Saturday morning market, two days late.

Coming home from the market Saturday, I finally found myself at an obvious Hantz Woodlands site, seen here:


John Hantz is a local moneybags who has been trying to farm the urban prairies of Detroit for years, and kept getting swatted aside by various city agencies and other complainers. First he wanted to farm food, but that was deemed too attractive to rodents, and eventually he settled on hardwoods. He brokered a deal with the city to turn over 150 acres, non-contiguous, consisting of hundreds of lots scattered around the depopulated east side within a rough rectangular footprint. The usual “create jobs” argument was deployed, but I notice that when the planting happened, it was done with volunteers. Which is not to knock him; he really tried hard to do something on these lots, and the usual cries that this was a “land grab” ring hollow when you see what the land was doing before all this.

Anyway, that picture — that’s a Hantz woodlot. A zillion little trees, a cracked sidewalk and a scrapped-out, abandoned apartment building looming over all. I really hope the neighborhood is happy with getting these lots mowed, at least, because one determined vandal could take out the whole lot with a riding mower.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this project. I’m amazed at the things people in these nearby neighborhoods find to complain about. A separate, but similar project to fill a vacant parcel with an apple orchard met with unbelievable carping a few months back. Why? Because apples will draw rats, people said. Man.

So, a little bloggage:

The White House jumper was 42 and sounds like he had an undiagnosed case of schizophrenia and/or PTSD, if his fear that he did the deed because the president needed to be informed of a “collapsing atmosphere” is to be believed. Another win for the piss-poor mental-health safety net in the U.S. of A.

Starbucks Nation vs. Chik-fil-A Country? Screw you, Meet the Press.

Since y’all have been enjoying MichaelG’s Barcelona travelogue so much, you might enjoy the pix ‘n’ words of our own J.C.’s wife, Sammy, as the two of them enjoy a month in Italy. They’re in Rome now.

As for me, back into it.

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

49 responses to “Saturday morning market, two days late.”

  1. Jolene said on September 22, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Not sure why you object to the Starbucks vs. Chik-fil-A characterization of the electorate. Is it just the cutesiness you don’t like? Because the distinction is just another way of labeling the red vs. blue polarization we hear so much about.

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  2. coozledad said on September 22, 2014 at 4:51 am

    It’s interesting to see Chuck Todd’s pretensions metastasizing beyond that pussy he wears on his face. Meet the Press has been gunning for a mouth breather audience so hard they’ve confused the effort with staffing. I’m surprised the set isn’t covered with black bunting for Cokie Roberts’ dead lobbyist/whore of a brother.

    In the near future, look for them to add a dudebro kitchen segment with Luke Russert and Elizabeth Hasselbeck.

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  3. David C. said on September 22, 2014 at 6:12 am

    I’ve never darkened the door of either a Starbucks or a Chik-fil-A so I guess I’m a moderate persuadable swing voter. I guess that’s my fucking phone is ringing off the hook.

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  4. Jolene said on September 22, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Oh, cooz, you’re such a poet. Chuck Todd is not a bad guy. He lives and breathes politics (when he isn’t focused on sports or music) and knows everything about every race. He’s also an expert on polling and is quite willing to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of any survey. He’s not exactly a sparkling personality, but, to me, he comes across as fair-minded, good-hearted, and possessed of both a sense of humor and an appropriately skeptical take on whatever any politician is dishing out.

    Of course, he lacks your artistic talents, not to mention your expertise in mule handling, but not everyone can be so lucky.

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  5. Deggjr said on September 22, 2014 at 7:40 am

    ‘Starbucks v. Chick-fil-A’ seems a tad superficial, especially from the host of a program that claims it presents in-depth analysis.

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  6. Jeff Borden said on September 22, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Count me among those who see Chuck Todd as a toad. I suppose he’ll be better than David Gregory, but that’s like saying Freddie Krueger is better looking than Quasimodo. The Sunday morning shows are absurd. . .fact-free bull sessions among establishment insiders. It’s rare when a host challenges a politician or government official. It’s kind of soft-core propaganda.

