OK, it’s decided: Next week will be one of Ancient Archives, selections from the work of a newspaper columnist who toiled in relative obscurity in the northeast corner of Indiana. You might like ’em, you might not, but at least you’ll have fresh entries to comment on, and under, every day.
I have three lined up so far. If I can find two more that don’t turn my stomach — and so, so many of them do; I see only the flaws — we’ll have a week’s worth.
A difficult day, spent mostly staring at the mockery of a cursor, which had this to say: Blink. So let’s get to some bloggage, because it’s good today:
Only in Detroit! Teenagers walking to school look down an alley, and see the astonishing sight of a man having sex with a pit bull, so they do what any kid would do: Take out their phones and shoot some video. After showing it to a school security guard, police came to the scene and found the man sitting on the ground naked, but he took off. From here the story becomes a little murky, but it appears the man was taken to the psych ward, the dog to a shelter, and the final verdict, from the man’s brother, is that he had “mental issues, and also drug issues.” But of course. And because this is local TV news, there had to be a shot of the reporter getting tough with the brother. I hate local TV news. (That link explains why, admirably. It’s not enough to bug people who don’t want to be interviewed on a nothing story. You have to bug and bug and bug, and make sure the camera catches it all.)
Meanwhile, if great news photos had been taken with an iPhone.
It’s the new dance craze that’s sweepin’ the nation: Artisanal distillery. A natural for Cooz, I think.
Why conservatives hate the Citibike program in New York, in one Venn diagram. This is actually hilarious to watch unfold. We’ll see how it goes.
It appears all the good has been bred out of the Kennedy line. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is an anti-vaccine advocate. Lots of links to follow in that one, so I won’t quote any of it.
Back to packing, and that damn cursor.
Dexter said on June 6, 2013 at 1:42 am
I feel as though I have been observant of the news over my lifetime. I knew what every one of the cropped thumbnails were before they were blown up to working size.
Parker Posey has a right to fear for some CitiBike renters. NYC taxi drivers crack into each other and hit pedestrians all the time. Tourists who rent CitiBikes and don’t have that special feel for that fast moving taxi fleet will surely be hit or killed. NYC has many miles of bike lanes, true, but many end abruptly, forcing cyclists to join the taxis and limos out in the traffic pattern. You know, if your daily drive includes dodging a six foot pot hole, chances are you will navigate around it with no wheel damage.
Still, I am all for the bike rentals. It’s very reasonable , $95 pre-paid for a month, higher rate for dailies of course.
You know what makes this blog special? Go talk to some of your neighbors for a sample , and ask what they think of New York City. Most will say they hate it , even if they have never been there. Most nn.comers love their trips to The Big Apple. I did say most, not all.
JWfromNJ said on June 6, 2013 at 6:42 am
Have you ever considered that you inspired two or three subsequent generations? I always loved reading print news. I worked for chain of newspapers that was originally owned by Gannett in NJ, then moved to FWA because a friend going to Indiana Tech before it was a gorgeous campus had bought a house on Chestnut Street for 12K. STouder, Chestnut Street? WE came home one day to find a gigantic black teenager with our gigantic tube tv walking out the back door. His reaction, “ohhh is this yours,my reaction, a doberman pup that was born under a 1972 van around the corner with a dead mom. I named her Hoser (sctv) wife mil named her baby.
But I loved the NS for your work. When K and I got our first house on LaJolla CT. I went to the honor box at the supermarket next to the old Lutheran hosp every day. You were spit out my coffee funny.I met you at O’s one night but I was shitfaced. perhaps 1988?.
My other mentor was Mike “the hat” Celizac, who toiled for the then Bergen Record as sports writer and columnist for two decades. I hate sports but he was a great writer and more snarky then you. he knew about you, thought your nall on newspapers column for ro whatever was brillant but on his deathbed told me your take on MJ’s death was not near what you were capable of. He was my editor at a small chain of newspapers in nw nj and se ny, and he also was the editor for the today show’s web content, which consisted of him sitting in his rural upstate NY home and watching the show then writing that Matt Lauer asked Pink about her pregnancy and new album
He was the bravest man I knew because when he got a very aggressive cancer he demanded MSNBC give him a blog.
I guess the point of this long comment is you need to know for every idiot hack like me you and people like Mike inspired an army.
JWfromNJ said on June 6, 2013 at 6:47 am
damm the lack of the edit button-here is a great blog post about Mike:
David C. said on June 6, 2013 at 7:08 am
Another thing that bugs cons about bicycles is their notion that cyclists don’t pay for the roads and have no business riding on them. Somehow the idea popped into their little heads that the roads are only paid for with gasoline taxes. I should keep a copy of my property tax bill to show them the line item for road tax. It wouldn’t make a difference though.
Suzanne said on June 6, 2013 at 7:55 am
It seems to be the norm here in NE Indiana to swear you hate a place you’ve never visited. I love visiting New York and Chicago but mostly here the word is “Why would anyone want to go there? All that traffic, crime, noise. I couldn’t stand it!” Of course all that traffic, noise, etc. means there is something going on there unlike a lot of other places, like, say, NE Indiana.
beb said on June 6, 2013 at 8:21 am
The venn diagram why people hate citi-bike was fascinating and nicely captures all the reasons to hate bikes. Dexter has a point that as a service aimed at NYC visitors it will be an invitation to accidents, but I still think it’s a great idea. The hostility towards it reminds me of a survey that came out recently, which found that people (right AND left) were less likely to buy a light bulb if it had “environmentally friendly” listed on the carton.
