The cultural cornucopia.

I found this via Tumblr, so the usual cautions about authenticity apply, but what the hell, it’s worth sharing. This is a purported listings page from an unnamed New York newspaper in November 1963. The hell with JFK — talk about mourning a lost world:


This, pals, is why I regret never living in New York City. Imagine an entertainment buffet spread with everything from Bill Monroe to Miles Davis to Sam Cooke to Bob Dylan. I looked it over twice before I noticed Stiller and Meara hiding in the cracks.

Was everyone’s Thanksgiving wonderful? Ours was just fine, if a little repetitive of last year’s. I was looking up a green bean recipe I like at this time of year, and a menu fell out of the book — exactly the same one I’ve been making for a while now. Oh, well. With a table set for only four, two of them picky eaters, what’s the point of adventure? That’s what dinner parties with friends are for.

The rest of the weekend was devoted to lazing on the couch watching Netflix, errands and the usual. Kate and I went to the DIA for a few hours on Friday, to tell “The Wedding Dance” we would always love it, even if it’s sold to Rupert Murdoch. Watched a couple of movies I would likely not have seen without streaming — “What Maisie Knew” and “The Panic in Needle Park,” which I was astounded to learn was written by Joan Didion and her husband. I cannot tell a lie: I love many, many things about the 1970s, and its strong tradition of antiheroic cinema is one of them.

So, then, some bloggage:

Today’s NYT ran a smoochfest on Jim Delany, whom I didn’t know about. Evidently he’s the guy responsible for the Big Ten conference being little more than a “brand.” Rutgers? Maryland? Now in the Big Ten? Fuck that noise. I prefer the Grantland take on this development:

In ways that matter to college administrators, Delany is a genius: The Big Ten Network is a money-making machine, and the conference actually made more money last year than even the SEC. Last fall, when I spent a day with the Indiana football program, they informed me that they’d been able to upgrade their facilities almost entirely with money procured from their Big Ten Network share. But that’s what makes this so frustrating for those of us who actually give a damn about the product: Speaking to Rittenberg, Delany appeared to characterize the conference’s football woes as a short-term concern, as something that could be attributed to an influx of new coaches and the consequences of immoral behavior at Penn State and Ohio State. He made no real acknowledgement of the long-term statistics, of the Big Ten’s 34-52 bowl record since 2000, of the fact that the Big Ten has won 37 percent of its nonconference games against nationally ranked teams since Ohio State won the national championship in 2002. The top of the conference is largely shaky, and the bottom has never been worse: I imagine Purdue and Minnesota and Illinois would struggle to finish .500 in the MAC.

Anything else? Yes, these rather astonishing-not-astonishing charts, about who uses marijuana and who gets busted for it, via Ezra Klein.

Finally, a fine piece by John Carlisle, former Detroitblogger, now roving columnist for the Freep. It’s about a community of legal scrappers in one of the most cursed neighborhoods in Detroit, who eke out a living digging holes in a now-vacant scrapyard, seeking out the long-buried bits of metal there. If you’re thinking, “why, that sounds like something you’d find in the Third World,” join the club. I was struck by the comments, which swung between that sentiment and a certain witless, attaboy-to-the-bootstrappers attitude, which ignores the fact the bootstrapping isn’t leading anywhere. Unless it’s to another generation of metal men:

Domenic Anderson used to follow his dad down here and watch him dig.

“Everybody would sit there, dig, get along,” he said. “All the grown-ups would be doing their own things, running their own crews out of here, making their own money.”

Now he works here, too. He stood on a dirt mound next to his twin brother, David Anderson. The 19-year-old brothers live just down the street and work in the lot six days a week. They’re rough edged and dirt streaked, and they share a distinct southwest Detroit accent and a kind of small-town genuineness.

For them, it’s not just work; it’s also their social life. Most of the neighbors moved away long ago, so there weren’t many kids to play with when they were younger, and there aren’t many to hang out with now that they’re older.

People around here like to say that we’re America’s future, so hey — look forward to it.

And so the long slog toward the holidays commences! Can you feel my excitement?