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  7. alex said on September 22, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I seem to recall Chuck Todd having a habit of drawing false equivalencies between the parties, and his shallow metaphor is emblematic of his shallowness all around. I caught a glimpse of him this weekend with Grover Norquist and the guy who wrote “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” The problem with Meet the Press (and Face the Nation) is that they let right-wing cranks like Norquist hold the floor and don’t challenge the utter bullshit they spew. Of course, people like Norquist, Dick Cheney, etc., wouldn’t consent to appear if things were any other way. I think both of those shows are tired and it’s time for something new where the guests aren’t disingenuous hacks and the host doesn’t blow them air kisses from across the table.

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  8. Jeff Borden said on September 22, 2014 at 8:46 am

    What Alex said.

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  9. redoubt said on September 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Amazing. According to CFA’s own website there are nine CFAs in Iowa–mostly in or near cities.

    Here in Metro Atlanta, CFA and Starbucks are close to each other everywhere–I work near one such example (the southwest corner of Druid Hills and Briarcliff Roads has a Starbucks; the northeast corner has a CFA). But Georgia isn’t considered a “battleground” state so I guess we don’t count.

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  10. Jolene said on September 22, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Grover Norquist may be a right-wing crank, but he is a crank who has persuaded almost every Republican member of Congress to sign a pledge saying that they are unwilling to raise taxes. That is, in my view, an incredibly simple-minded, short-sighted, and stupid policy, but it is a policy brought about, in large part, by the persistence of one man. When someone has done something like that, you can’t really just write him off as a crank.

    I do agree that the Sunday shows are ossified. Oddly enough. Bob Schieffer, who is by far the oldest host, occasionally does things that are different–at least a little–and interesting. He hosted a long discussion in connection with the broadcast of a The Roisevelts that was very good, and every now and then he hosts a panel of authors of books he’s read and liked, including both fiction and nonfiction. Wish he would do more of this sort of thing.

    Re the shallowness of the Starbucks vs. Chik-fil-A metaphor, I don’t see it as particularly different from red states vs. blue states or, for that matter, Republicans vs. Democrats. Any scheme that attempts to organize something as huge and diverse as the United States into two categories is going to obscure a lot of complexity.

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  11. Jolene said on September 22, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Here in Metro Atlanta, CFA and Starbucks are close to each other everywhere–I work near one such example (the southwest corner of Druid Hills and Briarcliff Roads has a Starbucks; the northeast corner has a CFA). But Georgia isn’t considered a “battleground” state so I guess we don’t count.

    Georgia is certainly a battleground state in this fall’s Senate election, and the Dems are working hard to turn Georgia and Texas purple. Both have increasingly diverse populations, that portend competitiveness if not flipping to blue. May not happen in 2016, but it is likely to happen.

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  12. Charlotte said on September 22, 2014 at 10:32 am

    So, if you ignore 310,000 people marching in the streets of Manhattan, as did all the networks, and at least as far as I can tell from the online versions, the major newspapers, does that mean we still don’t have to worry about climate change?

    Sheesh. You’d think the news industry was owned by the big corporations or something.

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  13. adrianne said on September 22, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Charlotte, the climate march was pretty big news in the NYC metro area (where I live). Turnout was impressive, people seem very charged up about it.

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  14. brian stouder said on September 22, 2014 at 11:03 am

    My dad used to watch the Sunday shows, and therefore I did, too; but I can’t remember the last time I watched one.

    These days, I watch Rachel most evenings, and sometimes Lawrence (although by then it’s time to go to bed). The old-style format with ‘moderators’ and people selling their books and/or gray-bearded ink-stained journalists/editorialists and key political figures holds no charms for me.

    You know going in that everything is on ‘puree’, and/or nothing is going to move from within the 40-yard-lines…even when someone’s point of view really, truly deserves to be challenged without relent.

    Total non-sequitur: didja see where the San Diego public school district decided – aww hell! – to give back the armored assault vehicle that the DoD gave them?

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  15. Deborah said on September 22, 2014 at 11:05 am

    I haven’t watched Meet the Press or any Sunday morning TV in ages and ages. I read a lot about Chuck Todd, especially by Charles Pierce but I have no first hand experience with watching him anywhere near lately. I probably heard him bloviating during coverage of presidential elections, and I sort of remember him as a chubby guy with a goatee. He seems to have slimmed down since then but still has the goatee I see.