Basset said on June 6, 2013 at 8:21 am
As I have said here several times before… never been to NY, no desire and no reason to go there. I deal with enough rude, aggressive people already, want no part of a place where the locals pride themselves on it.
coozledad said on June 6, 2013 at 8:32 am
I used to make beer, and that’s about where my understanding of chemistry and my willingness to clean equipment tops out. My wife has a good background in chemistry, and she learned the ethanol distillation process as far back as high school.
For every ten gallons of really good beer I made, I’d get another thirty of meh. I did find out that champagne yeasts make a reliably delicious dry beer that also reliably causes disorientation and memory loss.
I know a few beer makers who are interested in the making (and drinking) of Scotch. The outlay for old port wine barrels is a big obstacle.
I’m confident I’d poison myself trying to brew liquor before I managed to kill too many others.
alex said on June 6, 2013 at 8:34 am
When I relocated to Chicago in the 1980s, folks back home were always asking what it must be like to dodge bullets and live in constant fear for your life. On the near north lakefront. I was amazed at their bizarre preconceptions, although these days such notions might arguably be justified as Chicago has gained a rep for being one of the worst in the nation when it comes to gun crimes.
I’m my own worst critic when I look at some of my past writings, so I understand where she’s coming from, but can vouch that the Proprietress always had a special touch and never fell into the sort of complacency and laziness that overtakes so many columnists. One of my faves of hers involved an Amish family that found a battered black woman at their door in the wee hours of the morning. What was most amazing about it was that I’d known a black drag queen who had an experience that exactly mirrored that which was described in the story. Miss Vickie, as she called herself, serviced straight guys on the street, two of whom abducted her one night in a pickup truck, drove her out to the country and pummeled the hell out of her before throwing her out on the road and trying to run her over. She managed to run away to a nearby farmhouse. In her tattered dress and one high-heeled shoe, she explained to the occupants that she and her boyfriend just had a fight and that he’d thrown her out of his car. She got a ride back into town the next day with a vanload of Amish construction workers.
Mark P said on June 6, 2013 at 8:55 am
I’ve been to NYC twice, including once when a friend and I drove my big, old Dodge pickup (registered in Alabama at the time) all the way down Broadway from way out of town right through the city. Traffic was heavy but not all that bad, and I learned that there are rules that even the cabbies follow: if your fender is ahead of the fender of the vehicle in the adjacent lane, you have the right of way to change into that lane.
But the iphone pictures are actually wrong. An iphone has a medium-wide-angle lens, so its photos will not be cropped relative to most of the news photos shown. However, as an editorial comment about newspapers’ firing their staff photographers and relying on reporters do take pictures with iphones (They’ve got nothing else important to do, right? Or at least soon they won’t.) then, sure.
nancy said on June 6, 2013 at 9:02 am
And that, friends, is how Alex and I met.
Yeah, the iPhone news photo thing is something of a one-trick pony, but I take his point: You only get great photos one of two ways — through incredible, rare luck, or by having someone there whose job it is to think visually and capture images with this device he or she carries at all times.
But too many editors saw this and had a dim, flickering light bulb go off over their dim, flickering heads.
velvet goldmine said on June 6, 2013 at 9:20 am
Nancy has scolded me for this, but I usually have a big tent policy on autism research and general theory-making. In that spirit, outliers are useful, I suppose. But anyone like Kennedy, who tries to skip the middleman and go straight to urging the public to do something which can cause massive damage, is dangerous. No question.
But is Plait himself is somewhat in that reckless cowboy mode? Not necessarily on this topic — although he certainly drops a lot of hyperbolic anvils rather than simply building his case with facts.
But if I’m reading him right, he paints anti-GMO activists with the same brush as anti-vax folks. And the term “alternative medicine” is a little broad to dismiss as “anti-science.” That phrase could mean anything from reckless doctors who urge vulnerable patients away from chemotherapy to a more level-headed practice of trying lavender tea for minor headaches instead of putting your liver at risk with excess Tylenol. Or trying to sweat out a flu with chicken soup rather than go on antibiotics, given all we hear about how more serious illnesses become resistant to antibiotics because of this overuse.
Deborah said on June 6, 2013 at 9:21 am
Basset, I have been to NYC maybe a dozen or more times and I have NEVER run in to a rude or aggressive person. That is a perception that is unfortunate. I, on the other hand, hate Las Vegas. I find it sleazy and over-hyped, but at least I’ve been there a few times (on business) to know that’s true (for me). Of course many people love Vegas.
brian stouder said on June 6, 2013 at 9:26 am
The Telling Tales-Saturday edition was always fun; more free-form, and with comments from whichever chuckleheads spouted off (via US mail) that week.
Well, and – she had some worthwhile commenters, too…surely(?)
nancy said on June 6, 2013 at 9:45 am
What’s going on with the anti-vaxers is almost precisely what goes on with the creationists.
Creationist: What about this thing I read about? This third theory of thermodynamics (that I can’t explain because I didn’t take any science beyond high school bio, but it sounds cool)?
Scientist: (Lengthy explanation follows.)
Creationist: But what about it? Where does it show we evolved from monkeys?
Scientist: (Starts to get testy.)
Creationist: See, you’re just arrogant. I’m sticking with my Bible.
The reason doctors and public-health officials grow tired of defending vaccines is, vaccines shouldn’t need defenders. Their benefits are evident in the fact so many children grow to adulthood and don’t die of whooping cough or measles-related encephalitis. The “science” against them has been disproven, over and over and over again. Take this stunningly simple observation about thimerosol, which hasn’t been used in vaccines since 2001:
If thimerosal were the cause of autism, we should see a drop in autism rates once the use of the preservative was stopped. Those rates did not drop; in fact, they’ve increased over time (likely due to better diagnoses rather than an actual increase in prevalence).
