costco and I look forward to trying those products. (Costco coming next year, I’ve read.)

    A 5:45 am class in florescent lighting with bad music blaring must be one of the circles of Hell. My version of spinning is a stationary bike with streaming videos hooked up to the TV. I was a walker before two falls on ice messed up my knee and shoulder, and now it’s this or swimming.

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  37. Jolene said on January 8, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Very nice obit, Brian. Your mom sounds like a lively, interesting person. What did she think about your years wandering in the Republican wilderness.

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  38. Charlotte said on January 8, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I hate gyms — they make me despair. I did invest in a used treadmill a couple of years ago — strapped an old folding table across the handles to make a treadmill desk. WInter here is so unpleasant and windy, and we now have about a six week period of ghastly heat in the summer, also, with crippled dogs, I just don’t like hiking alone. So, treadmill it is. Oddly enough, my younger cousin started a spinning studio in New York when she couldn’t find a class she liked (wanted to lose the baby weight). Ten studios later, she’s the hottest thing in town and she and her partner sold to Equinox for a pile o’dough. I visited once — the music was good, the instructors are all “inspirational” in that way that upper class striver New Yorkers like, but it was not my bag. Couldn’t be prouder of her though for becoming a mogul —

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    • nancy said on January 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Is your cousin’s startup Soul Cycle, by any chance?

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  39. Dave said on January 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Brian, my sincere sympathies, for what it’s worth, facing this, spending all this time helping both my parents, mother is healthy but doesn’t remember much, was up this very morning at 2 AM, insisting on taking a bath so she could go visit her mother.

    Father unhealthy, bad heart, now on home hospice care, good days and bad. I’ve spent a lot of time here in my childhood home in the last several months, much as my wife spent so much time with her mother in Florida the last three years of her life.

    Bryan, rereading this, I appear to be stealing what ought to be your thread. Sorry, my apologies Again, my sympathies.

    Perhaps Kevin Leininger is trying to up circulation by getting a larger tea party element. I’ve resisted canceling our subscription but he’s making it hard not to. I think the renewal runs out in March. For a long time, I thought they would fold and I wouldn’t have to make that choice.

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  40. Judybusy said on January 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Great conversation today–I’ve been spinning since the late ’90s, to train for a 6-day bike ride to raise money for AIDS service organziations. I found the class fun and an easy way to stay in shape. A few years ago, I began to XC ski, and while out on Sunday saw a bald eagle and a downy woodpecker, the latter just five feet above my head.

    My brother-in-law drank the libertarian kool-aid a couple years ago and on Saturday we talked politics a bit, focusing on economics. He shared “this great analogy” for the debt cieling: if a stream of sewage is coming into your house, you don’t raise your ceiling, you get rid of the sewage. I bluntly told him that was a bad analogy, that by raising the debt ceiling it’s more akin to calling your credit card company to say “Thanks for the cool stuff I just bought, but I’m not paying you.” He tolerated this quite well.

    Jolene, thanks so much for the reminder of the abolitionist program; don’t know if I’ll make it tonight, as I have orientation for the master gardener program I am beginning this year. Next week, it’s out for sure because we’ll be on Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico, and they don’t get PBS. We found out last year and were much dismayed that we missed an episode of Downton Abbey–thankfully we caught it upon returning home. And, well, we *were* on a tropical island eating great food and visiting a different pristine beach every day. I finally got an rx snorkel mask, so I will be able to see so much more under the waves. I am so excited!

    Speaking of DA, is anyone else thinking that Bates might have done it after all?

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  41. brian stouder said on January 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

    What did she think about your years wandering in the Republican wilderness?

    She blamed it on dad, of course!

    My dad passed away in 1983 – before the real Conservative crack-up. (I’d like to think he’d have lead the way out of the GOP, but who knows?)

    Really and truly – I think she could have cleaned up on Jeopardy; the woman rattled off the answers as the show unfolded. (She would say “What did they teach you in school, anyway?” – which I couldn’t put into the obit and keep the sarcasm; she’d never have taken a genuine swipe at our public schools)

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  42. Jolene said on January 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, are launching a new organization to campaign for new strategies to reduce gun violence. I also heard that she’s doing an interview w/ Diane Sawyer tonight, presumably on the ABC evening news. It kills me to see her now. Every video of her prior to the shooting shows someone who is energetic, intelligent, and charming, an impression that is confirmed by Tucson friends who know her and some of her former staff members quite well. When she was at home in AZ, she did a lot of biking and hiking. She and her husband were hoping to have a child. Now, she struggles to speak and to walk. I can only imagine the suffering of her husband, who is now married to this much transformed woman.

