The trench out front.

In addition to all the usual post-graduation, pre-college confusion going on hereabouts now, this is our street these days:


Our street was in desperate need of resurfacing; it hadn’t been done, as near as anyone can tell, since it was built in 1947. We passed a road bond for $10 million a year or so ago, and ours was among the first streets on the priority list, so yay! We get a new street! Then they came to do the work, and the asphalt came up, and then they dug one side down to the Indian burial-ground level, and then the gas lines were a problem and then the rains came. We already lost one park-strip tree. The guy from the gas company rang the doorbell and said, “I have good news. You’re going to get more sunshine in your yard. Because we’re taking down that maple. Its roots are right over a break in the gas line.” Well, we never liked it that much anyway, fewer leaves to rake and no gas explosions = big plus.

Last night, I heard someone knocking around in the bathroom at 2 a.m. It was Kate, coming in, elated, from seeing the Rolling Stones at Comerica Park. My first question: How was the show? Answer: Amazing. My second: Where did you park the car? Two blocks away, because that’s what we do when the road is nearly unnavigable. Then I went back to bed.

I’ll be relieved when all this is over.


Doesn’t this sound like a fun read?

You don’t need to be a speechwriter to realize that the phrase “I won’t begin in any particular spot” is a wretched way to start a public address. Yet those were the opening words of one of the more remarkable political spectacles in recent years: Mark Sanford’s rambling and teary news conference of June 24, 2009, in which South Carolina’s then-governor confessed that rather than hiking the Appalachian Trail, he’d been hooking up with his Argentine mistress.

In the crowd that afternoon at the statehouse rotunda in Columbia, S.C., was the man responsible for crafting Sanford’s speeches. People still ask Barton Swaim, “Did you write that speech?” He can’t even answer. “I just chuckle miserably,” he explains.

No, Swaim didn’t write that speech, but now he has authored something just as revealing and unusual: a political memoir that traffics in neither score-settling nor self-importance but that shares, in spare, delightful prose, what the author saw and learned. “The Speechwriter” feels like “Veep” meets “All the King’s Men” — an entertaining and engrossing book not just about the absurdities of working in the press shop of a Southern governor but also about the meaning of words in public life.

Read the review. It sounds hilarious:

He learned the boss’s tics. Sanford liked to have three points in a speech, never two. Never. “I’m not getting out there to talk about two stupid points,” the governor said when presented with a pair of rebuttals to a bill. “I need three points, first, second, third. Got that?” He loved referring to an amorphous “larger notion” in his remarks. Larger than what? It didn’t matter. “When we drafted a release or a press statement and weren’t sure if he would approve it, someone would say, ‘Stick a “larger notion” in there and it should be fine.’ ” The governor would often deploy an “indeed” when trying to rescue a trite phrase, as in “we’re indeed mortgaging our children’s future.” Also, Sanford always looked for chances to mention Rosa Parks in a speech. He just really wanted to do that.

I always thought it might be fun to be a speechwriter. Obama’s speechwriter, maybe. Sanford’s? Eh…

A good profile of the Awl, a website I find myself paying more attention to lately. This passage hit me:

In 2003, Gawker’s Nick Denton hired Sicha to run Fleshbot, the company’s now-abandoned porn site, then Gawker itself. Meanwhile, Balk was in advertising and writing a culture blog on the side; he landed at Gawker a few years later. Sicha left for The Observer after a year, then returned briefly in 2007. The style that he developed at Gawker, conversational with bursts of enthusiasm and ironic swerves, exerted a deep influence on the voice of the early web.

“That style became internet parlance,” says Andrew Womack of The Morning News, where Sicha freelanced while at Gawker. “You almost can’t think of a bigger effect. I can’t look at anyone type an exclamation point without thinking of Choire’s first stint at Gawker. It wasn’t snarky; it was honest and had this fuck-it-all attitude I think we’ve all had.”

Voice is one of those things I find most intriguing about writing. It’s the voodoo magic, hard to teach, sometimes hard to even describe. I wasn’t enough of a fan of early Gawker to describe Sicha’s voice with any authority, but now that I think of it, voice is one of those things that drives me most insane about Mitch Albom — that plodding, early-newspaper, listen-to-me-for-I-know-all voice that hasn’t changed since he first dipped his quill into an ink pot. Some day, when I have the time and inclination, I’ll do an explication de texte on a sample and try to show you what I mean.