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

42 responses to “The cultural cornucopia.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 2, 2013 at 12:32 am

    No love for Flip Wilson?

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  2. Dexter said on December 2, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Roland Kirk Quartet at the Village Gate which has the most poetic phone prefix , “Gramercy-5-5120”. My friend Greg lived in NYC until that long spell of constant crime drove him to a house in Connecticut, where he produced and dee-jayed at Storrs (U of C) a jazz program for something like 8 years. When he lived in Manhattan, he produced jazz albums for varied artists, and he is the one who told me all about Roland Kirk.
    There is a good chance nance knows of him, having a daughter in the music arts, and because Roland Kirk is from where, class? Why, Columbus, Ohio, youth home of our leader. 🙂

    And I have an album by Rolf Harris, remember “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport”? Dave Brubek, Dylan, my fave Sam Cooke @ The Apollo? That whole page of billings, absolute KILLER! Thanks, nance. I am also a big fan of the great 1970s films from “Taxi Driver” to “Scarecrow” and “Serpico”. “Annie Hall” and all the rest…best movies ever. 🙂

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  3. Suzanne said on December 2, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Holiday over. Now, I will spend the next 3 weeks trying to ignore Christmas, but it won’t go away. I am becoming a real Scrooge in my middle age. I just want to put up a tree, have a nice meal with a glass of good wine, go to one church service, and then be done with it. So incredibly tired of all the Christmas hoopla and the incessant “war on Christmas” crap.

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  4. Basset said on December 2, 2013 at 7:02 am

    “Tie me kangaroo down,” yes, who could forget that one, and its pioneering use of the “wobble board,” a piece of flexible, I don’t know, plywood or something flopped back and forth for rhythmic support, wokwokwokwok…

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 2, 2013 at 7:22 am

    There’s been a “war on Christmas” since about 1843, epitomized by Ebenezer Scrooge himself, and Dickens showed best how to push back against it:

    There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family; indeed, as Mrs Cratchit said with great delight (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish), they hadn’t ate it all at last. Yet every one had had enough, and the youngest Cratchits in particular, were steeped in sage and onion to the eyebrows. But now, the plates being changed by Miss Belinda, Mrs Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in.

    Suppose it should not be done enough. Suppose it should break in turning out. Suppose somebody should have got over the wall of the back-yard, and stolen it, while they were merry with the goose — a supposition at which the two young Cratchits became livid. All sorts of horrors were supposed.

    Hallo. A great deal of steam. The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastrycook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed, but smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

    Oh, a wonderful pudding. Bob Cratchit said, and calmly too, that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs Cratchit since their marriage. Mrs Cratchit said that now the weight was off her mind, she would confess she had had her doubts about the quantity of flour. Everybody had something to say about it, but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family. It would have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at such a thing.

    At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept, and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted, and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth, in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, meaning half a one; and at Bob Cratchit’s elbow stood the family display of glass. Two tumblers, and a custard-cup without a handle.

    These held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done; and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. Then Bob proposed:

    `A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us.’

    Which all the family re-echoed.

    `God bless us every one.’ said Tiny Tim, the last of all.

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  6. alex said on December 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

    “Tie me kangaroo down, sport!” My parents had that album! I probably haven’t heard it in 40-50 years and yet the songs all come back to me like I’d heard them yesterday.

    Regarding the vast disparity among races in the arrest rates for pot, it’s obvious that if you’re black you’re much more likely to get pulled over while driving or to otherwise be detained by police. NYC’s “stop and frisk” policies sounded like something new and draconian but in fact have been the unofficial law of the land in most places already. Law enforcement always complains that blacks aren’t cooperative or forthcoming because they fear retribution from those they refuse to identify, and while I’m sure this is true some of the time, I would bet that for the most part the silence is simply owing to distrust of the police.

    I remember browsing one time through a travel guide for blacks published in the 1950s. It cautioned about roads where one would likely be pulled over and harassed and listed restaurants and lodging where one would be welcome, which were quite few and far between. To go from Fort Wayne to Dayton or Cincinnati, it was advised to take 49 in Ohio as opposed to 1 or 27 in Indiana.

