The b.j. queen.

I see Monica Lewinsky has started her big comeback tour. As Jeff the mild-mannered likes to say, grace and peace to her. You can’t say this poor woman ever tried to cash in on her bad luck, and in fact has really suffered for it. Imagine being her, carrying that name and face around for the last 18 years. Imagine going on a date. (Imagine being the guy who dates her.) Imagine just walking down the street, with her famous, fabulous mane of hair. And imagine introducing yourself: Hi, I’m Monica. Better that she be named Kate or Heather or any other, more common young-woman name. Anyone who lived through Lewinsky 1.0 would know her instantly.

I just can’t imagine. All for a little fling with a married man who flung with so, so many. The wheel spins around and you, yes you are the one who gets to pay. And pay and pay and pay.

Funny that she’s apparently chosen cyberbullying as her issue, when her ordeal happened largely before cyber was a thing — her shaming was more old-school. But she can certainly speak with authority about what it’s like to see your privacy go up in smoke, justlikethat. I’m glad the NYT story didn’t skimp on the fact this was a story in which both left and right disgraced themselves:

Ms. Lewinsky was quickly cast by the media as a “little tart,” as The Wall Street Journal put it. The New York Post nicknamed her the “Portly Pepperpot.” She was described by Maureen Dowd in The New York Times as “ditsy” and “predatory.”

And other women — self-proclaimed feminists — piled on. “My dental hygienist pointed out she had third-stage gum disease,” said Erica Jong. Betty Friedan dismissed her as “some little twerp.”

“It’s a sexual shaming that is far more directed at women than at men,” Gloria Steinem wrote me in an email, noting that in Ms. Lewinsky’s case, she was also targeted by the “ultraright wing.” “I’m grateful to [her],” Ms. Steinem said, “for having the courage to return to the public eye.”

Yep. She was collateral damage in the right’s effort to destroy Bill Clinton, and in their reflexive defense of him, the left lined up to kick her, too. Besides, isn’t she what every married woman fears? The office girl with the glossy hair and the big boobs, lingering by the copier to bat her eyes at your husband? We don’t blame him, we blame her. I know I did, and I hadn’t been married five years yet. I took my turn putting her through the wringer; they’d have pulled my columnist card otherwise.

I still don’t think young single women should go putting the make on older married men, but I’m older myself now, and I no longer see her as the villain. I recall my friend Lance Mannion fuming, “I can forgive him the sex, but not the stupidity. It’s not like Washington isn’t full of beautiful, promiscuous, discreet thirtysomething adulteresses; he could have had anyone he wanted. But he picks an intern.” Yep, exactly. For a man so practiced in the art of extramarital stepping out, he really, really should have known better.

And while Monica bore the brunt of all of this, the whole country was put through the wringer. The impeachment was a nightmare of comic misery; I remember sitting in the Meijer parking lot, my chin on my chest, listening to …who was it? Larry Flynt? Talking about the dirt he had on Bob Barr? I think so, but it could have been any number of other freeze-frame moments from that very weird interlude that gave us Linda Tripp, Linda Tripp’s plastic surgery, Lucianne Goldberg and her spawn, a million pearl-clutching mommies moaning about having to explain oral sex to middle schoolers, Ken Starr and his ewwww report, blue Gap dresses and Maureen Dowd’s Pulitzer and all the rest of it. I loved the ’90s as much as anyone, but not that part of it.

So, some bloggage:

Congratulations, white guys! You win the race again! In the age of exquisite sensitivity to diversity, how the hell does this happen?

Dahlia Lithwick looks at the demented decision to try 12-year-olds as adults. One our own juvie-justice guy, whose name has already been dropped once, might like to read.

I haven’t finished this Michael Kruse piece on Jeb Bush and his problems on the GOP right, but I will. The first third looks pretty good.

So! Let’s have us a week, why don’t we? Hope yours is great.

Posted at 12:25 am in Current events |

41 responses to “The b.j. queen.”