But for now, it’s getting on towards Friday, and I’m-a gonna turn in. Happy weekend to all of you.

Posted at 12:29 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

67 responses to “The trench out front.”

  1. Jolene said on July 10, 2015 at 3:05 am

    Slate has just published a very eloquent–and elegant–review of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book. Worth your time.

    Also, I second Nancy’s endorsement of the review of the book by the Sanford speechwriter. Saw it yesterday in the Post and thought it was hysterical. The idea that people once thought of Sanford as a potential vice-president or even president boggles the mind. He sounds like a complete idiot.

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  2. Deborah said on July 10, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Voice, now there’s a topic I can’t wait to hear more about. Looking forward to the “explication de texte”.

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  3. alex said on July 10, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Nancy, navigating your street looks like a cakewalk compared to what we experienced when they laid sewer lines a couple of years ago. The trench was twelve feet deep and not only did it destroy the road and zillions of trees but came up to every house. So now we all have the pleasure of paying $150 a month to poop. Our yard is finally healed, but only because I found out that clover was the only greenery that would grow in the turned-up clay.

    Swaim sounds like a much smarter wordsmith than Peggy Noonan and doesn’t have scales over his eyes. Maybe he can replace that vacuous harpy in the newspapers and talk shows where she still does little more than fill space.

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  4. Connie said on July 10, 2015 at 7:11 am

    I have the ARC of Coates’ book on my desk. Are you jealous?

    As to apppricots, love them dried, don’t know if I’ve ever had one fresh. And as to fruit, last weekend my refrigerator contained the last of the local strawberries, the first of the Michigan blueberries and a nice load of Michigan sweet cherries. Peach season comes next. I love Michigan summers.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 10, 2015 at 7:15 am

    I used to think I wanted to a) be a speechwriter, and b) design museum exhibits & write text for displays. Thought either or both would be the coolest thing. Having done both, I won’t say I’ll never do either again, because as the professional streetwalker said, the money is often good even if the indignities are frequent. But neither are what you think they’re going to be. And you never get credit, unless you’re a) Ted Sorenson or b) Margaret Mead/Ray Bradbury.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 10, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Connie, yes I am. But am endeavoring not to covet. That’s a violation.

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  7. alex said on July 10, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Connie we’re still getting strawberries. Weird year it has been. And the only reason we’re getting strawberries is that we transplanted one of the plants to a pot and put it on a table so the rabbits couldn’t devour them.

    Apricot. It’s app if you watch yourself gavotte. Ape for those who do-si-do.

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  8. Sue said on July 10, 2015 at 7:53 am

    This is how we do it in Wisconsin, folks. Pass a shit budget while under the influence. I guess if you have a bomb threat while you’re in a college town with lots of bars, your only option is to get loaded while you’re waiting to get back to the people’s business.
    Oh, and this guy is one of the members of the Joint Finance Committee who attempted to kill open records among many other toxic goodies.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 10, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Hey, campers, from the WSJ first chapter of “Go Set a Watchman” — “Until comparatively recently in its history, Maycomb County was so cut off from the rest of the nation that some of its citizens, unaware of the South’s political predilections over the past ninety years, still voted Republican.”

    I am already very happy this got published, no matter the state of Harper Lee’s complete understanding, which at her age is what it is, but apparently she’s perfectly aware of what’s been done and seems happy about it. And yes, undeserving interlopers will make a bundle off of her, but I’m still glad to read a second novel from Nelle, regardless.

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  10. Deborah said on July 10, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Is the Coates book out yet for the general public? I’m heading back to Chicago next week and I’m looking for something exceptional to read at the airport and on the flight to take my mind off of the miserable state of air travel these days.

    We were up bright and early this morning, heard a loud bang and what sounded like a loudspeaker from a police car, but no sirens or anything. Have no idea what happened.

    Oh, and my bread turned out like cake, it still tastes ok but has a weird texture. I’m having it toasted for breakfast.

