And so it’s farewell to the Comet Bar, a Cass Corridor dive that will soon fall to the relentless march of progress. It closes Wednesday, and as you can gather from the sign behind the bar, the people who work there are stick of answering questions about it. It had the advantage of being located on a desolate enough street that it looked scary from the outside, but it was always warm and friendly inside. You could watch a game or play the jukebox, and as you can also tell from that picture, the state’s smoking laws were, shall we say, not always strictly enforced.

We went Saturday night for karaoke, but astonishingly, the DJ couldn’t find the Andrea True Connection’s “More More More,” which is what I agreed to sing with my young friend Dustin. Oh, well.

I’ve been thinking a lot about gentrification this year, and this is a classic case that looks open-and-shut from a certain perspective, and it’s not necessarily wrong. The area around the arena’s footprint is already flowering, and my guess is it will continue to. You can certainly argue with the financing of this arena, which is the usual privatize-the-profit, socialize-the-risk deal. Detroit needs all the help it can get, and this will help. But. One reason people have started returning to this area has been its mix of — cliché alert ahead — grit and fun and, shall we say, its atmosphere, so unlike the suburbs. I don’t care what anyone says; the number of people who want to live in an area of perfect cleanliness and safety are already living in Seaside, Fla., and are 10,000 years old. Younger people want a little excitement in their lives. I disagree that sports arenas provide it, but they certainly inject oxygen into an area. But the old Cass Corridor, now rechristened Midtown, was never as bad as people in the suburbs feared it was, and the good things about it — the music, the street scene, places like the Comet — were a product of artists, students and others who lived closer to the margins than those who can afford NHL tickets.

They’ll find new neighborhoods; they always do. But in the meantime, it’s worth a final toast to places like the Comet.

So, some bloggage? Two from the NYT today. First, a look at the Dutch pension system. Which works, evidently:

Dutch pensions are scrupulously funded, unlike many United States plans, and are required to tally their liabilities with brutal honesty, using a method that is common in the financial-services industry but rejected by American public pension funds.

The Dutch system rests on the idea that each generation should pay its own costs — and that the costs must be measured accurately if that is to happen.

Vaccine denial culture in New York, as opposed to California.

We had a gubernatorial town-hall thing tonight, so my attention is divided. Let’s all have a good week, eh?

Posted at 9:24 pm in Detroit life |

95 responses to “Bows.”

  1. brian stouder said on October 12, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    We had a gubernatorial town-hall thing tonight, so my attention is divided.

    Saw a little of that on C-SPAN; it looked quite interesting.

    To an ignorant hoosier like me, it sure seemed like the incumbent should get pitched off the bridge in a few weeks…but indeed, as a hoosier, I have no room to talk!

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  2. MichaelG said on October 13, 2014 at 1:13 am

    I have a CalPers pension and I believe that CalPers is probably the best managed of any large pension fund in the US. At the same time, I can see the sense of the Dutch pension system. I am fortunate and comfortable with what I’m paid between my pension and Social Security. The Dutch system requires the pensioner to be flexible and open to ups and downs in what the system pays but it is all much easier to control in a small, closely managed economy like the Netherlands.

    Thing is, that this is a very small country. It’s about the same size and population as L.A., San Diego and Riverside Counties combined. There are things you can enact and things that you can manage and control in a mom and pop country like the Netherlands that don’t necessarily scale to a country like the US. Looking at solutions that work in other countries is a very good thing to do but one must keep everything in proportion.

    What caught my eye in the article was the statement that “Social Security, which is intended to provide just 40 percent of a middle-class worker’s income in retirement”.

    That may have been the intent back in 19 thirty whatever but the fact is that today SS is close to or dead at 100% of so many peoples’ retirement. That’s a disconnect that is very telling in today’s environment.

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  3. MarkH said on October 13, 2014 at 3:52 am

    So, Jan Hooks dies a couple of days ago. I liked her fine on SNL, but really liked her back in the late ’70s, early ’80s when she was on TBS’ Bill Tush Show. One recurring sketch had her as a phony televangelist named Tammy Jean (a precursor to her Tammy Faye Bakker on SNL), complete with a plus-sized organ player named Ralna she would regularly abuse. Just one of many sketch comedy parts she had on the show, really funny.

    JC Burns, you worked at Turner Broadcasting back then. How well did you know Hooks, and Tush for that matter, while you were there?