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  43. Judybusy said on January 8, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Brian, my condolences on the loss of your mother. She sounds as if she would have been simply wonderful!

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  44. brian stouder said on January 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Dave – the whole thing is amazing, isn’t it? Especially when you haunt your childhood home.

    The photographs and scrapbooks and so go back three generations, and are by turns amazing and (in too many cases) enigmatic

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  45. Scout said on January 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Brian, my sympathies go out to you. I wish you peace and calm as you go through your own transition at this time.

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  46. LAMary said on January 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    My sympathy, Brian. It sounds like you had a great mom.

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  47. Bob (not Greene) said on January 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Brian, that was a very nice obit. A terrific tribute to your mom. Sorry for your loss.

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  48. DellaDash said on January 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    brian…backtracked to your link. My condolences.

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  49. crinoidgirl said on January 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    That really was an excellent obituary, Brian.

    But, I must note that the Stouders really seem to love Fort Wayne…

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  50. brian stouder said on January 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Thank you all; our immediate objective is to get past this weekend. After that – it’s all downhill.

    She really is in a better place than she was; plus, Pam has established a line of communication with mom’s sister (Aunt Fanny), which really sort of amazes me; plus she’s been in touch with several cousins I haven’t seen in 20 years or more.

    Honsetly and sincerely, the women are always, always the key, yknow?

    (and, not for nothing, but Pam fixed a several things on my first draft of that obit; definitely soemthing you want to get right, and not leave anyone out)

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  51. crinoidgirl said on January 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Using really in two consecutive sentences. Really, really not my style.

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  52. Scout said on January 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    A friend turned us on to Indigo Wild Zum laundry detergent. Our favorite is Lavender. It’s yet another one of those expensive things that has become a must have in our household.

    I belong to the Y and take yoga classes there. I was skeptical at first about taking yoga in a gym environment again because past experience was not at all zen, heavy weights dropping in the next room and shaking the floors, loud music from other classes infiltrating and overpowering the yoga music, and so on. No thanks. But our Y has a separate wing away from the gym, a room with raised wood floors, mirrors, low lighting and a killer sound system. I was pleasantly surprised and have been going there for over a year now. Otherwise I do Zumba. I always talk a good game about swimming laps but never seem to schedule that in.

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  53. JWfromNJ said on January 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    The Tide as currency thing isn’t that new. I actually came across a new twist on the tide thing. This guy in the Fort Wayne area who I reported on often as he was and is a frequent flyer in the court docket friended me on FB. So his twist is he sells too much weed and accepts “payment” in Tide at 50 cents on the dollar. Which created a problem – his garage quickly filled up with huge jugs of Tide, and his other associates wouldn’t pay “Tide” retail prices, so he bought a few of those Walter White style 55-gallon blue drums, and he started selling “counterfeit tide,” claiming he got the recipe from a chemist at Proctor and Gamble. He waters down the real stuff by about 20%, and puts it in one gallon water jugs, and it sells at a brisk clip. I guess the logic is that particular clientele think that buying “counterfeit” Tide is a bargain or they figured out it was the real thing, just a little more liquid. He has since branched off into “counterfeit” Febreeze, which may indicate that it’s an up and coming currency, and more compact.
    Whatever happened to the good old days when your pot dealer would take steaks as currency and would hand over your 1/2 ounce and ask, “would you be interested in a nice porterhouse or filet mignon today?” Not that I would know.

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  54. Charlotte said on January 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Yup. That’s my Elizabeth — we’re fairly distant cousins by blood, but grew up together and spent a lot of time together in our twenties in Taiwan and then in Telluride. The mogul-gene seems to run through the women in my family — Eliz’s mother made a fortune in real estate on the North Shore in her 40s and 50s — She’s always been one of my idols … I don’t have the mogul gene, but considering the indigence of both my parents, the mere fact that I’m solvent (paid off the last of my PhD student loans yesterday!) and well on my way to paying off my mortgage almost qualifies as mogul-dom in my side of the family.

    And Brian, so sorry for your loss. What a great obit —

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  55. Prospero said on January 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I don’t have an actual clue who Alex Jones is, or purports to be, but if this guy is given a CC permit and lives within a couple of hundred miles of me, I want to know about it. I frequently wear sweatshirts with hoods.

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  56. DellaDash said on January 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Does paying off your student loans mean a book pitch went well, Charlotte?

