A long ride on a grand day.

The Tour de Troit was pretty cool, and if Saturday’s picture looks muddy and pixelated, well, I apologize. I tried to fix the tiny picture — bug in WordPress for mobile devices, IMO — and it ‘sploded. Oh, well. It’s not like there aren’t 90 zillion other pix out there if you feel like searching #tdt2013 in the usual social networks.

More than 6,000 riders, we were told. You’d think riding in a group that size, it would be difficult to go off course, but somehow we managed. Don’t look at me, I was just following the people in front of me when suddenly there was a SCREEEECH of brakes and a very pissed-off driver what-the-hell’d us as we rolled through an intersection. An intersection without the usual police, corking it. And hey, there weren’t any at that last intersection, either, were they? A bunch of us stopped and consulted with the map, and a bunch more took out their phones and stared at those, and we managed to cobble together a way back to the route. It involved taking a group of three dozen or so down Woodward, a daunting proposition for some people who thought they’d be riding in a tunnel of police protection, but we got everybody back to the group, and now a few out-of-towners will have a better story to tell.

Afterward, there was beer and food and music. I observed a man at the next table learn that you are supposed to take the corn husk off before you eat a tamale. (“That’s nothing,” said Alan. “I’ve seen Hispanic people learn that lesson.”) A chilly morning turned into a glorious afternoon, one of those days when you’re happy to be right here, right now.

Then I took a nap. Because of the beer.

The weekend didn’t go so well elsewhere. I’m reading about the Kenyan mall attack now, one of those events you’re frankly amazed doesn’t happen more often. I am, anyway. Terrorists are fond of bombs, but there’s nothing like a few well-trained, or even adequately trained men with guns to do maximum damage in the right environment. If only all those shoppers had been armed! I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, you should check out this remarkable NYT photo blog of the massacre, with pictures taken by a staff photographer who was actually in the mall at the time of the shooting.

Speaking of shooting, I also strongly recommend this piece from the WashPost, about the life of shooting-rampage survivor, and of their loved ones. It is, what’s the word? Oh yeah: Searing.

“Thoughts and prayers and it ends there,” said Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot and injured at Virginia Tech. “I can’t do anything anymore with thoughts and prayers.”

“I’m learning that you have to be brutal with these people,” said Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away a magazine clip and disarmed the shooter at a 2011 event in Tucson where Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others were shot. Maisch took out a picture she carried of the six people killed at that event and set it on the table. “Now I show this to people and start getting graphic,” she said. “This is not a pretty death like you see on ‘NCIS’ or ‘Law and Order.’ This is six people murdered on the sidewalk on a beautiful Arizona day.”

“Bloody and scared,” said Bill Badger, who was shot in the back of the head that day.

“Oh, and by the way, loved ones aren’t lost. They are killed,” Haas said.

“Murdered,” said Roxanna Green, whose 9-year-old daughter was murdered at the event in Arizona.

“I just want to shake people,” Badger said. “If this was some disease . . . we’d be in a national emergency.”

“You’d see planes dropping medicine,” Maisch said. “Instead, it’s another day. It’s nothing.”

Also searing, but in a very different way: “Tomato Can Blues,” also from Sunday’s NYT, a story about a mid-Michigan loser MMA fighter and the tangled web he wove along the way to faking his death and holding up a store called, I am not kidding, Guns & Stuff.

It’s an entertaining kind of searing. I kept imagining Bunchy Donovan as the tomato can, and if you get that reference, fine, and if not, I’m not going to explain it.

And so the week begins. May yours be filled with smooth sailing and apple cider.

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

30 responses to “A long ride on a grand day.”

  1. Dexter said on September 23, 2013 at 3:55 am

    That fighter’s story is a modern day Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn re-enactment, listening to the mourning down below–for the people hiding right above, in the same building. Talk about the quintessential “twisted web we weave…”
    The Tour de Troit looks like fun; I didn’t see many bicyclists in Columbus where my daughter and her husband helped me celebrate my birthday this weekend. Van Wert was full of bicyclists; I drive through there when I go to the state capital.
    For a present, I got a set of walking poles, similar to ski poles I guess…they make walking a lot easier when you have a bad hip like me.
    We went to the Hilliard Starlight Diner, a famous joint specializing in food with a Cuban slant. I had jambalaya with shrimp. Goody good good.

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  2. Deggjr said on September 23, 2013 at 6:56 am

    …twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.

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  3. beb said on September 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Stating the obvious, nancy was quoting from Dr. Strangelove, a long and tedious movie but whose bon mots are among the best.

    Wayne LaPierre, national psychotic, argues that the Naval Yards shooting happened because there weren’t enough armed guards on the grounds. This raises the question: how many armed guards are necessary? because there already were armed guards on the grounds. Do we reduce the Yards to all guards and no workers?

