Home improvement.

The Motor Trend Car of the Year spent the night at our house last night. I had to move it to allow our backyard crew to get their truck in. It kept tickling my butt, until I figured out it was trying to tell me I hadn’t fastened my seat belt. That is all. No, wait: Alan sure likes that Underground Garage show on the satellite radio. And that is all.

The backyard crew are the guys who were installing the fence, and they finished today. Woot. We now have a fenced yard, a patio and a shit-ton of bare topsoil, which I’m anticipating will be a winter-long headache until we can get something planted in the spring. The timing wasn’t perfect, but now the heavy lifting is done, we’ve reclaimed a chunk of the yard from concrete, ripped out the rotten deck, aka the Grosse Pointe Home for Dying Possums and Nasty-ass Raccoons, and set the stage for a nice entertaining space next year. Here’s something Alan found while ripping out the deck:




Click to enlarge, if you like. After puzzling over it for a while, we figured it was probably a cat. Large eye sockets, the fangs, suburbia — it’s unlikely to be anything more exotic. Although it was just a skull, which makes me wonder where the rest of kitty might have gone. Nature is red in tooth and claw, even when we’re drinking cocktails six inches over its head.

So, some quick bloggage:

What if Hallmark made a horror movie? The trailer would look like the one for Mitch Albom’s new book — er, new novel.

You’ve heard of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald? Here’s an account of a century-old gale of November on the Great Lakes that gives you an idea of how fearsome a “white hurricane” can be.

And now we have arrived at the weekend. Let’s make something good of it.

Posted at 12:30 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

105 responses to “Home improvement.”

  1. Bowditch said on November 8, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Definitely a cat. Brings back distant memories of teaching Comparative Anatomy at the Junior University in Palo Alto.

    Speaking of weather, I’ve lived through typhoons were the eyes went over the atoll where we were stationed, but I can’t begin to imagine a cataclysm with sustained winds of 195 mph with gusts up to 235. That’s getting into F4 tornado wall velocities, but with a tropical storm force wind radius of 150 miles. And it’s blasting over a bunch of low lying islands to boot with a storm surge some are estimating at 35 feet. Thinking very somber thoughts about my friends in the Philippines. Live every day as a gift, people.

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  2. Dexter said on November 8, 2013 at 2:27 am

    It’s that day again…the 8th of November.

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  3. Prospero said on November 8, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Damn, Nancy. Tickling your butt has me wide awake at a ridiculous hour. I’ve always had a thing for intelligent women. Mitch needs a new genre assigned, I didn’t read Morrie, but Lord help me, I read the five people one, and it was hideous, like plowing through a Clive Cussler because somebody you liked otherwise forced it on you. Some people can’t write for shit.

    8th of November

    And the next time somebody tells me some vet died in Afghanistan to protect my freedom, I may throttle the asshole. It was to protect Haliburton’s right to run wild and make money in the third world. And that was lying to the Murrican people. So shut the fuck up about reasonable health care, you assholes.

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  4. Dexter said on November 8, 2013 at 3:36 am

    prospero…Ron Bennington is recognized by the music and actor greats he interviews on XM 103 as the best interviewer on the planet. Wednesday he interviewed Oliver Stone, who was promoting the book which is the companion to last years’ American History series. Ron casually asked Oliver Stone how he answers critics who say he re-writes history, and Stone said yes, he re-writes it alright, this time the truth is told, finally, because the people who told us what happened the first time were lying. Just like you say. The whole of the Bush years, both 41 and 43 presidencies, were administered as lies. Trumped-up charges about terrorism always has been the bane of truth. Stone told how a small bad of real terrorists, al-Queda, numbered 2,000. Within a short time Bush 43 had expanded out enemy list to the entire Arab world, saying they “hate our freedom”, and were we on a “crusade…”. And Hillary Clinton signed on. And we got Obama. And he took private money in his re-election campaign and …nothing has changed for the better.

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  5. ROGirl said on November 8, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Hallmark horror indeed.

    The evil of banality.

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  6. alex said on November 8, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Cadillac’s making some nice-looking vehicles these days, but I’ll never shell out that kind of money for butt ticklers and what all, especially on a car that will be as commonplace as drive-by shootings in the same neighborhoods where such things occur.

    I don’t know how I lived in the midwest all these years—a history buff at that—without knowing about the white hurricane. I had thought the Edmund Fitzgerald was an isolated shipwreck, not one of gazillions the same day.

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  7. Deborah said on November 8, 2013 at 7:46 am

    What a creepy novel trailer, made my skin crawl.

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  8. nancy said on November 8, 2013 at 7:57 am

    The white hurricane was in 1913, the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975, but the same sort of storm, yes — those fast-moving cold fronts in November.

    I liked the detail about the boat slammed into the rocks so tight the crew was able to climb over the rail right onto dry land, only to find themselves in a wilderness with no food or shelter (and unable to climb back on board, because of ice). Out of the frying pan, etc.