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  7. brian stouder said on December 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

    And that racial disparity on the chart translates into voter-suppression, too

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  8. nancy said on December 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Alex, that was probably the Negro Motorist Green Book.

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  9. brian stouder said on December 2, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Holiday idea leaping to mind – Isabel Wilkerson’s book The Warmth of Other Suns….

    just sayin’

    (travelling west was just as bad/treacherous as going north – even leaving aside Texas)

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  10. Judybusy said on December 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Brian, I immediately thought of the doctor’s trip from parts east to California, and how one of the kids had to sleep in the trunk because he was darker and couldn’t pass as white. Do I recall correctly that he was never the same?

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  11. coozledad said on December 2, 2013 at 9:43 am

    But Rosa Parks ended the racisms when Ronald Reagan ascended to to right hand of god!

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  12. LAMary said on December 2, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Wow, Bill Monroe AND Dave Brubeck AND Bob Dylan. I lived not far from NYC at that time, but I was ten. If I had the means to get to NYC I probably would have gone to Stiller and Meara because I had seen them on TV.

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  13. brian stouder said on December 2, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Judybusy, that sounds right to me.

    What stuck with me was that he had such a hard time even in Las Vegas.

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  14. Charlotte said on December 2, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I had a friend in Salt Lake who told stories about Louis Armstrong staying with his grandparents when he’d play SLC. Tom’s grandparent’s black housekeeper was an old friend of Armstrong’s, and since he couldn’t stay in a hotel in SLC, he’d drive up to Ogden afterwards where Tom’s grandparents (rich white people) always put him up.

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  15. Joe K said on December 2, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Tan me hide when I’m dead Fred,
    Tan me hide when I’m dead.
    So we tanned his hide when he died Clyde
    And that’s it hanging on the shed.
    Pilot Joe

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  16. Jeff Borden said on December 2, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I think the war on drugs is going just about as well as the war on Christmas, eh?

    I’m with Suzanne. The holidays are more of a pain in the ass than a pleasure to me and the expenses are just ridiculous. We’re already spending $2,000 to spend a week with my wife’s family in Florida: $1,000 for two round-trip airfares, $500 for a rental car and $500 to board the dog. This, of course, does not take into account any gifts for the folks down there, the lunch and dinner checks picked up, etc.

    It’s great to see friends and family, but it ain’t cheap at this time of year. I’d rather we could take our week in Florida much later in the winter –I’m not sick of the gray, the cold and the damp by late December– when the air fares and rental car rates would be lower, but the calendar calls the tune.

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  17. coozledad said on December 2, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Did they call her “Bloss” for short?

    I love the way this is shot.

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  18. coozledad said on December 2, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Hard to go wrong with Lev Trotsky on bass and Bill Holden on the skins.

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  19. Julie Robinson said on December 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    As much as I love to visit big cities and soak up all the attractions, pretty soon I start feeling jangly and need to get back to green and quiet.

    I’ve also been trying hard to get off the Christmas crazy train by downsizing the amount of decorations, kinds of cookies baked, events attended, and most importantly, skipping the gifts. I’ve told everyone that I don’t need a thing, and don’t want them to spend their cash and energy on me, and that I

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  20. Julie Robinson said on December 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Crap! Went to get a drink and brushed submit.

    Anyway, except for a kids’ ministry in our church’s neighborhood, I don’t buy presents at all. I write checks to my kids and that’s it. This doesn’t mean I’m a Grinch, it means I’ve changed the focus of the holiday, and it’s a lot saner.

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  21. Judybusy said on December 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    In my family, we began to exchange names to cut costs. Then, one year, I think we all literally exchanged gift cards. That’s when I suggested we all donate to a charity selected by one of us. We all take turns nominating the charity. My partner and I buy a few small things for each other, and set aside Christmas day just for us. Coffee in bed, open presents, maybe go see a movie, then make a really nice meal that night.

    We have a holiday party at work, and last night a co-worker and I got together and created riddles for each person that we’ll have the group guess. It was a lot of fun, and thankfully, I have co-workers who will enjoy the game! I actually really like the season, with the parties and reasonable shopping involved.