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  4. Julie Robinson said on September 23, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Despite the truly horrifying violence in Kenya, on balance we had a great weekend. We attended a wedding shower on Saturday, and on Sunday, ironically, a concert with a major choral piece named The Peacemakers. Our lad sang in that.

    But here I am, burying the lead: yesterday our daughter Sarah was called to be pastor of a church in Orlando, Florida. Florida is not a place she ever saw herself, but she is terrifically excited by the opportunity after months of interviews and visits. As a bonus, some beloved family members moved there a couple of years ago, and a double bonus is that her dog, a 10 pounder without much hair, loves the hot weather.There wasn’t much of that in northern Washington. All in all, we’re thrilled.

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  5. coozledad said on September 23, 2013 at 8:52 am

    The sad thing is, Reagan was probably the last person who could have done anything about the flood of guns, but he was a weakling, a complete moral coward.

    Maybe the nutters will start shooting up gun shows, so the cancer will be more self limiting.

    My wife and I were out enjoying the day in the garden while the neighbors who rent the land next door spent their nice fall afternoon a’oilin’ and a’ shootin their firearms. I wonder if they snuck in some buddyfucking. Losers.

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  6. brian stouder said on September 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Dexter – happy birthday!

    I get about 27 email updates a day from Diane Ravitch’s blog, and I delete probably 90% of them on sight.

    But one pulled me in, and this link to a news article:


    The lead:

    By Heather Vogell hvogell@ajc.com

    Chris Domaleski had a problem and its name was Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Question 42 on Georgia’s sixth-grade social studies test had asked whether Webber was a playwright, painter, sculptor or athlete.

    The famous composer of Broadway musicals, however, was none of those things. But what should Domaleski, the state’s testing director, do? Testing was over. Scrapping the question would delay test results at least 10 days, inviting complaints about one of the state’s most politically-sensitive undertakings. Rushing a re-scoring would also heighten the chance of error. Yet counting it would mean penalizing tens of thousands of students for someone else’s mistake.

    Domaleski’s predicament illustrates the cascade of problems flawed questions cause when they slip past layers of review and appear on standardized exams.

    Aside from the ongoing attack upon our public education/public school systems, yesterday WAS a beautiful day. The girls and I headed out for lunch, and got stuck in genuine grid-lock (or as close as Fort Wayne comes to that) in the Lafeyette/State Street area….I had forgotten about the Johnny Appleseed thing, which had made-to-order weather, and throngs and more throngs of people (I have actually never visited that festival; maybe next year).

    Anyway, we ended up at Panera, and that was surprisingly good. Have a fun Monday, y’all

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  7. adrianne said on September 23, 2013 at 11:40 am

    “Tomato Can Blues,” with the accompanying artwork, was a great read Sunday. The NYT sports section has been experimenting a lot with different storytelling techniques. The other week, they had a long tale about a horse trainer where they devoted the front and back of the section to one big photo of a jockey on a horse.

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  8. brian stouder said on September 23, 2013 at 11:49 am

    And speaking of the front and back of a big horse, here’s news from the backside:


    an excerpt:

    “If (Benghazi) doesn’t have an impact on the 2016 presidential election, if she is a candidate, then America, I am very disappointed in our electorate,” Palin said Sunday on Fox News, where she’s a contributor.

    She said “anyone who would just throw away 200 years of military ethos and leave our men behind to be murdered” should “never be considered as a commander in chief.”

    Anyway, it gave me my laugh of the morning

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  9. coozledad said on September 23, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Sarah Palin is a soiled boinkmat among boinkmats. An overdrawn character straight out of Sinclair Lewis.

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  10. MarkH said on September 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Other than the (remote) possibility she may be the next senator from Alaska, why is anything Sarah Palin says worth the attention of this blog? Hasn’t cooz’s post #9 been etched in concrete years ago?

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  11. Mark P said on September 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Yeah, Lapierre’s solution to gun violence is … more guns! That guy is either evil or insane. I don’t know which is worse.

    I wish the news media would start calling him out when they interview him. Make him look like the devil/crazy-person he is. If they want balance, they can interview a person who was shot dead by some idiot with a gun. Show Lapierre, and then show a photograph of a gun victim. They can say, “We asked (insert victim’s name here) for a comment, but he was dead so he couldn’t respond.”

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  12. brian stouder said on September 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    why is anything Sarah Palin says worth the attention of this blog?

    Mark – the studied silence of big-foot R’s such as Eddie Munster from Wisconsin or the Michelin-man from New Jersey, as this conjured-up budgetary crisis looms before us, leaves the field to Canadian goose rabble-rousers like Ted Cruz….and in that regard, Sarah Palin’s quacking has the patina of rightwing “main-stream” (aka – Fox) sensibility

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  13. coozledad said on September 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Simplest ad ever to rebut.

