The summer begins.

I signed up for another group ride Friday. It runs the full length of Woodward Avenue, from the Fist to Pontiac and back. That’s 54 miles and it rolls in about a month. I’m not worried about my legs, but I am worried about my butt and hands. Time to toughen ’em both. So I headed out for a little toughening Monday. It was a good day for it — overcast and cool, a holiday so little traffic.

I put the chain on the big ring and let ‘er rip, with the intention of riding out for an hour and then coming back at the same pace, hoping to cover around 20 miles. I reached the outer limits of my safe-solo-travel-into-Detroit circle at 40 minutes, then came back the long way around, which is to say, in one 1.5-hour period, it was blight and industry and wealth and water and — as always, because this is Detroit — lots of liquor stores.

Didn’t quite make 20 miles. Google said I rode 17.5. But a good start.

And if there’s anything more boring than someone else’s workout, I don’t know what it is. But that was the weekend: It started with kundalini yoga and ended with beef on the grill. Funny what you can do in three days, without doing all that much other than eat and recreate a bit.

Well, there was the Liberace biopic. Not all that great, but it had its moments.

I had more to this entry, a few words about the big news here over the weekend — the potential of the sale of the DIA collection — but somehow I got signed out, and lost it all.

With that as an eff-you from my own site, I’m leaving early. Let’s hope it’s not an omen for the rest of the week.

Posted at 12:30 am in Detroit life, Same ol' same ol' |

58 responses to “The summer begins.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 28, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Whether Detroit or the Vatican, the question of stewardship is always a loud complicated argument of a query. This is a debate with resonances all over the place, and well worth following. I hope the emergency administrator doesn’t go there, but strictly speaking, I can see where they’d be irresponsible if they didn’t.

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  2. Dexter said on May 28, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I had a boring weekend spiced up by two days of very-busy housecleaning, drinking coffee in the AM and tea in the PM, looking in at Memorial Day TV stuff, including wondering what kind of salute to dead soldiers ML Baseball was doing by forcing every player on every team to wear Shock and Awe camo ball caps that looked like birds had shit on their heads. Those hats and baseball are a bad match. Little things piss me off at times. Also, all the team graphics on the uniform jerseys were faded like an Abercrombie and Fitch or Reebok tee shirt’s lettering. Horrendous look. They should have played in full military gear, and if a baserunner decided to steal second, let the catcher take a shot at him with a heat-seeking rpg.
    Rain and cold , rained all day Monday. I cancelled my planned ten miler on my bike. Tires all aired up and no where to go. I use to ride in the rain, not giving a damn if I got all wet. Now I just sigh like an old man and go watch some TV.
    Then, I watched the Red Wings shit the damn bed again. Ahead going into period #3, they gave up three goals and lost to the stinking Chicago Black Hawks. Godammitt! 🙁

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  3. Dexter said on May 28, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Heh heh…Pope Francis, my fave pope since Pope John XXIII, was chastised by a Vatican spokesman after Pope Francis made his infamous “atheists can be saved, too” declaration.
    “NOT what he meant!” are saying the spin doctors in Rome.
    O yes it was, you lackey!

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  4. Candlepick said on May 28, 2013 at 1:32 am

    I’m so lucky as to know this family in this thoughtful essay:
    Knowing them, of course, makes the troll-riddled comments really hard to read. This is my first time to realize how vast is the social and political divide between the people who retweet and the people who comment. Yikes!

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  5. beb said on May 28, 2013 at 8:03 am

    The professional pearl plutchers – sorry, alliteration got away with me – clutchers have warned that churchs will drop the boy scouts en masse because of their vote to allow gay scouts. And one church – in Tennessee, natch – has done so. It’s a “mega” church with 30,000 members. (I’m not sure what benifits one gets from belonging to an organization that big?) They have 300 families in Boy and Cub scouts. That’s pissing on a lot of people. And for what? To keep out one gay scout? Statistically speaking, they already have 30 gay scouts.

    There’s been a lot of talk about selling off the Detroit Institute of Art. I suspect there are enough codiciles attached to pieces of art that the Emergency Manager can’t sell much of the collection.

    Actually I figure that this is some pre-emtive strike to either prevent the EM from considering selling off the DIA or to tie him up in enough law-suits that he will be ineffective in office.

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  6. coozledad said on May 28, 2013 at 8:04 am

    I don’t mind if the national trust is sold off to a bunch of criminals who like to hang a Modigliani in the room with the big glass top coffee table they can still manage to squeeze under to get shat upon, but if governments are going to let skanks get their hands on things of intrinsic value, there ought to be some tradeoff.