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  22. brian stouder said on December 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Julie – you go!

    All I know is that Chloe (the 9 year old) wants a mechanical dog named Zoomer (and she shall have it, but don’t tell anybody), and that nobody makes better pumpkin roll than Pam.

    Plus – if you play Connect Four against anyone aged 10-15, they will clobber you (or at least me)

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  23. Dexter said on December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Back in 2001 I made a friend on a message board, her name is Leatrice and she is from Troy, NY, but she grew up in Brooklyn. She is about 70 now, and she posted a few times of sneaking off to The Apollo in Harlem to see many of these shows, many of these acts listed on the page above. She’d get there early and just stay all day.
    One time she got all caught up in the excitement and stayed way too late for a 13 year old girl to be out in the streets.
    Her mom insisted she go straight to the doctor for a vaginal exam to see if she was still a virgin. Pretty dramatic parenting? I know I had never heard of it before.

    Another time she posted how as she aged through her teen years, the boys began bothering her. She told us to keep them happy, she and her friends “gave them a little, just not a lot.” Boy, I just let that hang there. No need for TMI !

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  24. alex said on December 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    My partner’s family, being of the large Catholic variety, always drew names in the past but this year we’re doing something different. There are a couple of families in their church who are struggling financially due to medical bills so we’ve adopted them instead and drew requests from the families’ wish lists. I drew the name of a five-year-old boy who likes “cars, card games, art sets, books, balloons, bubbles, Scooby Doo, Sponge Bob and Legos.” My partner drew a request from the family for gift cards for fast food, movie rentals and gasoline and he’s being a scold and plans to give them gift cards for movies and gas only.

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  25. brian stouder said on December 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Hey Basset – here’s one for ya’…goes to show sometimes enough is too much!

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  26. Prospero said on December 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    How does Rhassan Roland Kirk get second billing to anybody, unless Yesef Lateef and Charlie Parker come back from the dead?

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  27. Julie Robinson said on December 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Alex, I drew a couple of little girls and it was so much fun choosing their gifts. Since I knew their ages early, I could also shop early and avoid the horrible crowds.

    We’ve been trying this for two or three years, and if we still had young ones at home of course there’d be presents under the tree for them. I just feel like we got lost in buying crap for a while and it wasn’t how we wanted to live.

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  28. MarkH said on December 2, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I always thought the Geezinslaw Brothers belonged on Hee Haw, not a folk music bill.

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  29. Sherri said on December 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I saw the right wing persecution complex in full force today: someone has gone around Redmond putting up signs in front of all the schools, the public library, city hall, and a number of churches in the area which say “It’s OK to say, Merry Christmas”. I guessed I missed all the police raids rounding up people who didn’t stick to Happy Holidays.

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  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Isn’t it sad how “Cyber Monday” has become so commercial?

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  31. nancy said on December 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    CYBER Monday? I thought it was Cyborg Monday! I’ve been sitting in my room with an RPG aimed at the door all day. I keep expecting the Terminator to show up.

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  32. Scout said on December 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    It annoys the shit out of me when people post the whole Merry Christmas schtick on Facebook. Wish me whatever you want to wish me, but don’t tell me how I need to celebrate or demand of me a certain greeting. The whole thing has the same stench of ridiculousness as Freedom Fries. And they used to accuse LIBERALS of political correctness. Pfffft.

    Our family Christmas gifts had turned into one big money swap in the form of gift cards, so last year we decided to use the money we were going to spend on each other and adopt a family that actually needed stuff. We personally delivered the gifts to the adopted family and the appreciation and joy they showed was the best gift of all. So that is the new family tradition. Except for the grandchildren; they will still get gift cards for iTunes, Kindle, Amazon, etc. It took the crazy mindlessness out of the season and gave it much more purpose.

    Every couple of years my partner and I do the 12 days of Christmas for each other. We decided to do it this year, so starting on the 14th we’ll give one small gift each day.

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – food and a four day weekend. And no, we didn’t shop.

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  33. brian stouder said on December 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Well, the cyborg-Monday story I saw on the news, and which I’m calling bullshit on, is the Amazon/drone story, which seems to have come right out of The Hunger Games….but we digress!

