And so we lurch to the end of the week. I’m mailing out a few copies of a Deadly Vipers press release. It only took Alan and I, two professionals who have read thousands of press releases between us over the course of decades, about three days to bang it out. It was ridiculous, batting drafts back and forth like a couple of toddlers. I thought I had it nailed, but then realized I’d forgotten the social media and a goddamn phone number.

It’s early dementia, I’m sure.

Oh, well. Speaking of journalism, this was Thursday’s chuckle, Hank’s review of a vile new show called “Sex Box,” in which a couple sits on stage for therapy, and is then ushered into a bed-sized box onstage for, presumably, y’know:

While they’re in there supposedly having sex (in the two episodes shared with critics, duration in the Sex Box lasts anywhere from 11 to 31 minutes), the therapists continue to discuss the couple’s problems. The audience fidgets. The Parents Television Council issues another useless press release. We wait.

The musical cues in “Sex Box” are more suited to a reality show about sharks or avalanches. I mean, is the saxophone solo so out of fashion that it can’t even be put to use here, where we need it most? The tone and presentation make it seem as if something really awful is happening in there, in addition to the making of truly awful television out here.

More tragically, the Sex Box doesn’t move, shake, thrum, glow or give any indication of what’s occurring within. It would be such a better show if the Sex Box, once occupied, could then be lowered onto a shipping vessel bound for the Asian continent, or shot into orbit by Richard Branson, or driven to a storage unit in West Covina and stashed away. Something, anything to make up for the time wasted watching “Sex Box.”

People wonder why critics take so much apparent glee in writing pans. Because there’s so much more fun, that’s why. (I love the idea of lowering the box onto a freighter. I’d watch that show.)

Sigh. When I get up to hit the gym tomorrow, it is predicted to be 0 degrees, maybe lower. Should I skip? Perish the thought!

Have a great weekend.

Posted at 12:30 am in Media |

86 responses to “101-level.”

  1. Dexter said on February 27, 2015 at 3:12 am

    “The tone and PRESENTATION make it seem as if something really awful is happening in there,…” I swear…I read “penetration” first glance. 🙂
    If you see this Sex Box rockin’
    Don’t come a-knockin’
    But if we screw ourselves to death
    Herein lies our last request:
    Ship this Box to Woody Creek
    And Dr. Thompson’s cannon find
    Stuff us in, fill with powder
    Torch it, blow us to the sky
    Hunter Thompson knew the score
    Football’s over, life’s a bore

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  2. David C. said on February 27, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Scottius Minimus has really stepped in it. He seems to really believe that the Soviets quaked in their boots after St. Ronnie fired the PATCO controllers that ISIS will do the same because protesters or something. When the National Review thinks you’re doing right wing crazy wrong you’ve really got something.


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  3. adrianne said on February 27, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Scott Walker really has some cojones, eh, standing up to those 100,000 protesters in Wisconsin. How dare he compare that to taking on ISIS? For shame, governor, for shame.

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  4. alex said on February 27, 2015 at 7:41 am

    By that measure, President Obama deserves the Medal of Honor for valiantly standing up to the millions of Foxbots who haven’t made him cry Uncle. Or Islam.

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  5. Deborah said on February 27, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Walker is just ripe for sticking his foot in his mouth. He may have already had his Macaca moment. Let’s hope so.

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  6. basset said on February 27, 2015 at 8:21 am

    I got lucky in a Chevy Vega once, after that the box would be no challenge.

    Post the release, Nance… and the tour schedule.

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  7. coozledad said on February 27, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Here’s your show. The Fox Box. Preliterates are hustled into boxes filled with food, liquor and televised shouty morons. The survivors of first one to spiral into the behavioral sink get a free cable subscription and a lifetime supply of their choice of gnat’s piss beer and oxycodone.

    Sex will be mercifully eight-second delayed out and replaced with cartoon bunnies fucking to Pink Floyd’s Money.

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  8. brian stouder said on February 27, 2015 at 8:47 am

    A Chevy Vega?! OK – I cannot beat that, but a Ford Pinto should merit an Honorable Mention

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  9. coozledad said on February 27, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Corvids and their allies.

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  10. Joe K said on February 27, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Hit the gym oh mistress of the blog, I did 5.2 this morning at 6:30am temp was -6 with no wind, layered up and enjoyed the sunrise, pretty frosty when I got back but all in all not bad.
    Pilot Joe

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  11. Bob (not Greene) said on February 27, 2015 at 9:16 am

    As a kid a vivid memory I have is driving through Gary, Indiana, on our way to whatever vacation destination our parents had chosen. You’d hit the state line and get the first whiff of sulphur as you passed Whiting, but when you got to Gary, it was going through a circle of hell. The sulphur stench was so bad — and the atmosphere so yellow/orange — that you’d be forced to roll up the windows of the station wagon (of course it was a station wagon). You’d try not to breathe much.

