The sickly season.

Man, I hope I don’t get this flu that’s going around. We all got flu shots, but late in the season, Kate just about 10 days ago. Now she’s lying on the couch under a blanket pile with what sounds like a migraine. Which isn’t the flu, I know, but it could be an early rumble.

I’m so glad headaches aren’t in the frequent-miseries file in my DNA. That’s the inheritance from dad’s side. I just buy the Tylenol.

Apparently a beautiful day conducted itself outside my window all damn day, while I sat inside, listened to the wind blow through the bare branches and made a million phone calls. Forty-seven degrees? When did I move to North Carolina? You’ve heard, of course, that 2012 is now in the record books as the hottest ever. Oh, how I hope this passes. A January thaw is one thing, but another year like this one? Don’t know if I can do that.

And now it’s evening, and I’m watching “The Abolitionists.” Not enjoying it much, I’m sorry to say; I hate these cheesy dramatizations. Especially low-budget ones.

So let’s go to the bloggage:

First, a hilarious story about a blogger who made an offhand remark about Richard Marx — the top-40 pop-singin’ guy — and provoked an unusual response. Marx read it, and responded. Angrily:

No explanation for why you write that I’m “shameless?” You act pretty tough sitting alone in your little room behind your laptop.

If you’d written you hated my music, that’s cool. Like I could give a shit. But saying I’m “shameless” calls into question my character and integrity.

This is my hometown…where my kids live…where my mother lives…and this will not stand with me.

Would you say that to my face? Let’s find out. I’ll meet you anywhere in the city, any time. I don’t travel again until the end of the week. Let’s hash this out like men.

Never heard of you in my life before, but between various columnist/radio friends and an array of people at NBC, I now know plenty about you. You don’t know anything about me. But you’re about to.

This isn’t going away.

Richard Marx

I include this one because I know Basset follows city-planning news, and this week the mother of all city-planning efforts was revealed — the new Detroit, a place of neighborhoods as urban villages, surrounded by green space, forests, farms, ponds. Well, that’s the drawing-board version, anyway. But the Kresge Foundation said they’re giving one! hundred! fifty! million! dollars! to make it work, so who knows.

Finally, one of my own, the reason I was in Dearborn last month — three charter schools serving almost entirely Arab-American populations, and poor ones at that, landed on Bridge’s list of the best schools in the state. An impressive bunch of people, almost all women, run the shows. And they gave me hummus, which practically counts as a bribe. So. (Link will go live after 8 a.m.)

Oh, this week feels so very, very long. Damn you, holidays — why must you end?

Posted at 12:25 am in Detroit life, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

84 responses to “The sickly season.”

  1. Dexter said on January 10, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Boston has declared a flu emergency with a nurse in an ER , 27 years experience, saying she has never seen anything like this.
    I had the flu in December of 1999 , a memorable case…hit me like I was shot, instant weakness, barely made it to my car at work and somehow made it home, then collapsed into bed for 12 days…lost 28 pounds, liquid only diet for days…I think I damn-nearly died from it, being unable to breathe easily and my voice was reduced to a whisper.
    This flu is polluting 42 states now. I always get sick from flu shots and when I had to get vaccinated for plague in the army my reaction was so severe I was hallucinating and sweating horribly, so I pass on shots these days, even though I gravely doubt my decision this year.
    I used to be able to get hummus in Toledo. I need to buy some. I’m dying for felafel.

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  2. LAMary said on January 10, 2013 at 1:16 am

    The flu hasn’t really arrived here yet. I’m getting lots of pressure to get staff for the ER in a hurry.

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  3. Brandon said on January 10, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Forty-seven degrees?

    You consider 47 degrees unseasonably warm? In Hawaii, our low temperatures now are in the sixties, which we find frigid.

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  4. Dexter said on January 10, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Brandon? Right square on the ass cheek! 😉

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  5. Brandon said on January 10, 2013 at 2:18 am

    Of course, the lowest-recorded temperature of 12 degrees Fahrenheit (atop Mauna Kea) doesn’t begin to compare with the minus double-digits of other states.

    @Dexter, early morning is generally the coldest time for us, with a low of 62 degrees. Volcano is even lower, 53 degrees.

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  6. Linda said on January 10, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Heard on the news that the shots they gave this season were for a variety NOT going around now. But that’s the thing with seasonal flu shots. They try to guess which ones will be prevalent, but sometimes they don’t guess correctly. A pregnant lady I know is grateful her doc guilt tripped her into getting one–her husband and child were horribly sick with whatever is going around. I’ve got some mild infection, but not badly, and certainly not as badly as some.

