What’s that green stuff?

Two weeks running now, I’ve happened upon an exchange between one of my favorite vegetable sellers at the Eastern Market and a skeptical customer who will not be ripped off by these sharpies in overalls, no sir. Last week it was about their offerings of shelled peas.

I used to avoid them, thinking that part of the true Alice Waters Total Authenticity Experience of peas is shelling them, and then I actually looked at the boxes of gleaming peas and asked how they managed it.

“We got a machine,” the owner said, shrugging. I bought a box. The peas were delicious. I haven’t looked back.

I was buying another one when a woman came by and expressed extreme skepticism that such a machine existed, perhaps believing that pea-shelling by hand is what all those Latino farm workers are up to, this time of year. She seemed to believe what she was looking at was thawed Bird’s Eye being passed off as the real, fresh thing, and her questioning indicated she hadn’t been born yesterday. The seller opened a box and offered her a pea. She ate it in amazement, then said she’d come back.

I wonder if she did.

This week, it was another woman who pointed at a bundle of rhubarb stems and said, “Rhubarb? Or Swiss chard?”

“Rhubarb,” the seller said.

O rly? her expression replied. You sure about that?

I remind you, these were rhubarb stems only — no leaves. While I will agree that there is some resemblance between red chard stems and rhubarb, I know no one who eats only the stems. You buy chard for the greens, lady.

No wonder America is fat. We managed the technology for putting peanut butter and jelly in the same jar, but lost our plant-identification skills.

I bought some rhubarb. It’s downstairs cooling in a pie as we speak.

Now watch: Someone will say that many people buy chard and throw the leaves away.

How did everyone’s weekend go? Besides feeling superior about my rhubarb skills, I went on a long, hot bike ride, saw the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad play a festival, did a ton of laundry, some light cleaning and a yoga class with one of those nutso teachers who kills you dead and namastes right in your face. “Use your eyes! Use the muscles of your eyes!” she said at one point. Later, she corrected my shoulder position — in corpse pose. I didn’t know where was a correct way to hold one’s shoulders in the final moments of the class, when you’re striving for ultimate relaxation. But it was fun. So there.

A little bloggage:

I heard the first International Men’s Rights conference was going to be held in Detroit last Friday, but complications ensued — the hotel wanted them to hire extra security, and to save face they claimed the place couldn’t hold all their throngs — and the event was relocated to St. Clair Shores and a decidedly less upscale venue: A VFW hall.

It turned out about how you would expect:

Janet Bloomfield, an anti-feminist blogger and spokeswoman for the conference, has suggested in the past that the age of consent be reduced to 13 because of a “mistake of age” can get unwitting men in trouble.

“The point being that it can be incredibly difficult to know, just by looking at someone, how old they are,” Bloomfield wrote, calling some teenage girls “fame whores.” Bloomfield also called protesters of the event, “Wayne State cunts.”

Also this, and also this. And you can find the Time stringer’s Twitter and scroll down to Friday. Gems:

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their time in our fair city — and its suburbs.

And I hope you enjoy your week ahead. Hot here, then storms, then by Friday? High of 71! In July! Heaven.

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

54 responses to “What’s that green stuff?”

  1. DanB said on June 30, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Conversation with the woman I bought chard from at a farmer’s market last Wednesday:
    seller: “You know you eat the stems, too, right?”
    me, looking taken aback: “Yes, of course.”
    seller: “Because a lot of people have a reaction of ‘ooh, gross’ when I tell them to eat the stems.”

    Make of that what you will.

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  2. Basset said on June 30, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Harvested the first potatoes from our backyard patch Sunday. Not sure I’ve ever eaten chard, not on purpose anyway.

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  3. ROGirl said on June 30, 2014 at 5:19 am

    Got some beautiful ruby Swiss chard yesterday for a big veggie stir-fry type concoction that I make on Sunday for the week. I cut up the stems and put them in the pan with the other veggies to soften them up a bit, and added the leaves at the end.