    I can’t imagine what it was like to live there when U.S. Steel was in its heyday in Gary, in the 1940s and 1950s. But U.S. Steel, which actually built Gary as its company town, sure did provide a lot of jobs. Today, there’s news that another division of U.S. Steel’s Gary Works. http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/news/ct-ptb-gary-coke-plant-closing-st-0227-20150226-story.html

    These days, you barely notice the steel mill when you drive through. All you notice is what the loss of all those jobs has meant to U.S. Steel’s Midwest city.

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  12. Bob (not Greene) said on February 27, 2015 at 9:19 am

    *is closing. Oh, edit button, where are you?

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  13. Julie Robinson said on February 27, 2015 at 9:40 am

    A college friend lived in nearby Hobart, and her Dad worked at US Steel so that his kids could have better lives. They both got college degrees, and her brother wanted to go back and live in Hobart. Only there weren’t any jobs available for a college grad by the late 70’s, and he ended up back on the line with Dad. He’d be about 60 now, so I hope he saved up. Just sad.

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  14. Deborah said on February 27, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Bob (nG) We have some good friends in Chicago who used to work in the Steel Mills in Gary. Not sure what exactly they did from 9 to 5 as workers, but they were (are) serious leftists (I mean to the left of Lenin). They were organizers in the mills, later went to work for the Union and moved to Chicago. These were people who went to Cuba to work in the sugar cane fields in the 60s. They kept their house in Gary for many years, used it as a place to get away. We went there a couple of times for parties and it was bleak, bleak, bleak, not a festive atmosphere at all.

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  15. Basset said on February 27, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Pinto too, come to think of it… not exactly ideal conditions in either case, you need a big bench seat. Or at least open the hatchback.

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  16. brian stouder said on February 27, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Open hatch-back?


    I had a ’73 Pinto around 1979, and suffice it to say – you not only win, you’re making the rubble bounce (so to speak).

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  17. Joe K said on February 27, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I had a pinto also, front passenger seat was bolted to the floor. Adjustable seat was a option. I think it was a 71 first year they made them red with a automatic, could barely get out of its own way.
    Pilot Joe

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  18. Judybusy said on February 27, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Totally not related to anything, but I am just so wonderfully happy right now: an acquaintance of mine, who is living in Rwanda, just posted pictures of her and her mother at Virunga National Park with gorillas. I am more excited that I know someone who has been so close to them than if she’d met just about any famous person. There is one of an infant hanging with mom and its little tongue is sticking out! Oh fer cute, as we white gals say here in Minnesota.

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  19. Heather said on February 27, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Some acquaintances of mine moved to Miller Beach, which is a part of Gary. I haven’t been there but have been told it’s actually nice, and the houses are more affordable than in Chicago. These are artist and musicians, so affordability is key. Seems like a little artistic community is sprouting up there.

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  20. Charlotte said on February 27, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Forget the internet Llamas — we woke up to another herd of elk moving through the cabin yard this morning. Cows, but bringing up the rear, two spike bulls, sparring like the teenagers they are. Hilarious. Much sproinging up on all 4 feet at once, prancing around with noses held high, then another bout of head-to-head wrestling.

    Chuck put a door into my dead-end pantry so I can now go outside into the (frozen) greenhouse room, so it’s a weekend of painting over very old, very chalky walls. I like painting, but I hate hate hate the prep … it’ll be beautiful when it’s done though …

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  21. Jim said on February 27, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Minus two this morning. I went.

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  22. nancy said on February 27, 2015 at 11:37 am

    -4 here, and I did, indeed, go. Now I feel I can blow off tomorrow.

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  23. Connie said on February 27, 2015 at 11:47 am

    And I did one of my three daily rounds of leg strengthening exercises to be done in a chair. Still hooked to the wound vac, still at home and oh so bored.

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  24. Dexter said on February 27, 2015 at 11:52 am

    It was really cold here, too…my tablet said -8F but TWC reported minus one…who cares anymore?…I mean, I am immune by this point.
    I walked the black labbie dog at a park and the poop was half frozen when I picked it up for disposal.
    I then drove to John’s Son’s Donuts and of course…sold out, so I went home and made some cinnamon toast dotted with organic honey. I wonder…isn’t all honey organic, or it some of it processed somehow after the bees are done with it?