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  34. Joe K said on December 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    On 60 minutes last night they touched on the drones, they are in development but it will be at least 2015 before you see anything. There are a lot of questions they need to answer with the faa, who’s motto is, were not happy unless your not happy, also redundant liability problems, but I think it is coming, 86% of amazons packages weight 5 pounds or less. Think about it all you have to due is program your driveway gps location in the flight director and off you go.
    Pilot Joe

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  35. Kirk said on December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Jeff Bezos did not appear to be joking, but what do I know about billionaires’ sense of humor?

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  36. brian stouder said on December 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    GPS is one thing, but what about when some little girl is riding her tricycle on the driveway, when Bezos’s stupid drone flies into her face?

    It cannot be fully automatic; it cannot work without a human pilot; and if my neighbor gets an Amazon drone, and the damned thing smacks into my girl, or my cat, or anything else that it didn’t expect on its GPS information, then Bezos the bozo’s bucks are the last damned thing I’d want from him, after seeing him marched into prison for criminal negligence.

    These sons of bitches can pay Teamsters, and/or other human beings, to deliver their goods – or else they can go to hell.

    (Actually, it surprises me how angry this stupid drone story makes me. We can clearly see drones coming into the agricultural community, for field mapping and the rest, but presumably this will include a pilot there on the ground, running the thing…)

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  37. Sherri said on December 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I don’t buy that drones will be delivering packages anytime soon. The math just doesn’t add up, unless Bezos is planning on putting warehouses on every corner. The range of a drone just can’t be that far, especially carrying a package. The thing you’re ordering has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is usually a big building many miles away.

    My guess is that Bezos was doing this on 60 Minutes for the “look how cool we are” factor. If he were serious about it, he wouldn’t be talking about it on national television, he’d be testing it out. Amazon tests out lots of things that don’t always make it; living in their backyard, I’ve seen a few of them.

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  38. Deborah said on December 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Coozledad, that Blossom Dearie link made my day.

    We have a pretty laid back Christmas, for many years now we’ve been in New Mexico for the holidays. A few years ago we stayed in Chicago because my husband’s daughter and her daughter were in town and it was horrible, so we made a pact to always be in NM. For food we always have pasta bolognese (spelling?) which my daughter makes to perfection. It’s homemade pasta and ground beef, ground pork and ground veal cooked with tomato paste and lots of cream. It is out of this world. Gifts are mostly books because we all love them, sometimes DVDs. For the last decade or so we’ve been sending our extended family silver Tiffany snowflake ornaments as gifts. One year they didn’t offer silver, only glass so there has been a bit of variation. The size of the ornaments as decreased over the years due to the recession I guess but our relative seem to be happy with their gifts.

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  39. Deborah said on December 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    “has” and “relatives”, damn.

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  40. basset said on December 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Brian@25, I can see how you all get frustrated with your local media… that link had a Ft. Wayne TV story but no photo, just a stock picture of some generic deer in case you forgot what one looks like (“File Photo. Deer.”), I googled around trying to find a picture of this beast and the News-Sentinel had a story but no photo, channel 6 down in Indy had a file photo of two mounted deer heads (why? WHY?), and the Greensburg paper had a photo which didn’t show much:

    Quite a rack but I would want to see the body too. Never thrown my back out dragging a deer but that would be a good problem to have; I did tear a bicep climbing a TVA transmission tower to take a poacher’s stand down a couple seasons back, though.

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  41. Connie said on December 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    I just watched Detroit Public Television’s show The History of Detroit Television. Some of you would have loved it. In addition to featuring kiddy shows, including the very early Soupy Sales, and various sportscasters and newscasters and weatherman Sonny Elliott, it included a segment on the teen dance party shows and how they used local talent. I saw a very young Stevie Wonder, an unbelievably young Bob Seger, and a young Mitch Ryder singing CC Rider. Mitch also provided some commentary. It was a very fun show.

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  42. Brandon said on December 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    People around here like to say that we’re America’s future, so hey — look forward to it.

    Lucky I live Hawaii.

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