  1. Dexter said on March 23, 2015 at 1:48 am

    I have a hunch the Lewinsky-Clinton scandal changed the intern system in corporate America. Of course back in the 1990’s, summer help, office or labor, were paid. Now at some corporations the interns must pay to get the internships. Mostly , however, the scam is used that directs college credits for successful completion of summer or year-round internships; the typical internship may be 3 months. They do not get paid unless they are lucky enough to nab the “paid internships”.
    Interns are graded by mentors, rarely bosses.
    These days there are strict protection rules. I know that in some places interns can date other interns but woe be unto a paid employee who puts a move on a young intern. If an employee so much as sends a drink over to an intern’s table at a bar and the intern reports it, it’s going to be hard discipline and probably firing. And if an employee just takes an intern under his wing and takes the intern out for so much as one alcoholic drink, that is instant summary termination.
    I don’t think interns were protected like this 20 years ago.

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 23, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Ohio, bless us, has managed to stay behind the curve on this one. You really have to work hard at your crime to get tried as an adult, and it simply cannot happen below 14. With the trends toward diversion growing, it’s good for my end of the office, although it’s like welfare reform. We can shrink lock-up numbers and reduce probation lists, but you can peel off three-fourths of the total load and end up with the quarter that *always* were three-fourths of the work — so just because “case loads” went down, it doesn’t mean you can cut those budgets by the same amount. Something that politicians and to some degree the public get very frustrated over.

    Call them our “hardest to serve” demographic. And they often have a gift for recidivism that is resistant to the hot new program out of UCSB or SAMSHA, etc. But they roll on by, and we keep on working with ’em . . . . jailing 12 year olds is just plain stoopid. Pure pandering, no policy or research to support any outcome other than promoting one form or another of lifetime dependence. Jail or public aid. Dumb dumb dumb.

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  3. adrianne said on March 23, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Dexter, I don’t know where you work, but the rules concerning interns are not as draconian in my line of business. Obviously, businesses need to discourage older workers from preying on young interns, but I’ve taken plenty of interns out for drinks/dinner, as have my male counterparts, and no one bats an eye.

    Very good interview with Monica Lewinsky in the New York Times Sunday. I agree with Nance, she was treated horribly in the news media to what purpose? She did something stupid and paid for it in spades.

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  4. Deborah said on March 23, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Adrianne and Dexter, my experience with interns was closer to Adrianne’s. We were given no rules about how they were to be treated, we assumed it was no different than any other employee. I’ve had some great interns and some lousy ones. I still keep in touch with a few of the great ones.

    I was on a trip to Paris at one point during the Clinton scandal. We were at a cafe when a close by table suddenly erupted in loud and raucus conversation in French of course. Because we were Americans they turned to us and drew us into thier discussion (they switched to English for us) about why our fellow countrymen made such a big deal about the whole affair. We were at a loss trying to explain it.

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  5. alex said on March 23, 2015 at 8:20 am

    The Lewinsky affair had plenty of comical sidelights, my favorite being the Christian radio station in Florida that dropped Jerry Falwell’s show because it was felt that he talked about sex too much.

    The far right will no doubt show Monica a little love this time around. Anything to bring down Hillary. Sheldon Adelson will probably pony up $10 million to get her to keynote the GOP convention.

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  6. beb said on March 23, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Lewinsky didn’t just have a little fling with a married man,, she had a fling with the POTUS, easily the most powerful man on the planet. If you’re counting coup, that’s as really big coup. And while DC may be filled with willing young things, there aren’t a lot of them inside the security perimeter surrounding the president. As for the slut-shaming… that’s why The Scarlet Letter is still taught in school. Women are always to blame when powerful men stray.

    Has it been 18 years? I would have thought that Lewinsky would have been content to stay in the relative obscurity she’s acquired as yesterday’s news. Why she’s coming back now can only be the work Lee Atwater, who though long dead, still fills the Republican party with animus. It’s all about kneecaping Hillary

    I don’t know how one can be on a jury trying 12 year-olds as adults in a case of murder. The range of punishments all seem too draconian. “Mike the Mad Biologist” found a link to an article on the incarceration problem in America. The author argues that even when you factor out higher that reasonable incarceration rates for blacks the incarceration rate for white is excessive compared to other countries. And he seemed to think that the pro0blem lies not with the rate of criminal activity but with increasingly harsh sentences and mandatory sentencings that became common in the 1980s.

