Sorry about that.

I’m sorry for yesterday’s absence. I had one of those very long days on little sleep, and still managed to drag my flabby ass to the gym, and re-watch “Mad Men” just for the hell of it, and by the time I realized it was 10:30 and I hadn’t written a word, my head was nodding. But I did squeeze out a few! They were these

Brian Stouder, this is for you.

Also, this. Dorothy Rabinowitz, ack ack ack. I’ll be in later, because for now I’m simply too pooped.

And then, evidently, I forgot to hit Publish. Well, that’s how it goes.

But now it’s Tuesday evening, I’m better-rested, and besides the links above, a few notes:

We leave Friday to take Kate to camp, where she’ll rehearse for a week and then jet off to the Continent. We are celebrating by taking our first just-us vacation in a decade, and we’ll be far from wi-fi and the rest of the internet. I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER, she said, right before her eye started to twitch.

How will the week go? Not sure. I still have a bunch of old newspaper columns (thanks, Mark P.!) I might dust off and rerun. As I recall, it took me forever to find five that I could stand to re-read the last time I did this two years ago. But I just scanned a couple, and find they don’t suck as much as I remember. We’ll see. But you’ll be on your own otherwise. If your comment gets stuck in the spam filter — Prospero, I am looking at YOU — it’ll stay there for days.

It sorta hurts — in a non-painful way — to write this. Just returned from my one-month post-op check at the eye doctor’s, and was reminded anew how much I’m not looking forward to this stage of my life. The appointment was screwed up, and they tried to hit me for a $50 co-pay I contend I didn’t owe. I won easily, which should give you an idea of medical-office economics. That colonoscopy piece in the NYT should have been horrifying to anyone still trying to defend the American health-care system in its current form.

Anyway, my eye is healing, but the cataract — which I was told was a possible complication, years down the road — is already starting to form. Fuckety-fuck.

So since we’ve already started with a jab at American health care, let’s start the bloggage with a charming BBC story about the fascinating miracle known as the Finnish baby box. Every expectant mother in Finland gets one:

The maternity package – a gift from the government – is available to all expectant mothers.

It contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.

With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby’s first bed. Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box’s four cardboard walls.

The box, with a shower’s worth of useful products to take care of the new critter, is only part of the miracle. To get it, women have to see a doctor before their fourth month of pregnancy. So it’s win-win — mothers get prenatal care, and the government sees fewer babies in NICU units, leading to Finland having a tiny infant-mortality rate. A good investment, I’d say. A great read, especially if you’re a mother.

Two stories about rich people:

A few days ago, Detroit’s Masonic Temple — a wonderful Gothic pile sadly fallen on hard times — was at the risk of foreclosure due to unpaid taxes. In the nick of time, an anonymous check for $142,000 arrived to save it from becoming yet another empty building in a city full of them. Today, the anonymous donor was revealed: Jack White. Who really wanted to remain anonymous, but the Masonic owners insisted on naming the central theater after him.

Meanwhile, in California, the damage to the Big Sur redwood forest done by Sean Parker’s (Napster/Facebook Silicon Valley shithead) wedding was tallied, and this Atlantic explication of it is such a delicious read, I don’t want to spoil it for you. But this is some shameful shit here, the sort of willful, stupid behavior for which the term “rich douchebag” was invented.

Finally, I see the Chicago Sun-Times, in its nonstop effort to strip the paper of every possible reason to buy it, has cut off Neil Steinberg to spite its face. I am a late-coming fan of his column, but I find this amazing — he’s a consistently good read, and this is an invitation to find the exit. I hope someone reconsiders, or snaps him up elsewhere.

And with that, I leave you to a good Wednesday, I hope.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Housekeeping, Same ol' same ol' |
 

71 responses to “Sorry about that.”

  1. Sherri said on June 5, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Who knew that when The Social Network made Sean Parker look so slimy, he was actually worse than that?

  2. JWfromNJ said on June 5, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Getting old(er) sucks but my mom at 80 convinced me the cataract thing is a blessing in disguise. Still loving the new neighborhood. Slept from 7 pm til midnight then work up determined to set up my office and desktop pc. Done.

    You’re kind of hero to me b/c sleeping face down for a week is something I couldn’t do. We’ve semi convinced our 23 year old daughter to become a sheriff’s deputy. fingers crossed. So sad to hear about 4dbird’s loss. Wow.

    Have a few boxes to haul still but otherwise we’re settled.Hoping everyone else is doing well this week. It’s amazing how much money gets pissed out to front door on a 12 mile move.

    Dilemma here. I’m 46,have n e v e r picked up hitchhikers. But this couple has been sleeping under I-95 for four days, and they seem nice. The guy makes eye contact with me, the girl looks pregnant. Our landlord at the old place lost her house and the bank doesn’t seem concerned. I’m keeping thepower on a few more days. I want to pick them up, give them a roof, our old crappy discarded furniture, and a few days of hot showers. I don’t know why, but its compelling. K is against the idea. So????????/

  3. Dexter said on June 5, 2013 at 2:28 am

    JW-NJ, Back in 1980 my wife and her family concocted this deal where my wife and I sold our lovely home and moved in with widowed wife’s mother in their old home. For a year while our house was on the market I kept the payments up and kept the heat on so the place wouldn’t decay while awaiting a buyer. One day I was driving home at 4:00 PM and I saw a bearded man hitchhiking and I gave him a lift. He asked to be let out near a wooded area so he could set up his little camp; he told me he was hitching to the coast and then down clear to Terra del Fuego. I think he may have been bullshitting on that…there really is little there at the tip of South America. Anyway, I told him I had an empty house where he could crash a day or two and rest up, but nope, he wanted to stay in the woods. Keep us posted if you find out the story on the I-75 camper-refugees.