    Re: humus and Midddle Eastern food in general. It’s why I LOVE living in Toledo. And with the Oasis restaurant chain, you can even have it delivered! Another reason to be grateful.

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  7. alex said on January 10, 2013 at 6:54 am

    The blogger piece was a stitch! Ted McClelland captures the essence of Chicago’s seedy male subculture about as well as can be done. I used to hang out in a few neighborhood dives myself, and also witnessed their rapid transition to rather more upscale hangouts as gentrification swept through the north lakefront. I’m right now having olfactory reminiscences of stale tobacco smoke and barf with undertones of urinal cake. As for Richard Marx, well let’s just say he’s a familiar Chicago archetype, all money and no class and a hothead to boot.

    Dex I used to avoid flu shots because I fell ill one day after having one when I was a kid. I came to believe that there was some risk involved. My doctor assures me that it’s simply impossible for a flu shot to cause the flu, that it was a coincidence in my case and that I was coming down with it regardless. She asserts that it is absolutely foolish to go without, especially as we get older. I never miss a flu shot now.

    As for the thing that happened to you in the military, I seem to recall service members having bad reactions to an anthrax vaccine that was being given around the time of the Gulf War. The military was denying any problem, as usual, but enough people were affected that the problem couldn’t be kept under wraps. Was this a bubonic plague vaccine? They really had such a thing?

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  8. Kristen said on January 10, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Migraines ARE in my DNA’s frequent-miseries file (Thanks, Dad) – you are indeed lucky to not be a headache sufferer. When trying to describe the pain to someone who has never experienced one, I often think of headache artwork like this gallery from the NYT:

    Number 4 pretty much nails it for me. Sometimes words can’t do an idea justice, but a picture sure can.

    Still, prob’ly better to be down for the count for half a day with a migraine than in bed for a week+ with seasonal flu!

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  9. alex said on January 10, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Speaking of DNA, there was an interesting program on PBS last night about Neanderthals. The Neanderthal genome has finally been sequenced and it has been determined that there was indeed interbreeding with humans and that all persons of European descent and some persons of Asian descent have Neanderthal DNA. It’s also recognized now that Neanderthals didn’t face extinction; they were simply absorbed by homo sapiens, who outnumbered them by about ten to one on the European continent 30,000 years ago. So there goes one epithet out the door.

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  10. Suzanne said on January 10, 2013 at 7:58 am

    I had a bout with the flu years ago. I dragged myself home from work, to this day not sure how I drove, with a temp of 103 or something. I spent a couple of days in bed and recovered enough to function, but felt lousy for a month after. I’d go to work, come home, nap, make dinner, help kids with homework, and be in bed by 8pm. I hope I’m immune now. It was not fun and I was in my early 30s.

    We know of a 30 year old who just died from flu.

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  11. nancy said on January 10, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Today’s version of Dexter, from the NYT:

    “Yesterday, I saw a construction worker, a big strong guy in his Carhartts who looked like he could fall off a roof without noticing it,” said Dr. Beth Zeeman, an emergency room doctor for MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Mass., just outside Boston. “He was in a fetal position with fever and chills, like a wet rag. When I see one of those cases, I just tighten up my mask a little.”

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  12. Jolene said on January 10, 2013 at 8:16 am

    We know of a 30 year old who just died from flu.

    I’ve read news stories about two teenagers who’ve died. Pretty tough to think about losing healthy young kids.

    I heard the same news story Dex did re a public health emergency in Boston, but Brian Williams didn’t say what that means. What happens in such an emergency? Closed schools? Reduced transit schedules? Anyone know?

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  13. Mark P said on January 10, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I had the flu back in 1968 and never since. It was the only time I missed classes in college,and it was for a full week. I got my shot this year.

    Linda, I thought I heard something about the current flu being one the current vaccine works for. There are a few stories online indicating that the CDC thinks the vaccine and the current strain are reasonably well matched. I guess we’ll hear more about that if it’s not.

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  14. beb said on January 10, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Let’s start off by remembering the nurse in Indiana who got fired for refusing to get her flu shot. Religious principles my ass.

    Actually I’m surprised by all the trouble Boston is having because locally there has been nothing said, as far as I can tell, about unusual numbers or severity of flus.

    I can see why hospitals and nursing homes require their staff to get flu vaccinations. My own experience was that the vaccine made me sicker, for longer, than if I just had the flu, so I’ve not bothered since.

    I kind of recognize Richard Marx as a singer and i suppose if reminded, I’d recognize some of his songs. His response to that blogger, however, suggests a shameless bully and creep.