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  11. Deborah said on July 10, 2015 at 9:09 am

    OK, I read the first chapter, I don’t know if I think it was great but I’m hooked, I’ll probably get the book sometime and read it. Thanks for the link Jeff (tmmo).

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  12. coozledad said on July 10, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Today, the same day appallingly, Republicans will cast a vote on an amendment in support of the Confederate battle flag. […] After Charleston, after so many decades of this flag serving as a banner of oppression, hate and segregation, it’s long past the time to put away the Confederate battle flag.

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  13. Jeff Borden said on July 10, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Cooz, Did you notice the creep in the House who tried to keep the rebel flag up in state parks was a Republican from California? WTF? It’s so freaking hard for the GOP to pretend it isn’t using racial dog whistles when a member of the party on the other side of the country from the confederacy rises in defense of the traitor flag.

    These people. . .

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  14. Peter said on July 10, 2015 at 9:42 am

    I know what you mean about voice – when it’s good, it’s as if the person is just talking right next to you. That’s why I liked Dave Barry and Mike Royko so much – Charles Pierce too, although if I heard him in person it would probably be disappointing.

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  15. brian stouder said on July 10, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Cooz’s link is marvelous. Rachel Maddow covered this last night, and getting to hear some of this was fairly amazing.

    Before re-introducing the proposal Thursday, Pelosi noted that House Republicans were defending the Confederate flag on the anniversary of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, with its guarantee of equal protection. Not that it’s really possible to shame some of these guys, but Pelosi certainly gave it a good shot

    They should pass a resolution stating that the Republican party should be ashamed to call itself “the party of Lincoln”

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  16. coozledad said on July 10, 2015 at 9:51 am

    the creep in the House who tried to keep the rebel flag up in state parks was a Republican from California?

    Republicans are always wrapping themselves in some flag once the shooting has stopped. It’s pretty much par for the course. Maybe that guy can secede with Tom Selleck and get a mustache ride in the bargain.

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  17. Kirk said on July 10, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Just watched them finally pull down the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina, and then fold it with military dignity. I’d have preferred to see them wad it up and toss it in the trash, or for Nikki Haley to wipe her butt with it.

    Saw a couple of critters wearing the obscene thing yesterday at Kentucky Speedway, where I went for the NASCAR truck race.

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  18. Bitter Scribe said on July 10, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Nancy, you sure were mellow about your tree getting sacrificed. I would have been hollering bloody murder.

    Whatever Sanford paid that poor bastard, it wasn’t enough.

    In Philip Roth’s “The Ghost Writer,” E.I. Lonoff describes “voice” as something that starts at the knees and comes out the back of the throat. I maybe don’t have the wording down precisely, because I don’t own the book and effing Google Books won’t let me access the text.

    (Why yes, I am a spoiled Internet user who expects everything for free. Why do you ask?)

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  19. Charlotte said on July 10, 2015 at 10:30 am

    So GREEN in Michigan … the thing I always forget about the midwest and the east.

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  20. brian stouder said on July 10, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Kirk, I was out and about last weekend, and two fellers drove by with twin battle flags mounted in the back of their pickup.

    I could be wrong, but it seemed they were looking at me as if they wanted affirmation – and they may or may not have noticed that all I did was drop my chin, and look away (and not in the Dixieland ‘look away’ sense)

    There is a term one reads, again and again, in the (quite marred and imperfect) history of Reconstruction: mindless glorification.

    The war as a whole was mindlessly glorified in the decades immediately afterward, as the country worked to move forward, and I ‘get’ that. (Wasn’t it something like one family in three across the country had someone killed or injured in the war?)

    But whatever is going on now is not ‘mindless’, and is inappropriate over capitols and/or in public-governmental places

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  21. Dorothy said on July 10, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I love trees, too, but if its roots are tangled up with a broken gas line, I’m afraid the tree loses in that equation.

    I’m practicing to be on my best behavior if I come in contact later today with the guy who presumably fixed our dryer eight days, and $175, ago. Did a load last night and it was still wet this morning. Uh oh. Of course the charges for the repair are under warranty, but I’m assuming if it needs different parts, we have to cough up more $$. This kind of thing drives me bat-sh** crazy.