    Really all daytime TV makes me depressed, I think it bothers me because it reminds me of my childhood and my teen years, which were less than pleasant. Back then it seemed like everyone had their TVs on all the time.

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  16. Charlotte said on September 22, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Nothing above the fold on the home pages of the NYTImes, Washington Post, Boston Globe or LA Times this morning. I don’t watch network news anymore, but apparently, also nothing on the evening news broadcasts.

    They’re saying the final count was 400,000 — and nothing. Like it never happened. Nothing to see here, move along.

    Meanwhile, coal train after oil train after coal train are running through Livingston — train traffic has tripled as we send fossil fuels to China (burning fossil fuels to do so), as though this isn’t going to have any effect on anything.

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  17. Jeff Borden said on September 22, 2014 at 11:08 am

    The problem with the Sunday shows is that they’re all slaves to the bookers. It is unconscionable for one senator like John McCain to be allowed so much access. (He and Lindsey the Bedwetter are among the most frequently booked guests on the Sunday shows). Why is a washed up hack like Newt Gingrich still invited on to opine? Or out and out loons like Ted Cruz?

    Why isn’t Elizabeth Warren on more? Or Sherrod Brown? Or Bernie Sanders?

    The network news organizations are so cowed by the rightwing noise machine they don’t even try for any sort of balance.

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  18. Bitter Scribe said on September 22, 2014 at 11:20 am

    What annoys me about these facile comparisons is that the liberal one is always portrayed as inauthentic, pretentious, out of touch, etc. Starbucks equals “latte liberal,” the out-of-touch elitist, and how can we trust the country to someone who’s stupid enough to pay $5 for a cup of coffee, blah blah blah.

    What’s even funner is that Starbucks is something of a joke among true coffee aficionados, who refer to it as “Charbucks” or “Starburnt,” a reference to their tendencies to over-roast their coffee as a way to mask flavor deficits. And the only reason I know that is because I earned my biscotti for a year editing a trade magazine for coffeehouse owners.

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  19. Julie Robinson said on September 22, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Count me irritated by almost everything on TV, and my favorite channel is off. But I’m not home on Sunday mornings anyway and wouldn’t watch even if I were. Talking heads, yelling heads; it’s all too much noise.

    There’s a group here in the Fort called Young Urban Farmers. They started growing produce at their house, and this year they got a vacant lot and raised funds for a trial at reclaiming damaged soil, with the idea of expansion. They had chemists helping them with the soil tests, and after only one year of a sunflower crop, the soil was proclaimed healthy. It’s a very small group and I’m impressed with what they’ve done using minimal resources. There’s hope for this old world after all.

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  20. Sammy (the wife) said on September 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out! Wish you were here! Alan, too!

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  21. Deborah said on September 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I read this morning on the BBC website that the Rockefeller foundation is divesting in fossil fuels and reinvesting in clean energy. That’s a start.

    “It is part of a growing global initiative called Global Divest-Invest, which began on university campuses several years ago…”.

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  22. alex said on September 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    And I should have added that Sunday morning comedy hour starring George Stephanopoulos, Cokie Roberts and George Will.

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  23. redoubt said on September 22, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    From #11–agree. Texas may and Georgia will flip by 2016. (Reminds me of the two bumper stickers on the same car I saw last week: “Newt 2012” next to “Jason Carter for Governor”)

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  24. beb said on September 22, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    What’s infuriating about the Starbucks/Chick-fil-a is how it frames liberals/ Democrats / city residents are effete snobs who pay outrageous prices for coffee. While Chick-fil-a is regular food for regular joes. Just by picking these two franchises the Toddster has encouraged liberal-shaming.

    And it doesn’t matter how smart Chuck Todd may seem, the job hosting Meet The Press is incredibly debilitating. David Gregory seemed like a pretty smart man when he was White Houses Correspondent. But once he was anointed to MTP his IQ went out the window and there wasn’t a Republican Talking Point that he wouldn’t repeat with a straight face. The same is going to happen to the Toddster. We can already see in progress. There’s a three-way tie for dumbest person in the media: George F. Will, David Brooks and Joe Scarborough. So who’s Todd bringing to the show? Someone with a fresh view point, someone with reasoned critique of the status quo? ie, a liberal like Robert Reich, or Lawick (sp?) Someone to balance the endless stream of conservatives? No, he goes with Morning Joe. There’s a reason why Meet The Press sucks. And it’s not it’s host.