    Speaking of crazy things that are getting floating onto the national stage, I was surprised to hear NBC news on Monday talking about the trillion dollar coin. The idea is that it is perfectly legal for the Treasury to mint a platinum coin of any denomination. So strike one worth $1,000,000,000,000 and deposit it with the Fed and write checks off it. Solves the problem of the Republicans not raising the debt ceiling. When I first heard of this idea, maybe last year during the last debt-ceiling crisis, it sounded like, and was one of those crazy blogger suggestions but finding that respectable economists like Paul Krugman support the idea is incredible. The objection to it seems mostly stem from the horror of the idea that all money is created by fiat. But I guess as long as the Republicans want to play games with the good faith and credit of the United States then something like this makes as much sense as anything.

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  15. Charlotte said on January 10, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I hear whooping cough is also up — which means we’ll get hit hard. We have some very very crazy libertarian culties here who won’t vaccinate (but they will take enough colloidial silver to turn blue!).

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  16. adrianne said on January 10, 2013 at 8:47 am

    So far the Reillys have succumbed to mild colds, nothing more. But lots of folks in our extended families and in my office have been hacking and wheezing like nobody’s business. Anecdotally from my MIL, those who get flu shots seem to get some resistance even to other crud that’s going around that isn’t the flu, but damn near like it. I get a free flu shot every year courtesy of my newspaper, seems to help.

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  17. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I perused the future Detroit document a bit, not the whole thing but a few sections. I was distracted by the typical graphics for this kind of thing. The architecture firms I’ve worked for all do these kind of things and when the architects put them together the graphics all look the same, radiused cornered illustrations, subheadings with reversed out radius cornered boxes, a bold condensed gothic font probably DIN with over scaled all capital titles. They do have nice map diagrams. They are always horizontally formatted, if printed out they’re 11″ x 17″ sized, bound on the left with wire-o binding. I noticed in the section that attributed credit that the Chicago architecture firm SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill) was involved in the planning so maybe that’s why it looks that way. As far as content goes, I can’t really say what I think until I would study it more and to be honest I’m not sure I’d spend anymore tme studying it. My first reaction is that there’s not enough density to make it truly walkable and engaging.

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  18. nancy said on January 10, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I don’t think the whole thing will be walkable — at 139 square miles, Detroit sprawls — but the idea is to push the remaining residents into the still-viable neighborhoods and leave the rest to green and “blue” space, i.e., water features to catch storm runoff. (If we ever get another storm, that is.) I imagine the master plan would call for some connections via bike paths, which would make me happy-happy.

    But you’re right, that report is impossible to read online. The executive summary was about all I could get through on a laptop screen.

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  19. Jolene said on January 10, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Great story re the charter schools in Dearborn, Nance. Sounds like they are doing a great job in exactly the right spirit. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the positive press you gave them.

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  20. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 9:07 am

    I forgot to mention the proliferation of silhouetted scale people scattered about in the document as typical.

    I had the flu about 5 years ago and was sick as a dog. I get the flu shot religiously now. My husband and I have had a cold, sniffles and sore throat for about a week now. I also had a mild cold over Christmas that only lasted a couple of days.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on January 10, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Linda, where did you hear that? Everything I’ve heard and read is that the shot is a particularly good match for this year’s strain. I consider immunizations as modern miracles and always get them, even when I have to stand in a long line. It sounds like this year’s version is nasty stuff, with a relatively high fatality rate and a longer than expected recuperation. Nancy Snyderman on NBC said “you will not get over this in a week”.

    We’re having a discussion at church over whether to discontinue the common cup for communion until flu season’s over. During the last epidemic we stopped shaking hands during the passing of the peace, and had a few bottles of hand sanitizer stashed around the altar and sanctuary.

    I’m wondering how the religious conservatives who pushed charter schools here in Indiana would feel about the charters Nance writes about. I’d guess they’d be nervous about that many “Arabs” together.

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  22. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Nancy, I didn’t mean that the whole thing would be walkable but that the smaller chunks of it would be walkable. Since I’ve noticed how areas of Santa Fe are miserably unwalkable I’ve been reading a bit about what makes cities walkable. Chicago is a great walking city and they’ve recently started a ten year initiative to make it even better. Making a city walkable is one of the best ways to make it a better place, it makes places safer (eyes on the street), it’s healthy, it helps business (you’re more likely to pop into a store if you don’t have to park first etc), it cuts down on pollution and conserves fossil fuels. The same things can probably be said for biking.

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  23. nancy said on January 10, 2013 at 9:31 am

    May I just say, too, that those Arab women are the most “American” ladies I’ve met in a while — driven, serious, dedicated, hard-working. For all that’s said about Islam’s problems with females, I don’t imagine any of their husbands push them around.

    And the garment thing works exactly the way they say it’s supposed to. Five minutes into a conversation, and you stop noticing it.