    More interesting that Micky Kraus’s article on Jeb is why he was fired from his job. Apparently criticizing Fox News is verbotem, even when Fox News is making it impossible for a Republican to make it through the primary and still have a shot of winning the general election. But is Kraus kneecaping the Jebster to clear the way for Scott Walker? If anyone needs to be taken out of the race it has to be Walker.

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  7. coozledad said on March 23, 2015 at 8:27 am

    There had to be a point where the Republicans began to realize they’d shit the bed, pulling back the curtain on their worst, and the worst was their ‘pro-life” poster boy, Henry Hyde. Talk about ruining a woman’s life, her husband’s, her family’s. Knowing that was in his past(?) and chairing the house impeachment committee? No wonder Salon’s original article detailing his affair resulted in them getting bomb threats. It ran too close to the bone of the fundie terror circuit that Hyde cultivated.

    I’ll let Fred Snodgrass take it from here:
    “I watched (Hyde) on TV the other night,” said Snodgrass in the Salon interview. “These politicians were going on about how he should have been on the Supreme Court, what a great man he is, how we’re lucky to have him in Congress in charge of the impeachment case. And all I can think of is here is this man, this hypocrite who broke up my family.”

    Hyde, whose committee would handle phase one of any impeachment process, did not apologize. He told Salon that “the statute of limitations has long since passed on my youthful indiscretions. Suffice it to say Cherie Snodgrass and I were good friends a long, long time ago. After Mr. Snodgrass confronted my wife, the friendship ended and my marriage remained intact.”

    And that’s all that matters, if you’re a Republican, innit?

    The only shred of justice in that case was served when Hyde was carved up on the operating table, from his clavicle to the base of his sternum, and he vomited up his ghost before the surgeons closed.

    It would have been even better if Fred, Carrie and the kids could have strolled by the open room, cleared of the staff, heart monitors and breathing machines, in that awkward moment where the former patient waits for disposal in all its green-gray naked gutstink.

    Even more justice would have been served if he’d been flushed out with rest of the menses some eighty years prior, or vacuumed out of the uterus, or curettaged before he could put his little mick donk in someone else’s lives.
    His abortion just occurred way too late.

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  8. Andrea said on March 23, 2015 at 8:38 am

    I’m going to disagree a little on Lewinsky here. She was young but not so naive as the original narrative had it. She was already in a multi-year affair with a married man when she set out to seduce Bill Clinton, in what had to be the most attainable goal ever. Clinton was absolutely and completely culpable and he should have known the risks he was taking but I’m sure that’s part of the thrill. They both disgust me.

    I don’t totally buy her poor me act either. Where is the remorse? She compares herself to real victims, like Tyler Clementi and abuse victims. I don’t doubt for a minute that she was humiliated — the difference is that she chose to do humiliating things.

    I will agree that she experienced a public shaming in a way that most who commit adultery do not… But she also chose an out of the ordinary person as her partner. Most likely she couldn’t grasp the enormity of the risks she was taking, but honestly I don’t feel that bad for her. I also don’t see how she is going to move the needle on cyber bullying. Seems like a way to monetize her terrible reputation.

    Maybe I’m just cranky because it’s Monday morning and the streets are covered in snow.

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  9. Basset said on March 23, 2015 at 8:44 am

    What I want to know is… how do these people make a living? Work is hard to find but she moves between London, New York, and LA, does some volunteering, etc…

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  10. Jeff Borden said on March 23, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Henry Hyde was 40-years-old when he committed his “youthful indiscretion.”

    The Congressional witch hunt was led by Leroy Gingrich, who was married but banging his current wife, Calista, while pursuing Clinton’s sexual crimes.

    My feeling about the Clinton-Lewinsky thing always came down to the age and power position discrepancies. If the Horndog from Hope had been caught having an affair with, say, actress Sharon Stone, someone with her own power and much closer to him in age, I’d have been far less appalled at the president’s behavior with a young woman of no status. He should’ve known better, but Clinton was not a man to ignore his base desires and the nation as a whole suffered through the ridiculous impeachment process. Then again, at least the Republicans were focused on something besides starting another war somewhere.