    If these people fancy themselves some kind of latter day Medicis(despite the fact their exemplary artist is McNaughton), the government ought to lift legal protections and sanctions for intrafamilial murder in their case. Any class that secures its moneys from,say, ripping shit out of the ground or speculating on the value of potable water should be able to kill its own members with impunity. Perhaps this should be incentivized with the offer of a Sargent portrait in exchange for every dead cousin they can dump out of the laundry chute.

    The state would derive hefty commissions from the sale of public wealth to these groups, and then once they’ve slaughtered each other, reaquisition works through eminent domain. There would, of course have to be a return tax levied against them to help pay for the removal of fingermarks, blood spatters, chewing gum, urine, sputum, and shit from the recovered items.

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  7. nancy said on May 28, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Here’s the thing about the Scouts I don’t get. Maybe Jeff can elaborate.

    The lifted ban is on gay scouts, right? And what’s the terminal degree in Scouting? Eagle, right? I’ve known a few Eagles in my time, and they all finished up by the time they were 13 or 14, with a couple hitting it around freshman year in high school. And there are very few of those, or at least, a relative handful compared to the younger ranks.

    So what’s the big deal? While teens are sexually active, I can’t believe there are large numbers of gay Eagles out there waiting to get their talons on one another at the Camp-o-ree. Onesies and twosies, sure, but not many.

    Or am I misunderstanding the structure? What happens after you top out in Scouting? Do you fly off to your aerie, or do you stay on to help with the younger kids?

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  8. beb said on May 28, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I will defer to Jeff but I understanding is that Boy Scouts, as opposed to the Cubbies, is a mostly high school organization so be the time on finishes the Eagle scout requirements they are high school juniors and seniors. Also there have been quite a number of Eagle scouts returning their patches after the BSA voted to delay the vote on this issue till this year. So, yes, there are a lot of gay scout and gay Eagle scouts. But they are not predators. So, really, there’s no problem with gay scouts, or even gay scout leaders. But homosexuals are the lepers of our day.

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  9. Scout said on May 28, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Fundies flew off the handle with the lifting of DADT too, it’s what they do. But the higher ups in the military are already reporting it has turned out to be no big deal. So let a few of the more out-there bigots peel away. Scouting will survive and at some point, those who stayed will be wondering why there was such a fuss. Hopefully.

    We did a 24 mile ride in the Dreamy Draw Mountain preserve on Sunday. We set out at 6:30 I order to be finished before things heated up. We spent the holiday in Prescott where it was 20 degrees cooler than Phx. A nice weekend, now it’s back to the salt mines.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on May 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

    It’s hard to feel like summer when the temperature is hovering in the upper 50’s, though, isn’t it?

    After two days of yard work, the rain drove us inside and we watched a couple of movies I was underwhelmed by, The Hobbit and Iron Man 3. I couldn’t get engaged in either of them. The Hobbit had so much CGI I wondered why they didn’t just animate the whole thing. Sorry if I’m offending the true believers, but for me the story got lost in all the crashing and explosions.

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  11. Peter said on May 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Well, I can answer a couple questions about Scouting.

    beb is somewhat right in that these days Scouts achieve their Eagle rank at a later age – my son was awarded his last month, and he’s 17 and just graduated high school, whereas I got mine at 13 when I graduated grade school. There’s a lot more for kids to do these days, and Scouts are like AYSO in that regard – don’t penalize kids for participating in other activities, stress that school comes first and other activities (like band, sports) have their place as well. The drawback to that is that a key component of learning and advancement happens through camping, and with little league, football/soccer, summer homes, etc., it’s tough to get one scout’s schedule open for camping, much less a full troop. Also, scouts who have divorced parents have to arrange their activities so that they don’t fall on the wrong weekend – our troop has scheduled camping trips on consecutive weekends to help out the half of the troop who have divorced parents.

    A boy can join Scouts when he’s 11 or entering fifth grade, so most scouts are in grammar school.

    In my opinion, the whole gay scout issue is a case of being careful of what you wish for.
    At one point, the group sponsoring the most scout troops was the Holy Name Society; now it’s the Army and the Mormons. That isn’t by accident; the national organization openly courted those groups to join scouting, saying that their values and scouting’s are the same. However, this was done because of scouting’s track record – in the ’50’s, scouting went to several Protestant denominations and made the same pitch, and a lot of scout troops were formed as part of Lutheran and Episcopal churches.

    At a recent council meeting we were given a presentation on the vote that the National Council was going to take at their annual meeting. As you know, there are a lot of groups and congregations saying that they would pull out of scouts if the motion carried, but the reason behind the vote is that several Protestant denominations met with the scouts and said that, because of their stance on gay scouts, scouting’s values no longer were the same as theirs, and they would need to pull out unless all scouts were treated equally.

