Doorbell ringers.

I try to be polite to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who regularly pass through our neighborhood, really I do. They have to do their thing, and I have to do mine, but I don’t see any reason for us to be shitty to one another. Usually they retreat gracefully with a “we have our own church, but thanks for coming, and best of luck. Have a nice day.” A small lie, that, but a pretty pale one. Today’s couple was pushier, though:

“I was shocked by these statistics about internet pornography,” she said, opening her Watchtower. “It says that a new pornographic movie is released every two hours, and someone accesses porn on the internet every minute.”

“Doesn’t really surprise me,” I said. “It’s everywhere.”

“But that means someone could be accessing porn on this very street,” she said. “One of your neighbors.”

I don’t know why that was the tipping point.

“We’re First Amendment absolutists in this house, thanks,” I said. “You have to take the bad with the good.”

The phrase “First Amendment absolutists” shut her mouth, shut the Watchtower, and got off my porch pretty damn quick. We’re the worst sort of heathens.

So. A former college football star — not of one of the big schools, but Grand Valley State — was found dead in the woods a few weeks ago, and today the autopsy reports came back. Cause of death:

LANSING — A former Division II college football star who disappeared in the Michigan wilderness during a late-evening fishing trip died of pneumonia caused by inhaling his vomit, according to an updated autopsy released today.

The report also suggests Cullen Finnerty’s disorientation and paranoia in the woods May 26 may have been exacerbated by a combination of the painkiller oxycodone and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Remember a few years ago, when gay intellectuals started talking about same-sex marriage, and you thought it wouldn’t happen in your lifetime, if ever? Someone said the other day that we’d see the demise of football — at least played at the prep level and especially below — within fewer years than you think. No longer betting against that.

Finally, I leave you with this fine Dahlia Lithwick take on Ken Cuccinelli and his almost unbelievably creepy anti-sodomy crusade:

His critics, including the ladies of The View and Jay Leno, have responded to Cuccinelli’s quest to reinstate Virginia’s anti-sodomy or, “Crimes Against Nature” law, with snickers and winks. The law is plainly unconstitutional—according to both a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision and a federal appeals court—and giggling about the attorney general’s creepy preoccupation with Virginians’ consensual oral sex makes for an easy comic target. But that focus obscures the real—even original—sin undergirding Cucinelli’s latest legal push: It’s a call for judges to read statutes to mean what they don’t say; a call for outright judicial activism, for freewheeling judicial interpretation—qualities legal thinkers on the right usually deplore.

A really good piece. Read.

Finally, I keep forgetting to pass along a remark someone made at the party last weekend. Some of my old neighbors read the blog, and one said, “There are two of your commenters I want to ask you about.”

Guess which two?

I’ll let you think about it. Answer, eventually, in comments. Have a great weekend, all.

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

112 responses to “Doorbell ringers.”

  1. Dexter said on August 9, 2013 at 2:22 am

    The Infamous Two? brianstouder and prospero? Brian for his Fort Wayne related comments and prospero for being prospero.

    Folks, I usually try to stay on-topic, but one of nn.c-ers fave cable TV shows is back Sunday for the final season. Breaking Bad, back with a vengeance.

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  2. Brandon said on August 9, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Not I. But if they want to know about Hawaii, specifically the Big Island, I’ll try to fill them in.

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  3. Deborah said on August 9, 2013 at 5:43 am

    Coozledad and Prospero

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  4. David C. said on August 9, 2013 at 6:04 am

    Not that I would mind, but I don’t think football is going anywhere. Someone getting hurt is the point of watching the game and their getting hurt just proves that they weren’t worthy. It’s a good old fashioned ‘merican morality play. It’s professional wrestling without the script. I stopped watching professional football a few years ago, mostly because I got tired of the announcers overwrought war metaphors. I finally stopped watching the semi-pro football when I moved to Wisconsin and didn’t feel like switching to UW Madison from Michigan State and University of Michigan.

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  5. Dorothy said on August 9, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Deborah beat me to it. No doubt in my mind those are the two!

    Football is waaaay too tied into the economy In every single town that has a high school or college team, let alone the professional teams, for it to go away in our lifetimes. I do think, though, about how it can be made safer. This is a question for brains much bigger than mine. I just don’t think it’s possible for plays to be executed without heads being bashed together on a consistent basis.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 9, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Does anyone recall how big boxing was in the 50’s? Okay, neither do I, but . . . historically speaking, it was. Huge. Early TV was just the tip of the iceberg and the “Friday Night Fights” which shut down everything but the bars where they were the draw on a Magnavox in the corner; venues in every town, a network of gyms and trainers and fights from coast to coast. It lasted into the 60’s, and then . . . it’s a complex story, but by the end of the 70’s, “Rocky” was almost an elegy, nostalgia for an urban institution fading from sight.

    Sure, I can imagine football becoming a niche sport that’s a shadow of its former self. Like rugby is now, like the historical “base ball” teams that are dotted across the landscape, but are still more of a curiosity than a sport except for their few adherents.

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  7. beb said on August 9, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Is it me? Please God I hope it’s me.

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  8. coozledad said on August 9, 2013 at 8:29 am

    “It says that a new pornographic movie is released every two hours, and someone accesses porn on the internet every minute.”

    Honey, the internets IS porn.

