Two ways of looking at something.

I can’t keep up with all these stupid aggregators lately. BuzzFeed, HuffPost (yes, not entirely an aggregator) and the most irritating of all, Upworthy. I couldn’t quite figure Upworthy for a while — it’s hard to give anything focused attention in the age of Nobody Reads Anything — but eventually it bored through my inattention. It’s a prissy little pass-along deal, which its homepage banner makes clear: Things that matter. Pass ’em on. The person who always sends you Elizabeth Warren fanboy/girl stuff probably found a lot of it on Upworthy.

Anyway, Upworthy recently ran a…cute feature about Detroit’s bankruptcy. It’s not journalism, but more of a nothingburger illustrated with funny, funny GIFs. Way up at the top of the page, note the credit: “made possible by the AFL-CIO.” I don’t have anything against the AFL-CIO, but what this post is peddling is the Maddow version of why Detroit went bankrupt, which involves a) an eeeevil Republican governor; b) revenue sharing; and of course, c) the emergency manager, who is known in this world as the “local dictator.”

It’s not a fact-free version, but it is enormously lacking context, as well as a lot of other facts. But this is common; even among people who do read stuff, they are increasingly likely to like only their own media, who feed them this stuff. The right wing has their own version of why Detroit happened, and it boils down to a) Dumbocrats; b) Coleman Young and c) Dumbocrats.

So I’m grateful to Jeff Wattrick at Deadline Detroit, who put up a counterpoint to Upworthy, also with funny funny GIFs, that’s just as lively and fun to read, only is a lot closer to the whole truth.

And isn’t Upworthy. So there’s that.

I hate to link to Steinberg two days in a row, but I liked his sane take on the recent news that Jews were headed for extinction — at least the secular-leaning Jews most of us know:

So recognizing my own bias, why care? It isn’t as if there is an intrinsic need for a small Jewish minority to question mainstream beliefs anymore. We set the example, now exit the stage, to join the Shakers. Other faiths will step up. The Muslims are doing a fine job as the new minority American faith on deck, and they can complain about crosses in the public way as loudly as Jews did. Societies now has gays to test how much it really believe in tolerance of fractional minorities.

And there will always be some Jews. A core of Jewishness, kept alive by the hermetically sealed world of the Ultra-Orthodox and the Hasidim. Their society is designed to endure—that’s where the whole non-change thing comes in. Sure, we smirk at them for the black hats and wigs and 17th century traditions. But they know that if you swap your heavy black coat for a smart Calvin Klein jacket, you’re halfway a Unitarian. As long they exist, there will be a steady stream of secular Jews dribbling away from them, like the tail of a comet.

Mighty level-headed, I’d say.

Very different, but equally worth your time, is this startling obit for Erin R. Wagman:

Erin Wagman, also known as Erin Borgmann, died of acute alcohol poisoning on October 19, 2013 in Rapid City. She was 42 years old. She died alone.

A writer’s first job is to tell the truth. Someone did.

I think the fall is sapping my energy. It was cold, honestly cold, this morning and I’m not sure I’ve entirely recovered. We’ll see about tomorrow.

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

49 responses to “Two ways of looking at something.”

  1. Dexter said on October 24, 2013 at 12:49 am

    It’s hard enough keeping up with Reddit, and now Digg has a new reader, released eleven days ago. When Digg broke, soon they had 300,000,000 pieces of news data floating around; try to keep up with that, ha!

    208 chars

  2. Sherri said on October 24, 2013 at 1:24 am

    We haven’t been that cold, but as my husband says, we’ve been stuck in a Stephen King novel for a week. Persistent dense fog, that takes until mid-afternoon at least to burn off. Then a few hours of sun before the fog takes over again. I find it starts to wear on me after a week. Fortunately, we’re going to the sunny side of the state this weekend to visit our daughter at school! First time we’ve seen her since we dropped her off at the end of August.

