Paddy, stand tall.

I came across the term “paddy wagon” in this Atlantic piece about the Stonewall uprising today, and it sent me spinning back to the era of extreme political correctness in American newsrooms, which is to say, the ’90s.

I don’t like the term “politically correct” anymore, because it’s been twisted so from its original, ironic usage, not to mention utterly co-opted by people who use it as a code for “I’m a jerk.” (Really, if someone says to you, “I’m not what you’d call politically correct,” isn’t that precisely what they’re saying?)

But there was without a doubt a time when it looked like we might lose terms like “paddy wagon,” “gypped” and other American slang to those who would rinse the language of even its pastel color, not to mention coherence. I mean, everyone knows what a paddy wagon is, right? A “prisoner transport vehicle” might be anything.

I try not to get too excited about these things anymore. Language is elastic, and some of this stuff is, to be sure, offensive, even obscene. You let in paddy wagon and pretty soon someone thinks “n*gger-rig” is just fine, too. But in general, I give this a pass, and I’d be willing to bet a show of hands among people under 40 would reveal precious few who can even tell you a) “paddy” is slang for an Irishman, and b) the wagons got that name because they were so often filled with brawling Irish drunks.

I’ll go almost as far with “gypped.” I had no idea it referred to gypsy scams until adulthood, but given how often I’ve read press releases from law enforcement, warning business and home owners about scams being perpetrated by “travelers,” I can’t say the term doesn’t have at least some legs. But OK, if you want, it’s now “swindled.”

What else? I recall being lectured about the use of the syllable “jap” in a story slug — i.e., the file name. If you’re like me, sometimes you shorten words in file names. SALESPROJ, maybe, or VACAYEXPNS. But woe fell upon the wire editor who shortened an account of the Sino-Japanese trade talks to SINOJAP.

Also, we were instructed not to ever use the word “gay” to describe a homosexual female. She would be, of course, a lesbian. But could you say, “The move was applauded by gay people across the country?” You could not. The move was applauded by gays and lesbians.

“Can I say lesbians aren’t funny?” I asked my boss, who was gay, once, just to bait him. I was writing about the spectacular tanking of Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom after she came out. What had been a pleasant little half-hour about a woman running a book store turned into a weekly lecture about gay rights — er, rights for gays and lesbians, and also bisexual, transgendered and questioning persons.

“Sure,” he said. I now regret that column. Wanda Sykes is a funny lesbian. So is Tig Notaro, and so are many others. I’d also like to say the only person who made that string of individual categories work in a sentence was Lady Gaga.

What happened to ease up on all the oversensitivity? Something happened around 9/11 — all of a sudden people were running around talking about bombing Afghanistan back to glass. You started hearing “c*nt” on premium cable. A whole new crop of insult comics made objecting to “paddy” and “gyp” sound like squalling over using the wrong fork at dinner. And with the collapse of the newspaper business, well, who had time to worry about that?

Speaking of what gets in the paper, I guess Kirk wasn’t working this particular night.

And with that, we have pivoted to the bloggage at the end of a very long week. I don’t have much, but I have this silky video of a skateboarder navigating a decayed but oddly beautiful Detroit. Or maybe that’s just the Portishead talking.

Enjoy your weekend. I plan to.

Posted at 12:30 am in Detroit life, Media |

136 responses to “Paddy, stand tall.”

  1. Dexter said on January 25, 2013 at 1:52 am

    I was intrigued last summer when I found out that the one word that “all women hate”, cunt, had been seized by young women and used in conversation amongst themselves now. My wife and step-daughter , and the daughter is 42 now, assured me to never use that word around them, they find it so offensive. Now it’s being used like every other swear word; it’s found its niche.
    I was surprised a few years ago to learn that homosexuals had began calling themselves queer and queers. And “gay” has lost all reference-meaning to carefree joy.
    The ancient songbook adorning the old family piano in the 1950s had these words “…’tis summer, the darkies are gay…” boy, that ain’t cool at all anymore.
    I remember back 43 years ago when an African American soldier at my post in California asked me for a “lift in my ride”. I didn’t even know he wanted a ride in my car to the distant mess hall. A car had become a ride and I didn’t even know it.
    It amazes me that so many people call the March party day “St. Patty’s Day”. Wow. It’s St. Paddy’s Day, my friends. I only can recall seeing a paddy wagon used in earnest one time. A couple men were scalping White Sox game tickets right on White Sox grounds, which is against the law there.
    An undercover cop made a deal and quick as can be radioed for a paddy wagon to drive right up on the plaza and in went the culprits, off to the station and maybe Cook County Jail, 26th and Cal, who knows…

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  2. ROGirl said on January 25, 2013 at 6:30 am

    The video was beautifully done. The decay was obviously there, but it didn’t feel like they were exploiting it.

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  3. Basset said on January 25, 2013 at 6:46 am

    The video starts, it goes along for awhile, it stops. Pretty pictures, though.

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  4. beb said on January 25, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I always thought the paddy in paddy wagon referred to all the cops being Irish. So if a paddy wagon means iti has Irishmen inside it, does a panda car have pandas inside it?

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  5. alex said on January 25, 2013 at 8:33 am

    In the workplace I’ve noticed that “Afro-engineered” has become the new “n_____-rigged.” So much for political correctness.

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  6. BigHank53 said on January 25, 2013 at 8:36 am

    “Hello, is this the Smith residence? My name is Jimmy, and I’m a Junior Assistant Associate Editor at The Midwestern Blatheration, and my supervisor has asked me to call some of our subscribers when I have time to spare from polishing urinal cakes.

    Recently, we used some language in one of our stories that some members of the community found hurtful and offensive. We’d like to gather some direct feedback from the community, which is why your family has been selected at random. We’re using a scale of one to ten, with a one representing something that isn’t painful at all, like seeing a puppy or eating an ice cream cone.

    An eight is ‘watching the Taliban cut off your husband’s head.’ Ten, of course, is actually having the Taliban cut off your head. Or having to decide between burning to death on the 107th floor or jumping out the window.

    Now, Mr. or Ms. Smith: how uncomfortable did our story make you?”

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  7. Lou Gravity said on January 25, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Yahoo news (and others) are running this headline: “High school senior comes out as ‘LGBT’ while accepting award.” How did he have time for his schoolwork?

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  8. coozledad said on January 25, 2013 at 9:24 am

    You can’t wash “nigger” out of our history, at least not while it’s used to name geographical features in New York as well as South Carolina. I’d like to think it might ultimately become a term for slavers and the Confederates, and their gutter white hagiographers in the Republican party.

    But what I’d like is immaterial.

    Strangely, Nigger Lake in South Carolina is the site of a couple of odd historical, and for me, familial and fraternal events. A few years back, one of my childhood friends “died accidentally” while enjoying recreational activities there. Turns out he was the victim of a stupid fratboy prank gone awry- a lot less excusable when the fratboys are in their thirties.

    But Nigger Lake, SC, has always loved to kill it some white folks. From Rootsweb:

    Robert Dunnam and Susan Burn(e) migrated to Georgetown then up the Great Pee Dee River to Marion District where he developed a Plantation on the Pee Dee River, near Snow Island, at a place known to this day as Dunham’s Bluff. During the American Revolution, Robert, John, and Ebenezer Dunnam, along with his brother in law, Andrew Burn(e), brother to Susan, gathered supplies for General Francis Marion, who quartered his troops during the Winter, on Snow Island. There are many Indents, dated around 1780-85, a form of receipt in the South Carolina Archives, giving evidence of their work. There are Indents for hogs, sheep beef, corn and other supplies.