And yet, over and over and over, anti-vaxxers bring up thimerosol. Bill Maher did it just a few months ago in an interview; he said something to the effect that getting a single flu shot gives you some ridiculous chance of getting Alzheimer’s. How many times do you have to say something isn’t true before people start believing it?
So, long way around to saying I cut the public-health community a lot of slack on testiness and not feeling obligated to make the same argument repeatedly.
As for lumping anti-GMO in with anti-vax, I abstain on the basis of ignorance. But based on the sorts of things I see posted on social media and in my email, and awful lot of people are flying blind, too. There’s probably a good case to be made against certain sorts of botanical tampering. But as Bitter Scribe pointed out a few days back, so-called golden rice — i.e., rice fortified through genetic modification with vitamin A — has probably saved millions from blindness. Can any argument about this start from the simple recognition that no scientific advance is 100 percent evil, and take it from there? I doubt it.
Mark P said on June 6, 2013 at 9:49 am
Nancy, I didn’t see Alex’s comment until after I read your comment (right after my previous) and when I reread yours, I almost flipped my chair backwards trying not to laugh out loud right here at work.
Joe K said on June 6, 2013 at 9:56 am
How about reprinting the one about how much you love fruit cake.
Never new you were a Amish van driver, Nancy.
velvet goldmine said on June 6, 2013 at 10:11 am
Hmmm….I’m not sure GMO concern does start from the perception of all science as being 100 percent evil. If it were, than the movement would demand a ban on all plant breeding and all pesticides. That’s simply not the case.
But even the much-derided term “organic gardening” is a science. Go on almost any major university’s extension service site and you’ll see trials going on about the relative merits of interplanting garlic with bug-ridden crops, whether baking soda is as effective as chemical fungicides for orchard growers, whether removing certain marginal weeds known to host damaging pests increased yields, etc.
I’m not talking about doctors having to defend vaccines to the public. To be clear, I think any out-there research into autism causes should be done quietly, in a lab, as well as by crunching data (family history, lifestyle habits of both parents, geography, newborn illnesses that seemed minor at the time — all that tedious statistical stuff).
I thought I had said this clearly enough the first time around, but of course I agree it’s dangerous and wrong to go to the public and urge them to stop doing something which keeps the general population much safer than it otherwise would have been.
JWfromNJ said on June 6, 2013 at 10:25 am
Basset, You have subscribed to stereotypes when in fact people in NYC ans NJ are kind and wonderful, but they approach situations with an few grams of caution.
nyc is without a doubt the greatest city in the world. The way it feels is like thousands of tiny villages. Even “the village” could be logically divided into 6-7 communities. The subways used to frighten me but now I crave them – Bloomberg and Juliani did that, The metro in dc is better but it closes ad midnight. Harlem is now like a disney strip mall, and Washington Heights isn’t new jack city anymore.
I would suggest you and Mrs. B grab a cheap fare on virgin or jet blue to lga or jfk. Reserve a room from priceline or the very agressive booking.com Hit it on a weekend, go to the plaza to see the today show summer concert, go to washington square park to see the gymnasts, amazing. Lunch at one of the restaurants the Scotto family owns. Go to the Cloisters that afternoon. then back to midtown or lower Manhattan. Dinner in Korea Town near madison square garden, or chinatown, but in either place the trick is ask locals and be one of the only white folks there. Take in central park and the AMNH. grab tickets for mets or yanks, or if your cup of tea is art’s the museums of the tkts booth near broadway.
You won’t meet a single rude person and you will come away wishing you lived there, I guarantee. Plus I outlined perhaps the best 3-day itinerary for nyc you’ll find. And if you go and something bad happens my sister Liz could be there in 45 min. to rescue you. Then you would meet a rude person.
mark said on June 6, 2013 at 10:27 am
There is quite a difference between nancy’s proposition “no scientific advance is 100 percent evil,” and velvet’s rebuttal of the proposition “all science is 100 percent evil.”
alex said on June 6, 2013 at 10:40 am
How many times do you have to say something isn’t true before people start believing it?
Depends how much money you have, I guess. The opponents of Obamacare outspent supporters of same by five to one in getting their message out. Managing to fool only half of the population may not sound like a great return on the investment, but it’s quite an accomplishment nevertheless. The atmosphere has been poisoned with negative talking points to such an extent that a lot of low-information voters who don’t pay close attention simply assume everything negative they hear must be true because there’s so much of it in circulation. If you have good insurance and you’re satisfied with the health care you receive, you might very easily be sold on the myth that America has the best health care system in the world and very likely you’d even take great comfort in the notion. You would also be susceptible to assertions that the government is going to take this great thing away from you and redistribute it among undeserving, lazy good-for-nothings.
I’ve given up trying to discuss the subject with those who’ve been bamboozled. Their heads are so far up their own asses they can’t fathom why anyone would ever need a colonoscopy.
Julie Robinson said on June 6, 2013 at 10:40 am
I always enjoyed the “ideas in search of a column” segments, myself.
With today the anniversary of RFK’s assassination, it’s distressing to learn that his son is off on such a wacko tangent. It’s yet another way history might be so different save for Sirhan Sirhan.
When confronted by creationists, I like to ask them which creation story they are referring to, the one in Genesis 1 or the one in Genesis 2. Most of them don’t even realize that there are two distinctly different accounts, which gives them no credibility in my eyes. The ones who do know it don’t have a satisfactory answer, and if you dare speak of different sources being combined, the result is likely to be what Nancy describes, an accusation of arrogance or mistrust in God’s word.
I always enjoyed the “ideas in search of a column” segments, myself.