    Love Jack White, by the way. Good for him.

  4. Brandon said on June 5, 2013 at 3:05 am

    “…the sort of willful, stupid behavior for which the term ‘rich douchebag’ was invented.”

    Look up “Genshiro Kawamoto” + “Hawaii.” You will find that a prime example.

  5. Rana said on June 5, 2013 at 4:03 am

    I envy the Finns their baby boxes. That’s what a civilized country looks like.

  6. Jolene said on June 5, 2013 at 4:19 am

    I love the baby boxes too. First heard about them a few years ago when Bob Kaiser, a WaPo editor, made a trip to Finland and, along with his photographer created a great online travelogue. And, of course, this concern for newborns goes along with long parental leaves, high-quality child care, and one of the most highly regarded education systems in the world. I really don’t understand why it’s so hard for Americans to do rational things.

    And, yes, Sean Parker is a dick. Really outrageous.

  7. David C. said on June 5, 2013 at 6:56 am

    He is a dick and the $2.5 million is just chump change to him. Probably equivalent to a $10 fine for me. Give him a real life lesson and tax the living shit out of him.

    This is also what a civilized country looks like. http://www.thejournal.ie/16-surprising-facts-about-finlands-unorthodox-education-system-305352-Dec2011/#slide-slideshow1

  8. nancy said on June 5, 2013 at 7:08 am

    Taxes won’t stop Parker. Ninety days in jail might get his mind right.

  9. Deborah said on June 5, 2013 at 7:14 am

    While in Finland a few years back we toured the social services building in Helsinki because it was designed by the famous architect Alvar Aalto. We had a pleasant tour guide who took us past an important display about the maternity package. She made it quite clear that it was for ALL mothers regardless of income, and she seemed quite pleased about it. I thought is was fantastic, and so simple to do, I mean how much can that cost? It obviously means a lot to Finnish mothers and their families. It has so much symbolic meaning but in this country the right wing would go apeshit over it.

  10. Deborah said on June 5, 2013 at 7:15 am

    It

  11. basset said on June 5, 2013 at 7:16 am

    I never could quite get the point of whatever it is Jack White does… saw him on PBS performing at the White House and couldn’t connect with it at all… but apparently he is a big deal in the music business here in Nashville. Built a studio and performance room on the fringes of downtown, next door to a swinger club and almost across the street from the rescue mission… seems like every time I pick up the local alt-weekly there is some announcement of a new limited-edition record from his company, limited-edition vinyl of course.

    and he has a brightly painted step van which serves as a portable record store, kind of a food truck approach.

    Just looked his place up on Google Maps… make that two doors down from a swinger club, there’s a foreign-car garage between them. 624 Seventh Avenue South, Nashville.

  12. David C. said on June 5, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Hmmm, jail. Isn’t funny how we’ve been (well, I’ve been at least) conditioned to think that it’s impossible to put a rich person in stripe city? Ninety days is a nice touch too because he would serve it in a county lockup rather than Club Fed. I’d feed him nothing but Sheriff Joe’s green baloney sandwiches if I was in charge.

  13. Cosmo Panzini said on June 5, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Before everyone starts throwing turd bombs at Dorothy Rabinowitz, consider that she was one of the first people to look into the rash of child day-care sexual abuse charges in the 80’s and 90’s, and expose that cabal of well-meaning and self-righteous idiots responsible for the arrest,trial, and jailing of scores of people, all of it based on bullshit. For that she will always have my respect and even though this bike thing seems a little right-wing-fruit-cakey, she gets a pass from me on it.

  14. alex said on June 5, 2013 at 8:12 am

    In defense of Rabinowitz, she writes appropriately for the venue that employs her. She did her Pulitzer Prize-winning work on overheated child abuse allegations at day care centers while she was a television news reporter. Now she’s serving another master, one whose dick bends so far to the right its trousers can hardly contain it.

  15. nancy said on June 5, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I would defend Rabinowitz’ reporting on phony sex-abuse cases, too. I just wonder what happens when an otherwise seemingly sensible person describes a bike-sharing system as totalitarianism.

  16. Suzanne said on June 5, 2013 at 9:08 am

    One would think that the bike sharing program would be seen by the likes of the WSJ folks as good old capitalism at work. I guess it’s the S word (sharing) injected into it that causes alarm bells to go off.

  17. brian stouder said on June 5, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Many many years ago, when – for a brief, shining moment – I had all manner of political opinions about which I had not yet changed my mind(!), I recall the surprise with which I read an extended political attack, by Joseph Sobran, on President Lincoln(!).

    I believe this was actually on the News-Sentinel op-ed page, and probably before Nancy appeared there (back in Dan Lussader days?) (I may have mis-spelled his name).

    At the time, Sobran hadn’t yet been banished from National Review by William F Buckley (for his raging anti-Semitism), which was a publication I subscribed to(!), being a right-thinking carry-out boy at Maloley’s supermarket. The memory of that still stuns me a little, really. Afterall, if we cannot simply (or arbitrarily) accept Lincoln as the defender of the bright-line between government and anarchy (at the very least), then we must believe in anarchy (which is to say – we believe in nothing at all).