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  9. alex said on August 9, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Haven’t had to deal with any Jehovah’s Witnesses in a long time. Last time I did, I was house-sitting for the parents, it was an early Sunday morning, I was hung over as hell and I had forgotten to leave the TV section from the Saturday newspaper (yes, the despised News-Sentinel, no longer subscribed to in that household) at the doorstep of an elderly neighbor as my parents routinely did as a favor for him. Hearing the doorbell ringing and figuring it was the old geezer from next door whom I’d known most of my life and who was pretty informal, I didn’t think anything about answering in my bikini briefs with my eyes glazed over and my hair clownishly mussed up and my pores reeking of whiskey. I opened the door and there were two rather corpulent ladies dressed in ankle-length gowns that looked like something that could have been penned by Disney for Snow White. They were even more surprised than I was, dropped their pamphlet on the ground, turned and scurried away. No need for any mind games. I wouldn’t have been fast enough on my feet that morning anyhow. So that’s one way to get rid of religious pests at your door and ensure they never come back. My parents say they haven’t been bothered by these ladies in years, and they used to come by regularly, undeterred by all the bum’s rushes they’d been given before.

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  10. coozledad said on August 9, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Alex: The direct approach! We’re fenced off from most of the world out here so I’ve lost my chops, but when the Mormons would drop by our old residence, telling them I was a Unitarian* got them back on their bikes pretty quickly.

    * I figured it was a convincing enough lie, since I was already crossing into elderly hippie territory.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on August 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

    My own First Amendment tolerance only gets this far: answer the inner door without opening the outside door (the one with the deadbolt), halfway smile and say “no thanks”. I see no point in engaging in discussion since I know they aren’t going to change my mind and I’m not going to change theirs.

    That’s if I answer the door at all. If I see them coming down the street I put up the No Soliciting sign.

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  12. brian stouder said on August 9, 2013 at 9:19 am

    If I ran into Madam Telling Tales, I’d ask for any known low-down about everyone – probably starting with LA Mary (princess of Frogville) and Cooz.

    Aside from that, I find Karen Black’s passing troubling.

    (She’s forever young in Five Easy Pieces…which still strikes me as the somewhat forbidden movie from the old days of late-late shows on our three or four channel over-the-air B&W Zenith TV)

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  13. LAMary said on August 9, 2013 at 9:22 am

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t make it up my hill, but if I carpool or take mass transit, which means I’m down on the flatland standing around waiting at rush hour, they swarm. The Mormons sometimes make it up the hill, but they are much more interested in talking to the Hispanic residents. I read somewhere they the number of Spanish speaking converts to Mormonism is pretty impressive.

    MMJeff, I remember when boxing was on TV at least once a week and my father always watched. A few months ago I had to transfer an employee from one shift to another, and I saw his last name was Liston. I asked his boss, who is a fairly young guy if he was related to Sonny Liston, and the boss had never heard of Sonny Liston. I was shocked. The boss did find out that this guy is indeed a pretty close relative of Sonny’s and to his credit, the boss did a little research and found out who Sonny Liston was. He was duly impressed. His words: He fought Ali!

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  14. beb said on August 9, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I think Ali’s sad decline from concussion induced Parkinson’s had a lot to do with the decline of boxing. Ali was so handsome and smart and he ended up a zombie. What glory is there in that?

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  15. LAMary said on August 9, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Yesterday I got one of those little messages in the margin of Facebook showing me people I might know, based on friends in common. There was one who had five people in common with me, including my brother. I sent her a friend request. I know her sister really, but we did go to the same high school. This was in my email this morning:

    Mary, Debbie Harry has confirmed that you’re friends on Facebook.

    She’s class of 63. I’m class of 71, Hawthorne High School. I guess it’s m possible she recognized my name, but more likely I’m one of thousands who are her “friends,” all clicked into that status by a publicist. It was a very cool message to get, though.

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  16. brian stouder said on August 9, 2013 at 9:35 am

    “Call me!”

    Her title track was the best thing about American Gigolo (did I spell that correctly?)

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  17. Jenine said on August 9, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I am a little excited about the impending pro football season. The modern gladiators live better than the ancient roman ones. But with the overwhelming evidence that these repeated smashes injure and degrade the brain I can’t feel happy for any of the players. I’d like to see the whole show go down for the count. And then I’ll miss it.

    I was pleased to watch the Kansas City Royals polish off the Boston Red Sox last night and didn’t have any such concerns about the players. As my kids said, pro baseball players look more like real humans than pro football players.

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  18. brian stouder said on August 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

    By the way, when Nancy wrote:

    So. A former college football star — not of one of the big schools, but Grand Valley State — was found dead in the woods a few weeks ago, and today the autopsy reports came back.

    I was braced for another round of “auto-erotic asphyxiation”…(so to speak!)

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  19. Deborah said on August 9, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I too remember Friday Night Fights. When I was a wee kid my Dad used to watch it religiously. I always begged for a sip of his beer, which was the only time he drank, and it was always just one beer. The six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon lasted over a month. Sometimes he invited a neighbor to watch with him and he’d bring his own can of beer.

    I loved Five Easy Pieces. RIP Karen Black.

    LAMary, Of course you’re Facebook friends with Debbie Harry, we wouldn’t have expected anything else.

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  20. jcburns said on August 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

    One of them has to be the person who wrote this (an actual comment from Nancy’s spam queue):

    “You recognize therefore considerably in relation to this subject, produced me in my opinion imagine it from so many numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be interested except it is one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. Always care for it up!”

    I too always care for it up.

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  21. brian stouder said on August 9, 2013 at 10:05 am

    JC – that was, no doubt, from one of Nancy’s football player followers

    PS Deborah, have you read Mary’s Leona Helmsley story? It’s good stuff

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  22. nancy said on August 9, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Jeff’s point about the sweet science is well-taken, but I don’t think football will fall on quite that trajectory, if only because the infrastructure investment is so huge. (As long as there’s a Big House, there will be football.) We might end up seeing the sport’s players become less suburban and/or affluent, as educated mothers refuse to sign permission slips and send their kids into soccer or baseball or whatever instead. I’ve become a late-in-life boxing fan via premium cable, and I’m always struck by how few white fighters remain. The ones who do are invariably from the former Eastern bloc countries.

