Meet the DVAS.

Because I believe my little girl should be free to have her own life, and write about it someday, I mention her less here than I might be inclined to. But it seems noteworthy to mark milestones when they come along, and we had one this weekend.

Around Christmas, Kate and two of her friends formed a band. They call themselves the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, a reference you Quentin Tarantino fans should pick up on. Their vision was clear from the beginning: All girls, playing their own brand of psychedelic punk, not just a cover band. They worked hard through the long winter, practicing at one’s house (not ours, but the one whose guitar-playing father had already turned the garage into a studio). The search for a singer took a while, but eventually they found someone, and through this connection and that connection, they had their first gig Saturday.

It was a venue that appears in no Google searches, probably because it barely exists. It’s a brick building with one room and a boarded-up storefront, probably a former mom-and-pop grocery or barbershop or what-have-you. The neighborhood is terrible, as in your-car’s-safety-is-in-God’s-hands terrible, and there was enough light in the sky to see just how terrible as we drove up. These are the neighborhoods in Detroit that freak me out — the ones where the blight is well-entrenched and mostly still standing, but there are still many occupied houses. Imagine living next to a standing burned shell, or between two of them, for years on end. It might leave a person with a bad attitude.

“If only we had a film crew to capture this milestone in your early career,” I mused as we drove past a house with a collapsed front porch roof. Well, at least it’s pretty damn punk.

But we found the guy who runs the place, and with many, many misgivings, left the girls to do their own setup and sound check while we went to the Northern Lights Lounge for a drink and some hummus. We returned as the DVAS were just about ready to take the — well, it wasn’t quite a stage. More like a clearing in the corner.

And they did great, with a tight little set of originals, and two covers — the Jimmy Neutron theme song and, because we are where we are, some Stooges.

The place was so murky inside even my flash pictures couldn’t penetrate it. We’re going to have to go with arty here:


With all due respect to the venue, I hope they don’t play there anymore. They’re already good enough that they shouldn’t have to.

It was a busy Saturday. I drove to Lansing to meet with one of the Bridge columnists I edit, who was signing copies of an Upper Peninsula literary collection called “The Way North,” which I can recommend to any Yoopers looking for a taste of home. I’m still in the poetry section, but I’m liking it quite a lot.

Sunday? A 14-mile bike ride into the teeth of a chilly wind. WHERE IS WARMTH? WARMTH I REQUIRE.

Bloggage, then:

I’ve really become a fan of Neil Steinberg, who puts a lot more effort into his blog than I do. This one in particular.

As long as we’re talking Bridge, one of my faves of the weekend — a Vietnam-era vet objects to the word-inflation of “hero.” I totally agree.

Living paycheck-to-paycheck on $90K a year? You bet. Another great deep dive from the WashPost.

Hello, Monday. I’ve heard you can’t be trusted. But I hope everyone’s week is fine.

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

58 responses to “Meet the DVAS.”

  1. Sherri said on April 28, 2014 at 2:22 am

    America is a place where luxuries are cheap and necessities costly.

    Pretty much sums up the WaPo article. Depressing. It means the haves can look at the have-nots and say, “see, they have iPads and big-screen TVs, they just need to manage their money better and they’ll be fine!” and cut that safety net some more.

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  2. Deborah said on April 28, 2014 at 5:53 am

    I’m at the airport again waiting to go back to Chicago. I’m glad the weekend is over. It was wonderful for my mother-in-law but exhausting all around.

    Great photo of Kate. What great parents she has.

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  3. David C. said on April 28, 2014 at 6:41 am

    And I thought all the good band names were taken.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 28, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Not only would I agree with your colleague on the misuse of ‘hero’, I’d argue that all veterans are not created equal. The fact that I get called one is ludicrous. Yes, yes, I signed up knowing the potential implications etc., but to stand me next to people who went somewhere and had to do something makes no sense. I think the problem started in the reaction to the debate over the VFW trying to keep out Vietnam vets, and the general non-unreasonable reaction was “fine, then let’s just honor everyone who served, peacetime or conflict, enlisted or draftee, equally.” The fact that it ticked off the VFW crowd was nice, but it lost us the ability to make meaningful distinctions.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 28, 2014 at 7:01 am

    Oh, and Jack Black would be proud of Kate.

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  6. coozledad said on April 28, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Here’s one of our local Republicans who’s referred to himself as a vet in his campaign appearances. He achieved this distinction by attending the Citadel, whose name he intones solemnly at every opportunity.