    Or in Sobran’s (et al) case, forget any ideals you have, and remember that Jews are the scourge of the earth….and all black/brown/fill-in-the-blank-other people that (for whatever reason) bother them

  18. adrianne said on June 5, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Right on, Jack White. That was a classy thing to do for the D.

    And referencing Sean Parker and “The Social Network” – they did manage to paint him as Satanic, so the utter destruction of the redwood forest for the magic wedding is infuriating, but not surprising.

  19. nancy said on June 5, 2013 at 9:46 am

    To be sure, it doesn’t look like Napster Douche destroyed the redwood forest, but he did treat it with all the respect one would treat the pool deck at the local country club, or maybe less. The idea that he felt free to send his minions into this lovely environment to construct a fucking elven village for his stupid wedding — and then to peel off a couple million to toss at the state of California later, the way Tony Soprano throws a few C-notes at a troublesome stripper — is what is so rankling. The damage may be repairable, but it’s his better-forgiveness-than-permission shithead act that makes a normal person want to see him behind bars eating green-baloney sandwiches.

    This line says it all: Here’s a poor old redwood that had to serve as an endpoint for a fake ruin because the most glorious forest in North America was not pretty enough for Sean Parker’s wedding.

  20. coozledad said on June 5, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I can’t wrap my head around Sean Parker’s age group and their fascination with that Hobbit shit. It’s especially grim that that forest was wrecked for that puerile fantasy crap. maybe it’s their notion that feudalism somehow brings out the best in short, dumpy, or otherwise geeky motherfuckers. I used to walk by a spot on Duke’s east campus where a bunch of Creative Anachronism idiots would pound on each other with wooden swords, and I would dream of a wormhole dumping them onto the battlefield at Crécy, in the final moments, so they could be asphyxiated in a massive chain mailed heap before being casually frog-gigged for mercy.

    I ‘ll have to send some photos of the transformation our neighbor wreaked on the sixty acres across the road from us. He likely cut the trees off and bulldozed it because the county raised his taxes. It’s gone from being beautiful to an eyesore. And he’ll take some of the proceeds from the sale of the timber and go visit the shrine at the Charlie Daniels birthplace. I’d like to transport his ass to the field at Crécy too.

  21. Laurie said on June 5, 2013 at 10:00 am

    4dbirds, I was so shocked to hear of your son’s death. I am not a parent but can’t even imagine. I pray for some healing for you and your family in time.
    JW, my personal take is that your motives are pure, but one has to proceed VERY carefully with strangers nowadays. What if they burned the place down? What if one of them fell down (or claimed such) and sued? It’s unfortunate to have to think this way, but I have been educated. Perhaps there is some other way you could help, such as contacting the social-service agencies and asking them for advice and referrals, or (if you feel you could) anonymously treating them to a meal and/or a night in a motel. If they could(with help?) get jobs and a room you could pass on your unneeded furniture, etc. Unfortunately my brother spent a long time homeless, with a substance abuse issue and really did not want to change.
    My parents lived in Vero for two decades, and my (other) brother and his family for one, and I know it well. I am glad you have found a slice of peace in your new place.

  22. Judybusy said on June 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

    JW, I will echo Laurie’s recommendation. Proceed with caution, and the best thing is to get in touch with local social service agencies. They likely won’t be able to “make” the couple do anything, but at least the couple would know what’s available.

    I so love the Finnish baby boxes! I am sure they get so much return for so little invested. Sadly, it would never fly here….Cries of the nanny state would be heard from coast to coast.

    Nancy, damn! about the cataracts. At least that surgery is a much easier recovery.

  23. Bitter Scribe said on June 5, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Somewhere in my pile of unread New Yorkers is an article about (I think) Silicon Valley and “libertarianism.” (I am unable to type that word without quotes.) Now I’ll make sure to get to it.

    Sorry to go OT so soon, but I’m a mess. My best friend committed suicide on Friday, and to give the grief a little added twist, the phone numbers he left for his mother and brother turned out to be no good. (They both live out of the country and I guess he had limited contact with them.) The cops and I tried for days to reach them without success, until it finally occurred to Mr. Stupid here to do what I should have done right away: Locate the brother’s Facebook page and ask him to call. He did and I gave him the news this morning.

    Christ. How do police officers, social workers, etc. deal with shit like this day after day without going gibbering insane?

  24. Deborah said on June 5, 2013 at 10:13 am

    We got married on our mesa in Abiquiu and were worried sick about the damage from the big old truck that delivered and set up the tent, it took a long time for the tracks to go away. I can’t imagine bringing in a bunch of “decorations” when the natural beauty is so spectacular, we didn’t even have flowers. We used straw bales covered in muslin for people to sit on and still have some bales surviving, they’ve come in handy for all sorts of things.

    Some of the things people do for weddings now days is astonishing, Disney princess themes, like 11 year olds.

  25. Connie said on June 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Bitter Scribe, finding people in those kinds of situations used to be something the Red Cross did. I wonder if they still do, internet and all.

  26. 4dbirds said on June 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Bitter, may recommend grief outselling? It has done a world of good for me. Laurie thank you so

  27. 4dbirds said on June 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Much.

  28. Heather said on June 5, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Deborah, Mariah Carey just had a ceremony renewing her vows with her husband with a whole Disney princess-themed extravaganza. The woman has to be around 40 years old. Sad.