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  22. Wim said on July 10, 2015 at 10:43 am

    You will never see Confederate wannabes wear or brandish the battle flag anyplace other than someplace where they believe themselves to be in an unquestioned majority. I never met one who wasn’t a pants-wetting gun-clutching coward.

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  23. alex said on July 10, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Dorothy, it sounds like your exhaust sleeve is clogged somewhere. Might be as easy as taking it off and ramming a broom handle through it to knock out some lint. Nobody should be charging $175 for that — and missing it.

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  24. brian stouder said on July 10, 2015 at 11:26 am

    …and check your connector hose to the washer!

    (a “pod” arrived on our driveway yesterday, and our exile from home begins this evening)

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  25. susan said on July 10, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Speaking of confederate yahoos, god don’t like ugly!

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 10, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    What Alex said.

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  27. brian stouder said on July 10, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    It’s hard out there, for a pimp.

    Imagine you’re a rabid oligarchic Republiboob candidate for president, and you see this news in today’s Washington Post:

    Dylann Roof, who is accused of killing nine people at a church in South Carolina, should not have been able to purchase the gun used in the attack and was allowed to buy the weapon only because of breakdowns in the FBI’s background-check system, FBI Director James B. Comey said Friday.

    In a meeting with reporters at FBI headquarters, Comey said failures in the gun purchase screening system enabled Roof to acquire the weapon used in an attack that authorities have said was motivated by Roof’s racist views.

    “HAH!” you think; “We can pin this on Obama-the-commie ineptitude”…

    but then it occurs to you that if you say that, your cell phone will immediately ring, and caller-ID will indicate that it is your NRA over-lords – and they’ll be HOT! if you (seemingly) come out in favor of effective gun control.

    Deciding how to spin such news is the real test, for those who would be POTUS, eh? (much easier for the flying monkeys of the right-wing airwaves, who simply free-associate all day, and ignore what actually happens)

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  28. Jolene said on July 10, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Deborah @10: Amazon says it will deliver the Coates book on 7/14, the same day that it’s released.

    There are more reviews online now–one at the NYT and one at The New Republic. Here is an interview from NPR this AM. About seven minutes long.

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  29. BethB said on July 10, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Jolene, you beat me to it.

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  30. Deborah said on July 10, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Hey, I leave on the 15th so maybe I can get the book at the local bookstore here on the 14th. Maybe, unless that’s the date they’re sent out and won’t be received by book stores until later. Shoot, I hope that’s not the case.

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  31. Bitter Scribe said on July 10, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    brian @27: I predict they won’t go anywhere near that one. They’ll be able to avoid it because the media will let them, unlike when they tried to pull their “Donald Trump? Who’s that? He said something bad about Mexicans? Imagine!” act.

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  32. Dorothy said on July 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    the vent of the dryer was the first thing we checked almost two weeks ago when the dryer first started acting up. We learned that lesson from it happening at the previous house. Hubby was too busy to check it himself and told me to call for service. We paid $80 then just to have the guy clear out the external vent. So this time it was something to do with the heating coils (I think). Mike was there last Thursday, I wasn’t.

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  33. nancy said on July 10, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Deborah, physical media like books and records are always in-store on their release date, which is almost always a Tuesday. The 14th is a Tuesday; it’ll be there.

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  34. brian stouder said on July 10, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I’m plodding into* a biography about Nelson Rockefeller…which will complete a sort of trilogy of books on or about the Republican party, that (apparently!) turned my head back around Christmas.

    The one about Lincoln and the penny press pretty much towers over the others, but you’d expect that of a Holzer book

    *can’t say ‘plodding through‘ until I’m at least past page 200

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  35. Connie said on July 10, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    In fact new release books are usually delivered to book stores and libraries a week or so before their release date, under an agreement that requires us to respect the release date. Libraries generally have them cataloged and labelled and ready to go out at Tuesday opening.

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  36. Deborah said on July 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I called the local bookstore, they’re not sure they’re going to have it on Tuesday. But they said they’d try. There is another bookstore or two, I’m trying them all.

    Today was glorious, 53 this morning, when we drove out to Abiquiu. It’s 75 and sunny now, back in Santa Fe. Dry and clear because the rain we had the last couple of days settled out the dust in the air. I’m sitting out on the patio, the lavender bed is a couple of feet away, the fragrance is amazing. I will miss this in Chicago.