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  25. Jolene said on September 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    What’s infuriating about the Starbucks/Chick-fil-a is how it frames liberals/ Democrats / city residents are effete snobs who pay outrageous prices for coffee. While Chick-fil-a is regular food for regular joes. Just by picking these two franchises the Toddster has encouraged liberal-shaming.

    Or, as the complaining right-wingers say, this distinction implies that Starbucks customers are well traveled, cosmopolitan sophisticates, while Chik-fil-A customers are downscale country hicks who’d put ketchup on tomatoes. Just by picking these two franchises, Chuck Todd has encouraged people to sneer at decent, god-fearing people.

    But, yes, if I never heard from John McCain or Lindsey Graham again, it would be too soon. Bernie Sanders was on Meet the Press last week.

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  26. MichaelG said on September 22, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    If nothing else, the Wingers have the victim act down. I don’t like Chuck Todd. There’s just something … smarmy about him.

    I’ve never been to Chick-fil-a. I have the impression they sell some kind of gimmick chicken? Across the street from my hotel here in Madrid is a Domino’s Pizza.

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  27. MichaelG said on September 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    J. C.’s reporting is superb. Well written, great design, great pix.

    The Estacion Sant is a large, boxy place, probably twenty or more years old. It has no architectural or other interest that I could discern, not that I am particularly discerning, but it is clean, well kept and efficient. There was a good sized crowd on hand for the 11:00AM to Madrid (more than the 3:10 to Yuma) but the station people acted like they’d been there before. They opened a second line. Then a third and a fourth line to handle the crowd. Things moved very smoothly. Once again, being an upper class sort, I had an assigned seat so there was no need for me to join the scrum.

    The coach was, indeed, first class. There were two seats on one side and a single seat on the other. The seats were a charcoal leather and very comfortable. The whole coach was sumptuous. The seat back went sort of down and back when reclined so it didn’t bother the person behind one. Not that it would have mattered as there was oodles of leg room.

    There was a display on the bulkhead at the end of the car that displayed, among other things the train’s speed and the time. When the digital clock turned to 11:00, the train began to move in that way trains do and this one was dead on time. You don’t feel anything, the station just seems to move backward.

    We glided out of the station and down the track. The train was silent and very smooth. Between the silence and the smoothness if felt as if the train was floating down the track. There wasn’t really any sensation of speed. It’s a little eerie. We seemed to move at somewhere around 200 KPH on the way out of town. The attendant came by offering newspapers. Yep, it’s just like on the airplane. The attendant brings a hot towel (paper), then drinks and then a snack. The snack was inedible.

    Slowly the speed increased until we topped out at 300 KPH. The highest I saw was 301. This was about 186 MPH. Fastest I’ve ever been on the ground. Still no sensation of speed. It was all so smooth and quiet. What a way to travel. The whole thing is simply quiet, understated and relaxing. I can’t believe that we don’t have this in the US. Here rail travel is not an afterthought for the underclass. It’s a genuine and luxurious alternative to the airplane.

    You don’t feel the rocking and the clack, clack that is there on an American train. Until you try to pee at 300 KPH. Then you notice it.

    You really see the speed when you want to take a picture out the window. A desired item appears, you raise your camera and zip, target is gone before you can focus and shoot. I gave up trying to take a picture other than a panoramic few to set the scene.

    As I said, what a way to travel. Super comfy leather seat, lots of room, beautiful scenery, a nice glass of wine, 300 KPH and the smoothest, quietest ride ever. The US is sooo deprived.

    To top it off, we pulled into Madrid Atocha and stopped at exactly the advertised 1:45 PM.


    In one place I sat at the bar next to a guy and his wife. He was German, she was Thai and they communicated in English and lived on Minorca. She was a lovely woman, both were in mid forties.