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  9. alex said on November 8, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Double duh.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 8, 2013 at 8:16 am

    And the source of the “lower lights” that were as important as the lighthouse once the ship had grounded:


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  11. Jessica Weissman said on November 8, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Hey, Bowditch, do you meant the classes at the Junior Museum in Palo Alto? I loved that place. Rode over there on my bike nearly every weekend.

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  12. Prospero said on November 8, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I love Edmund Fitzgerald, always wished Pogues had played it. Before Gordon Lightfoot became the geek’s Dylan with If You Could Read My Mind. Holy Shit what an obnoxious and whiny song. And the barenaked scary Sundown.

    Nancy: You’re in Michigan. That’s a wolverine skull, beaten into submission by some random SEC team. Catnado, not.

    Jeff@10: Swampgas.

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  13. nancy said on November 8, 2013 at 9:27 am

    BigHank informed us, a while back, that the butt-ticklers in the Caddy are called “tactors.” Google is not being helpful, however.

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  14. Kirk said on November 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland makes an extremely good porter named in honor of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

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  15. Prospero said on November 8, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Shipwreck songs:


    Who would name a ship after Nancy Grace? Doomed.

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  16. alex said on November 8, 2013 at 9:41 am

    And what do they call the butt warmers? Funktors?

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  17. Prospero said on November 8, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I was on a near shipwreck one time. Cohassett harbor. Late spring after the ’78 Blizzard. My friend Jerry was steering confidently with his knees in the boat paddock, when we ran aground on something large that wasn’t there before the storm. Totaled the boat. Left me with a separated shoulder and my beloved ex with a spectacular shiner. She was below, and put eye to wall-mounted compass. I got all sorts of strange looks for a couple of weeks, but I never hit a woman. Never even thought about it.

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  18. brian stouder said on November 8, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I can’t decide which is the funnier line:

    the butt-ticklers in the Caddy are called “tactors.”


    Who would name a ship after Nancy Grace? Doomed.

    The Caddy line is so…evocative!

    “You mean I’m sittin’ on tack-ters?” (Or – the husband says – ‘I bought a Caddy for my wife, and each morning it ‘tactors’)

    And indeed, Nancy Grace’s gales come early and often, not just in November!

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  19. jcburns said on November 8, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Shields up, tactors to full, lieutenant.

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  20. brian stouder said on November 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Btw – last night Ms Maddow did an extended riff on the news that Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cucinelli had considered removing Governor McDonell from office, and then didn’t do it…thereby ROBBING her of the perfect headline if that had come to pass: The Cucci Coup!!


    PS – jc – if the tactors cued you when you have your brights on, then we’d have to decide how to act with regard to the tactor beams!

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  21. Charlotte said on November 8, 2013 at 10:24 am

    We saw a TV ad for those tactors … if texting is illegal, why isn’t magic fingers considered a distraction?

    Wildlife sighting of the week — driving back into town yesterday morning I thought “gee, what are those cattle doing in the river? I’ve never seen cattle in the river.” Then they started to climb up the far bank, and they had very long legs. Moose! Two cow moose (one of whom I suspect is the youngster I saw back in the spring in that same stretch.) They’re prehistoric looking. Made my day.

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  22. Scout said on November 8, 2013 at 10:53 am

    It’s a good thing the infrastructure part of the backyard project is done, now you’ll be able to get right to it come spring. Here in AZ, yard projects are just getting started after having to sit out the hot summer. Last weekend my honey and I moved 18 of the 20 tons of rock dumped in our front yard. One neighbor came over and helped us sling rock for about 2 hours, otherwise all the rest got moved by us two little old ladies. We’ll finish this weekend (2 ton? Nuthin!) and then it’s on to the two gabion walls my son in law is going to build, and then we will plant rows of decorative grasses and some lantana in the spring. When we are finished we’ll have a environmental and low maintenance front yard.

    To all the regulars here, I apologize for taking the troll bait yesterday. Here’s to a happy place Friday!

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  23. Danny said on November 8, 2013 at 10:54 am

    There is a lot to be said for simpler cars. Tactors would distract. Newer dashboard HMI’s can distract also. Our newest Pathfinder has the dual, independent temperature controls, but it’s not a very intuitive interface. I often find myself fiddling with it and needing to pull out my reading glasses when I would rather be concentrating on the road.

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  24. LAMary said on November 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I’ve decided I like minimalist cars. The old Beetle I had and the 1989 Isuzu Trooper were definitely minimalist. The Trooper was great when the kids were small because I could practically hose it out if neccessary. Pile two kids with beach toys and one large dog in there with no worries. I don’t want blue tooth in my car, or a video screen in the dash. I don’t talk on my phone in the car unless I’m parked.

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  25. Joe K said on November 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Great article on the Great Lake storm. Also read the one on camping after it, too funny.
    Pilot Joe

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  26. Charlotte said on November 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Off topic, but pretty good review of the new Lance Armstrong movie, produced by one of my oldest, dearest Beloit College pals: http://www.vulture.com/2013/11/movie-review-the-armstrong-lie.html
    Started out making a movie about how great Lance was, then they had to re-do the whole thing.