    Don’t let them Virginia your vagina!


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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I know name calling is fun and all, but seriously: I have situations where I would like to see individuals not be able to keep or carry guns. I am very much in favor as in *right* *now* of finding ways to limit access to unstable individuals, and am not a member of the NRA nor a fan of their executive vice-president, BUT: how do we learn from an event like the killings at the Washington Navy Yard about how to change the system? On one end of the spectrum is banning all private ownership of firearms. Not gonna happen. On the other end, no restrictions, treat firearms from handguns to shotguns to semi-auto high powered rifles no differently than a drill press or belt sander. Utterly not supported by Americans.

    In between is a pig in a python curve of various options that are well between the extremes, but with all kinds of spots and scales. My biggest concern right now is the passion on right and left to somehow tie the mental health/behavioral health system into weapons checks and effective gun control — that’s going to backfire, big time. If just getting a self-referred assessment is pushing uphill against stigma, real and perceived, in society now, how are we going to get people into treatment and recovery if taking this step is likely to strip you of ever being able to own guns again? Whether it’s Harry Reid or Wayne LaPierre, the idea that you can blame the DC shootings on “a broken mental health system” implies that the answer is to make of behavioral health professionals mandatory reporters, referring even any suspicion of instability to a central database. I think the cure in that scenario is indeed worse than the disease.

    The shooter last week could have been barred from even buying a shotgun if the incidents of gun crime he’d committed already had been taken more seriously and were coordinated nationally. Of course, to make any crime involving a gun as obligatorily referable as domestic violence reports would mean an increase in potential incarcerations, which itself is a huge issue that needs dealt with. I’m not in any way for locking up more people (quite the opposite), but gun crime, including “accidental discharge” should be able to lose you privileges and rights and get you on a No-Buy database in a hurry.

    Taking gun offenses as seriously as they deserve would have stopped or limited the Navy Yard shooter’s damage; making MH clinics report unusual behavior would create an unmanageable mess that wouldn’t stand up to litigation, and would cause a large drop in our already unfortunately low self-referral rate for assessment and care.

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  15. brian stouder said on September 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Jeff, and indeed, the Navy Yard shooter tried to buy an assault rifle, but was stopped by Virginia’s burdensome and Second-Amendment-infringing gun laws, which precluded a non-resident from buying such a firearm there. So indeed, as bad as his onslaught was, it could very easily have been worse.

    And, if we treated people’s VOTING RIGHTS the way we treat their gun rights, then whole swaths of people would be getting disenfranchised by state legislatures across the country.

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  16. alex said on September 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Calls to mind a murder in Chicago some years ago when the local gun laws hadn’t been overturned. There was some lunatic who went into a Morrie Mages sporting goods store that used to be, I think, on North LaSalle. He was hell bent on buying a gun. He went ballistic when told there would be a waiting period of three days. So instead the guy bought some kind of knife. Too bad nobody reported his bizarre behavior, because he then went to the apartment building where he lived to kill the property manager. This he accomplished, along with a frosh coed and her father who’d come in from out of town to find her an apartment near campus and happened to be in the property manager’s office at the time the killer went on his attack.

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  17. prospero said on September 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I’m betting Guns and Stuff sells generic six-packs of white cans identified with black block letering that says “DRINKS”.

    According to friends and family, the Navy Yard gunman had sought out mental health assistance repeatedly. Seems as if this would show up in any reasonable background check. When Rand Paul goes for his gun licenses, does the self-confessed AquaBhudda kidnapping show up? The Supreme Court can say whatever it wants, it doesn’t change the fact that the first 13 words of the 2nd Amendment constitute a restrictive descriptive clause in the English language, and the right of every yahoo to go around packing is a chickenshithawk conservative fantasy. These loony-tunes insist upon the right of people on known terriss lists to own assault weapons.

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  18. Sherri said on September 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Speaking of Ted Cruz, the living breathing embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect: http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201310/ted-cruz-republican-senator-october-2013?currentPage=1

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on September 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Charles Krauthammer has a column today where he says that if he were still a practicing psychiatrist, he would have involuntarily committed the Navy Yard shooter. He doesn’t mention whether he would have forbidden the guy to buy a shotgun.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Prospero, you’re inadvertently making my point. If simply going to a mental health clinic and asking for help means you go on a database which is primarily used to remove legal rights, you’ll just see even more avoidance of mental/behavioral health than we do now. And why run that risk (more than a risk, IMHO) when simply applying clearly and forcefully existing gun law would be just as effective? If you have a domestic violence conviction, no guns. Period. If you have used a gun in any non-legal way: including (especially) discharge, even “accidental”, within a building, or holding a weapon at the time of arrest for pretty much anything. Go back and check cases and you’d see that would have kept most of these situations constrained without making mental health workers mandatory reporters.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 23, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Crossposted, so I’d add: absolutely an involuntary commitment should also strip all gun rights. But those are harder to start, let alone make stick, as I know all too well.

