That’s out there.

Kate had to read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” for her summer project in one of her AP English courses, so I’ve been paying more attention to him lately, too. I read this strange essay in the most recent New Yorker, which started out with those sort of great, Gladwellian anecdotes that drag you in. He’s talking about individual, extraordinarily gifted athletes and what makes them so — freakish genetics, mostly. One guy makes more red blood cells than any three of us put together; another guy has just the right legs, plus lives at the right altitude, for excellence in long-distance running.

And then, all of a sudden, we’re on to Floyd Landis, the cycling cheater, and I had to rub my eyes and reread a couple paragraphs, because Gladwell seemed to be making the case that performance-enhancing drugs aren’t so bad, are they? Because what do they really do? Give people who aren’t born with these remarkable genetic gifts a shot:

The other great doping pariah is Lance Armstrong. He apparently removed large quantities of his own blood and then re-infused himself before competition, in order to boost the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells in his system. Armstrong wanted to be like Eero Mäntyranta. He wanted to match, through his own efforts, what some very lucky people already do naturally and legally. Before we condemn him, though, shouldn’t we have to come up with a good reason that one man is allowed to have lots of red blood cells and another man is not?

No. No, we don’t need to come up with that reason. Because the very nature of the human race is that some people have lots of red blood cells naturally, and others don’t. Some have long legs, others short. Ian Thorpe was a great swimmer, in part, because he had huge feet — veritable flippers. The Chinese are great gymnasts and divers, in part, because they’re smaller people than, say, Germans. This is what makes the Olympics interesting. Of course, the real reason they’re great is that they train and train and train; the genetic gifts just provide the edge (sometimes). And every so often a real outlier turns up — a swimmer with itty-bitty feet, say, or a gymnast that fills a B cup. And that’s what makes sports thrilling.

Not so hard, right? I should probably read “Outliers” and find out what other crap she’s been exposed to.

No, I probably shouldn’t. Distinguishing crap from non-crap is an essential skill.

Someone at SBNation agrees with me.

So! Today it is forecast to be an astonishing 96 degrees. Friday’s high? Sixty-one. Last chance, tomatoes. Git ‘er done.

Not much bloggage today, but Charles Pierce drove me to this Politico profile of David Barton, “evangelical historian,” which sort of sounds the origin title of a long-running series: David Barton, Evangelical Historian. The peg: Many thought he was through when, last year, he was accused of such scholarly chicanery that his own publisher disavowed his latest book, “Thomas Jefferson, True Christian!” (Something like that, anyway.)

But no:

But to his critics’ astonishment, Barton has bounced back. He has retained his popular following and his political appeal — in large part, analysts say, because he brings an air of sober-minded scholarship to the culture wars, framing the modern-day agenda of the religious right as a return to the Founding Fathers’ vision for America.


In 2010, Barton helped shape new social studies standards in Texas that emphasize America’s Christian roots and question the validity of separating church and state. (He also pushed to have textbooks describe America’s values as “republican” rather than “democratic.” As he explained at the time, “We don’t pledge allegiance to the flag and the democracy for which it stands.”) He says he has advised on mainstream history textbooks used in other states as well, though he declines to give details.

Oh, I’m sure.

It’s growing late, and I have a big day tomorrow. A big, hot day. Let’s see how it goes.

Posted at 12:30 am in Detroit life |

71 responses to “That’s out there.”

  1. Deborah said on September 10, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Not to nyah nyah nyah but Tues high in Santa Fe will be 67. And because of a weird condition of a high pressure to the east and a low pressure to the west (or vice versa) we are supposed to get dumped on with massive amounts of rain for the next few days. We really need it on our land in Abiquiu. It’s going to be highs in the upper 60s most of the week and lows in the lower 50s / upper 40s at night.

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  2. Sherri said on September 10, 2013 at 3:20 am

    It’s been mid-60’s with mixed sun and light rain in London, just like home. Nothing at home like the British Museum, though, where we spent all day yesterday. Yes, that’s the Rosetta Stone, once you worm your way through the crowd, and it’s incredible, but we also loved the Assyrian section, and it was much less crowded. So much more to see! Brian, you would love the Churchill War Rooms and Museum. We spent hours at the National Gallery and felt like we barely scratched the surface. Matins at Westminster Abbey was beautiful, and we plan on going back to tour.