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  4. David C. said on June 30, 2014 at 6:34 am

    Long bike ride here too. I am going to do a 55 mile ride on the weekend after I turn 55 years old in July. I’ve already worked my way up to 30 miles and I felt like I had enough left in the tank to go 50 or thereabouts. So I think I’ll make it. Our Swiss chard tasted nasty this year, so we pulled it out. It’s hard to figure out. The romaine and spinach from the same bed was fine. Such is gardening, I suppose.

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  5. coozledad said on June 30, 2014 at 7:31 am

    The unified field theory of creep males and the Republican id:

    Who cares if they feel persecuted? People who wave their dicks in public will always feel persecuted in civilized societies.

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  6. alex said on June 30, 2014 at 7:39 am

    The Men’s Rightsers should have held their convention in Fort Wayne. Whenever the Promise Keepers did their thing here they had ten thousand plus attendees and fawning local media coverage. I’m sure Kevin Kilbane still thinks he’s going to get a trip to Malibu out of it.

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  7. Mindy said on June 30, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Family get-together yesterday to wish bon voyage to my cousin’s younger boy. He’s off to Qatar next week to begin his military career as an MP. A few of us greybeards were remarking how we were peering into his crib just, what, five or six years ago? What happens to the time?

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  8. Julie Robinson said on June 30, 2014 at 8:03 am

    We escaped the heat on Saturday by heading to Indy for the Ansel Adams exhibit at the Eiteljorg, and it was well worth the time. My dad loved his work so I had seen a lot of it in books and magazines. This exhibit was prints that Adams himself made from his negatives, and wow, what a difference. So sharp and clear, absolutely no graininess, yet often evoking the Impressionists. I’m so glad I got to see them.

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  9. beb said on June 30, 2014 at 8:07 am

    One of the pleasures of Mom’s big garden was rhubarb all season long. I’d be sent out of pick a kettlefull, whack off the leaves and have rhubarb sauce for afters, or strawberry-rhubarb pie, or strawberry-rhubarb jam. It’s wonderful stuff. And for the life of me I can’t imagine anyone who has ever picked rhubarb mistaking its stalks for anything else. Of course I’ve never seen red chard but ZI’ll stand by what I said.

    Real men suck it up and don’t complain that life has given them a raw deal. These Men’s Righters are a bunch of lipless panty-sniffers ((c) Coolzedad). Arguing that the age of consent ought to be lowered because it’s too hard to tell the difference between a sixteen year old and a seventeen year old is pure madness. It you can tell the difference between 16 and 17 how the hell do you expect to do any better distinguishing between 12 an 13 year olds? Better to raise the age of consent to 18 years. It won’t stop kids from having sex but it does having a chilling effect on those 40-somethings who are trying to rob the cradle.

    Another gun show shooting accident. This time in a concealed carry class. The instructor, instead of using a platic replica like he oughta, was using a real gun which he somehow forgot to check that it was unloaded. I’m all for a one-strike law against gun ownership. If you injure someone by doing something stupid you lose you right to own a gun. Period. Felons aren’t allowed to own guns because they’re considered a threat to society. Well, I think morons with guns are a threat to society. And when you prove that you’re a moron, then its bye-bye guns.

    And if it’s illegal to set up buffer zones around abortion clinics than I think it would be illegal to bust up Occupy Wall Street encampments. And conversely, if society felt that Occupy’s political discourse on the street was a menace, then “sidewalk counselors” are a menace, too.

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  10. Kim said on June 30, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Mindy @7 – It is like the Henry Austin Dobson poem “The Paradox of Time”, whose refrain says “time stays, we go.” It inspired sculptor Lorado Taft’s (who did the Alma Mater, all you University of Illinois people) piece called “Fountain of Time” in Washington Park on Chicago’s South Side. I am sure I’ve mentioned this before even though as time stays my memory seems to be taking breaks.