    As one of the actual local vets points out, Puryear never served in a branch of the armed services. It’s getting to the point where simply being a frat and having your brothers whip your ass with a belt constitutes heroism.

    Worked for Reagan, I guess.

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  7. jcburns said on April 28, 2014 at 7:53 am

    I completely agree with Bridge’s John Schneider about what they (we?) have done with the perfectly good word ‘hero’. And I think your picture captures Kate’s band’s essence. Too bad they’ll never play Swanky’s.

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  8. coozledad said on April 28, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Good for Kate and her band, writing their own material. I couldn’t find a band that didn’t just want to play Who and Stones until I was a sophomore in college. Prior to that, original material was strangely verboten among the dullards who were content to guitar-jock it out.

    I put it down to our generational plumbism.

    There’s a level of pointlessness in rote copying of pop that resembles RC modeling or golf. And some of those old dudes are still at it, playing Skynyrd and Zep.

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  9. Heather said on April 28, 2014 at 8:15 am

    My boyfriend likes to watch “CBS Sunday Morning.” I was only half paying attention when Jane Pauley started interviewing a middle-aged guy with really dumb hair. It took me a minute to figure out who he was–Mitch Albom. Of course then I had to Google some of Nancy’s best zingers and read them to the boyfriend.

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  10. beb said on April 28, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Duncan Black (aka Atrois) picked up on a comment Sperling made in an interview with Deadspin (

    When asked if Sperling was aware that he had black men working for him, he replied:

    …do I know? I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them?…

    Personally I thought basketball plays earned their money. It’s not something given to them. You give money to charity. But apparently that’s the mind-set of the super-rich. All their employees are moochers.

    I sort of thing the conflagration of ‘hero’ stems from Bush’s folly in Iraq. When all his promises were showen to be lies and the whole thing turned into a quagmire efforts to cut-and-run were rebutted with that would be a betrayal of all the ‘heroes’ over there. But I could be wrong.

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  11. Charlotte said on April 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

    The VFW tried to keep out the Vietnam vets?! Why did I not know this? I’ve been bitching for ages about the Billings paper’s lugubrious coverage of Every Single Honor Flight. I mean, really? This morning’s story was about dragging ill, ninety-something men to Washington to be “honored” — with a full medical contingent along. I’ve never quite understood the over-the-top nature of the veneration. Is it a generational thing among vets? These flights are privately funded, after all. Is it some sort of fuck-you to the younger generations? We were the “real” heroes while you hairy, unwashed, awful rebellious guys weren’t?

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  12. brian stouder said on April 28, 2014 at 11:34 am

    The Komet bug never bit me; but the minor league baseball team pulled me in, a little.

    #1 thing in Fort Wayne: the zoo. Chloe and I went there yesterday, and we saw something we’d not seen before: geese chasing giraffes away from the water…repeatedly!

    Watching a full-grown giraffe walk along is beautiful enough; and watching one (or more) gallop at full-speed is sublime.

    Those things are beautiful and graceful always anyway; and when they gallop (seemingly in slow-motion) – oh my!

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Here’s more recent take; each generation wants their service to be uniquely valuable, I guess.

    The older issue is that the Veteran of Foreign Wars wouldn’t allow returning Vietnam vets to join posts. Their by-laws forbid membership to any veteran who didn’t serve in an officially declared war, which Vietnam wasn’t. That was fixed in the late 70’s, but the bad taste for Vietnam vets lingered.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on April 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    The DVA’s are livin’ the dream right now, finding a venue that allows original material. Hopefully the next one will feel safer.

    Here’s another WashPost article that I enjoyed: It turns out the Tea Party PACs aren’t putting most of their money into electing people, they’re keeping it for themselves and their fancy consultants. Now, I might mind this if I wanted more Tea Party candidates to be elected, but since I don’t, I’m quite all right with it. A fool and his money, after all.

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  15. alex said on April 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Speaking of fools and their money, Julie, someone just paid the speaking fees of this flim-flam artist who holds herself up as a former “abortion industry” insider.

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  16. Judybusy said on April 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I love how you support Kate and her friends. It’s great to see such thoughtful parenting.

    That WaPo article was sad. I really don’t know how people with kids do it these days. I don’t see it getting any better, either, although the ACA should help with healthcare costs.

    Re: vets as heroes: I’m reading The Savage Continent, about the immediate aftermath of WWII. It sets the stage by describing many of the atrocities committed. Hard reading, but I’m learning a lot. Estimates are that 17,000 women were raped in Northern Africa by members of our greatest generation. The rates were truly appalling in Germany and other countries the Red Army invaded. The number of displaced persons was also mind-boggling.