Julie Robinson said on June 6, 2013 at 10:43 am
Well, crap, I decided to move that last line and only accomplished making myself look foolish. Ah well, it won’t be the first time.
Heather said on June 6, 2013 at 10:45 am
I too have always found New Yorkers to be kind and helpful. It’s like Paris–you just have to know the correct way to ask. Also, keep in mind that in a city that big, people move fast out of necessity, and get testy if you don’t.
Having said that, I have not been there in probably more than 10 years myself, because I live in a big city (Chicago) and when I go out of town I want to relax. NYC is many things, but relaxing is not one of them.
Connie said on June 6, 2013 at 10:48 am
I’ve been to New York twice for conferences and had no problems, including riding the subway. Check out the Edison Hotel near Times Square, cheapish for New York, filled with foreign families and the coffee shop has been featured on Jane and Michael Stern’s radio show and is supposedly where Jackie Mason hangs out. Or hung out for all I know. JW you left out Central Park.
Basset said on June 6, 2013 at 10:56 am
JW, thanks for the advice but except for the food none of that is anything I would want to do. And I will be the first to admit that I am buying into the stereotypes big time, the same one that makes some people think “idiot” when they hear a Southern accent makes me think “a**hole” when I hear that New York honk.
Never wanted to go there on my own time, never was important enough at work to get sent there for business… as one of our camera guys put it after working vacation relief at WCBS and turning down a full-time job, “I ain’t lost nothin’ up there.”
Jolene said on June 6, 2013 at 11:00 am
It’s amazing how little people know about how the Bible was actually created–that is, the canonical texts were assembled several hundred years after the death of Jesus by ordinary, fallible humans.
I don’t know as much as I should myself, but I know it didn’t appear all at once, dropped from heaven on the sands of Palestine.
Jeff(tmmo), can you recommend a good book on the history of the Bible?
Charlotte said on June 6, 2013 at 11:03 am
I lived in NYC in my 20s for a couple of years in the late 1980s — first out in Astoria, then near Stuyvesant Town. Now, at 21 I looked maybe 14, and not in a Lolita way, but in a still-unbaked kind of way, and I was never fashiony. People were so nice to me (an experience I’ve also had in Paris over the years, all you have to do is learn a few basic phrases of polite French). I spent a lot of time taking mechanicals up to the Conde Nast building to be signed off on — the Elevator of Fashion Death was probably the scariest place I ever was in NYC. In those days Andre Leon Talley was still fairly slim, but 10 feet tall and wearing the MOST beautiful bespoke suits a person has ever seen. I come up to his elbow. But the editorial assistants! Brutal! I didn’t even warrant a one up/one down glance. I left after a couple of years — the life of an impoverished editorial assistant wasn’t the one for me, but I’m really really glad I did it. It was exciting and scary and lonely and fabulous all at the same time (also, glad I didn’t marry the guy who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, and glad he got fired before the whole building came down).
Judybusy said on June 6, 2013 at 11:07 am
After my father lost the farm in the 1st semester of my sophomore year of college, I moved to the upper west side to nanny for a family. I loved NYC–I was there 10 months before I moved closer to home, in Minneapolis. Now, I was a farm kid who was lucky enough to have been to Brazil and Germany, and was educated by my Brazilian family on how to do big city (Rio, anyone?) In New York, I loved how quick everyone was, all the culture, the diversity. It was a life-changer for me.
When I moved back to Minneapolis, it was so painful, even for little stuff. For instance, I was used to going to the bagel store, rattling off, “Hey, gimme 2 sesame, 2 plain, 2 poppy.” Minneapolis, after adapting for a few years: ME: “Hi! How are ya? Nice weather! Ok, I’ll have 2 sesame…..(pause) 2 plain (pause) and 2 poppy (pause.)” THEM: “Ok, 2 sesame, 2 what now?” I’ve gotten used to it, but it drove me nuts for years.
JWfromNJ said on June 6, 2013 at 11:13 am
I did mention Central Park but I prefer Washington Square Park for the performers and the proximity to the village. But theres also South side seaport, the stoic and sharp national 9-11 museum and memorial, brooklyn, which on it’s own would be the 4th largest city in the usa, and ellis island. the statue isn’t really worth the trip anymore.
Don’t buy anything at any pizza place with Ray in the name,they are gaming for tourists. Go to coney island. there are so many places to see. After I complete this comment I’ll forward an invoice to the nyccvb.
brian stouder said on June 6, 2013 at 11:14 am
The last time I was in New York City was 39 years ago, when I was 13; we went for the wedding of my mom’s niece (named Nancy), and did the Empire State Building and rode the subways and visited Nathan’s, and Times Square, and so on. Two things at Times Square that made big impressions upon my 13 year old mind were: all the real-live breasts you could see displayed there (this was before the big clean-up) and some guy puking and wretching on the sidewalk, in the middle of a sunny day. My Aunt Fanny said “you’ll have that” (or something like that) as we continued at a brisk pace down the sidewalk. Cousin Frankie showed me how to lower my chin and glare, if someone stared at you on the subway.
I also recall that the WTC was brand new, and there was a lot of fairly harsh local commentary, about the bad effect it would have on rental values of other properties
All in all – gimme Chicago
coozledad said on June 6, 2013 at 11:16 am
I’ve found New Yorkers to be generally kind, helpful people- the kind Jane Jacobs refers to in The Life And death of Great Cites. Even the batshit insane seem to have a kind of other-awareness and grace that you don’t see anywhere else.
The big cultural sinks now are places like Cary, NC and North Raleigh, exurbs with very few reasons to exist apart from a bunch of jerks who need a shack big enough to house a couple of large automobiles. They’re people who haven’t mastered the skills set of living in proximity to other people, but they’re still packed up on one another on quarter acre lots, so close they can watch each other wipe their asses.