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  4. Dexter said on October 13, 2014 at 4:03 am

    I never made it to The Comet but I did enjoy other Detroit bars, most if not all gone forever by now, since I am closing in on 22 years of sobriety and the Corktown bars I visited were devastated by the Tiger Stadium shuttering and finally demolition.
    Here’s a few of the places I patronized , usually before Tiger games: The famous Lindell AC, which stood for athletic club but it was a public bar, with hamburgers so thin a fella would think they were competing with Chicago’s Billy Goat Tavern for thinnest burger in the world. The Lindell AC was famous because it was the dive where the pro athletes liked to toss a few back after games, Lions and Tigers and Red Wings and pro wrestlers. I cannot tell you how many times I read in the papers of the night Alex Karras and Dick the Bruiser got into the fight-of-all-fights in the Lindell AC. It was nothing special, dingy, bottled beer, booze, old fashioned uncomfortable bar stools, and a few TVs, but Johnny Butsicaris’ place , dubbed the nation’s first sports bar, endured until 2002. Now it’s all gone. It was smack-dab on Cass.
    Hoot Robinson’s closed when Tiger Stadium closed. It was right across the street from the ballpark. Lively crowd always before games, Labatt’s bottles and vodka shots seemed to be the favorite combo of the patrons , at least when I was there. I always drank Labatt’s there just because it seemed like the right beer, right time.
    Casey’s Bar, outside right field, was a real hole and once was enough. I think I read that was the place where Lou Gehrig went for a cuppa coffee when he pulled himself out of the lineup , ending his 2,130 game streak.
    Bill Reedy’s Bar was a fave of Billy Martin…Reedy was Martin’s best friend. It was just the other side of the adjacent parking lot…clean, great food, cold beer…sassy tatooed cool wait staff, uplifting place, I loved going in there.
    Nemo’s of course, too. Right down Michigan Avenue, you could park there and ride their old bus to the main gate…it was a couple bucks or maybe it was free. Always packed with friendly knowledgeable baseball fans and lots of times kids would be there with Dad, having a Faygo and a burger.
    Paros Home Plate was a good restaurant right across the street from the park. Sometimes we’d eat there before the game, sometimes just sit on the stone benches upstairs, outside, and drain a Stroh’s. Stroh’s was made just down I-75 until around 1984 or so, and it felt right to drink it when in Detroit. But I was sentimental about that stuff; I drank Falstaff in Fort Wayne, it was made there.
    So that’s a few places. Towns need places like The Acme in Fort Wayne and Schaller’s Pump near Chicago’s US Cellular Field, home of the White Sox.
    That Seaside Florida place reminds me the place my long-time friend lives with her husband , near Fort Myers. Her husband is a policeman and she is a senior executive in city government, they recently bought a big boat, they camp all the time, they ride their motorcycle all over, they are always on the road to Georgia to see their grandson, they fly to New York to visit her birth family ( she was given for adoption as an infant and finally found her family at age 40) …they are so restless! Always it’s too hot, always it’s too many tourists clogging the roads…she’s only really happy in that little town in New York state with her family. Restless in paradise.

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  5. Deborah said on October 13, 2014 at 4:36 am

    Seaside, FL community was master planned by Andres Duany and his wife Elizabeth, Plater-Zyberg. Many of the buildings there were designed by famous architects, it was all the rage in architecture circles back when it was built. Andres Duany started New Urbanism which has been controversial, but I don’t really understand why. Maybe Peter can fill us in on why.

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  6. alex said on October 13, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Off topic, but something I just had to share: The nephew of one of my best friends speaks at a gay rights rally in Kansas. This guy could restore my faith in faith.

    My friend is one of three gay siblings out of five and their father was a Church of the Brethren minister.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Church of the Brethren has a lot more breadth to their faith and practice than most people realize. And I got to spend two years working with pastors of their churches across Kansas, attended a few of the “love feasts” the speaker references. They’re Anabaptists who aren’t as hard-line traditionalist as their Amish & Mennonite “brethren.”

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

    (Thanks for sharing the video, Alex!)

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  9. Dorothy said on October 13, 2014 at 9:36 am

    What a roller coaster of a weekend. We found out Saturday morning about this: The young lady who was attacked is the girlfriend of our son’s best friend. We didn’t hear specific details until mid-day Saturday; all we knew was that she was ‘viciously assaulted.’ That’s not a phrase I’m accustomed to hearing. I am glad to say I don’t know many people who have been attacked like that. Thank heavens she’s out of ICU and doing a little better. Then on Sunday morning Mike’s truck stalled out on our way to church, and we called for a tow. This, the day after we picked up the truck for recent repairs. It was repaired twice, and each time cost close to $400. I’m thinking they better not charge us any more money to fix it this time. It wasn’t too bad walking back to our house to get my car so we could be warm until AAA showed up. I just wish I’d had a hat on – it was in the high 40’s here Sunday morning.

    But the best part of the weekend was hearing that my niece was in labor! It was a surprise of sorts because she wasn’t due until November 6. This is baby number two – her son will be 7 in January. She lost a baby about 18 months ago. Little Harper Katherine arrived at 3:30 (a nice distraction considering the torture we were going through with that Steelers/Browns game), weighed 5 lbs. 10 oz. and is 19.75 inches long. My mom got to see her seventh great-grandchild later that day at the hospital. Harper’s big brother proudly told his Mimi “Just two pushes and she was out!!”

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  10. brian stouder said on October 13, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Congratulations, Great Aunt Dorothy!

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  11. Kirk said on October 13, 2014 at 10:36 am

    MarkH@3: Glad that someone else remembers Jan Hooks on Tush. She was extremely funny, and that was a surprisingly good show for a local production.