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  17. Sue said on April 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    beb, one of Charlie Pierce’s favorite lines is “It’s not about race, because it’s never about race”.
    This one might actually turn out to be about race.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on April 28, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Saw that too, Alex. It’s getting hard to be surprised anymore, isn’t it?

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  19. Sherri said on April 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    There’s a long history of right-wing grift; Richard Viguerie was perhaps the original master of it. Rick Perlstein documents the history:

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  20. nancy said on April 28, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Alex, the N-S continues to deteriorate. I used to think Joe Weiler’s columns were subpar, but they’re positively Menckenesque compared to Kerry’s, who I swear writes like he’s typing with his elbows.

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  21. Icarus said on April 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Good for Kate and her band. If they add “Invisible” in their name, they can be the DIVAS

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  22. Connie said on April 28, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Your friend’s book “The Way North” is one of this year’s recently announced winners of the Michigan Notable Books Award.,2351,7-160-54574_39583—,00.html

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  23. Jenine said on April 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Invisible vipers would be scarier too.

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  24. Sherri said on April 28, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Brian, you’ll appreciate these pictures of Lincoln in 1860 & 1865:

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  25. brian stouder said on April 28, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Sherri – good stuff, indeed.

    I have a poster from a previous Lincoln Colloquium up in my work area – the cracked one, which was one of the last portraits of A Lincoln (Gardener thought ‘eh – plenty of time to get better ones’); it captures much.

    At the last colloquium there was a display of several Lincoln portraits that a dermatologist had examined, and highlighted several possibly cancerous growths.

    But what one cannot help but see is an exceptional human being, going through a soul-killing experience, and dying.

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  26. Deborah said on April 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I think it’s remarkable how presidents age during their terms, especially of course, two term presidents. Obama’s hair gets grayer and grayer. He is a good looking man, so fit and trim. Because his daughters were so young when he became president it is astounding to see how they’ve grown into lovely young ladies. And Michelle still is a stunner, she doesn’t look nay older to me.

    I did something rare today, I took a 4 hour nap, haven’t done that in years and years. I was exhausted and the weather here in Chicago is poopy so not much else to do. Cold and rainy.

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  27. Deborah said on April 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    any not nay, I’m barely awake.

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  28. Dexter said on April 28, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I was immediately recruited by the VFW in 1972, a year after I got off active duty, but was still in the reserves until 1975.
    I finally joined in 1980, but I sure as hell wasn’t barred or banned back in 1972, and in 1971 my future father-in-law took me drinkin’ at the Fort Wayne VFW post on Tillman Road and those old WWII and Korean War vets warmly welcomed me and offered membership to me right then…so what the hell?

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  29. David C. said on April 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Beb @ 10. The notion that our employers give us anything has always chapped my ass too. I think I annoy people by correcting them when they say any such thing. No, damn it, you earn it. If they could do it themselves they wouldn’t need to pay you to do it. It’s the same faulty reasoning that says if we give the rich more money, they’ll create jobs. Jobs doing what? Polishing their shoes, I presume.

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  30. Deb said on April 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Rock on, Derringers. Looking forward to hearing Kate play someday. When her band blows up, wonder how long it will take before some wizened scribe asks if she’s related to Rick.

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  31. Dave said on April 28, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Someone might ask but Rick’s getting to be a part of the past that even wizened scribes might not be aware of. Are wizened scribes writing about rock anymore? I think the Jane Scotts of the world are few and far between but I may be wrong. Oh, and Rick’s name is actually Zehringer.

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 28, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Dexter, my impression in Indiana was that the smarter posts just ignored the national guideline.

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  33. Dave said on April 28, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Who did they think was going to keep the VFW going?

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  34. Dexter said on April 29, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Larry Rivers of Louisiana was elected National Commander of the VFW in 1988, 26 years ago. He is a Vietnam combat veteran. Vietnam vets have been running the VFW for decades. I did some deep thinking on this matter and remembered that yes, both the VFW and American Legion had at times had members quoted in the press about how the new veterans weren’t quite up to snuff in comparison to them…and how when my VVAW group crashed the Veterans Day parade in Fort Wayne because we had been denied a permit to march, I had carried a sign which indicated we were marching in protest to the VFW’s and American Legion’s disdain for us, and especially for us in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
    That’s why I didn’t join the Legion until 1976 and the VFW until 1980. By then it was much different. But this hero stuff…let people think and do as they please, they mean no harm…usually. If they think all of us veterans are heroes, well, it obviously waters down the word, but let it be. It don’t mean nothin’…right, MichaelG? 🙂

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  35. coozledad said on April 29, 2014 at 10:05 am

    It really helps to have those deep Republican pockets. Kyle Puryear, a local piece of Mayo Lake trash and a candidate for county commissioner got his lardy white ass tanked up at the Roxboro Elk’s Club on April 23rd or 24th and did what he does a whole lot- got in his car and proceeded to find a bar that shut down a little later. He was arrested by an officer Harris.