    So much more to see!

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  3. Deborah said on September 10, 2013 at 3:58 am

    Sherri, if you like gardens try to get to Sissinghurst in Kent, an easy train or bus ride. Bibendum on Fulham Rd. was my favorite place to eat in London. Yes, the British Museum is a stunner.

    I keep having skunk dreams, then wake up in a sweat.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 10, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Sherri, thanks for the travelogue! Hope you get to tour the Tower and see St. John’s Chapel inside of it, too.

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  5. David C. said on September 10, 2013 at 7:44 am

    David Barton isn’t hart to figure out. First, he is as they say, a dumb person’s idea of what a smart person looks and sounds like. He doesn’t do any actual research into history, he just bends history to make it sound right and conform to his readers biases. His history is to actual history as Christian rock is to the Stones. There is an assload of money to be made telling anyone, especially a wingnut, exactly what they expect to hear. It would be OK if it was kept within the confines of their own clique, but using it as school curriculum is scary.

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  6. coozledad said on September 10, 2013 at 7:52 am

    The right is also busy scooping heaping shovels of Confederate hagiography in those textbooks. If the Christianist textbooks are any indication of the leading edge of where Texas-approved history is going, your kids are going to be hearing a lot more about what fine pious men Stonewall Jackson and Wobbit E. Wee were. There’ll be some of the shit about Wee’s hawse, Twaveh-wah, and Thomas Jackson’s eerily recurrent mentions of The Lawd, when his troops could actually wake his manic depressive ass up (Until they shot the crazy bitch).

    It’s a kind of Southern Catholicism, with very pretty stories set against lush summer and fall evenings, and it’s a load of garbage you have to bust your ass to stop believing, especially if you’re an earnest little Southern Catholic.

    Dok Zoom over at Wonkette has been doing a fine job on Fundy creepwatch over at Wonkette.

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  7. alex said on September 10, 2013 at 7:58 am

    After reading Adrianne’s comment yesterday about having to slog through a hundred letters to the editor, I just had to share this one that gave me my laugh for the day. I’m still not certain whether it was written by a real Teabagger or just someone lampooning them.

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  8. coozledad said on September 10, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Alex: That could be an illustration of Poe’s law. Another thing that cracked me up on that page was the “from around the web” especially “How to flirt at a bar”. That’s got to be good.

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  9. Adrianne said on September 10, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Alex, the query about Obamacare implanting a computer chip in our bodies tips me off that this writer suffers from paranoid delusions. As, apparently, many members of the Tea Party do. It’s their signature move.

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  10. Connie said on September 10, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Alex, the letter to the editor made me laugh in a despairing sort of way. Some years ago I watch an employee descend into craziness. It started with accusations of secret cameras watching her in her cubicle and it finally got to accusations that I had put a computer chip in her intestine. Why I would want to track her and ruin her life I have no idea. She put her weirdness all over the internet but has been quiet in recent years. If you search my first and last name plus “bully” you may be able to find it.

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  11. nancy said on September 10, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I tweeted that letter yesterday, and did a little googling afterward. The microchip is indeed a widely circulated urban legend, so if it’s crazy, it’s a lot of people’s crazy, not just one.

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  12. Connie said on September 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

    More craziness from my congressman: Michigan Congressman Kerry Bentivolio is concerned that the government might be spraying mind-altering drugs and/or toxins into the sky with chemtrails from jets, so he’s going to hold a hearing on the matter in his district.

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  13. brian stouder said on September 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Hey – we have two government kitties*, and they have microchips….and if they used the information thus gleaned by Taffy and Winnie….Oh My God!!

    Did our cats vote for the president?!! (if so, all I have to say to both of them is – ‘good kitty’!)

    *from the obviously socialist “Humane” Society

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  14. Ann said on September 10, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Here’s what I believe is going on with Gladwell. In the Outliers he basically took the premise that what makes a star in practically any field is the “10,000 hour rule,” i.d. 10,000 hours of practice. Mark Epstein recently wrote a very popular book, The Sports Gene, explicitly taking on Gladwell and saying, surprise, that it’s not that simple.