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  37. David C. said on July 10, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    $10 million doesn’t sound like much. The road rebuild down the street from us is less than a quarter of a mile and it’s budgeted at 1.4 million. Perhaps they don’t need to replace your water and sewer like here. Some of the water lines here in the city are World War 1 era.

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  38. adrianne said on July 10, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    “Go Set A Watchman” doesn’t beat around the bush with its focus on Atticus’ racist views. From the NYT review: …“Mockingbird” suggested that we should have compassion for outsiders like Boo and Tom Robinson, while “Watchman” asks us to have understanding for a bigot named Atticus.

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 10, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Inhale some piñon scented air for me, Deborah.

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  40. Dorothy said on July 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Deborah I realize you’d like to get the book as fast as possible. If you can’t find it locally, I’d like to suggest you try my niece’s store in Athens GA. I pre-ordered my copy weeks ago; I have no idea how many surplus copies she will have. But it’s worth a try. Avid Bookshop is the place.

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  41. Deborah said on July 10, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    One of the bookstores in town called Op Cit, says they will have a book in/store for me Tuesday. They’re only getting 2 and they have assured me that one will have my name on it. I will be there when they open Tues. it’s well within walking distance. Yay.

    Have any of you been watching True Detective season 2? I just started and am up to speed now, waiting for the next episode I think on Sunday. I’m Impressed. I’ve not heard good things about it but I’m enthralled so far. Vince Vaughn makes a good creep.

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  42. coozledad said on July 10, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Adrianne: And that’s why whites never bring anything to the table on discussions of race. It’s all self pity and self-justification. Talk about political correctness, these people have enjoyed some flavor of it for four centuries, and used the threat of death to enforce it.

    The romance of the south is just a romance, just as the north fighting slavery is a romance.

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  43. Sherri said on July 10, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    I’m home again, and it’s nice and cool, thank goodness. I’m tired of being hot.

    It’s not surprising to me that a California Republican was introducing amendments in support of the Confederate flag. Remember George “Macaca” Allen? He grew up in Southern California, and wore a Confederate flag pin in his high school senior picture, in Palos Verdes.

    If you’re ever tempted to pick up Peggy Noonan’s book about her time as Reagan’s speechwriter, thinking that maybe once she wasn’t as bad as she is now, don’t bother. I read it, and she does nothing but gush about Reagan.

    Fresh apricots (Ape) are good, but not as good as fresh peaches or nectarines. More on the level of plums, in my hierarchy of fresh fruits.

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  44. Dexter said on July 10, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Deborah, cable Sunday nights were rather dull lately since I abandoned Game of Thrones a couple seasons ago, but True Detective filled the void. For a long time I just didn’t think Colin Farrell was a very good actor but he as well as Vaughn are slaying. Rachel McAdams as Sheriff Ani Bezzirides , wow…does she ever spice up the show .
    Robert Downey, Jr. made $80,000,000 just from movies last year. I don’t pay attention to the cartoon stuff, but if you watch ‘The Judge’, you can get an inkling as to why he’s by far and away today’s best actor.

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  45. Dorothy said on July 11, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Deborah we are of like mind wrt True Detective. I’m glad I ignored the negative reviews I read and am caught up in the show. I don’t find myself as mesmerized by this go-round compared to the first season, but it’s very good. I can’t wait for Ray Donovan tomorrow night! We’ll be watching it on Monday, though, because we have tickets to see Winton Marsalis on Sunday night. I’m very glad you’ll be able to get a copy of Harper Lee’s book locally.

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  46. Deborah said on July 11, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Dorothy, it’s the Ta-Nehisi Coates book I’m getting on Tuesday. The Harper Lee book is something I’ll read down the road. I can see that I was confusing commenting about both books in the same thread.

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  47. Dexter said on July 11, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Ray Donovan is back? This means I must use my one exclamation point … !

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  48. Deborah said on July 11, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    We spent the afternoon putting new fabric covers on on the stools at the breakfast bar in the kitchen an putting up one of the window blinds in the Santa Fe apartment. Our window blinds were catter-wampus and kinked. We only got one of the five up because it took us awhile to figure out how to do it. Now that we know what we’re doing the rest should go faster. We have three out of town friends coming to visit. None of them know each other. It’s weird that they each picked the same time to visit NM.