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  12. Bob (not Greene) said on May 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Here, Dexter, this will help: Back to the brink.

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  13. Bob (not Greene) said on May 28, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Sorry about that, Dex. I couldn’t help myself.

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  14. Dorothy said on May 28, 2013 at 9:49 am

    An extremely busy start to the weekend led to a rather quiet Monday because of the rain and cool temps. We decided to go get our new phones (iPhone 4s for both of us) at 9:30 in the morning and were delighted to find no other customers ahead of us even though the store opened 30 minutes prior. When the rain let up we dashed over to Country Colors to buy some pepper plants, a gorgeous red rose bush and a wisteria to go next to my new arbor, which we put up in installments over the weekend. (Concrete poured in four separate bases as the foundation – let it harden and then with brackets yesterday, put the arbor up in my perennial garden.) But the best, BEST thing that happened this weekend was two chances to see our son via an app called Viber. First, at 6:19 AM Sunday morning before we left for the family reunion in Pittsburgh. Then four hours later he called his sister’s phone while she was in the bathroom at the Eat ‘n Park (I was there too!). SO cool to be able to see his face and know he’s begun his assignment. He was in Kyrgyzstan, a way-station before the final stop in country. To say we were giddy about this communication would be a grave understatement. Now my new iPhone will never be far from my reach, just in case he has a chance to call at a random time again.

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  15. Prospero said on May 28, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I’m an Eagle Scout, believe it or don’t, made it in 8th Grade, at which point in my youth, being in Scouts at all was considered extremely uncool. The only person in my Scout Troop that may have been gay was my friend, Michael Collins. I’m not giving back my stuff. I offered to give some time to a local scout troop a few years ago, but I was told that I wasn’t really welcome, because I live with a grown woman without benefit of marriage. I’m sure I made some sarcastic retort about not being gay, for which I should probably feel regret.

    In my teenage years, the Detroit Institute of Art was one of my favorite places on earth. I remember a Rembrandt show that was spectacular, from sketches right up to The Night Watch. What I remember most is the astounding Diego Rivera frescoes, called ensemble, I think, Labor. Or perhaps, it’s Industry. The work was panned at its opening by the Detroit News (that arbiter of culture) as “vulgar” and “un-American”, and called “blasphemous” by assorted Church people. I think it’s an astounding work of art with attitude, like Guernica. It’s sad to think of the DIA as a commodity in the hands of Philistines and paudeens.

    We spent a lot of time on the water over the weekend. Ocean temp is hitting 76 degrees, which for me is ideal. I used to handle Old Orchard Beach ME and 54. My big accomplishment was catching about four lbs. of shrimp with a castnet without leaving my kayak. That is not an easy thing to do. Casting the net from the boat is a feat of balance and coordination it’s taken me years to master. Dug some clams, too. Did a NE lobster roast on the beach for eight plus two (somehow a couple of sherriff’s deputies always show up and must be placated with food, even though we clean up meticulously and leave no trace but footprints.

    I was thinking this AM how that labeling is so unfair to Monsanto. What about those poor companies that make kids’ PJs from flammable material? How do they stand a chance. I’m not saying the risks are comparable, but they could be, and I don’t trust Monsanto to keep me apprised of what the risks might be while they are making money hand over foot on the road to total world domination.

    I really thought the MLB camo was cheesy as all get out.

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  16. Prospero said on May 28, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Who do these bastards think they are? Elected teabanger officials telling their constituents they know better than the electorate is running rampant. I’s reached pretty much epidemic proportions. Mofos should all face recall immediately.

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  17. alex said on May 28, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Remember a few years ago when Episcopalian congregations were threatening to break off and go their own way over the church’s acceptance of gays? It’s practically forgotten now, and I suspect the same will be the case with the Scouts.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on May 28, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Alex, we Lutherans went through that a few years ago too, and a few hundred churches left, but it wasn’t even a blip on the radar screen for the average parishioner. Our former pastor convened us for a “discernment” meeting, and was unpleasantly surprised when we discerned that he should be the one to leave, not our church.

    Dorothy, of all the blessings and curses of technology, that’s gotta be way up on the list under blessing. Hope you get to use it a lot.

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  19. Charlotte said on May 28, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I hate the f*cking Boy Scouts — first, they wouldn’t let my grandmother lead the cub scouts in her tiny town when no one else would do it and my cousins wanted to join because she’d smear them with her girl-cooties; second, some big loud Dad insisted his kid won the pinewood derby instead of my brother who was, again, tainted by girl-cooties because our parents were divorced and only my mom could go with him; and third, grown men in f*cking knee socks harassed me in my teens for leading canoe trips in the BWCA (they were bused up by the same company we used, so we were on parallel routes for the week, and used to overlap). Oh, and they cut down live trees in their campsites. Granted, those offenses were all in the 70s and 80s, but still, my memory is long and I do not forgive for any of them (especially for my brother, who could have used some man-time but got a bad troop).