    455 chars

  3. Prospero said on October 24, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Everyone should get an obit as beautiful and evocative as Erin Borgman’s. I spent a lot of time one summer in Rapid (people that live there leave off the Rapid) after meeting and falling hard for a girl from there while on a vacation with my family in Freeport, GBI. We shared a surname, and when I brought her to a dance at my HS in Detroit the next Thanksgiving, the double takes when I introduced her to former classmates and teachers were hilarious. Alas, Shirley became a Jesus Freak and we drifted apart, but that summer before my 1st college year was an idylic romp around the Black Hills in her metallic bluee 442 droptop. Back in ’69, Rapid was a pretty depressing place, but my GF’s family owned a 200 or so unit HoJos motor lodge where people stayed while making day trips to Rushmore. She was beautiful, bright and sweet, and my life would undoubtedly have been completely different had we stayed together. I still have letters she wrote me at school and some prints from linoleum cuts she did. She was a talented artist.

    I’ve got no use for news feeds. Seems like to much effort for the result. I just read several editorial and oped pages every day, and a few favorite web sites.

    1197 chars

  4. David C. said on October 24, 2013 at 6:28 am

    I can handle the cold, it’s the damned darkness that bothers me. When I’m rich, I’m going to have an alternate summer house in the Southern Hemisphere.

    151 chars

  5. ROGirl said on October 24, 2013 at 6:44 am

    I identify as Jewish, but non-practicing. My parents didn’t belong to a temple and my exposure to religion when growing up was very limited. We had a menorah and lit the candles for Hannukah every year, but we also had a Christmas tree (small fake one). The first time I was in a synagogue was for the bar mitzvah of a cousin. I was around 10 when I attended my first Passover seder, at the home of some distant cousins who had moved to the area from New York.

    I regret that I didn’t have the religious experience back then.

    527 chars

  6. linda said on October 24, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I ama sort of consumer of interesting obits, and that is one. Obviously her loved ones knew the truth and shared it well before her death.

    138 chars

  7. ROGirl said on October 24, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Being Jewish is not just about religion, it’s also about ethnic identity.

    73 chars

  8. Linda said on October 24, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I have to kick in to Jeff Wattrick’s version of what went wrong with Detroit, especially the “everybody, including greedy workers, are at fault” idea. A lot of city workers–my brother and family friends among them–took increases in pension in place of pay raises, even cost of living, for years. My brother did not get a COLA for a half dozen years in the 1970s and 80s, when the CPI went through the roof. And the workers who are getting their pensions cut (one guy I know is a year or two from retirement) did not know or approve of where the investments were made. In Ohio, there was a hue and cry about the state pension shortfalls that have happened in recent years, but they were the result of investment failures, not pensioneers living high on the hog. BTW, one of the salesmen for the Lehman Brothers, whose investments tanked mightily in Columbus was…John Kasich. Now the governor.

    1031 chars

  9. David C. said on October 24, 2013 at 7:30 am

    As I understand, one of the biggest problems with pensions is in years where the investments were doing well, the fund would be declared over funded and money was withdrawn and spent, no new money would be put in, or both. Of course we all know from our 401(k)it’s OK because the stock market only goes up and up, so it’s OK, right. I suspect any good actuary would tell them that’s nuts, but who listens to actuaries anymore.

    426 chars

  10. beb said on October 24, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I always dislike people talking about “greedy workers” like it’s some kind of a sin to want to make a decent living. As Linda points out above, most workers have no idea what the pension board is doing or can evaluate the merits of their investments. It’s a full time job trying to understand all those finances and workers, you know, already have a job. City Workers do not get cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA). So every time a contract comes up they, obviously, want a wage increase to pay for the increases in the costs of everything. In my nearly thirty years with the City there was only one contract generous contract and that offered 3%, 3%, 3% over the three year contract. Coleman Young was running for Mayor that year and did not want any labor trouble. But every other contract involved pay freezes, hikes of 1.5%, or even give-backs. We’ve gone through at least two days-off-without-pay (DOWP)schemes. And while we’re bering castigates as ‘greedy’ the mayor increased the salaries of his managers because “you have to pay good money to get good talent.” If you want to talk about greedy – look up, not down.

    1120 chars

  11. Julie Robinson said on October 24, 2013 at 9:03 am

    beb, agreed. It’s the same on most college campuses, the presidents get paid more while the adjunct faculty has no benefits, and the poor students have to take out more and more loans to cover the ever-increasing tuition. True leadership would be to cut the upper management salaries until things were right for everyone.

    David C., have you tried light therapy? I’m sitting in front of my Happy Light right now, as I do every morning during these dark days. It works better for my Seasonal Affective Disorder than antidepressants did, the one year I tried them.

