Crawling over the hump.

I had one of those days yesterday. Spent: Talking on the phone, leaving messages, sending a million emails and mostly hoping we don’t bomb fucking Syria.

Even though I know we’re going to bomb Syria. How many times do we have to learn this lesson? Or rather, how many times does it have to be taught before we learn?

At the end of it, I rode my bike through some seriously bombed-out neighborhoods adjacent to GP. As usual, it was eye-popping. In two adjacent blocks, this:

View Larger Map

And this:

View Larger Map

And these photos were taken on a good day. All that vacant land is now covered in knee-high grass. The bankrupt city only mows a few feet back from the sidewalk and at the corners, so you can see cars coming. And yet, people were sitting on their porches, talking to their neighbors, smiling and laughing. This is not a nightly event in my neighborhood.

In my web work today, though, I found an awful lot of tasty linkage. Let’s get to it.

The Daily Beast isn’t good for much, but I enjoyed this piece on “Breaking Bad” and its dependency on our stupid health-care system. The short version: Breaking Bad Canada.

I don’t generally follow links to stories that promise me Pat Robertson has OMG’d in his pants again, but this latest one made it all so clear to me: This man is senile. He’s senile and no one wants to say anything to him, because he’s the boss. I bet he wanders the backstage areas of the “700 Club,” talking to the walls, and everyone leaves him alone because they think he’s at prayer. Imagine what he says when he doesn’t think the cameras are on. And where can I get my special AIDS-spreading hand-slicing ring?

While we’re at the megachurches of the world, this made me laugh. Because I am a bad, bad person. (How does a guy presumably demonstrate enough bird-savvy to get a permit to own bald eagles and then take them into indoor spaces and let them fly around? You could see that one coming a mile away.)

Today’s Only in Detroit story: Father and daughter caught trying to bring $270,000 in cash through Metro Airport.

Finally, the March on Washington at 50 roundup. When MLK Day became a national holiday, a friend wondered how long before we’d see “I Have a Dream, and Now You Can Too!!!” January mattress sales. In our lifetimes, I predicted. Not quite, but we’re getting there.

I think we’ve all heard about the King estate’s zealous guardianship of its copyright on the man’s writing and image, but here’s a wrap-up. Personally, I have no problem with a dead artist’s work supporting his immediate family, but once we get into the second and third generation, I think it’s a good thing copyright is not indefinite in this country. (Unless you’re Disney, of course.)

Finally, because eagles crashing into windows and babbling old bigots and the like might lead you to think I’m some sort of monster, let’s close with this genuinely good-news story that isn’t sappy or Albom-ish in any way. Quick, read it before the man himself makes it that way. From New Jersey:

Surveillance video from the Buddy’s Small Lots on Route 23 showed four young men entering the closed store Sunday night, taking a few goods and — wait for it — paying for them in full.

They didn’t know it at the time, but they were caught on camera doing the right thing.

A report from News 12 New Jersey about the incident spread far and wide, appearing on local TV stations across the U.S. The Huffington Post called them “accidental burglars,” and the store’s management wanted to offer them a reward.

Who were these mystery men? New additions to William Paterson University’s football team, school officials told

We’re on the downslope of the week, folks. Let’s enjoy it.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Detroit life |

40 responses to “Crawling over the hump.”

  1. susan said on August 29, 2013 at 2:08 am

    The video with the eagle inside that horrid church did not make me laugh; it made me really mad. Indeed, how could that man get a permit to take a large bird of prey inside a building and let it go? That poor bird. Too bad it didn’t attack anyone and rip off a hair piece. Oh, a bird of prey. Not bird of pray. Too bad. Aƒƒholes.

    331 chars

  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 29, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Morning Joe is saving Detroit even as we speak.

    The problem with megachurches is that once you get people in by entertaining them, you have to keep doing that. With whatever it takes: puppets, Vangelis, endangered avian predators. I just can’t work that hard. We have a scratch choir, some hymns, a sermon and then we break up some bread, pour out some grape juice, share it around. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to come back.

    Plus, I don’t have to clean up bird poop from the pew cushions.

    503 chars

  3. Deborah said on August 29, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Happy Birthday Connie, Dorothy, Jeff tmmo (who am I leaving out?).