    I’ve known some great Eagle scouts, but its a good thing I never had a little boy I had to tell couldn’t join the scouts because they’re a fascist, pseudo-militaristic organization.

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  20. brian stouder said on May 28, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Prospero, didja catch the Memorial Day remarks made by President Obama at Arlington yesterday? They were fitting and proper, and indeed moving; and one remark made me laugh out loud.

    He was expounding upon America’s veterans, and how some gave everything – for the political independence that some would not ever live to enjoy, and for the preservation of the Union, and to defeat totalitarian adversaries….and I was thinking how mad that’ll make Gomert and Cruz and that sun-dried old woman in Arizona and the crazy Aqua Buddha devotee from Kentucky.

    Our black foreign-born affirmative-action fraudulent president from ‘other-land’ DARED to laud the efforts of the Americans who fought to preserve the Union, and completely snubbed the legions of heroes who fought to preserve their sacred liberty and ‘states rights’ (whatever those are) and the Original Intent of Our Founders, and slavery.

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  21. BigHank53 said on May 28, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Nancy, the “big deal” with allowing gay Scouts is the loss of a sanctioned venue for discrimination. Anti-gay bigots now have one less place where they can assume everyone is in their exclusive little club–or at least jammed far enough in the closet that they won’t object to whatever homophobic nonsense comes out of their mouths.

    I’m not a baseball fan so I missed the camouflage caps. The most offensive sports-related campaign I remember recently was Nike’s rollout of their college football line a while back, with the tagline of “Are you ready for combat?” superimposed on a handsome young model wearing the gear. All while the kid’s friends and neighbors are getting their limbs taken off in actual combat: now that’s tasteful, Nike. I’ll see their CEO eat five pounds of dog turds before I spend a nickel on their products.

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  22. nancy said on May 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Re: Cutting live trees at campgrounds. I’m amazed at how far into the 20th century the old 19th-century model of Vanquish the Wilderness persisted — basically the whole length of it. Alan and I did a fair amount of camping in the ’80s and ’90s, and would run across people who just didn’t seem to feel comfortable unless they had fucking COLONIZED that little campsite. The worst are the RVers, but at least they carry most of their supplies in. Boy Scouts carried hatchets as standard camping gear well into my adult memory. You can say it was for trimming deadfall into fire-ring lengths, I guess, but the most influential party on my thoughts was a great old guy in Yellowstone, who led us (about a dozen people) on a pack trip of several days, or horseback, with mules. We left every site looking approximately how it did when we arrived — and these were sometimes hard campsites to find, they were so low-impact. The final chore every morning was to find the animals’ manure piles and kick them into lose scatter, a job I enjoyed and excelled at. Yes: I am a shitkicker.

    This was through the Yellowstone Institute, by the way, which I heartily recommend. Their trips are very expensive now, I see, but they still fall well short of glamping. They are true custodians.

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  23. LAMary said on May 28, 2013 at 11:51 am

    There was an attempt to start a boy scout troop at my sons’ elementary school, but the two guys who were leading the effort were two guys who had no business leading kids. Nothing about sexual orientation, but at least one of them was a serious alcoholic, the other was involved in a sleazy fraud scheme during the 84 olympics, and both of them had parenting styles that didn’t impress me much. Between that and the thing about religious belief ( my sons would have to say they believed in God, and I don’t think they did) I took a pass. AYSO was enough for them.

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  24. coozledad said on May 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    It’s always good for a laugh to pick up one of the old Dan Beard books on how to construct shelter in the wilderness. 3/4 of them involve industrial scale logging operations, performed by “boys who are well muscled enough to swing an axe”.

    Membership in the Scouts must have been somewhat limited during Beard’s lifetime, or they’d have deforested upstate New York.

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  25. Prospero said on May 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Two shitkicking songs: (This will wake anybody out of PM doldrums.)

    One of the Stones’ best, and Ireland’s greatest electric guitar player.

    I do not remember any of us ever felling a tree while I was in the Boy Sprouts. I did get into a fight with a kid that bludgeoned a king snake for no reason, but that it was big and scared the bejeebers out of the wussy. Coolest thing we did was go to the Yoop for winter camping in snow burrows and outdoor cooking on three hole tunnel fires. Even the cool kids that made fun of the Sprouts had to admit this was fairly awesome. We also went for a yearly pack it in and out father/son canoe trip on the Grayling,
    which times with my dad I remember with profound nostalgia. On one of those trips, we came around a bend to the sight of this kid Billy Williams and his dad sitting in a mostly sugmerged canoe, paddling like maniaces. They weighed a tag-team combined 550 or so. Lord help me, I could not stop laughing. My entire career in Scouts is something I remember positively, and I have used the first aid skills I learned in several seriously bad situations since. We did learn to bend suitable trees and lash deadwood to them to make latrine seats. No trees were damaged in the making of those latrines.