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  27. brian stouder said on November 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Scout – NOW you’ve got me thinkin’ (and I’m resisting the Google option) was it Roger Miller or Johnny Cash who sings

    “You load 16 tons, and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.”

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  28. Connie said on November 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Tennesee Ernie Ford.

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  29. beb said on November 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Tennessee Ernie Ford made that song (16 tons) sound almost romantic, at least to my young self. Only later did I come to understand about the economic peonage of the mining system. Which continues to today.

    I was reading an on-line article about Boeing having discussions with its Seattle unions about building a new verson of their 777 aircraft there, if they can come to an agreement with the unions. The headline said that the unions had rejected Boeings offer but no where in the article does it say why the unions rejected the proposal. If that makes the unions look bad, mission accomplished. I guess. B ut still its terrible reporting not to get any sense of what the proposal was or why it was rejected.

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  30. Julie Robinson said on November 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Our old Beetle was definitely minimalist, eschewing any kind of effective heating or defrosting. It was a good idea to drive it on streets with lots of stoplights, to give you time to scrape the inside windows enough to have some outside vision. Boy, I miss that car.

    Actually, some of the cars we test drove had so much electronic gadgetry the salesguys couldn’t even demonstrate it. The one we ended up with has a rear camera and I’m not sold on it, or at least right how I don’t trust it. It has bluetooth too, and both of us have decided it’s more dangerous than using the physical phone. So I just leave that feature off. The one gadget I like is the plug in for a phone or mp3 device, but even that isn’t what I’d call necessary. I guess bells and whistles don’t get me excited anymore.

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  31. LAMary said on November 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    My Beetle had only AM radio, but from LA you can pick up a station from Mexico that played American rock and roll. It was the station where Wolfman Jack was a DJ.

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  32. Prospero said on November 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm


    Ain’t that a man.

    And then there is Big John:


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  33. Prospero said on November 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    beb, some way we connect. I loved that record as a kid. I remember Tennessee Ernie’s TeeVee show. Wolfman Jack was a nitwit but he played great rock ‘n’ roll.

    Y’all are forgetting the minimalist sports car: the Ghia.

    I floated one many times through the tunnels on Storrow Drive when legally loaded. Boston rocks.

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  34. Danny said on November 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    And the headline of the day: “Pussy Riot punk ‘still en route to penal colony'”


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  35. Prospero said on November 8, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    It is so hilarious people still think it is outre to think that there was an attack on the ACA website, These assholes were willing to take down the global economy, Come on, you maroons.

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  36. LAMary said on November 8, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I had a 72 Ghia for a short time. Some made a left turn into me an nearly took off the front end of the car.

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  37. MarkH said on November 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    My first car was a ’66 Ghia coupe. Just another Beetle in a sleeker envelope. But as far as my 18-year old self was concerned it was a 356 Porsche. I just sold my ultimate minimalist performance car and regretting it more each day, a ’67 Alfa Giulia Super. An honest 4 passenger, 4 door manual-everything sleeper that could wax every other 4 banger of the era. It still doesn’t matter to me that today I would have to eat a Prius’s dust. All other performance sedans came after it.

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  38. coozledad said on November 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Ya reckon ol’ Hambiscuits will call for a in-Vestigation into CBS once he comes off his mope?
    Ben gaah zee! motherfuckers!

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  39. Deborah said on November 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Is a Ghia and a Karmann Ghia the same thing? I loved those cars, always wanted one.

    Our Jeep that we keep in Santa Fe has no bells and whistles, we wanted the most simple thing we could get, manual transmission, windows you have to hand crank etc. It does have air conditioning which we thought long and hard about before getting, but glad we did. It has a bad sound system, so we rarely use it.

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  40. coozledad said on November 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Plus, Lara “turdcroft” Logan is a full fledged ungrammatical idiot, in addition to being an unabashed Republican shill:

    And he said that he told the FBI the same story that he had told us, but what we now know is that he told the FBI a different story to what he told us. And, you know, that was the moment for us when we realized that we no longer had confidence in our source, and that we were wrong to put him on air, and we apologize to our viewers.

    Dumbass piece of totty belongs at Fox.

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  41. MarkH said on November 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Yes, Deborah. Karmann Ghia owners always refer to them as Ghias. Ghia was the Italian design studio that penned the body, Karmann the German coach builder.

    cooz, that CBS, of all media, would be responsible for this screw-up is what astounds me. Benghazi is still a relevant story to me, but I found myself asking during the segment, ‘what? One year later. Where have you been on this?’ I offer two words of explanation: Lara Logan.

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  42. BigHank53 said on November 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Tactors are called that because they provide a tactile sensory channel. Trust me, the people who design cars all grew up (and probably miss) simple cars. But more and more technology keeps getting stuffed in there. Some is good (side radar systems keeping an eye on your blind spots, for example) and some is goddamned useless, like the touch-screen interfaces that try to run the navigation system and your ipod and the climate control and three other things, too. Fine if you’re stopped at a railroad crossing for three minutes…

    Some of the stuff is there because the competition has it. Some is there so the marketing department insists on it. Some of it is there because it actually helps. (I love heated seats, personally. And side mirrors I can adjust without rolling down the windows.) And some poor engineer has to figure out how you, the driver, can interface with it without driving off the road. There’s only so many different flashing lights and chimes and buzzers that can be stuffed in a car before it turns into disco hell. So. Butt-ticklers it is.