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  11. Dorothy said on June 30, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Lots of cooking this weekend since my son and daughter-in-law came over yesterday. Josh helped his dad put up 2 ceiling fans (we bought 5 recently). The third install came to an abrupt halt when they realized the electrical box in the bedroom was faulty. But thank goodness the one in our room went in flawlessly. Slept much better last night with a fan going. I made a spinach and mushroom quiche on Saturday when I got home from my 3 hour FutureFest rehearsal. And yesterday we had corn on the cob, Florence’s potatoes, grilled peaches, and the guys cooked steak and marinated shrimp on the grill. I had never used this recipe before and was happy it was so tasty. The basil came from our garden, and I didn’t have tomato sauce so I used jalapeno ketchup (Heinz brand) as a substitute, and I believe that will be the default from now on. It was scrumptious.


    Last week Judybusy asked for good thoughts for the new baby that was on the way to a mom diagnosed with cancer while pregnant. Last Thursday I heard about someone else – a former babysitter for my youngest sister’s 3 kids, who was just diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma, and she’s 20 weeks pregnant. This young lady had two failed IVF pregnancies and when this one worked, we were all so happy for her. And now this. And right after I heard about her cancer, I was stunned to find out via Facebook that a former next door neighbor (our first house in 1979 – lived there for 13 years) died very suddenly on Thursday after being admitted to the ER the day before for an infection and bowel obstruction. She was just 68. If I could be there at her service this morning in Pittsburgh, I certainly would be. Mike and I were heartbroken. Carol and Tom were the very best neighbors we’ve ever had. I learn just about every day not to take anyone or anything for granted anymore.

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  12. Connie said on June 30, 2014 at 10:29 am

    The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that, in limited cases, for-profit companies can claim a religious exemption to the contraceptive insurance mandate of Obamacare.

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  13. Judybusy said on June 30, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Oh, Dorothy, that’s heartbreaking all around. I’m so sorry for your loss. 68 is really young these days. I hope your young friend has lots of support and access to savvy doctors.

    I had a somewhat lazy, relaxing weekend. My partner worked days at her nursing job, so I did a whole lotta nothing on Saturday, reading a fun book about poisonous animals and then to the dog park (of course!)Pride was this weekend, and I volunteered yesterday, canvassing the happy crowds and encouraging them to vote. Then I left, ran a couple errands, went to the dog park, napped (twice) did a little weeding, and then celebrated my birthday with my honey by going out to eat at a great new restuarant with inventive cocktails and food. The main deal is a Venezuelan dish called an arepa. Here’s the site: http://holaarepa.com/about/

    Now I’m onto a book edited by Ruth Reichl. It’s a collection of Gourmet Magazine articles about Paris, and it’s delightful. The first one was written about the twenties, by a young female reporter who went to Paris for the Chicago Tribune in 1921. I highly recommend it; it’s called Remembrance of things Paris.

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  14. Deborah said on June 30, 2014 at 10:41 am

    SCOTUS decides in favor of Hobby Lobby, no surprise there.

    Happy birthday Judy Busy!

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  15. brian stouder said on June 30, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Those same companies whould be able to opt-out of paying their taxes (which is what ACA is, they tell us) for anything else they sincerely don’t believe in.

    The Defense Department exists to kill people as efficiently and quickly as possible. The Department of Agriculture gives food to “people who don’t work”….or for those that work at places like Hobby Lobby, and have a baby they weren’t ready for, and cannot feed her.

    You don’t believe in public education? You don’t have a car and therefore “don’t use the roads”?

    Hell – really – all taxes should be voluntary, right?

    And – we should bring back public stoning for trespassers against our common morality, right?

    If we’re going to be a theocracy, afterall – do it right!