    If you are a poor drunk in this county with a penchant for drunk driving, the Roxboro Courier Times and its Republican ownership will have hack Republican reporter Tim Chandler write you up and slap a picture of your poor drunk ass on page one.

    Kyle Puryear can barrel down the median and across both lanes with his bladder leaking jets of Coors’ Lite (The preferred beer of lake trash everywhere), and the Sheriff or SHP can stop him a couple of times and it will never make the paper. People in the Department of Motor vehicles know this. The Democrats know this.

    Democratic state senator Mike Woodard knows this, and he’s looking into it. But you can’t read about it in the Courier Times, or any other paper here, and you won’t see it on the damn TV, either.

    It will at most make the Chryon of the ABC WTVD 11 News feed before Puryear’s family and the state Republican party shut it down. So Kyle’s going to skate on being a repeat drunk driver blob of prematurely bluing chicken fat during an election.

    All I’ve got to say is the Republicans are giving us some shitty, fat, drunk oligarchs, with fifth rate educations from Southern Lil’Bo Peep academies.

    At least his license is suspended. The local party of family values is stuck driving his loathsome loser ass around.

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  36. coozledad said on April 29, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Eliminating the barriers between church and state should have consequences. It’s past time to start taxing this grifter trash to its filthy lying bones.

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  37. alex said on April 29, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Our phony-ass teabagger/Biblical creationist governor is making two interesting pit stops today — one at a health clinic for the indigent, the other at the local chapter of the Urban League. There’s some speculation he’ll be joining the wide field of nuts and kooks in the 2016 GOP primary, but it looks like he’s taking a lesson from Mitch Daniels’ playbook and trying to soften his extremist bona fides.

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  38. Deborah said on April 29, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Coozledad, it seems like those “love offerings”/campaign contributions in churches could be challenged pretty easily. Is anyone doing that?

    No offense, but I was really glad to leave NC yesterday morning for good old Democratic Chicago.

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  39. brian stouder said on April 29, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I would normally guess that Governor Bush of Florida would have the best crack, since he seems the least crazy…but three Bushs in 28 years sounds basically undoable.

    Darkhorse candidate that maight spring to the top?

    Kasich in Ohio has been a lot less crazy than Walker in Wisconsin, plus – OHIO baby!

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  40. coozledad said on April 29, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    In the primaries The church is where Republican candidates get money when the Kochs are directing money elsewhere. In general elections the meeting spaces, the love offerings, the pulpit, and the bodies will belong to the establishment candidate.

    It’s a huge resource, in addition to the money the oligarchs are already feeding the party. If you attempt to cut them away from what is essentially free money (Republicans don’t give a fuck about bible-beaters more than absolutely necessary once they’re in DC doing hookers and blow courtesy their major funders and policy writers) they’ll start screaming about religious freedom.

    Scum, really. Torture promoting, faux-religious scum.

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  41. Deborah said on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Good for the NBA Now the rightwing should come out screaming like they’re batshit crazy about free speech. Am I wrong to expect that?

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  42. coozledad said on April 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm


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  43. brian stouder said on April 29, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    That is good news out of Wisconsin…although our friends the Supremes have done critical damage to the Voting Rights Act, and the echoes from that act will reverberate for years

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  44. Kirk said on April 29, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Deborah@41: No, you certainly are not wrong. Of course, it’s not because they’re racists or anything like that.

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  45. brian stouder said on April 29, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Just ask ’em! And then they’ll say something like “One thing I’ve learned about the negro…”

    and recount a story about one time when they drove through the big city (and then “learned” all that anyone would ever need to know)

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  46. beb said on April 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Oh where, oh where can our Mistress be,
    The blog took her away from us.
    She’s gone to Lansing so we’ve got to good
    And not beat any tro-olls while she’s gone…

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  47. Kim said on April 29, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Cooz – isn’t the ratio of democrats to republicans 2:1 in your county? Second question, if the answer is “yes”: Is everyone (besides you, the wife and your friends) that stupid?