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  43. John C said on November 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    The Underground Garage is the best station on XM! Where else can you get shows dee-jayed by Andrew Loog Oldham, Handsome Dick Manitoba and LIttle Steven himself!

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  44. Danny said on November 8, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Probably the least damning thing that is true about the Benghazi attack is that everyone, including the Administration, knew that it wasn’t a spontaneous uprising in reaction to some homemade anti-Islam documentary. Instead, they doubled down and covered it up because it was a screw-up that could have affected the election. This is is indisputable.

    The whole truth may be worse, but we’ll probably never hear it.

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  45. Sherri said on November 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    beb @29, the union hasn’t officially rejected the Boeing offer yet, though they’re not happy about it and are trying to get the vote called off. There’s a vote scheduled for next Wednesday. The article at the Seattle Times has some details about the offer: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2022215218_boeingiamvotexml.html

    Boeing has been using the threat of South Carolina and its union unfriendliness to extract concessions from unions here for a number of years.

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  46. coozledad said on November 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    You’ve covered yer ass. Now watch this drive!
    World Trade Center.
    Financial meltdown.

    And not a single lying, thieving treasonous son of a bitch tried, shot and buried in an anonymous grave on some coastal island.

    Nothing pisses humans off like Republicans wallowing in a pretense of moral outrage.

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  47. Danny said on November 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Hehe. I knew someone would get back to discussing Bush soon.

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  48. MichaelG said on November 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Mary, Wolfman Jack was on XERB.

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  49. coozledad said on November 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Not just Bush. As we speak, three hundred or so marines are fucking dead Reagan’s arse in hell.

    When Bush goes to hell, all they’ll have to do is make him turn in half an hour’s work. That alone will chap his worthless ass for eternity.

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  50. brian stouder said on November 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    What Cooz said.

    I will agree that Benghazi was a bad day for the good guys. I will agree that the buck stops with the Commander in Chief.

    Coming amidst the US presidential election, it was bound to be freighted with political spin.

    All agreed and stipulated.

    And – unless you want to go full-moon looney and assert that the president ordered the attack on our own people, none of this advances a case against the president for the attack, right?

    This is what SecState Clinton meant by her plaintive “what difference does it make?” question for congress, when they were badgering her.

    By way of saying, Oxy Rush’s God of Gods (pretend, anyway); a man I VOTED FOR back in the day (and who Uncle Rush never actually voted for, but we digress) – President Ronald Wilson Reagan – never, ever, ever answered for the 241 marines that died in a flash in Beirut.

    Why did that happen? How could that happen? And in fact, why were the Marines even there?

    Do you remember what Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of all time, and not a bad actor, too, did in the aftermath?

    He “cut and ran” (to use his phrase). Our forces were so unnecessary there, and our “strategy” was such an air-tight vacuum of nothingness, that right after the slaughter, we pulled the rest of our people out and that was it.

    Funny – I don’t recall congressional hearings where the SecState (Baker?) had spitting-mad congress people dressing him down; nor deep dark conspiracy theories.

    Sometimes, bad things happen.

    And when a US embassy somewhere in the world gets hit, at least we know that our people there have a clear reason for being there.

    And Prsident Obama clearly referred to the Benghazi attack as an act of terror, the very next day in the Rose Garden.

    And Candy Crowley was right to point out that Willard doesn’t get to retail a rightwing fantasy in a live national presidential debate.

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  51. Deborah said on November 8, 2013 at 5:42 pm


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  52. Prospero said on November 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Hehe Danny. Shrub is on your sorry ass all of the time. How many innocent people died during shock an awe? Over an overt lie? based upon Raygun’s weapon’s sales to both sides in Iran-Iraq? And was Dan Burton the scumbag or was that Bill Clinton? You people lie your asses off, and you expect it to take because the President is black. Shrub is the most major liar since LBJ, if you don’t count Raygun on welfare queens. Just shut the fuck up on the insurance companies acting like predictably predatory corporate citizens. You can type, so presumably you are smarter than believing that horse shit;

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  53. Danny said on November 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Deborah, when I saw the italics overrun, it reminded me of Benjy’s section in Faulkner’s, “The Sound and the Fury.”

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  54. Deborah said on November 8, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Sorry Danny, don’t make me complicit in your meaness. I meant no ill will towards Brian, I was just teasing him. You, on the other hand are suggesting something else.

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  55. Danny said on November 8, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Umm, what is it that you think I was suggesting?

    I wasn’t saying anything about Brian… just a reference to the italics overrun getting confusing like that section of TS&F.

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  56. coozledad said on November 8, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    From “The Fury and the Idiots” an excerpt from an unpublished Cambell’s Soup commercial by a comparitively sober Faulkner.