    564 chars

  12. Pam (the sister) said on October 24, 2013 at 9:29 am

    beb @ 10 – that is so true! When I worked in the Bell System, we had lay-offs, pay freezes, benefit reductions pretty much steadily starting at about the divestiture. They said we needed to come in line with what the market was paying. Eventually, we were reduced to bare bones of workers who actually knew how to get anything accomplished. That’s when the company discovered that they could get rid of one Division Manager and save about 4 valuable in-the-trenches jobs (customer facing positions, they called it). After that, the organization became very flat and it actually became easier to work there. It was like Office Space and the TPS reports. “You know, Bob, I have 4 different bosses and every time there’s a problem with the TPS reports, I have to explain to 4 different people.” (And I paraphrase.) I’ve always been mystified as to how they pulled that off, because the decision would have come from the C level. Likely that was the only way the C levels could get more pay, LOL!

    1002 chars

  13. brian stouder said on October 24, 2013 at 10:30 am

    (polite rant mode ON)

    … the Maddow version of why Detroit went bankrupt, which involves a) an eeeevil Republican governor…

    I confess to being quite taken by Ms Maddow, even while recognizing she generally traffics the 30,000’ POV on things that happen here in fly-over country. Here in Indiana, for example, we have a woman who was elected on a state-wide ballot to be Superintendent of Public Instruction; a woman who OUT-POLLED our newly elected Republican Governor – a white-haired Bobby Knight look-alike who, when he was in Congress, was one of the loons making speeches in front of the capital building with the dramatic refrain “SHUT IT DOWN!”.

    And do you know what? Our white-haired Bobby Knight look-alike Republican governor, which we will refrain from calling “evil” (at least for the purposes of this rant), and his minions and toadies in the Republican dominated state legislature, has been slowly circling our newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, with knives in hand, ready to slice into her and shred her mandate and dice her office and eviscerate the authority that the Indiana electorate entrusted to her (and NOT THEM!).

    I don’t recall ANY of these people so much as criticizing the predecessor of our newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, let alone moving to take any authority away from him…even as he engaged in out-and-out quid pro quo criminal activities, related directly to the responsibilities he was entrusted with.

    By way of saying, possibly you’ll forgive us for smiling and nodding whenever Ms Maddow (et al) look toward our corner of the world and heaves some well deserved shit stew upon the “governing” Republicans hereabouts.

    (polite rant mode END)

    1772 chars

  14. nancy said on October 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

    On that one you are absolutely right, Brian. I’ve been horrified by the treatment of Ritz, and wonder why more people aren’t making it a cause.

    143 chars

  15. mark said on October 24, 2013 at 10:58 am

    What is “polite” about making fun of peoples names and physical characteristics? Why can you never post anything without engaging in middle school taunting? Here’s my “polite” rebuttal, brian:

    The only thing good about Rocky Madcow is he is slightly less irritating than his sister, Chrissy Hayes. And glenda ‘the not good’ witch has got more pockmarks on her make-up slathered face than there are on her namesake crackers.

    I just love a polite discussion.

    465 chars

  16. brian stouder said on October 24, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Mark – you got me laughing, anyway!

    35 chars

  17. Bob (not Greene) said on October 24, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Yeah, saying someone looks like Bobby Knight is totally like calling some dude a chick, and some dyke a dude. Right on, bro!

    124 chars

  18. alex said on October 24, 2013 at 11:40 am

    All kinds of interesting stuff today. Who knew Ann Coulter’s schtick was a joke on conservatives?

    And Harry Reid just vindicated Dick Durbin, if you’ve been following the story about a high-level Republican insulting the president to his face.

    479 chars

  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 24, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Well, if you’re a Purdue grad it would be.

    42 chars

  20. bacioni said on October 24, 2013 at 11:53 am

    That was the best obit I have ever read. It is honest in these days of “she’s dead, let’s not tell secrets….shhhh!”. I appreciate and applaud that honesty.

    157 chars

  21. Jolene said on October 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Agree that the obituary is a fine piece of writing. Forthright, yet loving. I’m left thinking, though, about the nine-year-old boy. The obituary doesn’t say whether he lived with his mother throughout all this, but the idea of a young kid living with a parent unreachable due to alcoholism is heartbreaking.