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  26. Bitter Scribe said on May 28, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    It’s been a long time since I read “This Boy’s Life,” Tobias Wolff’s marvelous memoir, but it talks a lot about his Scouting experiences. (The title references “Boys’ Life,” which is, or was, the Boy Scout magazine.) IIRC, Wolff is kind of ambivalent about the Scouts, and in any case, he used them mostly as a cover for his budding juvenile delinquency.

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  27. brian stouder said on May 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Our fine young 14 year-old daughter and her class is embarked upon a visit to the Henry Ford Museum and/or Greenfield Village, right now.

    THIS is my idea of an outing; never saw the draw of BSA (although my older brothers did)

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  28. Heather said on May 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Sounds like a nice long ride, Nancy. I did probably 20-25 miles last weekend along the lakefront. Boyfriend is talking about going back to France to repeat his bike trip of a couple years ago, during which he says he did 40-50 miles a day. I suppose broken up into segments it wouldn’t be too bad, but I would definitely need to train for that. I get annoyed because I bike and exercise much more regularly than he does, but I think because he is a foot taller and has more muscle mass, he doesn’t fatigue as easily.

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  29. LAMary said on May 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    On every camping trip I took we used deadfall for the fire. Sometimes it was hard to find but the thought of cutting down trees never entered my mind.

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Peter covered it pretty well. Charlotte, sorry your grandmother hit the stupid side of the program. Truly, “Leave No Trace” and camp stoves and wilderness ethics have come to dominate the outdoor portion of the program since 1982, when major changes swept through Scouting, mostly for the better.

    The main thing that kept BSA from dropping the stupid, destructive, inept line “open and avowed homosexuals” and just leaving the following after “or” — “whose behavior becomes a distraction to the mission of Scouting” which is the clause almost exclusively used when the council or district tells an adult they are no longer registered with the program — is the demographic reality of our chartering organizations. Scouting doesn’t run its own units, as does the Girl Scout program; we “charter” units (Cub packs, Scout troops, Venture crews) to organizations which sponsor and have final say over leadership in units (Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, Advisors). What had been originally planned was to tell chartering organizations, whether churches, schools, service clubs, even businesses in some places, that leadership standards beyond our mandatory training were entirely in their hands. That way, Mormons could have only married, non-divorced, males from 18 to 65, and Episcopal church troops could have a gay or transgendered person. Each such group has their own leadership standards anyhow (so the reasoning went) and why should we override or subvert that?

    In a nutshell, the Methodist Church and a few others screamed and begged us not to do that “to them,” which I wish we had. Having said that, the statistics on chartering organizations is that Scouting units are most in the hands of a) the United Methodist Church, b) Roman Catholic parishes, c) The LDS/Mormon stakes, and d) Southern Baptist Convention churches. In that order. Add them together, and you are close to 70% of all units nationwide. In all four groups, homosexuality is a bar to formal leadership roles.

    I’m not quitting (far from it), and I’m relieved that we got the removal of the gay Scout ban through — it was touch and go the last few weeks. Ironically, to many of you I suspect, it was the LDS formal statement of non-objection to the change that got it over the top. Open homosexuality is more tolerated in areas of Mormonism than most realize, while not acceptance formally within the faith, as I understand it. The Utah general authorities were very clear that they did not want to dictate, be seen as dictating, or leave the impression that they would force a decision in *either* direction. They said clearly, in advance, that either way the decision went, they would respect it. You can’t imagine how much of an impact that non-statement made.

    But the willingness to come to agreement that a 15 year old who tells me “I think I may be gay” should NOT be forced out of Scouting (which has only been a “policy” since 1991 and I wasn’t even aware of it myself until 2010, thinking it was only in reference to adult leaders) is a step, and as many say with varying degrees of satisfaction or angst, it’s only a first step.

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  31. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    And Tobias Wolff and so on . . . Scouting, like so many institutions, has changed dramatically since the 1950s & 60s. Too much criticism that I hear of who we are and what we do is rooted in a presumption that we have been the same since Dan Beard and the industrial logging implied by his campsite plan. We may not be the Young Pioneers, but we aren’t the Hitler Jugend, either.