    The latest from BB: we saw a mama bear foraging through the trash with a cub nearby. We were told they were around and were the size of a large dog but this one was considerably larger than that.

    265 chars

  4. nancy said on August 29, 2013 at 7:06 am

    To be sure, that’s Oral Roberts U., not a megachurch. Evidently the eagle was ok, but who can blame it for making a break for it?

    129 chars

  5. David C. said on August 29, 2013 at 7:37 am

    I’ve only spoken to one person who thinks a war with Syria is a good idea. The company I works for is in partnership with a company in Israel. I was in a teleconference with one of their engineers yesterday and he was stoked for us to take out Syria, and while we were at it, we could also do Iran too. I haven’t heard anyone here say they thought this seemingly inevitable war was a good idea. Are we just doing Israel’s bidding in this, and if so, why? Anyway, I just find it all depressing and my go to physical activity when I’m depressed (cycling) is shut down by ragweed. Somehow, going for a stomp on the treadmill just doesn’t work as well.

    648 chars

  6. James said on August 29, 2013 at 7:55 am


    Thanks for mentioning Rebecca’s book, but the story about the cover isn’t right. Actually they initially wanted to use the photo of the mule wagon carrying King’s coffin thru Atlanta but the licensing fees were steep. Ultimately they decided the photo of the crowd carrying the image was most effective because it showed the mass of people at the funeral and king being “present but absent” as shown by the photo. And this was even more expensive but they decided that it captured the spirit better and was less predictable than the wagon. The book is about the King funeral not King and they NEVER wanted or planned an image of just King on the cover.

    662 chars

    • nancy said on August 29, 2013 at 8:09 am

      Ah, thanks for the correction. I was told the photo-of-a-photo was a way to get around the copyright. I shall excise!

      117 chars

  7. beb said on August 29, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Susan – nice use of the German “f”

    Nancy’s blight-ridden second picture does Detroit a disservice because it shows too much nicely mowed lawns in empty lots and not enough burned out buildings waiting, waiting, waiting for someone to tear them down. A friend lives maybe two miles from us and the transition from well-maintained, mostly occupied brick homes to his mostly depopulated street is kind of scary.

    I think the pastor of the megachuurch that told his congregation not to take the measles vaccination should be charge with practicing medicine without a license.

    It does seem like Pat Robertson says something mind-blowingly stupid at least once a month these days. This latest thing, that gay people are intentionally infecting people with AIDS comes from some dark recess of his pysche that frighteningly evil.

    It’s well worth mentioning that the people must pushing for boming Syria are the same people who pushed for invading Iraq. They were wrong then, they’re wrong now and frankly ought to be shunned from public discourse.

    Life plus 95 years is way too long for any copyright. I can see maybe life plus ten year (to wrap up the decease’s affairs) balanced with a minimum of 20 years for people who die soon after writing something. I also think that all copyrights need to be registered with the Library of Congress to be valid. In my hobby of old pulp magazines there are lots of stories that deserve to be reprinted but the copyright holders have either disappeared or ownership of the copyright has become too obstruficated to clear rights.

    1574 chars

  8. BigHank53 said on August 29, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I’d be more sympathetic to the King family’s monopoly of MLK’s work if they hadn’t made it clear they only care about the money. Remember that Alcatel ad that reworked the footage to show MLK addressing an empty Mall? I don’t think the thing ran for more than a week before the uproar took it off the air.

    305 chars

  9. nancy said on August 29, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I was astounded to learn that the King family was paid $700K for the use of the man’s image and words in the memorial to him finished last year. Of course, the memorial is so ugly, and its first year so embarrassing (they got a quote wrong; it’s now being blasted off), maybe they knew what they were making the best of a bad situation.

    Meanwhile, on today’s NYT front page, there’s a photo of the president bending down to speak to a young girl who is ID’d as King’s only grandchild. Is that true? Four children, and only one grandchild in 2013?

    758 chars

  10. Mark P said on August 29, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I don’t want the US to get involved in Syria, but I think the most apt comparison is to the US/NATO effort in Kosovo, not Iraq.