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  57. Jeff Borden said on January 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    How are the regulars at NN.C going to celebrate Gun Appreciation Day on Jan. 19? Some conservative coalition, inspired by the outpouring of support for Chic-fil-A after its owner was found to be a homophobe, are hoping to short-circuit any talk about reining in our addiction to shooting irons by encouraging gun owners to visit their local gun shop or shooting range or, failing that, to walk around with a Constitution or some such silliness.

    I still doubt anything will happen even after Sandy Hook, but the NRA might be getting just a teensy bit nervous, particularly as stories emerge about how small its membership really is (just 4 million) and how interest in shooting sports (hunting, target shooting) is dropping fast. People are starting to slowly realize that the NRA is not a hunter’s group, but an enormously successful lobbying operation for gun and ammunition manufacturers.

    So, what will a non-gun guy do on Jan. 19? Watch a bunch of Clint Eastwood movies?

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  58. Charlotte said on January 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Oh I wish Della — no, I paid them off with a very boring freelance tech writing gig I did in October. Although I got my pages done over the holiday — I’ve got what I think is the first quarter of the manuscript written, now running it past several of my old grad school pals who agreed to take a look. Need a title and still trying to figure out the pitch part … we’ll see. Fingers crossed. Need to put my thinking cap on though and define just what it is I think I’m doing …

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  59. brian stouder said on January 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Charlotte – good luck!

    Jeff – I suggest a “Well Regulated” festival, wherein the concept of “Well Regulated” is explored in various ways; as well as the term “militia”, and the concept of “security of a free state” (as opposed to an armed band or rebels, out to overthrow that state).

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  60. Dexter said on January 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm


    Above is a link to the trailer of the documentary about Detroit’s “Rodriguez”…a mystery, dead by suicide?—what is this all about? Sixto Rodriguez was found doing building demolition in Detroit. He had no idea he had become the musical hero to those struggling from apartheid in South Africa all those years ago. He was found, and word spread that he was alive, and he went to South Africa to great fanfare, a hero. He has since toured South Africa four times and Australia three times and some other places as well.
    This doc did very well at Sundance and it’s back in the news again as his music and the film are being promoted to the general public. It’s just the damndest story.

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  61. Dorothy said on January 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    What a neat mom you had, Brian! I’m very sorry for your loss. I don’t know what I’m going to do when my mom is gone. She’s really very healthy at her age (90) so if she would die suddenly it really would be a shock, despite her advanced age. My heart hurts just thinking about it.

    Dexter I read that Rodriquez story about a month ago – I could have sworn it was via a link at this site. That was an inspiring story.

    Unrelated to anything we’ve discussed today but I feel like sharing good news: my husband had his “scope” yesterday two years after his colon cancer surgery. Just like last year, the test was all very good news – no polyps seen! And he is grateful that the cancer doc said if this one was clear, maybe he could wait and have the next one in 18 months instead of in a year. We both certainly were grateful for that idea!

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  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Re: Tide theft – you run your belt through it, refasten the buckle, then adjust your blouse/sweater/hoodie/coat over it. Helps to be, um, large. But you always do two, four, even six if you can swing it. Balance, y’know.

    Anything else anyone wants to know about petty theft?

    Hat tip, Kaddy’s son. Nice job, sir.

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  63. beb said on January 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    As for how one can shoplift a jug or box or Tide, there was an episode of “World’s Dummest…” that showed videotape of a fat woman shoving a case of beer u8p between her legs and walking away as if there was nothing there. It was phenomenal.

    I think it’s amusing that fence JWfromNJ mentions waters down the Tide he gets from his drug dealing. Is he selling that much Tide that he needs to dilute it, is it just from force of habit where anything he sells first gets cut?

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  64. beb said on January 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Today’s nominee in Ass-hattery

    Message found explaining why the diner was not leaving a tip.

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  65. Dave said on January 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Pros, I didn’t know who Alex Jones was until a couple of weeks after the shooting in CT. The same man on the group I belong to who believed the Mayan calendar was fact and was telling us all goodbye linked a video to it with this complete nutcase. I couldn’t watch it all but I did look him up and wondered, as I always do, how these people get a following.

    Nobody ever says anything to this man, we all just accept the better side of him and overlook the nutcase side, and the forum is more about my old job than anything else. He posted the other day that not in his wildest dreams did he ever expect to write 2013 on a check.

    Oh, it’s still coming. Soon. Just so you all know.