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  11. Deggjr said on March 23, 2015 at 9:20 am

    I thought Monica Lewinsky had a comeback a year ago or so, possibly because of her 40th birthday. How many comebacks is she going to have before November 2016?

    As the song goes “How can I miss you when you won’t go away?”

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  12. Bitter Scribe said on March 23, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Count me in the camp of little sympathy for Monica. She knew what she was doing. As for her shaming being “disproportionate,” we are talking about the President of the United States here. As someone once said, you can choose your actions, but not their consequences.

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  13. Jolene said on March 23, 2015 at 11:02 am

    For the record, Lewinsky does say that she regrets her actions.

    ““Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake, and I regret that mistake deeply,”

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  14. coozledad said on March 23, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Being President would mean covering all the bases, in case someone uses cyberterror to hack your deportation program, or the talks to merge the US, Israel and the Cayman Islands.


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  15. brian stouder said on March 23, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Right now, my daughter’s high school is weathering scandalous news, and another shoe is going to drop (at some point) – and the genuinely good people who work there are navigating swirling rumors and generally trying times….

    and let me just say, while I might (theoretically) agree that Bill Clinton doesn’t deserve 100.0% of the blame for what happened, I’d say he richly deserves 99.75% of the blame.

    The President of the United States simply must have better judgement than that

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  16. Sherri said on March 23, 2015 at 11:34 am

    beb@6, I think you’re confusing Mickey Kaus and Michael Kruse. Mickey Kaus is the writer who was dumped from Tucker Carlson’s organ of the Right Wing Noise Machine, The Daily Caller, for criticizing Fox News.

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  17. Judybusy said on March 23, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I’m with Brian @15 on Clinton and Lewinsky. Cooz, that last article is priceless!

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  18. Bitter Scribe said on March 23, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Sherri @16: To be precise, Kaus wasn’t exactly dumped. Carlson spiked one of Kaus’s columns, and Kaus stormed off in a huff, vowing never to write for the DC again.

    Apparently Kaus was mad at Fox because they keep talking about ISIS instead of immigration, which is the big bug up his butt. Carlson could just have easily told Kaus, “I killed your column because it’s nonsense.” Of course, that would put Carlson in an awkward position if Kaus ever wrote an attack on Fox that made sense…assuming he was capable of ever making sense.

    As you can probably tell, I loathe both sides in this dispute, but Kaus a little more. Kaus is one of those jerks who call themselves “liberals” but never seem to do anything but criticize genuine liberals.

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  19. Jolene said on March 23, 2015 at 11:55 am

    According to the Post, was owned by an Arizona lawyer, who used it for his own purposes before Cruz ran for Senate. Since then, he’s been having fun with it.

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  20. Andrea said on March 23, 2015 at 11:57 am

    @ Jolene, I’m sure she regrets her actions, especially in light of what the impact has been on her. I haven’t heard her acknowledge her remorse for what impact her actions had on a child, a wife, and a nation. I think there’s a big difference between being sorry you got caught, and sorry for what you did to hurt others.

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  21. Dave B. said on March 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Remember some of the other dirt that was uncovered during the impeachment hearings. There was Congressman Henry Hyde who led the House’s impeachment hearing. It seems he had had a “youthful indiscretion” back when he was only forty years old. Newt Ginrich resigned and was replaced by Louisiana’s Senator Bob Livingston, who also resigned because of some indiscretions. Then more womanizing surfaced with Indiana’s Dan Burton. Then, the paid receipt with Bob Barr’s signature showing he had paid for an abortion surfaced. I don’t think either political party, and certainly not the tax payers, benefited from the Monica Lewinski scandal.

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  22. MarkH said on March 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    What Andrea said @8. “…most attainable goal ever”, priceless, duh.

    And Basset @9. Was her family that well off that she could travel, finish her master’s in the UK as well as generally support herself in a certain style?

    I need more time to be convinced she has genuine remorse over the act, as opposed to being caught. Hope she continues to move on, though…

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  23. alex said on March 23, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Now here’s a fascinating read. Some Indiana history — with startling new revelations about midwestern Magdalene Laundries, nineteenth-century clitoral vivisection and more!