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  24. Scout said on January 10, 2013 at 9:37 am

    The Oscar nominations are out. I haven’t seem them all, but I’ve seen many more than I usually do of the best picture category. I’m rooting for Beasts of the Southern Wild.

    The flu is pretty bad here in AZ. I haven’t got my shot yet, not sure if I will since my normal well woman exam isn’t until May and that is usually the only time I see my Dr. I hesitate to go to her office while healthy in the height of flu season. Seems like tempting fate.

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  25. Minnie said on January 10, 2013 at 9:41 am

    A couple of weeks ago our paper reported that the CDC was sanguine about the efficacy of this year’s flu shot. Has the virus mutated? In November we got a special mix for the over-65 crowd. I hope it works, because the last time I had flu (2000) it was so debilitating that I will do whatever I can to avoid repeating that experience. Made me an advocate for getting the shot, not only for your own protection but as a responsible action for public health.

    As for migraines, my husband and BFF have them. I’ll offer them the art work but will understand if they don’t want to experience someone else’s migraine.

    Looking forward to reading the Dearborn charter school story.

    Stay well.

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  26. Minnie said on January 10, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Scout,I don’t know if it’s the same in AZ, but here in Virginia flu shots are available in almost every drugstore and grocery that has a drug department.

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  27. Dorothy said on January 10, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Every year I’m amazed all over again at the people who still think you can catch the flu from getting the flu shot. We have been getting one yearly since we turned 50 and have not regretted it. The TODAY show mentioned a high school girl athlete who died from this current strain of flu. So it’s definitely not just the elderly or infirm who die from it. In Boston one hospital was putting up temporary treatment centers abutting their emergency room because they had run out of rooms and spaces to put people.

    I enjoyed the Marx article very much. I assume that douche does not own a mirror, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone to meet Ted at the Lighthouse! I’m picturing him Googling his own name since that happened and wondering how he feels about being called out about being a bad tipper at the pizza restaurant (among others, I presume).

    On Letterman the other night, he talked about the trillion dollar coin, beb, and said “If anyone can explain that to me right now, they can have the damn show!” And it didn’t sound like he was joking!

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  28. Julie Robinson said on January 10, 2013 at 10:15 am

    They’re talking flu right now on Diane Rehm, for those who have the show in this time slot. Or catch the podcast later.

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  29. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Nancy, great piece about the Arab community schools. I especially liked the way you described the teacher counting silently with her fingers, I could see it vividly in my minds eye.

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  30. Mark P said on January 10, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Minnie, I got my flu shot at a CVS drugstore. And my health insurance, which does not include a prescription benefit, paid for it. It’s the first time my health insurance has paid for anything. I have a very high deductible.

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  31. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 10:45 am

    That $150mill is a lot of cash, and I believe for no good reason other than that I admired Dave Bing’s character as an NBA player, that Detroit will have a chance to put the money to work effectively rather than have it disappear down dark alleys of corruption as it would have certainly under Mayor Kwame. I would decide to return to shopping at the home of the Blue Light Special after this report, but we don’t really have them down here.

    I get a monthly email from my buds at Amazon regarding “literary fiction” and there is usually at least one nice surprise in the list. This month, for instance, bears news of a new novel by William H. Gass, who wrote Omensetter’s Luck, which I consider a great novel few people have read:

    But what’s bugging me is the inclusion of the following in the list:

    I don’t know, maybe this woman is a good writer and this is a worthwhile book, but including the rapcherous drunk painter in the name is not propitious, and illustrating the dust jacket with one of his cloying cottages is downright heinous. Nothing against the author, but the contents of the cover are going to kill sales dead in a crowd of folks that use the term “literary fiction”.

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  32. Jolene said on January 10, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Tucker Carlson and Andrew Breitbart dine with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn:

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  33. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 10:55 am

    William Gass lived in a neighborhood near mine in St. Louis and his kids went to the same high school as my daughter, which was a tiny alternative, private school. He teaches at Washington University in St L. I saw him around a lot but never actually met him. Great writer.

    Now, I’ve got to get on with my day.

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  34. Connie said on January 10, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I wouldn’t want last summer’s weather again but would be perfectly happy to have another mild winter like last year’s.

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  35. Colleen said on January 10, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Add me to the list of those who always get a flu shot. I had the flu once years ago, and I never want to have it again. Since I work in a hospital, I got mine for free, as they want everyone to be vaccinated. It’s a killed virus, so you can’t get the flu from the shot, even though many people swear they do.