    Although what do I know? I heard an NPR piece about head injuries in high-school football a while back, and in Friday-night-lights country, it’s not even a concern. One Texas mother said they pray over their boy before a game, and let God handle it.

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  23. BigHank53 said on August 9, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Coozledad, having grown up in a Unitarian church and being familiar with the (non)beliefs of its members, you might not even have been lying. Y’all could be a Unitarian without realizing it….

    Football is going to fade. It’s going to disappear from the bottom up, as fewer people let their kids play. It’s not just the concussions, either: a few years back, here in rural Virginia, I met a guy whose 15-year-old son had both knees reconstructed. The joys of high school football. He’s not getting a scholarship to play anywhere. Never turning pro. He’s just going to limp everywhere until he qualifies for an electric scooter.

    It’s one thing to cheer on some oversized anonymous strangers in lycra pounding each other. It’s another to ask a parent how many years they’d like to take off their kid’s life.

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  24. brian stouder said on August 9, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Our fine young son is in marching band, so it’s something we haven’t had to consider.

    But, come to think of it, our 15 year old daughter is going out for the cheer-leader squad, and she’s thin and light – and we instantly said “Nyet!” when she mentioned the possibility of being a flyer (and granted, it would be a vague possibility, at best, as she’s never done gymnastics)

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  25. Lex said on August 9, 2013 at 10:36 am

    CTE has been a passing interest of mine, not least because former Carolina Panther Curtis Whitley killed himself because of it (and the Panthers franchise only opened for business in 1995) and some of the cutting-edge research has been going on rightchere at UNC.

    I think marginalization is inevitable because, as Nance points out, kids from the types of families who can afford to buy the tickets will be diverted into other sports — but also because the lawsuits are coming, and they’re going to be huge. The NFL can afford to fight awhile (like the tobacco companies), but eventually high schools and then colleges — the NFL’s de facto farm system — will be forced out of the game. As the best athletes turn to other sports, the quality of pro play will go down, and who wants to pay $120 a seat or waste 3 hours on Sundays to watch crap football? The big advertisers go bye-bye; fade to dark gray.

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  26. Dorothy said on August 9, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I might not be friends with Debbie Harry on Facebook, but I am friends with LAMary, so by association, that makes me kind of cool. Because Mary is cool.

    This conversation about Jehovah’s Witnesses coming to your front door has reminded me about some neighbors who, over the last year or so, have been giving invitations to my husband and I in our mailbox to come and worship at their church. This seems very passive/aggressive to me. They know we go to the Catholic church in town. My question is, is this normal behavior in neighborhoods? Do any of you get solicited to leave your church and go to another? I would never dream of suggesting this to anyone I know. Religion is deeply personal to me and I don’t discuss it with ANYONE unless it’s on very limited terms. It’s no one else’s business – it’s between me and God, in my mind. So why do others think they’re going to convince you to go to their church? I’m probably being wildly naive but the whole idea just seems outlandish to me.

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  27. mark said on August 9, 2013 at 10:50 am

    “So why do others think they’re going to convince you to go to their church? I’m probably being wildly naive but the whole idea just seems outlandish to me.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s what Paul, Peter and the other Apostles did to get the One True up and running. In fact, I think the definition of apostle is “somebody who tries to persuade others to share an idea or cause.”

    The Christian thing to do would be to forgive them for inviting you to church.

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  28. LAMary said on August 9, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I had an issue with a Scientologist parent of one my son’s friends. He was aggressively recruiting my kids. It got to the point where they were no longer allowed, by me, to hang out with that kid. My saying I had my own beliefs that I hoped my children would eventually chose to share them did nothing to keep this guy away.

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  29. Julie Robinson said on August 9, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Nope, the only evangelizing our neighbors did was for a ridiculously expensive water filter.

    I used to joke that I whispered “I will not play football” over our son’s crib every night, and it hey, presto, it worked. The only thing I like about football is the half-time show by the band.

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  30. coozledad said on August 9, 2013 at 11:19 am

    BigHank53: There’s not much of a spiritual component to my life, at least not at the moment. But I’m intrigued by the Many Worlds theory, because it looks like an alien just slipped through the fabric of the cosmos to land up in Australia:

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  31. MichaelG said on August 9, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I get Witnesses and Black Muslims at my door. It’s a fun charade. The Mulims politely invite me to attend their doings knowing full well that I’ll never do so and I politely say that I’ll consider it also knowing that I’ll never go. No Mormons here.

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  32. MichaelG said on August 9, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Oh yeah, I give. What’s UDF?

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  33. nancy said on August 9, 2013 at 11:32 am

    United Dairy Farmers. It’s a quickie-mart.

    And the big two comment draws are hardly a mystery — Dorothy got it right away. Prospero and Coozledad.

    Now I have to put them on retainer or something.

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  34. LAMary said on August 9, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I was going to guess Dorothy and Julie for being so consistently nice a reasonable and doing all sorts of things I probably should do but don’t.

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  35. adrianne said on August 9, 2013 at 11:46 am

    The Sunday New York Times did a big story on Cullen Finnerty after he was found dead in the woods. All the way through the story, it kept telegraphing “brain damage, brain damage, brain damage.”

    The photo editor at my paragraph factory, a fanatic football fan and former high school player, thinks youth football will be going away in 20 years because of the concussion issue. I think he’s probably right. People will still pay to see adult gladiators clash, but no more PeeWee or Pop Warner football with 9-year-olds.

