Open thread.

So, yesterday I spent mostly in bed, swallowing ibuprofen, changing ice packs and making phone calls. Which means little to report. Knee is still an open issue; I see the doc today.

But one of the things I ran across was this terribly sad story about Newtown, Conn., one year after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. It’s not just sad in “The Sweet Hereafter” sense, but also in the peculiar American custom of how we divide the money raised to compensate victims of a crime like this. I promise you, if all you take away from this is the difference between “the 26,” “the 12” and “the two,” it’s worth your time.

Theres also this, by John Carlisle, a Freep column worthy of his grittier Metro Times roots, about a community of squatters trying to create a utopia in one of the very worst — seriously, among a city packed with awful neighborhoods, this one is a top-fiver — neighborhoods in Detroit.

Otherwise? Open thread. I must now limp to the kitchen and make some coffee.

Posted at 7:30 am in Current events, Detroit life |

44 responses to “Open thread.”

  1. beb said on November 5, 2013 at 7:48 am

    The FReep link leads to the Newtown story.

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  2. beb said on November 5, 2013 at 7:50 am

    It’s Guy Fawkes Day. Have you blown up your Parliment?

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  3. nancy said on November 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Thanks for the alert. Fixed.

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  4. beb said on November 5, 2013 at 8:01 am

    The Freep story is interesting. They’re like modern day hippies full of high ideals and an astonishing ability to absorb adversity. As squatters I imagine that now that the police know they are there they’ll come around and evict them because God Forbid someone live in a house that they don’t know.

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  5. coozledad said on November 5, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Carlisle’s piece is very good, and familiar, somehow. I hope some of those people can tough it out. Brother Yusef Salim did something similar in Durham back in its bad old days with the Salaam Cultural center.

    Nekkid twenty-something hippies is a small price to pay for the kind of long term change those communities can put in motion.

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  6. brian stouder said on November 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

    (from last thread) Sherri – I have added Rising Tide to my Christmas list, so at some point I’ll have more to say about it!

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  7. Charlotte said on November 5, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Was there a thread here months ago about The Warmth of Other Suns? Reading it now — best thing I’ve read in ages. The way she balances narrative with real structural analysis of how slavery and Jim Crow functioned is astonishing.

    Liked the naked hippie story — I’ve known many a fine person who started out in his or her twenties as a stoned naked hippie. But I do hope someone in that group knows how to properly vent a wood stove …

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  8. Julie Robinson said on November 5, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Charlotte–agreed! History written like fiction, in the hands of a masterful writer. I will probably reread in a couple of years, and no doubt glean even more.

    Both the links today are well worth your time, even though lengthy. Black/white solutions rarely work in the real world.

    From yesterday’s thread re: calling customer service to get goodies. Our daughter used a lot of data before she got internet at her new place, so I called to increase our plan for this month. (Did you know you can do that? Increase one month, then go back to your old plan the next. At least on Verizon.)

    So the rep and I discussed the issue and we decided to add 2gb, which is $10 more, as opposed to $15 for each gb if you over your plan. Blah, blah, passwords, blah, blah, billing dates, and I’d almost tuned out when she said that as a courtesy for increasing our data plan she was giving us a $10 credit for the month.

    So instead of paying $30 for overages we will pay nothing. File this one under Ask And Ye Shall Receive.

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  9. Prospero said on November 5, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Gorgeous time lapse photography.

    Naked hippies in Detroit? Say it ain’t so.

    Nancy: It’s probably time to move along to the heating pad for your knee, maybe alternating hot and cold is probably best. Ice acts immediately after the injury to limit swelling, but after that moist heat is most efficacious. I play hoops with a bunch of 20 year old gym rats so I deal with injuries of this sort frequently. Main thing is to stay off the leg. And elevating your knee will help.

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  10. Bitter Scribe said on November 5, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I got about halfway through that NY Mag story and had to quit. Too damn painful.

    Completely selfish reaction: Thank God I’m not a reporter with an assignment to pester those people. I just don’t think I could make myself do it.