    One of the funniest things in that Dorothy Rabinowitz thing was her rant against the “all-powerful” bike lobby or whatever. Big Helmet?

  29. Mark P said on June 5, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Nancy, I tossed most of the articles I had saved, because, really, who cares whether the county commission paved some little country road? But I did save a couple, like the story about a county hospital employee who had set up a watermelon nursery in the hospital basement. What a scandal!

  30. Peter said on June 5, 2013 at 10:29 am

    4dbirds, I didn’t read yesterday’s comments until now, and I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you find peace soon.

  31. nancy said on June 5, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Mark, I thought you were the one who had a big file of old NN columns from around the beginning of the last decade. Whoever it was, I thank you. Going through them between chores to try to find five you guys might want to read.

  32. 4dbirds said on June 5, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I just looked at my post to Bitter. Darn auto correct. I meant grief counseling but y’all probably knew that.

  33. beb said on June 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

    The Charles Johnson story is, for me, a little surreal.

    The first computer I bought was an Atari ST, the so called Jackintosh, because it was like the mac in many ways but cheaper and made by Jack Tramiel. Like the PC XT it was not upgradable so it soon went the way of the dodo, but one of the first apps I bought for it was an improved file selector written by … Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, which was then a computer company. Years go by until there’s the Dan Rather scandal. I was surprised to learn that leading the scandal was Charles Johnson and LittleGreenFootballs. Small world!

    Then Johnson had his fall from grace because he wouldn’t get as crazy as the rest of the Tea Party. I’m sure he’s still pretty conservative but as the linked to article says when you have to defend Abraham Lincoln, conservatisim is gone off the rails.

  34. Heather said on June 5, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Also, the Tribune story about Neil Steinberg mentions that the paper told another columnist, Terry Savage, that she could keep her financial column if she found a new advertiser to fill the space next to it. So now writers and reporters contributing to a major daily are responsible for finding their own advertisers?

  35. brian stouder said on June 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I’d go for any NN column that has the term “sensible shoes” in it.

    Or, one where she’s indignant about something.

    Or, really, any NN column, for that matter

  36. Mark P said on June 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Nancy, well, I wondered about that. Unfortunately I do not have those columns, but I’m sure they would be interesting. I have found it really hard to reread my old stuff, but I think that’s an occupational hazard for anyone without, let’s say, a robust ego.

  37. Dave said on June 5, 2013 at 11:10 am

    4dbirds, may I also express my sympathies, losing a child has to be the worst thing and I hope you can find peace. Having recently lost my father, one of the things that we remarked on together was that we were thankful that we had all outlived him and yet, sadly, my brother’s stepdaughter had pre-deceased him.

    I don’t understand what it is with fantasy weddings or wedding controversies, a nephew is getting married in September and his fiance has been at war with her brother’s fiance over who stole what idea from who. It got so ugly that the nephew and his fiance are going to opt out of their wedding plans for a small ceremony with immediate family in Gatlinburg, at one of the wedding chapels that must be scattered about the area.

  38. Dave said on June 5, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Better editing needed, the wedding plan is now for Gatlinburg, I read after posting and fear it doesn’t read that way at all in the original. Why can’t I see that BEFORE I post it?

  39. Peter said on June 5, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Great career advice for aspiring writers: http://www.theonion.com/articles/if-you-wish-to-be-a-writer-have-sex-with-someone-w,32687/

  40. Prospero said on June 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Suzanne@16: Sharing is the single deadly sin of libertarianism. If someone benefits from sharing with you, they are clearly unworthy of the benefit of sharing, res ipsa loquitor. All hail the self-proclaimed meritocracy. I feel the same way Groucho felt about a club like that.

    Jack White is the anti-Kid Rock. No bluster just good shredding. Still, I’ll always wonder why Dex Romweber didn’t get all that rich and famous for doing what Jack and Meg did, with his great drummer Crow and now with his sister Sara 20 some years before the White Stripes.. Jack does acknowledge the musical influence, which is good. For a live show, I’d take Flat Duo Jets.It’s where people like original wildman Hasil Adkins were taking hillbilly music, before it was neutered and gentrified at the Ryman:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_CZMuAV_q4&list=PL2801F2AFD066E26B

    I do like the Raconteurs records though:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7aOWIFgIZQ

    There is a very good Dexter Romweber documentary called Two-Headed Cow that I’m pretty sure is available on Youtube. One odd fellow I used to talk to at clubs in Athens, every Chapel Hill guitar wizards home away from home. And the doc It May Get Loud with The Edge, Jack White and Jimmy Page is superb. Opens with Jack making a guitar from a chunk of 2×6, a couple of nails, a pickup and a length of wire, on which he plays some coke bottle slide.

    Maybe the Tribune would trade John Krass for the rights to sign Neil Steinberg.

    4dbirds and bitter scribe. News like yours inclines me to actually say prayers for people dealing with grief, so I will continue to do so. Remembered your lost loved ones both at Mass this morning. Very sad to hear about these things happening to good people.

    And James Fallows’ lead sentence for the Rabinowitz interview is about the most elegant excision of a new asshole as I’ve ever come across. A perfect answer to her bullshit: a mayor Boris tax on driving in Manhattan. And I would still like to shake hands with whoever picked that bright blue for the NYC bikes. Brilliant. Rabinowitz comes across as flat out crazy. Remember when the term “knee-jerk” used to be applied exclusively to liberal ideas? Knee-jerk is essentially part of whatever passes for thought on the part of moadern conservatives.