    So how does Gladwell respond? By saying it’s not fair that some people are more genetically gifted than others so we should let people use performance enhancing drugs to level the playing field and then it really will come back to 10,000 hours. So he wins after all, see?

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  15. Ann said on September 10, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Sorry. I see the linked article says just what I said. Nice to be right, though!

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  16. brian stouder said on September 10, 2013 at 11:07 am

    By the way, one assumes that that doofus knows that Thomas Jefferson (a Founding Father if ever there was one) was a Democratic Republican, yes? Does he not know that the United States is (ideally) a democratic republic?

    And leaving that aside, the astoundingly stupid idea that we should not just allow but indeed honor doping is just…dopey! (and indeed, then the ‘death panels’ will be supplemented by ‘loser panels’, where people like me get turned away when we ask to get doped to the point that we can throw a Frisbee three blocks)

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  17. A.Riley said on September 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Re skunks: A couple summers ago, a skunk took a liking to our neighborhood — people would see him here and there, smell him here and there, you know. So one evening, we were lounging on the patio and here comes the skunk toddling into our back yard from the alley.

    Oh no, what to do? We don’t want to alarm a skunk, God forbid! Be calm, be cool . . . So I stood up and started singing fortissimo — “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, Yankee Doodle, do or die!” (hey, it was the first thing to come to mind). And mirabile dictu! The skunk calmly turned around and toddled away without nuking us.

    (Maybe he was thinking, Oh no, what to do? I don’t want to alarm a crazy lady, God forbid! Be calm, be cool . . . )

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  18. John (not McCain) said on September 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Here’s an interesting part of the Gladwell article:

    “Eyesight can be improved—in some cases dramatically—through laser surgery or implantable lenses. Should a promising young baseball player cursed with normal vision be allowed to get that kind of corrective surgery? In this instance, Major League Baseball says yes. Major League Baseball also permits pitchers to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow of their throwing arm with a tendon taken from a cadaver or elsewhere in the athlete’s body. Tendon-replacement surgery is similar to laser surgery: it turns the athlete into an improved version of his natural self.”

    Some day it might be possible to permanently increase a person’s red blood cell count. I wonder what the ruling on that procedure will be. How could it be any different than the rule for eye surgery or tendon replacement?

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  19. alex said on September 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Connie, you ain’t a-shittin’. I found a thread on some site called AnswerBag where she gave out your contact information and was urging people to harass you.

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  20. Connie said on September 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Alex, thankfully it was outdated contact information.

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  21. Charlotte said on September 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Still hot here. Had a day in the 70s yesterday, but supposed to go back up into the 80s today. My poor sweetheart is putting in a foundation and has been just miserable.

    Got a scaremongering call from my insurance agent yesterday — proactively “calming my fears” about the implementation of the ACA. If there is one thing I’m looking forward to, it’s cutting right wing assholes like this one out of the picture. They were so unhelpful when I bought this policy that I had to enlist the state insurance commissioner’s office.

    Been so hot our skunks aren’t on the move yet. Expecting them in the next few weeks. Several years ago, one got into the house and sprayed in the basement stairwell. Ugh.

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  22. coozledad said on September 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Child molestation fantasist Orson Scott Card appointed to North Carolina Public Television board of trustees. Y’all gone git you some John Tesh and Mormon theologizin!

    In response to the people who have expressed their objection to the recent appointment of Mr. Orson Scott Card of Greensboro to the UNC-TV Board of Trustees, UNC-TV offers the following points of clarification. It is important to understand that the composition of the UNC-TV Board of Trustees is established by state statute, and the members are appointed by either elected public officials or by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. There are 22 members. These are unpaid volunteer positions, and the board serves in an advisory capacity. The UNC Board of Governors is the actual governing board of UNC-TV.

    Mr. Card has been appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina State Senate.

    That would be Phil Berger, another one of Art Pope’s towel boys.

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  23. brian stouder said on September 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    So, I’m eating lunch and watching Andrea Mitchell’s news show on msnbc, and what do I read on the crawl*?