    Robert Dunnam is said to have lost his life trying to fly with a large pair of wings he had constructed. He jumped from a tall tree on his plantation at Dunham’s Bluff into “Nigger Lake” and drowned. He was buried at the family plot on his plantation, the location is not known.

    I am making a painting of this event in American aviation history, in honor of my uncle, whose Bell P-39 Aircobra crashed around 1942 in the same Pee Dee swamp when a fuel line worked loose. He was discovered by some farmers where he’d managed to hydroplane into the edge of some woods near a tobacco field. The gun camera/sight had torn off his upper lip and a part of his nose. When they found him, he was sitting on the wing, holding his bloody face in his hands and crying. He grew a mustache to hide the big scar on his lip.
    Italian antiaircraft fire or German fighter planes got him two years later.

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    • nancy said on January 25, 2013 at 9:39 am

      I look forward to that masterpiece, C.

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  9. Linda said on January 25, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Re: offensive words. Weirdly enough, I grew up never knowing that “sheeney” was a horribly offensive anti-Semitic slur. On the east side of Detroit, it was what we called the guys who came down the alleys a day ahead of the garbage trucks to scavenge salvagable goods. I never would have made that association anyway, since the one in our neighborhood was black. Thank goodness I found out without having to find out the hard way–by saying it and offending the hell out of someone.

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  10. velvet goldmine said on January 25, 2013 at 9:45 am

    My husband had to browbeat his sister (not a bigot) for several minutes before she could see why bragging about “jewing down the car salesman” wasn’t the greatest way to put it. She honestly didn’t connect the “jew” with, well, Jews.

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  11. Tim said on January 25, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Beautiful video, sad and inspiring. The music worked well with it, but I didn’t see whose it is.
    Downtown Gary, Indiana, has plenty of urban decay, some of which has been used in horror movies, but without the upbeat signs in this video.

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  12. Deborah said on January 25, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Linda, I had a sheeney incident myself when I used to go to the gym at the Y in St. Louis, this was in the 80s and some of the women would show up in these ridiculous shiney leotard outfits. I had never heard the term sheeney before and decided that was a good name for those exercise outfits. Thank goodness I hadn’t said that to many people before a friend gave me a clue.

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  13. Peter said on January 25, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Velvet, that happened to our friend when she was living in Alabama. She was having a yard sale, a black lady selected several items, then told our friend that now it was the time “to Jew you down”.

    My wife couldn’t believe that happened. What I didn’t believe happened is what the friend said: “I’ve never heard that before, and I’m Jewish”. I said you grew up in Rogers Park, how could you NOT have heard that term.

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  14. velvet goldmine said on January 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

    The history of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” is a good illustration of the evolution of how we feel about these words, not to mention the stereotypes we evoke.

    The orignal 1939 title was “Ten Little [N-words]” but that obviously became too offensive, sometime around the late 1950s. Unfortunately, the next choice was “Ten Little Indians,” which stuck until the 1970s, when some publishers and play producers began switching to the current title.

    Changes to the text had to be made as well. In the original novel, the house guests staying on N-word Island were taunted with ever-decreasing tabletop figurines depicting cute little n-words. Later copies of the book evolved to Indian Island and Indian figurines.

    Wisely, current texts and play productions use “ten little soldiers” on the table.

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  15. velvet goldmine said on January 25, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Peter, I never heard the expression either until my sister-in-law said it. Maybe it is a regional thing? She had moved to Texas.

    Then again, until today I never gave one thought to “paddy wagon.” And I’m the one who always caught the headlines when interns typed “St. Patty’s Day.”

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on January 25, 2013 at 10:20 am

    The only time anyone in my family got burned by so-called “political correctness” (that I know of): Shortly after 9/11, when the war in Afghanistan was heating up, my smartass nephew’s social studies teacher showed the class a slide of the Afghan flag. The flag has a seal with some sort of gazebo-like structure in the center, and the teacher asked the class what they thought it might be. My nephew suggested it was a 7-Eleven. That got him two day’s detention.

    Let me hasten to add that I share Nancy’s aversion to the term “political correctness” and only think she didn’t go far enough. Show me someone who complains about it, and I’ll show you a whining bigot.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on January 25, 2013 at 10:31 am

    No doubt I’m a mother hen, but my reaction to the video was concern about the lack of protective gear and later horror at his dark clothing in low light/night. Maybe if I watched it a few more times I would see the lovely architecture, but all I see now is a young man taking unnecessary risks.

    And you kids get off my lawn with your foul language!

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  18. Connie said on January 25, 2013 at 10:41 am

    16 great library scenes in film. Of Course Marion is first.

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  19. alex said on January 25, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Cooz, your mention of Appalachian place names calls to mind another I once read about. There was a Tickle Cunt Creek in Virginia, but the name got scrubbed during the Victorian era. So says David Hackett Fischer in the book Albion’s Seed. You’d think changing sensibilities would bring about a change in the name of that unfortunate island.

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  20. MichaelG said on January 25, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Well, I’m familiar with all those terms. Maybe it’s because I’m old. Don’t like Paddy Wagon? How about a Black Mariah?

    Paddy is a contraction of Patrick. I still can’t understand how those dolts, hearing St Paddy’s day spoken can write it out as St Patty’s day. I’ve been shaking my head over that one for years.

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  21. Dorothy said on January 25, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I loved that, Connie! Before I even clicked on your link I thought to myself “‘All the President’s Men’ has to be included in that summary.” I wasn’t disappointed. Coolest library I’ve ever been to? Has to be this one in Ireland (although I was disappointed that the busts had so much dust all over them when I was there in 2004):

    But my all-time favorite would be the one where I got my first library card.

    Next time I’m in Pittsburgh I might just have to stop by there and go in and take a big sniff. I LOVED the way this place smelled. I guess most libraries smell like this. But you always love the first one best!

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  22. Deborah said on January 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Connie, there’s a great library scene in the Wim Wenders movie Wings of Desire. And what about Ghostbusters, weren’t there scenes in the NY Public Library?

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  23. Prospero said on January 25, 2013 at 11:05 am

    You can’t wash “nigger” out of our history, at least not while it’s used to name geographical features in New York as well as South Carolina.

    And Texas goober-nors hunting camps. OOPS.

    I’m Irish and, yep, I’ve been transported in a paddy wagon. If the term were actually a slur against the Irish, why were the carriages originally called Black Marias?

    And calling someone a cunt, in England and Australia, is pretty much the same as labelling him an asshole in America. Or a dickhead:

    Romney Dangerfield was a perfect example back in the days when the GOP still roamed the earth.

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  24. 4dbirds said on January 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Hmmm, some of my ancestors are from Pee Dee, Missouri. Wonder if it was settle by SC people.

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  25. velvet goldmine said on January 25, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Prospero @23 — As you noted, cunt seems to be small beer in the U.K., etc. The difference seems to be that here it’s still mostly used to shame women, whereas it’s an equal-opportunity, somewhat lightweight, jibe elsewhere.

    “Bitch” is making a similar evolutionary turn in the U.S. — from “castrating female” to either “irritating person of either gender” or “someone of either gender whom I consider myself dominant over.”

    Of course, you can see why “bitch” or “cunt” would seem less stilted in a brawl.