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  16. brian stouder said on June 30, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Those same companies should be able to opt-out

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  17. Sue said on June 30, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Nope, no surprise in the Hobby Lobby case, although that ‘narrow’ ruling confuses me. Narrow in that only some corporations are people (the ‘religious’ ones) or narrow in that contraception (or ‘lady stuff’) is ok to deny but maybe blood products and other things corporation people object to should be allowed?
    And it’s good to know that Hobby Lobby will now clear all Chinese-made stuff from its stores (or, 90% of its products) in protest of China’s mandatory abortion and family planning laws. Because every life is precious, even those heathen foreign ones.

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  18. Sue said on June 30, 2014 at 10:59 am

    And, not surprisingly, it’s a two-fer.

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  19. Peter said on June 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Oh, it’s going to be a long day today.

    Over on the Trib website, I saw a comment that confirmed I’m living in Bizarro World: “Because you put money into a pool that is overseen by a company that disburses payments according to when someone gets ill, all insurance companies are a form of socialism.”


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  20. brian stouder said on June 30, 2014 at 11:26 am

    and if your church takes up a collection, or if you help your 85 year old neighbor, or if you obey the traffic laws, or if you stand in line and wait your turn at McDonalds, or if you buy a lottery ticket, or if you go for a picnic at the public park…good God!! Sociallism has already taken over!

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  21. MichaelG said on June 30, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Maybe businesses owned by Christian Scientists won’t have to pay anything toward health care. Just give the employees a tract and a subscription to the ‘Christian Science Monitor’.

    You take your red chard, eat the leaves and sell the stalks to suckers as rhubarb.

    I always hated peas in the shell. It seems like most of the weight you’re paying for is garbage, shelling the things is a pain in the ass and you always end up with less (fewer peas?) than you expected out of that mountain of pods. That said, fresh peas are sooo good.

    Happy birthday, Judy. I like Ruth Reichl and have read several of her books.

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  22. Deborah said on June 30, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Shelling fava beans is worse than shelling peas because you also have to take the skin off of the bean which takes forever. If anyone knows a fast way to do this let me know. I love fresh fava beans.

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  23. Sue said on June 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    MichaelG & Judybusy, I’m waiting for Ruth Reichl’s book about her years at Gourmet. She promised, but so far all I’ve seen is a novel about a young woman working at a place ‘very much like’ Gourmet (yawn). I want her to do something similar to her undercover food critic book.
    Two years ago we planted a dwarf sour cherry in our front yard cottage garden. It was not supposed to get more than about 6 feet, it would be pretty in spring and provide food for birds in summer. I love cherries but not the labor-intensive effort of picking and pitting so I didn’t need to feel guilty about leaving the cherries on the tree, the birds would eat them and be fat and happy. Last year was the first bearing year and sure enough the birds were in and out, eating away at the first few cherries. This year the tree is loaded and the birds are avoiding it. I’ve picked three quarts from a tree that’s still not much taller than I and there’s another pint or so still on the tree. Birds! Get busy! I don’t like picking cherries but can’t let them go to waste!

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  24. coozledad said on June 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    State funerals for all them dead Kotex babbies! Stat!

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  25. Jeff Borden said on June 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Oh my God, but the Roberts Court is just so fucking awful. Its devotion to power –corporate, government, financial– is overwhelming. No wonder something like 70% of Americans hold the court is disdain. It should be 100%.

    Anyone for a Constitutional amendment mandating term limits for justices? The five nutters on the court are going to be there for a very long time, unless Nino Scalia and Clarence Thomas eat themselves into a case of arterial sclerosis before Obama’s term ends.

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  26. MichaelG said on June 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    If you all like Ruth Reichl, you should read Bourdain (really!), Michael Ruhlman and M. F. K. Fisher among others. Especially Ms. Fisher.

    I don’t even want to think about SCOTUS. I have enough downers going as it is.

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  27. MichaelG said on June 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Excellent comment from Amanda Marcotte: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/06/30/hobby_lobby_decision_the_religious_right_won_the_contraception_fight_but.html

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  28. Sherri said on June 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    SCOTUSblog, as always, is doing a great job covering the story. Their liveblog answers a lot of questions about Hobby Lobby. One thing it’s important to understand is, the case was not decided on the 1st amendment question, but rather on RFRA. That’s one reason they were able to make it as narrow as they did.