    “Emory University scientists find that men who tend to enjoy being a nurturing parent also tend to have….”

    and at this moment I rooting for something like “longer lives” or “happier marriages” or “better overall health” or maybe just “nicer cars” or “fewer criminal convictions” or “an above average sense of humor”…..

    but the crawl continued past, and the next words were “….smaller testicles”


    My question is – smaller than who? Or, put another way, those Emory University scientists maybe found that guys with big balls are ass-wipes, eh?

    *I think the crawl is more than half the reason I tune into news channels. So, we may be killing long-form print journalism, but if you can write a snappy crawl, you’re hired!

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  24. Jeff Borden said on September 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    People like David Barton can be a great source of amusement, but there is a terrifyingly large number of people who suck this kind of pseudo-scholarship down like a snow cone. He wouldn’t be nearly as worrisome if he stuck to fluffing Glenn Beck’s followers rather than being someone who is taken seriously by wingnuts seeking to alter the way American history is taught.

    The Texas board of education is legendary for its craziness, but what they vote to study in school affects all of us because the state orders so very many textbooks. My sense of elementary and high school history classes, in particular, were that they were overwhelmingly positive, hewed to established tropes and were painted with broad brush strokes. Only when I was in college and could take far more focused history classes did I begin to hear that Manifest Destiny was a death sentence to indigenous people, or that the brilliant invention of the cotton gin condemned millions of black men and women to slavery because it made cotton a profitable crop.

    As others already of mentioned, Barton and his ilk traffic in telling silly people their silly theories are actually true and worthwhile. There’s a lot of money to be made keeping the rubes happy.

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  25. Bitter Scribe said on September 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I gave up on Gladwell years ago. His absurdly contrarian articles had taken enough 30-minute chunks out of my life.

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  26. Jolene said on September 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    It’s hard to tell which is worse with regard to the implementation of the ACA–the person who is worrying about implanted microchips or what the GOP is doing to thwart registration for the program. See these two WaPo articles:

    Short version: They are harassing, in every way they can think of, the organizations that are working to sign people up. Many of these people will be poor, some of them may never have purchased insurance for anything, and some of them may not be experienced computer users and hence may find it awkward to use the online exchanges. Heaven forbid that we should do anything to help them!

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  27. Jolene said on September 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Sorry about the multiple entries, folks. The system didn’t seem to be responding, so I did the equivalent of pushing the elevator button a second time to make it come faster. Nancy, please do delete the extras if/ when you can.

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  28. Jolene said on September 10, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    One more on the ACA, this one on the contrast between what is happening in Maryland, where there is a well-funded implementation program under the leadership of a Democratic governor, and in Virginia, where the GOP governor and legislature have resisted the ACA at every turn.

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  29. Jolene said on September 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    NOT about Obamacare!

    On PBS tonight, there’s a show about Billie Jean King in the American Masters series that appears to be worth watching. See Hank’s review:

    She was on The Colbert Report last night and was quite charming. See

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  30. brian stouder said on September 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Jolene, I did the multi-post thing the other day, so my guard has been up…and the Proprietress her-own-self recently double-posted, too

    (And before you say it, Kirk, I agree with you that she always always always has the Propritary Pass – and anyway, for what we pay to reside here, we cannot belly ache…too much)

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  31. brian stouder said on September 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    (my theory is that those interactive Google map photos have wrenched the site)

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  32. Julie Robinson said on September 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    The chip in the tummy lady was one of the ones I was thinking about yesterday when I commented on nutcase letters to the editor. It stopped being humorous when I realized there are people who actually believe her.

    Crawls are the spawn of the devil. How can you listen to what the anchor is saying and read the crawl and understand both? I sure can’t.

    Speaking of our socialist government, I just used one of its money-sucking institutions with great result. Occasionally when we get memorials at church the names are illegible, and of course those are usually in cash instead of a neatly printed check. If family members can’t help, I turn to uncle google, and when he can’t help, there are some very nifty online databases available as part of our library. I located one person quickly but was stumped on the other, and a call to the reference department was my salvation. Not only did I get the info, I learned how to look it up myself.