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  11. susan said on November 5, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Prospero @9… I’ve watched a number of those of time-lapse videos and the thing that always strikes, and disturbs, me is the lack of animal life in all of them. No birds, lizards, deer, moose, fish, bugs. It’s creepy. And of course, no people. Can’t have people in nature, ya know. Well, except for the shadow of someone in that strangely out-of-character-for-a-“nature”-video garish lime-green tent. Is it because individual photos are taken too many seconds/minutes apart and animal life doesn’t usually hold still?

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  12. Peter said on November 5, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Bitter, you’re right, although I did make it to the end of the article. It’s unfortunate in any disaster, but it sounds like the United Way fund is doing the right thing – give a monetary gift to those with a loss, save some for future counseling and medical expenses that are sure to happen down the road. It’s just when you read about people who get $$$ for spilling hot coffee while a parent who loses a child gets $, it can seem unjust.

    One part the article got right – a tragedy like this takes a huge toll on a community. Over 50 years ago, there was a fire at Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago – 95 grade school students and 3 nuns died. While the touchy-feely approach in Newtown may appear wrong to some, the City of Chicago and Catholic Church tried the let’s not talk about it attitude, and that didn’t work. Although the neighborhood most likely would have turned into white flight anyway, the area went to seed in less than 10 years, and is still one of the most run down areas of the city.

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  13. Deborah said on November 5, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Charlotte, I read The Warmth of Other Suns this summer and found it, as you said, one of the best things I’ve read in ages. In Chicago right now it has been selected as the book to concentrate on for an entire year, through One Book One Chicago. It started with a lecture by the author Isabel Wilkerson on Oct 1 (I missed it because I was still in Santa Fe then). Here’s a link to the program:

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  14. brian stouder said on November 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

    A semi-related non-sequitur:

    Here’s a somewhat typical local news story (car crash, injury, good Samaritans acting fast, happy ending), and with the usual peanut gallery comments at the end…and then the fellow whose life was saved chimes in.

    Aside from that, like Bitter, my eyes got to the watering stage very early on, and I bailed on the Newtown article until tonight.

    And Charlotte – The Warmth of Other Suns is a genuinely tremendous book. The deal I made with our 15 year old daughter was – she reads that and I read the Hunger Games trilogy. I’ve read the first two, and still owe her the third…and although HG isn’t my cup of tea (so to speak), it was good enough to pull me through to the end.

    I’ve no doubt that WoOS will be at least that good for Shelby, but we shall see

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  15. Bitter Scribe said on November 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Peter: For a good example of the “let’s not talk about it attitude” and how cruelly absurd it is, I recommend “Girls of Tender Age” by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith. It’s an memoir of how her 11-year-old classmate was raped and murdered by a serial killer. The day after her body was found, the teacher at her Catholic school announced, “There will be no talking of Irene,” and the school proceeded to pretend that she never existed.

    This was in the early 1960s. When some chucklehead sneers about “sensitivity training” or some such thing they find objectionable in schools, I always think, “Yeah, stupid. You want to go back to the good old days, when kids were left to deal with all that stuff on their own?”

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  16. coozledad said on November 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Bitter Scribe: on a related note:

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  17. Prospero said on November 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Roy Edroso goes to town on the intellectually bankrupt strum und drang over Obama lied about keeping your plan if you like it. A particularly acute turn of phrase:

    But apparently there are a lot of people out there who love their bandaid-and-a-bucket-of-leeches plans, and are outraged that they have to trade them in for something that meets ACA standards. For rightbloggers, this was the End of Obamacare Redux Part Infinity.

    Seems that the legions of stupid Americans are buying this horse pucky anyway. Total eclipse of the brains and the typical stultifying cognitive dissonance. Next thing, GOPers will be railing against privatization, beccause you know Obama administration went to contractors to design the website. To make an analogy, GOP reaction to the website FUBAR is like an OB nurse saying “Boy, that’s a low APGAR total, might as well euthanize the kid.” It’s silly to say the GOP has no alternative plan though. The plan is to retain the failed status quo and kick the health care can down the road another 40 years without addressing the problem of paying twice as much for health care as civilized, advanced countries, to a time when it’s more like five times as much. This is a case in which conservative really means “Don’t change a thing we’re doing. It’s ordained by our divine right as the rich folks. So what if it wastes money hand over foot and causes people to die prematurely. They shouldn’t have developed those preexisting conditions in the first place, and it’s God’s punishment for being poor.”

