Back home again.

Hey, I’m back. That felt like a long trip, and I guess by most standards, it was: I was gone from predawn Tuesday to Friday twilight, and I barely had a minute to myself, although at one point I turned on the TV just for the noise of company and actually watched a few minutes of a Real Housewives episode.

What a wonder! I’ve never beheld this spectacle for more time than it takes to change channels or watch Jon Stewart mock them on “The Daily Show.” I’m not clueless. I know the basic gimmick: An assembly of polished, high-dollar women are followed by camera crews as they go about their days, with various trumped-up activities thrown in to give them something to do. Sometimes they sit around their lavish kitchens and drink wine. Sometimes they go to parties and drink wine. On this particular day, the Beverly Hills flock was arriving at some sort of reception or opening or something similar in one of those southern California restaurant courtyards that makes a Michigander wonder why she doesn’t live there.

Everyone wears a curve-hugging sleeveless sheath dress. Everyone’s hair falls in barrel curls. Everyone’s makeup is perfect, if a bit overdone. (Lots of false eyelashes.) Everyone air-kisses. Everyone drinks wine. And then the “reality” begins, as one character approaches another for a tete-a-tete. I have no idea what they’re talking about, but apparently there’s some bad blood there.

“What do I have to do?” one asks. “Eat your pussy?”

Whoa. This is basic cable now? A scene of comic relief followed, in which all the housewives discuss cunnilingus. (The relief comes from one who hasn’t ever heard the term.) And then suddenly I had a camera-pulls-back moment and realized I was actually watching “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and turned it off.

I swear, we are going to be cutting the cable cord very soon.

The rest of the trip was very nice. I was reporting a project that will appear in another couple of weeks, concerning conditions at the tip of the mitten. Along the way I met some almost freakishly nice people – it’s true what they say about friendliness around here – and saw a lot of good and bad and beautiful things. Of course, ice covers the water, but ski season is in full swing. One night I peeled off to the dark-sky park up there, the Headlands.

True to Connie’s warning, the stargazing was subpar with a bright, waxing moon in the western sky, but Orion looked close enough to touch and the moon was a veritable spotlight. I was absolutely alone out there, and the weird feeling that started as I pulled in began to build. It was helped along by the various information stations on the road in, which featured life-size human cutouts; I only recognized one (Galileo), so I gather the others were pioneering astronomers, too. But with the single-digit cold, the blazing moon, the snow-covered road and the utter absence of other humans, it all took on a sort of Blair Witch vibe: WHAT IS THAT? WHO IS STANDING IN THE WOODS? Ohit’sjustGalileo. I stopped the car at the very end, got out and looked up. The silence was absolute. There was no wind, so the ice wasn’t shifting out in the Straits of Mackinac. No rustling from the surrounding woods. No owls. Even the cooling car engine seemed to stop ticking in just a minute or two. I strained to hear anything, but the best I could do was the far-far-off laboring of a big engine, probably a logging truck on the Mackinac Bridge.

All this while standing in the clearing, under the moon. I watch “Game of Thrones.” If a White Walker had emerged from the forest on a zombie horse, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

I stood there until the cold penetrated deeply enough to make me uncomfortable, and left. I’m going back this summer, I think. There’s a guest house there you can rent. Alan will love it.

So that was sort of the sublime and ridiculous of the trip. Now to write all these stories.

In the meantime, I have some bloggage, some of which you posted in the comments last week.

A dive into Jeb Bush’s role in the Terri Schiavo catastrophe, reported and written for Politico by the talented Michael Kruse. Long, but well worth your time.

Something you’ve probably heard of, but didn’t know there was a name for: Tip-overs, the hazard that kills a few children every year, and doesn’t need to. If you have little kids at home, be advised.

Finally, a Free Press story simultaneously inspiring and infuriating: A Detroit man walks 21 miles, every single work day, to get to his job. From the timeline I gather he has about four hours in his day when he’s not getting to, or doing, his job. I hope with all my heart that by the time you read this, some kindhearted used-car dealer has gifted him with reliable transportation, and the rest of us have donated money to pay his insurance bill.

And so the week begins. We’re currently in the midst of a snowmageddon, and my poor baby has to work tonight — at the pizza place where she’s been since the fall. A pizza place on Super Bowl Sunday during an 8-inch snowfall? It’ll be a character-builder for sure.

Posted at 12:37 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

22 responses to “Back home again.”

  1. beb said on February 2, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I thought “Linky Salad” sounded familiar, and at 123 comments, had grown enormously in the scant hours since I last read it.