    Libraries=heaven, and reference librarians=angels.

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  33. jcburns said on September 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Folks, I ask your forbearance. Our server is having some very very very internal problems, and although Top People are on the case, it may last a while. We’re doing our best to maintain a basic level of functionality. But pressing the elevator button over and over again is most definitely not what you should be doing today. Tread, but tread lightly.

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  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 10, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    STOP watching the crawl. (That is all.)

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  35. brian stouder said on September 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Crawls are the spawn of the devil. How can you listen to what the anchor is saying and read the crawl and understand both? I sure can’t.

    Julie – I used to hate ‘the crawl’, and then….our Direct-TV thing-a-ma-whopper with DVR came along, and I got a rewind button (for when something, like today!, catches my eye)

    Plus – if, during a fave-show (say, an F1 race, or maybe during Rachel or Lawrence, if it’s a Friday) the young folks suddenly wanna tell me what happened on the bus/what they learned today/what Billy Bob did (etc), I can hit “pause” and give them my undivided attention.

    Therefore, the dvr has made me a better dad – other than that it has made my testicles smaller. (and I’m now resisting a ‘chicken or the egg’ pun)

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  36. LAMary said on September 10, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I’m one of those women who watch Law and Order in all its manifestations no matter how many times I’ve seen it. I just saw Christopher Meloni, who plays Eliott on Law and Order SVU (which we call SUV in our house) walking down the hallway outside my office. He’s filming a pilot show here.

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  37. Little Bird said on September 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    If I tried to sing the skunk away, I’d very likely get sprayed.

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  38. ROGirl said on September 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Skunks are nasty buggers. One came up around my house earlier this summer and stunk up the joint. It went away after about 2 weeks, but when I go outside in the morning I get a faint whiff of eau de skunk in the vicinity.

    Crazy-ass chip implant conspiracy theorists? How? Why?

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  39. Deborah said on September 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    LA Mary you reminded me of my recent celebrity sightings in NYC, and forgive me if I’ve already mentioned this at nn.c, I was so distracted when I was in NY for those 10 days that I have no idea what I’ve already told folks. I saw two celebs but I have no idea what their names are. One was a guy who’s been in a lot of romantic comedies, he usually plays the guy who doesn’t get the girl, he was walking down 5th Ave. The other was in the place I ended up having a late breakfast on Madison ave in a place called E.A.T. She’s an older Broadway actress, again she was usually a sidekick, not a leading lady. Believe me I’ve been trying to figure out both of their names since I spotted them, it’s driving me crazy.

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  40. Deborah said on September 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    The skunk trap is set to be installed tomorrow between 1 and 3pm buy an outfit called Critter Control. It dug a lot of holes in the side yard last night, way past tIme to get rid of it. The professionals will monitor the trap as long as it takes to catch it and then they’ll relocate the skunk 15 to 20 miles away, good riddance. The condo association is also closing up the gap below the garden shed so it doesn’t become a favorite spot for more skunks. I will be happy when it’s done and we can start enjoying life in the garden again.

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  41. MarkH said on September 10, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I’m with you on the Law & Order shows, LAMary. If just one had to be left standing, I’m glad it was SVU. They do very well with character explorations and toll police work takes on them. It looks like Olivia is in for a very bad time in the first episode this season. I wondered how the show would weather Eliot Stabler’s departure, but they have done well with cast additions Danny Pino (Det. Amaro) and Kelli Giddish (Det. Rollins). I also miss Tamara Tunie’s ME Melinda Warner. She is from my (and Jason T’s) old stomping ground, McKeesport, PA.

    The only incarnation I will watch the repeats of is Criminal Intent. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Det. Bobby Goren was wound so tight you just knew he was going to snap in certain episodes. They finally dealt with it just in time for that series to end. Too bad.

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  42. nancy said on September 10, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Guys, we’re having some server problems, so if nothing new appears tomorrow, no need to send out search parties — I’m just taking the day off.