    Romney smelled like trees. The tall ones, but not too tall. The ones somewhere between the tall and the short. The right height without pruning. When he was in the lights it seemed like the light would grow and I kept hoping he would say Ben something because I thought it might help make him president I asked Dilsey why the mean lady wouldn’t let him say Ben something was wrong and the negro did it and she looked at me for a long time, the way she always did when I had my dirt on me and said “Honey. You’ve got enough to make your brain sore just thinking about if the sock goes on first or the shoe. That white man would take the nickel your daddy gave you for some candy just to tell his friends he did it. Please stop watching the television. It hurts my heart just to try and explain it to your poor, pasty ass.”

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  57. Danny said on November 8, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Now that was funny!

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  58. Deborah said on November 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I read The Sound and the Fury when I was in high school, so it’s been a while but as I recall the Benjy character was as they used to say, a half wit. After yesterday’s thread it seemed that you were continuing your we here at nn.c are idiots theme. But I think Coozledad captured it way better than I could.

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  59. basset said on November 8, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Another non sequitur which might be of interest:


    Time to go to bed, deer season (muzzleloader only) starts in the morning and I am meeting my buddies an hour away at four-thirty. Our spare freezer is empty and turned off, gotta do something about that.

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  60. brian stouder said on November 8, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Good luck, Basset, and here’s wishing you good weather, too.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 8, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Every dead deer is one less attempt to mate with my radiator. You go, Basset.

    Just watched an awesome high school rendition of “Noises Off,” and came home to the last half of the all-star Sondheim “Company,” which I’ve never understood, but I get to hear Patti LuPone belt, so it’s all very good. Stephen Colbert is shockingly good, too.

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  62. Dexter said on November 9, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Since Jeff brought up high school, I’ll say this: even though I have never attended a football game in the 37 years I have been living here in Bryan, Ohio, it’s still nice to read that last night the local lads beat Genoa in the first round of the state playoffs, in what was touted as the best match-up in the entire state, as both teams were undefeated. Our youngest graduated 18 classes ago and I have had nothing to do with the school in all ensuing years, but I see those kids out there every day practicing and it’s a good feeling to know they’re the best.

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  63. Dexter said on November 9, 2013 at 12:48 am

    I am feeling a little stunned in a confusing way. I just read of the death of a former co-worker in the factory…we were hired in the same day and we both worked over 30 years in the same building. For a short time we ran around chasing women in beer bars after we had both divorced our wives, but then we fell out, because we had the same job on different shifts, and he followed my shift and one day I had called in sick and my replacement had left the area in a total mess and this former friend attacked me the next day in a restroom, Christ, you’d have thought we were in a prison, not a workplace! After that we kept our distances from each other and that was that…still, I remember the good times we had over all that time and it’s sad to see that he’s dead at age 68. It’s really a weird feeling when a good friend becomes a kind of enemy and then dies.

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  64. Dexter said on November 9, 2013 at 12:52 am

    This link takes you to a photo in the San Francisco dot com’s “most walkable cities” photoshoot, but this picture, #9 of 10, deserves some sort of caption:

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  65. Deborah said on November 9, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Walkability improves property values. I see on the list that Chicago is #6, that’s cool.

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  66. Sherri said on November 9, 2013 at 2:36 am

    Thank you, Jeff(tmmo) for alerting me to Company being on tonight. Thanks to the time difference, I was able to see your post and then catch almost all of it.

    Fortunately it wasn’t my radiator, but somebody’s radiator in my neighborhood must have collided with a deer, because there was a dead deer on the side of the road on the hill heading up towards my house last night.

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  67. Dexter said on November 9, 2013 at 3:41 am

    Boy, this is a kick in the ass. I also just found out my old Vietnam days army buddy Frank from Ann Arbor died..a year and a half ago. If it was not for Google I never would have known.
    Veterans Day looming and once again I found myself thinking about my army pal Frank from Detroit. I met Frank in Vietnam and as we were encouraged to use the buddy system, Frank was my buddy. We were US Army medics in Nha Trang , assigned to the 6th Convalescent Center in Cam Ranh Bay but attached to the 575th Medical Detachment in Nha Trang officially and the 283rd DustOff Helicopter Ambulance Company unofficially.
    Frank loved to fly as a medic on rescue operations on the Huey helicopters and the warrant officers loved to have him when they needed one of us to go up with them.
    I was picky and only felt safe with one of the more seasoned chopper pilots while Frank would go up with anybody, the young aggressive pilots…anybody.
    Frank was born in Genoa, Italy in February, 1950. His grandfather finally got out of Europe in 1956 and moved to Detroit, bringing his family, Frank included. After Cody High School days, Frank worked at Fisher Body before being drafted.
    After we were through with the Army, and Frank was back at Fisher Body, we stayed friends, seeing each other , he driving to see me in Fort Wayne and I driving to Westland, MI to visit him. We both had VW bugs…once we went to Washington , DC in my Bug to demonstrate for veterans compensation. Soon after, he was divorced , then had his phone disconnected. I called his brother and I was cut short and told to forget about Frank. I never saw him again. Last year I found out he had been living in a place he loved, a place he always said he was going to live, in Ann Arbor.
    And now it’s over, as somehow for the first time his name popped up on a Google search, and an hour ago I found out Frank had died last year in March. Now I can quit wondering why Frank cut everybody off in his life and sort of disappeared. Maybe he wanted to permanently distance himself from Vietnam and the memories. At least now I know he rests.