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  49. Sherri said on July 12, 2015 at 2:04 am

    Tax cuts always come first:

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  50. James said on July 12, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Coozledad, aren’t you white?

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  51. brian stouder said on July 12, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    James – the point remains the same. It is like one of Rumsfeld’s ‘known unknowns’.

    I’m a white guy, and I know that I don’t know what life as an other-than-white-guy would be like.

    I’ve been pulled over by the police, and it has never crossed my mind to worry about how to speak to the guy, nor to warn our kids how to act if they’re pulled over.

    Show me a guy who loves the damned Confederate battle flag, and it’ll almost certainly be a white guy. Show me the demographic of the people who support Donald Trump, and odds are it mostly male and almost exclusively white.


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  52. basset said on July 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Just back from Alaska. Not a good trip. Had been promising Mrs. B we’d go see the bears ever since she got sick five years ago… we did, in a pouring rain, pilot dropped my Nikon macro on the pavement as we were unloading, tour company offered us a second go then reneged, went salmon fishing and got skunked, caught a few barely keeper size halibut, in all spent way too much money to come home pissed off and frustrated. Pictures mostly aren’t that good either but that’s my fault.

    I’m a white guy, and I don’t have any use for Donald Trump. I do have a cap I bought in Pulaski, Tennessee, home of the original KKK – Tommy Hilfiger logo with a little rebel flag stuck in, labeled “Tommy Hillbilly.” It’s OK if it’s ironic, right?

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  53. Dexter said on July 12, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    When I was a boy , living in rural Indiana, my pals and I played “Civil War” as well as “Cowboys and Indians”. Being Blue Jackets was always preferable. Most or all of us had had relatives killed at various points, ninety + years back, all were northerners. One kid’s family had an impressive collection of Civil War musket-ball rifles. In school, it was always taught as the war to end slavery. As I got older, I’d read southern-slants…slavery wasn’t the issue, it was economics. Even today, you will not hear “Civil War”, it’s still “The War of Northern Aggression” , at least in every place I ever visited down there and discussed basics.
    When I first spent time in the south, in 1968, I was 18, and I’d see the stars and bars many places, and even though I believed it symbolized repression and hate, I also accepted the fact I was never going to change anyone’s mindset. Decades later, when I quit the booze and listened to friends talking, I learned it is not my job to try to change anyone’s belief system, that has to be done internally by the person holding any belief that s/he comes to believe is wrong.
    We were taught years ago that ten per cent of the USA population is African-American. I heard that in South Carolina it is over thirty-three per cent. Most (by far) of that number felt it was time to remove the stars & bars from the statehouse grounds after the Charleston massacre. Before it happened, a woman decided she’d do it herself. That was attention-grabbing nonsense, as the flag was quickly re-hoisted, awaiting the official removal and tear-down of the pole and fencing.
    Like-minded folk can indeed change society, if they are united in their belief, and the targeted change-object is clear-cut.
    The flag came down…then at the NASCAR events it popped up more than before.
    At the lowering ceremony, people with long-dead family members stood with huge Confederate flags , weeping. They really truly use their flag to remember their dead, the battles they won and lost, and also the vague concept of ‘the southern way of living’. You…me…we cannot take “the rebel” out of those people. Never.

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  54. Sherri said on July 12, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Dexter, I disagree with you. They don’t really truly use their flag to remember their dead. That’s the politically correct spin. It’s a funny thing, they didn’t need to start remembering their dead that way until about the time Brown v. Board starting changing that not-so-vague concept of “the southern way of living”, otherwise known as Jim Crow.

    We may never take the rebel out of those people. That doesn’t mean we have to let them run things.

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point-race. Once you figure out they’re lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” Molly Ivins

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  55. Deborah said on July 12, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    I also disagree with you, Dexter, about the woman who climbed the pole to take down that flag in SC. It got much needed attention, and it was good to see a black woman do that. I don’t think it was nonsense at all. It was a cowardly act to re-hoist the flag, it made the people in charge look awful and they need to be seen as awful.

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  56. David C. said on July 12, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    It looks like Bloom County may be returning.