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  26. Randy said on January 25, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I bought a comic book 30 years ago at a used book sale. It was produced in the UK, and filled with WWII comics created sometime in the 60’s or 70’s. The slur that stuck out for me was “take that, you sake-swilling tojo!” as a Brit soldier stuck his bayonet into a Japanese soldier. I was young enough that only the word “swilling” made any sense to me.

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  27. Tom M said on January 25, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Dorothy, after the Wilkinsburg library visit, perhaps you would have time to go over to Braddock for the first Carnegie public library?

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  28. brian stouder said on January 25, 2013 at 11:45 am

    and the term “gypsie” also came up in Grant’s and my Holocaust lecture series, as they were targeted, too.

    But the term is innacurate – as it refers to “Roma” peoples from eastern Europe, while “gypsie” is based on the notion that these people are from Egypt – which seems to be Euro short-hand for African/black/non-white. (Lincoln and Douglas [et al] referred to southern Illinois as “Egypt”, for similar reasons)

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  29. Deborah said on January 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    That’s interesting Brian, about the term gypsy. I had no idea gypsy was a racial slur until we were in Finland a couple of years ago, it came up somehow in conversation (?) one of a friend of a friend’s wife was a Roma person. At the time I wondered how many times I’d used the term gypsy. There is a city in So Illinois, Cairo. But everyone pronounces it Caro (like the syrup). We rode down there from St. Louis once on a motorcycle trip, it was a hellhole. I wonder if there is a connection to the “Egypt” term?

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  30. Dorothy said on January 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Perhaps one day, Tom…. you never know!

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  31. adrianne said on January 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    One of my favorite reader phone calls was from a man who objected to the photo used to illustrate the Goshen St. Patrick’s Parade. It was of a young man in a green hat that said, “Got beer?” Of course, he was drinking the same.

    The phone caller, who had a heavy Irish accent, said the photo was an insult to Hibernians everywhere. I said, “My name is Adrianne Reilly. I’ve been to numerous St. Patrick’s parade. Are you trying to tell me that beer drinking is NOT rampant at them?”

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  32. Bitter Scribe said on January 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Once my newspaper ran an article, written by an editor who had spent half her life in Ireland, about how St. Patrick’s is a much bigger deal here than there. The copy desk gave it what I consider one of the all-time great headlines: “On St. Patrick’s Day, Erin Go Blah.”

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  33. alex said on January 25, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    My Hungarian grandmother, who never became fluent in English, would refer to black people as “gypsy.” Hungary has a particularly large Roma population.

    The Roma originated in India, or so I recall from a beautifully done documentary/art film from maybe ten or fifteen years ago, which showcased the music, dance and dress of various Roma communities throughout the world. The common origins were obvious yet each group had evolved its own style. It was pure eye and ear candy and the cinematography told the story without there being any narrative.

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  34. Kirk said on January 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Sadly, I was working that night, but I wasn’t working in sports. Those two dorks sit there every game, dressed as referees, behind the west goal. People with that kind of “look at me” mentality probably think that opposing players actually see and are affected by their dumbassedness. I am told that we removed the shot from our website when someone pointed it out. I’m surprised I missed it, because I usually like to check out faces in the crowd in such shots. Sometimes I know someone; occasionally, I’m in the picture.

    As for St. Paddy’s, I wish it were only interns who insisted on calling it “St. Patty’s.” It’s an annual struggle.

    I read that they were called paddy wagons because, when cops rounded up a bunch of Irish drunks and asked their names, all the drunks defiantly said, “Paddy.”

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  35. alex said on January 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Latcho Drom. That’s the name of the film I mentioned above. And it was made twenty years ago. It played in the art houses but now is supposedly very difficult to find anywhere in the U.S., so someone uploaded it to youtube in ten parts. Here’s Part One.

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  36. Prospero said on January 25, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Prima cunt Michelle Malkin thinks GOPers were to easy on Secretary Clinton after Clinton pissed on her bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Of course, I mean that in the Brit sense.

    Charles Pierce eviscerates the odious AIPAC shill Jennifer Rubin. I think she may be a manufactured cover for the bunch-backed toad Krauthammer to get extra column inches of poisonous, spurious bullshit into WaPo every week.

    And St. Patrick’s Day may not be a big deal in Ireland, but at least it exists. Cinco de Mayo seems to be an invention of a brewer that makes beer so lameass they suggest you squeeze lime into it, to render it slightly less lame.

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  37. Jakash said on January 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    The Chicagoans who hang out here are probably familiar with this story. The local potato chips (though they’ve been bought out by Snyder’s of Hanover) are called “Jays Potato Chips”. But they were created by a guy named Leonard Japp and his wife, Eugenia, and were called “Mrs. Japp’s Potato Chips” from about 1929 up until they came up with a new name for them after a certain event in December, 1941.

    I’ve certainly celebrated quite a number of March 17ths and have frequented many Irish bars, but this is the first I’ve become aware that saying or writing “St. Patty’s Day” is such an outrage to all that is proper. Of course, I never knew what Paddy Wagon meant, either. Though I have enjoyed Paddy Irish Whiskey…

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  38. Prospero said on January 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Should a recently introduced bill in New Mexico become law, rape victims will be required to carry their pregnancies to term during their sexual assault trials or face charges of “tampering with evidence.”

    Damn, that is nucking futs.

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  39. brian stouder said on January 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Well, the Republicans/”conservatives” have a chance to act like adults and take a breath (rather than foam at the mouth) about this latest Federal judge’s ruling that the president ‘violated the Constitution’ (as faux news says) when he made recess appointments.

    See, the Senate was IN-SESSION – even though it wasn’t really – so PRESTO – forget about actually, you know, governing – you just violated the law!

    And now we’re off to the Supreme Court – which simply wastes their time…but they have plenty of time to waste, really…

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  40. brian stouder said on January 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    OK – this local BREAKING NEWS headline made me chuckle (and sort of made me dizzy):

    “Upskirt” peeper conviction overturned

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  41. Deborah said on January 25, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Prospero, that bill won’t pass in NM. While the gov is Republican she’s really not bad and the state reps are mostly Dems. There are a couple of rightwing whackos though.
    The stupid party as Bobby Jindall recently said about the GOP.

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  42. alex said on January 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Jeepers, peepers. That freak’s getting off on a stupid technicality. The child exploitation law says the child has to be videotaped engaging in sexual conduct, and as these were the unwitting victims of a voyeur they were not engaged in sexual conduct.

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  43. brian stouder said on January 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    That freak’s getting off on a stupid technicality

    and we do mean – getting off!

    Good ol’ Indiana, eh?

    (I just liked the spinning-effect in the headline, of the up-skirt being overturned)

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  44. MichaelG said on January 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I’m aware that c**t is pretty much a gender neutral term in Oz. Not so sure about GB. Another term they use in GB for the female part is ‘fanny’ which means something else here.

    I’m at the office using an office computer.

    The Brits call or used to call Egyptians ‘gyppos’. I’m not sure how Roms came to be called Gypsies but that was the term I was always familiar with. Rom seems to me to be a relatively late coming term.

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  45. Prospero said on January 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Deborah@41: That’s good to hear. It was just the astounding perfection of the circular logic that stopped me cold. Giotto-like. Or the kid that pleaded for leniency because he was an orphan, after he killed ma and pa.

    Why Stan Musial went to the opposite field so well.

    That picture of the upskirt peeper looks like…an upskirt peeper, and some idiot tried him on the wrong charges. Somebody that knows some of the people he victimized will find that ahole and rip him a new one.