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  36. brian stouder said on August 9, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Which could be a boon for soccer…

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  37. joe k said on August 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Or rugby
    Pilot Joe

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  38. MarkH said on August 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Obviously your questioner already knew Stouder too well. I was sure it was me and Kirk. Dang.

    In addition to peach ice cream, UDF always had the best REAL milkshakes and malts. The one I remember from my youth in Cincinnati is still just a short bike ride from my old house.

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  39. beb said on August 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Oddly, I think the thing that might ‘save’ football is to ban protection. Without helmets and shoulder pads to use as battering rams contact between players ought to become less harsh.

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  40. mark said on August 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Perhaps a major shift to show choir. We’re gonna need stronger stages….

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  41. brian stouder said on August 9, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I think the secret to internet allure is – you gotta have a mysterious name.

    Prospero has been a few different Greek characters, after being Michael J; although, true enough, Coozledad would be just as cool by any other name.

    But I can attest that Connie is about the nicest person you’d ever want to have lunch with, as I bet mostly all of y’all are!

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  42. Dave said on August 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Was boxing popular in the early days of television because it was the early days of television and it was a action sport that was easily televised, no ball to follow?

    There were no boxing fans at our house but I remember going by the old Veteran’s Memorial (which later became COSI) in Columbus in the summertime and the doors being open, there were boxing matches going on and you could see the boxing ring and the boxers right through the open front doors.

    Neither of our sons played football but I have a nephew who is football crazy, he’s 15 and has the full support of his parents, my sister. As in most cases, I’m sure siblings never see the world the same way.

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  43. alex said on August 9, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Hey, Pilot Joe — did you see my response to your questions from Wednesday? I posted kind of late that day.

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  44. Dexter said on August 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Being in a waiting state until my insurance changes in a year or so, my bad hip forces me onto either one or two canes or walking sticks, depending on what sort of day I am having. I count my blessings that I can still ride my bicycles at a minimum pain level.
    We haven’t had Johovah’s Witness men at the door-a-knocking for many years, but we do get those clean cut white boys on bicycles or on foot, spreading the word of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Mormons.
    Here in Bryan, Ohio there is a church for them, which packs the parking lot on Sundays, so they are thriving locally. I walk my dogs on the perimeter of the giant rural field they own and maintain well. I see them every day.
    In the spring of this year two young men , on foot, saw me unloading my van from a grocery run, a few bags strung onto my arm and a cane in the other hand, and they just demanded to unload that van for me and put the groceries up on the porch by the door. They were on a mission , they were from Portland, Oregon and Columbus, Ohio, respectively, and they were Mormons. And they were the nicest young men I have ever run into. I told them I was not interested in joining them, and I told them how I had been amazed at the Salt Lake tabernacle many years ago when I toured it. As my late dad would say, “nice chaps”.

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  45. Dexter said on August 9, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    San Francisco, 1970. I was walking in the center of the city, smoking a Kool. I had been working long hours at the army hospital in Monterey’s Fort Ord , and I ridden the Greyhound Bus to The City to spend my two days off just walking around looking at stuff, going to the Art Museum was the main focus this trip, and I had also figured out the main lines of the city bus and train system so I could get around easily.
    I was also exhausted from working the all-night shift and sleeping on the bus for only an hour and a half; I was beat, and the strong menthol Kool cigarette started making my head spin. I remember half-collapsing on a bench or a curb, and I must have looked like shit. A man asked what was wrong and I remember he help up a few fingers and had me report to him how many fingers he was exhibiting. I felt really bad and he told me to come up to his workplace to rest a while. I rode with him in an elevator and there I was, smack-dad in the middle of the Scientology Center of San Francisco…they gave me a chair, some orange juice and a couple cookies, and a whole sheaf of literature on Scientology. A couple men came over and began telling me all about Scientology. That’s all I remember about that day…the OJ and cookies fixed me up, and I left, threw all that literature into the nearest trash can, and again, as dad would say, “nice chaps”.

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  46. brian stouder said on August 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Well Dex – that’s the first Scientology story I’ve ever heard where the folks sound like folks, instead of like characters in a pulp-science fiction book

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  47. Bitter Scribe said on August 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    The only time I got seriously annoyed with the Jehovah’s Witnesses was when they sent a couple of 12-year-old girls to knock on my door, by themselves.

    Yes, it was a safe neighborhood, and yes, the van that brought them was parked outside, presumably with an adult in there monitoring the situation. But all the same, what the hell were they thinking? Don’t they know that weirdos and creeps are all over?

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  48. Sherri said on August 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I don’t know whether football will disappear or not (though I kind of doubt it), but what I am pretty sure of is that something equally damaging will arise to take its place. Boxing may have waned, but MMA is on the rise, and I don’t think that’s any less harmful to brains (and more harmful to other body parts.)

    I was watching the HBO documentary The Crash Reel about the snowboarder Kevin Pearce. Pearce was a strong candidate to challenge Shaun White for the gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics; he had beaten White in a number of competitions leading up to the Olympics. Then, about six weeks before the Olympics, he had an accident during training and basically landed on his face, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury. A year later, he’s back on a snowboard, despite the strong recommendation of his doctors that he not do so, and his family’s desire that he not do so. He eventually realizes that he’ll never be a competitive snowboarder again, that he’s just not at that level anymore, but it was fascinating to see how driven he was.

    I believe that some of us are just driven to test the edges, and it’s not really about money or fame or anything else. I wouldn’t put myself in the category of a Kevin Pearce, but I can’t really give anyone a good rational explanation of why I persisted in karate until I got my black belt despite multiple broken bones and a torn ACL along the way.