    In another, I had paperdelle del mare. They called it papa d’ mare. A broad noodled pasta with mussels, clams, shrimp and calamari. The sauce was to die for. The sea food was cooked perfectly and so sweet and tasty. The only sour note was that the shrimp was fully clothed. Head and full shell. I don’t mind this in principle, but the shrimp was in sauce and the eating of it was a mess. I licked my fingers and used a whole napkin. It was good, but kind of a pain in the circumstances.

    Waiters and waitresses use an I-Phone sized thing to take your order. It’s all touch screen stuff bringing up menu items and selecting them. When you want your bill the waitress just pushes print and a supermarket type receipt prints out at the bar

    It’s late and I’m sitting in the hotel bar. There’s a soccer game on the TV. I swear, before they give these guys the first lesson in how to kick they have weeks of instruction on how to grab a knee or ankle and writhe around on the ground every time they fall down. Wait! Here’s a guy grabbing his shoulder for a little variety. Nobody buys it, I don’t know why the bother.

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  28. Deborah said on September 22, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    MichaelG, another great report. We were in Madrid a couple years ago, just for a few days on our way back from Finland. I had never been there before, it was early August and quite hot. I remember looking for a place to eat in a part of town that was ALL restaurants crowded to the brim. We finally found a place to sit outside and had food I don’t even remember, so it must not have been great. At midnight it was still in the 90s. We went to the Prado and wandered around the city, it was a Sunday so a lot of places were closed. Trains in Europe are amazing aren’t they? Why oh why can’t we do that too?

    I’m reeling a bit because I found out today that one of our former neighbors down the lane killed himself recently. He had just gotten married and only about a couple of weeks ago he moved out of our neighborhood with his new wife to a place out in the country. I saw him a lot but only really spoke to him once besides saying hi. He was a character, 65 years old, long hair and a huge handlebar mustache, he was a graphic designer. Apparently his new wife tried to kill herself as well, she survived and spent a few days in a psych ward, then hightailed it out of town to wherever she was from. She is now a person of interest in the death of her husband. Wow, you just never know about people.

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  29. Jolene said on September 22, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Lots of coverage of the climate change march, the Rockefeller divestment decision, and the broader divestment movement on BBC News and the PBS NewsHour, Charlotte. Also a brief mention of the march and the UN meeting on climate change on NBC news. And one of the many emails that clutter up my inbox announced that Google had withdrawn from ALEC as a result of their lying about climate change. Small steps.

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  30. Minnie said on September 23, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Anyone else having problems with the internet? My connection was balky yesterday afternoon, out this morning, but came back soon after 7 EDT. I’m in Tidewater Virginia. This seems to be widespread and not dependent on carrier.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on September 23, 2014 at 8:29 am

    My connection at work was fine yesterday afternoon but yahoo was down for 90 minutes or so, which may be related. A lot of communication happens via email and I finally gave up and came home.

    I’m loving all the travel stories about places my broken-down feet will never take me to. And oh for a bullet train.

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  32. Jolene said on September 23, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Agree about the train. Sounds really appealing. I hate, hate, hate air travel–not because I’m afraid but because it’s so damn uncomfortable.

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  33. Charlotte said on September 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I took the TVG from Paris to Aix and back a few years ago. In steerage, which was lovely. Nice big table to sit at, la France profonde whizzing by outside the window, 3 1/2 hours. Meant I could leave Aix the morning of my flight out of Paris and still get there in time (although Aix-en-Provence to Bozeman Montana is a long, long day).

    We had both power and gas issues here yesterday — made the cover of the Billings paper:

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  34. Deborah said on September 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Today is my wedding anniversary, 14 years, but it’s really 24 because we lived together for 10 years before we officially tied the knot. But the bummer is that right now my husband is in Chicago and I’m in Santa Fe. He will be back here in a couple of weeks and then I was supposed to go back with him to Chicago for awhile. But since our building project is finally starting I will probably stay until close to November.

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  35. MichaelG said on September 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Happy anniversary, Deborah. Bummer on the separation.

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  36. Dexter said on September 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right, Deborah? Good preliminary news from the doctor today…Carla Lee just returned from the surgeon’s table…visual evidence did not indicate any obvious malignancy, now we await the lab results. She’s had a few scares in the past 25 years, always dodging the Big C. I learned years ago not to get upset and crazy over the storm brewing in my brain regarding worst case possibilities; we take news as it comes.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRUCE, 65 and yet to peak!