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  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 10, 2013 at 7:55 pm


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  44. MarkH said on September 10, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    I had some issues logging on today as well, Nance. we can only assume JC’s ‘Top People’ are on this. Reminds me of the final lines from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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  45. beb said on September 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Deborah, my dad was plagued with groundhogs for years, because animal control in the nearby town would take them out into “the country” to release ’em – which happened with within a mile of Dad’s house. Once he asked the regional agricultural director what he could do about them. The man slowly replied, “they’re not an endangered species.” Relocating a skunk is just tossing your problem into someone else’s backyard.

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  46. Jolene said on September 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I’ve been a Law & Order fan for years too, though I’ve been off it lately, except for Law & Order UK on BBC America. Anyone seen that? I wouldn’t say I’ll watch anything in which the actors speak with an English accent, but it’s pretty close.

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  47. beb said on September 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Deborah, my dad was plagued with groundhogs for years, because animal control in the nearby town would take them out into “the country” to release ’em – which happened with within a mile of Dad’s house. Once he asked the regional agricultural director what he could do about them. The man slowly replied, “they’re not an endangered species.” Relocating a skunk is just tossing your problem into someone else’s backyard.

    I had trouble opening Nancy’s page this morning so I suspected server. Had hoped they had been cleared up.

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  48. beb said on September 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    double posted because of server problems….sorry.

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  49. coozledad said on September 10, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Anyone watch the President? I wonder how the right will try and crawl out of Putin’s arse now.

    It’s a relief to have someone in charge who understands the things Republicans will never understand; among them dignity, and consent.

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  50. alex said on September 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I thought Obama made a good case for his position. Having listened to both the mainstream and partisan media of both stripes the last few days, I was beginning to worry that Obama was becoming a complete kook. Glad to have finally heard from the man himself.

    My TV is out, so I watched on Huffpost, along with the inane uber-liberal commentators including the senescent Phil Donohue who’s on some kind of a Kumbaya trip. I trust this will iron itself out and isn’t worth all the nailbiting. When extremists from both sides are lunging for the president’s throat, I take it as a sign that the president is doing something right.

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  51. Deborah said on September 10, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    It’s cool enough this evening that we have a fire in the fireplace. The cat is in heaven. It feels like fall.

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  52. basset said on September 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Well, Syria is about the only friend the Russians have in that part of the world so it would make sense that they’d work something out to keep them from getting attacked. Assad is probably telling his people how he made the Americans back down right this minute, though.

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  53. Jolene said on September 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    I dunno. I think there are more rough times ahead re Syria. There are going to be lots of arguments ahead re when and how to remove those chemical weapons. Apparently, the Russians are already causing trouble over these issues at the UN. Then there’s the practical question of how to do this in the midst of a shooting war. Ugh! What a world, what a world.

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  54. Dexter said on September 11, 2013 at 12:09 am

    brianstouder: Chris McCandless, aka Alexander Supertramp was a graduate of Emory. His whole body shrunk up into little more than a skin-covered skeleton on The Stampede Trail in Alaska 21 years ago. I guess we can assume his balls shrunk up too, thus perpetuating the legend of the Emory University Shrunken Balls angle. If any of you haven’t read any of Jon Krakauer’s books, time’s a-wastin’.

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  55. Rana said on September 11, 2013 at 12:37 am

    those Emory University scientists maybe found that guys with big balls are ass-wipes, eh?

    brian, that may well be the explanation that best accounts for the rude dudes on public transit who sit very wide, preventing other people from taking adjacent seats.

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  56. coozledad said on September 11, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Now I know why republicans love them some Putin. He presides over the kind of rectal carbuncle they want this country to become:

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  57. Deborah said on September 11, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Coozledad, that was an excellent link. I bookmarked that blog after reading the post you linked to plus a lot of other ones. That blogger is an excellent writer.

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  58. brian stouder said on September 11, 2013 at 10:38 am

    That was a good link; and this is truly a strange (and often surprisingly mean) world we inhabit.

    Watched the speech last night, and thought it was good. As Cooz seems to indicate, it is worthwhile to consider whether (or how much) worse Russian society, on the whole, really is – compared to ours

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  59. Joe K said on September 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I need to get ahold of Alex and see when to pick him up to go see Ann Coulter.
    Where should we meet you for a icy cold diet coke and Pepsi before the show?
    Or are you eating dinner with her?
    Pilot Joe

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  60. alex said on September 11, 2013 at 11:51 am

    That was good, Cooz.