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    • nancy said on October 13, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Our own JCBurns either worked on that show, or worked around that show, or something. He feels the same way about Jan Hooks.

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  12. brian stouder said on October 13, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Speaking of which, an interesting bit about Christopher Columbus and his Day:

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  13. Judybusy said on October 13, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I have a friend who is a pastor in Church of the Brethern. I know very little about the church. We met at a co-worker’s retirement party–the pastor is a friend of the co-worker’s wife. We meet most Saturdays at the dog park, and I just love her company. Her dad did the marriage ceremony for one of the folks in Pink Martini. This woman and her beau were over for dinner a couple weeks ago, and I’d put on a Pink Martini album. My friend got very excited and told us the story. She is a well-read, thoughtful person.

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  14. Kirk said on October 13, 2014 at 11:50 am

    My brother-in-law’s family is Church of the Brethren. His dad marched on the Pentagon in the mid-’60s. His mom, who is now 92, and her sister were the only two white people on a busload of folks from Dayton to the giant MLK march on Washington in ’63.

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  15. brian stouder said on October 13, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Now here’s a story that – once you see that no one was killed – is worth a chuckle. (and think of all the pun possibilities, about this guy)

    The lead:

    GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities say a disgruntled employee commandeered a locomotive from a northeast Wyoming coal mine and later plowed it into another train before he was apprehended. Police say the 22-year-old man faces preliminary charges that include reckless endangering and felony destruction.

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  16. Dexter said on October 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    In fourteen hundred and ninety two
    Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

    In two thousand and fourteen
    people are bad-mouthing , debunking, revising…poor Chris cannot get a break. But damn…this shit ain’t right:

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  17. Sherri said on October 13, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Columbus Day wasn’t celebrated until 1892, so I’m not too worried about poor old Chris being slighted in Seattle:

    Besides, this is what happens when you elect a real, live, honest-to-goodness Socialist to the city council (Kshama Sawant, who’s quoted in the article Dexter pointed to, was elected in Seattle as a Socialist.)

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  18. Sherri said on October 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I’d also venture a guess that there’s a larger population of Scandanavian-Americans than Italian-Americans in both Minneapolis and Seattle – maybe a little jealousy over Leif Erickson?

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  19. brian stouder said on October 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Damned Vikings!

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  20. nancy said on October 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    It may be my natural prejudice as a daughter of Columbus, Ohio, but I grow weary of Columbus-bashing. I certainly understand the objections to honoring him, but I reject the fantasy that the old and new worlds weren’t on a collision course with one another, and somewhere was an enlightened European explorer who would have landed, gathered a few biological specimens, gently swept his footprints away and sailed home, allowing the North American natives to thrive in their cooler, more evolved cultures for another few hundred years.

    History is painted in blood, folks.

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  21. alex said on October 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I’m always glib on Columbus Day thinking about the one thing they don’t teach in grade school textbooks, which is that Columbus “discovered” tobacco usage among the indigenous people and then introduced it to Europe — up the ass, which is how it was consumed.

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  22. Peter said on October 13, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Deborah: re Andres Duany and New Urbanism – I have to say I have no clue why some people are upset about it. I’ll go out on a limb and say that I recall one article that said you can’t create an artificial urbanism – it either happens or it doesn’t, which I think is rather elitist – you can make conditions conducive to an urban environment just like you can create an environment that is more conducive to learning (or healing, or praying) than just throwing something up and see what happens.

    Dorothy, I am so sorry to hear about the lady who was attacked. I can’t add anything to that without sounding bitter.

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  23. brian stouder said on October 13, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I certainly understand the objections to honoring him, but I reject the fantasy that the old and new worlds weren’t on a collision course with one another, and somewhere was an enlightened European explorer who would have landed, gathered a few biological specimens, gently swept his footprints away and sailed home, allowing the North American natives to thrive in their cooler, more evolved cultures for another few hundred years.

    A fair point, as far as it goes. Columbus IS worth remembering as the complicated historical figure that he is, rather than the mythological and mindlessly glorified personage that we used to see. If I was a 4th grade teacher, on Columbus Day we’d have a little discussion about how hard it is to organize (and finance) a sailing expedition across the deep blue sea to an unkown destination. There’s a scene in The Right Stuff where they’re about to launch an early space shot, and some problem arises (I think it’s the scene where the astronaut needed to whizz, and they hadn’t planned for that, and they finally decided to let him, come what may)…and then they “light the candle” anyway, without really knowing that everything would still work. That’s the admirable part of Columbus; he’s the headstrong guy that was going to bull ahead, and then things worked out (for him) – where others would have scrubbed the mission.

    And never mind that our glorious space program, and those massively large Saturn V rockets also definitively showed that we could hurl huge, heavy atomic weapons into space and have them somedown anywhere on earth, upon any indigenous peoples that happened to live in the wrong spot.