  41. coozledad said on June 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Cue The Larks

    There was a man-child from the land of the cotton
    Shadrack McGill (named for success!)
    He wandered onto Facebook, places he’d forgotten
    Shadrack McGill (I ain’t shittin’ you!)
    Next thing he knowed they was strippers at his front door
    Shadrack McGill (That’s his real name)!
    His old lady went on the Facebooks with a warning
    Shadrack McGill (I know, I know)
    And she told everybody “Ain’t no strippers ever gone replace me.”
    And she told everybody “No Russian hookers on these books is gonna face me”
    And she told everybody “When my husband hears the music of the whore
    He must not hear it on the book of the faces!”
    Shadrack McGill ((R) Alabama.)

  42. Charlotte said on June 5, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I’m a big Jack White fan — he’s always interesting, and he actually seems to respect women. Gives them equal billing etc … And the studio/record store he built in Nashville is a cool way to repurpose a building. Also, he’s a skilled upholsterer — it’s how he supported himself as a young musician!

    The wedding thing doesn’t surprise me (and I think I stayed in that campground on a dreadful road trip in 1993). I worked weddings for years, and they’re a fucking nightmare. All the crazy comes out … and the more money, the more crazy. Ugh.

    And Bitter Scribe — my condolences. When my brother died suddenly, that was one of the hardest things — figuring out how to tell people. Calling people out of the blue to ruin their day with terrible news. It sucked.

  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 5, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    JW, I think you have relatively little risk with the scenario you’re describing, and would suggest you ask them if they’ve been in contact with any local social service agencies, and if you can get them to one for an appointment. If they’re willing to go do that, you’re not running much risk with bizarre behavior in the residence.

    Odds are, in the scenario you’re describing, you’re looking at one or a combination of three things (four, really, since one category is for your purposes two) interacting with our current punishingly tough economy for low-skilled workers. There’s a mental health issue making one or both of them unable to function on job sites or even in shelters, there’s an addiction issue one or both is not able to overcome, and/or there’s outstanding warrants on one or both. That last is either due to child support unpaid (not small, but a different sort of issue for your purposes), or crimes committed in the past.

    If you can approach them with a second adult whom you trust present at your elbow (they don’t have to say anything, just be there with you as “a friend” you introduce by first name), and say “Here’s what I think I could do to help. I would need to know if you have any warrants out on you, so I’d have to have your names, and I will run them past law enforcement, just for safety’s sake,” and they are willing to continue the conversation, then you should plow ahead with some confidence you’re doing the right and a helpful thing.

    Your choice to actually “run” the names, but you should not let them know you aren’t — in most jurisdictions, if you call or drop by the cop shop and explain “Some friends and I are going to help a homeless couple for a few days; can you simply let me know if they have outstanding warrants?” you are likely to get a brief lecture on why you’re an idiot to “help those kinds of people,” but they will do it, and will just say after taking the names into a back room either “Nothing, good luck” or “Where did you say you last saw them, and which way were they heading?” If it’s nothing, or you choose not to actually do that (which I’ve done myself, to save time or whatever), you want to say, IMHO, “Here’s help I simply want to give, and I just want one thing in return: would you let me take you to [blank] so they can help hook you up with ongoing support/care/counsel? Because I can only do so much, and I want you to be able to get off the streets.” In many areas, dialing 2-1-1, just like 9-1-1, is a number that takes you directly to a social services co-ordinating agency and/or crisis hotline. They can help you figure out what location or agency is applicable.

    I hope this is all helpful, and you & they will be in my prayers the next few days. And when you go back, they may be gone, too. But the intention is there, bless you for it.

  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I should say that my sense of this being a good idea is tied to “makes eye contact.” That alone does, in my experience, mean something, and in general, you’re telling me your gut says “these folks need a break.” In general, the gut is not a bad guide. It ain’t infallible, but I’m not Catholic anyhow. (Wait, was that a Gordon Gee moment?)

  45. Prospero said on June 5, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, there was a song by the Guess Who about these guys from the Book of Daniel (I think). I heard them play it live but could never find it on a record. It’s no relation to the old gospel song, and has a terrific martial drum line.

    WWJD? I doubt He would be establishing a “drones” major at his Christian university He founded with all that mail fraud euchre He got from Jerry Falwell. Truly bizarre.

    Sackless Chambliss consumes both feet whole.

    Just got the Shuggie Otis Inspiration Information reissue. Astounding music. The Hendrix connection is obvious, but I hear more Robin Trower (Broken Barricades-era) and David Gilmour. And great sax work too.

    I also thought Jack White was an absolute hoot in the movie version of Cold Mountain. He should do more movies, since he’s obviously an overacchieving multi-tasker.

  46. Prospero said on June 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Jeff, as a Catholic in America, I’d say without much worry about being contradicted, American Catholics find the idea of Papal infallibility rather ridiculous, particularly if one knows the history. The doctrine has been dogma for 150 years. Almost as old as LDS, but a blink of an eye in Church history. And of course, most people don’t have an actual clue what it really means and what ex cathedra is.

    Long before there was Little Bieber and those noxious born-again Jonases, there were the Hanson Brothers and the totally infectious
    MMMBop of which song I’m an unabashed fan. I mean this is as good as ABC or One Bad Apple from the Jacksons, and that is pristine pop. So now the boys are selling brewskis. I’m in.