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  66. paddyo' said on January 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Jeff B.: How about a Gun Appreciation Day group reading of something with clear-eyed context about our overarmed madness?

    Over the weekend I was plowing through a pile of too many unread magazines when I ran across a New Yorker from last April. In it was Battleground America: One nation, under the gun, a splendid and eminently readable takeout by contributor and Harvard historian Jill Lepore.

    It is shot through, pardon the expression, with ghosts of mass shootings past and future (written months before Aurora and Newtown). Particularly noteworthy is her history lesson on the Second Amendment, what the “founding fathers” were really after, and the relatively recent (1960s and ’70s) hardline turn the NRA puppeteers took. A long-but-fast read, excellent and sobering — and this passage toward the end really nails the feeling of futility:

    One in three Americans knows someone who has been shot. As long as a candid discussion of guns is impossible, unfettered debate about the causes of violence is unimaginable. Gun-control advocates say the answer to gun violence is fewer guns. Gun-rights advocates say that the answer is more guns: things would have gone better, they suggest, if the faculty at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Chardon High School had been armed. That is the logic of the concealed-carry movement; that is how armed citizens have come to be patrolling the streets. That is not how civilians live. When carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense is understood not as a failure of civil society, to be mourned, but as an act of citizenship, to be vaunted, there is little civilian life left.

    “Logic of concealed-carry movement,” indeed. We were chit-chatting about this and that in my office a week ago among our small group, and at one point my boss sort of casually mentioned, with a tinge of pride, that he was awaiting the approval of his own “carry permit.” Worse, he suggested it might hold down the prospect of another midnight-movie massacre like the one that went down last summer in that Denver suburb just east of us.

    I about fell over — I could scarcely conceal my dropping jaw. But as it was not quite the place to get into an argument, I only gently questioned him about why. This guy hunts, has hunting weaponry and likes to joke that if you visit his semi-rural home an hour north of Denver, “you’d best ring the doorbell first.” His pitiful reply to my question about “need” was, “You never know.”

    Well, OK, true enough, Boss — but just take care that your pistol is unloaded when you use the butt of it to hammer another nail in civil society’s coffin.

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  67. velvet goldmine said on January 8, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Brian, please let me add my condolences as well as my appreciation that you linked to the obituary. It was so well done.

    Yes, this charging for obituaries — and the scale of the charges — is quite an irksome, if understandable thing. I wish Elaine May and Mike Nichols would reform and update their funeral industry satires to include obit fees.

    I’ve heard more than one story in recent years about family feuds starting this way — e.g., one person carefully crafts a loving portrait, but the relative in charge of paying the bills takes it upon herself to hack away at it in order to shave the final tally.

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  68. velvet goldmine said on January 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I went ahead and read both the Slate piece and then the actual Elizabeth Wurtzel essay. I came away a little irritated that the quotes and anecdotes noted in the Slate coverage weren’t an accurate reflection of the essay — just a rundown of the most irritating bits. (Which certainly exist. It’s especially aggravating that Wurtzel is so dismissive both of being “supported” by one’s husband and of holding a non-artsy job. Her idea of the proper road to personal integrity doesn’t have particularly wide lines.)

    Don’t get me wrong. There isn’t much about the Wurtzel essay that is terribly compelling. It just isn’t the Coulter-like bullshit provocation piece I was expecting after hearing people grumble about it for two days. It must be, as coozledad says, that it’s a head-scratchier for someone to get that kind of money and prominent placement for such free-association tripe.

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  69. LAMary said on January 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Brian, that thing about women being the communicators in the family? I’m the only person in my family who speaks to everyone else. Three brothers, four nephews, one niece. I talk to them all. It’s not always warm and lovely but we’re family and I that should trump most other things.

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  70. Mark P. said on January 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Dorothy, that is good news. Remember, every year with a clean scope means the odds in your husband’s favor go up. My wife had colon cancer surgery about 13 years ago and, other than problems with adhesions and scar tissue at the site, is fine.

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  71. brian stouder said on January 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Mary – it’s absolutely true.

    This whole ‘long goodbye’ our family has gone through was mainly borne by the three main women in the family – Ruth (my brother Alan’s wife), Debbie (my brother Gregg’s wife) and Pam. They have absolutely been stars of the game – and honestly, their efforts vastly supersede my own

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  72. Prospero said on January 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Brian, your mom’s obit was very beautiful. I wrote my dad’s, with help from my brothers, and it was difficult, because he was nearly mythical to me, in his erudition and knowledge. I recall the process of writing that essay as healing and salubrious, and I hope your effort served a similar purpose.