    I have mixed feelings about this report:

    On the one hand it is one way for the DEA to track the hundreds of people who are most likely to cause gun violence. On the other hand it seems like an unnecessary intrusion of one’s life. One can easily see how this will go awry as Texas authorities start to monitor people attending Harry Porter conventions for fear that one of the attendees might have the actual One Ring to rule them all.

    What I suspect will happen is the NRA will loudly complain about this “unjust” harassment of their members and get congress to pass a bill forbidding the NEA from doing it. Not that they ever did, it was just a proposal. Kids killing their parents, or their brothers or sisters, or random cops… that will never be a problem for the NRA, but taking down license plate numbers at conventions…. totally unamerican.

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  2. jcburns said on February 2, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Sorry folks, it does look like we lost about 24 hours worth of comments…our database had some sort of crash and rolled back to a (fortunately recent) backup.

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  3. LAMary said on February 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    It was the discussion of Real Housewives and cunnilingus that did it.

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  4. Kirk said on February 2, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Who says databases don’t have taste?

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  5. Jolene said on February 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    The fund started for the guy who walks so far to and from work is now up to nearly $60,000 and at least one car dealer has offered a new car. He’s going to have more money in his hands than he likely has ever had before in his life, and good for him.

    I’m often amazed by how previously untapped pools of money can appear rapidly when especially noteworthy cases arise or when someone has an engaging idea, such as last summer’s ice-bucket challenge, about how to get people to open their wallets. It’s striking that these wellsprings of generosity exist in a culture that also exhibits widespread hostility toward the poor and general unwillingness to strengthen the social safety net or raise the minimum wage.

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  6. brian stouder said on February 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    hear hear, Jolene!

    One did note a genuine pride that the fellow took, in his arduous daily routine.

    I bet when they do a follow-up story, the fellow will have re-asserted his independence in some concurrent way.

    And, I will abstain from flapping my lips (so to speak) on what the Houswives have for dessert – and instead insert this non-sequitur:

    I was rooting for Seattle all the way, and while the official last ten seconds of the game was, by turns, tremendous (that catch!!)and then crushing (that interception!), I think the second-guessing of the Seattle coach is ridiculous.

    That team got right down to the end, and had the chance to win the Super Bowl – and THAT is what the coaches and the players work all year for.

    Aside from that, Ms Perry’s halftime show was sublime!

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  7. Dave said on February 2, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    OTOH, when I learned that Brian’s favorite reality show was something called, “Sex Emergency Room” or some such thing, and I know that’s not right, perhaps deletion was in order.

    My lost comment was about going to the Apple store in Franklin, TN, when our son was a Nashville resident. We didn’t make it to the Rolls dealer. Also, are car dealerships open in TN on Sunday, was wondering? I always liked to walk around car dealerships on Sunday when in the market, because they’re not open in Indiana, nor Ohio, unless that’s changed.

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  8. brian stouder said on February 2, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Ah yes – Sex Sent me to the Emergency Room, on The Learning Channel

    I deny ever commenting on that show…!

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  9. Basset said on February 2, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Dave, I think the Rolls dealer is pretty recent – it’s right across I-65 from the mall with the Apple store. Car dealers around here seem to be split on Sunday openings, some do, some don’t.

    (Back story for those who came in late – in one of Nashville’s more upscale suburbs, there’s a Rolls-Royce/Bentley/Maserati/Aston Martin dealer next door to a Hyundai store. Mrs. B and I were looking at a Hyundai and slipped over to see how the rich folks live, sticker on the first Rolls we looked at was $343,000.)

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  10. Kirk said on February 2, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    It is exactly because Seattle got right down to the end and had a chance to win the Super Bowl — and failed to do so — that criticism of the Seahawks’ boneheaded play call is anything but ridiculous and, in fact, most appropriate. The Seahawks didn’t show up just happy to be there; they were there to win and were betrayed by their coaches.

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  11. brian stouder said on February 2, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Kirk – a great point, indeed.

    Had the last pass been completed (to a Seahawk and not to a Patriot!), then the coach – or whoever called the play – was a genius.

    Had they run the ball, and the guy doesn’t make it, and the Sea Hawks failed to call a time-out in time, THAT I’d blame on the coach.

    In the end, my only rooting interest was against New England – and the game pulled me in.