    If I could, I’d post the picture I’m using right now on Facebook as my cover photo; that’s Cub Scouting in a snapshot, circa May 27, 2013.

    What we definitely aren’t is this:

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  32. Jolene said on May 28, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Jeff, that picture of the Cub Scouts is hysterical–the effort to achieve correct form, the goofy looks at the camera, the goofy looks at each other. A riot!

    Honestly, I take my hat off to you and all others who work with young kids in bunches. I know I could never manage all that energy.

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  33. David C. said on May 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I don’t think there has ever been a human endeavor as full of intrigue and dirty dealing as the pinewood derby. I was cheated out of my rightful place on the podium much the same as you brother was, Charlotte. Although not because of girl cooties, just another loudmouth dad insisting his kid won and the scoutmaster being too much of a pussy to tell him to shut up. I wear those scars to this day.

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  34. Charlotte said on May 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Like I said — my run-ins with the BSA were a long time ago, and it was fun to go to the Eagle Scout ceremony a few years ago for the son of some friends of mine. My, so many of my men friends were Eagle Scouts (Doug Peacock was a surprise, but then again, he was a Marine as well). And our local troop seems benign, and I think, is not affiliated with any of our churches. So that’s all good.

    Weekend here was mostly defined by gardening, and getting skunked hunting for morels. We spend Sunday on a lovely hike in a place I cannot name and found not a morel — a few stinkhorns which we momentarily mis-identified, but no morels. Himself came home last night with two, two lonely morels in a baggie. But he had a nice hike and found horns. I planted things and dug out the everpresent crabgrass. At least we’re still getting lovely intermittent showers … we’re still only at half our normal rainfall for the year, but at least somethingis falling from the sky.

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  35. Deborah said on May 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    We spent our Memorial Day creating a screen in our side yard of the ashcan area. We had done some gardening in other areas, planted lavender which is doing well, planted some wildflower seeds which we are crossing our fingers for. We bought some hanging baskets of flowers which are dying from too much sun, should have known better. Planted some basil which also promptly died. The screen we created has no living plants, it’s made of 4 largish cheap terra cotta pots with bundles of dead sticks and then we strung little white lights at the top of the sticks. The sticks are about 4 feet high and splay out, each stick is about 1″ in diameter, about 20 or 30 to each pot. It is a very effective way to screen a crummy view for very little money (the pots were cheap at Home Depot, we already had the lights from Christmas). We collected the sticks from the nearby Santa Fe river bed area which is totally dry right now. We anchored the pots with largish stones inside each and then poured sand in when the sticks were all in place. It looks so much better now, but it’s a very Santa Fe look, don’t think it would work in Chicago. We are renting here and our landlord LOVES us because we are doing a lot of improvements on our own dime and with our own sweat.

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  36. paddyo' said on May 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Jeff, that great photo is the epitome of what Cub Scouts are s’posed to be, right? Innocent, rag-tag, trying their best. Sort of like pre-Little League, before it all gets too damned serious.

    I only made it to “Bear” rank in Cub Scouts myself (in the old Bobcat-Wolf-Bear-Lion-Webelos progression to Boy Scout level). But our pack did have the famous Pinewood Derby, and astoundingly, I won it the year I entered. Dumb luck. No wind-tunnel design/testing or secretly embedded lead weights to assist gravity on the track.

    For first prize, I received not a trophy, but a rather cheaply made plaster-of-Paris neckerchief “slide” (ring), in the silhouette-shape of an old-fashioned Indycar. It was painted in garish blue-and-gold and sprinkled with glitter. It was so — dare I say it — gay?! (Not-that-there’s-any-thing-wrong-with-that . . . )

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  37. alex said on May 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    My younger brother and I were both in Cub Scouts and participated in the Pinewood Derby. We were pretty much on our own in terms of designing and building our cars, and that’s how our dad wanted it. So ours were among the crudest while the kids whose dads built theirs were the coolest, and that was most of them.

    You should have seen those dads’ jaws drop when my brother’s car beat out everyone else’s. Alas, just as he was getting ready to face off with the one other finalist out of the whole group, he dropped his car and broke a wheel off and went home sobbing.

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  38. Dorothy said on May 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Deborah I’d venture to guess that basil might could grow indoors as long as you get some sun on it during the day. Is there a window where you could place a nice sized pot to accommodate growth? I just salivate thinking of the fresh basil and tomatoes that we’re going to have at our disposal in a couple of months. Mike, as usual, has gone crazy with the garden plants. I think he’ll start planting tonight. I’m not able to help much. My knee just is feeling too awful these days. July 8th can’t come fast enough. That’s Knew Knee Day for me!