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  57. Little Bird said on July 12, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Is it wrong that I’m waiting to see Coozledad’s response?

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  58. Deborah said on July 12, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    We finished installing all of the blinds today. The first one took a couple three hours and all of the rest took about 30-45 mins each because we knew what we were doing. I’m embarrassed to say I ordered the blinds on-line from a place called Blindster. I almost didn’t order from them because I read that they are sponsors of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. I tried a couple of other places but they didn’t give me as good prices or customer service. So, I’m not proud of it but I went ahead and ordered from them. I saved our landlady some dough, and we installed them so we saved her the cost of that too. They look so much better. They’re 2″ blinds, we replaced the 1″ blinds that were there. They look so much cleaner and less trashy overall. We keep walking from room to room admiring them.

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  59. MichaelG said on July 12, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    To what Sherri said: That flag in SC went up 50 years ago. Not 150 years ago and it was raised in 1962 as a protest against integration not as any “heritage” thing. Those people are full of shit.

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  60. brian stouder said on July 12, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Deborah – indeed. It is amazing how a relatively small thing has so much potential for being pleasing (or bothersome!)

    Our post-pipe-break house re-do is about to reach the power tools/dusty/rip-and-tear stage, and we are in a Mariott Residence Inn (has a kitchenette…and I will confess that the pool/hot tub is growing on me)

    In the end, it will be one of those things we’ll talk about for the rest of our lives…and I suspect mostly positively*; but I’m** way out of my comfort zone, as events progress into the not-fully-known.

    *We absolutely love our State Farm insurance agent, and especially Missy in the office. Internet insurance may well meet the demands of a subset of people, but I will always swear by have a real-live agency that we do business with, and can call

    **Truly, Pam is probably much further out of her comfort-zone than I am out of mine, as she has taken the initiative and is basically handling the project; but she has the knack for channeling tension and angst into positive action

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  61. coozledad said on July 12, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    I’m not white, technically. I’m mostly Irish.

    Everyone gets their turn at being the group who needs to take a sterner attitude toward their children, or curb their natural impulse to crime.

    That is, until we obey the natural historical cycles and use the rich for pet food, because they are, with very limited exceptions, criminals.

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  62. coozledad said on July 12, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    This stuff has a delightfully hippie vibe, but is also mysteriously acerbic. I don’t know why kids these days feel compelled to cover themselves with second rate illustrations. It’s already a bastard art*.

    Pure damn magic.

    *There are times when I’m almost tempted to dive open-mouthed into the emoticon shit-sluice.

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  63. Deborah said on July 12, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Brian, I had no idea that you and your family are still in temp headquarters. I hope it gets resolved soon.

    And Coozledad, keep on being Coozledad. Even my spellcheck recognizes you.

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  64. beb said on July 12, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    I’m a mix of German, English, Scots and Irish. I’ve been invading myself for five hundred years!

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  65. basset said on July 13, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Brian, you really want to have a private adjuster working with you, no matter how much you love your State Farm agent. We had one after our house flooded, saved us quite a lot of money. You all may not notice when I’m gone, or care when I’m here, but I can offer that much.

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  66. Dexter said on July 13, 2015 at 2:53 am

    When the last tree split and fell on my house, a large branch raked and broke siding, and another branch poked large holes down into the garage; it wasn’t total chaos, but I needed help from my insurance people. An adjuster came to the house and shocked me, as he approved a generous amount to fix all damages, including half the garage roof. I got to pick the contractor, who fixed everything up just perfectly, and even said ” we are going to just do the entire garage roof since we’re here, and for that part only charge you for the materials, unless…” “Yes!” I told him to just do it. My settlement covered his billing, good as new, no leaks, it’s been three years.
    Brian, I know exactly how you feel, since we spent months in a cheap stinky motel in 1998 as a contractor fixed up my house after it was cracked in two by that evil giant maple tree. We would have killed for a rez-inn…we had to stay in a motel run by an Indian family who constantly cooked curry. Everything we had in that room smelled like pungent curry. Thank God for Hardee’s biscuits…we ate a lot of fast food. I miss Hardee’s bscuits.

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  67. Brandon said on July 14, 2015 at 3:11 am

    I prefer the curry.

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