    “Sounds like a plan, Randolph.”

    “Cheers, Mortimer. We know better than any blackamoor whippersnapper that doesn’t know his place.”

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  18. Prospero said on November 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Bernhard Goetz was arrested for selling $30 worth of pot to a NYPD undercover. Laughing my ass off. If Darrell Cabey is still alive, I hope he hears about this, maybe has friends at Rikers Island. Goetz shot Cabey in the back, in self defense. NYPD never produced the “sharpened screwdrivers” in evidence.

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  19. Prospero said on November 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Rare and incredibly beautiful fauna in the wild.

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  20. Connie said on November 5, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    This is the headline to the article to which Brian linked: Witnesses revive crash victim after being thrown from truck.

    Excuse me. Who exactly was thrown from the truck?

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    • nancy said on November 5, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      That was from a TV-station website. I long ago reconciled myself to the fact you’re lucky to get even semi-literacy from those folks. I once tried to find a dictionary in a TV newsroom, and people looked at me like I was insane.

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  21. Heather said on November 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Apparently Charlie Trotter has died:,0,3424072.story

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  22. Deborah said on November 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Heather, wonder what killed Trotter? I only went to his restaurant once, found it extremely overpriced. He made news not too long ago for having a hissy fit about some young folks having a art exhibit in the building where his restaurant used to be.

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  23. Deborah said on November 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    An not a. I’m on my iPhone at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods, eating lunch so hitting the wrong “keys” is a problem.

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  24. Judybusy said on November 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Deborah, no news yet on cause of death.

    Nancy, I hope the healing goes quickly with your knee!

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  25. Charlotte said on November 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Oh no on Charlie Trotter! I knew a couple of people who did stages in his kitchen back in the early 90s, and he was enormously influential. Yikes.

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  26. nancy said on November 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Recent behavior suggests he may have had psychiatric issues going on.

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  27. Charlotte said on November 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Yeah. So sad. “Died unexpectedly at home” is the euphemism our local papers use. His poor son, finding him. Ugh.

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  28. brian stouder said on November 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Ohhh! Canada!!

    “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But … do I? Am I an addict? No,” Ford said.

    “Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago,” he said about the cocaine use.

    I mean, wow. I wouldn’t have thought that a mayor smoking crack cocaine could be made to look even worse, but the off-handed “probably in one of my drunken stupors” line cannot be topped even by the Onion!

    How much of a stupor must one be in, for crack to sound like an OK thing to do?

    Is the stupor meant as an exculpatory thing?

    Isn’t a mayor just as worthless if he engages in numerous “drunken stupors”, even if crack cocaine doesn’t come up?

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  29. Peter said on November 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    It is sad about Charlie Trotter, especially since recent episodes can now be looked at as a desperate plea for help.

    Like him or hate him, he did put Chicago on the culinary map. There were good restaurants before his; there are many now that would have been here regardless. However, the amount of star chefs that he mentored who started places of their own is quite the impressive list.

    I’m not for gourmet food, but I do think were it not for him Chicago’s dining scene would be comparable to Milwaukee, not New York.

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  30. coozledad said on November 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    All I can say is, any Republican complaining about the healthcare rollout has never owned a Hewlitt Packard Officejet inert catbox of despair built under the stewardship of a bunch of Republican female CEO’s who thought their Aladdin Sane era David Bowie hairdo and chairmanship of “The Amway of Computer Tchotchkes” qualified them to be elected to set the state of California on fire.

    God damn everybody who has anything to do with the production of that Marx toy company knock-off shit to an eternity of fissures and hemorrhoids.