    A harbinger: a man zipped by me on a single-speed coaster brake bicycle, all dressed to climb The North Face. He seemed content, and I flashed back to when I’d ride all year ’round. No more. One crash and a fall if I hit ice and my old hip would shatter in a million particles. 🙁

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  25. MarkH said on February 27, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Of my two entries in the tussle derby, the Mercury Capri wins out over the Ford Fiesta, only because the Capri did not have reclining seats. One girlfriend had a ’73 Pinto, but it was a wagon, so does not count at all.

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  26. MarkH said on February 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    So long, Mr. Spock. You did live long and prosper.


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  27. Michael Einheuser said on February 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    I don’t think the transition from journalist to PR flack is an easy one.

    A number of years ago the Detroit Free Press staged a Press Conference to announce that they were sponsoring an international marathon that featured the world’s first “underwater mile”. The course began in Windsor Ontario and the runners crossed to the U.S. under the Detroit River through the closed automotive tunnel.

    I was sent to represent the Mayor. Managing editor Neil Shine thanked me for attending. I said something like “Oh, I just wanted to see how the Free Press manages the news”. He looked at me with a tight smile and said “Ouch”.

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  28. Dexter said on February 27, 2015 at 1:14 pm


    So WTF ? Why is this dominating internet traffic?

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  29. Sherri said on February 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    It’s dominating internet traffic because it’s a genuine puzzle: it tickles a perception point in our brains where we make adjustments for daylight, and it turns out, much to the surprise of almost all, different people make different adjustments. For the record, I see white and gold, but my husband sees blue and black, and was confused as to why I was asking him such an obvious question (he hadn’t read about any of the hubbub.)


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  30. Sue said on February 27, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    I see light blue and brown, so I’m really off the mark.
    Scott Walker can’t tell the difference between people who make their statements by beheading innocents, and teachers and nurse’s aides carrying signs, holding inflatable palm trees and singing in a public building. The obvious difference of course is that people from around the world aren’t sending pizzas to ISIS like they did for the Wisconsin protesters. Come to think of it, no one sent any pizzas to Scott Walker either so if you want to do comparisons…
    What happened in Wisconsin was a genuine movement, and the frightening thing about it is that it didn’t work. In Wisconsin he won the battle and is well on his way to winning the war. You do not want this man as president with a Republican congress and sympathetic supreme court; you will get Wisconsin writ large.

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  31. Judybusy said on February 27, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Oh, how very sad about Leonard Nimoy!

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  32. Deborah said on February 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I see white and gold too, but I’ve read that the dress is blue and black, someone found the place where it is available for purchase online and it’s described as blue, it didn’t say “and black” but the catalog picture of it definitely looks deeper blue with black lace. Weird how people see it differently.

    I’m leaving Santa Fe for Chicago tomorrow, dreading the weather. Although right now it’s 17, cloudy and quite windy so not much better. But in a few days it will be in the upper 40s here, not so much in Chicago.i

    Heather, we have friends who have a place in Miller Beach on the lakeshore, definitely better than Gary.

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  33. alex said on February 27, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I see the dress as blue and black. I think it all has to do with computer settings, screen resolutions and brightness, etc. Remember when Joni Ernst gave the Breadbagger rebuttal to the SOTU? Her outfit looked teal on television, but looked navy the next day on the internet.

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  34. brian stouder said on February 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    I’m with Alex; a lot of the dress question is dependent on other variables, in addition to one’s eyes. (Pam showed me the image yesterday, and I saw what Sue saw)

    And indeed, the instant obit for Mr Nimoy was interesting; definitely an interesting actor.

    Today a fellow I’ve worked alongside for the past 28 years reached his last day (after 36 years!) – and he’s not retiring (her hired in at 22 years old).

    So – more power to him, I guess!

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  35. Deborah said on February 27, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Holy cow Brian, your colleague worked at that company for 36 years! And you’ve worked there 28! The longest I ever worked in the same place was 18 years and that felt like an eternity. My husband worked for the same Architectural design firm for 25 years, it was the same place I worked for 18 years, only he worked out of a different office in a different state for part of his tenure. I got really tired of the office politics.

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  36. Kirk said on February 27, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Hell, I retired two months ago after 38.

    And Dexter@28: I’m with you.

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  37. Sherri said on February 27, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    The dress question can’t just be about computer settings; when my husband and I look at the same picture on the same screen, same settings, same time, same room, etc. – we see different colors. It’s not even close; we can’t look at the picture and imagine how anyone could see what the other person is seeing. Totally fascinating.