And their kids are heavily medicated, dangerous little fucks.
brian stouder said on June 6, 2013 at 11:31 am
Cooz – that last line immediately put Eddie Vedder onto my brain!
Thanks for speaking in class today
Jolene said on June 6, 2013 at 11:34 am
Judybusy, your characterization of buying bagels in Minneapolis cracked me up. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in small-town North Dakota, where speech styles are like Minneapolis, except more so, and there are no bagels.
I’ve always been a pretty fast talker–may be one of the reasons I’ve spent my grown-up life in cities.
LAMary said on June 6, 2013 at 11:46 am
JW, the reason your sister Liz is rude is she is from NJ. Not NY. NJ is the bad attitude capitol of the the world.
I’ve been back to NY as a tourist with my kids and I have to say people were amazingly accomodating and kind. The best New Yorkish thing that happened was when my then 10 year old son, my six year old son and I were boarding a bus in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was a hot day and I bought two popsicles from a vendor while we were waiting, and of course, the bus showed up as soon as the kids took the wrappers off the popsicles. I asked the driver if it was ok if the kids brought their food on the bus. The bus driver said, “Are you kiddin’? I can’t believe you even asked.” Here in LA you can get a ticket for popping a cough drop in your mouth on the light rail, but in NY drippy popsicles are ok on the city buses.
adrianne said on June 6, 2013 at 11:50 am
My mom, born in the Bronx, educated in Brooklyn, and lived 20some years in Queens, experienced severe culture shock when she and my Dad moved to Houston in the early 1960s. Her biggest frustration was the amount of time it took her to get through a grocery line, just like the bagel shop anecdote.
Once when she was dating my Dad (a slowpoke from Philly), they were waiting for a subway in Manhattan. When it arrived, my mother expertly navigated her way through a crowd and jumped on board, only to see the doors shut on my startled father’s face. She’s slowed down slightly, but still takes life at a brisk pace.
Prospero said on June 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm
Common sense proposal for Social Security.
Amazing play in the NHL playoffs last night. Bruins 4th line center Gregory Campbell blocked a very hard slapshot by Evgeni Malkin with his leg while the Penguins were on a power play. Campbell stayed on the ice to prevent the five on four from devolving into five on three. He limped off the ice at the end of the penalty and never returned to the game. The blocked shot had broken his leg. Crazy or valiant? I don’t know. Hockey players have a higher threshold of pain than other athletes, particularly in playoff games. It’s pretty easy to imagine what kind of galvanizing effect something like that has on teammates. And the Bs have the hot goaltender now. Tuukka Rask stopped 53 of 54 Pittsburgh shots. That was the best the Pens can play. Say goodnight, Mario.
Great story about ordering bagels, Judybusy.
Last time I went to NYC was to see my brother play football for Princeton vs. Columbia in 1970. I was with my then gf, now my ex. We took the subway, but rode past our stop. A transit cop took us in hand and rode back with us to the correct station. By the time the cop turned us around, we were at the Harlem Line in the South Bronx. That cop was protecting and serving.
I’m not participating in the vaccination discussion, except to say that the companies that make vaccines for years sold it in 40-50 dose blocks, with the sole intent of boosting profits. Doing so required using the preservative thimerosal, a major component of which is mercury. Mercury is a very well-documented neuro-toxin. I think that is pretty much RFK jr’s argument. Under some preessure, the drug companies have gone off the multi-dosage packaging for the most part. Attacks on vaccinations in general without the mercury-laden preservatives in the discussion is stupid, like burning Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur at the stake post mortem and in absentia.
LAMary@35: Well there is a virtual cornucopia of fluids already on any NYC bus.
coozledad said on June 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm
LA Mary: That reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me. She was an attorney, and she’d just left an office party carrying a bottle of beer with her on the subway. At one stop, every one left the car but her, and a cop walked on and sat directly in front of her. She was trying to hide her beer, drunkenly and ineffectively.
The cop told her “Drink yer fuckin’ beer.”
velvet goldmine said on June 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm
Mark, Thanks for pointing that. You are absolutely correct; I misread that line.
velvet goldmine said on June 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Where did that friggin’ edit button go?
beb said on June 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Jolene – I’ve read only one book on the history of the bible, but I liked it. It’s called “Misquoting Jesus.” Here’s a what Wikipedia has to say:
I distrust genetically modified foods because usually the company testing the safety of the product is that same company that wants to market it.
Scout said on June 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm
I love to visit big cities like NY and Chicago, especially when visiting someone local who knows where to go and what to do and how best to get there. One of my favorite memories of NY is spending a whole afternoon in the Mona Lisa Cafe in the Village with my son and a bunch of his fellow NYU students. My partner is from Chicago so going there is always fun.
I also love San Francisco, and even LA, where my son now lives. I’m with Deborah regarding Vegas. Yuck. Now that my daughter doesn’t live there any more I have no reason to ever return.
I live in the 5th (6th) largest city in the US but it doesn’t have a big city feel. We’re just now getting around to addressing the public transportation situation, and with that the downtown scene is finally livening up a bit. Used to be, if it was Mon-Fri 9-5 you didn’t see a soul.
JWfromNJ said on June 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm
LA Mary, as a former neighbor, Liz would jump in her car and race to help out someone I asked her to help, but she would lay down that “wtf didn’t you check the gas gauge,” etc. on said friend.
I once had the misfortune of overheating on the West Side Highway in my beat up old VW rabbit. Within 3 mins a nyc cop car with a push bar pulled up, hit the pa system, and said steer the car to the right. They shoved me off the road on 49th street near the United Nations, and when I sked what to do next their answer was, that’s your problem now.