    One more thing about Lance. Still no positive test. Still no positive test on Barry, either. Well there was the French guy that took Lance’s urine sample home for the weekend, but, he’s Fronch:


    And that demise of the SEC crap is starting to look idiotic, isn’t it.

    Concealed carry? Allowing guns in bars specifically may be the signature shark-jumping for the NRA, even with Stand Your Ground and guaranteeing the carry rights of people on known terriss lists. I have been shot. In the calf. I intervened in what seemed like a very unfair fight in a parking lot of a bar once and got plugged by the asshole I was trying to help. Hurt like hell. And the guy was a rampant gun nut, who most likely deserved a beating. Guns and alcohol? Why worry?

    Dexter, I have the Sixto Rodriguez album with Sugarman on it and it’s very fine Detroitbilia from the late ’60s.

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  73. Prospero said on January 8, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Robbie Kriieger’s B’day:


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  74. MarkH said on January 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Brian – Condolences from Wyoming as well. Our mother’s goodbye 16 years ago was similar to yours. She contracted hep-C during a surgery and she did ok for 18 years, until the last 30 days. And, as in your case, while we all worked together, my sisters, especially my younger sister, took the lead. But, as with you, I got to write the obit. It’s never easy. Prayers to you and your family.

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  75. David C. said on January 8, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I’m about to sit down for our 25th Anniversary dinner. Roast Chicken, roasted potatoes, salad, and sweet potato and apple soup. Great dinner, Great Wife.

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  76. coozledad said on January 8, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    The thing that bugs me most about Wurzel is her claim to feminism. It seems like she bared her tits for some book cover or other promotion, and it wasn’t transgressive, but classic totty, of a piece with her body image obsession and her choice of men from the financial services industry. I don’t care who she fucks, but she wants me to know who she fucks: she fucks gel haired men who use her for a spooge sock. That’s fine. She’s an adult. But she’s not a feminist and she’s not interesting except as a study in how affluent people can waste their lives wallowing consumerist bullshit mediocrity.
    There are so many people with something to say, and yet it’s this titjob in waiting, pulping swathes of trees.

    And there’s this, as always.

    Brian: I’m going to read your mom’s obit when I recover from building a foundation for our greenhouse today. Fifty-one don’t hammer too good.

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  77. alex said on January 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Fifty-one don’t hammer too good.

    But don’t you sweat your ass off if it’s any warmer? 😉

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  78. MarkH said on January 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Here is the segment 60 Minutes’ Bob Simon did in October on Rodriguez. Utterly fascinating story.


    But Letterman had him first, in August.


    Pros, thanks for the shout to Krieger, the best kept secret of the Doors, on his birthday. In spite of the fact that Morrison would sometimes loudly proclaim that Manzarek “IS the Doors!!”

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  79. coozledad said on January 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Alex: Damn right. If I don’t get it done now, I sure as hell won’t get it done when I’m lying shitfaced in a livestock tank full of cold water.

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  80. Sherri said on January 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Well, it’s a week later than Gun Appreciation Day, but Seattle is offering Amazon gift cards for guns on Jan. 26: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2013/01/seattle-area-leaders-announce-new-gun-buyback-program/

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  81. Linda said on January 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    My condolences to you, Brian. Your mom sounds like the kind of Democrat I would be if I had more gumption, and I bet she needed a bunch to be a staunch Democrat in northern Indiana.

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  82. Deborah said on January 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Paddy-O, that quote from the new homer piece says that one in three Amercans kno w someone who’s been shot. I know three myself, two happened in St. Louis when I lived there in an iffy neighborhood that at the time was beginning to be gentrified. The guy across the street was shot by his girlfriend in self defense, he was killed. We saw the emergency crew carry his body out in a bloody quilt because he was enormous and wouldn’t fit on the stretcher. The second was the girl next door to us, she was sitting on the front porch of the house across the street from her when she was shot in the foot by a stray bullet that had been shot in the air a block away. It was a large caliber gun, don’t really know what that means. She lived of course, by the time the bullet landed in her foot it was fairly spent and did not do much damage. The third person was a suicide, Little Bird’s godfather killed himself a year or so ago by shooting himself in the chest in his car which he parked in front of a police station.

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  83. Deborah said on January 8, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    New Yorker piece, damn autocorrect.

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  84. Minnie said on January 8, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Beb, if that one percenter knows what’s good for him, he won’t return to that restaurant.