    Some public figures seem to exude the term “cunt”, and a lot of them are GOPer pols. Lindsey Fauntleroy Graham, Rand Paul.

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  46. jcburns said on January 25, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Michael Moore has some well-written thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty.

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  47. Jeff Borden said on January 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    When I was working the night police beat in Columbus in 1974, the cops called the squad wagon working the black neighborhoods “The African Queen.”

    The younger cops tended to classify black suspects as black, but the older ones would refer to them as “male coloreds.” I was so naive that when I was searching through arrest reports, I wondered aloud why some cops labeled white suspects with the letter W for white or C for Caucasian. The desk sergeant kindly noted that the older guys insisted on using C for colored. Cops were always wary around reporters, so I never heard the “N” word, or at least, I don’t recall it.

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  48. brian stouder said on January 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    jc – thanks! That is a superb article you linked to; and Moore underlines the point that Bush quite overtly gave up the search for bin Laden, and Obama specifically, overtly, and resolutely ramped it back up again – something that drives our rightwing friends right off the deep-end

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  49. alex said on January 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    O, sweet schadenfreude!

    So does Mizz Wasillabilly get to collect unemployment?

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  50. Suzanne said on January 25, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I didn’t know that the word “sheeney” is offensive because I never knew the word existed! I guess I’ve led a sheltered life.

    Loved the movie library scenes. The frozen one was probably in a state like Indiana that likes to freeze funding down to nothing until libraries freeze and fade away…

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  51. Deborah said on January 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    We’re having a guest for dinner tonight, his wife is teaching creative writing in another state this semester, he’s batchin it as he says. I’m making pasta bolognese, which is my favorite dish. Beef, veal, pork and lots of cream, what could be wrong with that besides cholesterol? I’ve been sipping wine all afternoon while cooking. Oh how I love retirement.

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  52. Dexter said on January 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Jakash, I could never remember which chip I liked best, Lay’s or Jay’s. Of course, being reared just north of Fort Wayne, I grew up on Seyfert’s potato chips and Eckrich meats, fuck you Dinner Bell and your shit-tasting cold cuts and hot dogs! I don’t eat baloney and hot dogs much anymore, but when I do, it’s Eckrich , and I just bought some Eckrich baloney last night. Keeping with the local theme, was there ever a better candy bar than the Wayne Buns made right there on Anthony & Berry? My god they were good. Then Clark bought them, now Pearson makes them.

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    There’s a building in the town I used to live in, where my wife still ministers, that all the old-timers call “the Jew tent.” There was a large tent during the summers in front of the building which was later built as a structure later repurposed many times over, but originally was the warehouse and winter quarters for Rosenbaum’s Variety Store, or “the Jew tent.” The Lovely Wife and I have often debated when and how we should pull back on the reins with folks who say that, but as it’s pretty much an 80 and up thing nowadays, and understood only amongst them, it’s a moot point. Still makes my head jerk a bit when it goes by, but not as much as in ’99 when I first heard it. Is that a slur? We’ll have to get a ruling from the panel, because it’s a complicated one, made worse by the fact that Rosenbaum apparently used it himself. I wondered about ads, but back then, newspapers didn’t have much impact in the Hebron area. My impression is that it functioned as a sort of ad hoc five and dime into the 60s at the latest.

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  54. MarkH said on January 25, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Some of my favorite childhood memories are from the ’50’s and ’60s when we would see the grandparents and visit the Carnegie Library in McKeesport, PA – Jason T.’s homeground. We were wonderfully sprprised to see the old stone building still there (and cleaned up considerably) and still in use. Almost as old as Braddock’s.

    We have a terrific library here in Jackson, well supported both municipally and privately, and celebrating its 75th anniversary on January 31st. Just finished a major expansion and renovation:

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  55. Prospero said on January 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    GOPers were all set to rig the 2012 election, but they thought it might hurt RMoney’s chances.

    And the got hyper about messing with the electoral college in 2004, when they thought it might get Shrub beaten. They called it “transparently partisan. Back then, George “The Cunt” Will called it a “pernicious proposal”.

    And these mofos aren’t denying they’re doing this underhanded shit, they are bragging about it. This is all a case of a flagrant intention to disenfranchise urban voters. And y know what GOPers mean by “urban”.

    On the page jc linked just now, there is a trailer in the righthand column for the David Chase movie Not Fade Away. Looks good. Maybe a little like Almost Famous.

    There’s a synagogue in Southfield that is visible from down in the John Lodge ditch. It is built in the shape of a ship pier, towering. Anyway, there used to be back in the 60s. Kids called it Kike’s Peak, which led to some scuffles on my part. I lose it pretty quickly over shit like that.

    Some of those tweets about $palin are hilarious.

    During the holiday recess the DC Circuit said was not a recess, a few GOP Senators showed up every three days to pretend the Senate was actually in session. How does anybody that made it through law school and to the federal bench get hoodwinked by that. They DIDN’T. Bastards simply ruled incorrectly on purpose to go along with the nefarious ruse by the GOPers that appointed them.

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  56. Sherri said on January 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Here’s the Carnegie Library I went to when I lived in Pittsburgh, though this picture is post sand-blasting:

    The building looked almost black when I first went there in the mid-80’s. This is the library in Oakland, next to the Carnegie Museum.

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  57. Basset said on January 25, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Deborah@29, how do the locals in Thebes, not far from Cairo, pronounce their town’s name?

    Potato chips… Chesty, believe they were from Terre Haute. Mrs. B was once an inspector at the Be-Mo chip factory in Kalamazoo, says they were good but I never had em myself.

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  58. Prospero said on January 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    I’d say, back in the 60s, Charles Chips were best. These days, we love Cape Cod chips, especially the sea salt variety. One thing I’ve never understood is how people convince themselves that Pringles are actually potato chips. EEEyuck. Although popping the tops off the cylindrical boxes is mildly amusing if you’re pretty stoned, and the potato-like diskettes are almost edible.

    All about David Sentelle, from Charles Pierce. Sentelle is the guy that pardoned Ollie North and Poindexter and saved Raygun’s ass in the midst of Iran/Contra investigation. He also believes that no federal regulatory powers derive from the Constitution, which sorta makes the guy a paleoconservative originalist that thinks the US Chamber of Commerce wrote the founding documents. Sentelle was also a protege of Jesse Helms, who Pierce calls “the late pathogen”, which is very funny even by Pierce Standards.

    Kwame’s Back in Jail Again.

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  59. basset said on January 25, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Meanwhile… Palin. Fox. Outa there.

    “Four years removed from her vice presidential candidacy, Palin’s influence had waned…”

    Ya think?

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  60. Jolene said on January 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    These potato chip names are evoking childhood memories. My dad was a potato grower, and most of his crop was sold to chip makers. If you ate chips from Jay’s or Chesty, you were eating potatoes from the good ol’ Red River Valley in North Dakota.

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  61. Deborah said on January 25, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Little Bird has her favorite chips from St. Louis that she gets her friends to send her or bring to her when they visit from there. I forget the name but she calls them “crack chips”.

    Good question Basset about Thebes, I never heard of it until today so I have no idea. I should clarify that Cairo, IL is pronounced Kay-ro not Care-ro or anywhere near the pronunciation of the city in Egypt.