    307 chars

  22. Bob (not Greene) said on October 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Jeff TMMO, I am a Purdue grad!

    30 chars

  23. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm


    Boiler up!

    17 chars

  24. alex said on October 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Purdue. Where men are men…

    28 chars

  25. coozledad said on October 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Bob(Not Greene)That’s pretty much a hiccup of the right, one of the involuntary spasms that identify them as both preliterate and pre-empathic. The tell is the cumbersome deployment of what they recognize as humorous tropes, but missing a fundamental characteristic of humor- an understanding of the existence of others. It’s the solipsist’s humor, the sociopath’s.

    It’s an elision that occurs in nearly every attempt at right-radical and authoritarian humor, and it’s absolutely unconscious. They can’t even tell it’s going on.

    Research is beginning to indicate it’s a developmental disorder that occurs in early adolescence, as opposed to a family of structural pathologies like autism.

    This guy is a good example of their cluelessness in this regard. Prior to the airing of this segment, he told people he was afraid The Daily Show was going to “Try and make him look stupid”.

    Nah, All they’ve got to do is let you talk:

    1023 chars

  26. velvet goldmine said on October 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I don’t remotely wish for anything like a takedown of Rachel Maddow. We all love a Big Voice who holds our own views and can dispatch statements made by those who oppose those beliefs with such matter-of-factness.

    But there is something about her persona that snags at my brain. Her approach is that of a wry Algebra teacher taking you through it One. More. Time…. until it becomes clear. There never seems to be any sense that she understands she is laying out a case to be made — a position — rather than self-evident facts. If you disagree with a premise in her chain of logic, than you are simply denying the undeniable.

    632 chars

  27. Deborah said on October 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I love Rachel again. I went through a period there where she drove me crazy, but she seems to have calmed down some. I also like Chris Hayes, I thinks he’s intelligent and has quite an extensive vocabulary, at least to my ears. But now that I’m back in Chicago our TV is only able to be used for DVDs, we disconnected it from cable. I suppose I could watch online somehow but it doesn’t seem that important now. Lots of other stuff to do in the big city.

    454 chars

  28. Hattie said on October 24, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Oh for Pete sake. (eyeroll)
    Are people seriously bitching about Maddow?

    72 chars

  29. brian stouder said on October 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Hattie – my theory (re comments on Ms Maddow) is, it’s all good.

    She does lots of ‘explainers’ – which I can understand would tire some folks out.

    Our lovely proprietress occasionally – and hilariously! – points to the maddingly simplistic ‘explainers’ – such as ‘cold weather tips’ and ‘hot weather tips’, etc, that USA Today (for example) is wont to put on their front page. (“Wear a hat and gloves” or “have crackers and cookies in your trunk”, etc)

    Rachel goes on riffs like that, usually building toward a funny/upsetting/thought-provoking climax.

    She’s smoothed her style (imo), but the format remains. The other night she built and built upon McAfee anti-virus software, and then the eccentricity/craziness of Mr McAfee – all leading finally to the payoff…he was being called by Republicans in congress as an “expert witness” in their newest ACA witch-hunt.

    All in all, it struck me as quite funny, as well as informative…but if you already knew the basic story, it was just 10 minutes of blather.

    1024 chars

  30. Prospero said on October 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    The arrant sophism in this exchange is why I think of Richard III when I’m accidentally exposed to that bunch-backed toad, that bottled spider. According to Charlie nobody on the cpnservoloony side is questioning the New Deal anymore. Then he says that Paul Ryan is the spokesman for current consrvatrons. Paul Ryan isn’t out to destroy SSI, Charlie? Bullshit. He just wants to hand it over to Lehman Bros., you liar. Good thing that didn’t happen back when Shrub wanted to do it. Krauthammer is an endless source of verbal Ipecac. What a mendacious POS the guy is. George Will does the same shit, but with a smoother delivery.

    That UCDavis rent-a-cop that sprayed the manacled occupy demonstrators with tear gas at point blank range has received a $38grand bonus (to add to his $110grand per annum salary) for his mental anguish over his brutal behavior going viral. WTF? SI Hayakawa is spinning happily in his grave.