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  29. LAMary said on June 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Sort of off topic. I just read an LAT story saying that women who had their babies later in life live longer. I guess I do need to save for retirement. My kids were born when I was 37 and 41. This article was telling me I’ll make it past 90.

    Same paper had Fouad Ajami’s obit. I knew him. He used to hit on my when I worked in the gourmet shop on 104th and Broadway in NYC. Regularly and persistently but to no avail. Edward Said used to come into the same shop. I had no idea they hated each other, but the obit says they did.

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  30. brian stouder said on June 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I just have to say….LAMary, for the win!!

    (gotta love the image of that guy fruitlessly hitting on her)

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  31. Dorothy said on June 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    There could be some merit to that study, Mary. My mom will be 92 a week from today. Her youngest child turns 50 on Friday.

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  32. Jolene said on June 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I saw that study too and passed it on to one of my sisters, who had her first and only child at 40. The finding was thathif

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  33. Jolene said on June 30, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Never mind previous post. As I was saying, those findings seem to be about genetic advantage. If your body is functioning well enough to conceive without medical intervention at a relatively late age, you are probably aging more slowly in general. Hence the relationship between late fertility and longevity. Pretty interesting.

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  34. Jenine said on June 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I had mine at 34 and 37 but I can’t get very excited about life after 80. Sort of hope that I slip off the yacht deck before then. (Note to self for 2042, find yacht.)
    LAMary, your comments about raising your kids give me hope. Mostly I hope I still have a brain and some sass when my girls are headed out into the world.

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  35. Jolene said on June 30, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Somehow, the keypad on my iPad has become liberated from its place at the bottom of the screen and is, instead, floating across the middle. Anyone know how to fix this?

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  36. brian stouder said on June 30, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Pitch the damned thing into the middle of the lake!

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  37. Deborah said on June 30, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I had my one and only child when I was 24. I guess that means I’ll be clocking out sooner rather than later.

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  38. LAMary said on June 30, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    My kids aren’t perfect but they always come through in the clutch and they seem to respect me in some obtuse way. I think the occasional use of the phrase “don’t shit a shitter” either straight up or in some more genteel form helps a lot.

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  39. jcburns said on June 30, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Jolene: Tap and hold the the keyboard key at lower right of the keyboard and select Undock. You can drag the full keyboard up and down the screen. If you select Split you can have a split keyboard and drag it up or down the screen. To redock it, select ‘dock’ from that same lower-right popup menu.

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  40. Sherri said on June 30, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I’m not surprised by the Hobby Lobby decision; I always expected a 5-4 decision with Roberts et al finding for Hobby Lobby’s right to discriminate against women. I didn’t think they’d be quite so explicit in the decision in saying that this is only for contraception, not anything else, though I’m not surprised. Our five conservative Catholics on the Court really want to implement a state religion, and they’re constantly trying to tiptoe around the establishment clause, just like they did in the Town of Greece ruling earlier this term.

    It would be wrong of me to wish ill of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, or Kennedy. Let me say instead that I wish them a long retirement, and that I wish they would embark on said retirement as soon as possible.

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  41. Jolene said on June 30, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks,JC. But, I get only two alternatives: Dock and Split. When I hit Dock, the keypad remains in the middle of the screen.

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  42. jcburns said on June 30, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Hm, restart it. Dock resets it just fine for us. Beyond that, maybe a software restore. But just restarting the iPad (from completely off, not just asleep) should do the trick.

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  43. Sherri said on June 30, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    There is evidently a group of people who are literate enough to understand what SCOTUS means, but not literate enough to read the description of @SCOTUSblog’s twitter account: https://twitter.com/SCOTUSblog

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  44. Jolene said on June 30, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    No go, even after restarting. Also, when the Dock/Split option appears, it disappears before I can tap it. That is, if I lift my finger off the keyboard key, the option key disappears. I can use another finger to hit Dock while holding down the keyboard key, but nothing happens. Looks like a trip to the Genius Bar may be in order.