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  36. MichaelG said on January 10, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Yes, they vaccinated us against the plague when I was in the army. They shot us full of all kinds of stuff I can’t even remember before sending us to the other country. I had a flu shot one year while I was in the army and got sicker than I had ever been other than with Malaria. It might have been a coincidence but it was forty years before I got another flu shot.

    I’ve never heard of Richard Marx. Doesn’t seem like I’ve missed anything.

    Tell me where, Mary. Not sure when I’ll get to that neighborhood but I’ll make it. Right now I have jobs in Santa Monica, Fullerton and Hemet. Ever been to Hemet? Whew. I guess it is better than Barstow or Needles. Some.

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  37. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Jolene, I had to read that Bill Ayer’s piece even though I’m way behind getting started with what I’d hoped to accomplish today. Absolutely a fantastic piece, made my day, thanks for the link.

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  38. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Richard Marx is a pal of and collaborator with both Kenny Rogers and Billy Joel. As Bill the Cat would have said, if not for his untimely demise along with Bloom County, “Gack!!!” All I can remember of his songs is that they sounded like some horrible mashup of Kenny Loggins and Octopus-era Starship, with a little bit of Madoona thrown in, an idea that could cause flu symptoms in an otherwise healthy person. Here’s Richard “Dick” Marx in a bar:

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  39. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 11:16 am

    And MichaelG, I have been to Hemet, I know what you mean. Have you ever been to Nyland? Much worse than Hemet.

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  40. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 11:26 am

    The Richard Marx story reminded me of this bit from Jimmy Kimmel’s show:

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  41. nancy said on January 10, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Man, I am so glad I got a flu shot.

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  42. LAMary said on January 10, 2013 at 11:45 am

    MichaelG here’s the link in Yelp for the dumpling place. Order the juicy crab and pork dumpling.

    The noodle soups are great too.

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  43. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Actually, Richard Marx’s closest musical counterpart is the egregious Diane Warren:

    And I bet Joe Perry would york up his breakfast to see his band in that article.

    Extra, extra: NYT exhibits sarcastic sense of humor. Really. The best offensive catcher in the history of the game didn’t get in? That is PED witch hunt bullshit running wild and tainting a player never connected to drug use. And ‘Roid Rage posterboy Roger Clemens, who once threw a broken bat at Piazza, after trying twice to break his skull with fastballs got more votes than Barry Bonds. That is just fracking ignorant.

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  44. Linda said on January 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Julie: I heard it on CBS yesterday, but then there’s this story:

    in which they say that the match is good, but there’s a substrain that doesn’t match and is causing all the mischief. It’s late in the story.

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  45. Jolene said on January 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Check out this report on health outcomes in the U. S. vs. other rich countries. Really, a national disgrace.

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  46. Jeff Borden said on January 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I also read that piece in the Times, Jolene, and it made me rethink the whole notion of “American exceptionalism.” It makes me want to scream.

    Meanwhile, while our right-wingers like Paul Ryan continue to push for things like the blastocyst personhood bill, they continue to target the kinds of social programs mothers of unwanted children would most need.

    The next time one of these sanctimonious shitheads starts whining and wailing about abortion, why doesn’t someone ask them how many kids they’ve adopted? Or if they will spend the necessary tax revenues on social programs to help these babies once they are born? Or, even more radical, if they will support contraceptives on demand to prevent pregnancies that might result in abortion?

    And as our holier-than-thou religious politicians posture and preen on the issue, the U.S. has an infant mortality rate on a par with developing nations. Nice work, folks.

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  47. 4dbirds said on January 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Flu shot every year. I can’t speak for everyone who ever served, but we were vaccinated against the common illnesses and rarer ones depending upon how likely we were to go to an active area. At one time, my unit had Northern Africa as an area of operation and we had to take the plague vaccine. It was two shots separated by some amount of time (can’t remember how long). Worst reaction ever. If that is only a fraction of what a plague victim feels, I hate to think about those poor doomed people from the middle-ages.

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  48. LAMary said on January 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    When I lived in Colorado it seemed like there were little plague outbreaks from time to time. Am I imagining that PaddyO?

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  49. Jolene said on January 10, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Are you, perhaps, thinking of hantaviruses, LAMary?

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  50. Mark P. said on January 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    LAMary, I know that there have been occasional plague cases in California, and I suspect in Colorado, too. They have been rare, but they occur. People are generally warned to stay away from small mammals like squirrels, that might have plague-bearing fleas.

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  51. Jolene said on January 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    A somewhat lighthearted story re everyone in DC talking about RGIII’s knee surgery. I love the phrase “inner orthopedist”. I say “somewhat light hearted,” as that’s the spirit of the story, but what happened to this kid is not funny.

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  52. Dexter said on January 10, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Charlotte, our local Walgreen’s has a big sign by the street advertising whooping cough vaccine.