Liz to the rescue.
Scout said on June 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm
I asked Uncle Google and Phoenix is the 6th, not 5th largest city. And my last sentence should have said UNLESS it was Mon-Fri 9-5 you didn’t see a soul.
Sherri said on June 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm
Testing for GMO happens just like for any other food. GMO is no safer or more dangerous than conventional breeding in terms of testing and approval by the USDA and the FDA.
Conventional breeding techniques can and have produced dangerous food products; consider this story of the Lenape potato, conventionally bred in an attempt to produce better potatoes for potato chips: http://boingboing.net/2013/03/25/the-case-of-the-poison-potato.html
Deborah said on June 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm
I mentioned this before after my last trip to NYC, the memorial at the twin towers site is a must see, overwhelmingly compelling, one of those experiences that is hard to put into words, although I’m sure there are quite a few here who could describe it beautifully. Worth a trip all by itself.
brian stouder said on June 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm
Deborah – just for the record – I think you’re a wonderful writer and communicator.
We should never let these professional wordsmiths intimidate us…and we should steal as much from their writing styles as we can!
JWfromNJ said on June 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm
Deborah at 46 –
My wife and I went there on a bitter cold and windy Sunday morning in February.I lost three friends that day, one of them being Jeremy Glick on Flight 93. I also had my cousin’s wife survive, but she ran out when the building fell behind her by 2-3 feet. She called my cousin and said she was going to die. My aunt and I were planning her funeral and 8 hours later she got through to us, in tears, telling us she was alive and in Chinatown and lost her shoes.
When we went the north fountain was on but the south one where my other friends died was iced over.The security theater was ridiculous and as usual I ended up with a pocket knife in my pants.The museum hasn’t opened and at $40 admission it’s bound to fail, but the memorial contrasted with the new tower was breathtaking.
LAMary said on June 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm
JW, the United Nations is on the east side. That’s a long push from the West Side Highway. You sure you weren’t on FDR drive?
JWfromNJ said on June 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm
Correct Mary – although that exit is now a restricted access point. I was going to a seminar at CBS Black Rock.
Dorothy said on June 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm
Judybusy’s bagel story cracked me up, too!
I have only been to NYC twice. Had a blast both times. My son was 3 and we were visiting a quilting pen pal of mine in Brooklyn. They took us to a nice Italian place, not too fancy but no dive either. My son LOVED rice (still does) and all he wanted was rice and gravy. When we asked for some, in a strong Italian accent, the waiter said “No rice, sorry.” Josh’s little forehead hit the table, he was so sad. The waiter was only momentarily nonplussed, excused himself, dashed into the kitchen, and came back out with a smile on his face. He looked directly at Josh and said “We have rice!” Everyone was happy!
My favorite New York story hands down.
Judybusy said on June 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm
Dorothy, couldn’t they give the poor kid some risotto?!
nancy said on June 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm
My first NYC trip, I walked into a pizzeria and ordered three slices. Three? the guy said. Really? Of course three. I was thinking of the pies in Columbus, where three is about a quarter pizza, i.e, a meal.
Five minutes later, I was totally embarrassed. A New York slice is another kettle of fish. Ate one and slunk out the door with the other two, which I believe I trashed. I hope some homeless person plucked them out before they got cold. Because it was great pizza.
Scout said on June 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm
All I want to eat in NYC is pizza, it’s so great. But I’ve been “dragged” to some really great restaurants, despite myself. I will say, having grown up on the East Coast, I have no appreciation for Chicago style pizza.
Deborah said on June 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm
I’m going to be going to NY in late Aug early Sept but only spending a short time in the city. I’m going to take a class in far western NY state for ten days, in Sullivan County at a place called Beaver Brook. A friend of Nancy’s, Zach Klein is associated with it, it’s being taught by two other guys. Ten of us have been accepted to participate in the building of a bath house for the community there. We had to submit a video about ourselves and why we want to take the class and from that they decided who could participate. The deadline for submitting was June 1, and I found out a couple of days ago that I was accepted. I’m psyched. Here’s a link to my video in case you’re interested, a friend of mine helped with the technical production of it: https://vimeo.com/67449071 since I’m a graphic designer I used the alphabet to tell my story. And here’s a link about the class: http://beaverbrook.com/school
Mark P said on June 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm
Thimerosol is a dead horse, or a red herring, depending on your point of view. As Nancy points out, it’s basically no longer used and the rate of autism diagnosis has not declined as it would have if it caused autism. So that was plainly and simply wrong from beginning to end. So why do anti-vaxers oppose vaccinations now? Other than wanting their kids and the kids of others to die young?
For a good summary of the history and current recommendations on thimerosol, go here:
It’s a long and fairly dense read, but worth it for background.
nancy said on June 6, 2013 at 3:38 pm
OMG, Deborah — you’re going to Beaver Brook? Zach got married there; the photos are astonishing. What a cool opportunity, and what a small damn world.
Zach’s photo blog of the place looks like an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog — at least, when his friends are in the pictures. I’m sure you, with your knifelike slenderness and silver hair, will fit right in. You’ll be the cool mom.
Also, how fitting that you chose Vimeo to host your video. That was Zach’s startup.
Suzanne said on June 6, 2013 at 3:38 pm
Yes, the 9/11 memorial in NYC is worth visiting. Even more touching is a small, very old chapel that we happened upon near the site that became a rest area for firefighters, police, and other rescue workers during the attack. It still has the “box seat” that George Washington used, but most of the church is now a memorial to those who helped after the twin towers went down. It gives you some faith in humanity, anyway, seeing how people went out of their way to feed and provide what they could for rescuers.