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  49. Prospero said on August 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    That Jehovahs stat about porn movies? They probably think The Little Mermaid is porn. It’s in the eye of the beholder. I think their interruptions are a form of rudeness common to 21st C America. Still, my inherent overbearing elitism notwithstanding, I am never rude to them, until they refuse to take no for an answer. I have found that answering the door to Jehovah’s or LDS missionaries in U-trou is a good way to ensure they won’t hang around. The LDS types in their black pants, white shirts and black ties uniforms are far more likely to be persistent to the point of obnoxiousness. Naturally, I suppose, for future Lords of their own Kolobs. I do find it offensive when Jehovahs send a freshly-scrubbed kid to the door, and then adults with tracts leap from the shrubbery. as a Trojan horse. I GareONtee that kid would rather be anywhere else. I have never seen an adult male Jehovah’s Witness at the door. Just mentioning Catholicism sends them away in obvious horror.

    Football needs more sane coaches, badly, more than anything else. I played at a spindly 6-1 and 150 in HS. I did suffer a concussion once (tackling a TE that was 6-7, 250 or so). My only injury, ever. But our coaches taught us to lead with shoulders, not helmets. All in all, though, I hurt myself worse diving, and even swimming, certainly playing hoops. (You have swimmers going in both directions at practice, and collisions hurt.) The concussion issue is nearly as serious a concern in soccer as in football. I mean, soccer players lash their heads violently into the ball, on purpose. I’m sure the concussions result from the motion rather than the contact with the ball. Of course, soccer has the added hazard of taking all of those swan dives into the hard pitch, and the boredom factor.

    Big Hank and Cooze: There’s a wonderful indie movie called Alien Visitor (free to stream on Netflix) about a very beautiful alien that lands in the Outback with the message that humans are pretty much frogs in the pot with the water getting hotter all the time.

    Myth of the “liberal media”.

    One more reason I can’t too hyper over NSA collecting phone numbers.

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  50. LAMary said on August 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    The Scientologist who was stalking my children, who were teenagers at the time, not wee tots, showed them videos when they were visting their friend, and sent them off with books and videos when they left. He then called the house repeatedly and asked to talk to them.

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  51. Prospero said on August 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    If football goes away, large portions of the advertising industry, including TeeVee, will go away with it. If college football goes away, other collegiate sports, particularly all of the Title IX sports will fade away for lack of funding.

    Here’s a scientific paper about concussions in soccer and football:

    Concussions are caused by collision of brain with skull. Watch a soccer player head a soccer ball 30 or 40 yards. Undoubtedly creates concussive collision at high speed. As for lawsuits, I’d be willing to bet the soccer families will be more litigious

    The director James Ponsoldt was a student of mine when I taught HS.Obviously brilliant as a teenager, Jamie was a rarity for a modern public HS kid: at home with both freaks and jocks, just about the entire student body. He was an outstanding student and a superb football player, both of which he continues at Harvard. And a really goo guy. Along with the artist Sunny Gaines (who I think I’ve talked about here before) Jamie is one of the students I am most proud of having had some small part in educating. His new movie sounds good, and it’s getting good reviews.

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  52. Prospero said on August 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Yhays a typo. Jamie Ponsoldt left Harvard years ago. should be continued. The kid knew he wanted to make movies when he was about 16.

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  53. David C. said on August 9, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Perhaps we need genetically engineered football players. Add a few woodpecker genes and Bob’s your uncle.

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  54. Jolene said on August 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    The Post has a very nice review of Ponsoldt’s movie, Prosperous. See

    And here are Hank’s comments on the upcoming episodes of Breaking Bad:

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  55. Jolene said on August 9, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Just checked back in and noticed that autocorrect turned Prospero into Prosperous. Not the first time that has happened to me. So embarrassing.

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  56. Sherri said on August 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    A former TSA head suggests ways to improve the TSA:

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  57. Joe K said on August 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Yes I did, will fly by some time. There is a open house at auburn international airport tomorrow, I have 2 of our planes on the ramp 61348 a cessna -310 and 421hp a cessna-421 stop by if you have time, should be there from 9-2 invitation to any other n.nallers in the area.
    Also Alex I live off county rd 52 between 35 and 31.
    Pilot Joe

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  58. Deborah said on August 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Regarding the TSA experience at the airport: my biggest beef with them is when they stand there and yell at us, screaming instructions in a rote manner. They obviously say their shpeel over and over ad nauseum. I just find it so dehumanizing. Sometimes they try to be funny and that makes it even worse.

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  59. Kirk said on August 9, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    My question about the ex-Grand Valley State QB’s death: Can one really catch pneumonia by inhaling one’s own puke? I certainly have heard of people dying of asphyxiation that way, but the pneumonia thing just sounds weird to this non-medical person.

    MarkH @38: Yeah, I was so sure, too.

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  60. Prospero said on August 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks Jolene. I’m hoping this is a big break sort of effort. Shailene Woodley is geared up to be the next Jennifer Lawrence. Speaking of WaPo, is it true that from now on reporters that go on assignment out of town will travel in a box with a smile by FedEx?

    I don’t mean to sound judgmental, but this guy certainly comes across as cretinous and mean-spirited. I mean, it calls to mind Ebeneezer Scrooge saying”Alms? Why? Are there no poorhouses?” And what kind of OK redneck given name is Markwayne?

    I’m taking AMTRAK with my own food, flask and entertainment until the Teabangers manage to murder it, or the paleocons get it privatized. I used to love commercial air travel, but with seating reconfigurations, I’d be more comfortable shipping myself in a box, like Waldo Jefferson: (Cool Lou Reed guitar and great bass by John Cale; best female drummer ever in rock music.)