    The Constitution has a copyright provision to promote the production of artistic goods, not to guarantee the eternal profits of someone who produces a work. The whole idea is to allow someone to profit from his work so that he and others will be encouraged to do more. It was never intended to last as long as it does now. But then the framers of the Constitution probably didn’t expect the US Congress to turn into an organ of the chamber of commerce.

    584 chars

  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 29, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Didn’t know that about the grandkids, but I was perhaps touched by no speech yesterday as much as by King’s only living sibling, his now elderly sister. It had gentle force, and was clearly from her heart. Christine King Ferris, who must be in her 80s, but was strong and clear yesterday.

    288 chars

  12. Mark P said on August 29, 2013 at 9:13 am

    beb – as I mentioned in my previous post, copyright is intended to encourage the production of works of art. Copyright that extends beyond death is unlikely to move the artist to continue working.

    196 chars

  13. adrianne said on August 29, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Nance, you’re not a bad person, you just like bad stories! Alas, I had to laugh at the eagle careening around the church – not because of the poor bird, but the addled person who brought the raptor into the Rapture.

    215 chars

  14. Jolene said on August 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Yes, only one grandchild. MLK, Jr. Had four children, two sons and two daughters. One daughter, Yolanda, died suddenly a few years ago, apparently of a heart attack. The other daughter, Bernice, is not married and has no children. Dexter, the younger son, married this year at 52. He has no children. Only Martin, who is now 55, has a child. He married in 2006, and his daughter is five years old.

    Being a King child does not seem to have been a happy or empowering experience. Only Bernice has anything resembling an independent accomplishment, and she and Martin have sued Dexter and been countersued by him over management of the King Foundation. Sad.

    657 chars

  15. susan said on August 29, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Beb @7: “Greenƒleeves, a ƒong”

    [Flanders and Swann]

    113 chars

  16. brian stouder said on August 29, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Adrianne, the raptor pun was so bad, it was good!

    If not a thread-win, certainly it deserves a free bag of peanuts, up here in the cheap seats at nn.c

    153 chars

  17. Charlotte said on August 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Because I’m still pissy about the USFS and firefighting — someone is *finally* doing some actual reporting on the Yarnell Hill fire, and not just listening to all that “God’s plan” bullshit. Nineteen young people who should never have been there in the first place:

    404 chars

  18. Jason T. said on August 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Nancy wrote:

    How does a guy presumably demonstrate enough bird-savvy to get a permit to own bald eagles and then take them into indoor spaces and let them fly around? You could see that one coming a mile away.

    Faith-based raptor training!

    I’m being somewhat sarcastic, but seriously. I’ve known plenty of evangelicals who have done truly stupid or dangerous things, and when they’ve been questioned, have responded, “If God wants it to happen, He will find a way,” or, “I have a sky full of angels watching over me.”

    To which I always respond with Matthew 4:7, which is probably why evangelicals don’t invite me to their potluck dinners.

    I mean, trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.

    850 chars

  19. Jakash said on August 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I heard this on Chicago’s NPR station yesterday morning. It’s pretty interesting. “Never-before-heard audio shows extent to which MLK Jr. borrowed from Chicago preacher’s speech.” I would imagine that Jeff (TMMO) has some insights into the effective reuse of powerful imagery among preachers.

    Nancy, this is completely unrelated, and the ship has sailed halfway to Treasure Island by now, but I just want to note how much I enjoyed your reference to Miley as “a certain Disney pop tart a few years past her sell-by date” the other day.

    650 chars

  20. Prospero said on August 29, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    When brave firefighter die protecting McMansions, that is a travesty. When they die protecting McMansions because of lack of proper funding, that is bullshit. Mr. six deferments has a McMansion out there and I figure he’d gladly give somebody else’s life to save it. And it will pay for itself.

    I find the idea of a human being owning a bald eagle reprehensible. What sort of dickhead do you have to be?

    And Jason T.: Insh’ Allah. And I’m a firm believer in faith-based biology. French Jesuit style.

    And I know I’ve quoted Julian Bond’s poetry here before, bu it is so damned good:

    See that girl
    Shake that thing
    Why can’t we all be
    Marting Luther King?