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  39. Bob (not Greene) said on May 28, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I was in Cub Scouts a couple of years and then in Boy Scouts for another couple during grade school, but I never had much interest in the camping and the merit badge attaining or any of that. I think the highlights were playing poker (and losing all my money) at a week-long camping trip that would be my last as a scout (I’ve never slept in a tent since), and getting my first glimpse at some hardcore porno magazines that one of the other scouts brought along. That last bit, as far as I can recall, was THE highlight of my scouting experience and my 13-year-old life at the time.

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  40. Peter said on May 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Oh gee, those Pinewood Derby stories are something.

    Thanks to modern technology, and my brother in law working in IT, the district Pinewood Derbies we run are a marvel. Cameras at the start and finish lines, electronic timing, and handling only by volunteers after initial weigh-in. All race results posted online. We set up a couple of large screen TV’s that show race replays along with my brother in law doing his Jackie Stewart imitation.

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  41. LAMary said on May 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Deborah, I don’t know if it would make it through the winter there in NM, but I planted something called Canary Island Sage in my very dry yard and it’s doing really well. It’s growing like crazy and it gets some flowers.
    Sorry for the crazy link.,r:96,s:0,i:380&tx=79&ty=66

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  42. Prospero said on May 28, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Deborah, May I suggest Hens and Chicks for hanging baskets. Beautiful little succulents with fascinating and omni-colored blossoms and do well in full sun, I think. Sometimes, they’ll put out segmented runners that look like decorated dreadlocks.

    I was never in Cub Scouts, but I learned a lot of worthwhile stuff in Boy Sprouts and took a lot of shit at my grammar school for it. Of course, by the time I was 12, I had heard Lou Reed sing Heroin and Van sing Astral Weeks on WXYZ FM, and seen Seger and MC5 in person, and none of those dicks had. ute. And she was indescribably beautiful. Maureen went to my first HS dance with me, in the backseat of my mom’s 63 T-bird. She was one of those map of Ireland beauties. I figured I was way ahead of the game. And I knew how to play Freight Train with bass runs between chords. And the most beautiful girl in St. Hugo’s School, Maureen Sullivan, thought I was cMore or less downhill ever since. In my youth, if you were iconoclastic and didn’t rely too much on popular approval, and you liked roughing it and doing outdoors stuff, Scouts was fun. Did I ever buy the motto, the salute, the pledge? Shit I went to parochial school and dealt with my disbelief in Penance with subterfuge.

    I know Charles Whitman was a famous Eagle Scout. One of my brothers claims Lee Oswald was, but he’s a corporate lawyer, that never made it past Star, so that is the pot calling the kettle black.But Nobody can blame me for nutcases, I obviously do my own nutso without help. But I learned a lot of things. In life-threatening situations, I do take charge, and I generally know right away what to do, particularly when there are injuries involved. Or at least what I decide on the block does no harm. We lost a swimmer here yesterday, a visitor. There are wicked undertows and vicious riptides. I swim in them for fun to S’s annoyance (If you know where you are going to come up, you just hold your breath and enjoy the ride.) But I am a ridiculously strong swimmer, and I pull two or three folks out of that sort of trouble every summer. I hope my death is a result of swimming where nobody could swim. My love does not think that’s funny. I told her it wasn’t meant to be funny. Before I die, I intend to do the Channel.

    Alex, your pinewood story reminded me of taking my collie Sandie to obedience school commencement. It was about qqo in Memphis. My big collie was languishing so I got him some water in some paper cups. Other dogs tried to horn in, but I fended them off. Then some idiot foppy-eared hound nipped my arm and all hell broke loose. Sandy bit that idiot bassett hounds ear off and adults were accusing me of harboring a rabid dog. I tried pointing out that rabid dogs did not attack other dogs. Serious morons.

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  43. Prospero said on May 28, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    So nobodie’s Boy Sprout experience aligns. Quelle surprise. I see it as fun. And I was your random jock kid that didn’t take any shit from anybody. Because, generally, they were too goddam dumn.

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  44. Prospero said on May 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Listen to
    duane and Dickey

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  45. brian stouder said on May 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Dorothy – I love your ‘Knew Knee Day’! (here’s wishing you a comfortable and successful knew knee day afternoon)

    Bob (ng) – when we were literally up in the rafters and cleaning stuff out of my mom’s garage, we came across a cache of decades-old porno; must have been expensive ’70’s stuff, as it was IN COLOR, and somewhat biological (more than boobs, but less than genuinely nasty).

    And I learned that I’m a truly old man, because that stuff struck me as genuinely funny; it was intended to be some mix of smokin’ hot/forbidden/sophisticated – and in 2013, to my 52 year-old eyes, it ends up looking like the porno-version of classic re-run TV (if that makes any sense!).