    Jayzus if that’s a yes, too.

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  48. Sue said on April 29, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Cooz and Brian, not so fast. Scotty vowed awhile ago to yank the legislature into special session if this didn’t go his way. They’ll tweak it, pass the revision and start the next round. The whole point is to get something in place by November, it’s just the level of nastiness that’s in question.
    In the last few years, when faced with good news we’ve learned to look over its shoulder to see what’s coming up behind it.

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  49. Danny said on April 29, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Man, good riddance to Sterling. Hope he doesn’t fight this too much, but I am sure he will not have the good grace to bow out. Guys like him and Bundy are sickening.

    Although I did hear that public records showed that Sterling only donated to Democratic candidates. That probably explains the silence of the Cooz.

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  50. Bob (not Greene) said on April 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Oligarchs like to spread their money to the people they think can grease the skids for them, regardless of their own party affiliation. Come on, Danny, you ought to be sophisticated enough to know that.

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  51. Deborah said on April 29, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Sterling is a registered Republican but he did give a few thousand dollars to Bill Bradley and former Gov of CA Davis over a decade ago. Given his millions, a few thousand is a pretty thin dime. So if that makes you feel better Danny, have at it.

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  52. coozledad said on April 29, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Kim: In our county, Democrats registered before 1994 are roughly half of Republican voters. Registered after 1994, they trend “strong Democratic voter”. Registered Republicans are mostly fuckups from somewhere else, the people who will tell you we fought on the wrong side in WWII, or the white trash clustered up in the party-boy fuckshacks around the lakes, living off of their parents’ and grandparent’s money, getting pissed on Coors Lite, hopping in a car, getting busted for DWI by the sheriff for the second or third time, then having the Republican county DA scrub the whole incident because they’re the party of personal responsibility (and beach music).

    I don’t know what you’d call a San Diego Republican, except maybe “Dookyshorts” or Figure 1. Anton Babinski Syndrome.

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  53. Sherri said on April 29, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Total scumbaggery is non-partisan. Happy, Danny?

    The funniest part of the whole sordid affair is that the audio came to light because Sterling’s wife sued Sterling’s girlfriend for $1.8 million, so the girlfriend decided to cause some trouble. Sterling’s racism (and sexism) isn’t new or unknown in NBA circles, but the girlfriend has exquisite timing. Rumor has it, had Silver not dropped his nuclear bomb on Sterling, the Clippers’ players were going to boycott the playoff game.

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  54. Sue said on April 29, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Sherri, actually, the funniest part of the whole sordid affair was Sterling’s girlfriend’s attorney’s response to Sterling’s wife’s attorney.

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  55. Kim said on April 29, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Cooz – Republicans posing as Democrats is, well, I don’t have words. Where I am from (IL) and where I live now (VA), people tend to be one or the other (despite the southern way of polite backstabbing and other amusing, disguised-as-refined bad behavior).

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  56. brian stouder said on April 29, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    I nominate Sue for Thread-Win, for that marvelous link to the absurd lawsuit filed by the wife of the reptilian fellow who owns the Clippers.

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  57. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 29, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Am I, troglodyte that I am, the only person to be horrified by the fact that, included in his other appalling statements, the Owner of the Clippers says to his mistress on the racist venting tapes “I don’t care” who she sleeps with? Is that not over some sort of line, too? Or is the blatant blaze of racism so strong as to blot out the flickering glimmer of “but you’re my mistress?” Are you supposed to be indifferent to your mistress’ proclivities even while you’re still in some sort of (line?) relationship?

    I guess it doesn’t matter in the . . . larger view. Of whatever. Anyhow, he’s now going to make $700 million selling the plantation, and I have neither poetry nor invective enough to express how soul-sickening that kicker is. Plus he will probably live to 98 just to spite us all.

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  58. Sue said on April 30, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I know what mid-century modern furniture is but what’s a mid-century modern house? The only thing I can think of is post-war tract house suburbs and I’m sure that’s not it. When I think of those, I think of 2.5 kids eating cereal in front of the tv on Saturday mornings, not fabulous design.
    I tell people I’m like a cat: I like to be near water, not in it. But swimming will probably become important for me as all the bones and joints continue to get older and something besides chair yoga is needed. But I promise I won’t be like the oldsters a co-worker was constantly running into (not literally) when he swam before work – groups taking up a couple of lanes in the middle of the pool, chatting and blocking those around them who were actually trying to swim.

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