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  61. Dexter said on August 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Sweet Jane

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  62. Prospero said on August 9, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I play that three or four times a week, Dexter. The steve Hunter/Dick Wagner intro is astounding. Dick Wagner had a 60s Detroit band called Frost that played at my HS once. VG band:

    The bass player did a lot of the vocals. Slightly more fingernails on blackboard voice than Geddy Lee.

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  63. alex said on August 9, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Hey, Joe — so you’re in Jackson Township then. For some reason I thought you were in Butler Township, which is where my family is from. I seem to recall you mentioning Butler Center once.

    May just stop by if I go to town in the morning for breakfast. My refrigerator conked out this week so I’ve been out shopping for a new one and may be tied up with that. The cubby hole for it is exactly 65-1/8 inches in height and it’s near impossible these days to find a decent fridge that isn’t 65-1/2 or taller unless I sacrifice volume and go with a much smaller unit. Or shave my cabinets and make them look like crap.

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  64. Prospero said on August 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    GOPer Outreach: determined to stay in the dumper. Collection of asinine faux pas.

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  65. Deborah said on August 9, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    At #58 I said shpeel, my daughter said it should be spiel, but I contend that with those TSA folks it’s a shpeel.

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  66. Deborah said on August 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Hank’s Breaking Bad piece is right on, thanks for the link Jolene. I tried to buy the first half of season 5 today, but decided against it since it cost $42, seems like too much since I got the other seasons for around $24 or less each and they were at least 13 episodes each season, not just 8. I want to watch Sunday’s show but I feel like I really need to see the first 8 episodes of this season before I start the final 8. I tried to rent them but of course they’re not available. Damn.

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  67. BigHank53 said on August 9, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    alex–if you get desperate in your fridge search consider getting a fridge-only unit and a small chest freezer that can go in the basement/garage. We did that when our old fridge died and we had sticker shock over new fridge prices. Bought floor demo units and I think we were out the door for eight hundred or so, which is nothing in fridge-land.

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  68. Deborah said on August 9, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Coozledad, do you know this guy?,33427/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview:1:Default

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  69. Sherri said on August 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Here’s a story that’s the opposite of those stalking Scientologists and doorbelling Jehovah’s Witnesses. A gay mayor and an evangelical pastor teamed up to provide volunteers at an urban high school, but without the evangelizing:

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  70. Jolene said on August 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Deborah, if you sign up for Netflix, you can watch those Breaking Bad episodes at no cost beyond the monthly fee. Or, you can watch them on Amazon for $13,99.

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  71. Jolene said on August 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Great story, Sherri. Thanks for posting.

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  72. James said on August 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Dave – thought COSI moved into an old high school (the one they shot “Teachers” in). Not Vets Memorial. Was I misinformed?

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  73. MichaelG said on August 9, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    My front yard hose, nozzle and sprinkler went missing Thursday night. Well, I thought, that’s only the third time in the last five years, so I might as well replace them. So today after work, I stopped by Target. No hose or any other yard type stuff in stock. They traded the garden dept. for food. I should have checked with Lileks before stopping. Anyway, I’ll go to Sears tomorrow. It’s closer than Home Depot or Lowes. The sprinkler really pisses me off. It was perfect and I only paid $1.95 for it at Winco.

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  74. Kirk said on August 9, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    I believe Old Memorial Hall became the original COSI. The new COSI (not that new anymore, probably 15 or 20 years old)is on the site of old Central High School.

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  75. Kirk said on August 9, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Old Memorial Hall was where they had big-time rasslin’ for a number of years. It fell into disrepair but eventually was refurbished and now is home to some county offices.

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  76. Sherri said on August 10, 2013 at 1:22 am

    The most interesting perspective I’ve read about Bezos buying the Post, from someone who worked at both the Post and Amazon:

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  77. Sherri said on August 10, 2013 at 1:39 am

    It’s the Butter Cow Cam!

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  78. Brandon said on August 10, 2013 at 1:44 am

    …[W]e have our own church, but thanks for coming, and best of luck. Have a nice day.” A small lie, that, but a pretty pale one. … We’re the worst sort of heathens.

    So you don’t go to any church?

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  79. Kaye said on August 10, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Alex – your story re: Jehovah’s Witnesses made my day.

    Also – removing the self-leveling glider feet thingees may allow a slightly too-tall fridge to fit without necessitating cabinet damage.

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  80. Dexter said on August 10, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Getting around on the Google campus:

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  81. Brandon said on August 10, 2013 at 5:02 am

    A while back, there was a hue and cry about Sean Parker’s ostentatious wedding amongst the redwoods. This is a photo feature:

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  82. alex said on August 10, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Kaye, thanks for the tip. I think I probably lost some wiggle room when I had a ceramic tile floor put in. After giving it much consideration, I’m taking a pass on the classy Whirlpool model I wanted and getting a rather spartan Kenmore model that gets the dimensions exactly right. On the bright side it won’t set me back too much and I won’t have to destroy anything trying to shoehorn it in. Sears evidently carries it precisely for those of us whose kitchens were designed around older-model refrigerators. The Whirlpool, alas, also borderlines on being too wide and I think it would be inviting catastrophe to purchase it and then find out it doesn’t work.

    Now the question is whether to go with bisque (to try to match my old almond range) or white (to match a new range one of these years). The old range, a forty-incher, is still in great working order. Sears is just about the only retailer carrying that size anymore as well.

    Hank made a good suggestion also, but we already have a deep freeze in the garage and it would be impractical for our everyday needs because of its location. We use it for storage mostly.

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  83. beb said on August 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    alex, your refrigerator story resembles our when a brown-out killed the frige. There was limited vertical height and in the end we went with a Kenmore that fit. Thank you Sears!