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  37. Dorothy said on September 23, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Outstanding news, Dexter! Happy anniversary to Deborah and her Mister. I was going to enquire after Basset since he was so upset the other day, but I looked back at the previous entry’s comments and see he chimed in towards the end. Don’t be a stranger, Basset! I stay silent for long stretches here, but I always read comments, each and every day. Much of the time I think I’m not bringing anything unique to the conversation, but that doesn’t stop me if I feel like I have to unload. This place feels like family to me, and I think it’s that way for many of us.

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  38. Sue said on September 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm

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  39. Sue said on September 23, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Taylor’s been watching ‘Clueless’:

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  40. brian stouder said on September 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Today shows yet again how strange it must be, to be a high-level advisor or (for that matter) a President of the United States. Somewhere on the other side of the world, some young lady spends a terrible night with booms and rumbles in the near distance, and when the sun rises she finds that the landscape has changed (a little or a lot), and some people she knew of are dead. It’s old hat for the president to sign-off on ‘targeted strikes’ in far corners of the world, targeting individual bad guys (at least initially), and then killing who-knows-who? This – dealing death (whether accurately targeted or not) – is indeed a key part of the job, at the top of the US government’s executive branch. And in return, lunatics occasionally come over the White House fence, and sometimes make it all the way inside the building! And the realization must set in that, indeed for the rest of the president’s life (and his or her spouse’s life, and their children) – those lunatics will always be around (whether they’re moon-beam crazy, or ice-cold evil).

    And it genuinely makes me wonder – seriously – who would WANT that job?

    PS – Happy Anniversary, Deborah!

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  41. Jolene said on September 23, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    The science section of today’s NYT is making up for whatever inadequacies there might have been in the coverage of Sunday’s march. After reading the article linked below re climate change, another piece on the CDC’s latest Ebola predictions, and still other pieces on the growing refugee crises in the Middle East, I am . . . well, I don’t know what I am, but it’s not an encouraging picture. The only upside: Owners of Detroit real estate may, at last, be the lucky ones.

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  42. MichaelG said on September 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Basset, guys, I’ve made many comments to which there has been no response and some to which there has been a negative response. To everybody, all comments are read and are valuable. Assume your comment has been accepted and smiled at unless someone says otherwise, in which case you have the opportunity to respond. I still remember the day when MM Jeff called me a prick. Every body gets over everything.

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  43. MichaelG said on September 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    A little different day. I started out taking the subway. The metro. I rode a few stops up and the same few stops back. Not much to see in a tunnel. The metro is where they sell the pass and now I’m familiar with how the metro and the pass business work. Next I hopped on the #32 bus and rode it to the end of the line. Somewhere way out in the middle of apartment building heaven boondocks. There I had a crappy lunch. Spain isn’t perfect. The bus ride went for about three hours round trip and provided an excellent, if unguided, tour for like three bucks. Remember, you can’t get lost. All you have to do is hail a taxi. I enjoyed the tour and all the people riding the bus.

    Several thoughts:

    Spain isn’t perfect. It is a delight for a visitor, but who knows what it’s like to live here. I’d guess that the rate of automobile ownership is far lower here than at home and that the percentage of folks living in single family homes is much, much lower. I’ll leave you to decide if that’s good. I’d also bet that living quarters are much more cramped than in the U. S. And who knows what housing costs and taxes are.

    Unemployment is brutal and the civic debt is hellacious. Again this stuff is not a bother for a tourist but for those who live here …

    I wish all the Euro dollar bills, or whatever you call them, were the same size. Making them different sizes according to denominations is, to me, a perfect example of overthinking things. The different sizes just get jumbled in your pocket.

    It’s 10:00 PM and I’m in the bar at the hotel. Real Madrid is kicking the shit out of somebody 5-1 and Ronaldo just scored another one. Oh. That’s now the final. They all have hair cut short on the side and greased, fairly long on top and combed up. Looks like crap but I don’t make E50 Million a year. Now they’re interviewing Ronaldo who is actually Portuguese and whom my wife can’t stand. She says.