  47. brian stouder said on June 5, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Watch out for the Swon Brothers (from The Voice)…I keep thinking those guys are going down*, and then they roll right on.

    And Pros – I think you tripped into ‘euchre’ when you wanted ‘lucre’ (don’t we all!), but no matter.

    *Who is gonna best Blake’s blonde 16 year old? That kiddo can flat-out sing, I tell ya!! But – I’m still rooting for Michelle Chamuel, by gosh!

  48. Prospero said on June 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Can citizen activism be totalitarian? This would probably make Dorothy Rabinowitz’s head explode.

    Sharing bikes and the Lucky Ducky syndrome. Ya know, Lucky Ducky in the Ruben Bolling comic strip Tom the Dancing Bug? Always getting something his tawdry place in the meritocracy doesn’t merit. What wholes like Rabinowitz dislike about bike-sharing is that it’s egalitarian, which is anathema to libertarian types. They deserve better than others, because they say so. Why shoould Lucky Ducky get somewhere faster on a shared bike than John Galt in an Urban Assault Vehicle. Wah, wah, wah. It’s not fair.

    I did indeed mean lucre. Should have used the invariable modifier “filthy” and I’d have avoided the error. Of course euchre means to cheat out of money, and I’m forever amazed that Falwell and Pat Robinson can promise to cure cancer and goiter and whatever on TeeVee in return for donations by mail, and not get prosecuted for it.

  49. Prospero said on June 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Lucky Ducky.

  50. brian stouder said on June 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Forget the Lucky Duck – I’m happy as a pig in mud about Samantha Power’s appointment to be the United States’ Envoy to the United Nations!

    Woo Hoo!!

    She wrote a marvelous book (if there can be such a thing) about worldwide genocide, and the diplomatic tools at hand to deal with it, called A Problem From Hell –

    and when she spoke at IPFW a year or two before Senator Obama became President Obama, I got her to inscribe my copy (which I think I sent to the Proprietress, in trade for a great book called 1861).

    She had a mis-step during the ’08 primary campaign when she disparaged Senator Clinton – but nonetheless, I view her as a modern-day Jeane Kirkpatrick: wicked smart, and sometimes just plain wicked (in the good sense!)

  51. Laurie said on June 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    My condolences to you, as well, Bitter Scribe.
    I mentioned my homeless brother above, whom we lost to suicide in 1993.
    I used to think I was a stoic about things like this (I learned early on not to show such emotions in front of my mother) but like many others I eventually paid a price in terms of my health. Having a therapist to whom I could vent and who would also keep it private has been crucial many times. When my dad passed, 15 years later, I attended a grief support group at a local hospital that met four times and still meets monthly as an open nondenominational remembrance service. I read the small book (or large booklet) they gave me. I wasn’t able to read anything longer. These steps also helped. It still really gets me at times.
    JMMO, thank you, you know what you are talking about. If only our family had had someone like you in the picture. Everyone did the best they could but it wasn’t carried out right or wasn’t enough or something. We’ll never know. I do know that living in “if only” will take me down, too.

  52. Rana said on June 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Bitter Scribe, I’m sorry to hear about your friend.

  53. MarkH said on June 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Condolences to all those here who have recently lost loved ones: Charlotte, Bitter Scribe and especially 4dbirds. Any parent can imagine that loss. We were just in Denver to visit relatives, including our 24 year-old son, whom we treasure every day. A type-1 diabetic, we almost lost him when he was diagnosed at age one. The ER was not skilled in a child so young with diabetic onset. The head ER nurse was the hero when she saw the doctor’s remedy was to pump enough insulin into him to kill a horse. She phoned up the recently arrrived pediatric endocrinologist who took over in no uncertain terms and saved his life. He sure is a very healthy level-headed young man now.

    Bravo to our First Lady:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/06/04/michelle-obama-confronts-protester-threatens-to-leave-fundraiser/

  54. Prospero said on June 5, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I just came across this from Isak Dinesen:

    The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.
    ― Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen), Seven Gothic Tales

    Out of Africa is my favorite Meryl Streep movie other than Silkwood. My mom encouraged me to read the memoir when I was a kid, and it stuck with me. Another terrific movie with an Isak Dinesen connection is Babette’s Feast, an absolutely superb Dinesen novella, an exemplar of her well-honed style and grace as a writer that can be read in two hours. Oh, and The River Wild is a great movie, too.

  55. brian stouder said on June 5, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    My test for whether a movie is truly good stuff or not is: would you watch it again? By that standard, The Wizard of Oz is superb, as is Father Goose and Breaker Morant and Breakfast Club and Spielberg’s Lincoln and Bonnie and Clyde and most Jack Lemmon movies.

    I’m not a book re-reader, so if we apply that standard to books, Herndon’s Informants, which is a real doorstop of a book!, is nothing short of a timeless classic, as I’ve read it end-to-end twice, and will likely read it again, at some point.

  56. Bitter Scribe said on June 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    4dbirds: Thanks for your kind words, and my deepest sympathy for your own loss. Sorry it took me awhile to say that, but I’ve had a lot on my mind…which you if anyone should appreciate.

  57. Deborah said on June 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Jack White is one of my favorites too. I went to a White Stripes concert with Little Bird when we still lived in St. Louis, so that was awhile ago. There’s a good documentary with Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge, they just sit around and talk with their guitars, there’s some other footage but mostly it’s just them having a conversation.