    Brian, what a beautiful obituary you wrote for your Queen Mother.

    Dorothy, high five on the scope report.

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  85. Jolene said on January 8, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Congratulations, David C. On your anniversary. That dinner sounds delicious.

    And, yes, glad to hear your good news, Dorothy.

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  86. MarkH said on January 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Gun Appreciation Day. Heh.

    I’d rather remember that it was two years ago today the nightmare in Tucson took place that saw six people killed and Gabby Giffords transformed forever. Prayers and grace to all those families and those who survived today.

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  87. basset said on January 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Deborah, “caliber” refers to the diameter of the bullet, the (usually lead, sometimes coated with copper or some other metal) pellet which flies out the front of the gun and hits something… “bore” is the inner diameter of the barrel, sometimes used interchangeably, as in “small bore” or “big bore.”

    Caliber is usually expressed in the USA as some decimal part of an inch, for example .22 caliber uses a bullet .22 of an inch in diameter. .17, .22, and .25 are usually considered “small caliber,” the next step is usually .30 (often used in a deer rifle), .32, or .38, while .45 and up are generally considered “large caliber.”

    That said… the standard US military round is .223 (5.56mm), small diameter but longer and heavier than a .22 and driven by a large amount of explosive which makes it go really fast. The standard round in much of the rest of the world is the one the Kalashnikov (AK) uses, 7.62mm. The ghetto favorite 9mm is more or less .35 caliber but, again, there are more factors at work here than just the diameter of the bullet… its length and weight make a difference, as does the amount of explosive powder that’s pushing it down the barrel.

    Then you get into shotguns, measured by “gauge,” which refers to the number of barrel-sized lead balls it would take to make a pound, for example a ball that would just fit through a 12-gauge barrel would be 12 to the pound. Standard “gauges” are 10, 12, 16, 20, 28, and, for some reason, .410 – back to metric size.

    More than you wanted to hear, probably, but as one of the few gun-owning liberals I know, I feel a certain responsibility… I think of guns as tools which require additional safety precautions.

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  88. Deborah said on January 8, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks Basset, you jogged my memory it was a 45.

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  89. Little Bird said on January 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    I remember those people Deborah mentioned. The first guy was a sort of friend of the family. We had no idea he was abusing his girlfriend. The second person she mentioned, her injury could have been avoided had some random idiot not fired his weapon in the air over whatever holiday it was (responsible gun ownership? NO). The third, my godfather… I can’t really speak to. There is no real reason that he should have been denied a gun. But if he DIDN’T have that access, he might still be here today. And he might have learned that there were people who cared.

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  90. Minnie said on January 8, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Judybusy, I don’t know if Bates murdered his wife or not, but that minute-long scene with his cell mate turned him into a much more interesting character.

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  91. Brandon said on January 8, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    David Bowie, Robby Krieger, and Elvis Presley. The eighth of January seems to be a popular birthdate for musicians.

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  92. Dexter said on January 8, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Brandon, that’s right. My grandfather was born on January 8, also. In 1874. I guess when you’re 139 you don’t have to get any older! 🙂 He passed on February 8, 1959, age 85. His birth name was Jonas Claude Meyer. He hated “Jonas” and legally changed his name to Claude J. Meyer. I woulda just left it alone, ya dig?

    Today on my fave radio show a game of “Lifeboat” was played. The rules: One of the following actors must be left to drown in the water while the other three are saved, and you control who dies.
    Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman, and Al Pacino.

    As much as I love the work of Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy and The Graduate and so many other great films, I had to let him drown for making Perfume and Tootsie. 🙁

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  93. Crazycatlady said on January 9, 2013 at 12:04 am

    I wanted to join a Curves. My sister-in-law liked it a lot. Well, I noticed that Curves gyms were very unstable. One week they are there, then after a while they close up and move. I do NOT want to drive further and further away. It is just to risky to pay and then have the place shut down. I’ll just walk.

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  94. MarkH said on January 9, 2013 at 4:24 am

    Dexter, my grandfather was born this month in 1874 as well (yesterday, the 7th).

    By the way…Tootsie is your idea of a bad movie from Hoffman? Don’t you mean Ishtar?? And what about S1m0ne from Pacino? Or, King of Marvin Gardens from Nicholson?

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  95. Basset said on January 9, 2013 at 5:46 am

    And nobody has yet mentioned the classic fiddle tune “8th of January,” known to some of us as “Battle of New Orleans.”

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