    Mosst fascinating man I ever met, Mr. Bond. Spent hours with him on a layover in Atlanta. Nobody else on the plane knew who he was.Satch Sanders was also on the plane, and I’d bet nobody knew who he was etither. Just me and Julian Bond. Along with the night my dad walked around the corner outside of Tiger Stadium with Johnny U’s arm around his shoulder, and the night at the Fox and Hounds when we spotted Nick Pietrosante, Jim Gibbons and Terrry Barr having dinner. Takes a real Loins fan to remember Terry Barr. Helluva football player. And Petro was awesome, back when fullbacks counted.

    1266 chars

  21. Prospero said on August 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    \Miley Cyrus may have a talent, and in the age of Skrillex and those conehead assholes, it might actually be connected to music, But good lord, I pass. Thanks genetics:

    Levon’s little girl can sing like a maniac:

    That is one awesome bit of music. Great bass, too and great guitar. And an astounding vocal. I hear her daddy’s voice.

    383 chars

  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    The line between skillful use of sources and plagiarism, and the ethics of when you must acknowledge how much borrowing, is a long standing debate among preachers. I stand on the shoulders of giants any time I take to the pulpit, but I think you can overload a sermon with verbal footnotes if you aren’t careful (“As Schopenhauer said, and it has always stuck with me . . .” can just be as much bragging as attributing), but I also firmly believe if you are using someone else’s story in detail and sequence, or using a full outline in item and flow, you must state your indebtedness out front, or you’re misrepresenting the time and effort spent — wiser heads may and have disagreed with me. But I have esteemed colleagues (by others, not by me) who have changed barely a semicolon or adverb, told tales in first person of places they’ve never been, and when they had the chutzpah to publish them and got caught, they fell upwards, because they have what’s known as “good delivery.”

    Influences are different than raw material; I’m probably more influenced by Garrison Keillor in my preaching style and sequence than any other one source, but I’ve not used much specific Wobegonian detail in my preaching. But lots of clergy quietly say “I just don’t have time to write a sermon each week, but I can’t tell the congregation I’m using a subscription service or they’d fire me” and preach from their texts with a growing sense of unease. Others are utterly original each week but are largely preaching the same sermon every Sunday with a slightly different intro. It’s said that most of us really only have three sermons in us at most, and I suspect that’s true. Anyhow, when King went ex tempore, he was a master. When he had to produce full drafts, he was an earthbound mortal like the rest of us, occasionally flying free and sometimes taking on the shackles of copied material obscurely cited.

    The fullness of the close of “I Have a Dream” has influences, but is a marvel “ex nihilo,” and I love reading the expressions on his face as he ramps up into it (thanks, Mahalia), and as he feels that confidence grow with the image and the rhythm and the theme coming together, like a batter swinging and that sudden sharp smile into the follow-thru when you know you hit the sweet spot, and that ball is gonna fly. It’s a good feeling.

    2339 chars

  23. Dexter said on August 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I hope PETA can get that stupid bastard eagle-trainer arrested for incompetency and cruelty to birds. That made me sick.

    Joe Walsh. What a fucking piece of work Racist bastard, asshole of the first degree…his MLK response:

    340 chars

  24. Peter said on August 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Oh, you just knew the other show was going to drop:,51867/

    Billy Ray’s saying that he regrets it all, but it was David Lynch and ’em atheists that made ‘im do it.

    Oy. Of course, he’s not regretting it enough to give any of the money back…

    332 chars

  25. Brandon said on August 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Nancy, I don’t think you’re a bad, bad person, but you sure cuss a lot!:) Releasing the eagle at Oral Roberts U. was a gimmick, and those almost never work.
    Miley Cyrus is going through an awkward phase now. In Hawaii, she’s affectionately known as Miley Pilau.

    266 chars

  26. coozledad said on August 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Here you go Prospero: a mashup of Syd, Robyn, and Bert Kaempfert.
    This is the sort of stuff that grabs me:

    151 chars

  27. Bitter Scribe said on August 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    IIRC, Oral Roberts had done the release-the-eagle-in-the-chapel thing several times before with good results, but their luck finally ran out. Maybe God was distracted.

    I can’t believe MLK would be cool with his descendants using his image and writings as a cash cow.

    Check out the comments with that NJ story. Most praise the guys, but a few racist assholes are sniffish (or worse).