    Maybe the condensed Columbus story is: the modern world will diffuse into your neck of the woods, sooner or later…and we aren’t required to celebrate this (sometimes melancholy) fact

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  24. Sherri said on October 13, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Rockets plus nuclear weapons would have happened without the space program – that’s just a natural outgrowth of what happened in WWII. A more nuanced view of the space program might point out that we looked the other way on the Nazi past of Wernher von Braun et al when the war ended and we needed to jumpstart our own rocket program.

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  25. Dave said on October 13, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Amen, Nancy, on Columbus. Had he not come, someone else would have. Although I hate what happened to the indigenous folks who were already here, a lot of it seemed inevitable, somehow. They weren’t going to take too kindly to new settlers and the new settlers weren’t going to stop leaving Europe, because they had nothing to lose. Poor Indians were outnumbered.

    Brian, there’s been a lot of make-light-of-it discussion about the man who stole the locomotives and ran them into other locomotives on different rail employee forums. Still, what a nutso thing to do, 22 years old, let’s just wreck our entire future because we’re mad at supervision. I knew at least one man who left under nutso, personal choice circumstances and regretted it ever after. Crazy.

    I didn’t see anything torturous about the Steelers/Browns game. Sorry, Dorothy.

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  26. Dexter said on October 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    alex does not lie: tobacco was indeed inserted into the anus…well…you can read all about it here:

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  27. Dexter said on October 13, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Tobacco is so pleasant, so addictive…28 years since my last pipe full of lovely delicious Kentucky Club cut burley tobacco and I still crave it and always will, but only at certain triggered times. Pipe smoking is the best. I started on Sir Walter Raleigh tobacco and didn’t switch to Carter Hall and Kentucky Club for years after.

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  28. Suzanne said on October 13, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    I would agree that the old world was on a collision course with the new, but I still don’t think a day should be set aside to honor Columbus. There is some question as to him being the first, so he might have just been another who showed up and maybe just better at self promotion.
    I do cringe when I think of what I learned back in elementary school. Columbus = good; indigenous people = uncivilized & not so good. No sense that they weren’t “discovered” as they already knew they were here.

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  29. basset said on October 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Peter@22, do you not know that all this urbanist walkability community stuff is really a disguised plot to take our guns, take our cars, and force us into rabbit-warren apartments where we can be more easily controlled? Agenda 21, government waste, Obamaaaaaaaa!

    One of our planners did a community meeting a few weeks back where the first question did not go well:

    “What’s this got to do with Agenda 21?”


    “Why are you lying to us?”

    Pretty much went downhill from there.

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  30. Deborah said on October 14, 2014 at 6:34 am

    I asked my architect husband about New Urbanism and he said part of the controversy had to do with authenticity vs the simulacrum. When it started New Urbanism was connected with post modernism which was anathema to most modernists. The New Urbanists borrowed heavily from the past to get what they were looking for in terms of walkability, incident and choreography of detail, craft, rhythm, pacing etc instead of inventing something new that would do that. Another reason was the notion of the isolated object vs the contextual. Many modernist architects were mainly interested in designing “isolated” buildings that expressed their particular vision or personal expression, while the New Urbanists were concerned with buildings fitting into the context of the place. End of lecture.

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  31. Basset said on October 14, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Context, that’s it right there – based on form rather than use. Not an architect but I work with some, along with planners and designers; all I know is that I like sidewalks and walkable neighborhoods a lot better than parking lots and malls.

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  32. beb said on October 14, 2014 at 8:38 am

    The discussion of Columbus ties in with the student protests in Colorado over plans to revise their AP History course to make it more patriotic. Patriotic as in sweeping all the embarrassing stuff under the rug. Personally I think an AP History class should make reading Howard Zinn’s A History of the American People part of the curriculum. Zinn writes in detail about the impact Columbus had on the indigenous people. For that matter an AP History course ought to take a look at how racism was used to undermine unionism and how unions openly discriminated against minorities. Racism isn’t only about Blacks in America.

    New Urbanists remind me of the architect for the Detroit Renaissance Center. He has a vision of a wonderland of discovery and unexpectedness. The result was a building where you can’t find where you’re going. When it comes to building things there is “vision” and then there is “vision” and usually the wrong type of vision ends up getting built.

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  33. brian stouder said on October 14, 2014 at 9:54 am

    When it comes to architecture, I know bupkis….but I’ll say this much: pretty it up! Here in Fort Wayne, they built a tall (23 story) tower about 30 years ago, and called it One Summit Square. To me, it was One Ugly Building – no flair or flourishes – and on top of that, when they were all done, it looked so rag-tag that it didn’t look done. All the way up one side of the building is simply blank concrete..and the color of it didn’t match, from floor to floor!

    Finally, years later, they painted the thing all one color (concrete grey), and it looked a little better.

    And as a PS – the thing just sold! A brand new tall building project is underway, and the developer for it bailed out and bought the big ugly building….for $12 million(!). You’d think a structure that massive would go for more than that – but….’location location location’, eh?

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  34. brian stouder said on October 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

    (plus – ‘curb appeal’ is a biggie!)