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  62. Deborah said on January 25, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I should also clarify in my earlier comment about our friend who is “batchin” it while his wife is gone, at first I typed bachen it, since bachelor is spelled that way but then it seemed like he was a Bach aficionado. So I went with batchin but after I hit submit it seemed kinda lame. Too late.

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  63. Dexter said on January 25, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    About 15 years ago some guys at work asked if I could bring some Snyder’s of Hanover flavored potato chips into work since I live in Ohio and worked in Indiana where they weren’t sold.
    Snyder’s made several flavors and soon I was lugging in many bags per week. Those guys went crazy over those vinegar and salt Snyder’s chips.

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  64. MarkH said on January 26, 2013 at 12:48 am

    When we lived in Pittsburgh, we loved Wise potato chips. In Maryland, we thought Utz was pretty good. Out west, we used to have Clover Club, a very good brand. It was founded by a guy named Hod Sanders, who lived in Clyde Park, Montana, near Livingston. Sanders died in ’84 and the brand got bought out and went away for a while. I’ve seen it in our local stores lately, though. When we lived in Cincinnati, they had one of the worst we’ve tasted, Husmann’s. Ugh.

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  65. Dexter said on January 26, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Soccer fans are uncanny…a player is in distress and he runs off to the loo…and instantly the fans chant his name and also chant exactly where he went and why. Amazing stuff, and funny in an uncomfortable, odd way.

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  66. Jakash said on January 26, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Do any Ballreich’s chips from Tiffin make it out your way? I enjoy a nice “ridgy” variety, myself, and thought those were pretty good in the past, on the occasions that I tried them. Although I love sampling the salt and vinegar option from almost any brand.

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  67. Jakash said on January 26, 2013 at 2:04 am

    That’s cool about some of the chip potatoes coming from your dad’s farm. I trust that it was different back in the day, but have you read “The Botany of Desire” by Michael Pollan? His section on potato-growing in Idaho, particularly with regard to the pesticides involved, has gone a long way toward limiting my conventionally-grown potato consumption, in any form. (Not that I don’t enjoy some chips or fries on occasion, in spite of it.)

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  68. Dexter said on January 26, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Jakash, I was about to post that as much as I grew to love Seyfert’s, there really is no potato chip comparable to Ballreich’s. Bar none. The taste…a soft crispness yielding incredible flavor is a true joy of life to taste.

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  69. jerry said on January 26, 2013 at 4:06 am

    A word of warning – the use of the word “cunt” in the UK is not generally acceptable, certainly in any sort of polite society. I’m not saying it isn’t used but it is likely to give offense.

    Personally I might use it to refer to a driver who cut me up dangerously – “you stupid cunt”. Or to refer disparagingly to a politician, for example, – “he’s a silly cunt”, in this case similar to “arsehole”. Used between strangers it would probably be a precursor to violence of some sort, from shoving, through fisticuffs to weapons.

    Many newspapers in the UK are still reluctant to print the word. I know the Guardian/Observer print it but doubt it has ever appeared in full in The Mail or Express or the redtops. And it#s use on the BBC would likely lead to a flood of complaints.

    And I suspect this is the most I have typed the word in my life.

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  70. ROGirl said on January 26, 2013 at 6:01 am

    Eve Ensler did a riff on the c word in the Vagina Monologues, “Reclaiming the Cunt.” Whatever you may think about the Vagina Monologues, she rendered the word less toxic.

    In Detroit there were New Era potato chips, with the silhouette of a nude woman on the label. I think they were taken over by Lay’s.

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  71. basset said on January 26, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Deborah@62’s “batchin” reminds me of this:

    Pringles has, or had, or something, a manufacturing plant in Jackson, Tennessee, about ninety miles west of Nashville… and up until a couple of months ago the minor-league baseball stadium there was Pringles Park:

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  72. brian stouder said on January 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

    In Detroit there were New Era potato chips, with the silhouette of a nude woman on the label. I think they were taken over by Lay’s.

    RO Girl – you made me laugh out loud, and I’m still laughing!

    Being a Fort Wayne person, Seyferts was always simply “it”; and quite good. Reading friend-of-nn.c Laura Lippman books introduces one to the Utz brand (she’s a Maryland girl) – which is now readily available hereabouts, and which I also like.

    But it also opened my eyes to the idea that these “Big Snack Foods” had a certain locality, and now – rather than being a wine snob (or whatever), when we travel here or there, I wanna try the local junk food – whether at a one-off burger or pizza joint, or the packaged snacks (like potato chips) from makers I’ve never heard of

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  73. alex said on January 26, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I stayed out of the cunt confab yesterday because I was typing on a computer at work, but I figured I’d weigh in. In Europe and Latin America, I’ve been told, the word in some places is like a term of endearment for children sort of like “little shits” is in the U.S. I knew some Venezuelans who used it constantly. They’d call each other “con” or use the imperative verb “cono” (go fuck) as in “cono la madre muerta.” So it is used derisively but in Latinate cultures where gender equality doesn’t really exist, it doesn’t cause as much offense. The reason it’s so offensive in American culture is that it reduces a woman to one part of herself, the only part that matters to a misogynist.

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  74. Dave said on January 26, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I think I’ve mentioned Ballreich’s Chips before, I discovered them when I found myself living in Northern Ohio, they had never made it to Central Ohio, where I grew up. I had never seen them west of the Ohio line and they’re still not common but there’s a gas station/convenience store in Markle, IN, that has them. Also recently found them in a Discount Drug-Mart in Pickerington, where I’ve been picking up my parents presciptions, but not any grocery stores.

    Cape Cod chips are very good, Pros, and I seem to remember from way back, Casey Jones Potato Chips in Central Ohio, a long gone brand. Chips are a great weakness that I have to beat back.

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  75. Kirk said on January 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I remember liking Tip-Top and Mike-Sells potato chips as a kid in southern Ohio. Mike-Sells seemed to get a lot of commercial time on Dayton TV.

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  76. Prospero said on January 26, 2013 at 11:41 am

    The minor cuntroversy reminded me later of the agressive pushbacks of the “slutwalks”:

    I sure hope that dumbass cop that set these women’s hair on fire wasn’t married when he said the stupid merde he said.

    “Slutwalk” is more abrasive, and I think, more effective than “Take back the night.” It’s certainly more attention-getting. It reminds me of “Up against the wall.” from back in the 60s, or James Brown singing “Say it loud.”

    And the GOP Senate contingent is planning to spend $3mill of taxpayer money on legal defense of DOMA. Gutdom what a waste of cash:

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  77. Jakash said on January 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    “when we travel here or there, I wanna try the local junk food”
    These days, when we travel, I like sampling the local craft beers that are being created at an ever-increasing rate all over the country. (Many years ago, before there was even such a thing as Samuel Adams, I imagined that eventually I might try every beer made in America, which would have certainly been possible in the 70’s, or early 80’s, since many of the old brands were gone, but the craft explosion had yet to ignite. Now, I can’t even keep up with the number of new brews being created in Chicago.) But when I first started traveling, before I could even legally buy beer, it was the unique potato chip brands in different localities that I would seek out. I think trying out the local junk food probably goes a long way toward absolving you of your sin of accompanying it with an icy-cold Diet Pepsi. 😉

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Casey Jones Potato Chips in Central Ohio, but I HAVE tried Jones’ chips in North Central Ohio, which certainly give Ballreich’s a run for their money…

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  78. brian stouder said on January 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    You know, I wonder about all the craft beers. I’d a’ thought there’d be more regulatory hoops to jump through, regarding the taxable part of making drinks with alcohol, let alone the board of health piece of the project.