    Taking back contractual pension benefits from any worker is pretty obviously illegal. How is it different from hiring a contractor to remodel your house, agreeing on terms of payment, and then reneging because you FUBARed your finances. No shotguns were involved in the contract negotiations. If this is kosher, why shouldn’t every government entity that pays for privately contracted penal or trash collection services be able to unilaterally change the basis of payments? You’d be able to hear GOPer politicians squealing halfway to Mars, even in the vacuum of space. Conservatives seem to think pensions are some sort of largesse granted by the Lords to the vassals out of the goodness of their shriveled anthracite hearts, rather than a legitimate part of a legally binding contract for a compensation package. This approach makes a mockery of contract law.

    After the infantile nonsense from the SL Cardinals about Puig “disrespecting the game” during the LCS, it’s hilarious to hear them whining about the umps getting their butchered double play attempt called right and claiming that Lester was putting Vaseline on the ball. Act like you’ve been there, asseyes. The ump that called the runner out at second originally on the botched DP should wait until at least next year to work another game. Not even close. The Cards 2B didn’t even touch the baseball much less second base. Yeah, yeah, the neighborhood, but you do have to catch the ball.

    2523 chars

  31. Deborah said on October 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    “You’d be able to hear GOPer politicians squealing halfway to Mars, even in the vacuum of space.” Good one, Prospero.

    119 chars

  32. Prospero said on October 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Part of what some people seem to find objectionable about Rachel Maddow’s schtick is that unerring liberal bias found in reality.

    Why is the idea of the ACA exchange website being sabotaged treated by media outlets as some outre conspiracy theory? Bastards were willing to annihilate the world economy to deep 6 the law? They wouldn’t attack the website? One bit of technological malfeasance GOPers are undeniably good at is robocalling, which would certainly mess up the exchange signup apparatus. Also, what do the signup SNAFUs have to do with the merits of the substantial provisions of PP/ACA? Nothing. And if 30 GOPer governors hadn’t refused to implement state-based exchanges, would any of this be a topic of conversation now? I’d say those governors should be charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to implement the law. Now those same SOBs are suing on the claim that the feds can’t be involved in the subsidies because the law says they must come through state exchanges. So if I can’t get help with my premium because Nikki and the SC GOPers didn’t comply with the law and set up a state exchange (hell, they made it illegal to do so), why would I vote for her again. (I didn’t, that’s a hypothetical).

    1225 chars

  33. Dorothy said on October 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Sherri I loved your husband’s description of the weather! Now I’ll think of that every time we have foggy mornings and days. And last weekend was Family weekend at Kenyon and I got to witness a really sweet reunion when I was working at the registration desk between a student and her mom. Made me all teary-eyed.

    314 chars

  34. Prospero said on October 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Mark@15: Way to go all homophobic when criticizing Brian’s post. True colors.

    If you want to insult someone by noting his likeness to Bobby Knight, you must include a reference to Coach Knight’s likeness to Shamu.

    Old fart asshole GOPers do all resemble each other. Bastard spawn of St. Henry Hyde’s and Scumbag Dan Burton’s “youthful” indiscretions.

    356 chars

  35. Jerri said on October 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    This correction from the Washington Post fits some of today’s discussion:

    144 chars

  36. brian stouder said on October 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I myself would be ‘thickset, if not muscular’, I think

    (emphasis on the word “not”)

    86 chars

  37. Julie Robinson said on October 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    When I was expecting our first child, I inquired of my OB what conditions would lead him to do a C-section. His response, perhaps the female equivalent of thickset/muscular: “Well, you’re a big girl, so I don’t think we’ll need to”. So much for that! (And, luckily enough for me, they didn’t, either time.)

    306 chars

  38. Jeff Borden said on October 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Has anyone else been following the antics in Texas as the state rushes to change its voting rules now that the troublesome Voting Rights Act has been destroyed by our Supreme Court because, you know, there is no longer any racism or prejudice in our country?

    Those good, ol’ “anti-government” conservatives made sure only ID cards they liked can be counted as official documents, so a student ID card issued by a state university is not accepted, but your concealed carry weapon card is, of course. But the real fun comes in the name game. If the name on, say, your driver’s license is different from the name on your birth certificate, you have a problem, which is why a state judge was almost denied her right to vote because her maiden name is the middle name on her Texas driver’s license, but of course, her real middle name is on her birth certificate.