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  24. MichaelG said on March 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    When I worked for the State, we had interns who were called student assistants. There were no particular rules for how we treated them or related to them. If we went to lunch, we went to lunch. Nothing out of line ever occurred in all the years I worked there. It was an excellent program that benefitted everybody concerned.

    Ted Cruz is kicking off his campaign today at Liberty “University”. That tells you all you need to know right there. Here’s what California Governor Jerry Brown thinks of him:

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  25. Sue said on March 23, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    According to Salon, an unofficial motto for Ted Cruz is “vote for me, start world war III”.
    That could apply to several candidates, actually.

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  26. Deborah said on March 23, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I don’t necessarily feel sorry for Lewinsky, but I think everyone deserves forgiveness. She was pretty young when she acted inappropriately. I have to wonder whether her surfacing now has more to do with the right wing trying to embarrass Hillary than anything.

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  27. Dexter said on March 23, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    You win “Nerd of the Month” if you know today’s Google front page superstar. Emmy Noether. I can guar-an-damn-TEE yas I absolutely never would have ever, ever, heard of her without Google.

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  28. Dexter said on March 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I haven’t worked for 12 years,and my workplace only used the intern system for engineers as far as I know, and they paid them. My post at #1 reflected what I have heard happens in the massive satellite radio studios in NYC and in D.C.
    OK, I spend too much time listening to comedy and music, and talk shows, where I picked up on the problems with interns. I also am quite amazed at some interns for their lack of general knowledge, say of US and world history, and just from the recent decades. Some never heard of Mussolini nor Ho Chi Minh. Some could only go back to Bill Clinton in Presidential succession. Some were woefully ignorant of simple, basic knowledge of 9-11-01. One college girl intern was so stupid she was named “Dumb Dana”. Dig this: She was asked the date when 9-11 occurred. She stumbled and mumbled and said “The 4th of July?” She had thought 9-11 was 9-1-1…as if everybody called 9-1-1 all at once, hence the naming of the disaster-day. And I shit you not. College kids: not necessarily the cream of the intelligence crop. Sheesh.
    This Dana intern was so funny in her gnorance of narly everything, I began looking forward to her microphone time
    for good laughs, like I did as a small boy when Gracie Allen and George Burns were on the old black-and-white TV…but Gracie’s was an act…I think! 😉

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  29. coozledad said on March 23, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I have to wonder whether her surfacing now has more to do with the right wing trying to embarrass Hillary than anything.

    Bingo. That, and the scent of cash. If there’s one thing DC does to everyone it touches, it preps them for a lifetime of chasing dollars.

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  30. john not mccain said on March 23, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I’m trying to imagine how long a Dem candidate would last with a president who fought for Castro. Is there something shorter than a nanosecond?

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  31. Dexter said on March 23, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Here is some head-shaking light fun, just being glad your neighbors are always such a joy to be near. Way off topic, too.
    I am Ted Cruz’d out already.

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  32. Bruce Fields said on March 23, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I don’t know much about the history of mathematics, but I did my doctorate in commutative algebra, where her name pops up all the time. Mathematics is about being able to make sometimes painfully complicated technical arguments. But also sometimes it’s about going back to one of those arguments and realizing that if you set up just the right definitions and lay the groundwork in the right way, you can make your conclusions seem obvious. She seems to have been a master a both, and reading a modern introduction to abstract algebra still means in part learning definitions and arguments originally laid down by her.

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  33. Basset said on March 23, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    “Mathematics” and “painful” fit together perfectly for me.

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  34. Dave said on March 23, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    What Basset said. In the many ways I can make myself feel like a moron, math leads the list. This was another day I didn’t use the bit of algebra I once studied.

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  35. Charlotte said on March 23, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    California passed a law two years ago (?) that requires interns be paid — to both stem the egregious use of unpaid labor and the class inequality issues.

    My friend Maryn McKenna (Superbug) did a talk at the same TED conference as Monica and wound up sharing a cab with her in Seattle. Said she’s incredibly smart and interesting. If nothing else, she’s got some name recognition and if her talents can be not-wasted by working on the cyberbullying issue, more power to her.