    Leaving that aside, the local news is talking about the 35th anniversary of……the Blizzard of ’78.

    I remember that I worked at Maloley’s supermarket, and it was a Wednesday evening (double stamp day), and I walked home from work and it was snow-snow-snowing, and it was a wet snow, and the wind had not picked up yet.

    But the next day was simply incredible; white-out/drifts as tall as all the houses/buried cars/canyon streets (those that were opened)

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  79. Dexter said on January 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    JmmO: The old Maxwell Street Market in Chicago which was located on Halsted from about 15th-16th on down past Maxwell, was called Jew Town back in the 1920s. My dad took me there when I was 14 years to experience it, and I was blown away. What a place it was! Now it been shuffled around and is over on Des Plaines I heard.

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  80. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 26, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    The house I grew up in had one of these on the shelves of the basement pantry, and was what I looked at while Mom cut my hair on the workbench stool. Hunting up the picture, and finding it, I hear the buzz of the clippers in the act of looking at that label. But it didn’t have chips in it; my faint recollection was that it held extra oatmeal or buckwheat flour that was bought on sale and stored downstairs until the canister in the kitchen needed filling.

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  81. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Dexter, I just missed seeing that as I posted; my dad took me there, too! And I had a kosher hot dog, which unnerved me, because the ketchup went on it before it went in the oven for a quick broil, which seemed downright barbaric. But that’s when I started concretely realizing “other people have other ways to do things than the ways my family and folk do them.”

    Still, a browned baked layer of ketchup? Meh.

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  82. MichaelG said on January 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I remember Jay’s Potato Chips from when I was a kid in Chicago. They used to come in those huge (they seemed huge then) cans that you can see in ROGirl’s post at 70.

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  83. Sherri said on January 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Look! Cats playing in snow! Well, really big cats, anyway:

    (I can’t eat chips right now, and this discussion is making me crazy!)

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  84. brian stouder said on January 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Sherri – that is tremendous stuff on the video link!

    I liked the one where we get an up-close, first-person view as a tiger sniffs at the camera lens, and then suddenly her mouth opens and we’re looking at her tongue and teeth

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  85. Deborah said on January 26, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Dexter, I did some research about Maxwell St recently for a project I was workin on. That’s where the distinctive sound of Chicago blues originated. The Jewish merchants hired the local black blues players to perform next to their market stands but since it was outside and noisy the musicians amplified their guitars etc thus the electric blues sound was born. But you probably already knew that.

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  86. Deborah said on January 26, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    I wasn’t trying to drop the g in working, I’m at a Starbucks on my iPhone and my fingers are still frozen.

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  87. Dave said on January 26, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Casey Jones chips, I think my memory of them may date back to the late 1950’s. I’m suspecting, given the times, that they were not a national brand.

    Being reminded that “The Blizzard” was 35 years ago is not doing well for keeping up my self-image as a youngster. It was an adventure!

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  88. Prospero said on January 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    When Senator Yertle admits a black Pez is something like too much he can bear? These jesse helms spit wont admit a black guy could possibly be the president.

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  89. beb said on January 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    To me chips and chips. The only difference I can tell are being regular and kettle cooked. (I do like the extra crispness of the kettle cooked) but when I buy them I try to get “Better-Made” because their factory is still in Detroit.

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  90. beb said on January 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Prospero@88. Youdrifting into incoherance. Time for a nap.

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  91. beb said on January 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    that’s “you are drifting.”

    I so miss the edit button.

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  92. Prospero said on January 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Whatever bullshit beb. You dislike me for some reason I can’t imagine. I don’t drift into naps, people ignore what the hell Hilariously we ignore

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  93. Prospero said on January 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    It is an obvious thing to point out theat this is nonsense.

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  94. Adrianne said on January 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Now I live in “hymietown”as t he rev. Jesse Jackson so memorably put it. A working knowledge of certain Yiddish phrases comes in handy,as is an appreciation of such delicacies as knishes, hamentascen and the like. You don’tknow bagels or bialyses until you’ve been to New York, baby!!

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  95. basset said on January 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Guess I’ll never know ’em, then, not if I have anything to do with it. I have deliberately avoided NYC for every one of my nearly threescore years on this earth… no reason to go there, no desire to. Dirty, crowded, dangerous, people take pride in being rude… as Bill Monroe said many times in other contexts, “that ain’t no part of nothin’.”

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  96. brian stouder said on January 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Say – just read Nance’s Atlantic link about the Stonewall uprising, and the photograph reminded me once again of a thing or two I’ve noticed before: look how good those people look.

    They’re all well dressed, clean-shaven….dare I say – conservative-looking!

    Whenever we see images from any of the civil rights causes of the ’60’s, one can’t help but note the neckties, the hats, the shirts-with-collars….

    and the question I used to wonder about was whether such images reflected the vestiges of the “conformist” America of the 1950’s….or whether it reflects the OVER-REACH that the conservative/reactionary right of those days stumbled into…that they had pissed off middle-America.

    I think it’s the latter; and I think the modern-day Republicans are making the same mistake, right now. They’re pissing off Main Street America – and if they persist, things may get bad for us in the short-run, but it can only end in tears for them

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  97. brian stouder said on January 26, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Basset – the last time I was in NYC, it was 1974, and mom and my younger brother and I flew there to see my cousin’s (named Nancy, come to think of it) wedding.

    Did the Statue of Liberty, and Coney Island (and Nathan’s – where my Uncle Frank told me the secret ingredient on the hot dogs was the sweat from those _____ guys cooking ’em), and the Empire State Building -where we gazed across at the then-new Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (I recall that they were new enough that the local news was still full of doom & gloom stories about what the WTC would do to real-estate values in NYC).

    Loved the subway and the ferries and all that stuff.

    If I went back, we’d have to find Grant’s tomb, for one thing…

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  98. Prospero said on January 26, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Brian Stouder. That iss the NYC is the coolest place on the face of the earth syndrome. It is by a mile.

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  99. Prospero said on January 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Sorry but NYC is just way cooler. If you object, you never been there,

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  100. Minnie said on January 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Casting a vote for Route 11 potato chips fried up in the Shenandoah Valley and finally available down here in Tidewater.

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  101. Minnie said on January 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    When I was little we used to visit my father’s family in Forrest City, Arkansas. Sometimes we’d walk a few blocks to a small neighborhood grocery that in the winter displayed tempting piles of oranges. One day an uncle said something about having gotten something at the “juice store”, so I knew exactly where he meant. It was only after I was grown that I realized that what he had said was the “Jew store”.

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  102. Deborah said on January 26, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Basset, NYC is really a marvelous place, in fact we are going there next weekend. We started this tradition of going there on Super Bowl weekend, nothing to do with sports, it’s just a good time to go, cheap airfares and hotel rates, at good hotels too. It’s cold but not as cold as Chicago. There’s so much to do there, museums, theater, opera… and just walking. We are going to be there from Thurs through Sun, will go to see the play Picnic on Broadway, which was reviewed in the New Yorker a couple of weeks ago. Sat night we’re going to the Met to see the opera, The Elixir of Love. We’ll go to MOMA and the Met (of art) and a bunch more. There are of course great places to eat too. You’re really missing something, you should go.

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  103. Sherri said on January 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Deborah, early warning: next year, the Super Bowl will be in New York. Well, technically, at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, but I wouldn’t count on cheap airfares and hotel rates.