I’ve never found people in New York (or Chicago)rude. I’ve asked cops, store keeps, and random people on the street for directions and never have had anyone be nasty. The cops in New York, fyi, are on the whole helpful and darn good looking. The first time I was ever in New York, I started chatting with the woman next to me on the subway. We had a nice conversation! If I had the money (que the hysterical laughter), I’d consider retiring there.
Suzanne said on June 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm
Also, don’t miss Fort Tryon Park way up at the top of Manhattan. Gorgeous view of the Hudson! And the Cloisters is worth every penny.
Julie Robinson said on June 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm
Esther Williams has died, at 91. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t realize she was still on the earth.
Someday I will get to NYC, and after the sights and museums I will see a bunch of shows on Broadway, and off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway. Til then it’ll be Chicago, my second home town.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 6, 2013 at 3:42 pm
Jolene, for the NT, I like Dom Crossan. His theology isn’t entirely my cuppa, but his scholarship on how the early Christian community developed and created the NT writings is both well grounded and very readable (I think Bart Ehrman is waaaay to focused on grinding certain axes down to a nubbin).
So I can commend “Excavating Jesus” & a semi-sequel, but what you should read if you only read one of these, “In Search of Paul,” both by Crossan and his archaeologist co-author Jonathan Reed.
OT is harder to summarize, but if you’re really more interested in the area of “canon formation,” a good short (readable, natch) summary can be found in “Secrets of Mount Sinai,” which ostensibly is about Codex Sinaiticus, Tischendorf, and the Monastery of St. Catherine at the foot of Mount Sinai, but also incorporates a flying overview of how the OT/NT canon came to rest on the 66 books most Christians have, in the order we read them, with enough asides on variants to keep you oriented.
And the Robinson edited “Nag Hammadi Library” will give you a pretty nice overview of all the semi-quasi-Gnosti-canonical books that didn’t make the final cut. It’s worth getting ahold of just to read “Thunder, Perfect Mind.”
Hope that helps!
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 6, 2013 at 3:44 pm
Re: that last comment, for all you aspiring Gnostics ’round here —
It really is quite cool.
Prospero said on June 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm
If Monsanto were a reliable corporate citizen, I might buy what they claim about testing and safety. Of course the Monsanto Protection Act being steered through Congress by Monsanto’s pet legislators like Roy Blunt will allow planting of GMO seeds untested. Cereal grains are domesticated weeds that will propagate themselves anywhere the seeds blow. My opinions on this subject have nothing to do with distrusting scientists, I distrust international conglomerate corporations with bought and sold lawmakers to give a shit about the public good, or anything aside from profits, no matter who might get hurt by irresponsible behavior.
Other than wanting their kids and the kids of others to die young?
That’s a ridiculously harsh thing to say. None of those people are out to cause the deaths of children. I never said there was a valid thimerosal/autism onset connection. In fact, autism onset and mercury poisoning share no symptoms. And I also said that companies have stopped using thimerosal. I would say that the use of a mercury compound in vaccines as a preservative into this century after the neuropathic properties of mercury were well-known and proven beyond doubt, to package vaccines more profitably, was a fairly astounding case of corporate irresponsibility.
Judybusy said on June 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm
Deborah, that looks so very cool. And your cabin—just fantastic. No wonder you come across so balanced and at ease with yourself!
Deborah said on June 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm
Yeah Nancy it is a small world, I found out about Zach a few years back through his site Cabin Porn. One time I decided to check out his tweets and he mentioned YOU! And I saw the photos of his wedding on his blog too. Beaver Brook looks like a gorgeous place.
nancy said on June 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm
Zach and I went our for drinks about a decade ago, after we determined we were the only two people in Fort Wayne with a blogs. He was still in college and used a fake ID. A great guy. You’ll have the bestest time. Take lots of photos and good notes!
Deborah said on June 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm
I should add that I was afraid they were going to nix me for the class because I’m an old lady, so I put in the part about my walking routine so they would think I might be fit enough to do the hard work. My friend who helped with the video technical parts got really busy at work and couldn’t spend as much time finessing it so the quality isn’t as good as I would have liked, a lot of it is too rushed and some of the text is grainy and hard to read. Oh well, it did the job, since I got accepted anyway.
velvet goldmine said on June 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm
It’s an interesting snarl of ethics, since genome mapping is in its infancy. Let’s say JUST for the sake of discussion that someday the autism susceptibility genes are located and it turns out that in fact something associated with the vaccine — one of the live viruses in the MMR, perhaps — might act as a kind of trigger in a tiny percentage of the population.
Even if those babies with the predisposition are identified through testing, should the parents be “allowed”to let the children go un-vaccinated? In other words, how great of a threat would this pose to the general population?
coozledad said on June 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm
Nancy’s pizza story reminds me of visiting town with my friend Diane, a Hungarian and self described Amazon cook from hell. After we hit a few of the Hungarian food stores(Paprikash?), we stopped at a deli for lunch. I was interested to find out if schmaltz herring tasted better than the salt fish my grandmother would eat(she also chewed clay and ate charcoal).
The guy at the counter said ” Schmaltz herring? We keep some of that around, but not much. There’s not that many ninety year old Jews left”.
They served it as a salad, with a vinaigrette. I liked it, anyway.
MichaelG said on June 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm
That’s a wonderful video, Deborah, and very professional looking. Not that I’m the least bit surprised. It looks like a singular honor to be selected. You’ve got to tell us all about the class. I’d say it’s a fantastic value at only $1500.
adrianne said on June 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm
Deborah, congratulations on being selected for the Beaver Brook building project! You’ll be in my neck of the woods – Sullivan County is part of our coverage area for the Times Herald-Record. It’s a beautiful spot.