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  22. BigHank53 said on September 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    The one idea I’d heard for legal gun control can be drawn straight from the second amendment its own self: armed citizens are available as a militia. Not much point in having militia members who are more likely to shoot off their own feet, is there? Anyway, the thinking would be to have a graduated licensing system like commercial trucking or pilots, in that one would have to be tested and qualify for more ‘hazardous’ weapons. Every year you have to show up at range, get handed a mil-surplus rifle, you field-strip it with a cranky state trooper giving you the hairy eyeball, then you put fifty rounds through it and you’d better hit the target with 75% of them.

    The license is attached to the person, not the gun. No license, no sale. The cops search your car and find a gun that you’re not qualified to own? We’ll just impound this for a year, sir, come on down to the station after you renew your license and we’ll give it back to you. Wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt if it falls into the wrong hands.

    You wouldn’t need to charge much to cover costs–and frankly, if you can’t afford to practice, y’all shouldn’t be wandering around with a firearm. The hassle would discourage the wanker gun owners, many of whom couldn’t hit the side of a barn. And because it would be 100% constitutional, Wayne LaPierre would probably stroke out.

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  23. mark said on September 23, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Careful there, hank. You keep throwing around ideas and a discussion might break out.

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  24. Deborah said on September 23, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Big Hank, that sounds like a pretty good idea to me. Mark, what’s your beef?

    We started the bathroom renovation, which means we had to go to home Depot and Lowes and a couple of tile stores in town to try and find some small plain white tiles to go on the wall above the new sink. I origionally wanted the 1/2″ x 1/2″ size, no luck. Then looked for 1″x1″ size, no luck again. Nobody carries plain white in those sizes, why is that? I need such a small amount of tile I ended up going to Habitat for Humanity, I had no idea just anyone can go there and buy stuff. It ended up costing all of $1.60. I gave the cashier a fiver and told her to keep the change for the organization. She seemed astounded that I would do that, which astounded me.

    Oh, and that cool sink I bought at Ikea in Tempe has some missing pieces, so I had to call and try to get them to send them to me. The Ikea call center I was connected with was in Baltimore, MD and the woman I spoke with did not give me a feeling of confidence that I will get what I need. And there seemed to be a couple of people in the background having a horrible argument, the woman actually said she was having a hard time hearing me because it was so noisy there. I was shouting my shipping info into the phone and half expecting that someone in the background was going to go postal and start shooting.

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  25. Deborah said on September 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Another Ted Cruz story to add to Sherri’s link: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/me-ted

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  26. basset said on September 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Deborah, haven’t looked for individual tiles that size but small tile squares set in plastic mesh are pretty easy to find around here… pre-spaced and ready to go, just stick ’em up there and add grout.

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  27. Dexter said on September 23, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    beb, I can’t go to a fast food or any drive-through place without thinking about your Burger King incident. Imagine the horror these folks felt as they were simply trying to catch a ride to work or whatever…

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  28. alex said on September 23, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Tonight went to the street fair and had a wonderful time. The DeKalb County Democrats were out in full force, and we shared stories of how emboldened we feel now that Obama has been elected. People blow us shit and we just say that the majority see things our way so fuck off.

    And Costco had a booth there and we had a blast talking to them. I think Kroger and Meijer may be seeing less of our biz when it opens in the Fort on 10/16. I love Meijer for its produce and meat. I hate Meijer for being so inconveniently far away. Kroger, meh. Not a bad store, not a great one, and we have two equidistant. I almost prefer the old dump in Auburn to the new superstore in the Fort with too much shit. Seriously, would you buy jewelry and furniture from Kroger? Me neither. Milk and bread and butt wipes, sure. Anything else, retailers who specialize in it.

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  29. Julie Robinson said on September 23, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Alex, our son got a job at Costco and from what we’ve seen so far we’re impressed. For a big corporation they have good pay and benefits, even for the peons at entry level positions. He’s been out pounding the pavement selling memberships, and you bet he signed us up.

    I always wondered who bought that stuff at the Kroger up north. But I guess there isn’t much competition, not even a Target, just nasty Walmart.

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  30. Deborah said on September 23, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Yes Basset that’s what I was looking for, just try to find all white. Impossible. I did find some 1″ x 1″ glass mosaics (in 12″ x 12″ in super white on line) but the wait time is longer than I wanted.

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