    It reminds me of an interesting book I read recently about a man who was blinded at age 3 and then had his sight restored as an adult. He couldn’t “see” in the same way we see. Even though the eye technically worked, the brain just didn’t function that way anymore. Some things were there (edge detection, color discrimination), but other things just weren’t (he was face blind, for example.) The book was Crashing Through, by Robert Kurson.

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  38. Deborah said on February 27, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Kirk, so that means you started that job in 77 or 78, right? Was that your first job as an adult? I worked for 6 different places during my career, really “careers” because I started out as a teacher. I worked at 2 different schools and 4 different design firms. One of the design firms I only worked for a few months, I realized my first day on that job that I had made a huge mistake in taking it. After that realization I told myself I would stick it out for a year, but I couldn’t stand it, everyday was agony, so I gave notice only about 5 months in. I got another job offer almost immediately at a much, much better place, which was the last place I worked before retiring. I’m so happy to be retired. Although I am working on a design project now, my husband and I are designing a playground. It’s been a lot of fun to do.

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  39. Jolene said on February 27, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I second Sherri’s observations about the dress. Computer settings can affect color, but they don’t cause you to see something first one way and then the other. Many people, including me, have had the experience of seeing the dress in one set of colors and, later, seeing it at least momentarily in the other set . In this case, it’s the brain, not the machine, that’s the trickster.

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  40. Kirk said on February 27, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    I started that job in November 1976. It was my third post-college job. The first two lasted seven months and 26 months, and the second was basically a transfer. I formally retired four years ago, but I kept working part-time (and drawing my pension) after that until I decided it was time to hang it up.

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  41. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 27, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Heather, Miller Beach is where Nelson Algren and Simone de Beauvoir lived for a summer. I grew up just down the road in Valparaiso. The sulphur smell and multi-colored clouds were something we kids in the back of our station wagon actually (foolishly) looked forward to as we swung across to hit the Skyway, and went past the Falstaff cans painted on the giant grain elevators along the Lake Calumet Channel.

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  42. Deborah said on February 27, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    I just realized that perhaps my flight tomorrow to Chicago could be impacted by the Homeland Security shutdown if it happens. I’m not really even sure that the TSA is part of that agency, I’m just speculating. Is it?

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  43. devtob said on February 27, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    The TSA is part of DHS, but it estimates that about 52K of its about 55K employees will be exempt from the shutdown. Presumably most of those are the line employees who will keep airlines flying.

    In the DHS contingency plan for the shutdown, page 36, over at Talking Points Memo — http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/obama-dhs-shutdown

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  44. Dexter said on February 27, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    I saw a more detailed story about the dress and it reminded me of the stories of the World Trade Center towers 1 and 2. People commented after the terrorist attacks how they missed seeing the towers , and they descriptions were all over the color-map; at times the towers looked black, sometimes white, and all sorts of shades of gray and even blue sometimes. It’s all how the light falls. If you can stand it, here’s the Google Images link to illustrate my point. http://tinyurl.com/k5dxnh8

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  45. Dexter said on February 27, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    sorry…link is defective

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  46. Dexter said on February 28, 2015 at 2:58 am


    And a Hoosier shall lead the little children to safety….

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  47. coozledad said on February 28, 2015 at 7:28 am

    This ought to get those Republican dicks hard. Their boy Putin is killing liberals.

    Just like Stalin.

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  48. HexDecimal said on February 28, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Here in AZ, (Scottsdale) we’ve had baby boxes for 15/20 years. So where did the rumor of IN being the first come from?

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  49. basset said on February 28, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Something completely different… local opposition to a proposed rezoning in Nashville this past week.

    so you go to the planning commission hearing and say what’s on your mind…


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  50. Deborah said on February 28, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Watching videos of CPAC last night it was surprising to me that Hannity is such a short guy, either Jeb Bush is really tall or he was standing on a higher platform than Hannity. Maybe it was just the angle of the camera?

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  51. Deborah said on February 28, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Well, Uncle Google (thanks for that phrase Brian) says Hannity is 6′, so not short, and Jeb is 6′ 3″ so fairly tall but not that much taller. Bush must have been standing on a platform.

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  52. beb said on February 28, 2015 at 9:53 am

    And former KGB man V. Putin and shocked, SHOCKED to discover that there is crime in Moscow.