    We were supposed to get a badly needed big storm (badly need the rain part anyway, it can skip the half dollar hail that was predicted) the wind was blowing, the sky turned dark… then nothing. At least nothing so far, wind died down, we hear thunder way off in the distance. Oh please rain!

  58. Scout said on June 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    4dbirds and bitter scribe, know that you are in my thoughts as you experience such profound losses.

  59. Prospero said on June 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    This is absolutely insane. A stand your ground crime of passion. For want of Viagra, a life was lost.

    Getting out the big guns. Going after Bambi with cyberweapons. Great for self-appointed neighborhood watch bigots. Range 500 yds.

    I’ve watched Blade Runner at least 20 times. Easy Rider at least that. I’m sure I’ve seen Father Goose more than 10 including at the drive-in in Southfield MI when it was brand new (on a date with my mom and dad driving and treating us to dinner, first girlfriend ever). Lawrence, five or six times, three in the uncut version. Then again, I probably watched Drums Along the Mohawk and Captain Blood 15 or 20 times apiece before I was 11. Hell, I’ve repeat-watched Tank Girl and Cherry 2000. I have never forced myself to sit through Saving Private Ryan. And I think The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is as great a movie, or better, than Schindler’s list, and I can’t bring myself to watch either a second time.

  60. LAMary said on June 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I’m with you, Brian, on Jack Lemmon. Some Like it Hot and The Apartment are faves, but they’re both Billy Wilder movies too, so I don’t know which one of them made the movie so good.
    At our house we watch Guns of Navarrone whenever we notice it’s on. Not because it’s good, but we all wait for Gregory Peck to say, “Und remember, I speak German Perfekt!” Which he doesn’t.
    I’ll sit through Dog Day Afternoon again, and Fargo and Raising Arizona. Best in Show I’ve seen sooo many times and I still like it. The original version of The In Laws is great. Not the later one with Michael Douglas. Goodfellas, The Man Who Would be King, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Cider House Rules, all worth seeing again and again.

  61. Deborah said on June 5, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Movies I love and have watched again and again: The Year of Living Dangerously, To Kill a Mockingbird, Wings of Desire, The Piano, Certfied Copy, The Passenger, Easy Rider, Out of Africa, Rear Window, North by Northwest… I could go on and on.

  62. LAMary said on June 5, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Yes, Year of Living Dangerously is wonderful. So atmospheric. Did you know Peter Falk did the drawing for Wings of Desire? When I used to be in drawing group, one of the models we used also posed for Peter Falk in the studio he had at his house.

  63. Prospero said on June 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    We own DVD copies of Dog Day Afternoon, Raising Arizona, Fargo, and The Man Who Would be King. And I watch them frequently, particularly the Rudyard Kipling White Man’s Burden movie about Kafiristan. I know much of Raising Arizona by heart. One of the funniest movies ever made, and the yodelling theme is sublime.

    Octopus Grigori and the Detroit Redwings.

  64. Prospero said on June 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I also never get tired of watching Terry Southern’s Magic Christian. Guy Grand, a Grand Guy. Free Money. Makes me laugh just thinking about it, and I will pull an all-nighter, if necessary, to watch Paths of Glory for the God knows how manieth time. God, what an awe-inspiring movie.

    Netflix streaming service is a tremendous opportunity to see fondly remembered movies again.

    Salvador is another one TeeVee won’t show, so I bought my own. All of the movies being mentioned here have at least one towering acting performance, and almost every one was made by a brilliant director. I like watching all the Cassavettes, Ben Gazarra, Peter Falk, Gena Rowlands gang collaborations, but nobody ever wants to watch them with me.

    Linda Hunt is so good in The Year of Living Dangerously it’s scary. How about Heston and Wells in A Touch of Evil, with the four minute uninterrupted opening tracking shot that crosses the Mexican American border:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYdqLeKwXGs?

    Of course, Wells shows off by showing the timer on the bomb being set. Easily Heston’s best role.

  65. brian stouder said on June 5, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    North by Northwest – I love love love that movie!

    And watch how Cary Grant always has just the right tip – in cash – jammed in the pocket of his trousers; for the bell boys and wait staff and porters and so on and so forth.

    Guns of Navarrone has a few magic moments; I was always taken by the scene where the German guards have some music playing at a checkpoint in the town, and the sun has gone down – and then bad stuff happens. And Anthony Quinn’s Greek character – and David Niven’s Brit….good stuff!

    There’s a moment in the movie Patton where George C Scott has sighted the German armored columns coming his way in the dessert, and they haven’t seen his forces yet, and he raises his right arm and then drops it – thereby unleashing a ferocious volley and starting the battle. I knew at that moment that I could never do that….and of course the character he plays loves it, completely.

    Stupidest war movie that I’ll still watch again: Where Eagles Dare – which could have the subtitle What the Hell is Going ON? (very convoluted plot)

  66. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 5, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Whatever you do, agree with Richard Burton, even when he’s claiming to be Himmler’s nephew.

    Prospero, nice catch on ex cathedra. You are quite correct about general misunderstanding of infallibility even from an ultramontane perspective.

  67. Deborah said on June 5, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    LA Mary, I did not know that about Peter Falk. And I forgot to mention just about all the earlier Katherine Hepburn movies, especially Desk Set and Adams Rib. I also like Jane Fonda in Klute (Clute?) and Coming Home. And I can’t forget to mention Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and Lolita. OK, I’m done, I’ll quit now.