    It’s estimated that 400,000 to 600,000 black and Hispanic voters will be purged from the voting rolls down there. And if they can keep those damned womenfolk from voting, so much the better.

    1055 chars

  39. Prospero said on October 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Here’s an obviously brilliant idea: offshore fracking. What could possibly go wrong, aside from spills and earthquakes and tsunamis, oh my?

    255 chars

  40. brian stouder said on October 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Jeff, if our dis-satisfied fellow citizens – the so-called “tea party” people – were as versed in the US Constitution as they think they are, they’d have a hell of a problem with the 15th Amendment.

    But indeed, ignorance is bliss (if not an excuse)

    258 chars

  41. Jeff Borden said on October 24, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Amen, Brian. Like those who cherry pick to the Bible to reconcile their hatred of gays, the teahadists prefer only choice morsels of the Constitution to the entire document. When I look at the range of people who are constantly invoking the Constitution –washed up rocker Teddy Nugent, the Quitta from Wasilla, Jim DeMented of the Heritage Foundation– I find it hard to believe they have read it, much less whether they understand it.

    Ah, Texas. How can we forget you when you won’t ever leave?

    499 chars

  42. beb said on October 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Jeff Borden. I’ve being following Texas’s voting rights madness. Also Rachel had a bit on it last night. My wife would have a lot of trouble voting in Texas because her official name is an alternative spelling on the conventional name, and her driver’s license got it wrong. Not to mention the issue of Middle name versus Maiden name. Texas is really fubarred.

    By the way, I just updated a bunch of stuff, including Firefox and now I’ve got words breaking in weird places. Did anyone ever figure out how to fix that? Has there ever been a software roll-out that didn’t screw up something, somewhere?

    604 chars

  43. Jolene said on October 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Has there ever been a software roll-out that didn’t screw up something, somewhere?

    No. Kind of amazing, really.

    123 chars

  44. Prospero said on October 24, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Some fool Texan running for something is saying no to secession but advocating throwing MA, CA, and NY out of the union. dumbshit doesn’t know that’s where Texas’ federal welfare money comes from. What a maroon.

    Not to make fun, but the GOPer goober-nor of Idaho is named Butch Otter. Don’t mean to be impolite, but that is just humorous. Goober-nor Otter looks like a crooked televangelist, pardon the redundancy.

    Those Teabangers certainly didn’t pay any attention to Article III, Section 3 when they signed the Norquist pledge.

    What the GOPers are forgetting to mention in their unmitigated glee over the ACA website SNAFUs is that private contractors are responsible, and that continued GOP obstructionism and asinine law suits kept the website development in abeyance for a very long time.

    804 chars

  45. LAMary said on October 24, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I slipped and fell on my butt in a supermarket when I was five months pregnant with my second child. I went to my OB to be checked out and with Chinese accent she said, “you have big ass. no worries.” There was no mention of being thickset.

    240 chars

  46. alex said on October 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Here in Hoosierland, the polite term has always been “heavyset,” with the patronizing “matronly” running a close second back in the day when men were men and sheep were scared. Of course, these words were Pre-McDonald’s concoctions. I don’t think they have a polite word for what we see today on scooters in the potato chip aisle except for the clinical terms, although I’ve heard some of the more learned saying “avoir du pois” in the presence of people who likely never studied French.

    “Thickset” makes me think of the Schlage “lockset,” the one with the big knobs as opposed to the levers designed to aid old folks and the disabled, who used to be known around here as “gimps.”

    684 chars

  47. alex said on October 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    LA Mary—

    That calls to mind a Margaret Cho routine I once heard live in Chicago. She was talking about her parents running a convenience store that sold pornography. “Gay rike ass,” her mother used to say about a magazine called “Assmaster.”

    246 chars

  48. Sherri said on October 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    If you’re going to do interviews and insist on only being identified as a “former senior administration official,” maybe you shouldn’t be doing the interviews on the train?

    298 chars

  49. Charlotte said on October 24, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Oh that obit made me cry. I come from a family full of drunks, including a beloved aunt who died when her kids were 14, 12, and 9. It was not good after that for those kids. We lost them for years. One of the joys of the last couple of years has been reconnecting with my cousin Jennifer (the 14 year old).

    My mother’s favorite euphemism was “she’s a big, strong girl.” Uh huh.

    381 chars