    Non-sequitur/thought experiment; Imagine the following:

    Mitt Romney won the presidency in 2012.

    A leading Democratic Senator of the United States – say, Senator Boxer or Senator Durbin – inserts herself (or himself) directly into a major United States foreign policy issue. Let’s say our Democratic senator pops into Syria, and glad-hands the rag-tag rebels there, as she (or he) presses to provide weaponry to that faction.

    How many seconds would elapse before one of the Republigoon whack-jobs, such as Ted Cruz or Marco the Rube, began calling for that Democratic senator to be censured? How many additional seconds before the word “treason” would being coming from the right? And how eager would the republigoons be, to ascribe blame to that senator and to ALL Democratic members of congress, whenever the next terror attack against the US or our interests occurs anywhere in the world? “We believe that the ill-advised military aid that was intended for those rebels ended up in the hands of al Qaeda” etc etc etc, yes?

    Considering the US intervention in Libya, which President Obama did in fact pursue, the parallel for some (hoped for?) latter-day Benghazi is almost exact, is it not?

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  46. Prospero said on May 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Ain’t it there on a popsicle stick?

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  47. Prospero said on May 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Seriously? You RW FULL OF THAT SHITE

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  48. mark said on May 28, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Good Heavens, McBragg! What did you do?

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  49. Jolene said on May 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    On PBS tonight: A concert honoring Carole King, who was awarded this year’s Gershwin Award for Popular Song, an award given by the Library of Congress. Not sure who the performers will be, but there’ll be a lineup of people singing the songs she’s written, and she’ll perform as well.

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  50. Bob (not Greene) said on May 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Brian, must be a generational rafters thing. In our previous house, which had an unfinished attic, we were having our first-floor bathroom remodeled. For whatever reason the guys we had doing the work had to go up into the attic (probably a pipe venting issue) and came down with a couple of old porn books left hidden under a rafter by a previous owner. They were as you describe, more Me-TV than Playboy Channel. None was in color and the one of the two was a kind of smutty novel. Was good for a few laughs, anyway.

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  51. LAMary said on May 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    My son went on a late night bike ride on Saturday and ran into a group ride going to the concrete channel we call the LA river. There’s a point where the channel joins the Arroyo Seco and forms a velodrome sort of place. He hung with the group and saw all sorts of customized bikes. Fixed gears, bikes that were the height of two bikes welded together, that sort of thing. He was impressed.

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  52. Deborah said on May 28, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    LAMary, sage is big here. I will look into that. Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately I did not inherit the green thumb gene that my parents had. They could grow everything, cars used to stop on the street we lived on to gape at our yard. My sister did not inherit the gene either, and neither did my daughter.

    Dorothy, I bought another basil plant that we’re trying to grow indoors with good morning sun through the kitchen window. I don’t have a lot of hope though.

    And Prospero succulents also grow pretty well here so I will check that out for a hanging basket.

    It bugs me that the stuff I bought at the nursery seems to be doing well but the stuff I bought at Home Depot or the grocery store bit the dust in no time flat.

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 28, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Oswald was not a Scout, but he and Whitman were both Marines. Our range instructor had a litany he would recite about Oswald, Whitman, and Ray. It was not appropriate in any way, shape, or form, but the point was that any idiot, if he did what the Gunny said, could learn to shoot like an assassin.

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  54. Prospero said on May 28, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I did note the President’s comments. It is nice to have a President that is eloquent than one that has barney piss on his bad haircut.

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  55. beb said on May 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Speaking of things found while remodeling an old house, guy found a fair copy of 193’8s Action Comics #1. It’s selling on auction for a trifle over $100,000. Would have sold for more that the family was tussling over looking at the find that they caused a $75,000 rip on the back page!

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  56. LAMary said on May 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Deborah, Home Depot will take back plants that died. I haven’t tried this but I’ve been in line at the customer service department behind folks who got credit for a dead plant. I’m pretty insistent about getting refunds on stuff, but I would blame plant death on myself in most cases.

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  57. Deborah said on May 28, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    I think my major problem with trying to growing things is over watering, I’m so determined to get something to grow that I think the more I water the better. I’ve tried growing indoor herbs before and it has never worked. I wish I could find an answer because I really like the idea of growing things and because my parents were such great growers it is ingrained, but in all the wrong ways, unfortunately.

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  58. Dorothy said on May 29, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I too have had plants that didn’t survive, but I would never dream of taking them back to where I bought them. I always figure there are too many factors that could affect the survival of the plant – watering, not watering, disease. Plus I’m not organized enough to keep receipts, labels from the plants, etc. all organized, then I have to remember where I planted it, etc. What a mess. I just accept the loss and buy something else.

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