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  68. Basset said on November 9, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Thanks, Brian and Jeff… Just about to head out the door, looks like a nice day coming up. I’ll report back tonight.

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  69. Danny said on November 9, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Wow, Dexter. Just getting my day under way here in Lo Cal and a bit of Saturday morning reality hits me in your posts. As I get older, I am not looking forward to seeing news of old friends passing. Something of your comment about Frank being willing to fly with any heli-pilot got me to thinking on Catch 22.

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  70. Danny said on November 9, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Man, bad news all around with this Typhoon Haiyan hitting the Philppines:


    I have a lot of friends, co-workers and neighbors who have family over there.

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  71. MichaelG said on November 9, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Memories. I remember Nha Trang well. It’s a very beautiful city with the corniche and the villas along the coast and the big Buddha up on the hill. I spent a couple of weeks in the 6th Con one time when I had malaria.

    I witnessed many brave and heroic acts by dust off crews. They were incredible. They would get a wounded guy out or die trying. I mean that in the most literal sense. I’ve seen it numerous times and, yes, I’ve seen them die. They inspired awe. What their actions meant to the guys on the ground was valuable beyond calculation. Thank you, Dexter.

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  72. LAMary said on November 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm


    I saw Patti Lupone a the Hollywood bowl a few years ago. She was amazing. She’s a very intense performer.

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  73. LAMary said on November 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    In case I’m not the only one who missed Company last night and wants a chance to see it, it’s going to be on PBS again on 11/14.

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  74. beb said on November 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm


    Anthony Boudain visited Detroit on Sunday, CNN, at 9PM ET. According to the article he see Detroit as both fascinating and “utterly screwed.” His guide is Charlie LeDuff.

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  75. Basset said on November 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Seen five deer so far but haven’t taken a shot. Sitting on the side of a hollow right now trying to absorb “The Three Pillars of Zen” and just ran across a reference to Kristallnacht… which happened 75 years ago tonight.

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  76. Prospero said on November 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    LAMary, interesting reference. Patty Lupone is spectacular. Her performance in Witness was amaxing. In Hostages her compatriot Toni Collette is just as good. seriously good actors. My fave musical person is Bebe Neuwirth. Dominate me. Finest legs on the planet.

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  77. LAMary said on November 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I remember Patti Lupone playing a lawyer on Law and Order. She really stood out. One thing I liked about the old Law and Order was that they so frequently used Broadway actors. Not just famous ones like Patti Lupone but the journeyman Broadway types. I would count my friends Jim and Martin Van Treuren in that category. They’ve both been on L and O in small roles.

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  78. Sherri said on November 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Law and Order was filmed in New York, so there were lots of Broadway actors available for them. The Good Wife is currently filmed in New York, and they use a lot of Broadway actors as well.

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  79. Jolene said on November 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    It’s also interesting to see, on old L&O episodes, actors that had appeared early in their careers, before they went on to do entirely different things. Stephen Colbert, for instance, once played a role that involved something having to do with falsifying old documents. I only remember the plot vaguely, but, as I recall, he was a document authenticator who was somehow mixed up in wrongdoing.

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  80. brian stouder said on November 9, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Today Pam and our 8 year old and I went to the Veterans’ Day parade, and saw lots of older fellows marching and waving and riding floats; and an attention-getting number of younger guys; and more than just a few women in older uniforms, too. And many fellows missing limbs, which only reminds one that the folks who have no such visible changes still (no doubt) were changed just as irrevocably.

    It was very, very good to see our son’s South Side Green Machine marching band in the parade, too; the only high school band in the event. South Side’s band has been the only band each year for the 4 years we’ve gone, and I honestly don’t understand why the other bands don’t jump in there too…but that’s OK. South Side may get bad press from time to time, but they’re there every time.

    A side note: a week ago we had family pictures snapped by a very nice person who has a son who attends Shelby’s high school (Wayne New Tech); he was helping his mom and lugging stuff here and there, and he was a very nice young fellow. We carried on a conversation on and off for an hour and a half about his school and so forth (he’s a year ahead of Shelby). It was only later that I learned that his dad was killed in Afghanistantwo years ago.

    I remember Dexter telling me that Afghanistan looked like an entirely pointless war, and I argued a little at the time, but of course he was right. And it still proceeds, and the costs keep growing and spreading…. until they’re standing right in front of you.

    Dexter and MichaelG – and any other veteran hereabout, I tip my hat to you and we all sincerely thank you for answering the call.

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  81. Sherri said on November 9, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Richie Incognito is giving an interview to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer that will air tomorrow during their NFL pregame show. Why Glazer? Incognito is a client of Glazer’s MMA training business.

    I’m sure it will be a hard-hitting interview, not a friendly image-rehabilitating sit-down (that trashes Jonathan Martin in the process.)