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  104. basset said on January 26, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Deborah, that’s all stuff I just do not care about. Broadway play? Opera? Not for me. Art museums? Don’t know enough about art to have any standing to go there. Doesn’t sound like the kind of city where I could do anything but count the seconds till I could get the hell out of there.

    Which, I know, makes me some kind of flyover philistine, stupid, boring, provincial, uncultured, whatever else you can think of and probably unqualified to participate in this blog. Sorry.

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  105. Deborah said on January 26, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Basset, there’s a lot of history in NYC and science too. There’s just all kinds of stuff to see and do. All kinds of music, etc.

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  106. Deborah said on January 26, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Actually Sherri, last year when we were there we had been told that the Super Bowl was going to be in NY this year so we were kinda surprised to find out that wasn’t true. We certainly will not go during a year when the Super Bowl will be played anywhere in the vicinity, that would defeat the whole purpose.

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  107. Sherri said on January 26, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    The Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year, New Jersey next year, and Phoenix in 2015.

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  108. Dexter said on January 27, 2013 at 2:07 am

    I’m going for a tattoo today…here is my inspiration:

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  109. Basset said on January 27, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Nobody seems to be disputing the crowded, dirty, dangerous and rude part, not to mention expensive. No doubt there’s lots to see and do there, I just don’t want to go through all that to see and do it.

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  110. coozledad said on January 27, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Gubmentism is socialism less’n it write mah paycheck. I wish Obama could send these crackers back to the mudhole to do whatever it is they do when there’s no grift to run. Fuck a sister? Fill a basement with dead transients? Torture small animals?
    We’re long overdue for that purge.

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  111. basset said on January 27, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Back to travel for a minute… ran across this purely by accident just now, and of course y’all’s favorite city is in there:

    I must have lived a sheltered life, only did ten of them myself… eleven if you count the quarries outside Bloomington.

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  112. alex said on January 27, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Nobody seems to be disputing the crowded, dirty, dangerous and rude part, not to mention expensive.

    I’ll give you expensive. But contrary to the popular stereotype, I have always found people there helpful and polite. Dirty and dangerous are things of the past. I remember when I used to visit in the ’70s and early ’80s having to step over slumbering homeless on the sidewalks and there wasn’t a square centimeter on any subway car—seats, windows or floors—that hadn’t been thoroughly covered in graffiti paint. And if you didn’t know where you were going you could easily walk into the wrong neighborhood. But in recent years the urban grit has been almost completely erased, and it’s not a dangerous place because the underclass has been priced out and can’t afford to live there anymore. Crowded? Perhaps, but people move efficiently and it’s not like you spend extra time waiting to go anywhere or do anything. And as Deborah said, even if you don’t like art and theater there’s plenty to see and do otherwise.

    Re: Maxwell Street. I remember it being pretty trashy and gritty until it, too, got all Disneyfied like New York. In the ’80s when I first lived in Chicago, the market appeared to me to be mostly people selling stolen rims and tires, sort of an open air pawn shop.

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  113. nancy said on January 27, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Expensive, yes, but the crime rate in NYC these days is almost unbelievably low. Whether that’s a function of better policing or driving the criminal element out is a matter of considerable dispute, but no one questions the fact anymore.

    And yet, ’70s New York lives on in people’s memories. I’d say you’re more at risk for street crime in Fort Wayne or Nashville than New York.

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  114. basset said on January 27, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Crime or not, the infamous New York attitude is enough to put me off. Lots of other places I’d visit before NYC… back to Alaska for one, Mrs. B. wants to go see the Kodiak bears and we will if we can ever get her healthy.

    Don’t know about Fort Wayne, but street crime in Nashville is pretty low in any place a visitor’s likely to go.

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  115. Kirk said on January 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I always had been leery about going to New York, though my dad occasionally went there on business trips in the ’50s and ’60s and loved it. For several years in the late ’80s and ’90s, my wife had an annual business trip there. In 1994, I think it was, I finally decided I needed to see the place, so I went with her. We were there only 4 or 5 days, and I was ready to come home when it was over, but I had a ball. There’s just so much of everything there.

    We had great food, saw a Broadway play (my wife’s concession was that it wasn’t a musical), hit MOMA, took a ride through Harlem and just checked out the scene. It was November, but the weather was nice and I got a personal tour of Yankee Stadium thanks to their PR guy, who I knew from Columbus (he’s the Reds’ PR guy now). I did decide to quit watching when we were in a taxi; I just figured the guy would get us where we were going.

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  116. Dexter said on January 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Derek Jeter sold his fabulous apartment a few months ago for tens of millions. Small studios in trendy markets of NYC go for about an average of 2.5 million dollars. Obviously, working people have to be well connected to be able to live well in Manhattan, and so, many …most New Yorkers live away from the skyscrapers, in Queens, farther out on Long Island, on Staten Island, or north to Connecticut and of course over in Jersey. I used to know a guy who lived dirt cheap in Hoboken, but like Brooklyn (even the formerly infamous Bedford-Stuyvestant), parts of those areas have been gentrified and po’ folk have been driven out. If NYC didn’t have rent control laws , initiated decades ago, thousands of New Yorkers would be forced to move around frequently into whatever was a low-rent district at that time.
    New York is fabulous, just click on this link and take a look at the positive product of gentrification. Just remember there are still places in Brooklyn like Canarsie where you will get your head blown off if you go poking around too much.

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  117. brian stouder said on January 27, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Say – this morning I was reading Fort Wayne’s good ol’ Sunday Journal Gazette, and I came across this pleasant book review by Maureen Corrigan, about a new collection of non-fiction odds and ends from Agatha Christie –

    and this passage of Ms Corrigan’s got me chuckling, and raises a Nancy Nall/Telling Tales/nn.c question (which we’ll get to, after the excerpt):

    Edited by Christie’s grandson, Mathew Prichard, this hodgepodge volume conjures up something we Christie readers have never quite seen before: a vivid impression of the young Agatha. Christie, after all, tends to be conflated with one of her greatest creations, Miss Jane Marple: Both women are fixed in the popular mind as dowagers sporting sensible shoes, lace collars and glinting eyes. In “The Grand Tour,” however, a grinning, 32-year-old Agatha stands holding her surfboard (!) on beaches in South Africa and Hawaii; she’s dressed in bathing skirts that stop high above her sturdy knees.

    OK – where does this at once familiar, and yet (upon analysis) opaque concept of “sensible shoes” come from? Is this a vestige of a Catholic school rule? Or maybe something passed down from mother to daughter? And, aside from alliteration, why does the concept of ‘sensible shoes’ almost invite the vivid inclusion of ‘sturdy knees’?

    Nance made reference to the idea os ‘sensible shoes’ from time to time in her N-S column every so often, and I thought I understood the concept; the invocation of a certain sort of young lady….and maybe even in sympathy with young ladies who simply had to toe the line (so to speak)….but the “sturdy knees” invokes a different note; maybe almost….what? Not hostile, but not sympathetic.

    Anyway, I’m (once again) out of my depth, although still giggling. But I thought I’d ask, since whatever else is meant by “sensible shoes”, I’m pretty sure I’ve no right to laugh at the joke (like laughing at the conversation on the people at the next table over in the restaurant, yes?)

    Where do sensible shoes come from?