  68. brian stouder said on June 5, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Dr Strangelove! Magnificent!! (“No fighting in the War Room!”) And you gotta love the scene when George C Scott is in the bathroom and his mistress answers the phone, and calls out “It’s the President”, and he answers “Can it wait?”

    And I’d watch Redford and Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid again and again, too (who was the woman? A beautiful brunette…)

    A movie that Nancy labeled (with more than a little accuracy) the most closeted-gay movie ever made – Top Gun – is the one Tom Cruise movie I’ll watch again.

    Someone here – maybe Prospero? – recently mentioned Tremors, wherein beasts who travel through the earth terrorize a town, and which is a superb movie.

    Best Clint Eastwood movie: Unforgiven

    Best Coen Brothers Movie: the True Grit remake, but I’d go for another view of Fargo

    I think Nancy said she liked the DeNiro/Pacino movie Heat; I’d watch it again, although it seems torn between wanting to have some gritty realism on the one hand; but with all the most over-the-top Roadrunner/Wiley Coyote violence it can possibly shoehorn in, on the other…

    The best Peter Sellers movie is: The Party

    The best 007 movie is: Goldfinger (the title song, as we were reminded, is just too good)

    And, I’ll stop and watch when the original Godfather movie is on

  69. LAMary said on June 6, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Prospero: Yodas and shit.
    Brian: Birdy num num.

  70. Prospero said on June 6, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Coens: Miller’s Crossing is mighty good too. As for Fargo, I’ll watch anything with Frances McDormand any time. The three principal actors in the Coen’s True Grit raise it way above the original, and Joel and Ethan got a hell of a lot closer to the Charles Portis humor (read all that guy’s books; I believe i’ve read that Portis is Larry McMurtry’s favorite writer.)

    Tremors is hilarious. “Why would anybody bury a station wagon in the desert?”

    Clint: I love Unforgiven, but Josey Wales is an epic western worthy of John Ford, but with better acting, and it features Rose of Alabammy, a wonderful song.

    Peter Sellers: All good, but The Mouse that Roared and Tully Bascomb are a great movie and a hilarious character. Pretty sure I saw that one first run at the drive-in too. The World of Henry Orient is very good, too, and The Magic Christian is a classic. All of these Seths and Zachs trying to do grossout humor these days are a pale echo of the “free money scene” in Christian, which actually made a strong point relative to the movie’s basic theme: people will do anything for money.

    Goldfinger: For sure the best Bond movie.

    Terry Southern, that wrote Candy and Magic Christian (in which Ringo was great), also was a writer on both Dr. Strangelove (precious bodily fluids (mighty accurately predictive about GOPers and science years later) and tada… Barbarella, which is also a very funny movie. Howard Cosell interviewing the SA dictator during his assasination in a coup in Bananas is truly brilliant comedy, as is the Alvey Singer bank robbery in Take the Money and Run (I have a gub.), and Louise Lasser’s deadpan character in bed with Fielding Mellish in Bananas. I’d say Woody Allen is a genius at names that are just funny when somebody says them. I mean, not quite Major Bat Guano funny, but pretty damned funny.

    Klute is unquestionably one of the most intense murder movies ever. And for Kiefer’s dad, there is Mash and the terrifying Body Snatchers remake, which has the best scary ending ever in a horror movie.

    I’m more likely to make time for Once Upon a Time in America than for the Godfather movies. My favorite De Niro movie. Which reminds me of The Big Easy (sexy as hell combo of Quaid and Barkin) and Mickey Rourke’s excellent Year of the Dragon. And Once Upon a Time in the West is absolutely must see any time. Henry Fonda was great playing heroic characters (Sometimes a Great Notion, from the excellent Ken Kesey novel) but the steely blue-eyed stare as the villain in Once Upon a Time in the West is riveting.

    I always watch Cutters when I get the chance because some of it was shot in Athens GA.

    Spencer Tracy movie for me? Bad Day at Black Rock, when one-armed McCreedy goes all ju-jitsu and beats the shit out of the local racist bullies. Humphrey Bogart? Sierra Madre, a perfect translation of the great and mysterious B. Traven to film. If you’ve never read a collected short stories volume by B. Traven, I’d recommend it highly.

    I also believe firmly that Chinatown is one of the best movies ever. The combination of Nicholson as mr. Gitts and Robert Towns dialogue, plus the mysterious allure of Mrs. Mulholland and the horror of John Huston as her father is a heady mix, and the complications of the plot are fascinating (“Bad for glass.”)

  71. Prospero said on June 6, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Great WWII movies? What Did You Do in the War Daddy? (quote, from Guns Along the Mohawk: “You’ll get no more guns from Kincaid” spoken by Harry Morgan lost in some catacombs, with a gladiator helmet and a trident; Dick Shawn is even funnier) and Catch 22, in which Alan Arkin and Artie Garfunkel are superb. For action, Run Silent, Run Deep, and The Enemy Below. Most disappointing WWII movie: Von Ryan’s Express. We all read the book in 6th or 7th grade. Von Ryan was supposed to look like his name. Nibelung royalty. So we went to the movie to see this Arian god and we got the shrimpy Italian Frank Sinatra, who I am sure forced the adulterated ending with Von Ryan dying a heroic death to effect his mens’ escape. Damn, that sucked.

    And I love the Homeric Cliff’s Notes outline of the Coens’ O Brother, Where Art Thou.

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