LAMary said on June 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Very cool video, Deborah. From what I know of you, it seems very much a representation of who you are.
Mark P said on June 6, 2013 at 5:10 pm
Prospero, I know I spoke hyperbolicaly about anti-vaxers.
But I think that the use of thimerosol almost certainly saved more lives than it destroyed. Its use was approved as a way to prevent the growth of pathogens in vaccines. Contaminated vaccines are documented to have killed people, and at a time prior to the overwhelming influence of big pharma. Yes, it metabolizes into a mercury compound, ethylmercury, but the compound most people are familiar with and which has been the subject of most studies is methylmercury. Not to defend its use, but research has indicated that ethylmercury is excreted fairly efficiently by young children.
In any event, thimerosol is essentially not used any more and there is no legitimate reason to complain about it in the context of current vaccination programs. So the anti-vaxers have to come up with another bogeyman, and I haven’t heard what that one is.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 6, 2013 at 5:28 pm
My quick take, as uninformed as anyone’s, is that even if I take seriously every last claim I’ve heard about vaccines, the net benefit outweighs the potential problems as far as I can tell. Even the risk I’m told by some that I’m putting my child to sounds like a chance worth taking.
I do think there’s a secondary factor going on alongside of increased diagnosis, but I think you could make as strong a case for “blue light” from screens or cellphone signals being the trigger for the possible predisposition than you could vaccines, and sense that the main reason people focus on vaccines has as much to do with the needle, pain, and screaming (oh, the screaming!) that kids go through to get the vaccines, and the association is set — bad thing done to my kid, bad thing happened at roughly the same time and/or just after, so there you go.
More problematically: if one were to *prove* that tablet/smart phone/laptop screen illumination “triggered the susceptibility” for autism, would that cause a major decline in usage? I bet not, and you’d see some pushing for an outright ban, a larger number pushing for “blue light free” zones in public places, and so on. But we wouldn’t stop using it. What does that say about us? Yet we almost banned eggs not long ago, and now they’re seemingly considered the near-perfect protein. I wonder what that secondary factor in triggering autism will turn out to be . . . and if you’ve never read Robert Heinlein’s novella “Waldo” I recommend it.
Sherri said on June 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm
The original “science” linking autism and vaccines was extremely weak, but it played into parents’ legitimate fears about poking their child with needles. Coupled with the fact that the diseases that those vaccines were preventing were beyond the memories of most of the parents making the decisions, thanks to the very success of the vaccines, it’s not surprising that even a hint of risk led people to freak out.
I’ve had friends who aren’t very scientifically inclined ask me how they can evaluate these kinds of stories. One thing I tell them is, if the same handful of people keep turning up as the purveyors of a story, then be very suspicious. This is certainly true of the anti-vaxxers, where Andrew Wakefield, Jenny McCarthy, and Robert Kennedy, Jr. have been prominent in keeping the vaccine-autism link alive for many years now.
I’m not saying trust scientists. Scientists can have agendas just like anyone else. Science, on the other hand, is a process, and you don’t have to be a scientist to see when that process has been followed. You don’t have to be a scientist to understand that after many years of study, if most scientists have failed to find any link between autism and vaccines, but Andrew Wakefield still claims one, then probably Andrew Wakefield is wrong. It’s always possible that Wakefield is the lone voice of truth, but that’s not the way I would bet. It’s not the way I did bet, because I did vaccinate my daughter.
Humans are notoriously bad at assessing risk. Autism can be a very difficult condition. Measles can kill. That I know many more autistic children than children who have been stricken by measles doesn’t change that equation.
Prospero said on June 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm
It seems to me more and more likely that Thimerosal is a chemical version of recovered abuse memories. Another dishonest means of going after the contents of “deep pockets”.
Dexter said on June 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm
If you are going to New York, I have been told that reasonable hotel rates can be found in the new hotels springing up in Long Island City. In an area formerly dominated by old warehouses, the hoteliers have been aggressively alleviating the hotel room shortage. There is nothing for tourists in Long Island City, but the train stop is handy for a quick trip to Manhattan.
David C. said on June 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm
I visited my uncle in NYC in ’84. For a rube from Grand Rapids, it was the best thing ever. Don lived in a brownstone on 81st and Lexington Ave. So it was just a couple of blocks from the Metropolitan Museum and Central Park. I spent hours in both, mostly just watching people. We walked all over the city – Times Square (really seedy at that time), Greenwich Village, MoMA, and where all else I don’t remember. We ate just about every night at Jackson Hole (Don was a big hamburger aficionado – probably why he died at only 68). Anyway, I had a great time. Even watching the Sikhs all pissed off about Indira Gandhi sacking the Golden Temple at Amritsar was an adventure. Anytime I get to missing him, I always remember the couple of weeks we had together in NYC and have a bit of a smile or a bit of a cry.
Tim said on June 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm
The Chicago Sun-Times has given vaccine denier Jenny McCarthy a daily blog to air her vacuous views. Which, along with the Sun-Times’ firing of all its photographers this week, says all you need to know about the once-great newspaper’s decline.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm
Go listen for the high rpm hum.
Jolene said on June 6, 2013 at 10:17 pm
Geez, Tim, giving Jenny McCarthy a column is just about the worst idea I’ve ever heard. What were they thinking?
Thanks to both Jeff and beb for the book recommendations. Sherri, I like your ideas for separating the cranks and quacks from the serious people in areas where you’re not an expert.
Jenine said on June 7, 2013 at 10:35 am
Jefftmmo, thanks for that gnostic link. Reading it lifted the hair on the back of my neck. Lots of feminine pronouns for the ineffable, I like it.