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  53. alex said on February 28, 2015 at 10:00 am

    As a child, I very well remember the Gary Gauntlet on the way to Chicago, the thick-as-pea-soup yellow-tinged atmosphere accompanied by an eggfart stench that couldn’t be quelled by the modern convenience of air conditioning. I particularly remember the summer of 1970, when the sulfur gave way to the overpowering miasma of dead fish — alewives — as we made our way along the lakefront to visit relatives in WIlmette. That was one year when it was no fun to be on the beach or anywhere within whiffing distance and that whole vacation sucked. The alewives, I think, were a non-native species that had overpopulated and were starving for oxygen because of pollution and huge piles of them were accumulating all along the beaches.

    Having learned more about the striped dress, I now see that it isn’t just an issue of computer settings. Amazing.

    And speaking of people who see things differently, I was subjected to a veritable banquet of garbage last night at a formerly favorite restaurant, about the “federal government takeover” of the internet and how Obama’s issuing unpublished “executive memos” so that no one can accuse him of issuing executive orders. The owner was spewing right-wing talking points deliberately within earshot to no one in particular but I suspect for my benefit as I once crossed him by refusing to believe some outlandish bullshit he was trying to feed me about Obamacare. Fine. He can kiss my business — and my ass — goodbye.

    Here’s a piece that pretty much crystalizes what’s wrong with today’s GOP:

    The collapse of the political consensus celebrated by Hofstadter and Hartz — Daniel Bell, another academic worthy, labeled it “the end of ideology” — hasn’t simply brought our politics to a standstill. It has also exposed the paradoxes beneath the surface of that consensus. Yesterday’s conservatives wanted to “conserve” the earlier version of a liberal order. They shared with progressives an essentially modern concept of identity. The conservatives who dominate today’s Republican Party reject this concept, but not in the name of any alternative to the individualism of Jefferson and Hamilton. All they have to offer is an even more impoverished image of human life, in which isolated selves, trapped inside immutable identities, struggle with the burdens of sin and pride those identities impose. The Tea Party has nothing but contempt for the liberal notion of identity and nothing but scorn for the conservative idea of community.

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  54. David C. said on February 28, 2015 at 10:19 am

    And until there is some sort of asshole rapture, we’re going to be stuck with it for a long time, Alex.

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  55. Deborah said on February 28, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I’m in the midst of the hell of trying to reschedule my flight to Chicago because it was cancelled. It is snowing here but doesn’t seem that bad, it’s also snowing in Albuquerque I guess, where the airport is 60 miles from here. I have 2 phones going on speaker phone so far I’ve been on muzak hold for 21 minutes. I tried doing it on line but it said I had to call. There’s only one possible flight I can get out tomorrow evening because all the rest are sold out. I also had to cancel my shuttle to the airport which Little Bird did for me on her cell. I HATE WINTER.

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  56. alex said on February 28, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Looks like we’re in for a big snow here, Deborah.

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  57. Sherri said on February 28, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Imagine the mansplaining that would have erupted had Marilyn vos Savant answered the Monty Hall paradox in the Twitter age: http://priceonomics.com/the-time-everyone-corrected-the-worlds-smartest/

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  58. Dexter said on February 28, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    alex…when I think of that Gary stench I remember my amazement in that human or animal life could exist in that atmosphere. I also remember getting excited because I knew that in a half hour or so we would be exiting the Dan Ryan at 35th Street for Comiskey Park and baseball. That rotten sulfur odor lasted for decades I assume…I remember having to endure that drive-through for many years. I have read many accounts of The Chicago Stockyards as well, and that sickening odor rivalled old Gary’s mills. http://sykb.com/wp-content/themes/simon-wp-framework/images/thegate.jpg

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  59. Deborah said on February 28, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Arghhh! After being on Muzak hold with Southwest for 2 hours and 2 minutes, I finally was able to make arrangements for the next available flight without being on stand-by, Monday late afternoon. Hopefully the snow predicted for Chicago will be over by then, at least weather.com says it will be. Fingers crossed.

    It’s a slushy mess here and I’m in a terrible mood. At least the high in Santa Fe is supposed to be 46 tomorrow.

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  60. Dave K. said on February 28, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    The discussion of pollution in “The Region” reminded me of playing rugby for Ft. Wayne against Northwest Indiana RFC. (Pilot Joe will remember). Their pitch was near US Steel, seemed to be reclaimed landfill with cinders and shards of glass scattered across the brown patchy grass. The air was foul, to be sure, but nothing like the stench from Plymouth Fertilizer Company on US 30. Closed down years ago, and trees around the waste pond there are still dead. Worst thing I have EVER smelled.

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  61. coozledad said on February 28, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Sherri: There are few times in this life where it will be found profitable to question women in matters of logic. Many civilizations have struggled to upend this formula, only to see their patriarchs chopped into tiny, tiny pieces.