    Alex, the US Army vaccinated for bubonic plague, damn right. The vaccine was horrendous. Just before my Vietnam deployment I was ordered to get a plague booster shot. I stood my ground and refused to do so. I was prepared for some heavy discipline but nobody gave a damn.
    Scene: Dexter goes to medical dispensary to refuse plague shot.

    Medic: “Roll up your sleeve.”

    Dexter: “I am refusing this shot due to my severe reaction to the vaccine.”

    Medic: “Then what the fuck are you DOING in MY DISPENSARY? Get the fuck out of here!”

    And that was the end of that.

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  53. MichaelG said on January 10, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Deborah, if you mean Niland on the East side of the Salton Sea, then you’ve got me for sure. I’ve had jobs in El Centro and have traveled up and down the West side of the Salton Sea and I know that the East is worst. Niland must be a real hell hole. What on earth were you doing there?

    Thanks, Mary. I’m going to be driving from Santa Monica to Hemet in a couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll stop for lunch. It sounds like a really good spot.

    Was it here that someone made the point that Shanahan was a bad guy for continuing to play Griffin even after he reinjured his knee and was limping badly? I agree totally. What a jerk for not pulling Griffen.

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  54. Bitter Scribe said on January 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Can running QBs ever succeed in the NFL without getting pounded into mush? It doesn’t look hopeful.

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  55. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Happy birthday Rod Stewart. This’ll get that lachrymose Richard Marx drivel out of my head.

    The plague comes in two flavors, pneumonic and bubonic, the first air-borne and the second vermin-vectored. I think the cases in the American west in the 80s and 90s were of the pneumonic type, and Legionnaires was something similar. I believe that is correct information, but I could be mixed up about it.

    Then there is Hantavirus, which resembles influenza symtomatically, and is carried in rodent turds. Kinda like carvin’ the turkey, kinda like mowin’ the lawn:

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  56. paddyo' said on January 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I was just about to hit “send” on this when your plague/hantavirus post popped up, Pros’, but I’ll send it anyway:

    You mean PLAGUE plague, LA Mary? On occasion, a few cases, yes, though I’d hesitate to call them “outbreaks.”
    As I recall, the cases typically coincide with true outbreaks in prairie dog colonies, from Boulder out onto the Plains. Somebody’s walking Rover through a p-dog town or Rover brings home a dead one, and the plague-carrying flea jumps ship. It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen time to time. I also remember that several years ago, a mountain lion biologist on the staff at Grand Canyon National Park picked it up from a dead cougar carcass and succumbed some days later.

    And then there’s hantavirus, that nasty killer that got several unfortunate folks near you in Yosemite National Park’s tent-cabin lodging last year. Deer mice commonly carry it, and on occasion, somebody cleaning out an old shed or trailer or other confined mice-ridden spot in NM or AZ or the Four Corners (or a Yosemite tent-cabin) picks it up from the tiny droppings or dried rodent piss atomized by all the sweeping and dusting. Yum.

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  57. Dorothy said on January 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I’m with you Connie!!! (@ 34)

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  58. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Scribe, Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham were pretty good and pretty resilient, but LLBs in those days were smaller in general with nothing like the ballistic velocity of the current crowd.

    Bachmann goes right off the deep endon the subject of American Muslims into a cesspool of Tail-Gunner Joeism and a psychotic and delusional level of paranoia. And Boehner assigned this loony-toon to the House Intelligence Committee. She needs some time in Briarwood with Dr. Arden and Sister Jude. This is like Gohmert and Broun being on the Science Committee.

    Most of us are old enough to have had DPT innoculations as kids. I know most medical people believe the Tetanus portion must be boostered every year or so, but I’ve no idea about the diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) parts of the vaccines. The hand sanitizer industry is going to make a bundle, even though tests have shown that frequent washing with Safeguard is more effective. It was thought in the last couple of 20th C. decades that peertussis had been eradicated in the USA and most other developed countries, but that seems to have been prematurely optimistic.

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  59. alex said on January 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Pros, sometimes I think Mr. Boehner actually has a killer sense of humor.

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  60. basset said on January 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    >>I know Basset follows city-planning news

    We don’t just follow it, we MAKE it… in just one hour my coworkers will advise the Planning Commission to approve zoning for a used-car lot and repair shop, approve a site plan to permit a medical office building, tell five bonding companies to go away for a year and come back when they can act right, and take a whole raft of other actions. I’ll be lurking around the side walls checking my phone.