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  82. Kirk said on November 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    They’re probably rehearsing now.

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  83. Basset said on November 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Saw a big bobcat, he saw me too and gave an extended glare from about eighty yards away… a little later, shot at a nice buck just before dark and couldn’t find him, going back to look in the morning. Now to turn on RFD TV and watch some polka…

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  84. Prospero said on November 9, 2013 at 10:43 pm


    Shweei@81: shoudln’t Richie stick with that well known manly man Jim Rome? Them wimps tend to stick together when they pick on guys.

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  85. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Basset, how would you compare your bobcat’s skull to what Nancy found?

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  86. Dexter said on November 10, 2013 at 2:18 am

    I came here yesterday posting about death (and thanks for the feedback Danny and MichaelG) on this thread which culminates with a skull in the lede. Saturday morning found me walking my dogs in the customary place, a field that’s public ground with its fence row of scraggly old trees boarding the farmed field. As I am walking, I see right ahead of me one of these
    How in the hell does a coincidence like that happen?

    Yeah, if you take a trip these days you won’t see any minimalist cars except if maybe a local person hops on a freeway for an exit or two. If you don’t own a new car, you will rent one. I do remember forty years ago when my ex and I , looking for all the world like hippies, she with her long curly bright blond hair blowin’ in the wind and me, bearded, hair as long as it would grow, down past my neck, piloting our 1966 VW Microbus, destination Nantasket Beach, near Boston. This bus had been owned by (I shit you not) folks from an Arizona nudist colony…so stated on the side door, and the bus had a giant cartoon sun painted on the door also. Traveling through Indiana it had broken down and was abandoned, and a local used car dealer had gotten a salvage title , fixed the problem whatever it had been, and sold it to me for $700. He was shocked I offered that much for it. I got it running as best I could and pointed it east toward New England for a summer vacation. I had to constantly dick around with the carburetor so it would get us around. We camped and also stayed in motels…it was a blast. On the way back the motor got progressively weaker. By the time we got back to Indiana, it barely would go 40 mph. I got rid of it the next day, but what a trip it was. And, I have reported here before that my 1968 Karmann Ghia was the most fun car ever, God I loved to drive that little ball of fun! Now, like everyone else, when I travel long, I gotta be in a new car. I can’t be breaking down like all the old VW buses used to do…remember when you would drive a couple hundred miles and see at least three or four broken down VWs alongside the road?

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  87. Danny said on November 10, 2013 at 10:08 am

    remember when you would drive a couple hundred miles and see at least three or four broken down VWs alongside the road?

    That and Harley Davidson motorcycles. We used to call then “Hardly Running-son’s.” Man, cars in general used to be so much less reliable. Remember all the various nicknames? GTO was “Get the Tools Out,” FIAT, stood for “Fix it Again Tony,” etc. Things have changed. Many car engines operate trouble-free for close to 200k miles and tires are much better too. I cannot remember the last time I had a flat much less a blowout. Gawd, I probably wouldn’t even remember how to set the gap on a set of points. Electronic ignitions and fuel injection systems are so good now, that I mostly take them for granted.

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  88. Minnie said on November 10, 2013 at 11:41 am

    A friend had an old Healy that he always had to push halfway home after a late evening of beer, Gallo, and such. Finally he just took my extra bedroom for his crash pad. One summer he went down to the Gulf Coast to work the rigs leaving his entire collection of ’60s Rolling Stones in my safe-keeping. I listened to them over and over, lying on the floor with a speaker on either side of my head.

    Intended to go kayaking today in this perfect fall weather – mid 60s, sunny, light breeze – but my husband has a head cold. No fun paddling when you can’t breathe. Instead I’m dismantling the summer garden, readying it for spring. It’s a pleasurable pursuit if not what we’d anticipated. Kale, chard, beets and lettuces are thriving in the fall/winter bed. We’ve not had a freeze here in Tidewater, only a couple of light frosts. Best time of year here.

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  89. Charlotte said on November 10, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Jeff — my sweetie found a bobcat skull up on the mountain about six weeks ago — quite comparable to Nancy’s cat — big orbital sockets, fangs. Not big enough to be a mountain lion, but a little bigger than a cat.

    And Bassett — no worries about predators eating your buck overnight? Not even coyotes? There are grizzlies over in Tom Miner Basin and down near Gardiner (just north of Yellowstone, both of them, opposite sides of the river), who treat gunshots are the dinner bell. Get that elk out before the big boys show up.

    And Minnie — I’ve still got winter greens going here in Montana too. We’ve had a couple of small freezes, but no extended ones. Hooped part of a bed with some plastic — can usually extend my season through Christmas, and get it going again in February when the light comes back that way.

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  90. Deborah said on November 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I have a bone collection in New Mexico, when I find skulls etc, I soak em in bleach. I have a horse pelvis, a cow spine and a bunch of other stuff. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with them, I think they’re beautifully sculptural. One time we took a heap of cow bones with a bunch of gunk on them to a car wash to power spray them. You should have seen the looks we got.