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  62. brian stouder said on February 28, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    Dave K – isn’t that where the animal rendering plant was/is?

    There’s an apocryphal story where I work*, regarding a fellow who rolled in there (for whatever reason) around the lunch hour, and a worker there was seen sitting on a cow carcass eating his lunch, and then jamming a stick into the remains to deflate it a bit, for more comfort.

    *Kirk – I worked 9 years to the day at a supermarket, beginning when I was 16; and then 28 years where I am now

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  63. Sue said on February 28, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Well, it’s not exactly a Chicago-level black site, but they’re working on it. Must have gotten tired of yanking people down stairs and decided to move them off-site.
    Like I said, you do not want Scott Walker as your president.

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  64. Deborah said on February 28, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    I just watched Citizen Four on Demand and I don’t know what to think. I found myself being impressed with the intelligence of all the players. I thought I’d be back in Chicago tonight so I’m trying to find things to occupy my time until I can leave Santa Fe Mon afternoon.

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  65. Dexter said on March 1, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Dave K: Here’s a couple more stinkeroos: The rendering plant near the Sherwin Williams paint plant, both on the south approach to Chicago. Quite a 1-2 punch to the olfactories. Another , the paper mills of Muskegon, Michigan. My wife lived there for a year or so in the late 1960s and said it was horrid and she never got used to it , and when I drove through there a few times in the 70s, it was still really bad. It smelled like a rancid old-timey diaper pail all the time.
    I have issues here in Bryan as well. Every night a miserable cloud of diesel fumes putrefies my area of town. A few years ago it got so bad I called the fire department to come investigate. Their noses were so burned out from firefighting they thought I was nuts…then a couple cops joined the conversation and they knew something was really wrong, and they went looking and found the problem, and an answer: the railroad is 3/4 miles north of my street. There are always at least three to five switching engines in the yard, and at night they don’t do a lot, but they are loaded flush with cash of course and they run the diesel engines all night long, and all that stationery smoke and fumes envelope the north part of town. It gets so bad that it creeps into your house; two nights ago my wife began uncharacteristically coughing badly and she was miserable the next day with a scratchy sore throat, and I just felt sick. Well, that first night I turned in the complaint, the cop made the railroad employees turn off or move the engines and the smell was gone in 30 minutes. Now the cops or firemen won’t do anything and don’t want to hear my complaints. Aint’ that America? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3IICY5NKC0&list=RD_3IICY5NKC0

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  66. Suzanne said on March 1, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Oh my gosh! The Plymouth stench on US 30! When we’d pass it, my kids would call it the “stinky diaper factory” & I always wondered how anyone could live in the area. Rotten does not begin to describe the smell.

    I know some people who lived in the South Chicago suburbs in the 80s & we were there quite often. Yes, the sulfur smell! Funny thing was that when mentioning it to the locals, the answer was almost always, “What smell?”

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  67. Deborah said on March 1, 2015 at 8:38 am

    How do you stop corporate America coming in and ruining a lovely place? Family Dollar wants to plop a big ugly store in Abiquiu. http://krqe.com/2015/02/26/small-town-takes-on-corporate-america/.

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  68. Joe K said on March 1, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Yep remeber playing on the lake front in Gary and the stink in Plymouth, also the pitch in Lincoln park on the lake front, giant black sink hole where I got tackled on a kick off, after the match walked down to the lake and tried to wash off my uniform and self of the black crude, was later told that there was where they dumped the ash from the Chicago Fire it really felt like it was, some how made the Old Stlyle taste better. Some one also mentioned the Falstaff grain elevators going into Chicago, I always wondered how big the rats in that place must have been. Riding the Capitol limited to Chicago from Garrett going thru Gary it seemed like the whole sky was on fire, always thought that’s what hell looked like.
    Pilot Joe

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  69. Kirk said on March 1, 2015 at 9:16 am

    I remember stopping at a gas station in Terre Haute decades ago and being assaulted by a horrible chemical smell in the air. We asked the attendant (offering you a clue as to how long ago it was), who said, “Oh, that’s just from the bug-spray factory.” It made me wonder what the average life expectancy there was.

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  70. Deborah said on March 1, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Mobile, Alabama was the smelliest place I ever remember driving through, even worse than Gary. I think it was from a paper making plant. I haven’t been through there in eons so it may be all cleaned up by now.

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  71. Joe kobiels said on March 1, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Deborah was in Mobile a couple weeks ago. Its is defiantly cleaned up. Lots of job opportunity down there also.
    Pilot Joe

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  72. alex said on March 1, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Ah, the stinky lagoon in Plymouth. I always remember to put the AC on recirculate right before I get to that spot.