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  35. Deborah said on October 14, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Architecture went through a very bleak period in the 70s when form followed finance. Developers borrowed modernism because they thought they could do it cheap. Say what you will about post modernism being pastiche but it brought detail and craft back into the picture. 99% of buildings in cities today are in evaluative oblivion tossed out there by real estate developers out to make a buck above all else.

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  36. brian stouder said on October 14, 2014 at 10:37 am

    The new building that they’re going to put up (which is now a massive hole in the ground in the heart of downtown) will apparently be quite beautiful – so Fort Wayne’s architectural pendulum is on the good side, right now

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  37. Dorothy said on October 14, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Depends on which tee shirt you have one while watching the game, I guess, Dave!

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  38. adrianne said on October 14, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Here in the Empire state, there are too many sons and daughters of Italy to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. To wit: Three Italian-American politicians (Current NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, GOP challenger Rob Astorino and NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio) all marched up Fifth Avenue Monday.

    That said, I second Nance’s comment about Columbus bearing all of the blame for European exploration and exploitation in the New World. The wave of history was happening anyway.

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  39. Sherri said on October 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Well, Columbus gets the lion’s share of the credit, so he gets the lion’s share of the blame, too. When we start celebrating Ponce de Leon day, then we can start blaming him, too. Or maybe we should rename Columbus Day “European Explorers Day”, though I doubt that will make the Italian-American community any happier. (Or “European Conquerers Day” if you really want to piss some people off.)

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  40. Deborah said on October 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    My husband told me this morning that architects only design about 3% of the entirety of the built environment in the US. The rest gets built by developers, engineers and construction companies. They may have to get an architect to stamp the drawings but they haven’t really been “designed”. And by designed I don’t mean determine the functions and then slap a style on it. Most people couldn’t tell you the difference but they can probably feel the difference. Winston Churchill said “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us”. This may be part of the reason there is so much discord, distrust and polarization in our country, our built environment is generally pretty dismal and spaces/places influence our behavior, in ways we are usually not even aware. Take Ferguson, Missouri for example, there’s very little about that environment that says “community”. OK I’ll stop now.

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  41. Sherri said on October 14, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    One other note about Columbus Day: it’s not a holiday in Seattle or Washington, anyway. It’s a federal holiday, but not one that the state observes. Schools are open, state and city governments are open, it’s not a big deal here. Only about half the states observe Columbus Day as a holiday.

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  42. brian stouder said on October 14, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Deborah, I was pondering that exact thing a year or two ago, when I got summoned for jury duty, and spent several days marveling at our marvelous Beuax Arts county court house. Such a building really shouldn’t be an off-the-rack, soul-less big-box; it really should be a civic cathedral, that at once symbolizes our society’s pursuit of real justice, and in fact operates every day in the dispensation of the same.

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  43. Kirk said on October 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Norman Mailer wrote an interesting essay decades ago saying that society was growing sicker because so many of its buildings resembled hospitals.

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  44. brian stouder said on October 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Kirk, I just the other day read an article about Norman Mailer versus Gore Vidal on Dick Cavett’s show, and how testy they were with each other. (I’d already known about the time William F Buckley and…was it Vidal?….became pissy with one another on WFB’s teevee show)

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  45. Kirk said on October 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Actually, Buckley and Vidal clashed as commentators on ABC’s convention coverage one year, probably 1968. Vidal called him a crypto-nazi or some such, and Buckley said he’d hit him in the god-damned mouth — or something like that.

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  46. brian stouder said on October 14, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    My dad was watching that, and was quite taken aback by the whole thing

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  47. Deborah said on October 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Kirk, so many of our buildings resemble prisons too, especially high schools. What does that say?

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  48. Deborah said on October 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Mailer and Vidal

    Buckley and Vidal

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  49. Suzanne said on October 14, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    One Summit Square in Fort Wayne & the Arts United Center are testaments to the ugliness of 70s architecture (although the Arts center does have a cool face like front). As a tour guide in Bloomington told us in discussing the Musical Arts Center–it was built in the 70s, he said, when new buildings were all concrete & glass. He wanted us to note that a great many of them have since been torn down…

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  50. David C. said on October 14, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I know there are a lot of other Dahlia Lithwick fans here. She has a new podcast which should prove to be interesting.

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  51. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    The style name you’re looking for is “Brutalism,” and it is.

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  52. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 14, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    On the other hand, I love our courthouse here, especially at Christmastime. Got to lead a herd (two herds, actually) of fourth graders through it last week with the juvenile court judge.

    But the city hall and county admin buildings are Brutalist, as is the Ohio Historical Society central museum and offices in Columbus.

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  53. Deborah said on October 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Lovely courthouse, Jeff.

    I didn’t get to Abiquiu today to watch the construction because I drove my husband to Albuquerque to fly back to Chicago. He comes back on Saturday though to inspect the placement of the rebar before the pour next week. One of the workers gave us a bunch of rabbit meat, which we’re going to cook tomorrow night. Little Bird has been wanting to do a braised rabbit recipe with bacon sage dumplings. This will be her first attempt at cooking since her surgery. I’ll be there to help and one of her friends is coming over too. She’s getting around much better, every day she improves.