    388 chars

  28. BigHank53 said on August 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Peter @ 24:

    My word, Mr. Cyrus couldn’t push his own daughter under the bus any more quickly, could he? I mean, that was a nice attempt at blaming Hollyweird for everything, but something tells me Thanksgiving dinner this year is going to be a mite awkward.

    260 chars

  29. brian stouder said on August 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Ashley Morris would certainly have reminded us (as the mid-day news did for me) that 8 years ago today a genuine cataclysm occurred along the United States gulf coast, and specifically in New Orleans; and the cataclysm was assigned the name “Katrina”.

    Honestly, this afternoon the number one thousand eight hundred took me aback. I guess the death toll hadn’t specifically registered in my brain.

    Indeed, President Bush didn’t cause the cataclysm*, but he sure as hell failed to respond the way history and fate (or even simple human decency) beckoned him to.

    Whatever my incomplete political consciousness was back in those days, that event marks the end of my days as a Republican.

    *the book about Bush-43 my be titled “Calamity George” – given the way his presidency BEGAN – and then the way it ended. I’ll simply never get over seeing thousands of American citizens begging for fresh water – fresh water – 10 days after the disaster….and we couldn’t provide it? The United States Navy (or Marines, or Air Force, or Army) couldn’t get in there and provide clean water to drink?

    The end

    1127 chars

  30. brian stouder said on August 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    PS – agreed about daddy Cyrus; but note – that article is datelined several years ago

    85 chars

  31. ROGirl said on August 29, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Does Billy Ray blame David Lynch for the mullet and the stupid song that he rode to fame? Does he blame himself for selling his daughter out to Disney and becoming a much bigger star than he will ever be?

    204 chars

  32. alex said on August 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Eight years since Katrina and I was just reading that a significant percentage of Louisiana Republicans blame Obama for Bush’s incompetent response. That’s derangement syndrome for you. It reminds me of what a political science prof once spoke about in class when I was in college. There had been some cataclysm in Poland and the average Polish man in the street was blaming the Jews, never mind that the Jews had been so thoroughly exterminated in Poland during WWII that there are in fact none left to blame. But facts never get in the way of those who are prejudiced.

    570 chars

  33. coozledad said on August 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    alex: Everyone knows that your mind can make you ill, but what researchers are only beginning to notice are various forms of hysterical illness that don’t manifest themselves in isolated pockets, like witch burnings or soul theft.

    I was surprised to learn that Joni Mitchell is a victim of one of those imagined illnesses, Morgellons. Its sufferers claim they have blue fibers that grow out of their bodies that make them itch uncontrollably.

    It could be the antisemitic ravings of Count Gobineau and the pogroms of nineteenth century Russia, as well as the Tea Party and the resurgence of southern nationalism have their roots in what the CDC calls delusional parasitosis, or a similar monkey-ass phenomenon.

    715 chars

  34. Jakash said on August 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Jeff (tmmo) —

    Thanks for that thoughtful response with regard to preaching. The last paragraph, in particular, seemed like a pretty sweet swing, itself…

    159 chars

  35. Kim said on August 29, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Cooz@26 – Love that sound.

    26 chars

  36. coozledad said on August 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Kim: That is the kind of band that I would stay up to see even though at my age, It would kneecap my ass.
    Here’s one of their influences:

    182 chars

  37. Prospero said on August 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Holy shit.

    71 chars

  38. Kim said on August 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Cooz, same here. I took some kids to the local music shed last weekend for a show and was ready to phone in a bomb threat when it just wouldn’t end. Even if the musician hadn’t been a first-class D-bag, in the parlance of my peers in the 1900s and my children’s today, it would’ve been unbearable. At least the tickets were free.

    I’m pretty sure I have heard Duncan Browne, during my years hanging out with guys who worked in record stores. What a melodic stroll that is – thanks for sharing it.

    498 chars

  39. Crazycatlady said on August 29, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    I was on my way home from Indiana today. As I changed lanes I caught something with the corner of my eye. I heard a slight thud and it was a Red-Tail Hawk! It flew to the side of the road and then flew up into a tree.I felt horrible, but it flew away. Hopefully, he is ok. He was beautiful.I hope he is feasting on roadkill tonight.

    332 chars