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  84. Sherri said on August 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    If you want to know which company actually makes that Kenmore appliance, you can check the model number and find out here:

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  85. Prospero said on August 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Here’s a funny story, presented for the humor and not to judge anybody by my elitist standards, that goes hand and glove with the door to door Jehovah’s Winesses warning about the ubiquity of porn.

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  86. alex said on August 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Well, we spent the morning at Sears, agonizing over what to do. The fridge with the perfect dimensions was also such a cheezoid piece of shit that we just couldn’t go through with it. It looked like the kind of thing a slumlord would install to drive out undesirable tenants. We found another Kenmore that might be a shade too tall and require some planing of the cabinets above but it was of the grade we were looking for. And it won’t arrive until ten days from now. So I’m about to go next door to pour myself a glass of ice water.

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  87. Prospero said on August 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Alex, We ran into this problem when we renovated our condo. Found a Frigidaire model that fit at Circuit City. If you must take back the cabinet bottom, a piece of trim for the bottom would forgive all aesthetic problems. The only problem with the Frigidaire was that it did not come with ice maker, but that just required purchase of an icemaker pack for another $75 or so. The whole shebang was less than $700 and it’s a good machine. Also, there are specific application appliance paints, which means some work, but also that you have a wide choice of colors beyond avocado.

    Chris Matthews says Rand AquaBhudda Paul will be the next GOPer presidential candidate. Let’s hope so–Humorama Galore. Tweety’s pick is busy making a total fool of himself and lying his ass off. I hope Rand understands there is no Statute of Limitations on kidnapping. And I hope he’s gotten his water closets to work. Or am I being judgmental? Nah, I think I’m just mocking the ahole.

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  88. brian stouder said on August 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Pros – excellent links; the story about the closed US Senate meeting and our “exotoc” president was particualrly good.

    And Sherri – loved the butter cow cam!

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  89. Prospero said on August 10, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I’m no pholologist, that would be elitism. But if I’m not mistaken, in modern English the term would apply to one that makes gratuitous judgements about another’s morals based upon perceived bad decisions. So Mark going on ad infinitum about my drinking habits? That is judgemental. My opinion that some of Mark’s heroes, like the two Big Ag Kings? That would be an observation, not a judgement.

    And seriously, Basset, because I mentioned the Math SATs, I’m an asshole? I don’t think that’s fair. Other than that, I don’t see what’s behind the nasty personal sneak attacks. I haven’t been in Nashville since Spring ’69 when I went to visit the Vandy campus after I got my fat letters. Anyway, just give me a break, alright. I never meant anything hurtful, and although I know you laid in wait, I don’t guess you did either. Seriously, it’s just me, and most of y’all would enjoy my company. And most rednecks would recognize me as brethren. I do not want to be at odds with bassett, and I have no idea how any sort of adversary relationship ever began.

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  90. Prospero said on August 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Mark, on the other hand, his politics are in the gutter.

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  91. Prospero said on August 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    No joke, Bassett. You’re a grown man now.Nobody can make you do math anymore. My recurring dream is realizing I have missed a final and the won’t let me out. I was in that situation many times in real life. I have this dream and a bare frisson, and I wake up knowing I never have to back to school again. Whatever I did to alienate you, I’m sorry for it. It was certainly nothing I intended. You could not possibly hated math and, I’m not sure what the painful bit was, unless it was more horrible than what I went through. In which case, I apologise. I know this goes back to some comment I made about teachers meaning the best. Sorry. All of the teachers I had and worked with meant the best.You can claim differently, basset, over some ahole, but it doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Sometime soon some ahole will check in to say I’m just right

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  92. Deborah said on August 10, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Jolene, thanks for the advice about getting Season 5 of Breaking Bad on Amazon for a lot less than the DVDs would have cost. It was frustrating at first, figuring out how I could watch what I had purchased through Amazon, but I finally got it to work and so far I’ve watched the first episode, now I just have 7 more to go before tomorrow night.

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  93. Jolene said on August 11, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Enjoy, Deborah. Glad Netflix worked out for you. It’s also nice that you can watch any of the earlier seasons. I had to rewatch the very first episode, as I’d forgotten exactly how Walt and Jesse got connected.

    Another entertainment recommendation: Following Sherri’s mention of it, I washed The Crash Reel on HBO. It’s a great documentary about the very serious injuries that Kevin Pearce, an Olympic-level snowboarder, incurred and his long road to recovery. Great portrayal of a terrific family, great sports photography, great portrayal of a testing-the-limits sports culture, and serious questions about how we should view these sports.

    A side note: If you are ever in Vermont, you should visit Quechee which is where Simon Pearce, Kevin’s father operates a glass-blowing factory and pottery-making site. In a lovely setting next toa waterfall, there’s a showroom and restaurant. A lovely place to visit.

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  94. Jolene said on August 11, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Watched, not washed.

    Also, thanks, Sherri, for the mention. I knew about Kevin Pearce, but would likely have missed the documentary if you hadn’t referred to it.

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  95. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 11, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I hope no one takes this amiss, but I think most of the regulars around here would vastly enjoy “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” Perhaps everyone saw it already, but my wife and I just saw it at home last night, and while most of the plot twists are signaled from afar, and there’s very little about the end you couldn’t predict fifteen minutes in, the journey through Jaipur is lovely, and you get to see a Seniors All-Star team of British actors ply their craft without magic involved. Between Harry Potter & Downton Abbey, trust me, all the faces not Indian will be familiar . . . and a little reading online tells me that for a billion people the Indian actors are all equally well known, just not to me.

    Has anyone seen “Unfinished Song”? A Facebook friend seeing me post that we’d just watched “Marigold Hotel” said we’d like that, which I believe is knocking around small venues right now, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Zod.