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  54. Sherri said on October 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    When I was in grad school, we were in this building:

    It was just as ugly on the inside, too.

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  55. Deborah said on October 14, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Suzanne, a well known architect designed One Summit Square, Kevin Roche (or at least his office did). And Beb, Renaissance Center in Detroit was also designed by a well known architect, John Portman. Both of these guys were hot shots in the 70s and into the 80s. My husband was in grad school at Harvard in the 70s and he said they were in all the architecture magazines. Portman designed the Hyatt Hotel outside of O’Hare in Chicago which again my husband says was praised in all the mags. Now it’s a pathetic example of design, really, really bad.

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  56. Jolene said on October 14, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    What a kick, Sherri. I hadn’t thought about Wean Hall in ages. It really is a hulking monster, and so out of step with other CMU buildings.

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  57. Deborah said on October 14, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Sherri, it took me awhile to find out on Google who the architect was for Wean hall, it was a local from Pittsburgh, Dahlen K. Ritchey (1910 – 2002), never heard of him.

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  58. Sherri said on October 14, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    CMU has a number of interesting buildings with wildly differing styles (like the potato chip building:, but Wean Hall was definitely the ugliest, and just as hulking and dark on the inside, all concrete. Not really ideal for a gray Pittsburgh winter.

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  59. beb said on October 14, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Deborah, do you watch Gotham? The show has some really nice retro looking sets.

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  60. Deborah said on October 14, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Beb, I’ve never seen Gotham what network is it on?

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  61. Sherri said on October 14, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Okay, this may be this most ridiculous thing I’ve seen companies do to workers. A two year non-compete clause for minimum wage sandwich makers?

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  62. basset said on October 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Speaking of Gotham… here in Nashville we have what is known locally as the “Bat Building,” looks like Batman from a certain angle:

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  63. brian stouder said on October 14, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Deborah at 47 – thanks! I’d not seen those extended clips before! It was priceless to see how Howard K Smith dealt with Buckley’s idiotic tantrum

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  64. MichaelG said on October 14, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Little Bird, glad to hear your are so up and about. I would caution you to be gentle with the rabbit and not over cook it. The meat has no fat and can dry up and turn to jerky very quickly.

    I enjoyed hearing Buckley and Vidal. What a pair of pompous asses. Notice how much more English Vidal sounds in the Mailer tape. Smith did handle things nicely. Who was the Briddish lady in the Mailer tape?

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  65. Dexter said on October 15, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Wm. F. Buckley used to dominate Sunday afternoon TV when I was a kid and I hated him. Later I found him amusing, all eyes-batty and so damn pompous. The convention thing was highly entertaining…it’s been bouncing around the ‘net since Day One.

    Kirk #14…great remembrance of the 1963 March on Washington.
    Not trying to top you, but a good friend of mine from work in my last few years there, Nathaniel, from Fort Wayne via Alabama, as a teenager was allowed to walk a third of the way with Dr. King from Selma to Montgomery. The marches were made up of three legs, and Nathaniel was on one of them . We were close friends at work and I had no trepidations as I asked him how it really was. He told me it was rough. Constantly hearing “N-words go home!” and always that word invoked in the slurs of hatred. I remember asking him if it opened his eyes, seeing how that hatred was so strong. “Not at all,” he said…he said it was like that all the time there in Alabama in 1965.

    Kirk and Sherri and any other baseball-watching nallers: my friend Ricky grew up in Apple Valley, California. His boyhood friend is Joe Vargas. Joe’s son is Jason Vargas. Jason will toe the mound in about 12 hours. If Jason can spin a win, Kansas City gets ticketed through to the World Series! Ricky Facebooked me; he is geeked, his family is fired up, and Joe Vargas and his entire large family are probably going bonkers already. Ricky lives in Roseville now, not too far from MichaelG. Ricky will drive over to Oakland when whatever team Jason is on plays there during the season. I know this is legit because Ricky has pictures to prove it. Since Ricky is a big fan of Jason, I have jumped on the bandwagon. A chance to send your team to the motherfucking WORLD SERIES! Wow.Wow.

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  66. Suzanne said on October 15, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Speaking of Jimmy Johns, a young, urban, acid rock playing band member relative of mine mentioned recently that he had been at a strip club in Texas and partied with the CEO of Jimmy Johns . I think I’ll put them on my non-compete list by not eating there.

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  67. alex said on October 15, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Summit Square is an example of form following finance. It went through multiple developers who ran out of money and it was originally supposed to consist of two much taller towers. When it was all said and done, they didn’t even have enough money to finish the facade with tile as originally planned, hence the bare concrete.

    Basset, I can’t get the Batman TV theme music out of my head now. And I sure won’t forget that building.

    Here’s a site dedicated to the Beaux-Arts courthouse mentioned above by Brian.

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  68. beb said on October 15, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Deborah, Gotham is on ABC, Mondays at 8pm.