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  61. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    MIchaelG, I guess it is Niland, not Nyland. A hellhole for sure. I was there one Thanksgiving because my husband’s daughter’s inlaws go there every year for that holiday. Little Bird was there with us too and it was the worst time of our lives. I have told this story here before so I won’t go into the details again. It involved a string of RVs, tons of ATVs riding around ad nauseum, railroad tracks next to where we were trying to sleep. Sand, sand and more sand, ugly bleak surroundings. This is near Slab City that Dexter (I think) posted a link about awhile back. After going there that one time I refused to ever go again, my husband went a few more years after that because it was his daughter, but he finally couldn’t take it anymore either. His daughter’s family still go every year, they love it.

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  62. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I have always intended to check out the Salton Sea and Slab City for myself, since I saw it in Into the Wild. and also in the terribly underrated Wristcutters. Best movie about dead people since Defending You Life (brilliant), and it has Tom Waits in a crucial role. That has got to be Slab City. I guess I was pretty close the time my ex and I drove through Joshua Tree on the way from Phoenix to Monterrey. Speaking of Joshua Tree, I see on a map it is no longer National Monument, but National Park. Does this mean one can obtain camping permits. Damn, I love that place, Even though we had the stereo jacked while we spent the night in 29 Palms. which reminded me of nothing so much as the rathole Columbus, GA.

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  63. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Oh, and driving through Barstow felt like being in Fritz Lang’s evil robot movie while breathing poisonous gas.

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  64. Mark P. said on January 10, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    My understanding is that some childhood diseases we thought were a thing of the past are making a comeback because of the anti-vaccination movement. Some parents apparently think it’s more dangerous to get a vaccination than to suffer from all the childhood diseases of the past.

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  65. Little Bird said on January 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Niland is a terrible, awful, miserable place. I don’t think there’s anything anyone could offer me to go there ever again. There was absolutely nothing redeemable about that trip. Nothing.

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  66. Bob (not Greene) said on January 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Holy crap, I just looked at Niland on Google Maps and it’s like a goddamn ghost town. There’s a Welcome to Niland sign at a forlorn Y intersection and beyond it nothing but sand and scrub. The Google camera car just stayed the hell on the highway and never went into town to see if anyone actually lived there.

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  67. Joe Kobiela said on January 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Hanging with the mouse in Orlando for a week. Running Disney half with my youngest daughter Saturday. No full this year. Her longest race to date. Hoping to get her thru in 2:20
    Pilot Joe

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  68. Dexter said on January 10, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Niland, in particular Slab City, always intrigued me…it was indeed me who posted a link to a story about the place. I have never been near there but characters who live in a place like that fascinate me…what makes them tick? A few even stay there in the blistering summer.

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  69. LAMary said on January 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Nope, Jolene. It’s bubonic plague.

    Every year there were a few cases. Come to think of it I know someone here in CA who died of plague about 20 years ago.

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  70. MarkH said on January 10, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Prospero, the National Park designation for Joshua Tree threw me as well, lost track so had to look it up – 1994. It will forever be the Gram Parsons Monument for me. For you, as well, I’m sure.

    A spectacular place.

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  71. MarkH said on January 10, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I don’t know if this is what Dexter posted a while back, but for those of you not aquainted with the Salton Sea and surroundings, this short documentary is worth a look (shudder). Narrated by John Waters.

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  72. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    MarkP@64, probably true to some extent. Easy public health fix though. Create regulations that require drug companies to sell vaccines to pediatric primary care givers in small or single dose packages, obviating the use of preservatives that contain heavy metals and allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices. Everybody’d be happy.

    I’m not interested in arguing about this, but it is a fact that thimerosal contains mercury, which is undoutedly inimical to the human nervous system. If not for huge (40 dose) batch sales, the preservative would be unnecessary. I don’t want my grandson getting it and I’ll pay the difference to see that his childhood innoculations are from single dose packaging. That’s a chance not worth taking, though foregoing thae anti-vaccine course is crazy and a serious breach of social responsibility. Measles deaths of children in Pakistan jumped from 64 in 2010 to 300+ in 2012, supposedly because the CIA pulled some sort of cockamamie vaccination scam to try to collect DNA samples from Ol’ Dirty Bin Laden’s lair in Abbottabad.

    I just got something cool from my UPS guy, a little guitar-shaped amplifier that plugs directly into the guitar jack and operates on batteries. Haven’t tried it yet, and it could be useless, but it was only $15 so what the hell. Somehow, it includes distortion and overdrive controls. Can’t wait to hear how that sounds.