    And Joe, I remember taking the Amtrak between Chicago and Fort Wayne back when it still went to Fort Wayne. In Da Region, the landscape became utterly surreal. Though the yellow smog was gone by the 1980s, the tobacco-stained and oddly-tinted bar car windows put a strange golden glow on everything, and little jets of flame could be seen poking out of the vast expanses of landfill along the route. I remember a Reader story about hydrologists taking water samples from the Calumet River that dissolved the vials in which they’d been placed, and looking out on that haunted wasteland I wondered if it could ever be remediated even in a million years’ time.

    I used to work on Clybourn just south of its three-way intersection with Diversey and Damen, which was downwind from a Vienna Beef factory. (I no longer eat hot dogs, although this experience was only part of the aversion.) My employer sold out to developers, who converted everything into high-end residential, and then the yuppies moved in and tried to shut down Vienna Beef. The yuppies lost their fight and have evidently learned to live with it.

    When I used to commute from the lakefront to the expressway to go to work, around Kedzie Avenue or so there would always be a strong odor of chocolate following the path of the Chicago River and emanating from the Blommer Candy Company quite a ways to the south. It’s always strongest along the river, but at times you can pick up whiffs of it pretty much anywhere on the north end of town. There’s even a daily chocolate smell map to let you know where to go to enjoy chocolate without all the calories.

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  73. coozledad said on March 1, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Looking at the rankings here, it’s clear that the Republicans are going with Jebbie. Not simply because he’s the only one on the chart with all the money, but because the extended Bush confraternity is the selection committee, and there is no room for politics that might restrict the cash flow to the third coming of that squickball. The only question now is what extraordinary measures they are willing to take to steal the election.

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  74. brian stouder said on March 1, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    If America elects a Republican president in 2016, Jebbie would be the least scarey, at least on several issues. He would likely treat human beings in the southwestern United States as if they are indeed human, (and also good for the United States, as so many previous generations of immigrants have been) and that would place him head-and-shoulders above moral midgets like Walker, and walking jokes like Raphael Cruz.

    A surprise like John Kasich (who I think might swoop in and snatch the nomination) would maybe be marginally better for education policy – as he has governed over a complete educational debacle in Ohio, and hopefully has learned something from that (although probably not).

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  75. David C. said on March 1, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Walker scares the bejesus out of me. He knows how to play people’s resentments like a Stradivarius. He says the $300 million he wants to cut out of the UW system can be made up if professors would teach just one more class. Professors now work an average of 63 hours a week. But most people don’t know that and wouldn’t believe it anyway because belief always trumps fact. When you compare Wisconsin to Minnesota, it’s shocking how much better Minnesota is doing. Minnesota is doing nearly the opposite of everything Walker is doing here. They’ve raised taxes on individuals making more than $150,000 and couples making more than $250,000. and raising state spending. They have the best job growth in the Midwest, Wisconsin is next to last. Yet it doesn’t register that cutting billions out of an economy, cuts billions out of an economy. That every teacher who doesn’t have money to spend on a new car, a nicer house, or even a dinner at a nice restaurant is a detriment to the economy. I don’t think he could win in a general against Clinton, but stranger things have happened.

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  76. coozledad said on March 1, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    David C. NC’s governor Art Pope has, through his handpicked board of Governors of The UNC school system, begun to chip away at the liberal arts components of the schools, particularly those that don’t lick Republican ass.

    The ultimate aim of Pope and the idiots in the legislature is to dismantle one of the few attractions North Carolina has left, and to replace the Liberal Arts with some Randian money veneration scheme.

    Pope’s autarky is already just a sock bulging with yuckabilly shit. It doesn’t have too far to go before it makes this look good:

    This reminds me of the similarities between Putin’s old whorehouse and backwoods USA. It’s the rural bumfucks and bumpkins that revere Putin, and have dragged the urban areas into the shitter with them.

    Putin should have gone to CPAC. He’d have got himself a generous cranksucking.

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  77. Sherri said on March 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Does it really matter what Jeb Bush thinks about immigration? Constrained by his party, would his actions on behalf of undocumented immigrants be any different than any of the other candidates?

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  78. Dave said on March 1, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Mead Paper in Chillicothe, OH, smelled up the city. My aunt and uncle lived there and my uncle worked at a place right next to the paper mill. I don’t know what it’s like today.

    Dexter, those engines are running to keep them from freezing up. There’s no antifreeze in them. I can’t speak for now because I don’t know how many of the older locomotives are left, but they used to leave them running on a high idle when it got really cold but newer locomotives don’t require this.