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  31. Prospero said on November 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Detroit has a mayoral election today, I take it. Exactly what is in that job description anymore after the hostile takeover by MI GOPers? Cut ribbons? Hand out keys to the city? Which makes me wonder even more than I did in the first place: what sort of shenanigans were going on when the lady doc was buying the Packard plant property. Sounds like it was probably something akin to the deal in which Goober-not Goodhair set his friend’s nuclear waste dump up in Texas in return for bookoo election dollars.

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  32. Prospero said on November 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I had not heard of Charlie Trotter, but he sounds very interesting from what is said about him in the ChiTrib. Imaginative, curmudgeonly, basically a good guy. I wish I had had the chance to visit his restaurant.

    re: Mayor Ford: One more holier than thou, do as I say Conservative pol, who would be right at home in the Teabang states. I’ve tried most recreational drugs and prescription drugs misused as recreational, but rock, meth and hillbilly heroin are where I’d draw the line. And yep, I have tried heroin a couple of times and found it quite enjoyable which was enough to convince me not to do that again. I know people that have tried rock and gone on to habitual use. In fact, I never knew anybody that tried it once and didn’t go back for habitual use. The guy’s Baron Harkonnen body does make it seem unlikely he’s a crack addict. They tend to get very skinny very fast, and Ford makes Chris Christie look svelte. The crack (no pun intended) about the drunken stupors sounds like the product of another drunken sstuid on the mayor’s part. What a freaking buffoon.

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  33. Julie Robinson said on November 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    While speaking outside his office Tuesday, the Toronto mayor said he hadn’t lied — apparently referring to his previous statements on the matter. “You didn’t ask the correct questions,” he said Tuesday. “No, I’m not an addict. And no, I do not do drugs. I made mistakes in the past and all I can do is apologize.”

    So it depends on what the meaning of is is?

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  34. Sherri said on November 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I only smoke crack cocaine when I’m in a drunken stupor, but no, I’m not an addict. Right. Because drunken stupors are the sign of a healthy relationship with alcohol.

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  35. brian stouder said on November 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Julie – and – if His Honor is in the middle of a drunken stupor, it’s ALL-ee ALL-ee IN FREE!!

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  36. Deborah said on November 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I’m all for people who work at a high quality level and inspire others but like Steinberg said about Trotter, I draw the line at egomania (I know a lot egomaniacal architects and they make me sad). Of course I didn’t know Trotter personally, but it sounds like he ended up fighting a few demons. May he rest in peace now.

    On another note, my favorite shoe store, Lori’s is next door to Trotter’s former restaurant.

    And to totally change the subject: LA Mary you mentioned a cleaner a week or so ago that works on soap scum, could you repeat the name of that? When I’m in Santa Fe our bathrooms in Chicago don’t get cleaned very well and there’s scum that needs cleaning, badly.

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  37. coozledad said on November 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    Sometimes a stupor is just a stupor.

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  38. Prospero said on November 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Superb piece of sportswriting about Jesse Owens, and his greatest rival on the track, the marvelously named Eulace Peacock. No need to like sports to appreciate writing this good.

    Drunken stupor or crack high? You be the judge:

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  39. LAMary said on November 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Deborah, Nancy mentioned Barkeeper’s Friend liquid working on soap scum. I mentioned using one of the body scrubber things. The ones made from shirred netting? I used one on the funky bathtub in my sons’ bathroom in conjunction with Barkeeper’s friend powder and it worked great.

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  40. Prospero said on November 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Best take yet on racist scumbag Richie Incognito. If these people are right, I’d like to tell Richie “Man up, ya big Baby Huey.” In the case of this guy and his dad, if all of this is true, the turd does not fall far from the anus.

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  41. Deborah said on November 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Ok thanks LA Mary.

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  42. Deborah said on November 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Illinois passed gay marriage today!

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  43. Dexter said on November 5, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Still a mystery about Trotter…I know just one guy who ate at his place and adored everything about the Trotter ..I dunno..mystique? Hell, I never ate at those trendy joints myself…I was always a Rick Bayless fan, and ate at his places several times. Topolobampo and Frontera Grill were always a treat for us…Deborah? Are they still in business? I just saw Rick and his wife on TV a few days ago…no mention of the restaurants.

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