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  91. Minnie said on November 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Charlotte, I’m using hoops for the first time this winter, hoping for greens until past time to plant peas. Thought I’d make hoops out of PVC pipe but couldn’t figure out a way to bend it. Ended up getting some wire gizmos online. They certainly were easy to set up. Hope they’ll stand through Northeasters. I admire your gardening skills and tenacity in your less temperate climate.

    Tuesday after voting, as is my November tradition, I made three forays into a heavily treed neighborhood and carted back thirty bags of leaves. It’s a comparatively affluent area with lots of yard signs supporting Republican candidates, while my van bears an Obama/Biden bumper sticker. In my view, this slightly evens things out between the haves and have nots, albeit in regard only to leaves.

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  92. Dexter said on November 10, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    for Deborah: bones, bones, and more bones:

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  93. Dexter said on November 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks Brian Stouder. Tomorrow is Veterans Day, and today is the 43rd anniversary of the day my plane landed in Vietnam. November 10, 1970.

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  94. Prospero said on November 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Seems like Mitch was trolling Netflix for his latest plaot. Frequency, starring the handsome Quaid bro was about a cop whose father was a firefighter and a ham radio enthusiast. Somehow, the radio equipment fires itself up and allows Dennis to communicate with his dead father. But Albom will bring the mawkish, as he always does. His nephew in that trailer looks like the same sort of smarmy jerkff as his uncle Mitch. Very disturbing video, too. The face in the bowl of beans is seriously strange. Whatever brecame of Wall of Voodoo?

    Speaking of listening to radio from Mexico, the marvelously demented Stan Ridgway made the definitive song on the subject.

    Loins beat Bears again. Move into first place alone as GB spanked by Eagles. Megatron set a franchise record for TD catches, surpassing Herman Moore’s 62. Megqatron did it in seven seasons, to Moore’s ten. Moore is rightfully a Hall of Fame player. Calvin Johnson is already signed, sealed delivered to the Hall, if he quit tomorrow. Too bad Megatron’s and Stafford’s careers didn’t coincide with Barry Sanders’. That would have been a juggernaut.

    Charlotte@89: See. Climate Change is a good thing, unless you live in the path of a typhoon.

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  95. Basset said on November 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Charlotte and Jeff… skull would have been quite a bit larger, bobcats around here can go well over 30 lb. I did see some stray kittens under a highway bridge on the way back, couldn’t catch em but or they would have gone home with me but I did leave the two cans of cat food I carry in the car for just that purpose.
    Coyotes might eat a deer left overnight in these parts, two of us searched the entire hollow he ran into and didn’t find him or even a drop of blood so it appears I missed. Up a tree right now waiting for another to come by.

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  96. Prospero said on November 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Masterrepiece Rolex design work.

    This is no way to run an alleged representative democracy. GOPers have hijacked FUBARed the US government, while accusing the President of being somehow anti-American. The hard numbers are appalling..

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  97. Jeff said on November 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Skulls, storms, sex — we’re on a natural history kick here, so I’ll add:


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  98. Charlotte said on November 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Minnie — I just use the whippy PVC pipe they sell for underground sprinklers and water lines … then attach them to the sides of my raised beds with pipe straps and use the big, 1″ binder clips to hold the plastic on. Works even in our gale-force winter winds.

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  99. Deborah said on November 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Snow is predicted for tomorrow afternoon in Chicago, rain before that. Tomorrow night will drop down into the 20s. Hello winter.

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  100. Minnie said on November 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Charlotte – Thanks for the information. Now I know what to look for when these metal dealies sproing apart in a gale.

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  101. Basset said on November 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Struck out today, had some dogs running around so no deer.

    Meanwhile… gonna be driving Indy-Ft Wayne-Lansing soon, any new recommendations for a good place to get a tenderloin?

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  102. Joe K said on November 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Town tavern in Auburn.
    Get off 69 at the auction park,go east to 427 turn left go over the thru the light, past the a.c.d. Museum, veer right, and across from the gas station is the restaurant.
    Let me know and I’ll have one with you, we could invite Alex also. Plus anyone in the area.
    Pilot Joe

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  103. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 10, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    I am, of course, ready to defer to actual Detroiters, but having just watched Bourdain’s Detroit piece for “Parts Unknown,” I thought it was pretty fair and non-exploitative, and Charlie was surprisingly (to me, anyhow) unintolerable — and Nancy’s friend Tom the mower guy had a nice short bit!

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  104. Sherri said on November 10, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    The Glazer interview of Incognito was even worse than I expected. How do you interview someone about a toxic locker room culture and his part in it and not bring up the allegation that he held offensive line meetings at strip clubs and fined people who didn’t show up? Incognito just said that he was a good person, not a racist, and he did everything he did out of love for his best friend Jon Martin, and Glazer didn’t challenge a thing.

    Poor misunderstood Richie.

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  105. basset said on November 10, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Joe, we may be able to make that happen… last time through there we went to the ACD museum and then to a bar with food kind of place, as I remember it was on a side street off the square.

    if I want a tenderloin here in Tennessee I have to make it myself.

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