    Nancy, on another railroad note, I’m told Uncle Ducky retired on the last day of February.

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  79. Kirk said on March 1, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Dave@78: It seems as though Mead Paper has come up before in this forum, and so has what I’m about to say about it, but …

    I grew up in Washington Court House, about 25 miles away from Chillicothe. On mornings when the wind was right, that paper-mill stench assaulted us as we walked to school. I think they’ve eliminated the problem, or at least made it much less obnoxious.

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  80. Deborah said on March 1, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Ah yes, Alex, that fantastic chocolate smell. When I used to walk to work, right about at the Chicago River on Michigan when the wind was right I’d start to smell it and it was heavenly.

    Mead Paper in Dayton, was a client of ours when I worked for a graphic design firm in St. Louis. Mead let go the division we worked for, it’s now called New Page. We did print, exhibit and graphic design for the built environment for them. They were a good client while it lasted. I made many trips to Dayton back then.

    I’ll say this about undocumented workers in Santa Fe, they are the hardest working people I’ve ever seen. They hang out at a nearby church, people who need help know where to find them for day work. I hired a guy to help out on our project in Abiquiu, he lived in Abiquiu. I didn’t ask if he was documented or not but in hindsight I realized he might not have been. Holy cow, but that guy was a hard worker, the hardest worker of all the guys we had working on the project. I don’t believe in exploiting their labor, of course, but those guys really seem to want to work.

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  81. Jolene said on March 1, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    I think it does matter what Jeb Bush thinks, Sherri. The Senate has passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill, but Boehner has refused to bring it up in the House. If he did, it would pass easily with support from Dems and some of the saner Repubs. It would be much harder for Boehner et al. to resist a Republican president. And even if the bill didn’t change much, their base would likely be at least slightly more willing to give Jeb credit for toughness than they are willing to do with Obama.

    It’s a ridiculous situation. The people are here; they aren’t going back. Failing to grant them citizenship achieves nothing other than making them miserable and hindering their ability to get better jobs, earn degrees, and be accountable for their earnings through taxation.

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  82. brian stouder said on March 1, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    And if you’re near downtown Fort Wayne at the right moment, you can smell the bread baking at (the aptly named) Perfection bakery, which is always pleasant

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  83. Jolene said on March 1, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    New TV show beginning this evening. Hank Stuever’s review makes it sound like fun.

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  84. Sherri said on March 1, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    George W Bush tried to get an immigration bill through Congress, but he failed. I’m not sure why a Jeb Bush administration would have any more success.

    A Jeb Bush immigration bill is not likely to look much like the bill the Senate passed, regardless of what Jeb Bush may think personally of Latinos, and might not attract as many Dem votes as you might be counting on.

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  85. brian stouder said on March 1, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Well, to be clear, I’m counting on the American electorate to reject the GOP Clown Car once again, and elect our former Secretary of State.

    I do recall that W had the entirely sensible notion that there’s nothing stopping the Republican party from benefiting from an influx of new Americans. For example, if some number of Latinos happen to be Catholic, then they’re also probably fairly socially ‘conservative’ in their world-view, and there’s no reason they would necessarily not be Republican….except that the Republican party keeps denigrating them as drug-runners and scofflaws.

    And if the Republicans thought this over even just a little bit, they’d maybe realize that xenophobic Know Nothing-ism is nothing new in American history, and that it is always wrong-headed, and that whatever America is – it would be incalculably poorer (culturally as well as economically) if not for all the Irish and German and Polish and Italian and German immigrants that poured into this place.

    My grandmother (on my mom’s side) did the immigration thing, through Ellis Island, a century ago. And indeed, I’m sure that she had to put up with her share of ignorant prejudice, while she learned the language and became a citizen, and raised her daughters on her own (her husband died at a young age, leaving her a single mother in a strange new land).

    It’s almost as if America is supposed to be some big Frat-house, and we have legions of sadistic people bent on hazing anyone that can be labeled ‘not yet one of Us’ (whoever “us” is)

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  86. beb said on March 1, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    And in Detroit you can smell when Seagrams begins a new batch of mash. And of course there’s Mordor, aka southwest Detroit with it’s oil refinery, waste water treatment plant, coke plant and a rendering company (which I think has gone out of business, but what a bunch of stinks!

    It doesn’t matter what Jeb or any of the GOP candidates think because they will be forced by the GOP base into taking the most extreme conservative positions, and a Republican congress will be like our current congress, unable to pass legislation because it’s never conservative enough. It’s like the Zombie Apocalypse, their undead, eat brains and can’t be killed.

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