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  45. Dexter said on June 30, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    The recent rain messed up my lawn cutting plans but it was dry enough to mow today, so as I got back from the park with the dogs and headed for my garage and the lawn mower, my neighbor yells out for a favor: “Can I use your lawn to try out my new rider? My grass is too short.” (He mowed on Friday). “Oh, I guess that would be OK,” says I. 🙂 He kind of half-assed it, but it’s muggy and my job tomorrow will be easier for his efforts.
    The Detroit Tigers are honoring the great 1984 Champs tonight. In one in-game interview, Dan Petry, star pitcher of yore was being interviewed, for about 12 minutes, maybe 15. And the whole time, his mic was off. Great production work there, dumb asses! Sparky Anderson was the manager of that team. Here’s a little anecdote culled from Tiger employee and Sparky’s friend Dan Ewald’s book.
    The Detroit Tigers always stayed at the Grand Hyatt in NYC which (at that time anyway) was adjacent (or close to) Grand Central Station. Sparky, who always was with his best friend Dan, the author of this book, who cleared a path for Sparky when the autograph seekers slowed Sparky down too much, always took the D train to da Bronx because Sparky loved riding the subway! Sparky was a kid from Bridgewater, South Dakota, and he loved everything about the cities he visited . One early summer Sunday morn, the two gents were enjoying a rapid ascent through Manhattan towards 161 street when the train broke down at the 110 stop. They were stuck at the station and were able to exit their car. They went to street level and Dan said, “there we were , in THE MIDDLE OF HARLEM and not a cab anywhere to be had.” Now if anything, 110 is the beginning of Harlem at best…I had heard Harlem starts at 125 even. So anyway, a polite black man approached them and sensed they were stuck and needed to move out, so he said that no regular cabs come up this far, and he would hail a livery cab, and within seconds he had hailed an unmarked car. . Sparky offered a ten-spot to the helping dude but he said “Sparky, you have given me too much pleasure over the years , and I cannot accept this money.” Sparky then shook his hand, leaving behind a wadded ten dollar bill stuck to the dude’s palm.

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  46. Suzanne said on June 30, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    My ipad did that too, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember how I fixed it. I know I found the answer via Google.

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  47. Deborah said on June 30, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Charles Pierce on SCOTUS Hobby Lobby, the best argument I’ve heard today http://www.esquire.com/_mobile/blogs/politics/The_Hobby_Lobby_Case

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  48. susan said on June 30, 2014 at 9:36 pm


    It may be wrong of you to wish ill of Roberts, et al, but it is not wrong for me to wish them all the deprecations, malevolence, and ridicule that exists in the Yiddish language and then hope all that come to fruition. I truly wish they’d drop dead. Right now. Before they do more damage to this country. Admit it: I bet you do too!

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  49. Sherri said on June 30, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Of course I do, Susan, I’m just trying to remind myself that I want to be a positive force in the universe. I want to smash their fat smug faces with my bare hands, but I’m trying to be better than that.

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  50. susan said on June 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm


    I’m not a good person, sometimes, and this is one of those times. Or maybe smashing their smug bigoted faces would be a positive force in the universe. I think so. Therefore, we are both good people.

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  51. Kirk said on June 30, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Dexter@45: Tnx for sharing that story

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  52. basset said on June 30, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    I say it’s chard, and I say the hell with it.

    Tomatoes are coming on nicely though, had a nice plump German Pink with dinner tonight.

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  53. Deborah said on June 30, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Sherri and Susan, bravo!

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  54. Jolene said on July 1, 2014 at 1:05 am

    Suzanne, the info I got from Google matches what JC said, so either I’m following the instructions incorrectly, or there’s something off about my machine.

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