    For a change, I actually care about the Academy Best Picture. I want Beasts of the Southern Wild to win, badly, and I think the kid is probably Best Actress. Astonishing movie, and if it doesn’t win, I’d really like to see Silver Lining Playbook win. Remarkable movie with terrific performances. I’m not big on Bradley Cooper, because of those Hangover movies that I’d have to be trussed up like droogie Alex before I’d watch, but damn, he’s good in this with Jennifer Lawrence, who is superb as usual. We watched her movie The Poker House last night and enjoyed it a great deal. She was 18 when she made it. Young woman is a natural talent like, say, Jane Fonda or Paul Newman. No apparent artifice. Streaming on Netflix.

    The Gram Parsons Joshua Tree story is a favorite (although I tend to think of Emmylou as his greatest musical contribution), and I took the best photos I’ve ever taken with my old Yashica twin-lens reflex in that landscape. I love those big square negatives.. We had one tape, all the way across the Mojave into the San Bernardino Mountains (I think), Hissing of Summer Lawns. Synchronicity of music and landscape.

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  73. alex said on January 10, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I must confess, I didn’t know diddly about Richard Marx until I read that piece this morning. I figured I’d check out his work later and surely it would be some cruddy ballads from the ’80s that were so overplayed on the radio that I never wanted to hear them again. Of all of the selections I sampled, there was only one tune that sounded vaguely familiar. So Richard Marx’s schlock was evidently so bad that it wasn’t even memorable.

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  74. Prospero said on January 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Here’s a kale soup recipe that sounds good. I love kale soup because every town on Cape Cod has a waterfront bar patronized by Portuguese fishermen. We get great chorizo here because of the Latino construction workers:

    Alex@73: Yet, he felt compelled to defend the integrity of his art.

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  75. MichaelG said on January 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Joshua Tree / Morongo Basin was a pretty rag tag place until recently. I was once persuaded to stay at some ancient but historical motel that catered to the movie star set in the 1920s and 1930s. What a dump. My only consolation is that my friend stayed there too. You wouldn’t recognize the place now. Wal-Marts, Home Depots, car dealerships, supermarkets, housing developments. It’s Southern California, baby. If visiting, I recommend staying in Palm Desert only about 60 miles away or Palm Springs which is closer. There’s an Embassy Suites in Palm Desert that I particularly like for some reason.

    Joshua trees are strange looking but cool things. They grow only in a relatively small and defined area roughly on a line between Joshua Tree and Mojave. There might be some in nearby Arizona or Nevada but I’m not sure.

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  76. MichaelG said on January 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    My Ex makes a great kale soup with chorizo. As you note, Pros, it’s a Portuguese dish. They call it Caldo Verde. There are lots of Portuguese here in the valley. In fact there is a bull fight circuit with several bull rings and bull fighters imported from the old country.

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  77. alex said on January 10, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Yet, he felt compelled to defend the integrity of his art.

    Actually, he said he didn’t care if the blogger didn’t like his music, he wanted to know why the blogger called him shameless. So I guess he was defending the integrity of his shame.

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  78. alex said on January 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Gotta love that Cory Booker. If it ever comes to a face-off between him and Chris Christie, for the Senate or something even bigger, I bet I know who’s going to win.

    (But I’ll grant them both this: Their kind of brashness and swagger is a lot more refreshing and authentic than the kind emanating from the south and the west.)

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  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 10, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    May I recommend Colin Fletcher’s “The Man From the Cave” which spends a goodly part of the narrative in the 1920s & 30s & 40s around Joshua Tree, the Mojave, Niland, Palm Springs back in the day, and east past the Chuckawalla Mountains. A meandering but compelling piece of non-fiction. Probably have to buy it used, but you’ll be glad you did.

    There’s also a website out there that has a set of shots from “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” in those areas when it was filmed, and how it looks now. Striking changes.

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  80. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 10, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Ah, here it is. And look for “The Man From the Cave” thru the Kickback Lounge to your right (mind the gap).

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  81. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    A favorite desert place in Southern California is a funky “motel” called Miracle Manor in Desert Hot Springs. It’s owned by an architect and graphic designer couple, Michael Rotundi and April Greimann. Small, quiet, very relaxing, not chi chi, but designery. It has a hot mineral spring pool.

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  82. Deborah said on January 10, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Wow that kale soup looks good. Definitely in a soup mood, will have to try that.

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  83. Brandon said on January 10, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Richard Marx is also an accomplished songwriter. Among the songs he’s written was Luther Vandross’s “Dance With My Father”, released soon after Vandross’s death.

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  84. Dexter said on January 11, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Whatever ghost of my past persuaded me to buy a can of old style Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder? It just jumped into my shopping cart. I just cooked up a large mug of cocoa like I haven’t done in well over 40 years if I was to guess. It tastes nothing like Mom used to make, like Grandma used to make.
    I wonder what I did wrong….

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