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  118. Linda said on January 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I’ve been to NYC several times, and am fine with it. The New York attitude is in your face, but I’m O.K. with it. Often, they aren’t rude–just blunt. Like when I had a sticky badge left on, and a lady said “It makes you look like a visitor. Somebody’s gonna mug you.” She was doing right by me. The crime never scared me, but I’m from Detroit, and big city people don’t expect life to be safe all the time. But the dirt level does bother me some.

    OTOH, I have a friend who lived on the east coast, and never did like it. The people were just more in her face than she could get used to. To each their own.

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  119. nancy said on January 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Sensible shoes come from my closet. I’m a big fan of Dansko.

    While we’re being all judge-y, I was watching one of the Super Bowl commercials for this year, the one featuring Kate Upton. And I was thinking, eh. She’s undeniably lovely in the face and boobs areas, but on video you can tell her waistline is pretty straight, her ass is flat and her legs aren’t particularly shapely. I offer these comments in the hope that they will comfort the young model, knowing she was dealt only a pair of aces, and not, say, a royal flush.

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  120. Deborah said on January 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Talk about sensible shoes, I got these recently on sale still kinda pricey but I know I’ll have them for 20 years. I wear these with jeans around the Chicago streets. Rugged. I got a pair of Yoghi Yamamoto shoes similar to these in Paris, they lasted for ages and I still wear them. They aren’t quite as rugged as these new ones though.

    And Kate upton seems to be wearing some kind of stocking like leg covering in that video you can tell when you look at her feet. Her legs aren’t that shapely in the video shots, but who’s looking at her legs?

    One more thing about NYC, Alex is right it used to be pretty dirty but is much less so. There are very few alleys in Manhatten and on trash pick up days there are tons of garbage bags lined up on the sidewalks in the front of buildings. In the hot summertime it can get pretty smelly

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  121. Little Bird said on January 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Yep, it’s true. My mother wears combat boots.

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  122. brian stouder said on January 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Little Bird – and she will for the next two decades!

    A pair of aces will turn my head, but the spot seems to have the emphasis on the wrong syllable (so to speak).

    Thinking of the Rolex guys from a few days ago – if you wanted to make a Mercedes commercial and incorporate Ms Upton’s big’uns, why not have a smiling male (the target of this ad, yes?) behind the wheel, and Ms Upton washing the windshield with no hands? (Thinking Cool Hand Look, here)

    Instead, they present a bunch of nerdy fellas distracted by Ms Upton, doing a perfunctory hand-job on the car’s hood. She’s happy to leave them with the car, and she begins to put distance between herself and them.

    Actually, in that regard I guess the Mercedes people are being more honest than they maybe intended to be

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  123. Jolene said on January 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Your assessment of Upton is on target, Nance. I know I’m not the intended audience, but I didn’t find either her or that ad especially appealing.

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  124. Kim said on January 27, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    New York is a blast, not for everyone but what place is? My daughter and I went for her birthday last weekend – Upright Citizens Brigade show ($10), Canal Street shopping (like a T.J. Maxx on steroids), standing-room-only tix to the 2012 Tony for best musical “Once” ($27), SNL (free). We were out on the subway until 1 a.m., walked all over the city and never had an issue. It’s way different from the NYC I visited as a younger person. Sort of sanitized for your protection, but still very fun.

    January is a great time to go because the crowds tend to stay home. How else could we have gotten those great Broadway musical tix the morning of the show?

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  125. Julie Robinson said on January 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Methinks Ms. Upton is preggers. Take a look at that thick waist.

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  126. beb said on January 27, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    The Kate Upton video is amazingly bad. As Nancy notes, she not especially good looking anywhere below the diaphram while the video refuses to do anything especially salacious. If you are going to have a girl in daisy dukes, a car and lots of water, you have got to have the water all over the girl. Anything else says Mercedes, ‘all hat and no cattle.’

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  127. Brandon said on January 27, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    @basset: I’ve never been to the mainland. I don’t let that stop me from reading and posting here. I have no personal experience of New York. The closest I’ve been is Honolulu (which is not all Waikiki).

    Travel is a hassle, admittedly, but New York, I would imagine, is one of those places that really does live up to the hype.

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  128. Sherri said on January 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I plan to go to NYC sometime, just too many places, too little time. If I let worry about crowded, dirty, and dangerous get to me, I would have never gone to Rome, and that would have been a shame. I loved Rome, and would go again in a heartbeat. Definitely crowded, though, especially on the trains at rush hour.

    Next up, though, on my big crowded cities tour is London, which I hope to get to this fall after the kid is off at college.

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  129. Deborah said on January 27, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Kim, what fun, how old is your daughter? My daughter, Little Bird, and I took a trip there together (when she was in her mid-twenties) and it was so much fun. It’s interesting to go on trips with her, we do things I wouldn’t think of doing and they turn out to be a blast for both of us. Like we were in Barcelona once and we went to the zoo which turned out to have a white (albino) gorilla, just fascinating. On my own or with my husband, would never have gone to a zoo in Europe.

    Did I mention that shopping in NYC is phenomenal. Yes it can be expensive but I have found some of the best bargains of my life there.

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  130. Prospero said on January 27, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Now if I’d made disparaging comments about Kate Upton’s ass, I’d have gotten spanked, for sure. She’s quite a nice looking woman, and I never thought it made sense to differentiate between faces and various body parts. And I’m a legs kinda guy. Kate’s got pretty nice ones, but I’m quite happy at home. What bassett is talking about:

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  131. MarkH said on January 27, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    I’ve been to NYC once. When the Wolfe family purchased their little Dispatch image enhancer publication, Living Single Magazine, I was the ad director and in October 1980 they sent me and the production director to the annual fall Folio convention. We were very busy, but I do remember the restaurants, especially a little Italian place called Giambello’s, and Windows on the World at the top of WTC tower 1. Oh, yeah, there was the trip to Times Square, seeing all the X rated clubs and general trash of the time, AND, seeing Rodney Dangerfield and his blue act live in his club. Love to go back and see more and what’s changed.

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  132. Kim said on January 27, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Deborah, she’s 18 today! Time sure does fly; our first trip to NYC (just the two of us) was when she turned 13. There were points during that first trip when she was sure I was going to get us both killed (following the whispers of “DolceGabbanaChanelMichaelKorsGucci” into the Canal Street stall, behind the fake door, down the basement steps into a dirt-floored bazaar of totally counterfeit goodies) but I assured her the $25 they’d make from me and the hundreds who’d follow their whispers would keep the tourists safe.

    We try to find fun – her b-day present was the trip, of course, but I surprised her today with a plan to go see the writer Junot Diaz, who she loves, in Richmond next month. It’s free – those are the best.

    We’ve done stealth trips home (Chicago, where I’m from) and those are nerve-wracking because I fear I will run into my family. The risk is worth it, and I know that sounds bad to people who have lovely families who don’t drive them mad.

    I know what you mean about going places others wouldn’t (or, worse, would and not enjoy). It’s good to have a wingman, esp. when it’s a daughter.

    I’ve been to that Barcelona zoo and may get back there this summer with my youngest, whose soccer team will likely play in the city. Love, love that city and would have a great time with my daughter there.

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  133. Kirk said on January 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Folio is the deal my wife was sent to for several years.

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  134. Little Bird said on January 27, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    A word on Snowflake, the albino gorilla, he has since passed away. But let me telly you, he was something else. The best word to describe him was smug. He knew he was the only one!

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  135. MarkH said on January 28, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Kirk, where does (did) your wife work?

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