    Even Brady, who I’m disposed to dislike, sort of won me over (a little)

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  12. Jolene said on February 2, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    As I understand it, they had three chances to get into the end zone and the best running back in the league. That’s why there’s so much consternation with the coach. I am far from an expert in football, but the criticism of Carroll was so immediate and widespread that I can only conclude there’s something to it.

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  13. David C. said on February 2, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Anti-vax douchbag of the century

    But Dr. Jack Wolfson said it’s the Jacks family who should keep themselves at home, not him.

    Wolfson, an Arizona cardiologist, refuses to vaccinate his two young sons. He said the family that didn’t vaccinate and endangered the Jacks children did nothing wrong.

    “It’s not my responsibility to inject my child with chemicals in order for [a child like Maggie] to be supposedly healthy,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s very likely that her leukemia is from vaccinations in the first place.”

    “I’m not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure,” he added. “It’s not my responsibility to be protecting their child.”

    CNN asked Wolfson if he could live with himself if his unvaccinated child got another child gravely ill.

    “I could live with myself easily,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate thing that people die, but people die. I’m not going to put my child at risk to save another child.”

    He blamed the Jacks family for taking Maggie to the clinic for care.

    “If a child is so vulnerable like that, they shouldn’t be going out into society,” he said.

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  14. Basset said on February 2, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Not interested in football, was already asleep when the game ended. This is much more my speed:

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  15. Andrea said on February 2, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Wow, David C. You are right. That parent of the “pure” child IS a candidate for asshole of the 21st Century. His entitlement and lack of empathy is astonishing. I wonder if he would be so flip and dismissive if his child becomes irreparably harmed by measles or something else preventable.

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  16. Deborah said on February 2, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I have come down with a bug of some sort after my trip to NY. I’m not feeling well at all, spent the day resting. My husband is still in NY, his later flight to Chicago was cancelled but he has a chance to fly standby on a flight coming up soon. If he doesn’t make it he’ll have to spend another night there. At least he’s not feeling sick too.

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  17. Sherri said on February 2, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    As many of you are probably aware, I’m both a football fan and a Seahawks fan. Believe me, my immediate reaction was, what was that play call? They have a running back who is called “Beast Mode” with good reason; handing the ball off to him, or at the very least, running the read option, which allows either Wilson (the qb) or Lynch (the running back) to run the ball, depending on the defense, was what I was expecting. Not a pass in the middle of the field to a player who is mostly a special teams player and whose primary benefit as a receiver is his speed on deep routes. Brutal play call, and while Pete Carroll is taking the blame nationally, he didn’t make the call, his offensive coordinator did. Around here, that’s who is getting the blame.

    But, credit to the defense, it also took a very good play by the New England defensive back to make the interception. He read the play quickly and moved aggressively to beat the receiver to the spot.

    After all the luck it took for the Seahawks to overcome Green Bay two weeks ago, I can’t complain, but I am disappointed.

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  18. LAMary said on February 2, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Andrea, you’re shocked at a surgeon’s sense of entitlement?

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  19. Charlotte said on February 2, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Well my Himself is a Boston man, so once the Packers were out, I was onboard with the Patriots. Although I really like the Seattle team … but for my own domestic peace, I’m *thrilled* the Patriots won. But what a great game — it wasn’t a blowout, it was tense until the Very Last Minute. Sheesh.

    Book rec — Eula Biss’s On Immunity spends quite a lot of time on the “purity” issue. It’s a terrific, complex, interesting read …

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  20. Joe K said on February 2, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Don’t forget Carrol made a gutsy call at the end of the half, most would have gone for 3 instead of a touchdown.
    Pilot Joe

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  21. Sherri said on February 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Absolutely, Pilot Joe. Most people are happy with Carroll. It’s Darrell Bevell, the offensive coordinator, they’re unhappy with. It was almost certainly Carroll’s choice to play for a touchdown at the end of the first half, while Bevell made the particular play call as to how they did it. Pete Carroll’s background and expertise is in defense, not offense.

    I believe that when the game is on the line, you put the ball in the hands of your best players. The San Francisco Giants did that in the World Series when they handed the ball to Madison Bumgarner to close out game 7. The Seahawks didn’t do that, and it cost them a shot at a repeat championship.

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  22. Deborah said on February 2, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    I finished the book, The Lady in Gold, I highly recommend it. It’s about the woman who Gustav Klimt painted and the extraordinary story about how it was confiscated by the Nazis in Vienna and returned recently to the heirs. It’s been made into a movie with Helen Mirren to be released in April 2015 called The Woman in Gold

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