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  69. brian stouder said on October 15, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Basset – that thing does have the bat-vibe goin’ on!

    Indeed, it has character, which is 100% better than blank cement fence-post buildings

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  70. LAMary said on October 15, 2014 at 10:02 am

    The woman in the Vidal/Mailer tape is Janet Flanner. She wrote for the New Yorker for years.

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  71. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 15, 2014 at 11:07 am

    But was born and raised in Indianapolis — she was from the Flanner & Buchanan funeral home family.

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  72. Little Bird said on October 15, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Thank you Michael G, that us good information to have! I’ve never attempted this before, so it will be a learning experience!

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  73. Basset said on October 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I just went downstairs and early-voted for wine in grocery stores, which we don’t have here… and against state control of abortion rights. Lightning may strike me any minute.

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  74. Sherri said on October 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Dexter, that’s so cool! I’ve been cheering on the Royals in that series, but now Jason Vargas gets extra cheers, at least until/unless he faces the Giants in the World Series. The Giants/Cards series has been a crazy one; the Giants seem to be trying to find all the ways in the rulebook to score a run.

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  75. brian stouder said on October 15, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Basset – booze laws are somewhat strange in Indiana. Supermarkets and stores can sell beer and wine, but not COLD* beer and wine. But – not on Sunday!

    And, somehow, Walmart can sell hard liquor, which is right in with their groceries**, and again – not on Sunday.

    But if you’re a restaurant – you CAN sell booze (by the serving) on Sunday…so you CAN go to restaurant and get sloppy, but you can’t buy it on Sunday to have it for later on….and up until 2010 you could NOT buy booze on election day, while the polls were open.

    *that may be changing, or may have already changed – but it was true in recent times…

    **which is worth a chuckle, since in the old-old days, saloons would be referred to a s a ‘grocery’. Abe Lincoln and a partner lost their shirts running their own ‘grocery’, and in later life the fact that he was a booze seller at one point was downplayed

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  76. Basset said on October 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Indeed they are, Brian – probably my favorite example is the family friend who owned a liquor store down in Daviess County (Abraham Lincoln tried a case there once, btw) and had a smirnoffs vodka clock on the wall. State inspector came through & td him he had to either tape over the Smirnoff logo or unplug the clock because he couldn’t have a lighted or moving sign advertising a liquor brand.
    Anyway, this wine thing is another prong in the new urbanist plan for world domination, we’ll see how it goes.

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  77. Dexter said on October 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    My beer-drinkin’ gang never minded the Sunday shutdown…we enjoyed our jaunts to the Michigan State Line store where could buy “Tall Boys”. Those weren’t even legal in Indiana in the 1970s. Also, whoever managed the Coldwater, Michigan bowling alley knew how to serve beer. That place always had Stroh’s on tap, and it was never warm, never flat, always tasted like the keg had just been tapped. It sounds so simple, but most places would serve a flat-headed brew, too warm, flat in taste as well, ruining the joy of a good glass of draught/draft suds.
    Yessir, many fine memories of riding the big motorcycle up through Angola on Old 27 and heading up to Kinderhook and Coldwater. Fun times.

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  78. Jolene said on October 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Here’s what the NYT has to say re the How We Got to Now series beginning tonight on PBS. Deals with how things we take for granted–clean water, sewage systems, air conditioning–came to be and how they have shaped the evolution of society.

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  79. Jolene said on October 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    The oddities of alcoholic beverage control systems are a wonder. I lived, many years ago, in Washington, where there were taverns where you could buy beer and wine, but not hard liquor, which was sold everywhere else–bars, cocktail lounges, restaurants. Back then, I don’t think any alcoholic beverages were sold in grocery stores. Pennsylvania had other constraints, including on the amount of beer you could purchase from a state liquor store at one time.

    Not sure what the circumstances in those states are now, but one of the small pleasures of my years in Arizona and Virginia has been able to pick up whatever wine I wanted to serve with dinner at the same time I was buying the other ingredients for the meal.

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  80. Deborah said on October 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    There’s a new series starting the 21st called We The Economy. I think you can only watch it online but I’m not sure. That guy who did the Super Size Me documentary (forgot his name? Spurlock?) is one of the producers and each of the 20 episodes has a different director and answers a question about the US economy, how it works. It sounds good to me, I’ll try to watch it.

    Both in Chicago and Santa Fe you can’t buy any alcohol before noon on Sundays. I always forget and show up at Trader Joes a half hour too early and it’s too long to hang around just for that.

    Ha ha, Basset, watch out for those new urbanists, they’re taking over the world.

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  81. Sherri said on October 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Washington just got rid of state stores a couple of years ago, thanks to a lot of money spent by Costco, and now wine and liquor are sold in grocery stores (and Costco, of course) and various other places. There may be some places in Washington where liquor by the drink is still restricted, but none that I’m aware of.

    When my daughter worked as a waitress at a retirement community this past summer, she had to get a license to serve alcohol, and I learned that you only had to be 18 to be licensed to carry drinks to the table and pour wine at the table (which is the license she got), though 21 to actually make drinks. You still have to be 21 to be served.