    Tonight’s dinner was in a relatively up scale joint near a delightful little plaza. The boss showed me to a table and wanted me to sit in a particular chair. I preferred another one so I could see the street traffic. He was a little huffy. I hate these seat Nazis. He’s not the first one. The breaded pork cutlet was way over cooked but the potatoes and the veggies were outstanding as was the wine.

    At the end of the meal the boss brought me a dessert menu that featured a E15 “Constitution Brandy”. Taken with a wild hair I ordered some along with a coffee. The boss brought an ancient bottle and a huge snifter. He then poured a very healthy four or five shots into my snifter. Holy shit!

    Boy, I really like Spanish women. Local traffic in the bar is just passing by. Maybe in their fifties. Lovely. Remember, my wife is Portuguese and it’s a physical type to which I’m attracted anyway.

    Back to the brandy. It was nectar of the Gods. Smooth and rich and deep and just wonderful. I had another cup of coffee. You have to remember that a cup of coffee here is a shot of espresso in a teeny cup. It’s also excellent. Boy, that brandy was incredible. I dallied over it for about 30 minutes. Yummmm.

    I asked for my bill and when it came it didn’t list the brandy.

    There’s another game on the tube. CEL leads DEP one zip. Those boards around the perimeter of the field are all electronic at this field and the ads are moving at a brisk pace from left to right from my vantage point. It’s disorienting to me but I guess the players are used to it. Now the signs are going the other way. Maybe this evens things out.

    After looking at the bill, I summoned the boss. The brandy wasn’t included and he was acing himself out of E15. He came over to my table with that look. You know the one: “Fucking gringo wants to whine about his tab.”

    I pointed at the bill and at the, now almost empty snifter (God that shit was good). He looked back and forth for a long moment before the penny dropped.

    “Ah, si, si.”

    He was back in record time with an amended tab. I tipped appropriately and by the time I left, I was his best buddy.

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  44. alex said on September 23, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    I was still smarting after all of these years after MichaelG got on my case back when I had a blog. This had to have been more than ten years ago. I posted an absolutely obscene caricature of Nancy Reagan (of which I’m proud even if it was tasteless) and he figuratively busted me in the chops for it.

    Funny how people defend the Reagans even if they don’t like them. My dad, no fan, gets irate at one of his buds, a local liberal gadfly, who likes to liken Saint Ronnie to Stalin and Hitler. He feels that this cheapens any real arguments against Saint Ronnie and rightly so. Saint Ronnie ushered in the current era of insanity but he was no genocidal maniac.

    As I see it, Saint Ronnie was merely the tool of people who have that potential, if not the intent. And thirty years hence they seem much less circumspect about it. My dad was telling me the other day he doesn’t want to see the Senate go to the GOP and cannot understand how any woman could vote Republican in good conscience. He was able to support the Republicans up until very recently thinking that the blather about abortion was just a sideshow, a peripheral issue that didn’t affect anyone but the most one-dimensional single-issue voters. Now that the GOP is gunning for contraception, which was the pro-lifers’ plan all along, he has had enough and refuses to be associated with these freaks and he has no compunction about telling his old boy network friends to go fuck themselves and their pocketbooks.

    So not every old fart has been seduced by Fox News.

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  45. basset said on September 23, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    MichaelG, I assume my comments have been either ignored or dismissed unless someone responds.

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  46. Deborah said on September 24, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Had a wonderful day, places to go people to meet, stuff to get done. Little Bird and I drove to Taos, about an hour and a half away, and a beautiful drive to deliver some architectural drawings to our new contractor a really nice guy with a heart of gold it turns out. Good times.

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  47. MichaelG said on September 24, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Wow, Alex. I don’t remember that. I do agree with what you just said about Reagan. I even remember when I knew it. It was when he fired the air traffic controllers.

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  48. brian stouder said on September 24, 2014 at 7:36 am

    I used to really like RWR.

    Looking back on it, no small part of his allure was that he didn’t die when the lunatic in DC put a bullet into his chest, early in his presidency.

    If he became the ‘Teflon president’, it was because of his virtual Kevlar (so to speak)

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  49. LAMary said on September 24, 2014 at 9:57 am

    MichaelG, I always think of you as my ally in proving not all Californians are airheads.

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