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  36. Judybusy said on March 23, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Oh, Dexter, the neighbor story touched a raw nerve. I’ve always bragged here what great neighbors I’ve had. Weeeel, things are about to get complicated. Remember the asshole who let his dog off leash and the dog killed our cat? He is a good friend of our next door neighbor and is over there 4-5 times a week with his dog, who he lets run around in her backyard. So every time we see him, it reminds us of that awful day our cat suffered and had to be euthanized.

    We did make a complaint to the city last fall, and the dog was declared a dangerous animal, which means he must be leashed and muzzled at all times when he is out of the house, including in our neighbor’s yard. The owner has never complied with this in the yard, but we didn’t want to be major jerks, so we let it slide. However, we’ve seen the dog off leash three times at a dog park, on the sidewalk, and in the street. We’ve been working with animal control, providing them with pictures. Last Friday, my partner was photographing the dog at the dog park, and the owner got nasty, ultimately saying “Just because you’re miserable, doesn’t mean the rest of us have to be.”

    It’s so bad we have decided we need to put up a wooden fence so we don’t have to encounter this guy. We spend a significant amount of time in our backyard and just don’t want to see him. We’re planning on meeting with our neighbor to let her know and to tell her that her friend’s non-compliance is not only a public safety hazard, but will ultimately result in the dog’s being seized and destroyed. This is really hard because until this happened she has been a great neighbor, but she doesn’t get how hard this is for us. It’s really changed my opinion of her. Why anyone would want to be friends with such a jerk, I don’t know. I’m really resentful we have to go the expense of putting up a section of a fence, especially since our yards really complement each other, and it will steal what little full sun I have left in my garden. I know that last may sound petty, but gardening is one of my great joys in life and this will have a major impact on how our garden looks. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for listening.

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  37. Dexter said on March 23, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Judybusy, nice post. I have gone on about my neighbors frequently on this blog, so I’ll spare everyone the details. Capsule review: 1) I intervened in a man-on-woman beating and was threatened with death by gunfire, cops were called, man was in possession of an old-style .44 Magnum in his truck, which nobody believes, so be it.
    2)My daughters were confused when our promiscuous gay neighbor was making out in our shared driveway with a new boyfriend. “Dad! Those guys are KISSING!”
    3) Our lesbian neighbors disappeared one day and never came back. They had been busted buying a huge quantity of “hillbilly heroin” in Kentucky; they apparently were big dealers up here in the north.
    4) Our mentally disturbed neighbor across the street dragged his mattress to the front yard, set it afire with lighter fluid, then pissed on it to attempt to put it out. He was shipped to the wards immediately. That’s enough for now…oh one more…a man named Juan rented the house two doors down. He was a fine upstanding citizen, honor roll students for kids…and he made his living dispensing all sorts of drugs.
    He had a tablet and a pencil hanging from nails on his porch, where customers put in their orders for shit. Poor Juan. The judge simply threw the book at him. He was in prison a long, long time

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  38. David C. said on March 23, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    That sounds awful Judybusy, but you have every right to feel secure in your own garden. We are gardeners too (Mary is the brains, I’m the brawn), and I know all the years of planning and effort that go into making an area perfect. Then to have it ruined because a clueless, heartless neighbor. You have every reason to be resentful. I’m sorry you have to go through such stress. I can’t imagine having to constantly relive what happened to your dear little cat. The friend chooses to flout the law and whatever happens to his dog because of it is his choice. I hope it takes a turn for the better soon.

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  39. Charlotte said on March 23, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Good fences make good neighbors. Nearly every yard here is fenced (standard town lot is 50′ x 100′). Mostly chain link, some stockade (I put in stockade because, unsightly on one side, unfriendly on the other). I don’t know if it’s because we have lots of dogs, or because we have the occasional wild animal wandering through town, or what, but it’s the standard and I kind of like it.

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  40. Sherri said on March 23, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Charlotte, I love Maryn McKenna’s work!

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  41. susan said on March 24, 2015 at 12:27 am

    “Imagine a Slightly Different Announcement from Ted Cruz”

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