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  82. MichaelG said on October 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Interesting, Sherri. I had never heard of bartenders and servers having to be licensed. I’ve had numerous encounters with strange liquor laws over the years. I’ve always marveled at the ingenious ways people dream up to make life inconvenient for themselves.

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  83. alex said on October 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    <a href=""Bishop Buzzkill. Even without the headline, the facial expression in that picture just exudes moral scoldiness.

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  84. alex said on October 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Whoopsie. Here it is again.

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  85. Deborah said on October 15, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Alex, I can’t get that link to work?

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  86. brian stouder said on October 15, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Good stuff, Alex.

    And as an aside, if the stock market didn’t “crash” today, it was certainly involved in a severe fender bender.

    Remember the crash of ’08?

    Remember the stony silence from the flying monkeys of the rightwing airwaves? Remember the muffled, somewhat whiney, grunting resignation from that crowd, when their boy nationalized the big eastern banks (and saved the big-ass brokerage firms, too, btw), one afternoon? Do you suppose these people would be anything short of spittle-spraying, white-hot hysterical, if the current president presided over a crash anywhere near that one – and at once nationalized the banks by “executive orders”??!!

    OxyRush and the Foxy fools would be (gleefully) emoting faux angst-ridden lamentations about the end of the free market, and so on and so forth – blah blah blah.

    Whereas today and going forward, they will be attacking the president for not shutting down the airlines and making all travelers play “mother may I” with the TSA and/or the Federal government, before they get to fly hither and yon (let alone back into the country from abroad).

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  87. Sherri said on October 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    MichaelG, I don’t know if it’s true everywhere, but she had to get a license. She also had to get a food handler’s card. To me, the most surprising thing about all of it was that they paid her for her to get the permits and licenses, and paid her for her time to get them. All for a part-time summer job. When you read about how companies treat workers these days, I was amazed and grateful at how well they treated her. They paid above minimum wage (no tipping), were very flexible about scheduling, and provided the shirt, tie, and apron she had to wear. She only had to provide black pants and black shoes.

    A big part of it is probably that they want to retain even their part time workers. This is one of those places you buy into, pay a monthly fee, and you’re covered from independent living through skilled nursing care. It’s not cheap, so the residents demand a certain level of service. Plus, since it’s considered a health care facility, even the part time wait staff has to be instructed about HIPAA.

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  88. Joe K said on October 15, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Basset, you also have a building that looks like r2-d2, from Star Wars, and Dexter I spent many a night at the bowling alley in Coldwater drinking from frosty mugs, also the warf on Coldwater lake, and bought my first six pack of Carlings at the Kinderhook grocery store at the age of 16, I think it was around $1.50 a six.
    Pilot Joe

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  89. Suzanne said on October 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    And in Indiana, you can go to a winery and buy all the wine you want on Sunday, even some to drink right there! But don’t try to buy that same wine at the Target across town, because you won’t be able to.

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  90. Jolene said on October 15, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    The series Deborah mentioned, We the Economy, will be available lots of places, including streaming on Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services. Looks like it might also be available on Comcast OnDemand. See for viewing info. Starts 10/21.

    Thanks for mentioning this, Deborah. Looks really interesting.

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  91. Deborah said on October 15, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks for including the link Jolene. I was out in Abiquiu on my iPhone and having a hard time getting access to various sites.

    Our building project is coming along. Today one of the workers brought me a dozen eggs that their hens lay, they have about 30 chickens. The eggs are green, because of the type of chicken (only on the outside, so no green eggs and ham). These guys are soooo nice. We are cooking the rabbit that they gave us a couple of days ago, right now . It’s more like a rabbit stew than I expected, with butternut squash and parsnips among other things, lots of white wine too. One of the best parts is bacon, sage dumplings. I can’t wait to taste it, it should be ready in about a half hour from now. MichaelG, the rabbit they gave us has quite a bit of fat, the guy said it’s because of what he feeds them. So it should be tasty and hopefully tender. As I said, I can’t wait to taste this.

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  92. Deborah said on October 15, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    So I’m eating the rabbit stew now. Little Bird is eating it on her “breakfast in bed” tray on her bed with her leg elevated because she’s been on her feet for a while cooking. It’s pretty good, tastes a lot like chicken. The dumplings are the best part, to me. I’ll take leftovers out to the construction site for the workers for lunch tomorrow. It will be interesting to see what they think, because they have a lot of experience eating rabbit. Don’t know that I’d go out of my way to eat this again, but I’m glad we did it for the experience.

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  93. MichaelG said on October 15, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Sounds good, Deborah.

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  94. basset said on October 15, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    We sure do, Joe – I always thought it looked like a bullet, second from the right in this pic:

    Day-um. Need a link shortener. Anyway, the fourth building from the right, the one with the single antenna on top, is the Life & Casualty Tower, first tall building in Nashville and the only one, if I remember right, to show up on Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” cover. Back in the day, the L&C logo would light up green if good weather was expected and red if it was gonna be bad.

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