    Aside from his pogrom on the gays, what’s most telling about Putin’s character is the fact that he confiscates artworks that present him in an unflattering light. It should be of concern to the entire world that a despot so thin-skinned is leading one of the world’s superpowers.

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  61. nancy said on September 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Remember the Harold Washington-in-pink-undies painting?

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  62. brian stouder said on September 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Joe – I’d give Ann Coulter my attention. She strikes me as having at least SOME balance of self-assurance and self-awareness.

    I may not ever agree with her, but I like that she has (in the past) shared the stage with Lawrence O’Donnell, and argued issues of the day, as opposed to the lip-flappers like Sean and Oxy-Rush, who spend all day talking to themselves.

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  63. brian stouder said on September 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Joe – I’d do dinner with Ann Coulter.

    She strikes me as having at least SOME balance of self-assurance and self-awareness.

    I may not ever agree with her, but I like that she has (in the past) shared the stage with Lawrence O’Donnell, and argued issues of the day, as opposed to the lip-flappers like Sean and Oxy-Rush, who spend all day talking to themselves.

    PS – although I’d never heard of that portrait ’til just now, the undies look white while the stockings look pink… plus, Mayor Washington must have been a nurturing parent

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  64. alex said on September 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Yes, I remember the Mayor Washington flap. I rather doubt he would have given a shit, however Dorothy Tillman, the aldercreature who ripped the painting from the wall at the Art Institute, was about as thin-skinned as they come. I had no success just now trying to find a link to it, but I remember at one point that she was in a bitter feud with the Chicago Reader over an unflattering cartoon of her that had been published. It wasn’t even all that clever of a cartoon, but its creator knew it would mash her buttons but good. In response, she orchestrated a harassment campaign against the paper that was childish and made her look all the worse, and of course drew attention to the very thing she wanted to censor. I left Chicago in ’04, but I see they finally voted her crazy ass out of office in 2007.

    And Joe, I’ll have to pass on dinner with Ann this time. Already have plans to see another drag show that night where the performers are much more convincing as women than Ann ever was.

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  65. coozledad said on September 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Does Ann look more feminine in drag, or does she do the Buck Angel thing?

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  66. Prospero said on September 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Illeana Ros Lehtinen thinks eight year old girls commonly get pregnant. There is no end to GOPer stupidity. What sort of whackjob 40 year old man wants to marry an eight year old girl. These guys need thair nads cut off.

    Ann Coulter is a vituperative asshole, who rarely has a clue what she is talking about. She spews bigoted crap like a broken sewer pipe. But she does make a living out of it. And she does have nice gams and a prominent Adam’s apple. Her bigotry and closed mind are pretty much undeniable. I think she should move in with the Tenthers in Jefferson, or just move to Mexico with the ridiculous Texas secessionistas. Funny how these Constitutional experts can read the Tenth Amendment, but Article !V, Section 3 of the original document escapes them. It’s kinda unequivocal.

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  67. Prospero said on September 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    It’s not uncommon to hear GOPer revisionists talk bout Shrub’s legacy and how future historians will judge his presidency. Here’s W’s legacy. Even better than SYG.

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  68. Prospero said on September 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Homeless dogs? Bucharest probably has Detroit beat.

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  69. MarkH said on September 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm


    SAMCRO. Discuss.

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  70. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    FAET-ABAWDs are getting whacked in the upcoming SNAP general cutbacks. I know the rate of growth has to be reined in of these programs, but the cure strikes me as worse than the disease. Our county has a state senator who is leading the charge for drug testing aid recipients, and he’s shocked to hear from me that clever plans like his are why heroin is making such a strong resurgence.

    What is the right mix of solutions for low-skilled, poorly socialized, marginally employable single adults? I am honestly at sea on this one, other than beefing up our local food pantry network, which is a band-aid, not a healing resolution.

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  71. Jolene said on September 11, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Apart from increasing heroin use, at least two states–Florida and Utah–have done the drug-testing of aid recipients thing and found that the testing cost more than they saved in benefits.

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