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  96. Prospero said on August 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

    A fine movie, JMMO. Trout Fishing is another great movie I wouldn’t have seen if not for Netflix. Astounding movie

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  97. Prospero said on August 11, 2013 at 10:39 am

    And, The Curfew, a novel by Jesse Bell, If you appreciate Kafka read this book.

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  98. Prospero said on August 11, 2013 at 10:49 am

    And Sherri, sport fan, do you think it’s odd that J Clowney is free because Spurrier says he is and AJ Green was guilty on the word of some guy nobody has ever heard from again? And Johnny Football? If Aaron Murray did that signing shit? UGA would get away with that? He was one of the two better QBs in the league last year than little Johnny Football. In fact, Murray, who is in grad school, is the best WB in the country.

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  99. coozledad said on August 11, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
    of some wingnuts on a boat
    who almost learned the hard way
    that stupid doesn’t float

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  100. alex said on August 11, 2013 at 11:11 am

    If anyone wonders why land grant college tuition has skyrocketed, well you can blame the Republican who thinks he’s going to be our next president.

    Too bad there’s no such thing as liberal media or this worthy subject would be getting the coverage it deserves.

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  101. Sherri said on August 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Prospero, I think the NCAA is a deeply corrupt organization. I also think Johnny Football may be the stupidest college qb on the face of the earth. All he had to do was keep his head down and not do stupid shit for a year, and someone in the NFL would thrown many millions of dollars at him. For every stupid thing he does, the number of people willing to do that, and the number of millions of dollars, goes down.

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  102. basset said on August 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Pros, what the hell are you talking about? Math SATs? And “going on ad infinitum” about your drinking habits is hardly necessary.

    That Sears link is interesting, we had a Sears fridge which ran with no problems for close to thirty years till we got flooded in 2010. Replaced all our Kenmore stuff with Frigidaire, which has been constant trouble – already replaced the dishwasher (with a Bosch), the front panel has fallen off the built-in microwave, the washer is moldy, the dryer is putting brown spots on the clothes, and overall we are just waiting for the next problem.

    We do have a Kenmore freezer I bought to put game in last fall, turns out it is actually a Midea… which I had never heard of but is, of course, Chinese. “The company continues to actively globalize its operations with production bases in Vietnam, Belarus, Egypt, Brazil, Argentina, and Indonesia, to be followed by additional plants in the future.”

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  103. brian stouder said on August 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Basset – I’m assuming the latest round of flooding in the Nashville era has missed your home this time, yes?

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  104. brian stouder said on August 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm


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  105. Prospero said on August 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    basset, I apologize. I didn’t mean anything. I believe it’s at least the second time. I said I didn’t know any teachers that intentionally wounded kids. You took offense. I didn’t, you obviously did. Leave me the fuck alone.

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  106. Kaye said on August 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Surprised to see a big batch of Hatch NM green chiles at Kroger this afternoon. In Ohio. Now planning to cook extra sweet corn for dinner so we can then make roasted corn and green chile salsa.

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  107. Deborah said on August 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Green chiles are indeed in season here in NM, the big wire roasters are everywhere and the smell is heavenly. My favorite chiles are shishitos, keep them whole, don’t take the seeds out, keep the stems on, sauté in a little olive oil, then when the’re just beginning to soften in the pan, plate them and season with sea salt. The smallest ones are the best. You pick them up by the stems, bite the chile part off, sometimes we like to dip them in a ranch dip before popping them in our mouths. They’re fairly mild, not spicy hot, just right.

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  108. Prospero said on August 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Deborah, you make them sound exotic.

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  109. basset said on August 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Brian, the flooding missed us this time, thanks for asking… it was mostly to the east and north of the city, we’re southwest. The river out back usually runs about a foot and a half on the gauge this time of year, flood stage is 20 and this week it got up to a little over five.

    2010 was an all-time record at 33.2 but it was actually closer to forty… gauge is under a highway bridge and water was running chest deep over the bridge deck.

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  110. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 11, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    We are truly fortunate in this neck of the woods; farmers are happy with the haying and the current status of the corn, and anyone mowing lawns is raking in the green for sure. Basset, glad you kept your toes up out of the water in your neighborhood.

    Pros, I think you’ve been confusing your various interlocutors.

    Just finished watching the first of the last of “Breaking Bad,” and it’s hard to see how these eight episodes don’t end up like an inverted “Murder on the Orient Express,” or perhaps more to the point, a proper conclusion of “Hamlet,” where everyone on and off stage is dead except for two characters talking about how tragic it is that everybody died. No spoilers here, other than to note that tonight not a single shot was fired, other than rhetorically — but the pressure is pumped up to around aneurism level.

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  111. brian stouder said on August 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Basset – that is very, very good to hear. I can only imagine how terrible it must be to try and essentially salvage as many of the material goods you have on this Earth, all at once. (our household has been somewhat upside down all this summer, between window replacements, building a shed, moving stuff around, and painting rooms…but only as upside down as we allow it to be)

    Just read Nancy’s Dahlia Lithwick link…very good stuff. And Alex’s link to an article about the (essential) extremism of not-my-man Mitch (with regard to his hostility to public higher education [let alone public schools]) is also a don’t-miss-it piece.

    I was a very proud Republican for years and years. Either I was exceptionally dense in those days, or they have radically changed. (or to be more honest, I was probably about as dense and self-absorbed then as now, and the ol’ GOP is maybe a bit less varnished about their prejudices now)

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  112. basset said on August 11, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Well, it’s a good way to de-clutter.

    We did get the family pictures & some other stuff out before the flood hit, though, many others were not so fortunate.

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